Rockets Daily: Wednesday, November 17th, 2010


Analysis and daily links can be found after the jump.

For the last two years or so, a common question asked about the team by major media outlets kept popping up anytime the Rockets were mentioned: who will come up big in the fourth quarter (or, who will take the last shot)? Though the team’s tried to promote from within like any good business, Aaron Brooks, Trevor Ariza and Kevin Martin all held the plastic crown in very recent history, all leaving something to be desired. Houston may have had its share of fantastic role players in the last few years, but it has clearly lacked that presence that strikes fear in an opposing defense’s heart come the clutch moments of a game, the kind of guy that can have entire defenses thrown at him and still find a way to make not only the right play, but the winning play. Basically, the Rockets could really use a Derrick Rose; sadly, Tuesday night at least, he played for the other team in red. The one that won.

Attributing losses to the “lack of a star” may seem oh so passé to those accustomed to watching All-Stars have their way with Houston late in games, but there really isn’t another direction in which I can point my finger other than that of Rose. Because of foul trouble, he missed the last half of a third quarter that the Rockets dominated, putting together an eight-point-lead after outscoring the Bulls by 16 in the third period; this team needs Rose (at least as the team puts its new-found identity on hold in preparation for Carlos Boozer’s arrival) as badly as any team in the league relies on its star, particularly for offense, and when Rose simply cannot come through, the team flops around and pokes at defenses instead of attacking them, leading to the kinds of possessions in the third that left Luol Deng bamboozled by Shane Battier’s post defense. Unlike the past, Rose shows up nightly these days, and on Tuesday, he brought his shiny new three-point shot with him. Rose’s talents appear limitless when defenders cannot go under screens to defend him, as his speed and power when barreling toward the bucket with reckless abandon are rivaled only by men with names like LeBron and Carmelo. With a jumper in the mix (Rose hit 4 of 5 from behind the arc last night, with all but one make taken in the fourth), defensing the Derrick Rose onslaught will not work without the kind of double-teaming that generally looks like bad defense on highlight clipshows as three-point shooters go to work with endless space in which to cock it back (cue Kyle Korver and his ridiculously efficient line of 10 points on 4 shots, 6 boards, 4 assists and 3 steals in 26 minutes of work). Blaming the Rockets for not being able to handle the 16 points poured in by Rose in the fourth seems as unfair and useless as blaming the victim of a crime for not better reacting to a situation; maybe the victim could have handled it a little better, but jeez, how could anyone have seen it coming?

So, high off the lead at home against a very solid team, the Rockets relented and were soundly demolished by the rollicking train that is Rose. There were other stories in this one (the insane points posted in such a slow game, especially considering the turnovers involved on both sides; another impressive turn for Brad Miller in lieu of the large man; Kyle Lowry looking outmatched… well, I guess that isn’t really a different story), but there was one that decided this game. That story was titled “Derrick Rose Goes Nova”, and the Rockets simply couldn’t rewrite it when it mattered.

Houston Rockets 92, Chicago Bulls 95

Box Score

By the Horns

On to the links…

  • Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle appears to be seeing stars just as much as I, at least after last night’s fourth quarter upheaval by Mr. Rose. Today, Justice made some interesting points about how Daryl Morey’s consistent, moderate success has left the Rockets in a perpetual state of mediocrity: “Morey has kept the Rockets competitive, and there probably are days he regrets it, because one John Wall can turn a franchise around… But the Rockets are short on talent, and in the NBA, talent always wins out. It’s a team that needs one more bright and shining light, the kind of player Tracy McGrady once was, the kind of player Yao once was. Sometimes, it’s better to be lucky than good. At the moment, the Rockets are neither.”
  • Why did Rick Adelman decide to try and foul the Bulls, Joakim Noah in specific, when down three in the closing seconds of last night’s contest? Sebastian Pruiti of NBA Playbook delves into the (misguided, in his opinion) choice of fouling or not in the last minutes of a nailbiter: “Now, I understand that with less time on the clock, the Bulls would probably have milked some clock, but you have to trust your defense here, get a stop, secure the rebound, and give yourself a chance to tie the game.”
  • Trey Kerby’s endless manlove for Brad Miller continued with yesterday’s Chronicle article touting Noah’s BFF-relationship with Miller; the story included Noah’s description of Miller as a “redneck”, the intimation that there were bets placed on last night’s actual game between the two besties and the secret to guarding Noah: make him chuckle.
  • A brilliant comic strip summing up last night’s affair.

in columns
  • Gmail

    My question is, “Does anyone think that Steve Nash could be traded for Tony Parker?”. The Spurs aren’t really in a position to compete for a title after next year, and they’ll still have Duncan and Ginobili on the books, so they’re not losing much flexibility.

  • DizzyDutch

    The Rockets needs a “closer” ASAP. Kevin Martin, however efficient and good he is, has been fading in the 4th quarter. You can’t have a disappearing act as your main go to guy. With Brooks in the line up, the problem is not as obvious because Brooks can create his own shot. KMart is not really a shot creator; he likes to move without the ball. Also with KMart and AB in the same backcourt, our defense is lacking to put it politely.

    Trade Idea: KMart, Shane/Bud, Jefferies ‘s expiring/Jordan Hill, plus NY’s 2 first round picks for Carmelo and JR Smith. Courtney Lee would start at the 2 to alleviate the problems with backcourt defense ( remember AB wasn’t as exposed last year with Ariza at the 2). Carmelo can address the go-to scorer problem and he can also help with our rebounding woes( he had 22 boards the other night). We still have plenty of front court depth and we can develop Patterson in the process.

  • Anonymous

    Can’t really remember a Rockets player as talented as K-Mart fade so badly when it matters. The man just completely disappears. We’re not even talking about struggling – he completely disappears.

    With that said, I don’t think that’s cause to trade him. Those 25ppg he gets you in the other quarters still helps put you in the position to have the game close to begin with. We just need someone who can put us over the top after that point.

  • DizzyDutch

    I’m not saying just trading KMart for chump change, I want him to be the basis of a deal for Melo, who is a true superstar. Melo brings size and toughness that we are lacking on this team other than Luis and Chuck. I hope that you agree with me that Melo for Martin +the pieces I mentioned above will upgrade the overall talent level.
    Besides, KMart is a a one dimensional player. He is a fantastic offensive player. However, his defense not only exposes himself but AB as well. With Lee starting alongside him, I don’t think AB’s deficiencies will be as noticeable.

  • “Rose hit 4 of 5 from behind the arc last night, all of which were taken in the fourth”

    IIRC Rose went 1-1 in the first quarter.

  • Bob Schmidt

    Yes, Derrick Rose played great last night. We can all praise him for his “clutchness.” Instead of thinking of combinations to swing big trades that will fix our team in one fell swoop, let’s consider something else.

    Last night’s game was winnable, even with Rose’s excellence. The performances by Lee, Hayes, Lowry, and Ish were painful to watch. I can’t remember our team looking so hopeless with the basketball, and unsure of what to do. We lost by 3 points, despite no production from the bench and questionable refereeing. As for Martin disappearing, his method of scoring simply doesn’t work for 4th quarters because officials won’t give him the calls late in the game and opponents adjust to his sneaky ways of scoring. Unless he is hot from long-range, his game is over by the 4th.

    Sure, I’d trade for Rose or someone like him. But, first I’d realize how poor Lowry and Lee performed last night. They both played way below the level of an average NBA player last night…

  • Anonymous

    You are absolutely correct. I will change that as soon as possible.

  • Anonymous

    Totally agree about the play of both Lowry and Lee. They didn’t exactly make Rose work too hard on defense and seemed a bit lost all night (especially Lee). Kyle, however, still can make good things happen when he drives headfirst into traffic. I’d like more Ish, though.

  • matt connell

    How ridiculous was the offensive foul call on Lowry that should have been at least an and one? I know you can’t point to single plays in the game, but goodness that was bad. Rose was still moving when he took the charge on Scola. The problem with our bench is they are all going in at the same time. And usually when you take our scorers out so Adelman is asking them to do things they aren’t accustomed to doing. Asking Lowry to guard Rose for 40 minutes and handle all of the ball handling duties is a little ridiculous especially considering the time he ha s missed this year. I’m going to point to Adelman as the reason we lost last night instead of the players. He needs to adjust his little offense to the personel we have on a nightly basis especially given the injury status of this team.

  • zen

    Houston had it’s own look-alikes before Korver/Kutcher comparisons. A young Robert Horry was a Will Smith look-alike and Carl Herrera (remember him?) bore a resemblance to actor Bill Duke (Predator, Commando, X-Men, etc).

  • Miles Durham

    Kmart only disappeared because they didn’t pass him the ball. His body language said it all after Hayes took the shot two possessions in a row. He was frustrated. How can we expect him to score without the ball?

  • DizzyDutch

    Granted that both Lowry and Lee had bad nights, but keep in mind that none of the starters other than Rose had a good night either. We were missing Yao/Bud/AB but Boozer was out for the Bulls.
    Anyways, my point is that the Bulls is a tier below Boston and Orlando. We need that elite player to come through in the 4th quarter instead of disappearing. We are nowhere near a championship contender as it is. like Rahat said, this mediocrity is killing me. A change must be made.

  • Suhas

    We’ll see more Ish tonight since Westbrook will put Lowry in foul trouble. Would be nice if Lowry could return the favor…

  • Hugo

    Before the start of the season, the hope was that Rockets would do well and Knicks would flop, and we could then get a high draft pick from the knicks. The way things are going, we could end up with Harrison Barnes without swapping picks with the Knicks, I can imagine Donnie Walsh laughing in his sleep

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