I sincerely don’t think I’ve ever heard a preseason press conference in which an NBA head coach doesn’t mention that his team’s “going to run this year”; no matter how patently false this may be, no matter how little you believe Doug Collins or Nate McMillan or Larry Brown, we all ooh and aah in false anticipation, hoping that this will be the one year when every team just decides to fling the playbook to the wind (oh, and Mr. Collins’ would take one hell of a heave) and start flying. That this never comes to pass is immaterial because we’ll all nod, smile and hope the next year in the exact same manner, even if there’s a new guy on the sidelines lying to us about how fast his team will be. But why the hell don’t they just run? Obviously, personnel reasons to be the most prominent explanation for most coach’s preternatural inclination to slow that ball down and reconsider this whole “speed” business, but what if a team seems almost intrinsically built to give chase to the fast break, begging the viewer to ponder the dominance of every easy open-court bucket, only calmed by the completely nonsensical reluctance that this team shows to running? That team was the Miami Heat, that frustrating coach was Eric Spoelstra, and that era is over. [read more...]
Just some brief thoughts after the Houston Rockets’ loss to the Orlando Magic in the 2011-2012 season opener.
Here were some of my initial thoughts right after the game:
Houston Rockets vs. Orlando Magic: postgame thoughts
Here was our game thread. Join us on Thursday. It’s fun.
Game 1 in the books and the dream of 66-0 is over. But the equally compelling dream of 0-66 is still very much alive.
In all seriousness, despite the complete collapse, I came away very surprised by the team’s play tonight against a solid, veteran Orlando group that used to be on people’s radars as a contender before SuperFriends and Dwight Howard-wanting-to-be-Shaq happened.
This team will make the playoffs, I think. Then again I’m the guy that predicted that DeMarcus Cousins would be in pinstri….errr, the Chinese National team’s threads last June. But yeah, after seeing Dalembert close gaps and be long, I think after Kevin McHale learns that Luis Scola is not a center (seriously, what was that in the 4th quarter?), and figures out other rotation nuances, the team should roll towards the 8th seed or slightly higher. Too much talent.
Monday, 6:00pm CST @ Orlando
Game thread for in-game discussion.
The gist: The Rockets open the hectic season on the road with a visit to Disney World. The Magic will be coming off a road game the previous night against the Thunder.
Key matchup: Luis Scola vs Glen Davis/Ryan Anderson
Scola has been a preseason weapon offensively and has gotten rid of the rust sooner than everyone else. A defensive sieve as always, he will be tasked to guard Big Baby, who is expected to have gotten over his forgettable performance during the last postseason. Look forward to a scoring spurt when Scola and Anderson get into their offensive rhythm at the same time.
X-factor: Courtney Lee
Can the former Magic steal the show and spell Kevin Martin for extended stretches?
Code Red: In a condensed season, it is more important than ever to have a strong start, as fatigue will make it difficult to make up for lost time. After all, it takes one win to get to 22 straight. These are two teams with players (Martin and Dwight Howard) who are frustrated to be stuck on both teams and want to get traded sooner than later. Watch Stan Van Gundy’s juggling act as he balances playing time for four shooting guards (J.J. Redick, Jason Richardson, Quentin Richardson, and Larry Hughes).