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@  YaoMan : (23 October 2015 - 04:49 PM) Zach Lowe seems to think the Rox are the biggest threat to GSW: http://grantland.com...-16-nba-season/
@  cointurtlemoose : (23 October 2015 - 04:36 PM) Hey if yall want a good podcast to listen to, find the Dunc'd On Basketball Podcast on Itunes, Rahat just did a Rockets preview with the host.
@  majik19 : (13 October 2015 - 09:09 PM) Apparently we claimed Arsalan Kazemi off waivers from the Hawks today... yet another undersized (6'7") power forward for Morey's cupboard.
@  Mario Peña : (10 October 2015 - 01:12 PM) If your part if the Red94 Fantasy Basketball League check the thread to vote for the date and time for the draft event. Thanks y'all!
@  jorgeaam : (07 October 2015 - 08:47 PM) Guys we need 1 more owner for the Red94 fantasy league, if interested please comment on the post in the fantasy basketball thread
@  slick shoes : (07 October 2015 - 06:50 PM) Kobe ranked one spot higher than Ariza? Is this based on legacy or...??
@  slick shoes : (07 October 2015 - 04:13 PM) It was hard to keep up with both the Astros and Rockets at the same time. Should be interesting on Thursday with the Texans and Astros on simultaneously.
@  Mario Peña : (07 October 2015 - 04:09 PM) It was fun to have the Rockets on last night! Right now I'm watching the Celtics versus Milan and Alessandro Gentile is impressive.
@  jorgeaam : (06 October 2015 - 07:47 PM) Well, thinking twice about it, I'd rather have him score less and have the team as a whole do better. Lawson should take a lot of his load off
@  jorgeaam : (06 October 2015 - 07:47 PM) Loving that, hope he hits 30 PPG this year
@  thejohnnygold : (06 October 2015 - 06:15 PM) Someone is feeling confident :) : LINK
@  jorgeaam : (06 October 2015 - 05:54 PM) 10 Teams done, will need 2 more
@  Mario Peña : (06 October 2015 - 02:35 PM) Alright guys, if anyone is interested in joining the Red94 fantasy basketball league we could use one more player to get us to 10 teams (or three to get us to 12 teams). Just check the thread in the Fantasy Basketball forum. Thanks!
@  thejohnnygold : (05 October 2015 - 06:23 PM) I use leaguepass here in Austin with no problems...
@  skip 2 my lou : (05 October 2015 - 03:14 PM) Hey fellas, I'm a rocket fan but I live in the heart of Dallas. Does anybody know if I buy NBA Leaguepass if it's too close to be subject to blackouts?
@  Losthief : (02 October 2015 - 02:24 AM) tks jg
@  thejohnnygold : (29 September 2015 - 05:16 AM) FYI, it was media day today. Interviews are up at NBA.com
@  slick shoes : (23 September 2015 - 06:37 PM) kind of late in the day but NBATV is broadcasting classis Rockets games all day today.
@  SadLakerFan : (16 September 2015 - 04:37 AM) Man, as a Laker fan, I'm learning how little you care about the off season when your team sucks. Anyway, a quick moment to remember Moses. Still remember watching the 81 team as a kid - losing record, NBA Finals. I would have cried w/joy if they could have beaten the Celtics.
@  jorgeaam : (15 September 2015 - 08:30 PM) http://bleacherrepor...ist-after-crash

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Houston Rockets 98, San Antonio Spurs 81: There is going to be a bloodbath on Saturday night


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#1 Red94

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    Posted 07 November 2014 - 02:12 PM

    New post: Houston Rockets 98, San Antonio Spurs 81: There is going to be a bloodbath on Saturday night
    By: Rahat Huq

    It would be easy to write this win off as yet another against an underwhelming opponent.  After all, these weren't the same San Antonio Spurs you watched on TV last June with both of the team's starting big men, and Manu Ginobili, held inactive.  But such dismissal would be overlooking of a critical point, perhaps not impressive to the larger NBA, but significant to those who have observed the Rockets over the years: last season, this would have been a close game, as would have some of the team's other victories.  They would have come out and sleepwalked through the first quarter, playing down to the competition.  Upon mini Spurs runs, Houston would have tried to outscore the opponent, rather than ramping up the intensity on defense as they did throughout last night.  Yes, the Houston Rockets may still have not proven to the world that they are among the league's core elite teams.  But this complete transformation is real.

    I've been routinely asking myself these past few days, what was the impetus for this sudden change?  Cultural changes usually entail a slow metamorphosis, in the context of team sports.  You see it happen over the course of entire seasons.  I don't know if I remember a team coming back the next offseason and vaunting to the top of the defensive rankings.  The most obvious factor is the replacement of Chandler Parsons with Trevor Ariza, with the latter content to exert his full efforts at the other end, whereas the former seemed--as we had been noting since his rookie season--to be saving himself for the offensive stats necessary for a big payday.  There is of course the re-hiring of T.R. Dunn, a member of the Rick Adelman staff that oversaw a Rockets defense which regularly finished in the top 10 in defensive rankings. There is Dwight Howard's health, with the big man more removed from the back surgery that takes longer from which to recover than the time he took off.  There is the time James Harden spent with Team USA, as its leader, under the tutelage of some of the best coaches in the sport, and the backlash and humiliation to which Harden has been subjected after poor efforts last season.  And maybe there was a paradigm shift up top, whereby management ran the same algorithms that spat back the decree to shoot only 3's, and got back a coherent gameplan to suffocate opponents.  Who knows which of the aforementioned was most significant, but it seems there was a perfect storm confluence of factors.  The Rockets seem to have bought in that they will only win from their efforts defensively, and winning is the greatest of self-fulfilling affirmations.  The more opponents they crush, the more guys like Harden will be convinced what they are doing is the way things have to be done.

    Dwight Howard finished the night with 32 points and 16 rebounds, most of which came through three quarters.  Predictably, he was the topic of conversation during the TNT halftime show, after posting 20 and 12 through the first 24 minutes of action.  Shaq was pleased, saying such dominance should be nightly, whereas Barkley stuck to his line that Howard was not a skilled offensive player, taking time to ridicule a clip played earlier in the show of Kevin McHale teaching Howard the basic fundamentals of post set-up.  Shaq seems to think that because Howard is bigger than everyone else, he should post numbers like he did during his career; Barkley said, as he has, that Howard "is just not the type of guy you can throw the ball down into."  While I hate to say this, I have to sort of agree with Charles (though, with some qualifications).

    First, a large quantity of Howard's points last night were off of lobs and other cleanup type opportunities.  That's how the Rockets need Howard to play and when Howard is at his very best.  But its not like he was killing the Spurs on the low block en route to his carnage.  (Interestingly, I noticed more Howard/Harden pick&rolls last night than I can remember in two seasons.  Not so interestingly, something good came out of almost all of these sorts of plays).

    Second, Howard has improved tremendously.  I mean leaps and bounds.  Anyone who claims Howard hasn't improved his post play hasn't been watching Rockets games.  He's doing off-handed running hooks, Hakeem spins, reverse pivots, everything.  He's pulled out the entire Olajuwon repertoire, short of just the Dreamshake itself.

    Third, the league has changed vastly since Barkley and Shaq's playing days, and that's the elephant in the room both of these greats have just either failed to even realize or simply refuse to acknowledge.  With the new rules allowing zone schemes, you can't just dump the ball into a big man and allow him to mow his defender down in space.  There's always help defenders waiting in annoying areas, taking away the pockets of space wherein which Hakeem himself would operate.  But still, guys like Al Jefferson are able to do work within these constraints.

    Fourth, as I've been discussing with several readers, even if it isn't optimal, the team has to keep feeding Howard in the post.  At the least, it allows the team to rest so that they can save their energy on the defensive end.

    The matter of Dwight's post play is too nuanced to just say that either "he sucks because he isn't scoring 28 a game" or "he sucks, period" as the studio guys have been doing.  But to close, what I find most striking, is the almost inverted nature of his abilities.  If you watch him closely, in concert with the McHale training clips, you realize that from his sessions with Olajuwon, Howard is approaching mastery at advanced technique.  Not many guys in the league can do an off-hand jump hook or spin baseline.  Paradoxically, where he struggles is with his body positioning before the catch.  You can count numerous possessions where Howard receives the ball way too far from the basket and has to dribble in himself because he hadn't established positioning prior to the catch.  His footwork before the move also leaves something to be desired.

    I wonder why this is?  One theory might be that he's top heavy.  While Howard has the broadest shoulders in the league, he doesn't seem to have the lower body strength the eye would expect.  He's able to bump guys out of the way when standing straight up, but can't mow them down while squatting.  I don't know, but Dwight Howard would take his game to a whole new level if he could develop mastery of these basics.  It' something I'll be keeping an eye on.


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    #2 Alituro

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      Posted 07 November 2014 - 03:55 PM

      One nice thing that I saw about Howard's post play that differs from previous is he is running the floor and establishing himself down low much earlier and is able to get himself in position to receive the entry pass once the ball is swung around. He used to trail the halfcourt plays a lot more. Screens are even more effective when pulling defenders from the low block, established early. Instead of on the back-end, after trailing the play , where his defender is already spaced in the zone and less likely to meet him from there up by the pick, not causing the moment of chaos the PnR is supposed to create. Once he is established down low, defenders don't let him leave their touch, and he is able to exert his dominance physically.


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      #3 marbony81110

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      Posted 07 November 2014 - 04:24 PM

      Howard's post play will improve with more touches. He won't be some post scoring savant, but he will be effective by at least collapsing the D and drawing fouls. What I would like to see from Howard are some kick outs from his post ups. What I have noticed is that once he gets the ball in the post he is going to shoot it 85% of the time. Back in his Orlando days he would kick it out a lot more. However, that just might not be apart of the Rockets' game plan. 

      The reason Dwight will have a hard time averaging something like 28 ppg is mainly because of his free throw shooting. Think about how many points Dwight leaves at the line. This will never happen, but if he could shoot at least 70% from the line he would average between 23-25 ppg easily.

      I am convinced that the Rockets D is legit. If that is the case, they will put a serious hurting on a lot of teams and we will be a seeing a lot of these double digit victories especially against the weaker teams. 

      It is still early in the season, but the game plan and execution are looking strong. McHale actually looks like he has a plan for the first time in years :lol:

      I'm excited for the game against Golden State. I hope Beverly and Jones are back. Beverly has done a good job with Curry and having Ariza guarding Thompson will be a huge bump for a team that has been fairly dominate against the Warriors the last couple of seasons. If Beverly is in, I am very confident that the Rockets will get the "W". If he is out, I am slightly confident that the Rockets will get the "W" :D because of the Dwight-factor.


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      #4 kdo

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        Posted 07 November 2014 - 04:55 PM

        For me, in a competition of any kind, the greatest respect you can give to your opponent is to play at your best.

        I didn't feel excited for this win. In fact, I feel disrespected by the Spurs.

        Many would dismiss it as Pops resting their players, making excuses for him, but I see it more than that, and it's rather donkey-in-a-hole-ish.

        Imagine playing against 4 year olds, so what if your efficiency is 80% or whatever, so what if you can dunk and dominate the post. So what, you only look good against a 4 year old.

        Exageration of course, but that's the feeling I got watching that game. To analyze anything out of this game is to give us a false sense of our abilities.
         

        True assessment of ability is how we perform under pressure. This, was merely a freebie.


        Edited by thejohnnygold, 07 November 2014 - 07:13 PM.

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        #5 txtdo1411

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        Posted 07 November 2014 - 07:03 PM

        For me, in a competition of any kind, the greatest respect you can give to your opponent is to play at your best.

        I didn't feel excited for this win. In fact, I feel disrespected by the Spurs.

        Many would dismiss it as Pops resting their players, making excuses for him, but I see it more than that, and it's rather donkey-in-a-holish.

        Imagine playing against 4 year olds, so what if your efficiency is 80% or whatever, so what if you can dunk and dominate the post. So what, you only look good against a 4 year old.

        Exageration of course, but that's the feeling I got watching that game. To analyze anything out of this game is to give us a false sense of our abilities.
         

        True assessment of ability is how we perform under pressure. This, was merely a freebie.

         

        Eh you are underselling last night by a long shot. To say it was a freebie is completely false. It is funny how the Spurs have everyone enamored with how deep they are, but say it's a freebie when we get a win with some of their players out. Spurs have the best depth in the league, we are supposed to have the worst. Spurs had 4 players out, we had 2 starters out. Knowing how "little depth" (being sarcastic here) we have, and how deep the Spurs are, along with how great Pop and their system is, how can you call this a freebie? 

         

        The real reason everyone is talking about how many players the Spurs had out is because it was an absolute blowout. If it would've been a competitive game, there would've been a completely different narrative. Instead, we came out and dominated every facet of the game. The Rockets aren't that good, right? There can't be any other reason we destroyed the almighty defending champion Spurs, other than them resting their players. 


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        #6 thejohnnygold

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        Posted 07 November 2014 - 07:16 PM

        I loved how ESPN titled it, "Rockets smash star-less Spurs".  Apparently, Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker are "role players".   :)


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        #7 cointurtlemoose

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          Posted 07 November 2014 - 07:17 PM

          The real reason everyone is talking about how many players the Spurs had out is because it was an absolute blowout. If it would've been a competitive game, there would've been a completely different narrative. Instead, we came out and dominated every facet of the game. The Rockets aren't that good, right? There can't be any other reason we destroyed the almighty defending champion Spurs, other than them resting their players. 

           

          Exactly. I agree to an extent kdo, but it was nothing close to a freebie. I do think Duncan's presence would've bothered Dwight more, and Spliiter being out was the real x-factor in this game. Baynes didn't have a chance.

           

          Our defense is what I was so pleased about, and I do wonder, like Rahat said, about the H/H ISOs providing opportunity to rest a tad on the other end. Our rotations were, for the most part, spot-on. Defensive decision making was spot on - one example, letting Diaw shoot 3s (he only hit one), but running people like Green and Kawhi off the line.

           

          On the other hand, they did shoot poorly, and some of those were wide-open looks. But many weren't, and overall, I think we did a good job of forcing them to take the shots we wanted them to take.


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          #8 thenit

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            Posted 07 November 2014 - 08:22 PM

            I love Howard and think he is the key to our success with Harden. However this love fest after one decent outing against 3rd string and 4th string bigs needs to be tempered. We all know that if given the right match up Howard can pound it physically just by outmuscling his opponent by pushing his opponent close to the rim and finish (ei last night, robin lopez, basically any undersized C). However once he plays a respectable big man he struggles in the post. I recalled last year 25% of his post ups ended up with a turnover.

             

            He looks better than last year physically and I agree that he should post up just to give the other players a short breather. But we shouldn't keep giving it to him unless the matchup is in our favour. I like that he hasn't forced it this year and love the selectiveness he has shown. He will be more important anchoring the D and keep doing what he has done and stop listening to Shaq.


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            #9 NorEastern

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              Posted 08 November 2014 - 12:14 AM

              By far and away the most important changes in the Rockets this season are the defensive intensity and the offensive movement of the ball. Since the defense has been discussed to death let me focus on the offense. Harden is basically out there with 4 spot up shooters. If Harden does not possess the rock, it is either on its way to the hoop or quickly passed off to a team mate. Such crisp ball movement is the goal of every single NBA coach. It just is rarely achieved. Even Harden pounding the rock this season brings an air of excitement to the arena. What fabulous drive to the hoop with a phenomenal pass to a wide open team mate or a high percentage basket is going to occur soon? Last season Lin and Parsons would pound the ball, and the results were seldom pretty. To me this looks like Spurs basketball, where the only sticky hands on the court are Tony Parker's. Somehow, someway the Rockets organization has changed course into the territory of beautiful basketball. The ball rockets around the exterior, and then a player comes open and the wide open shot goes up. The shot does not always fall, but playing high percentage basketball is always the goal. I am very very impressed by the Rockets offense, It reminds me so much of the Spurs. And there currently is no higher standard in the NBA.


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              #10 clydesmoustache

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                Posted 08 November 2014 - 02:36 AM

                For me, in a competition of any kind, the greatest respect you can give to your opponent is to play at your best.

                I didn't feel excited for this win. In fact, I feel disrespected by the Spurs.

                Many would dismiss it as Pops resting their players, making excuses for him, but I see it more than that, and it's rather donkey-in-a-hole-ish.

                Imagine playing against 4 year olds, so what if your efficiency is 80% or whatever, so what if you can dunk and dominate the post. So what, you only look good against a 4 year old.

                Exageration of course, but that's the feeling I got watching that game. To analyze anything out of this game is to give us a false sense of our abilities.

                True assessment of ability is how we perform under pressure. This, was merely a freebie.


                I think that comparison is unfair. Dwight has had trouble with aron Baynes in the past. Baynes harassed Dwight in the last game of the first round match with LA. Dwight got ejected after being ineffective. This time Dwight and Harden dunked on him constantly. (I don't think I can remember a player ever being dunked on that many times in a game!)
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                #11 Losthief

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                Posted 08 November 2014 - 05:46 AM

                 I was getting frustrated watching the game on tnt, they keep bringing up Duncan, ginobili, Bellini, and tiago but didn't bring up (or barely mentioned) TJones or Bev. (p.s. canaan was awesome against parker!)

                 

                for the record spurs were missing roughly 90 min of playing time, we were missing 60 minutes of playing time. Not as big a difference as they made it seem.

                 

                http://espn.go.com/n...n-antonio-spurs

                 

                http://espn.go.com/n...houston-rockets


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                #12 Red94

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                  Posted 08 November 2014 - 02:57 PM

                  Get ready for more of the same tonight, if we win without Bev/TJ, and if Iggy/Lee sit.  


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                  #13 Sir Thursday

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                  Posted 08 November 2014 - 06:39 PM

                  Get ready for more of the same tonight, if we win without Bev/TJ, and if Iggy/Lee sit.  

                   

                  I dunno, I reckon if we win against GSW it will still count as a quality win in the eyes of the media at large. They've still got (arguably) their two best players on the court and so do we. It's a fair fight :P. The question "Are Houston for real?" has been popping up a lot on the national scale, and you know how the media likes to jump to conclusions. They'll want an answer to that baby ASAP.

                   

                  ST


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