June 7, 1995.  I was an 11-year old gangly mess of arms and legs that refused to wear shoes outside of school and couldn’t even look a girl in the face yet.  But I was the biggest sports fan in the world, so who needed girls anyway.  And to that point, I’d lived quite the charmed sports-life.  Being born in rural north Texas, the only thing that mattered to me was that blue star (I know, I know).  But after moving with my family to Houston in the early 90’s, it didn’t take long for basketball (and to a lesser extent, baseball) to get its claws into me.  Soon the Dreamshake and Killer B’s were right there on the wall next to my Michael Irvin “Playmaker” poster.

So to recap, before my 12th birthday, I was in the midst of the greatest NFL dynasty there will ever be (save it, THE. GREATEST.), had seen a National league MVP and likely champ in baseball if not for a soul-killing strike, and had already witnessed my still-favorite basketball player ever carry a ragtag team to an NBA Championship.

So in Game 1 of the ’95 Finals, with the Magic up by three on the Rockets with six seconds to play and Nick Anderson at the free throw stripe, I was pretty sure I was about to explode with anxiety.  I was basically batting 1.000 in big games at that point in my life (who knew that would flip so, so hard), so I had no idea what to do with my self when it seemed the Rockets may lose.  My dad was plugging away on the graveyard shift, and my mom had zero interest in sports, so I was left to my own devices during one of the biggest moments I’d ever witnessed.  We all know how Nick the Brick earned his nickname, but when he missed that second free throw and yet managed to grab his own rebound before getting fouled again, I spiked the remote control (don’t tell Dad) and turned off the TV to go shoot baskets in the dark to cool off.  It wasn’t till two hours later, after I’d imaginarily helped Dream dispatch Shaq and Penny in Game 7 to win the title, that I came back in and watched Sportscenter.  To my shock/elation/dismay, Anderson missed two more free throws, the Jet tied the game to send it to overtime, and the Magic didn’t box out Hakeem (6:10 mark).

My point is, kids are dumb.  “I’ll never make that mistake again,” I told myself.

Well, some things never change.  I’m still an idiot.   [read more…]






in game coverage
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There are few things that irritate me more  – whether about the Houston Rockets or otherwise – then when people talk about basketball players in terms of “heart” or “will.” Everyone in the NBA playoffs wants to win. The Houston Rockets lost Games 3 and 4 to the Los Angeles Clippers primarily because of horrible defensive execution and a punch-drunk bench, not because of a lack of heart. There is nothing more to it.

But tonight the Rockets did execute better, the Rockets shot better, and the Rockets played harder with their backs against the wall. And this time was yet another blowout, but in favor of the good guys. Harden dropped in a triple double along with 26 points, Howard thrived with DeAndre Jordan in foul trouble, and the result of the Rockets learned of this concept called “shooting.” And now, there will be a Game 6.

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in game coverage
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Things were breaking to give the Houston Rockets a surprisingly realistic chance to win a championship. The Warriors, their greatest concern, were struggling with the Grizzlies, the Eastern Conference in general was becoming even more of a tire fire, and the Los Angeles Clippers had a hobbled Chris Paul and a very tired starting lineup. All the Rockets had to do was not suddenly become a horrible team. They had remained an elite team for 82 regular season games and 2 playoff games, so things looked good. Then the Rockets became a horrible team, and now the Rockets are down 3-1 to a far superior Clippers team.

The good news is that Dwight Howard played well. The bad news is literally everything else. The Rockets played terrible defense and offense in the first half when they weren’t fouling DeAndre Jordan endlessly. Somehow the team was down a mere 7 points at halftime despite playing some of the worst ball they’ve ever played. If anything changed, they had a real shot at taking a lead. Well, things did change. The Rockets played even worse and lost as badly as they’ve lost all year.

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in game coverage
{ 36 comments }

I respect the Los Angeles Clippers. I respect them a lot more than most people.

I think Chris Paul is an all-time great, and a top 30 player in the history of the NBA . I think the Clippers are a well-constructed team (well, their starters are). I think that Blake Griffin is a great, well-rounded power forward and anyone who calls him just a dunker is a moron. I think that J.J. Redick is a lethal piece, and an off-ball shooter of the sort which is becoming more important in this league and which Houston desperately needs. And while I do think that Golden State is going to steamroll everyone at this point, the Clippers are the one team that could make things tough for them.

So, I can tolerate losing to the Los Angeles Clippers.

I cannot tolerate losing to Austin Rivers. And Austin Rivers, Austin freaking Rivers, led the Clippers on a 23-0 run which ended this game by the start of the fourth quarter.

I’m just going to close this out with two simple thoughts, which I am sure I have noted at some point in the past.

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in game coverage
{ 22 comments }

Cheames Hurdemph wordmpt.

(Extracts foot, clears throat)

Unique, New York.  Unique, New York.  The Human Torch was denied a bank loan.

The arsonist has oddly shaped feet.

That’s better.  Now, if you’ll allow me a moment:   [read more…]






in game coverage
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