via The Houston Rockets, way ahead of schedule, have turned into a team to watch | Ball Don’t Lie – Yahoo! Sports:
Slowly, and ahead of schedule, the Houston Rockets are working well together. Since Jeremy Lin’s breakout performance in a loss to the San Antonio Spurs last week, the team has won four of five games and dropped in a Western conference playoff bracket few thought they’d have a place in. Even after the team traded for All-Star James Harden, pairing him with Jeremy Lin in one of the league’s more intriguing backcourts, the Rockets were still thought to be a young rebuilding team that would need at least a year’s worth of chemistry-building before it could be counted on to play past the regular season. Instead, just seven weeks into this experiment, the alchemy is in place.
A must read from Kelly Dwyer.
From Cowbell Kingdom:
“Like I said, all along I’m trying to create an environment here,” Smart told reporters after Saturday practice. ”And we all gotta move forward to making sure that we do everything we can to keep that environment in the right direction. And when any player goes beyond that, then there’s going to be consequences to that. And I thought last night, it moved in that direction.”
Via the full report, Cousins and head coach Keith Smart got into a heated verbal exchange at halftime of Friday’s affair against L.A. Judging from Smart’s comments, however, this seems to be more a disciplinary response to something incidental rather than anything approaching a built-up ‘final straw’, as I had originally assumed. Cousins has had his ongoing issues, but I’m not sure this makes it any more likely that the Kings deal him.
via Ken Berger:
Kings announce they have suspended DeMarcus Cousins indefinitely for “unprofessional behavior and conduct detrimental to the team.”
While they’ve repeatedly stated a long-term commitment to Cousins, I don’t see how this marriage can last; the young power forward has apparently not made any progress with his maturity issues.
It begs the question – if the Kings reach a point where they’ve had enough, should/would the Rockets pursue? Cousins has the talent to be the best offensive big man in the game. And a back to the basket presence is the one element this Rockets team is lacking. But would it be wise to poison this lockerroom with such a cancerous presence?
After a two week honeymoon following that exciting overtime game against the Spurs, the Rockets now have to face a vicious schedule that starts with the Grizzlies and takes them on the road for 15 of their next 23 games. As the Rockets prepare for a deluge of teams currently in the playoff race (15 of the next 23, again) they start the stretch with one of the most brutal opponents out there: the 17-6 division rival Memphis Grizzlies.