Crunch Time Revisited

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Earlier this year, I took a look at the Houston Rockets performance during crunch time compared to that of other NBA teams. The results were ugly. With 30 seconds left in games in which the Houston Rockets were down by five or less, the Rockets offensive rating was 37 points per 100 possessions. That’s just abysmal, but probably wasn’t very surprising for Rockets fans who had become used to throwing things at their TVs during close games.

At the end of February, I grabbed updated crunch time data. Now I’m finally getting off my ass to do something with those data. The chart above visualizes data from both times when data were collected.

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It’s time to buy in

I know you’ve been through a lot. I know what we all said at the beginning of the year. Meter your expectations. This takes time. Be happy with whatever happens. It’s different now. The season is different now. The Rockets are different now. The time for caution and trepidation is over. No more golf claps and hand-wringing. It doesn’t matter if you love Houston or hate Dwight Howard’s team. The time has come. It’s time to buy in on this Rockets team. It’s time to treat them like a real contender.

It’s time for the people of Houston to come to every game and completely lose their minds. It’s time for the commentariat to expect the Rockets to win against lesser opponents. It’s time for everyone to get on board with the place the players are already at. The standards and expectations have changed in the last month, and they know that they have to act like a real threat to win it all. Now you have to act like they are, too.

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The Rockets Daily – March 10, 2014

Not much news this weekend besides last night’s amazing game, so we’re going with an all-Twitter Daily today.

I know it’s cliche, but anytime you’re on a list with just Michael Jordan, you had a good night. (How did Allen Iverson never do this?)  No one will ever confuse Harden for Andre Iguodala, but his early-season lapses seem to be a thing of the past.  He still isn’t fighting over every pick-and-roll and he ball-watches some, but he’s at least playing hard on both ends of the court.  Maybe Harden overestimated what it was like to have Dwight Howard cleaning up the rim early on; but whatever it was, he has been much more locked-in on defense lately and has always been a threat to pick off a few passes.

You never want to see the refs influence a game the way they did last night, but after the raw deal Houston was getting in the first half, it’s very difficult to feel sorry for Portland’s late-game plight.  Not to mention, the no-call in the backcourt right before Patrick Beverley’s desperation heave at the end of regulation should have given the Rockets two free throws to win it.   Read More »

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Houston Rockets 118, Portland Trailblazers 113: Is this a team of destiny?

Houston amazingly, was in the game in the last minute.  After losing the first three quarters by a combined 12 points, the Rockets woke up.  It took Houston three quarters to recharge emotionally from their game against the Pacers two nights ago.  For the first three quarters, Portland won every contested free ball, they were quicker to the boards (POR 56 HOU 48) and fate seemed destined in the Blazers’ favor. But, this is the NBA, so the Rockets had the ball with 11 seconds left and a chance to tie.

Jeremy Lin barely beat the five second inbound rule, and found Harden in the corner for a three.  Harden hits nothing but net, giving Harden 17 for the quarter.  Tie game.  Portland had the ball with 8 seconds left and they threw an inbound pass that Lin tipped.  With Houston out of timeouts, they had to rush upcourt and Beverley took an awkward three point, one-handed runner from the top of the key, that bounced off the iron twice before falling out.

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Portland Trail Blazers @ Houston Rockets 3/9/14: feat. Joe Swide of Portland Roundball Society

Teams: Portland Trail Blazers (42-20) @ Houston Rockets (43-19)
Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
Venue: Toyota Center, Houston TX
Television: CSN Houston


  • This will be the final meeting between Houston and Portland in the regular season.  The Rockets are 2-1 against the Blazers in the season series so far, and a win for Houston would lockup the tiebreaker with Portland for playoff seeding.
  • Four of the five Portland starters have been in the lineup for every game so far this season, and LaMarcus Aldridge has missed only five games.  Meanwhile, Dwight Howard is the sole Rocket to have started every game for Houston, with no other starter missing less than Chandler Parsons’ six.
  • What is the opposite of kryptonite?   Whatever it is, the Blazers have it.  More than any other team in the league, Dwight Howard has feasted on Portland this season: 28.3 ppg on 66%FG and 70%FT, with 14 rpg                  (4.3 o.rpg), 2 apg, 1.3 bpg, 1 spg.
  • Although, in the last two games against Houston, LaMarcus Aldridge has also been a beast: 29 ppg, 22.5 rpg (6.5 o.rpg), 2.5 apg, 2 spg and 1.5 bpg.  Would someone, I don’t know, consider a box-out on the big fella?

Insider’s View – Q&A with Joe Swide of Portland Roundball Society. Read More »

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