Rockets 120, Wolves 114 3OT

2010 January 14
by rahat huq


I was ready to head to bed last night before Corey Brewer nailed a ‘3′ from halfcourt to force overtime.

Aaron Brooks scored a career high 43 points while Chuck Hayes grabbed a career high 17 boards to lead the Rockets.  Al Jefferson led the Wolves with 26 points and 26 boards.

This one started out weird as the Rockets’ starters actually played well, the team leading 30-13 after the first.  However, Ryan Gomes went nuts in the 2nd quarter bringing the Wolves close when the Rockets’ subs entered.

Following the trajectory of Brewer’s 4th quarter heave was not a good feeling.  I’m not ashamed to admit that I was more disappointed by having to lose sleep than by the prospect of a loss.  This one took 3 overtimes to complete.

Random Musings:

  • Prior to tip-off, we are told that Joey Dorsey has been activated.  Bill and Clyde discuss his potential role on the team as an inside presence and shot-blocker.  Fair enough.  The greater significance is that, to date, Dorsey is the only blemish on Daryl Morey’s record.  And yes, times are good when you’re being expected to hit on 2nd round picks.
  • Weird comment by Clyde in the 1st: “Trevor Ariza is leading the Rockets in minutes per game and he never complains, he just gets it done on a nightly basis.”  Someone else said something like this too, if I recall correctly.  Huh?  Why would he complain?  He’s 24 years old, has never played big minutes, and allegedly signed here to play big minutes.  It’s not like he’s logging 47mpg.  Now from a coaching perspective, sure, Rick probably doesn’t want his guys to wear down, but as far as Trevor, I seriously doubt he’s upset about playing 38 minutes a night..
  • 3:31 left in the 2nd, Ariza drives baseline left, is cut off, picks up his dribble, turns back around right and jacks up one of the uglier shots I have seen all year, somehow making it.  Clyde remarks, of course, “That was just a great individual move…Trevor can get his shot off against anyone.”
  • Late in the 1st, I was very excited to see that Oliver Miller had made his triumphant return to the league as he was always a personal favorite for immature reasons.  To my disappointment, the player was an imposter, Australian center Nathan Jawai.
  • Depressing moment in the 3rd when the Rockets’ broadcast pans to an interview with Steve Francis.  At only 32, I thought he looked closer to 45.  Steve had his many warts and probably wasn’t even very good at all.  But he played as hard as and cared about this team as much as any player in Rockets history.  The night this man was actually booed by a large portion of the crowd in his first game against the team [while with Orlando] stands as one of the few times I was embarrassed to be a Rockets fan.
  • Trevor gambled for a steal off the inbounds on a critical possession, almost coming up with it.  Is this really a smart play?  What are the odds of coming up with it?  Less than 50 percent?  That means you’re giving the defense a greater than 50% chance to take a completely uncontested shot against a scrambling 4 man defense.  On the other hand, is it really beneficial to rein in player instinct?  What if a player only gambles in such a situation when he himself feels there’s a significantly greater than 50% chance of getting the steal?  Then again, a player’s own perception of the probability of completing a task usually isn’t in line with the actual odds.  The bottom line is that I would much rather stay at home on such a critical possession.  I take a 99% chance of making the offense work over a 50% chance at a steal.
  • I was going to note that Carl Landry struggled yet again, but I see here that he somehow ended up with 16 points on 6-13 shooting.  He had some critical boards late in the game that really saved the team.  Times are good when Carl Landry scoring 16 points is remembered as ’struggling.’
  • Brooks went nuts in this one en route to his career high, scoring 11 points in a row at one point very late.  It’s become painfully clear by now that the Rockets go where Aaron Brooks’ right arm leads them.  In wins thus far this year, Brooks is shooting 48% from deep.  In losses, he’s shooting 33%.
  • Chuck Hayes had 10 points, 17 boards, 6 assists, 4 steals, and 2 blocks.  One of my favorite sights this year has been that of Chuck Hayes fouling out.  If memory serves, it happened one other time.  Other guys complain, contest the call, perhaps offer some obscenities;  Hayes looks like a guy who just let his whole family down.  Have I mentioned how much I love Chuck Hayes?

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  • Purvis Short
    I was unable to watch much of the game last night, but I saw the Ariza play at 3:31 in the 2nd, and, literally, my first thought was, "Rahat's going to note that one,." Then, I heard the worst announcer in professional sports citing it as a good play, pretty standard for Clyde. The dumbest play in basketball is driving into a trap/on the baseline/in the corner, and then picking up your dribble. That Trevor saved himself with an improbable make is irrelevant. At some point, he's got to quit doing that.
  • luislandry
    Since you mentioned the commentators, I need to point out like I kept doing on Dreamshake how irritating they were about the foul to give. They blamed the Rockets for not fouling with 12 seconds left before the Ellington 3-pointer to send it into a 3rd overtime, when it made no sense to as far as I was concerned.

    Down on Landry for missing clutch FTs, but up because I thought he stepped up and played good defense after Hayes fouled out.
  • Alituro
    I think Clyde does a great job as announcer. He's a hype-man for our team like Flavor Flav was for PE. I know Clyde didn't think it was a bright play, but he made the best of it. Really, do you expect our home team announcers to be critical of our team? No, that would be counterproductive to building and keeping a fan base. He puts things in the best light possible. It's true, Trevor rarely gets his shots blocked or tipped, he's always able to get the shot off, it's just that the shots are ugly and only a miracle would put them in, but I don't expect Clyde to harp on the latter point. In fact Clyde's one of my favorite announcers. Comments like " he pulled a Linda Ronstadt and Blue Bayou!" or last year when one team wasn't doubling Yao in the post and made a shot and Clyde says" It's like clubbing baby seals Bill"... Priceless! I love his little arsenal of quips. I cringe every time I hear Bullard say " Hey Bud, let's party!" however. All a matter of personal taste.
  • luislandry
    Unrelated, but since there was as lot of good basketball on yesterday, I just feel it's worthwhile to point out what was certainly one of the best plays of the year, Ginobli's save on a ball falling out of bounds that led to the game winning shot from Jefferson. Watch the game highlights...few players both have the constant hustle and the quickness to even THINK of diving for that ball.
  • rahat_huq
    I actually like Clyde a lot. No, he doesn't offer anything remotely feigning intelligent insight, but he's fairly entertaining and doesn't really interfere with the game much (unlike someone else.) I think the point though, on this particular instance, was that that was a horrible play. He doesn't need to be critical; just saying nothing would be more appropriate in that instance. Trevor's greatest problem is taking shots like those. You can't keep picking up your dribble and jacking up a contested fallaway and pretending its a good shot. A commentator's role is to analyze and assess the play. He's not doing his job if he's lauding a player for a bone headed play.
  • physicsgeekandrocketsfan
    Clyde is alright, but Calvin Murphy was outstanding. With the highest FT% of all time and he could criticize every missed FT! Clyde coached so in theory he should know a lot about basketball but I guess he prefers to just be a fan when hes commenting.
  • purvis short
    Totally agree that the role of a team's color guy is not to offer cynicism at every turn. At the end of the day, it's entertainment the team is selling, and building hype and supporting its players is just part of the deal. I get it. Bill Brown and Jim Deshaies nail the home town, yet interesting, combo: funny, insightful, interesting "from my playing days" recollections, and appropriate criticism when obvious.

    Clyde's penchant for the "all we need to do is score more than the other team" level of insight is tiresome. Even his insight as a former player is not that interesting, since he never really speaks of any details from his past.

    Ok, I feel better now that's off my chest. Carry on.
  • Suhas
    Chuck lovers should note that the wagon is getting some good press:
  • bob schmidt
    Strange happenings in this game:

    1. With 15 extra minutes of game time, fewer minutes for the 2nd rotation, only 6 minutes for Bud.
    2. Twelve missed free throws, game should not have reached overtime.
    3. Was winning this game so important to risk exhaustion and/or injury on 1st unit?

    Did Adelman have a reason to keep Scola's minutes reasonable, and Bud's low? Am I smelling the odor of possible trade pieces being protected while a deal is worked? Just wondering because the game substitutions seemed really strange when you think about it..........
  • rahat_huq
    I'm wondering if perhaps it was a case of just the ankle bothering Bud. Really hope he's not traded, but he's an extremely attractive piece.
  • thirdcoastborn
    It seems like we jump out on teams early and by halftime they catch up. Gomes turned the game around and we dropped our intensity. David Andersen also played bad early.But we won, so we need to start a little streak. Yea Rahat their backup center was huge but i was thinking how they have three centers and we need one. Calvin Murphy did a great job and Bill has been doing it forever.
  • Walt44
    "Dorsey is the only blemish on Daryl Morey’s record."


    Ariza is a big mistake so far.

    8th worst eFG% among the 113 players over 1000 minutes so far this season. Second worst TS% in that group. $7 million now and a long-term deal to a guy at PER12 only because of a high usage? About as bad as it could be for guy recruited mostly to be a shooter /scorer.
  • Snoopy2006
    It's funny to read about that Ariza gamble. I didn't see the game, but from what you describe, it sounds exactly like the type of play Ariza was revered for last year in the WCF against Denver - the two late-game steals he had, preventing the Nuggets from even getting off final shots. Ariza was so lauded for those plays that I guarantee he'll gamble wherever he sees the chance, crucial juncture be damned.

    Personally, Rahat, I agree with you. I much prefer a stay-at-home, solid defense than a flashy style that gambles. But this, for better or worse, is what Ariza brings to the table. His individual D has come a long way, but when he first began his run with the Lakers, it was his help D that got him playing time. And he spent more than a season learning from the ultimate Gambler on defense, Kobe. Both play the passing lanes (Ariza moreso) and end up with the flashy breakaway dunks, but they also often leave their teams scrambling to cover the hole they've left behind.

    It's an interesting debate, gambling styles of D vs. fundamental positional D. Gambling is one of those things where you sit on the couch screaming "No! No!...Yes!" when it actually works. I think the ultimate defenders just have that innate 6th sense of when to play the passing lane and when to hold back. Pippen (Bulls version) comes to mind in that regard.
  • rahat_huq
    snoopy - i was thinking exactly of those two plays the other night

    walt - i still think it was a good signing for reasons ill outline in a separate post
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