The Mavericks and Rockets meet for the second time this year and their first time in Dallas. Interestingly, in the last month or so the teams have had followed pretty much the exact opposite trajectories of each other. The Rockets went on a hot streak from mid-December until early January (going 12-3) before cooling off and losing 4 straight, while the Mavericks had an absolutely miserable stretch during which they went 2-13 before recently recovering with a three game win streak.
The Rockets will have the schedule against them in this game, arriving in Dallas late on Tuesday after their match-up with the Clippers. A glance at their record in back-to-backs makes for grim reading – scoring is way down at only 96.4 PPG (down on their overall average of 105.4) and their record is only 4-7. The main cause of that discrepancy seems to be shooting – field goal percentage drops from 45% to 41%, a significant decline. They will face a Mavs team with a day’s rest who are in the middle of a four game homestand, so if they are going to get anything out of the game the Rockets are going to have to fight through tired legs and find a way to disrupt the Maverick’s rhythm. [read more…]
All-Star Buzz – James Harden gets love from ESPN’s 5-on-5.Back to the Future II
– ESPN Insider
(paid subscription) hops in the DeLorean to see who will be starting in the 2015 All-Star game. No word on hoverboards, but check out this nugget from Brad Doolittle about James Harden:
Harden’s 2015 forecast of 14.1 WARP is the fourth-best of all players behind James, Paul and Durant. He hasn’t emerged merely as a present-day All-Star but as a future MVP candidate. Harden’s 2015 forecast of 14.1 WARP is the fourth-best of all players behind James, Paul and Durant. He hasn’t emerged merely as a present-day All-Star but as a future MVP candidate. With Bryant forecasted to slip out of the top 50 in WARP by 2015, Harden’s closest challenger as the best 2-guard in the West is probably Golden State’s Klay Thompson.
The Los Angeles Clippers, hot off a big win over the Grizzlies, landed in Houston and showed why they’re a team predicted to go to the Western Conference Finals. Even without Chauncey Billups and star point guard Chris Paul, even on the second night of a back to back, even on the road, the Clippers and their brutal bench depth proved too much for the Rockets to overcome. The Clippers had a blazing hot 32-18 third quarter led by Jamal Crawford and his season-high 30 points and the Rockets just couldn’t catch up. [read more…]
I was a guest today on Yahoo Sports Radio 1560 with John Wessling and Adam Clanton. We talked Harden, Lin, and Royce White.Link to podcast.
‘Trying hard,’ long celebrated, is an act so metaphysical that it eludes even those most comprehensive of contemporary NBA analytics. The oft-mysterious rise and/or fall in a plaeyer’s—or, more importantly, a team’s—actual exertion toward winning is also a maker or breaker of any prognostication, however Hollingerian it may be.
And trying, more than anything, is what pushes teams through the long, dog day months of the season, which we’re deep into from Christmas until the moment for final playoff pushes comes. While it may seem granted that millionaire professionals are giving it their all, all the time, a true NBA fan knows better; this is a taxing season played by relatively small rosters, and no amount of money or physical training can change that. And a true NBA fan knows, further, that there’s a wide range of effort throughout the league. [read more…]