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@  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
@  jorgeaam : (15 September 2015 - 08:30 PM) So to celebrate his new contract, Montrezl Harrell saved someone's life on monday
@  thejohnnygold : (14 September 2015 - 04:36 PM) A good article from Blinebury talking about when Hakeem and Moses used to play in the park. LINK

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On the narrative surrounding Dwight Howard, coaching


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#1 Red94

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    Posted 14 January 2015 - 02:01 PM

    New post: On the narrative surrounding Dwight Howard, coaching
    By: Rahat Huq

    On Monday night, Kevin Garnett head-butted Dwight Howard in what can only be classified as one of the weirder incidents I can remember until then remembering that Kevin Garnett is actually a pretty weird dude prone to do stuff like this.  The even money for an altercation was on Garnett-Motiejunas, given Garnett's well-documented preference for point guards and European big men.  But alas, The Big Ticket found himself tangled under the basket with Superman, a few harmless shoves were exchanged, and heads collided.  The whole thing held little significance except for being the first altercation between two surefire Hall of Famers that I can remember in recent history.  (I'm sure I'm forgetting something).  After the game, the critics came out with their opinions on the whole thing, and a familiar theme from earlier in the season emerged: players don't like Dwight Howard.  We heard this after the incident earlier in the year with Kobe and then after Kevin Durant, all 180 pounds of him, referred to the big man in a demeaning manner.

     

    Specifically, Monday night, one commentator on NBAtv said, (paraphrasing), "players around the league just don't like Dwight.  You see all the smiling and the way he's always acting and people don't like it."  What?  I'm not quite sure I understand the logic behind that thought process.  I totally get why Kobe might've been frustrated with Dwight in L.A., or why any current Rockets teammates might find his act tiresome.  Similarly, I could understand any truth behind this summer's narrative of "players not wanting to play with [him]."  It's probably annoying to focus on winning when someone's demeanor indicates they don't really care.  But why would opposing players have anything against him?  He doesn't play dirty, and there's nothing about his game that's particularly irritating.  So you're telling me opposing players want to go at Dwight because he smiles a lot and they don't like it?  That's the most absurd reasoning I've ever heard.  The likelier case is that people just find Dwight to be soft, with a group effect taking place.  I've used this example before with Jeremy Lin, but its applicable here too: ever have that friend growing up who everyone either picked on or blamed for everything?  It happened not only because it was allowed to happen, but because with each subsequent instance, everyone else in the group became/becomes reinvigorated in its ability to happen.  Guys see Kobe squaring up Dwight and questioning his manhood, then they get fired up, and start to think that a) the charges are true and b) they can do it too.  It's kind of like what happened with Blake Griffin last year, with everyone taking shots at him in the air.  When a belief is propagated enough, it can really take off.

     

    -We're entering a fascinating era where, for the first time perhaps, you're really seeing the impact of coaching across the league.  Last season, the Spurs crushed Miami primarily due to their superior strategies.  Phoenix vastly exceeded expectations, and Chicago stayed afloat.  This year, we see the Warriors running away with the league's best record, after only making a coaching change.  Atlanta, similarly, is pulling away in the East under a Pop disciple.  The backdrop of all of this has been an overwhelming sense that the Thunder have underperformed, despite having the best talent in the league, due to uncreative thinking from the clipboard.  Coaching mattered always, of course, but not in this sense, I don't think.  In the past, I felt the team with the best player almost always won the title, generally speaking, and the hallmark of a great coach was being able to motivate and manage egos.  But the change in the rules, spawned an outright transformation of the game, leading to the necessity of more intricate schemes.  Teams started mastering defense, and in response, we now see them mastering offense, with complex motion sequences.  The backdrop here is the total public oblivion with respect to these changes, spurred partly by ignorance and overall apathy, and partly by popular lowest-common-denominator forums such as TNT's halftime segment.  I touched on this earlier in the week, but because of reductive platitudes such as "big men need to be dominant", the public is still largely in the dark, as are modes of thinking within the players.

     

    I think about all of the above in relation to the Rockets.  They've come an extremely long way this year from the disaster they featured last season where at times, they appeared to not even have a coherent defensive strategy.  And the offense has featured wrinkles we hadn't seen before.  But still, there is a very long way to go.  I could just be living in the moment, but I get the feeling that to win a title in today's NBA, you have to have complete mastery of the clipboard.  Even aside from the strategy, there are simply far too many inefficiencies in Houston's offense to overlook.  Dwight post-ups most of the time are possessions that could be better used (yes, I get it, he draws fouls), and while Harden has been independently brilliant, can you win a title with him going one-on-one against a team of 5 as your entire crunch-time offense?  That would've certainly been enough in the 90s, and even five years ago, but now?  The reader is likely bewildered due to my negativity, noting the team is in third in the West and on pace to challenge its franchise-best record.  Those achievements are great and dandy and I too am excited.  But what I speak of here in this column is the goal of winning a championship.  Can they do it without better coaching, but also, perhaps more frighteningly, can they do it without both of their star players completely buying in to the realities of the new NBA?  For the first time, in the basketball context, I think I understand what it means when they say winning requires sacrifice.


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    #2 Juan Grande

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      Posted 14 January 2015 - 02:10 PM

      "(I'm sure I'm forgetting something)"

      I was at the home game with Lakers when Barkley and Shaq hit the ground.

      That might have been the hardest I ever laughed at a Rockets game.

      It happened in the 1Q and we were still LOLng at halftime.


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      #3 timetodienow1234567

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      Posted 14 January 2015 - 02:36 PM

      I've heard that NBA players don't like Dwight because they think he's fake.
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      Why so Serious? :D


      #4 thejohnnygold

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      Posted 14 January 2015 - 04:21 PM

       

      Here is Gary Payton giving his "expert" opinion on Dwight.  I love and respect Gary Payton the player.  I have little regard for commentary like this.  Oh, Dwight's not tough enough for your 'hood?  OK then.  Does he need to be?  The odds are Dwight's never going to your 'hood.  Payton never actually gives a legitimate reason outside of making highly generalized references to "antics" and "when he does things he's always at people"....what does that even mean????

       

      Look, I don't know Dwight.  I don't have to like or agree with someone to respect them.  Apparently, if I'm understanding this all correctly, Dwight needs to pick a fight with someone (specifically someone people respect as tough), beat them down, and then....what?...Channel his inner Macho Man Randy Savage, strike a pose, flex some muscles and let out a big, "Ohhhhhh Yeaaaaahhhhhh!".

       

      the-macho-man.jpg

       

      What does that prove or accomplish?  If this is why Dwight is disliked then it surely speaks volumes about those who are on that side of the fence, doesn't it?  Do I value the opinions of people who view the world in this manner?  No, I don't.  In fact, the old adage about glass houses comes to mind...

       

      I have a magnet on my refrigerator.  It reads, "never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups".  There is another saying a wise friend once told me (read it in an Irish accent to get the full effect): "nothing brings people together like a bit of negativity".

       

      Ultimately, are we dealing with anything more than this?

       

      As for the new era of the NBA, I agree and disagree.  Coaching and strategy are not some novel concept that have just found their way into the league.  Certainly, there has been a leap recently which is likely exaggerated by a period littered with ISO players and teams trying to out spend one another for "talent".  Now, we see teams full of "average joes" competing night in and night out against high profile teams with big names.  Now, is that a result of perception or is it indicative of some coaching renaissance?

       

      I would argue it is as much a perception issue as anything.  Yes, coaches have made advances on both sides of the court, but does that not happen every so often?  As players' advance in size, speed, and skill coaches can harness those abilities in new ways.  Spread offenses weren't an option in the 80's because most bigs had different skill sets.  They were bruisers, rebounders, and enforcers--not all, but most.  Is it any surprise some of the best teams had the most skilled bigs?  Johnson and Abdul-Jabbar?  Bird and McHale?  Olajuwan and Sampson (short lived as it was)?

       

      Then Isaiah Thomas and Michael Jordan changed everything.

       

      These days, I think we are seeing the effects of Euro-integration, increased size, speed, and skill across every position, as well as a general increase in overall talent available.  Some of the "scrubs" we are watching today would have been stars 25 years ago.  We have grown callous to the amazing things these athletes do and, in many cases, overly demanding in our expectations acting as if what they are doing is easy and the results expected.

       

      Which leads me to the final point.  At the end of the day, players still have to make their shots.  Championships may have a coach's fingerprints on them, but more often than not they come down to a handful of shots.  I know that a bucket in the 2nd quarter is the same as a bucket at the final buzzer--except that it's not.  Something I preach to people is that it doesn't matter if you can do it.  Can you do it right now?  That's what separates 2nd quarter points from crunch time points and champions from everyone else.

       

      Coaching matters, but it's still on the players to execute.  Don't think so?  Think about Pop's early championships.  How did he close out games?  Throw the ball to Duncan in the post and let him do his thing.  Carlisle?  Throw the ball to Dirk in the high post and let him do his thing.  Jackson?  Throw the ball to Jordan on the wing and let him do his thing.  Spoelstra?  Throw the ball to LeBron and let him do his thing.  The list goes on and on....Steve Kerr may wind up making the winning shot (or Ray Allen, or whoever), but the play was simple--Give our stud the ball and let him make a play.


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      #5 rocketrick

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        Posted 14 January 2015 - 04:22 PM

        I very clearly remember when everyone was taking pot shots at the Dream just prior to the back to back Championships.

         

        It is what it is.


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        #6 Cooper

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          Posted 14 January 2015 - 07:03 PM

          Easy way for Howard to duck labels like fake/soft whatever is win in the playoffs. He can take back his FA fiasco which seems to have been the starting point but it will slip peoples minds if the rockets do well in the playoffs.


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          #7 Alituro

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            Posted 14 January 2015 - 09:58 PM

            IQ points lost listening to the Gary Payton Clip.

             

            I think KG planned the thing all along.

             

            I wouldn't be able to wipe the smile off my face either if every time I step on the court, I am reminded that I am living out my dream. People who take themselves too seriously often expect the same from others (see: Gary Payton).

             

            I think McHale's effectiveness as a coach is often misread. His approach is methodical. The first step with a new core squad is to get these players to learn how to play well together. This is done through a concept of playing style, whereas a clipboard would force situations and frustrations. Once the team chemistry is solidified, then you bring out the clipboard and slowly start introducing plays into the system, the concept. We are seeing this now. Patience is going to be the key in appreciating what Morey and McHale are putting together. It will be easy to lay the blame on coaching until we get a ring. But when that day comes, what happens to the script then?

             

            People fear that which they do not understand. If we trust in Morey as we always say we do, then we have to understand that McHale and vis-a-vis, the players are simply extensions of Dork Elvis and his vision. An unqualified mind may think McHale is doing a bad job, but as long as he is on the bench, we have to accept that the most qualified person to judge his performance finds it acceptable.


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            #8 thenit

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              Posted 14 January 2015 - 10:25 PM

              People like KG are fake tough guys. They like to go at guys who are just nice like bosh and howard. Just because you don't stoop to their level or alter your life to their "norms" makes them weak, but in reality that shows that you are secure in yourself. When push come to shove in regards of fighting and being tough when it matters means so much more. I have never like KG and his antics. 


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