Some more thoughts on the Game 3 victory

  • Thursday’s game illustrated why I was so despondent after the Motiejunas trade, prior to its nullification by Detroit.  Motiejunas will by no means ever be a star player, but the quality contributions he made in Game 3 were the sort of production a team needs from its role players if intending to compete for a title.  He spread the floor, he worked inside, and most importantly, he defended.  I wondered back at the deadline, weren’t players like this the type you wanted to add?  But despite the breakout, it appears Morey, having access I do not to the Lithuanian’s medical records, made the correct gamble initially.  Until Thursday, D-Mo looked bad for most of the year, only adding to the doubts concerning his health.  And his cap hold would likely need to be off the books if Houston’s master-plan of possessing two max-slots is to come to fruition.  I can get behind that plan, if it means Kevin Durant is coming to town.  But if it fails, which is the likely scenario, it would be difficult to part ways with a young player the type of whom the team needs to be adding to its core, not subtracting; another star-chasing casualty.

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in uncategorized

I have no idea what just happened.

The Golden State Warriors just kept chipping away at what had once been a 17-point Houston Rockets lead, and had even surged to take a one-point lead with less than a minute left. The Rockets got the lead, and just needed to hold on the ball. Then they nearly lost the ball once, failed to inbound the ball twice, and lobbed a bizarre pass to Michael Beasley which the Warriors easily picked off. Ian Clark raced down the court, got a layup, and the game seemed over.

Then James Harden took a shot straight out of Jordan’s 1998 playbook to bring the score to 97 in just ten seconds. And Steve Kerr’s response, with 3 seconds left, was to give the ball to Draymond Green about 35 feet away from the court. Even if Green hadn’t dribbled it off of his foot, I struggle to figure out what Kerr was planning with this.

But Green did dribble the ball off his foot, and so the Rockets survive for another game. And while this means that Stephen Curry will probably return in Game 4 to bury the Rockets behind an artillery barrage of three-pointers, it was still a pretty nice win.

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in game coverage

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The one thing that has amused me about this season is how much NBA fans and analysts still hate the Houston Rockets even while this team continues to embarrass themselves.

Only the Los Angeles Clippers attract even remotely the same amount of hate over social media, and at least they’re a good team. But even as the Rockets spiral into irrelevance, there is still plenty of outright glee over how they are playing, especially after losing to the Golden State Warriors without Steph Curry. And this playoff “run”, which was supposed to spare the Rockets the embarrassment of falling to the lottery, is just destroying their credibility even more like Rahat said.

But while James Harden and Dwight Howard are hated for various reasons, neither of them have embraced the hatred like a proper heel might. But not Patrick Beverley. Beverley is the kind of guy who will straight up challenge the NBA’s golden child, even if it did not necessarily end well for him in Game 1, and led to the Golden State crowd still lustily booing him throughout Game 2.

And I like that about Beverley. In a season where the Rockets have shown no fire and questions have been raised about James Harden’s leadership, the question should instead be why the other Rockets have not followed Beverley’s example.

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in columns

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The bad news is that the Houston Rockets still couldn’t find a way to put it together enough to win a game in which the Golden State Warriors sat their MVP in Stephen Curry. The good news is that a sweep means the Rockets get to end their season swiftly and mercifully on their home floor. The series now moves to Houston where a lovely apocalyptic flood awaits a team who are doing their best to be an even more miserable impact on the city. The city of Houston is a good place full of good people, and doesn’t deserve any of this, not the horrible embarrassment that is the Rockets, not the scorn of a nation of basketball fans, and especially not a life-threatening weather situation, which is a real and horrible thing that’s infinitely more important than basketball. We’re here to discuss this game, however, so at least we can have some scant perspective as we ready ourselves for the end of this basketball season. This is horrible, but lives aren’t at stake. It’s just a game, as miserable as it may be. Just bring it home, and let’s hold this team’s hand at the end of the line.

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in game coverage

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Please note this post was written on April 10, 2016.

I wrote back in July that the second biggest key to Houston’s season would be keeping Dwight Howard healthy and fresh through a maintenance plan.  At the time of writing, Howard has appeared in 68 of Houston’s 79 games, averaging 32.3 minutes per contest.  The team sits at 38-41.  It appears availability was not the determinative factor on Howard.

Houston went 29-12 with Howard in the lineup last season.  Without him, they were 27-14.  This year, with Howard, they’ve gone 31-37.  Without him, the team is 7-4.

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in essays

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