A single game has been played for one of the league’s most subjective teams, and already the Houston Rockets have a giant question mark surrounding their most prolific source of production. What do we have with Kevin Martin right now? A shooter in a typical shooter’s funk? An overreaction to a microscopic sample size? An underrated ego throwing a classic passive aggressive temper tantrum?
On Monday night against Orlando, how do you explain a shooter who defines the word consistency scoring 4 points on 1-10 shooting (0-6 from deep), with 1 assist, 2 free-throw attempts, and 0 rebounds…in 33 minutes?! How do you explain one of the most authoritatively hostile offensive players in the league playing hot potato almost every time the ball swings his way on the perimeter. There were no cuts to the basket. There was no initiative. There was no imprint. [read more…]
The gist: All aboard the back-to-back-to-back bandwagon! The Rockets play their first home game against the team that wants nothing to do with three games in three nights. The Spurs will be coming off a home game against the revamped Clippers the night before.
Key matchup: Jordan Hill vs DeJuan Blair
In their first of two preseason meetings, Hill went off for 17 points, which would have been the buzz around of the league if he didn’t happen to be playing on the same day as Jimmer Fredette, Iman Shumpert, and Ricky Rubio. Blair is expected to deliver with Antonio McDyess on the way out, Tiago Splitter not yet ready for extended minutes, and Tim Duncan constantly benched for a longer shelf life.
X-factor: Chase Budinger
This athletic swingman can turn the tide and clear the lane with his slashing attack. He can keep Richard Jefferson and Kawhi Leonard on their toes and have them guessing which way he’ll go next.
Code Red: The Rockets thrive on high-octane offense instigated by Kyle Lowry. Can he run the Spurs out of the Toyota Center with his coast-to-coast game?
::follow the discussion in the Ninetyfourums::
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.