The Rockets Daily – April 22, 2013

Feel That In The Morning – The Rockets got beat so hard last night that anyone even slightly associated with the team woke up a little sore today. Marc Stein wrote a fine post-mortem for Daily Dime complete with follicular wordplay in the headline. Also, James Harden explains what happened:

“Kinda shell-shocked,” Harden said, summing up the Houston mood and adding that “there were definitely nerves” afflicting multiple Rockets.

Said Rockets coach Kevin McHale: “James, on this team, has to shoulder a ton of responsibility for us. … He’ll play better. We ask him to do an awful lot for us.”

What no one wants to say publicly is that neither side wanted this so soon in what represents a pretty monumental postseason for both franchises. Sources from both camps confess that this was a Round 1 matchup they were dreading, albeit for different reasons.

Tweet That – Daryl Morey: official spokesman of Rockets fans everywhere.

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After the break: Box Score Breakdown.

Box Score Breakdown – The eye test confirm’s last night’s game as a complete and unequivocal drubbing. However, there are a few notes from the numbers that stand out:

1. Variance – The single factor that could have worked in Houston’s favor went completely against them. The Rockets wisely shot 36 threes, but made only 8 of them. By contrast, OKC went 10-24 from behind the arc. OKC came out ahead in virtually every other category (rebounds, assists, turnovers), but the three ball made the difference between a solid win and a blowout.

2. Greg Smith – As Rahat has pointed out , Greg Smith was a -34. Even more alarming is that he managed that in only 17 minutes. Let that sink in. Part of this is due to the excellence of Omer Asik and the huge loss whenever he comes off the floor. Part of this is because Smith just wasn’t ready to play.

3. At the Rim – Amazingly, OKC only outscored Houston by four in both points in the paint and fast break points. See point no. 1.

ChessFrom Daily Thunder, as McHale tries to adjust for Game 2, Scott Brooks is already adjusting to the adjustments:

So knowing the Rockets intend to move a few things around and tinker, how that impact the Thunder’s preparations?

“That’s part of the game. You have to think ahead and what they do,” Scott Brooks said. “But most teams, you have a way that you play and you pretty much stay within those area but you make a tweak here and there. But we know they can play better.”

The Thunder have been through this before and while the dominance displayed over 48 minutes was impressive, you don’t get two wins for it. It only counts as one, and the good from Game 1 can be completely wiped clean with a poor showing in Game 2.

Days of Future Past– A couple trivia notes: Aaron Brooks is the only Rocket from last night to be in Houston’s last playoff game in 2009, and Derek Fisher is the only opponent to play in their last playoff game in 2009. Weird. Also, the Dream Shake points out how this year’s team can learn from the gritty 2009 squad.

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About the author: John Eby got on the Rockets bandwagon in 1994 and never got off. He is a public relations guy and recovering TV journalist living in South Carolina.

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