The Rockets Daily – December 27, 2013

The Best Things In Life Are Free – James Harden set a new record last night, and it’s the most James Harden-y record he could possibly set. According to ESPN Stats & Info, his 27 points were the most ever by a player who made two or fewer field goals. Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly, and the Beard’s gotta shoot free throws.

Yeah, About That – Zach Randolf was a little unhappy about how that all went down. He was given a technical for barking at the refs over Harden’s trail to the line, and after the game, he said:

“It was the refs tonight. Eight against five. The game in the second half, a man was shooting free throws every time. We were out there playing hard, and they were dictating the game. It can’t be like that. We are out there playing, too.

As I wrote in a comment thread last night, I feel like Harden earned just about every free throw. Unlike some of his greatest foul-drawing predecessors–Kobe, Dirk, and even aging MJ–Harden seldom draws ticky-tack fouls on fadeaways, which are the ultimate “superstar” calls. He beats his man off the dribble and thrusts the ball forward as he gathers it. The result is usually that his man reaches for the ball from behind and grabs his arm, or the helper tries to slap the ball away and gets all arm. Basically, he begs defenders to abandon “verticality” and start swinging, and once that happens, whistles blow.

Occasionally, Harden gets the Kobe treatment: refs just wait to see if he missed the shot, then blow a whistle. Last night they made calls as soon as there was contact. Also, on a night when your opponent’s best player hits the bench halfway through the third quarter with five fouls, you might want to think twice before criticizing the officials, Z-Bo.

Welcome Back – It’s been a few days since this news broke, but Gersson Rosas is back with the Houston Rockets as executive vice president of scouting and player personnel. Rosas, as you may recall, was hired as the GM of the Mavs before abruptly resigning after just three months on the job. According to CBS Sports, Rosas’ attempts to install his plans for the team in Dallas hit strong resistance. As Rosas told the Houston Chronicle, his heart is in Houston:

“At the end of the day, they know where my heart is and they know that I’m committed to this organization, so the opportunity to come back is special.

“Being a guy who’s grown up in Houston and being around in the championship years , that was my passion to bring a championship team back. It’s going to take time and it’s going to take a lot of effort, but being in a position to impact it at that level is very special to me.”

Injuries– Aaron Brooks twisted his ankle during the game against the Grizzlies, and headed to the locker room. For all the world it looked like cosmic forces were conspiring to make sure that Isaiah Canaan got his moment in the sun. But Brooks returned to the bench ready to play by the end of the night. Canaan seems like a good guy and I hope he has a good career, but let’s be clear: if he sees the court this season, that is not a good sign for the team.

All-StarsAccording to the latest All-Star voting returns, Dwight Howard is still on pace to be a frontcourt starter in the West. Lin and Harden come in 4th and 5th in guard votes in the West behind Kobe, Chris Paul and Steph Curry. Just a reminder, the top three frontcourt players and top two guards in the voting become starters, while the rest of the teams are selected by coaches.

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