Rockets 107, Grizzlies 94

2010 March 18
by rahat huq

Aaron Brooks was scorching last night, going 11-14 from the field, 7-7 from 3, to lead the Rockets with 31.  Eddie Winslow carried the Grizzlies with 30, giving Chuck Hayes all he could handle.

Random Musings:

  • The box score shows Hasheem Thabeet as having only 4 blocks, but it seemed as if he had 10.  The big man was everywhere, establishing his presence from the very start.  I’m not ready to don him the next Dikembe Mutombo quite yet, but I definitely feel he will be an impact player in this league, at least at some point in the future.  The sooner we erase this stigma associated with the D-league, the sooner more organizations can glean benefit from its existence.
  • Aaron Brooks did anything he wanted last night and this backcourt is beyond lethal, with Kevin Martin chipping in just 18.  I’ll go into this in greater detail in a later post, but what makes these two so dangerous is that they’re essentially the same player (with some key distinctions, of course, chief among them being Kevin’s ability to draw fouls).  We’re basically playing two catch-and-shoot shooting guards in tandem and they’re killing people, creating off the dribble and then finding each other for the spot up.
  • Rudy Gay was held to 14 points on 6-17 shooting while OJ Mayo scored just 4 points on 1-6 from the field.  Trevor Ariza had 7 points on 2-7 from the field; we already mentioned Brooks and Martin.  Which team’s perimeter trio would you prefer, going forward?  I would undoubtedly choose ours.  Conley, by all accounts, is horrible, while Ariza has looked salvageable, now playing very nicely in the same role that helped the Lakers to the title last year.  What about duos?  Mayo is an absolute stud, but despite their big-name lottery credentials, are he and Gay better than Brooks and Martin?  I don’t think so, in fact I would without a doubt choose our duo over theirs, but I wonder how much of that is my bias.  It would be an interesting question to pose to the generalists.
  • Luis Scola rolled along with 20 points and 7 boards, a down-game in comparison to what we have become accustomed.  Not many more thoughts on this.  I still would upgrade if possible.  As a complementary piece, it doesn’t get better than Scola (hell, if the Cavs had had Scola out there rolling to the hoop last season when seemingly noone but Lebron or Delonte West could buy a basket, they would have beat the Magic).  Still, to beat the Lakers, we need a hub.  Yao is not a hub.
  • Jordan Hill continued to impress with a career high 9 rebounds.
  • With Lowry back, Ariza playing a more natural role, Jordan Hill on the boards, Brooks/Martin gunning, and Scola running the floor, this team is just a joy to watch.  It’s amusing that shortly after the trade, as the team took a nosedive in the standings, some pointed the finger at Morey, short-sightedly claiming they had been vindicated in their criticism of the deal.  I said we were losing because we did not have Lowry.  On that front, it looks like I was right.  I’m not one to toot my own horn – the point is that Daryl Morey is usually right; the team struggled because of injuries beyond its control, not because Martin was somehow a bad fit.  Martin and Brooks are frightening together and the team hasn’t missed a beat up front.
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  • Don Mynack
    Hasheem Thabeet has seems to have no skills other than blocking shots and causing trouble in the lane...he needs to be in the D-League working on some kind of offensive move, any move, really. He's like the anti-Scola - no moves, all-defense.
  • Buzzy
    Why would we want to trade away Battier???

    With Scola, we are not getting Bosh there is no chance, we can't afford him unless it's a sign and trade, which hurts our core. Sure if Morey can get Bosh to upgrade then he will but it's not feasible . Besides Scola is worth every penny and should not be asking for much in the summer (6 mill). It's only if someone else offers him a big offer sheet then we have to choose....

    Anderson is a great back up for Yao, he's cheap with a shooting touch and actually has skills (unlike every other C in the League who is over paid and crappy at what they do)

    Remember we don't have much wiggle room with the Cap coming down so don't expect too much from Morey, maybe a 3RD pg via MLE or draft and possibly a third stringPF/C if we don't pick up Chuckwagons option...
    But we really need to rid ourselves of Armstrong's contract over the summer, hopefully some needs a backup C bad!!!!!
  • Rocket Fan in Santa Barbara

    Where do you see Chuck Hayes fitting in next year? Like most Rox fans, I love Chuck, but he's playing less than 20 minutes a game now and with Yao coming back, that's going to decline. Given he is a free agent, how much to the Rockets pay to keep him? Is he even worth the roster spot?Assuming we sign Scola and Lowry, we'll have only one spot open (now occupied by Hilton Armstrong), plus two draft choices coming on board.
  • rahat_huq
    IIRC feigen mentioned renegotiating with hayes for a lower salary as being a possibility. but you would have to think he could get more from someone else after the year he has had.
  • Anonymous
    Is it just me or does Jordan Hill have horrible hands? It seems like he only catches 1 out of 4 passes.
  • Rockets 107, Grizzlies 94 | Red94 | essays and musings on the nba ...: Aaron Brooks was scorching last night, goin...</span>
  • Alituro
    A team almost devoid of thuggishness is something I've loved about the Rockets this year. It really stood out against Denver. Maybe y'all are on to something having second thoughts anout upgrading Scola.
  • luislandry
    Well this should mean that you're sold on the team + Yao being a title contender. I'm not sure...
  • Alituro
    Not completely, although I know we'd be close. Just saying I'd rather have our current team rather than one with a makeup like the Nuggets. I wouldn't upgrade Scola for the sake of another headcase or prima donna that thinks he's entitled to a certain amount of touches and minutes each game. Nor someone who has no love for fans or throws teammates under the bus. I want a team, not a collection of showboaters. We have a team now and I'm happy with it. (for next season)
  • bob schmidt
    Assuming that Yao returns and can play anywhere near his prior level, I would only like to see a possible upgrade to Andersen behind Yao, and a solid back-up to Brooks and Lowry. One possible area apart from those two might be alernatives to Battier and Hayes. They are both great teammates from a chemistry viewpoint, but represent an area that could be one for improvement for the future. Maybe I wish that Battier would take a salary reduction and become a player/coach. why not dream a little?
  • rahat_huq
    i can't see battier back next year.
  • physicsgeekandrocketsfan
    If having a 20/7 night is considered 'down-game', I really don't think we will gain much with an upgrade. Skills and abilities aside, Scola has the ideal personality for a team player. Bosh bashed his team in front of the press...
  • bob schmidt
    Plus, he did not acknowledge the standing "o" from the crowd for his record 10,000 th point. Not exactly a class act when you think about it...........
  • luislandry
    I'm sure Memphis wishes they could have Lowry back instead of Conley. I'd pick Kyle over a number of starting PGs in the league. Obviously his lack of shooting ability keeps him from taking over games, but at least he's a decent enough free throw shooter. Hopefully he gets focused on his most glaring weakness in the offseason.
  • rahat_huq
    if i'm not mistaken, they even traded lowry (despite him outperforming conley) to save face on the conley decision with the 4th pick.
  • luislandry
    Frankly we'd still be making fun of them if Zach Randolph didn't work out so well. Obviously it's been beaten to death, but they could have had Tyreke as the PG...or Ricky Rubio...
  • Mike B
    You are absolutely right about Lowry. If only we had him for those two losses to Sacramento and Washington (I think it was them, anyway).

    Ariza still has his fair share of maddening moments, but you can tell he is deferring much more. I still cringe every time I see him try to take it to the basket while covered. Last night he also passed up an open three on one possession, only to jack up a contested one two seconds later. With Yao in the rotation next year, he should be at best the 4th option anytime he is on the court.

    As for upgrading Scola- I just don't know where to find that upgrade. If we have a shot at Bosh, great. But what if we don't? Maybe we could pry Al Jefferson from Minnesota, but that's just as much a longshot. I think we may just be better off waiting until the deadline next year to really evaluate where we are at. Another thought is trading up in the draft- I haven't studied too much on players coming in, but with all of our pieces we could probably jump into the top 7 or 8 pretty easily if there is a guy that can help immediately and fits.
  • Alituro
    I saw a mock draft on one of the main such sites that had us landing Cole Aldrich from Kansas. 6'11" guy 11pts, 10reb, 3.5 blks per game. I think that could help us. Oh and +50% from the field.
  • bob schmidt
    Brooks and Martin will only be better with Yao on the court with better spacing. That will, of course, sit down Hayes, which brings up a point in the short term. Should Andersen or Hill be starting at the 5 with Hayes coming off the bench?

    I love seeing Hill get the big minutes, he's earned them. But, Bud is suffering for playing time. His poor play last night was probably the result of trying too hard with his more limited game time. Maybe I'm wrong, he could be wearing down from the longer NBA season.

    You've sure been right about the importance of Lowry to the team rahat, when he plays up to his ability, Houston is a much better team......
  • Alituro
    On your last point, I have always agreed. Take last night for example, late in the first quarter, Brooks got a little out of rhythym with what he and Martin were doing. There was huge potential at that point for the Grizzlies to put the game out of reach. The dealbreaker was putting our bench in with Lowry as the floor general. Just subbing Lowry himself at that point would have allowed the Rockets to regained their composure and been able to reestablish the offensive momentum by getting the others involved. I've seen few other points with the court vision that Lowry has. Watching on TV from the birds-eye view of the entire floor, I am able to pick out weaknesses, mistakes and missed assignments on opposing teams defense, and no sooner do I spot it, Kyle is reacting to the same thing.

    The only troubling part about last nights game is Ricks tendency to keep a starter in for too many minutes when it's obvious he is ineffective. In this case it was Hayes. Randolph was eating him up in the post, and when he wasn't, he was forcing Hayes to chase him around a bit leaving the lane wide open for guys like Gay/Mayo or whoever to use their athletic advantage and take it to the rim. All of that stopped when Rick put the length and quickness that is Hill in, and even Andersen seemed to hold his own while out there. At that point it was obvious to me that a more even matchup of height in the post was more intimidating to Memphis than the Chuckster. Also with Hill and Andersen in, it made their post guys work a little harder on defense making them less fresh on offense. Regardless, Rick kept on keeping Chuck in. Nice outing for Hill with 9 and 9, I have high hopes for this youngster.
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