In this week’s episode, I sit down once again with MK Bower to discuss Dwight Howard’s passing abilities, the Jeremy Lin/Patrick Beverley debate, Omri Casspi’s role, and the Houston Rockets’ window of contention. As always, you can subscribe to The Red94 Podcast on itunes.
It’s game face time for the Houston Rockets, who have a particularly tough year ahead of them. After flying under the radar for years, the Rockets are not targets in a super stacked west. No division in that Western Conference is quite as stacked as the Southwest Division, and the Rockets now have to learn how to swim in the deep end.
San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs, until further notice, remain the crown prince oh the Southwest Division. Their dynasty seems endless, and their system is the key. With head coach Gregg Popovich and general manager R. C. Buford working together, the Spurs remain competitive even with their starting lineup missing. Their offseason was quiet, primarily featuring the loss of Gary Neal and the signing of Marco Bellinelli.. DeJuan Blair also left for greener pastures after a disappointing year.San Antonio needed little in the way of change after a Finals run last year, and they focused instead on keeping their core together. Read More
All Hail The Conquering Hero – The Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen dubbed it, “Jeremania.” With his performance in Taipei, Jeremy Lin succeeded at one of the most difficult tasks in pro sports. He lived up to expectations.
That highlight reel omitted the second most jaw-dropping play of the day (behind the half-court alley-oop to Parsons), a vicious swat of Danny Granger’s layup. The crowd’s reaction sounds like Cameron Indoor Stadium in March. While I’m not a great preseason basketball historian, I’m going to assert that Lin’s performance on Sunday was the most significant preseason performance of all time. The combination of man, moment, and market has never been replicated. David Stern could not be happier.
Taipei, Taiwan was hungry for a dose of Linsanity. The Houston Rockets and Indiana Pacers made their way to Taiwan for an international Preseason game, a captive audience in far-off foothold for the NBA. The crowd hung on every play Lin made, and got on their feet when the final buzzer sounded Houston’s victory. They got some of the new, assertive brand of Linsanity. They also got another strong performance from the Houston Rockets, one which resembled an NBA game through the first three quarters of play. Until the reserves took the floor in the fourth quarter, both teams had something to prove. Preseason basketball has never been so hot.
The Pacers rode that heat with their three point shooting, knocking down half of the attempts they took. 11 of their 22 attempted threes found net, 10 of which came from Paul George and Danny Granger. The Pacers showed why teams have begun to look for the three point line in earnest. With threes, the Pacers’ offense lifts from spotty to sometimes deadly, a possibility that was out in force. As Granger and Paul buried three after three in the third quarter, Roy Hibbert manhandled his man, whether it be Dwight Howard or Donatas Motiejunas. This was usually a closer game than the previous match against the Pacers, and they played like the game mattered.
The Rockets have clearly had their fun over the past few days in Taiwan. Jeremy Lin went shrimp fishing like he did last year, Yao Ming showed up at a reception for the Rockets, and Dwight Howard and Chandler Parsons had their laughs helping at a Special Olympics clinic. But at the end of the day, they and the Indiana Pacers are here to play basketball. And so they shall, at 1:30 in the afternoon in Taipei but at half an hour past Sunday midnight in Houston.