Tonight, the Houston Rockets learned the hard lesson that a Los Angeles Clippers team without Chris Paul is still an NBA team. Austin Rivers may be a giant downgrade from CP3, but he’s still able to throw a basketball at a hoop. Glen Davis might not be a world beater, but he’s still going to hit wide open shots. Dwight Howard was the only member of the team to show any sort of agency and any signs of life during a critical game that the Houston Rockets absolutely had to capitalize on. Letting the Clippers steal a win while Chris Paul rests a hamstring injury is either a sign of a team being worse than expected, less mentally prepared than expected, or a terrible combination of the two. This wasn’t simply a Clippers bench going wild. This was a massive egg laid by the Rockets, and now they’re going to have to fight twice as hard for the rest of the series.

The best player of the night was Houston’s pile of 24 turnovers, which had a game-high 34 points. Rockets turnovers had a slightly better night than Clippers turnovers, which was only 23 turnovers deep but only resulted in 21 points, a much worse showing. The Clippers were much more aggressive in the fast break, much more coherent as a team, and generally didn’t look like they expected to play the 7-win Charlotte Bobcats team from 2012. Giving away live ball turnover after live ball turnover was a bold play from Houston, and tonight it just didn’t work out.

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in game coverage
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Red94 Clippers Rockets Roundtable

Walker: Getting to the second round is good, but going all the way is better. What’s the single biggest factor going against Houston making the finals?

McGuire: I can’t decide between lack of depth or lack of shooting. Josh Smith is just a coin flip. When Smith is good, like he was against Dallas, he’s awesome. When Smith is not good, he actively hurts the Rockets with crazy passes and his infamous shooting. Brewer can also be hit and miss from game to game, and you can’t coin flip your way to the NBA Finals.

On the other hand, I’ve railed about Houston’s lack of shooting for this entire season. The closest Houston has to a knock-down shooter is Terry. The Warriors have a pair of decent shooters and the Clippers have Redick. Even the Grizzlies have Courtney Lee, though the Grizzlies don’t matter because they’ll be lucky to last six games against the Warriors without Mike Conley.

Felker: The Rockets are streak shooters for the most part, but because of the way they play the percentages I think it would be difficult to go cold enough as a team to lose a series just off of that.  My biggest concern is consistently generating points out of the halfcourt.

Their shooting certainly plays a part in that, but Corey Brewer corner threes are always Plan B to James Harden’s offense.  The Rockets are just too dependent on Harden, especially without Donatas Motiejunas and to a much lesser extent Patrick Beverley.  It might not matter much against the Clippers and their middling defense, but even they have Matt Barnes and Chris Paul to throw at Harden on big possessions.  The Warriors will be an entirely different story, however, what with all their 6’7+ wings to choose from.  Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston and Draymond Green should all be able to stay fresh while constantly harassing Harden.

He will have to be superhuman offensively to carry this team all the way to the Finals.

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in conversations

Would you rather…

 

…have the only actual, functioning lightsaber or your very own dragon to ride?

Wait, wait, wait.  Thats not what I meant.

Basketball.  Spurs, Clippers.

Game 7.

Saturday night.  Staples Arena, Los Angeles, CA.

Lob City and the last(?) ride of Tim Duncan and his Immortals.

All for the chance to play our Houston Rockets in the second round of the Western Conference Playoffs.

So, who will you be rooting for? [read more…]






in conversations, musings
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The Houston Rockets beat the Dallas Mavericks.

I don’t really know what to say. It’s been such an up and down season. Having an actual defense. The injuries. Harden taking another leap to a true superstar. The injuries. Motiejunas becoming useful. The injuries. Josh Smith, the good. Josh Smith, the bad.

And now, the Houston Rockets have beaten the Dallas Mavericks. Not so much with Harden heroics but with solid, real team defense that was not there last year. And the result turned out to be so much different from last year.

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in game coverage
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Q&A with Tim Cato of Mavs Moneyball

Ahead of Game 5 and another chance for the Rockets to close out the Dallas Mavericks, we caught up with Tim Cato of MavsMoneyball.com

MF – Rockets fans adored Chandler Parsons. Half still do, while half blame him for leaving even though thats pretty much Daryl Morey’s fault for underestimating the troll inside of Mark Cuban. How hard did you fall in love with him this season, and how did it change your outlook to lose him so early into the playoffs? [read more…]






in conversations
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