Before we go any further, there’s something great to take away from this game. Tomorrow is another day, and new, amazing things can happen tomorrow. James Harden might work on his defense. Dwight Howard might take some instruction on his post moves from Houston Rockets head coach and post play superhero Kevin McHale. Chandler Parsons might engage in some unexpected show of support and solidarity with another terminally ill child. The future is still bright and sunny for this Houston Rockets team, and the future starts with tomorrow.
It’s important to remember all that, because today is a thunderstorm on an iceberg with a whirlpool under it. The Rockets were obliterated, crushed, atomized, decimated, slaughtered and nearly kicked down to the D-League by the Oklahoma City Thunder, a team that’s been to the finals and is still mad about everything that happened since game two of that series in 2012. Would the Thunder currently be better if they had held onto James Harden? That quest is still going unanswered, because it’s impossible to think with Kevin Durant dunking on everyone as soon as they try to have a conversation. The Thunder are still the team to beat in this conference, and the Rockets probably didn’t even need to catch a plane back to Houston given how hard they got kicked in the rear.
Dwight Howard’s arrival in Houston signals the arrival of one of the most dominant players in basketball, along with one of the most polarizing personalities in sports. Here at Red94, we are embracing the drama of Superman’s first season as a Rocket with a weekly column: “DwightLife.” This is the tenth installment.
This week was a classic Jekyll and Hyde performance from Dwight Howard. He unleashed a 29 point, 15 rebound game on Dallas, a 15 and 20 on San Antonio, a 24 and 18 on New Orleans…then he laid a 2 point 6 rebound egg against Memphis.
Weeks like these make you ask, which Dwight Howard did Houston get? Did we get the Monstar who ruled over Orlando, or did we get the old cripple who left Los Angeles? [read more…]
Oklahoma City doesn’t like Patrick Beverley. The players of the Thunder don’t have any say in this grudge, and it’s only going to be reignited when the Rockets visit Oklahoma to take on the Thunder for the first time this season. The knee injury that Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook suffered in the playoffs last season has attacked once again, removing him from active duty until further notice. With the specter of that fateful collision between two point guards looming large, Houston has to come into one of the loudest home courts in the league and try to steal one in the Chesapeake Energy Arena
Westbrook is unquestionably the second best player on the Thunder, a team tied for first place in the brutal Western Conference. His absence a huge factor in the Rockets’ resistance to a clearly superior Thunder team during the playoffs, and the same will be true in this meeting. This time, however, Houston is missing their own starting point guard in Patrick Beverley, who’s out with a broken hand. That grudge will have to wait, but the larger grudge will take center stage. The Thunder will come at a battered, weary Rockets team, and there will be no mercy. If Houston wants a win, they’ll need to summon every bit of resolve they have left.