Pocket Rocket – January 23-29, 2012

The Rockets have been stingy in second halves, only allowing the Wizards 35 points and the Knicks to put up 38. In an ironic twist, they allowed the offensively inept Bucks to go off for 63 markers, including a 20-0 run.

Houston is getting the ball in their hands and forcing it out of their opponents. Their recent 3-1 stretch has them at a +7 in total rebounds and a -3.5 in turning the ball over.

Even Brandon Jennings would cringe at Kyle Lowry’s shooting the past four games. Lowry is a dismal 8 out of 42 (19%).

Stat of the week: Chase Budinger strung together 40 points over a span of 48 minutes the past two games.

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A reader, TwistedNematic, writes:

Hakeem Olajuwon is why I’m a Rockets fan today. He did everything; hung around with the team through early playoff exits and losing seasons due to a weak supporting cast, led us to the promised land (twice) and set way too many statistical records to mention here. After everything Houston and Hakeem had been through, watching him wither away in a Toronto Raptors jersey was pure torture. I was younger at the time and I did not understand the move at all, as I’ve grown older and learned more about draft picks and contracts, my position on that trade remains unchanged. Do you know what we got for Hakeem? A draft pick that led to Bostjan Nachbar, a total bust who’s wasting away in some Russian D-league right now. Hakeem had requested the trade due to the front office being cheap. Next time the greatest player who has ever worn a Rockets jersey asks for a max offer, you give it to him. At this point, its not about winning or rebuilding or drafting or next season. This is one of the few times that sports transcends winning and statistics. This is about a city’s admiration for a man. Out of all the Rockets games I’ve yelled, cheered and bled through; loss to the Jazz in the playoffs, the early exits with Tmac, including that Game 7 blowout in Dallas, the end of the 22 game losing streak (guess who we lost too?), the news that Yao was done while we were battling the Lakers in round 2 and the lakers opening night come back which ruined the whole season last year, the worst moment of being a Rockets fan was when I turned on the TV and saw this:

http://sportsillustr…content.18.html

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in from the editor

On Twitter, some nights ago, I asked you all, between Kyle Lowry and John Wall, whom you would prefer to have on this team, either for a single season or going long-term.  Surprisingly, the majority preferred Lowry.  A reader, Joe, had some thoughts of his own in the forum:

But, like Favian pointed out, he’s a “late-bloomer.” How many of the Association’s current “superstars” emerged on to the scene in their mid-20’s? Not many. Fans are enamored with young, budding talent. Exactly why the media’s casting a bright light on John Wall, just 21-years-old, and he’s scooping up endorsement deals along the way. If the Rockets were playing for all the marbles tonight, I’d roll with Lowry. But, with time, Wall’s going to be the superior player and to attribute his “hype” to Reebok commercials and consumerism is borderline absurd. Statistically, he’s already nipping at the heels of Lowry, who’s over 5 years his elder. Lowry’s the better shooter, hands down, but he developed that stroke with time. Wall’s already one of the most dynamic open-floor players in the game, and can finish at the rim with the best of ‘em (leads all PGs in And-1s, as well). His 3-pt stroke’s only going to improve, and once it catches up to his attacking abilities, he’ll be an absolute force to be reckoned with. Earlier, I gave credit to K-Low for being the best rebounding PG in the NBA, well Wall checks in at #2 with 5.5 boards/game. He doesn’t play with the grit and determination of a K-Low, but he’s already a comparable talent to Lowry as the youngest starting PG in the NBA.

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in from the editor

Post-game interviews: 1.28.12

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Rapid Reaction: Rockets defeat Knicks 97-84

New York Knicks 84 FinalRecap | Box Score 97 Houston Rockets
Luis Scola, PF 23 MIN | 6-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 3 AST | 12 PTS | +2Scola scored all of his points in the first half, going 6-8 (0-5 the rest of the way) and looking for his shot early despite three turnovers in the first 7 minutes. Hopefully, tonight’s success will boost his confidence in the next few weeks as the team’s schedule gets tougher.
Samuel Dalembert, C 22 MIN | 3-6 FG | 1-2 FT | 14 REB | 0 AST | 7 PTS | +8The Bear(!) continues to maul Rockets’ opponents inside. Tonight, he pulled down 14 boards and blocked 4 shots in 22 minutes.
Kyle Lowry, PG 27 MIN | 1-6 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 3 PTS | +3Over the last four games, Kyle Lowry has shot 8 for 42 from the floor, a miserable slump that saw Dragic running the offense for good portions of the game tonight. As Lowry increasing looked to pass all night, the rest of the team somehow didn’t seem to ready for the crisp passes he sent their way.
Courtney Lee, SG 30 MIN | 6-12 FG | 1-1 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 14 PTS | +10With the starters struggling, Courtney Lee and the Rockets’ bench stepped up and firmly placed their heels on the Knicks’ throats. Lee’s 9 point 3rd quarter helped build Houston’s 14 point lead heading to the 4th quarter.
Goran Dragic, PG 27 MIN | 6-8 FG | 3-4 FT | 0 REB | 5 AST | 16 PTS | +23Dragic again pushed the ball and took any open (or not open) shot available. Hat’s off to Daryl Morey for another very useful pick-up.
Chase Budinger, SF 24 MIN | 7-12 FG | 3-3 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 19 PTS | +23Can we ask McHale to bench Budinger every third game for the rest of the season? at this rate, Chase will soon retrieve his starting job from his Syracuse counterpart.

Three Things We Saw

  1. Well, that’s 9 out of the last 10. It’ a good thing the Rockets keep playing all these terrible teams (make no mistake, the Knicks have been a miserable thus far). With Martin hurt and Lowry missing, the bench won this game for Houston scoring 43 points on 22 shots through the first three quarters.
  2. How bad is the Knicks point guard situation? New York played Jeremy Lin for a good chunk of the second half. As much as I love Lin’s story and genuinely wish him success in the league, he’s not a starting (or really even a back-up) point guard for any team hoping to make the playoffs.
  3. Dalembert sitting early for fouls really exposed how much the Rockets depend on the huge Haitian. He only played 8 minutes in the first half, and his absence saw Tyson Chandler and Amare Stoudemire combine for 24 points and the Knicks snag 9 offensive rebounds to the Rockets 2.

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