Photo via askal bosch on Flickr
Despite Michael’s understandably dour take on things, Tuesday’s loss to the Los Angeles Lakers had to bring smiles to Rockets fans, at least for three quarters. Regardless of the not-so-sudden realization that the Rockets, along with almost every NBA team, have no answer for a skilled 7-footer with length and strength to spare or that fella named Kobe Bryant, Houston embroiled itself in a very even-footed struggle with a team still capable of dismembering squads that have no business sharing a court with it. Some of the Lakers’ greatest weaknesses remain some of Houston’s best attributes: dominant point guard, depth, perimeter shooting; that might give any viewer pause that wants to credit the Rockets too much for their ability to hang with the former champs, but that’s not what those unadorned in Rocket red got out of this. They just got to watch one helluva game. [read more…]
Tuesday, 9:30PM CST @ Staples Center
Thread for in-game discussion.
We are going to try something new tonight for this huge matchup: a Twitter chat. Just add the hashtag #Red94 to your Tweets during the game, and the entire community will be able to see them, when searched.
I’ve never run one of these before, so if anyone has any tips or recommendations, let me know. We’re looking forward to seeing how this goes.
EDIT: It got too confusing. Scrap the Twitter chat for now. Just join us in the comments.
The gist: With two days to catch their breath, the Rockets go to Hollywood and take on a Lakers squad gasping for air after a 99-90 loss to the Nuggets. Kobe Bryant is looking forward to shrugging off a forgettable night where he went 6/28 (21.4%).
Key matchup: Luis Scola vs Pau Gasol
The “other” cogs of the failed Chris Paul trade will go out to one-up each other. While their offense is at par from previous seasons, both players have yet to fully assert themselves on the boards, Scola grabbing a shade below six rebounds a game (5.8) and Gasol less than his usual double-digit norms (8.7).
X-factor: Kyle Lowry
Coming off 18 assists and that sensational block on Jannero Pargo, Lowry, like Bryant, is trying to put a bad shooting game behind him. Fronted by Derek Fisher and Steve Blake, Lowry should outperform both playmakers but to do so, he must not give up the ball too much. He went for a combined 10 turnovers in the past two games.
Code Red: Andrew Bynum has been a beast on the glass, grabbing an average of 14.5 rebounds in his two games since his reinstatement. If Jordan Hill and Samuel Dalembert do not plant their feet and establish position, they will be in for a long night giving the Lakers more possessions and second chance points.
The NBA season is still young, barely walking, but like a toddler’s first check-up, some conclusions can already be drawn. The Miami Heat look like the rocket-fueled, jet pack wearing demolition robots we all thought they would be last season. The Mavs look like the reincarnation of the 2007 Heat. Ricky Rubio looks like he might actually earn some of the hype that has followed him halfway across the world, and Kyle Lowry looks like the truth.
Over his first four games, Houston’s baby-faced wonder is averaging 13 points, 11 assists, 6 rebounds, and 2.5 steals. He is leading the league in assists, leading all point-guards in rebounds, and registering a 25.77 PER. While there’s only been an NBA for a week and these numbers represent a miniscule fraction (6%) of the total games to be crammed into this abbreviated season, I see no reason to view this as an aberration.