Starting from today, the TrueHoop Network will be providing in-game and post-game coverage on ESPN.com. Follow the @DimeUpdate, @DimeAlert, and @DimeSmash Twitter accounts for in-game updates from across the league. After the Rockets game tonight, and after each game, you’ll be able to find a quick recap on ESPN.com written by yours truly.
The New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers have contacted the Houston Rockets about acquiring Jonny Flynn, according to league sources.
No deal is imminent with either team, but both clubs are in desperate need of a point guard and have Flynn on their radar.
The Knicks have shown the most interest, sources say, and discussed a possible deal involving Renaldo Balkman and Mike Bibby. The Rockets were not interested.
This was pretty surprising as Flynn is one of the worst players I’ve ever had the misfortune of seeing in red and white. I wouldn’t take back Bibby–or anyone with future salary obligations–but if the Rockets could somehow bring back a second round draft pick from a deal like this, you’d have to count your blessings.
It’s also interesting that Flynn actually has value and teams interested. If the Rockets can make a deal, it would make that Motiejunas trade look even better, in hindsight. This sort of shows the value of taking risks on former busts. While it may not work out for you, there’s a chance they retain value and can be passed onto a different buyer hoping to make it work in new surroundings.
I’ve mentioned several times over the course of this season, the best of Kyle Lowry’s career, that he seemed to be sporting some new and improved handles. Whereas in the past, he’d stick to orthodox north-south dribble movements (like the stuff you saw in the 70’s and 80’s), he’s really added some flavor in 2012. I noted many examples of this last night and decided to go back in and compile them. I found the exact instances of the plays using SynergySports.
If you haven’t yet seen it, Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves stepped on Luis Scola’s face tonight. The play was clearly intentional from any angle and surprising for a guy like Love; but stuff happens in the heat of the battle when emotions are running high. It looked to me like Love got his foot tangled on Scola on the way down and instead of carefully disloding, thought “eh, what the hell? While my foot’s down here, I might as well follow-through and stomp this guy’s face.”
Luis Scola, PF36 MIN | 10-18 FG | 4-4 FT | 8 REB | 2 AST | 24 PTS | -7Scola! Where have you been all this season?!!! This was the first game in 13 that he scored more than 20. Maybe a size 15 to the face will be a sort of brutal wake up call?
Chandler Parsons, F33 MIN | 5-14 FG | 0-2 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 11 PTS | -8Parsons didn’t shoot well and again missed a pair of significant 4th quarter free throws, but he was still active in the passing lanes and on the boards.
Samuel Dalembert, C20 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 4 PTS | -9Where was the Bear tonight? Hibernating? Napping by a lake? Chasing squirrels? Kevin McHale might be the one to ask. In a game in which the Rockets were out-rebounded 48 to 37 and the team’s leading carom-grabber only played 20 minutes, this might very well have been a relevant question.
Kevin Martin, SG31 MIN | 1-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 2 PTS | 0This was a miserable game for Kevin Martin. He had good looks and took them, but they just didn’t fall. You’ll get ‘em next time, my skinny, weird-leaning friend.
Kyle Lowry, PG44 MIN | 8-16 FG | 7-8 FT | 2 REB | 11 AST | 24 PTS | -7In the second half of this one, Kyle began looking for his shot for the first time in what feels like months. A welcome sight, even in a loss.
Patrick Patterson, PF26 MIN | 7-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 14 PTS | +4Patterson was a significant bright spot on offense all night. In a game in which the Rockets shot 42% as a team, his buttery jumper was a welcome, if ultimately fruitless sight.
Two Things We Saw
The Rockets looked listless, at times even afraid of the ball on offense, for the entire first half and half of the third quarter when, inexplicably, Kevin Love stepped on Scola’s face. Luis was incensed, and his mouth looked even more swollen and misshapen than usual. I’m not sure if he or McHale said something to the rest of the team, but they immediately started forcing turnovers and hitting contested lay-ups, eventually cutting Minnesota’s lead to three late in the 4th before Pekovic learned how to hit free throws, Kevin Love drained a tough three and Kevin Martin continued to miss from everywhere. Someone had to win this game. As it turned out it was the Wolves.
Minnesota shot 58% in the first half but only 21% in the second half. The Wolves didn’t score for the first five minutes of the 4th quarter, but finished the period with 19. It seems somewhat dubious to attribute this kind of wild inconsistency to the Rockets’ defense, but watching the game it seemed that Houston’s defensive effort was as mercurial as Minnesota’s offensive focus.