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@  MrLobble : (17 January 2014 - 03:53 AM) DMOs trade value is flying like a penny stock!
@  thenit : (17 January 2014 - 03:50 AM) hopefully this will end our cold streak from 3s
@  thenit : (17 January 2014 - 03:50 AM) So happy for dmo
@  RocketMansin... : (17 January 2014 - 03:47 AM) Only fan from Altus Oklahoma but it feels good.. Hope the Rockets finish this game and get this one!
@  feelingsuper... : (17 January 2014 - 03:32 AM) Sure is good to see Harden being himself and making those good passes that are leading to good shots for his teammates.
@  Sir Thursday : (17 January 2014 - 02:56 AM) I don't think it's so much a bad vs. good thing. The way I see it, it's much easier to talk about change than it is to talk about something that stays the same. When the team is losing, people suggest improvements and changes to make the team better. But if a team is playing well there are no changes to suggest...
@  Buckko : (17 January 2014 - 01:59 AM) Honestly, its like that for everything, in general people are too busy focusing on the bad rather than to enjoy the good.
@  feelingsuper... : (16 January 2014 - 07:59 PM) I agree rocketrick, it always seems strange how quick many fans are to complain. I guess I have been watching to long to have much to complain about right now plus it's not my style. Each unto their own.
@  BrentYen : (16 January 2014 - 06:46 PM) It's the same for most fan site I think.
@  rocketrick : (16 January 2014 - 01:21 PM) Interesting How Quiet This Board Is When The Rockets Win VS. When They Lose....Just Saying....
@  Sir Thursday : (16 January 2014 - 11:32 AM) It's either familiarity or he's just very competitive with his friend from college and that makes him play better. Either way, he always seems to bring it in this matchup!
@  BenQueens : (16 January 2014 - 04:24 AM) Jones clearly in top form against the Pellies. Is it familiarity w/ Davis's game from college?
@  SamC : (16 January 2014 - 03:42 AM) Turning point in the game was the 3rd quick foul on Davis and then again when Davis missed the FT to tie the game.
@  Sir Thursday : (16 January 2014 - 03:41 AM) That was a good win tonight. Surviving the fireball that was Eric Gordon has got to feel good.
@  SamC : (16 January 2014 - 03:38 AM) Harden was clutch
@  SamC : (16 January 2014 - 03:38 AM) Parsons played great D on Gordon.
@  Opasido : (16 January 2014 - 03:37 AM) I guess that's why we got Harden
@  SamC : (16 January 2014 - 03:30 AM) Jones kept us in the game but if we win, it's because of Harden.
@  SamC : (16 January 2014 - 02:41 AM) I think Jones could be the 3rd best player on the team
@  SamC : (16 January 2014 - 02:34 AM) Feigen is tweeting that Parson's limping

Photo

Houston Rockets @ Atlanta Hawks on 1/10/2014


44 replies to this topic

#1 Red94

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    Posted 10 January 2014 - 12:18 AM

    New post: Houston Rockets @ Atlanta Hawks on 1/10/2014
    By: Forrest Walker

    The Houston Rockets are undefeated in 2014. The New York Knicks and the Los Angeles Lakers may not be much to write home about this season, but two wins were exactly what a stumbling Rockets team needed. Now, they have a chance to kick off a road trip with another win in Atlanta over a Hawks team that has its own share of injuries as well. With star-caliber big man Al Horford on the bench with a pectoral injury, the Hawks have dropped three of their last four games. Despite being only two games above .500 versus Houston's ten, the Hawks occupy the third spot in the wasteland known as the Eastern Conference. A win over a third seed, even a weak one, would be a nice third win in a row for a Rockets team looking to gel in the new year.

    Stop me if you're heard this before: the Eastern Conference is terrible. Read any NBA blog for a couple posts, and you'll be well aware of this fact. The east has alternated between two and three winning teams all season long, with the Toronto Raptors joining the Atlanta Hawks in a dance back and forth across the .500 line. With Al Horford most likely shut down for the year, it's hard to see the Hawks maintaining their level of play, such as it was. On the other hand, with the competition out east, it's also hard to see them falling off significantly. One was or another, Atlanta is a playoff team, and beating playoff teams is mission critical for these Rockets.

    So what does Atlanta have? Paul Millsap is an excellent player, and will do his best to light up Terrence Jones and Dwight Howard in and around the paint. He can even shoot a three here and there, and will do his best to pull shot blockers away from the rim. Jeff Teague is a young exciting point guard, much like Houston's Jeremy Lin. Kyle Korver is an excellent three point shooter. DeMarre Carroll, lackluster stint in Houston notwithstanding, is actually a decent NBA player and has been doing a good job in Atlanta. The Hawks have a bright future, but with the loss of Horford, the present is somewhat dimmed.

    So can the Rockets beat the Hawks? Yes, absolutely. Even without Ömer Aşık and Patrick Beverley, even with Greg Smith and Chandler Parsons questionable to play, the Rockets have more talent and a more cohesive team. Unfortunately, that's been true for a lot of games the Rockets have lost. Even against the Lakers, the Rockets trailed during the majority of the first half, looking lethargic and lost before realizing that they had to make an effort, even against a bad team. They came out swinging in the second half, absolutely dominating the Lakers until they implemented a Smite-a-Dwight strategy late in the game.

    Harden, for his part, has released some kind of internal limiter and is now averaging 37 points per game in the last three games. After dealing with nagging foot and ankle injuries, James Harden seems to be rounding into form, and that form is both terrifying and electric. His mid-range jumper has taken off, and teams who surrender the least efficient shot in basketball are being buried by him. At this point, the only place Harden isn't lights-out accurate is about two feet behind the three point arc, and he seems to be trying to learn that shot, too. His effort on the defensive end may be intermittent at best, but his offensive game is coming into focus, and for the last few games, the blurry image is resolving into an oncoming tsunami.

    Dwight Howard's post game has been improving steadily, and his pick and roll game with Harden is as deadly as expected. Seeing how he does against a depleted Hawks team will add another piece to the ongoing puzzle of Howard's recovery. He's not quite where he was before his back injury, but he's getting closer. Dominating the Hawks should be second nature to him, given that his Magic did that repeatedly in the playoffs during Dwight's tenure there. Moreover, seeing how Howard and Harden interact this calendar year will tell us a lot about how far the Rockets are from true contention.

    Atlanta is the next stop on this ride for Houston, and the planned destination is a championship. The path might not lead there this season, but 2014 will see a lot of ground covered. Each game shows us a little more of the path, and this game is no different. There are no throwaway games this season, because every game is a chance for Harden and Howard to grow into the shoes they've chosen. Watch closely, because the Rockets might reach the end of the road any day now.

    Tip off is at the 6:30 Central time at the Phillips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. For more Hawks coverage, check out TrueHoop's Hawks blog, HawksHoop.


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    #2 shuga

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      Posted 11 January 2014 - 02:33 AM

      If we lose this game, I'm blaming McHale for 25 minutes of Brewer in the starting line up


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      #3 MrLobble

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        Posted 11 January 2014 - 03:01 AM

        guard play was atrocious tonight... terrible shot selection (again), turnovers, and why did they not look to feed the big guy?!!! you expect him to keep crashing the boards and keep playing physical without giving him touches?!

         

        Also, I don't mean feed him as in throw an awful pass after you're way off-balance and can't make a play


        Edited by MrLobble, 11 January 2014 - 03:01 AM.

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        #4 Red94

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          Posted 11 January 2014 - 03:43 AM

          New post: Atlanta Hawks 83, Houston Rockets 80: A Wasted Night
          By: Eric Nielsen

          I hope you didn’t spend your Friday night watching the Rockets lose to the Hawks.  This loss lays heavy on all participants.  The Rockets are third in the league in scoring at almost 106 a game, but tonight they could only muster 80.  With Parsons on the bench and Ronnie Brewer starting and getting 0 points in his 25 minutes, the Rockets could not score.  Please McHale play anyone but Brewer.  You’d think he was in for his defense, but the Hawks got 20 points off the fast break, beating Houston at it’s own game.  Houston only got eight fast points.

          After starting with an 11 to 0 run, the Rockets were outscored the rest of the way 83 to 69.  Howard looked ok (7 for 11 from the field and 11 boards) but the wings could not consistently get him the ball on the box.   The last three and a half quarters were really terrible.  The worst part of the game was the end, and it was really bad. With 1:32 to go and down by one, the negativity crystallized. Unbelievably, the Rockets still had a chance to win the game.  Harden went into iso mode and missed a three pointer.  Then Jeremy Lin turned the ball over with a 3 second call trapped in the paint.  The next time down the court Harden takes it to the hole and is blocked by Millsap.  And then, after a time-out, Brooks throws a horrible pass and turns it over.

          Howard has to get the ball in these situations.  At least once in those four possessions you’ve got to go to your big man.  We need a passer into the post.  That art seems to be lost on the Rockets.  Howard is fifth in the league in field goal percentage.  I want to see him demand the ball...stand up and instill some leadership on this listing ship.  Harden looked ok for most of the game with 25 points, seven boards and seven assists, but who on this team can will a victory?  Harden is on his own, just like last year, and the defense just collapses on him.

          McHale went with a lineup of Harden, Lin, Brooks, Garcia and Howard at the end of the game, and still no one could score.  Garcia was 1 for 7, Casspi 0 for 2, Brewer 0 for 2, and Jones 3 for 10.  McHale threw the kitchen sink on the floor tonight, why not Canaan?  Casspi got only six minutes.  The Rockets held the Hawks to 37% from the field and still could not win.  Like I said, I hope you missed this brick fest.

          This was one game where McHale has to take some responsibility.  How is it that the team is so unprepared to give an effort?  The body language is all apathy.  The play after time-outs in crunch time is weak.  McHale tried D Mo for more minutes than Casspi tonight and everytime D Mo made a mistake, the camera would cut to McHale throwing his hands up.  Is McHale grooming D Mo or is he too impatient?  He got five boards in seven minutes tonight.  I agree with Rahat that I would like to see D Mo get more minutes.

          Right now the Rockets are going nowhere.  Will Asik help?  I don’t think so.  It’s going to take some serious revisions or upgrades to make this season count.  There is no way this team right now wins a playoff series.  Rockets fans are looking to that February trade deadline and hoping Morey can pull another miracle to save the season.  We’re not looking for draft picks for the future, we’re looking for a player that can help us change our attitude and can lead by example.  A veteran who will get in people's faces and hold them accountable.  The Rockets have exactly zero mental toughness at this point.  It was hard to watch the product that the management put on the floor tonight. Can we see some grit and heart please?  Can we play some old school Eastern Conference physical ball for once?  Morey, can we look for someone with these qualities in our next acquisitions?


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          #5 Richards

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            Posted 11 January 2014 - 03:45 AM

            Brewer played total of 48 minutes last two games and score 0 points. He is filling in for a guy with 17 PPG.

            We had mis-match at Center and couldn't believe we didn't feed Dwight.

            Blame what you want on Lin, AB, and Beard. This is on Coaches. What a poor game plan.


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            #6 BrentYen

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            Posted 11 January 2014 - 03:53 AM

            So many possessions that D12 can not even seal for some weird reason. I would not blame the feeding issue I guess.


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            LOF here.


            #7 feelingsupersonic

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            Posted 11 January 2014 - 04:17 AM

            The perimeter players look to score first when they get the ball which is usually when Dwight has his guy pinned. In this system when Harden or Lin get the ball they first check off whether they need to shoot or penetrate and in those 3 seconds they have ruined Dwight's chances of getting the ball in an advantageous position. Brooks is the one who sometimes gets it on the wing and immediately throws it into Dwight. Harden is getting better. The challenge is Howard will have to figure how to find his spots so I am not surprised they don't have their rythym down yet just half the season in.

            This aspect of the Rockets game between Harden, Parsons and Lin and how they feed Howard will be better next year.
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            #8 shirtless

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              Posted 11 January 2014 - 04:18 AM

              I was actually really looking forward to this game. According to their selfishness and crunch time data, the Hawks play a rare brand of team ball, probably even more so now that Horford is out. Their coach also spent almost two decades as an assistant with the Spurs. I've caught them on League Pass a few times because I was intrigued, and there are definitely worse ways to spend two hours. The Hawks are often outtalented, but they're rarely outplayed. Tonight was a pretty good example of that. 


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              #9 senkay

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                Posted 11 January 2014 - 04:20 AM



                I agree it's partially up to Howard to seal and that the ball has to go in quicker. There were so many inside passes for turnovers tonight.


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                #10 Richards

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                  Posted 11 January 2014 - 04:26 AM

                  We had so many bad losses this season already.

                  You can blame it on Dwight free throw but he won't improve overnight.

                  You can blame it on Beard's ISO but we have no better option.

                  You can blame it on Lin but you couldn't unload his contract.

                  ......

                  ......

                  I bet McHale won't be around next year.


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                  #11 feelingsupersonic

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                  Posted 11 January 2014 - 04:28 AM

                  I think he will definitely be here next year. The one exception is if they miss the playoffs, if that somehow happens he is gone.
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                  #12 Jatman20

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                    Posted 11 January 2014 - 05:03 AM

                    Looking at the box score Casspi only played 6 minutes ?? (Did he gt hurt?). Garcia only 2 points in 23 minutes (now that is unacceptable). Probably why the Rockets are considering Dunleavy (81% FT% currently) or Gary Neal. Tough to go to D12 in crunch time because of his FT's....but we should go heavy to him in quarters 1-3. I only had a radio broadcast so I know D12 had 2 quick fouls....then i had to leave. Unfortunately the Rockets are not the Raptors who have a better 3P% and Ranks 6th in FT's (Houston only better than Detriot). Toronto can almost go to anyone in crunch time. Garcia is at Hack-A-Shaq level. Harden with that group would be unbeatable. Wish we had Lowry back!!

                    And the Rockets can't waste too much time holding DMo's hand!! Coach McHale: DMo can you learn or study the offensive plays please.....can you please learn your defensive assignments,,,,,,please spend extra-time learning
                    rotation responsibilities.....please, please, please. It's tough enough with Terrence; but two projects at the same time.....DMo learn while playing....
                    That's what our D-league is for. You blink in the West and you are on the outside looking in (Playoffs)!!

                    Edited by Jatman20, 11 January 2014 - 05:12 AM.

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                    #13 Jatman20

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                      Posted 11 January 2014 - 05:28 AM

                      I saw the Thunder lose to the Jazz the other night....nothing but the Thunder ball handler up high with Durant rolling off a curl (screen) practically every play down the stretch. I wish we would have Lin as the ball handler and just bring Harden off a curl.....so that people would quit complaining of isos at the end. It didn't bring a win for Durant. 48 points on 34 shots.
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                      #14 HazeWinkle

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                        Posted 11 January 2014 - 05:37 AM

                        Is there a market for Lin?  


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                        #15 rm90025

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                          Posted 11 January 2014 - 06:32 AM

                          The Rockets don't move the ball as well as they did last year.  Even though they have more talent this year, they utilized last year's roster better.  It all starts with James Harden. The offense has become all about pure isolation, one on one basketball.  Even when they get a fast break, there is rarely any passing. The ideal model for this team is the SA game or the 3rd quarter of the Knicks game....Harden playing as a true SG coming off screens and curls, with a lot of pick and roll/pick and pop options and pushing the pace, with Lin at the point. Today, Harden was so hot to start the game but once ATL's defense clamped down on his shot attempts, the Rockets had no answer and that's inexcusable for a team with this much talent. In the half court, Howard seems out of sync with all of the guards. McHale is not preaching ball movement, spacing, open shots.  He also isn't trying hard enough to establish his big man or to get quality shots from players other than James Harden.

                           

                          Of the top 8 teams in the west, Houston seems to be the one that lack a true identity that all the players can buy into.  They probably have too much talent to miss the playoffs, but something does need to change in order for this team to get out of the first round.  Maybe Morey is thinking of a long game and isn't wedded to getting results in year 1.  But with Golden St. finding its rhythm and the Clippers proving that they will be more than able to hold their own for several weeks without Chris Paul, Houston could likely be looking at 6-8 playoff seed. They would need a big trade or significant coaching shake-up (head coach and/or assistants) to shake things up in order to change their current trajectory.


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                          #16 rm90025

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                            Posted 11 January 2014 - 06:38 AM

                            Is there a market for Lin?  

                            Sure there is.  Lots of teams could use him and there are a number of teams with big contracts to unload and Lin's would be a very favorable one to take back by comparison. I believe his contract only counts $8 million or so against the cap next year (despite the overall $15 million price tag).


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                            #17 Cooper

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                              Posted 11 January 2014 - 07:28 AM

                              Atl should have been a team Dwight, Jones and Harden kill in the paint with horford out. Wing depth Is beginning to look like a serious issue as well.
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                              #18 SDrake

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                                Posted 11 January 2014 - 02:23 PM

                                This team is inconsistent and at best a team that will lose in the 1st round of the playoffs.  They seem unable to string a bunch of Ws together or dominate a lesser team.  Last year's successes were based mainly on (1) quick ball movement around the perimeter that set up open shooters and (2) a fastbreak oriented team.  This season everyone is holding the ball and the fastbreak is an endangered species.  The Hawks outscored the Rockets 20-8 in fastbreak points.  Ridiculous.  The inconsistencies and lack of a clear strategy I lay totally on McHale.  Something needs to shake up things.

                                With 4:18 to go in the game, Garcia missed a 3-pointer.  The next time anyone other than Harden shot a field goal was Lin making a 2-pointer with 0:06 remaining.  In a close game, the Rockets have the most predictable offensive strategy with Harden.

                                 

                                Harden is not an elite player.  To get to that next level and become an elite player, Harden needs to stop being a ball-hog and become a team player.  It's not a sound strategy for the outcomes of games to be dependent upon whether Harden is making his shots.  He's not an elite shooter.


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                                #19 SDrake

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                                  Posted 11 January 2014 - 02:26 PM

                                  Sure there is.  Lots of teams could use him and there are a number of teams with big contracts to unload and Lin's would be a very favorable one to take back by comparison. I believe his contract only counts $8 million or so against the cap next year (despite the overall $15 million price tag).

                                   

                                  Plus, whoever has Lin's contract will get a significant boost in souvenir sales and marketing to Asia.  It's been my understanding that the only issue with Lin's contract is the amount that goes against the cap as other revenue is generated to pay for his actual cost.


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                                  #20 Observer157

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                                    Posted 11 January 2014 - 03:11 PM



                                    Interesting that local media never mentions how Lin has now SHUT DOWN Tony Parker (6pts), Holiday (11pts), Conley (3pts), Teague (7pts 2 for 12 shooting), which are things Beverly never did all season on any PG. Beverly's defensive rating this season is a terrible 108 plus Lin's worst offensive night is Beverly's best. The Rockets lost not due to Lin but when Brooks missed 2 crucial late free throws and had 2 straight bad turnovers, Harden had a turnover and a shot blocked, and McHale ran horrible plays the last 4 minutes. The Lin-haters are idiots blaming him for MAKING the shot but had his toe on the line after another funny Harden dump-pass with 2 seconds left on the shot clock. I can't wait until Lin gets out out of this TOXIC situation, bad coach, flawed selfish stars, hick and prejudiced fans and local media. Jeremy - get out of the red states and end up back on one of the coasts !!


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