Thoughts on Mavs – Rockets

2009 December 19
by rahat huq
  • 6:50 left in the 1st – McGrady makes a nice pass but didn’t seem to have much of a burst in his step.
  • 6:20 left in the 1st – McGrady blocks Dirk in the post.  Length.
  • 5:45 left in the 1st – McGrady drives right along the baseline and smoothly passes out to the three point line to an open Ariza.  Another pass no one else on this team could have made.  Lack of first step burst very evident on this play.
  • 4:50 left in the 1st – McGrady cuts off Marion in the lane leading to a turnover and dunk for Ariza.
  • 2:18 left in the 1st -  McGrady faces up Kidd at the elbow, dribbles to his right, and crosses back over to his left and puts up the jumper.  Misses.  Nice move.  Purely skill and ball handling, however, and not indicative of any physical ‘burst.’
  • 1:54 left in the 1st – McGrady nails a jumpshot right inside the 3pt line.
  • 1:28 left in the 1st – McGrady leads the fastbreak, slows down seeing no options, and wisely passes behind him to an open Landry.  Landry misses.
  • I will refrain from further comment on McGrady for now until I can devote a full post on the topic.
  • 11:35 – Lowry hits his 2nd ‘3’ of the game.
  • Landry scores on a fadeaway in the post.  He seems to be using a different move that he didn’t have earlier in the year.  In these past few games, from either block, I’ve seen him post up, faking to the outside, and then fading in towards the middle.  The initial fake is obviously buying him time through utilizing his quickness.  If I recall correctly, earlier in the year, he seemed to only be fading away from the basket, leading to many short misses and shot blocks.  I wonder if he worked on something with Sikma.  Of course, I could be imagining all of this, so I don’t know.  We would have to go back to the old game tapes.
  • With 9:28 remaining the 2nd, a bit of an embarrassing moment occurs as the broadcast displays the graphic for what I am assuming is a new addition called “Roundball Debates of Perfection.”  The question, apparently for debate, on this instance is “Who is the perfect Rockets center?”  The two answer choices are a) Hakeem Olajuwon and b) Yao Ming.  Now, I mean this with all due respect.  Seriously?  I was slightly disappointed in Bill and Bull for proceeding to dignify this daftness with a serious response.
  • Bill and Bull start off the 3rd quarter with a discussion about Trevor being the man on this team and adjusting to this role.  Readers will note that this has emerged as my greatest pet peeve of the season.  I just don’t understand where this is coming from.  Daryl Morey has never once even implied that Ariza was brought here to become ‘the man.’  In fact, he’s pretty much implied the opposite.  I would argue that much of the fanbase’s frustrations with Ariza stem from the broadcasting team’s perpetuation of this myth.
  • 7:39 left in the 4th – Lowry actually just takes the ball out of Terry’s hands.  Impressive because most steals come in the passing lanes.
  • A confrontation erupts with 6:53 remaining in the 4th between Jason Kidd and David Andersen.  To my relief, it was quickly broken up, as, if his inside play is any indication, David would have been mauled.
  • I jest.  I like Andersen a lot and think he can be a real piece to the puzzle.  His interior defense still leaves a lot to be desired, but as I have argued before, this isn’t too great of a concern.
  • With 6:03 remaining in the 4th, Kyle Lowry hits yet another spot up 3, straightaway, and I begin to regret abandoning my earlier project.  I stopped charting after a few games as it seemed that there simply would not be enough data to ever warrant any conclusions.
  • Tonight would have been the perfect opportunity for my “Tracy McGrady Closer Experiment” where he is inserted into the game for one final possession.  The team blew a big lead and so you avoid the ‘slap-in-the-face-by-putting-in-a-guy-for-one-play-when-we-just-worked-our-tails-off-to-get-here’ dynamic.  Of course, there’s the whole issue of him sitting on the bench for a good hour and getting cold which pretty much precludes this from ever being more than just a joke.
  • As overtime begins, Bull remarks that the Rockets were torching the zone earlier in the game but were shut down after the Mavericks reverted to man-to-man.  Ah, the irony, as I instantly begin reminiscing upon ‘The Steve Francis Glory Era.”  Anyone else recall Steve and Cuttino’s machismo regarding the zone after one of many losses to the Mavericks one year?  Good times.
  • With 2:33 remaining in overtime, Marion faces up and travels.  Has there ever been a more unskilled wing do more in basketball history?
  • Kyle Lowry had possibly his best game as a Rocket.  I have argued earlier that he already has all of the tools to be a top 15 point guard in this league.  But he absolutely has to develop his shooting at some point in the future.  It’s crippling his immense potential.  I really hope the team decides to hang on to him this summer despite what could be a fairly hefty price tag.
  • Final Note: Rob Mahoney eloquently writes, in Hardwood Paroxysm:

“It stands testament to just how good of a coach Rick Adelman is, and just how far pure effort can get you in the NBA. A limited roster of second round cast-offs and undrafted diamonds (or at least opals or something) int he rough is just 6.5 games behind the Los Angeles freaking Lakers. And all they’ve done to get there is everything they said they would based on everything they’ve always had. Daryl Morey simply waited as pundit after pundit (and blogger after blogger) penciled the Rockets into the lottery, biding his time until the scoreboard and the standings could sway the collective opinion in a way he never could.”

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  • Lars
    Good stuff as always Cabbage...

    I think Trevor can be a nice complimentary piece to this team but he needs to know where he is the most effecient and it is NOT taking threes. Notice last nights game he took far fewer, I believe the organization is pulling the leash here a bit. His next step in my eyes is to work on drawing fouls and hitting the freebies...

    I am really rooting for Tracy to become effective again, because without him we are not contenders and likely wont be for a while. Loved his D last night, but can't lie, I am waiting with baited breath for him to scream past his man and throw down a thunderous dunk. Will it happen? I dunno, but I am sure hoping, especially if his "I dont care about money" statements are true.

    This team does have me believing however. I predicted 39-42 wins in the offseason and Im up to 48-50 with a chance at the second round (crazy I know). As of now with favorable matchups, I could see us taking a series from Utah, Portland or SA. How sweet would a Utah defeat be?

    Loving both Lowry and Brooks, can't wait to see if thier development gets them more consistency. I point out Chris Paul had a ridiculous stat line last night but if you compare output from starter/backup our duo at PG (and PF) is just as competitive as any in the league.

    Looking forward to your next one, keep up the good fight!

  • rahat_huq
    Thanks for reading Lars. It does seem like the leash on Trevor has been shortened a bit.
  • Stephen
    Right now I'm watching McGrady and the best comparison that's coming to mind is Hedu Turkoglu.
    I think it's going to be some time-and a wide open path-before McGrady dunks in a game.
    I wouldn't be too suprised if McGrady ends up getting @ 24 minutes a game. I can easily see Rick settling on a rotation where McGradt starts 1,3Qs for 6-8min and then finishes last 5-6 min of 2,4Qs.
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