This is really, really fun

Note that this was written prior to the Rockets-Lakers Sunday night affair.  The events of that game had no bearing on the author’s assertions. – Ed.

By the time this is published, the Rockets will probably be 4-6.  They’ll likely trudge along near .500 for the entire season.  And at this rate, there’s a safe chance they land at the 14th pick once again.  But you know what?  For the first time in years, I won’t mind.

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Preview: Rockets @ Lakers

The big games keep coming for the Rockets. First the Heat and now the Lakers inside a week! The storyline dominating the national conversation about this game will the be arrival of Mike D’Antoni as Lakers coach. This will be his first game patrolling the sideline for LA, and after all the protracted “Phil or Mike?” discussions it will be intriguing to see the product that he can put on the floor.

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Red94 back up and running

As you may have noticed, Red94 was offline for a better part of the last 48 hours.  As I explained on Twitter, we were upgrading to a different server.  Hopefully that should make things faster and cut down the error messages you all were used to seeing.

Let me know in the comments, or via email, if things seem faster to you.  If you all are still experiencing the same problems, we may need to look into a completely different route.

Thanks.






in from the editor

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Preview: New Orleans Hornets @ Houston Rockets

After the challenge of facing off with the defending champions, the Rockets’ next task is a team from the opposite end of the NBA spectrum. Before the season started, it wouldn’t have seemed wholly unreasonable to predict that the Hornets would lose as many games as the Heat would win. New Orleans have made a mostly promising start to their season though, racing out to a 3-2 start. They arrive at Houston on the back of four days of rest, so don’t expect any tired legs here!

Lineups:

The Hornets’ strength is their frontcourt. They’ve put together a very solid big man rotation with Robin Lopez and Anthony Davis starting while Ryan Anderson and Jason Smith come off the bench. All of these guys provide slightly different skill sets which work together nicely. If only they had some decent backcourt players, they’d be in business, but unfortunately for them that side of the court is sadly underpowered. Greivis Vasquez will start at PG flanked by Austin Rivers and Al-Farouq Aminu. Off the bench, you’ll see Brian Roberts as the backup point along with Roger Mason Jr. and Darius Miller. The Hornets are hoping to see development from all of the young guys there, and in time perhaps this strategy will pay off, but for the time being it leaves them bereft of consistent scoring punch. It might be different were Eric Gordon around, but he has been slow to recover from his latest injury.

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How Has Houston’s Offense Fared So Far?

 Through seven games, the Rockets have not had much success on offense. Houston is scoring only 98 points per 100 possessions, putting them at 22nd in the NBA.[1] While this lack of offensive punch may be expected given the dearth of proven scorers on the roster, (Harden is the only Rocket with a career scoring average in the double digits) what is more surprising is the fact that the Rockets are creating and taking efficient shots but simply not converting them at an acceptable rate.

The Rockets as a team are distributing their shot selection in a very efficient manner. 38% of Houston’s shots are right at the rim and 35% are from 3 point range, percentages that place Houston 2nd in each category. The Rockets play at an above-average pace and attempt 32 shots per game at the rim (also 2nd in the league) and 29 threes per game, second behind only the trigger-happy Knicks. The Rockets only take 13 shots per game between 10-23 feet, by far the lowest in the league (in contrast, the Bulls take the most mid-range jumpers, at 34 a game). In short, the vast majority of Houston’s shots are from the two most efficient ranges on the floor.

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