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@  blakecouey : (12 January 2014 - 03:46 AM) @Chai Jones has been as important as Harden and Howard this season, I love it.
@  blakecouey : (12 January 2014 - 03:45 AM) @Drew in Abilene I agree. Not how I planned on winning after the 25pt lead, but Ill take it.
@  Chai : (12 January 2014 - 03:32 AM) TJones really came through. Played solid D on Nene, and coming through with buckets and that block
@  Drew in Abilene : (12 January 2014 - 03:30 AM) Not a pretty 4th quarter, but a win while Parsons, Asik, and Beverley are on the bench makes me happy, even if it's a shaky win.
@  HazeWinkle : (12 January 2014 - 03:27 AM) lin played well made his free throws if misses them usally has a bad game. Howard couldnt hit babck to back free throws to save his own life 10 years and still can t make a 15 ft shoot. This team is young dumb and full come
@  HazeWinkle : (12 January 2014 - 03:13 AM) 160 million for 2 guys cant even hold a 25 point lead against wizards.
@  CanSayNOTC : (12 January 2014 - 03:08 AM) 3 points in 7 minutes. How is that possible?
@  thenit : (12 January 2014 - 03:02 AM) What's going on ?
@  thenit : (12 January 2014 - 02:30 AM) Did Ronnie just make a field goal? We might be 1-0 when he hits a shot
@  shuga : (12 January 2014 - 01:43 AM) Is it just me or does Lin play better leading a bench mob than he does with two all stars?
@  HazeWinkle : (12 January 2014 - 12:18 AM) @buccko andre miller can play at our pace i recall him leading the nuggets who have a similar fast pace approach. i keep telling my self that this is a young team, but man their defense is ugly. @rockettrick lin is a harden wannabe i mean dont need two hardens on this team.
@  blakecouey : (11 January 2014 - 06:07 PM) I agree that was a terrible pass, but I put the majority of the blame on Lin for not getting behind the line, and passing out of the shot(even though it was a bad look), with 1 second left.
@  rocketrick : (11 January 2014 - 01:25 PM) HazeWinkel loves AB more than Lin---didn't AB's errant pass in the last few seconds end the Rockets last chance for victory vs. the Hawks??
@  Buckko : (11 January 2014 - 06:24 AM) Andre would not be able to play our high pace game, why do you think he's always on the bench for denver.
@  HazeWinkle : (11 January 2014 - 05:22 AM) i would get andre miller in a heartbeat cause lin has regressed and i think brooks is better then lin.
@  feelingsuper... : (11 January 2014 - 04:06 AM) It sometimes crosses my mind that maybe if the Rockers picked up a scrappy old head like Andre Miller it would be such a bad thing considering the teams limitations.
@  Richards : (11 January 2014 - 03:34 AM) Brewer with 0 PPG filling in for Parsons with 17 PPG. Lucky we didn't lose by double digit!
@  feelingsuper... : (11 January 2014 - 03:25 AM) When Parsons, Asik and Beverly are out the bench will suffer. The first and second units haven't had a chance to build chemistry.
@  MrLobble : (11 January 2014 - 03:20 AM) remember when we thought our bench was good... whoa, they've been exposed lately.
@  shuga : (11 January 2014 - 03:18 AM) why did we experiment with him in the first place? It was clear after LA game it wasn't a smart plan


Evaluating 34 Games of Omri Casspi

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#1 Red94


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    Posted 09 January 2014 - 04:04 PM

    New post: Evaluating 34 Games of Omri Casspi
    By: michael pina

    You know the incredible feeling you sometimes get after throwing on a pair of no-longer-blue jeans that were hanging in your closet for months? You stretch down to fold your wallet into your back pocket and something's already there. You reach back and it feels like paper. A movie stub? To large. A receipt? Too grainy. You drag it out then swing it past your eyes. Dear lord in heaven, please, yes, thank you. It's $20.

    That moment right there is how some people would describe how it felt to watch Omri Casspi play basketball in November. He was incredible, a nightly pleasure twice as enjoyable because nobody expected it. He made 42.9% of his threes that month, and posted a 59.9 True Shooting percentage, good enough to tie Kevin Love for 18th overall right now.

    Casspi was so much more than a shooter; almost everything he did was unconsciously brilliant. He passed, ran, dribbled, shot, rebounded, and competed. Houston's offense scorched the Earth in his 341 minutes of action. But the numbers said something totally insane about the other end of the floor: Houston had the second best defense in the league whenever Casspi the Great played. When he sat the Rockets played down to a Brooklyn Nets/New York Knicks level of atrociousness.

    The offense was nice no matter what, sure, but it also scored more points per 48 minutes with Casspi on the court than any other player on the team. He kicked the season off as Houston’s “Break In Case of Emergency” secret weapon of sorts, even if few recognized it while it was going on.

    To say Casspi slipped closer to his original expectations in December would be fair. But it's not like he decomposed in a horrible crash or anything. All he did was stumble. A crash would not translate to successfully converting two thirds of all his attempts in the restricted area, but a slumping three-point shot would qualify as a slip.

    He's still impacting the game everywhere else, but for someone who only gets 20 minutes a night to mark his tree, if Casspi isn't knocking down threes in an offense designed around the point creation of Dwight Howard and James Harden, then he's not coming through in what still amounts to one of his foremost offensive responsibilities. (Another pleasant surprise: he's exceptional when Howard and Harden are both on the bench, according to NBAWowy.)

    Casspi signed with the Houston Rockets back on July 16, a few days after the team acquired Dwight Howard. The team's primary attraction to the player was probably value. Casspi will make about $21,000 more than Chandler Parsons peanuts this season, and has a non-guaranteed second year on his deal that’ll either cost Houston $1.06 million or zero million.

    Over the team’s past 10 games Casspi barely shot 40% from the floor. As of late the Rockets are depressing on offense when he plays. They're scoring a measly 103.6 points per 100 possessions, 7.0 points worse than when the team’s running without him. In the long run offense isn’t where Casspi creates concern. He has such wonderful feel with the ball in his hands in the open floor, knowing when to push with a pass and when to dribble it up himself—it's not a coincidence that Houston averages 2.0 more points off turnovers with Casspi on the floor. He’s already proven to be so much more than the spot up shooter many people thought Houston was getting.

    But defensively? When Howard plays with Casspi the Rockets all perform like they're wearing jerseys made of Kevlar. The defense is impenetrable. The numbers: 96.6 points per 100 possessions have been allowed by units with Casspi and Howard over the past 10 games. That drops even lower to 94.0 when you add the 24 games before that.

    There should be two questions that immediately come to mind: 1) How is this possible, and 2) Why doesn't Kevin McHale play Casspi more often? Casspi hasn’t been impressive defending the post (opponents are shooting 48.6% on post-ups, according to mySynergySports), but that's expected. He’s constantly going up against bulkier monsters who outweigh him by more than one or two trips through Wendy's drive thru.

    But he’s disciplined down there. He stays low, doesn't fall for fakes of any kind, and typically musters enough strength to force his man into a shot over the top and outside the restricted area. Casspi works hard down there, fighting for position. He does a good job denying the ball and making his man work. In the end, that shooting percentage he allows is too high; more problems exist beyond it. Oftentimes Howard will leap over to help Casspi out and try to block his man's shot. This leaves Howard's man wide open with first dibs on a possible rebound.

    He's a solid defender on pick-and-rolls though. He can hedge up high then recover back to his man. Here are two clips from the same game that show how versatile Casspi can be out there.

    Right now Casspi's PER, True Shooting percentage, and usage rate are all career highs. The Rockets are obviously better in several numerous and important areas with him on the floor. There are flaws and slumps, but he's constantly tweaking his own game, in the precious minutes he has, to get things right. (For example: As his struggles behind the three-point line persist, Casspi's increased the percentage of his shots that come in the restricted area.)

    Should he play more? Probably, but it's tough to rationalize removing Terrence Jones from the floor now that he's The Terminator. It wouldn't hurt Kevin McHale to play Jones, Casspi, and Howard together, though. They've logged just seven minutes at the same time all season.

    Casspi is still an integral member of the team, even if his per game numbers don't indicate it. He's fantastic at finding open space when Howard's posting up, and could be a strong pick-and-pop partner for Harden, Jeremy Lin, or Chandler Parsons this postseason.

    Michael Pina has bylines at Red94, CelticsHub, The Classical, Bleacher Report, Sports On Earth, and Boston Magazine. Follow him here.

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    #2 Alituro


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      Posted 09 January 2014 - 07:15 PM

      I was perplexed as to why McHale started Brewer rather than Casspi or Garcia last night. Especially Casspi.

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      #3 NorEastern


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        Posted 09 January 2014 - 08:22 PM

        Nice accurate analysis of the effects of one of the most perplexing players on the Rockets roster. How does he do what he does? I believe that he is extremely disciplined as a player. I never see him extending beyond what he is athletically capable of. He also sees the floor very well. I would have never predicted that he would have a breakout season this year. Another great Morey signing.

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        #4 Sir Thursday

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        Posted 09 January 2014 - 10:56 PM

        From what the coaching staff have said and the way they use him, I think they have decided that Casspi should be strictly a 4 and should not be on the court as a true wing. Kelvin Sampson said it best a while back: "If you put him at the three, he shows you what he can't do. If you put him at the four he shows you what he can do." This probably explains why he hasn't been seen on the court with both Jones and Howard all that much. I think they're right - he is really good at using his speed as an asset on defence (as the clips in Michael's article show), and that's going to be nullified if you match him up against a small forward.



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        #5 Johnny Rocket

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          Posted 10 January 2014 - 03:27 AM

          What ST says make sense, but in a Jones-Howard-Casspi frontline, why not consider Jones the small forward?  Jones has enough foot speed and length to do an adequate job on defense, and he has ball handling ability to play small forward.  I'm not saying it would be necessarily ideal, but it might be better than player Brewer.  And you would have the benefit of Jones being able to use his size and strength against presumably smaller players.

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