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@  slick shoes : (23 May 2016 - 12:24 PM) The worst part about Green is that he tries to play that nice guy role à la Reggie Miller.
@  Mario Peña : (23 May 2016 - 02:00 AM) Im quite pleased the Thunder are decimating the Warriors.
@  Mario Peña : (23 May 2016 - 12:54 AM) I cannot stand Draymond Green. I don't like him in any way. That dude is cheap and he's one of the main reasons I really don't like the Warriors.
@  majik19 : (21 May 2016 - 05:28 PM) no need to rush it now - only one other opening to compete with, and no first round draft pick to get input on.
@  Mario Peña : (21 May 2016 - 02:19 PM) SteinyMo reporting James Borrego from Pop's bench is now getting a look. Wow just wow.
@  majik19 : (20 May 2016 - 09:32 PM) I saw that report. Silas seems like a swing for the fences move, but isn't he exactly like JBB? Harden didn't respond to JBB, why would he respond to another longtime coach's son?
@  Mario Peña : (20 May 2016 - 07:29 PM) So Watkins is reporting its between D'Antoni and Silas.
@  Mario Peña : (20 May 2016 - 06:30 PM) In retrospect some of what has happened over the last few years going back to Lin, McHale and maybe a few other things seem to have Alexander's fingerprints on them and even if true to an extant that's troubling to me. Just when I thought things couldn't be worse, oh well.
@  thejohnnygold : (20 May 2016 - 04:58 PM) If so, this site will become more of a support group than a fan board.
@  slick shoes : (20 May 2016 - 03:14 PM) Is Les becoming the next Jerry Jones? Yikes...
@  majik19 : (20 May 2016 - 02:59 PM) oh i was half-joking haha.
@  slick shoes : (20 May 2016 - 12:21 PM) @majik19 Why screw the team long term with a decision that only affects them THIS season? I don't get it. If I was Morey and my boss kept over ruling my decisions, I'd give some serious consideration to stepping down.
@  majik19 : (20 May 2016 - 05:12 AM) @slickshoes - maybe thats why theyre considering D'Antoni - just want to make sure Dwight opts out.
@  thejohnnygold : (19 May 2016 - 04:38 PM) I think I have a bias against Rambis from his playing days. The thought of him being our coach just feels wrong...
@  slick shoes : (19 May 2016 - 03:11 AM) Does this mean Rambis is available?!
@  Mario Peña : (19 May 2016 - 03:05 AM) Hornacek goes to the Knicks.
@  slick shoes : (18 May 2016 - 11:05 PM) Who was the coach of the Los Angeles Lakers in 2014 when Dwight left to come to Houston? None other than Mike D'Antoni.
@  Cooper : (18 May 2016 - 08:16 PM) very uninspiring if they do go with him.
@  thenit : (18 May 2016 - 07:13 PM) It will be so much fun having game totaling 250+ points. Oh and we won't win anything either
@  slick shoes : (18 May 2016 - 12:19 PM) @majik19: the story also said that if they hire D'Antoni there will be a defensive specialist as an associate head coach. does this send a message to the team? defense comes second?

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Houston Rockets 100, Los Angeles Clippers 98: Sometimes winning is all that matters


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#1 Red94

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    Posted 15 March 2015 - 11:43 PM

    New post: Houston Rockets 100, Los Angeles Clippers 98: Sometimes winning is all that matters
    By: Forrest Walker

    "We won," James Harden replied in the postgame interview, deflecting a question about a chippy play earlier in the game, "That's all that matters." The two point margin doesn't matter today. The Flagrant foul by Matt Barnes and the altercations involving Blake Griffin don't matter. The fifteen point lead the Rockets held in the third quarter that turned into a tie at the end of the fourth doesn't matter. In a game like this, the only thing that matters is who gets the W and who gets the L. Today, the Rockets grabbed the W, and Harden's team is one game closer to the playoffs.

     

    James Harden, after two games of looking listless and lost, lit it up in Los Angeles. The Clippers looked in control in the first quarter, but the Harden came alive in the second and nobody could contain him. He may have played 41 minutes, but with no back to back games until March 30th, Harden can afford to burn at both ends for a big game against a potential playoff opponent. He shot 7-16, hit the first 17 of his 18 free throws, scored 34 and tacked on 7 rebounds and 7 assists to go with it. This is the sort of game the Rockets have been needing from him, and he picked the perfect game to return to form. After his dud in Portland, the national audience needed a reminder of what Harden can do.

     

    The most important stat of the night was three point shooting throughout. The Rockets missed their first 12 three point attempts, and the Clippers were on fire all night. The final tally was 12-26 for Los Angeles and 7-30 for Houston. The Rockets led for most of the game despite being at a huge disadvantage from deep, a blow which could easily have ended the game for them. Those numbers never really evened out, and the Rockets held on through a relentless attack. The Rockets were outrebounded again (50-43) but this time prevented double digit offensive boards. The calls went Houston's way more often than not, and sometimes that's the difference. Of all the teams in the league, no club seems to frustrate referees more than the Clippers, and their reckless play down the stretch doomed them.

     

    With the Rockets up by a point with thirty seconds in the game, the Rockets coughed up a costly turnover while trying to pass the ball to Harden. Griffin grabbed it and rushed down the court, preparing to crush the rim and the Rockets in one motion. Unfortunately for him, Ariza was backpedaling in front of him as he put his shoulder down and rammed Trevor. However obvious or not that call may have been, the charge was called and the Rockets were given the ball with 12 seconds left. Harden was immediately fouled, went to the line, and made one of two, giving the Clippers a chance to tie or win in the waning seconds of the game.

     

    This time, Chris Paul was the isolation artist, and Trevor Ariza was the defensive hero. Paul got good separation on a stepback on the baseline, but Ariza was close enough to bother the shot. The bell never hit rim, the buzzer sounded, and the Rockets rode their starters to a much needed victory. Ariza played 39 minutes and hit 7 of his 15 shots for 19 points. His 9 rebounds were huge, as was his defense throughout. Ariza will need some rest going forward, because a fresh Ariza is a key cog in any potential Houston playoff run.

     

    Terrence Jones was also huge, grabbing 5 offensive rebounds, including two put packs on back to back possessions late in the fourth. He notched a 16 point, 12 rebound double double and hit one of the most crucial shots in the game, a three pointer to put the Rockets back up when the Clippers came roaring back. With Donatas Motiejunas continuing to slump in extended minutes (43 tonight, astonishing for a player who was warming the pine not long ago), Terrence Jones is going to have to keep coming up big. Much of this will be resolved once Houston's one true center comes back, but with five more games until Dwight's rumored return against Minnesota, the balancing act must continue a little longer.

     

    The bench rotation tightened even more, making this game perhaps a playoff preview. Joey Dorsey played a paltry 2 minutes, in which he bricked two free throws and did very little else. Corey Brewer was probably the best player off the bench, mostly due to a vicious transition dunk on Blake Griffin which immediately escalated into a quibble and a double technical foul. Despite his 3-10 shooting, he was still more of a sparkplug than Josh Smith or Jason Terry, neither of whom had a box score anywhere near up to snuff. The bench is going to have to do better than that, especially on nights when Glen Davis is actually active and scoring points.

     

    The sum total of the game was one letter: W. There were reasons for hope and reasons for concern, but when the standings are at stake, and a playoff rival is on the court, only one thing matters. The Rockets won and the Clippers lost. It didn't matter that Matt Barnes tackled James Harden to the ground, because James Harden doesn't have to think about Barnes any more. The Rockets won, and today winning was everything.


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    #2 Jatman20

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      Posted 16 March 2015 - 02:59 AM

      Good win on the road vs a team that gives Harden and the Rockets trouble over the years. Rockets needed this showing.
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      #3 JY86er

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      Posted 16 March 2015 - 05:57 AM

      A win is a win, but giving away possessions needed to close 'em out in the 4th quarter made a big lead shrink to almost a loss. Ariza made up for a blundering turnover with a sound defensive play and solid D on CP3 to end it. Again, a win is a win. 'Tis crunch time.

      Edited by JY86er, 16 March 2015 - 06:01 AM.

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      #4 majik19

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        Posted 16 March 2015 - 02:44 PM

        A win is a win, but giving away possessions needed to close 'em out in the 4th quarter made a big lead shrink to almost a loss. Ariza made up for a blundering turnover with a sound defensive play and solid D on CP3 to end it. Again, a win is a win. 'Tis crunch time.

         

        Ariza made a great play on Griffin there, but I was wondering - it sure as hell looked like Griffin held onto Harden to get that "great steal." 

         

        Even when Dwight gets back, we still have two huge shortcomings that will probably doom us in the playoffs:

         

        1) In crunchtime, we can really struggle to get Harden the ball. The turnover was bad, but so was the play one or two before that when Beverly dribbled the entire time and shot a 3. Or the play where Jones was forced to take the long 3 (and he made it). The Clips did everything they could to keep the ball out of Harden's hands. McHale and his staff are going to have to find creative ways to get him the ball when the defense tilts that way, or we need to have some smart cuts to take advantage of Harden's attention (we did have a pair of good cuts, Motiejunas and Brewer I think, where they didn't seem to expect the ball although they made the right cut).

         

        2) When Harden sits, we have no halfcourt offense whatsoever. Motiejunas's current inability to shoot from 5 feet out means that if we don't get out on the break with Brewer/Smith/Jones, we might as well just dribble out the shot clock and hand it over. Especially if the 3s aren't falling. Maybe when Howard gets back, we can try to run the post-up sets for him when Harden sits. They're not very efficient, but at least there is a chance of scoring in the halfcourt. 


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        #5 Losthief

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        Posted 16 March 2015 - 06:15 PM

        Also...pick and roll with Howard works even w/o Harden....he can be a bit like Tyson Chandler to create looks w/o touching the ball. Which should help in the half court. People slide more to the center on help when its Howard rolling than when its DMO/Jones/Smith. (Plus occasionally (read if Howard is healthy/on) Howard's guy will just stay with him instead of helping out/switching/hedging.

         

        But until Howard is back I would really like to see more of Pablo when Harden is sitting, he ran some good half-court sets in the minutes he has gotten.


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        LoSTHieF

        I'd Rather Be Lucky Than Skilled


        #6 cointurtlemoose

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          Posted 17 March 2015 - 12:31 AM

          Yeah, don't know why we've been seeing less of Pablo when he's done nothing but exceed expectations so far for us. Ah well.

           

          I was partly encouraged by the game, and partly discouraged. We did much better defensively (in the 2nd and 3rd quarters) than I've see us do against them, but with that, Blake's presence might have actually helped, as we didn't see that spread offense that we saw when it was just DeAndre on the floor (remembering the brilliant post by Sir Tuesday).

           

          Jones continues to remind me how severely I undervalued him. His contribution even exceeded what the already-big statline of 17 and 12 shows. And Ariza was another one who seemed to contribute even more than his stats showed; was very pleased with his play.

           

          DMo's shot, in this game and really all of March, is curious. For the most part, they still look like well-chosen shots (maybe 2 or 3 seemed a little rushed/frenzied). It's gotta be the cumulation of minutes in Howard's absence. He'll come around, right?

           

          Lastly, I was discouraged by what Mr. Magik pointed out, our late-game/close-game offense. It's been this way for a while, so it's no surprise, but it's just too predictable. Of course Harden is our most effective playmaker, but when teams deny him the ball and/or are effective in aggresively doubling him, we've got no clue on how to respond. That'll only get worse in the playoffs (it surely did last year vs. POR).

           

          Not saying we shouldn't go to Harden in crunchtime, just pointing out our consistent and apparent lack of preparedness when defenses are able to take that away late in the game.

           

          Oh and that TJones 3 that he hit after we couldn't get Harden the ball, with the shot clock expiring and under a minute (?) to go...... that was huge, and kind of hilarious too.


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          #7 bernardo

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            Posted 17 March 2015 - 11:24 AM

            Good and an important win to keep us in the hunt for the 3rd seed. Great sunday afternoon for my teams, my hometown team won as well. Ariza was huge in this one, not only on the stat sheet but in defense, with two big plays down the stretch. Portland lost in DC last night, we need to beat orlando today to get closer to them.


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            #8 rocketrick

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              Posted 17 March 2015 - 11:45 AM

              2nd Seed is So Close and nobody chooses to discuss here
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              #9 FEntropy

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              Posted 17 March 2015 - 02:46 PM

              I would be really intrigued to the pnr ran with Jones. He might not be a viable post option(stats show no one is really a viable post option) but he has elite handles for a PF. Plus he has really learned how to utilize the backboard from seemingly impossible angles. I've been a huge advocate of Smith, but if Jones can muster some passing ability out of the double team I think he is Smith 2.0. Elite athleticism, handles, and a surprising new gift of court vision. I think it is obvious that he really bulked up during his time off so he could be counted on against LA in the playoffs again.


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              #10 majik19

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                Posted 17 March 2015 - 08:36 PM

                I would be really intrigued to the pnr ran with Jones. He might not be a viable post option(stats show no one is really a viable post option) but he has elite handles for a PF. Plus he has really learned how to utilize the backboard from seemingly impossible angles. I've been a huge advocate of Smith, but if Jones can muster some passing ability out of the double team I think he is Smith 2.0. Elite athleticism, handles, and a surprising new gift of court vision. I think it is obvious that he really bulked up during his time off so he could be counted on against LA in the playoffs again.

                 

                I think you hit it with the passing. I think a pick n roll with Jones works unless they cut him off. I'm not sure he can make the pass that is the counter move to selling out on stopping the roll man. 

                 

                I wish Dwight would just watch Tyson Chandler and become a better version of him. Then we would be truly devastating on offense. 


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