Barring some miraculous turn of events, the Houston Rockets’ 2011-2012 season ended last night in Dallas. They came out scorching hot and even kept things together in the 3rd (outscoring the Mavericks 29-23), only to get pummeled in the 4th by Dirk Nowitzki and co.
Dirk finished with 35 after scoring just 4 points in the first half. Vince Carter turned back the clock, keeping Dallas in it in the first half, including a pair of uncontested dunks. Jason Terry was Jason Terry and Jason Kidd hit some timely 3’s.
When posed with the quagmire of acquiescence to defeat or certain annihilation, one must quickly consider the benefits and detriments of both; sadly, the Houston Rockets are currently locked in such thinking, left with a relatively easy schedule that could allow them to trip over themselves into the eighth seed and certain destruction at the hands of the Thunder or Spurs… or the equally easy choice of shutting down Kyle Lowry, Marcus Camby and Kevin Martin and hopefully watching the team wilt away while being able to hold onto this year’s lottery pick. It seems insane that such a question is being asked this late in a season, but nothing about this season has made much sense for the Rockets or their fans. Making one decision here that attempted to right it all would be preferable. [read more…]
A part of me still thinks the Rockets will make the postseason. Well, let’s just say it wouldn’t surprise me given the way this season has played out. Tonight will be the team’s last ‘hard’ (on paper) matchup out of what is left. Golden State should be a cakewalk, as should the Hornets (Kaman out for the year.) The Heat game is a tossup – will they still be in the race for the #1 seed or will they rest their starters? The Rockets could very likely go 4-1.
The Suns have games remaining against OKC, the Clippers, Denver, the Jazz, and the Spurs, a ‘who’s who’ murderer’s row of opponents. Except for that last game where one would expect Pops to rest his big guns, one could easily see Phoenix drop all of those matchups. But that still leaves Denver, Dallas, and Utah to compete with Houston for the last three spots.
I’m now seriously starting to wonder if it might be better to just keep our pick rather than back into the playoffs by default. I just don’t know at this point. Knowing this team, I could see them, after all of this, still upsetting Oklahoma City in the first round. Nothing would shock me at this point.
Matt Bullard mentioned on the broadcast last night that the Rockets shouldn’t just bring in Marcus Morris and immediately run ISO plays for him. It’s not possible for me to disagree any more with that statement. As I’ve explained in the past, Morris’ only value to the team is as a one-on-one scorer. That’s why they drafted him and why they hope to convert him to the ‘3’. He isn’t a player like Chandler Parsons or Patrick Patterson who can be on the floor and help the team in other ways. It’s a waste of everyone’s time having him out there and not feeding him the ball. In the third, when Marcus Camby went out (more on this below), the team’s offense completely fell apart. It’s too late this year, but without a star on the roster, a scorer like Morris is the type of guy the team needs to implement into its lineup going forward. In the clip above, we see Morris make two big-time NBA moves. First, he pivots and spins into a turnaround, hitting a shot that noone on this roster–Scola included–has in their arsenal. Next, he comes down, smoothly crosses over and nails the pull-up jumper, demonstrating that the hard work he has put in on his ball-handling has paid off. The points came in garbage time and were meaningless. But they are a small glimpse of what Morris can provide. Without isolation options in the lineup, the Rockets are forced to explore paths like Patterson in the post; teams can’t run motion sets every trip down. Hopefully next year, Morris will get his chance.