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@  thejohnnygold : (21 January 2014 - 03:18 PM) Chandler Parsons is doing an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Reddit today at 4pm Central time. LINK
@  HoopsReportCard : (21 January 2014 - 03:13 PM) https://twitter.com/...467358350548992
@  thenit : (21 January 2014 - 03:51 AM) Bev was real good
@  feelingsuper... : (21 January 2014 - 03:32 AM) It sure is good to have Beverley back, good team win!
@  blakecouey : (21 January 2014 - 03:32 AM) First game back and Bev puts up a gaudy +26. Great win.
@  miketheodio : (21 January 2014 - 02:07 AM) I'm not liking this. Offense losing it's rhythm towards the half.
@  Dayak : (20 January 2014 - 04:34 AM) Great work Justin!
@  Opasido : (19 January 2014 - 02:53 AM) Luke Ridnour's shoes are sweet though..
@  thejohnnygold : (18 January 2014 - 08:36 PM) Justin, you've made it to Reddit.com as well!
@  feelingsuper... : (17 January 2014 - 08:00 PM) Mike and Seth on 610AM just mentioned Justin Wehr's graph comparing Harden favorably to other greats.
@  Richards : (17 January 2014 - 02:38 PM) It seems some already threw white flags. Repeated losses don't rattle them anymore.
@  feelingsuper... : (17 January 2014 - 02:35 PM) I agree Drew. Years ago when I was more emotionally invested this loss would have devastated me. Really this is just part of them paying their dues, I agree with rocketrick in that it will strengthen them. The mention if Asik was not an excuse just a logical thing to mention considering how physical the second half was, Dwight was all alone down low.
@  Drew in Abilene : (17 January 2014 - 02:14 PM) Yes, Houston lost after leading by double digits, but this was against a very strong Thunder team on the second night of a back-to-back with key players injured. Still stinks to lose a winnable game, but I don't see cause for panic.
@  rocketrick : (17 January 2014 - 11:41 AM) This game will stiffen the Rockets backbone for future tussles headed our direction. But man, that was one ugly second half to have to witness in person!
@  Buckko : (17 January 2014 - 07:40 AM) Asik has been injured, and you can't use him as an excuse. We will get him back by the end of the month though.
@  miketheodio : (17 January 2014 - 06:41 AM) another blown double digit lead
@  feelingsuper... : (17 January 2014 - 05:23 AM) Perhaps Harden should have shot more to find his shot in the second half, to get it going. The Rockets sure could use a committed Asik, it's a shame what he did to this team.
@  feelingsuper... : (17 January 2014 - 05:20 AM) I agree, it's crazy. Seventy three in the first half and 19 in the second half.
@  thenit : (17 January 2014 - 05:15 AM) I know but scoring under 20 in second half is deflating
@  feelingsuper... : (17 January 2014 - 05:14 AM) Not entirely unexpected, this is a young team searching for an identity facing a team with a system in place. This won't happen next year.

Photo

Portland Trail Blazers @ Houston Rockets on 1/20/14


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#1 Red94

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    Posted 20 January 2014 - 01:51 PM

    New post: Portland Trail Blazers @ Houston Rockets on 1/20/14
    By: Paul McGuire

    If a picture is indeed a thousand words, then three pictures, courtesy of NBA.com, should suffice to explain just what Houston will be up against tonight.

       

    The Houston Rockets are the first shot chart.  The defending champion Miami Heat are the second.  And the Portland Trail Blazers are the third.

    In case those images did not make it clear, the Portland Trail Blazers are a ludicrously good offensive team from every area of the floor.  Measured by offensive rating, they are not just the best offensive team this year; they are the best offensive team since the 2009-10 Phoenix Suns.  The gap between them and 2nd-best Miami is equivalent to the gap between Miami and the 12th-best Denver Nuggets.  They attempt as many 3 pointers per game as Houston does - only while Houston is the 23rd most accurate team from long range, the Trail Blazers are 2nd.

    How do they do it?  By just being good at every facet of the offensive game.  The Blazers can post-up with Lamarcus Aldridge.  They can iso with Damian Lillard.  Wesley Matthews and Nicolas Batum are deadly spot up shooters, and Robin Lopez crashes the glass and ensures that their defense is just "bad" and not "embarrassing".  Shut down one part of Portland's offense, and they go to another part.  Houston's last game against the Blazers demonstrated this - Patrick Beverley (who fortunately should make his return from a broken hand tonight) humiliated Lillard into a 1-10 performance from the field, but Aldridge went off in the second half to score 31 points and grab 25 rebounds in a Portland victory.

    This is an incredibly difficult matchup for the Rockets, as they have repeatedly struggled to guard the perimeter and will get off screens, things which Portland will take advantage of.  The Blazers certainly have their weaknesses – they are a horrid defensive team by the standards of a contender, and while their bench has improved substantially from last season, it’s not significantly better than Houston’s even considering Garcia and Smith’s injuries and Asik’s…problem.  But against a team playing this well, Houston cannot afford mistakes and lapses like they have demonstrated far too many times over the past few weeks.

    Key Matchup:

    LaMarcus Aldridge vs. Houston’s big men.

    In his two earlier games against the Rockets, Aldridge faced two very different scenarios from Houston’s bigs.  In the first game early in the season, Aldridge dealt with the Twin Towers experiment of Howard and Asik with bits of Omri Casspi, and finished with a pedestrian 21 points on 19 shots.  Later, Terrence Jones and Dwight Howard faced off against Aldridge, who as mentioned above outshot and overpowered Houston.

    Aldridge is somehow playing even better this January as he averages 26 points a game, but with Motiejunas emerging as a actual rotation player, Houston may be able to run a traditional 4-5 rotation for the entire game.  Will that be enough to contain Aldridge and Portland’s offense, or will Portland catch up to tie the Spurs for 1st place in the West?

    Tip off is at 7:00pm CST

     


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    #2 feelingsupersonic

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    Posted 20 January 2014 - 02:32 PM

    Another big test for the Rockets tonight and I expect they will lose. I would like to see the Rockets make it a game though with a balanced offensive attack and defensive stops down the stretch. It's like tomebrokeoff once qouted Scotty Brooks, and I'm paraphrasing here, the Rockets are not losing but learning how to win.
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    #3 SadLakerFan

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      Posted 21 January 2014 - 04:01 AM

      Very impressive!  Didn't see the game - last game of the Texas three-step, Blazers may have been tired (?), but Rockets destroyed them on the boards (9 from Motiejunas?).  Coming out party for Parsons 31-10-7 is nice.  Hopefully, with Beverly back, McHale can reduce Parson's and Harden's minutes in games against lesser opponents, b/c 40+ a night is a lot to ask. 

       

      Didn't see the Lakers game either, but I noticed that Pau had 20 and 19. 


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      #4 Buckko

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        Posted 21 January 2014 - 04:10 AM

        Well we can say our 3 best players out class the blazers best 3. The blazers are not on San Antonio's and okc's level IMO. Having the 22nd best D is going to get you no where in the playoffs.
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        #5 Red94

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          Posted 21 January 2014 - 04:52 AM

          New post: Houston Rockets 126, Trail Blazers 113 - Second verse, different from the first
          By: Forrest Walker

          The Houston Rockets took center stage on a national broadcast, scored over 70 points in the first half against a top-flight Western Conference rival, and were shooting a ridiculous percent from three point range. Everything was in place for another historic collapse to match Thursday's debacle. The Portland Trail Blazers stormed back and even trimmed a 20+ point deficit to a mere 6. Unlike the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Blazers were unable to clamp down on the Rockets, and Houston scored a perfectly reasonable 55 points in the second half. The ghosts of that collapse may not have been fully exorcised, but the Rockets have a lot of good reasons to be proud.

          The biggest plus was the return of Patrick Beverley, Houston's starting point guard. While there's a lively debate to be had whether Jeremy Lin or Patrick Beverley is the better player, Beverley is overall a better defender, and against players like Damian Lillard, that's huge for Houston. Lillard still had a good night, scoring 24 points on 17 shots and dishing 5 dimes, but the damage could have been far worse. His return deepens Houston's bench considerably, allows for more defensive and offensive options and brings back another shooter. Welcome back, Patrick. We missed you.

          The other big story on the night was shooting. The Rockets did it a lot, did it well, and kept doing it the whole time. Patrick Beverley's 3-8 shooting was one of the worse three point lines for the team, to put it in perspective. The Rockets hit 48.5% from deep, and moreover they were shooting open threes. The offense was clicking again and the Rockets were obviously enjoying themselves. If Houston can find this sort of zeal more often, many of their mental lapses and fatigue issues should shrink considerably. They may be inexperienced, but that condition won't last forever.

          On the other hand, the Blazers are a mess on defense, especially in the post. Dwight Howard had a field day, shooting 9-15, grabbing 12 boards and racking up 24 points. LaMarcus Aldridge, on the other hand, took 26 shots to score 27 points, narrowly avoiding the dreaded "more points than attempts" club (though his 20 rebounds were phenomenal). Robin Lopez was primarily in charge of guarding Howard in the post, and he was not ready for it. Dwight is both faster and stronger than Lopez, which is little insult to Robin, who's doing a great job otherwise. The Blazers chose not to double Howard in the vast majority of circumstances, and Dwight made them pay repeatedly.

          Of course, Chandler Parsons cannot be ignored. He scored a game-high 31 points, shot 12-19 from the field, knocked down 3 threes, grabbed 10 boards, racked up 7 assists, threw in 2 blocks for fun and only committed 1 turnover. The Blazers may be a poor defensive team, but that's an amazing line against any roster. With Terrence Jones briefly sidelined, Parsons showed up big when he was needed most. The player development that everyone has been waiting for seems to be happening in fits and starts, and a few more games like this will turn data points into trends.

          James Harden chipped in with a 7-15 line to the tune of 22 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists. He also contributed 5 turnovers, but in a win that stings less. His defense seems to be picking up, and at least has more effort behind it if not more results. At one point he closed out on an open referee, so there's still some room to grow. This may not have been a particularly good game from Harden, but the fact that 22, 6 and 5 represents a mediocre night says a lot about who he is as a player.

          The Rockets are back, even though they never really left. With players returning from injury, January and early February will be a good time for the Rockets to get back to full strength before the inevitable trade out of left field. The game against the Thunder showed what happened when the wheels fall off and the threes stop falling. Tonight's matchup with the Blazers showed what happens when the engine keeps chugging along. Houston may not have the best defense, or the most savvy players, or the deepest playbook, but they have talent. And sometimes talent counts.


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          #6 Alituro

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            Posted 21 January 2014 - 01:56 PM

            It's great to have Beverley back... (LOFs excluded) Am I the only one around here that gnashes his teeth every time Lin has the ball? I'm repeatedly mumbling to myself "Don't turn it over, Don't turn it over, Don't turn it over" I'm ok with the dribble-drives that result in a shot, but when they don't, the whole rest of the team only scrambles to be in a spot to bail him out. I'd say about 95% of the time leads to a bad pass and about 75% of the time a TO. The 25% the pass is caught by a teammate, usually they're out of position and have their backs against the shot clock. Of course these percentages aren't verified, but it's what my eye sees, anybody know what his true TO % is on drives when he doesn't shoot? To his credit, I've seen games where he has behaved like a true PG and has done very good at it, and is the mode he should be in if he's on the floor with Harden, I just don't see it often enough. Also to his credit, when Harden is out, there is few others I'd rather see with the ball trying to create shots. It frustrates me to no end though to see the rest of the guys continually trying to be in a position to bail him out when he hits a brick wall. As the 5th scoring option on the floor when Harden, Howard, Parsons and Jones are on the floor (4th with Jones out), he doesn't need to be doing that crap, only when he is elevated to 1st or 2nd option. Beverley understands this role and only takes opportune shots in the flow of the offense, while he doesn't rack up crazy assist totals, I'd bet his hockey assists are high and he PROTECTS THE BALL all of the time.

             

            D-mo had a respectable outing with Jones out..


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            #7 timetodienow1234567

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            Posted 21 January 2014 - 01:58 PM

            Lol.
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            Why so Serious? :D


            #8 Sir Thursday

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            Posted 21 January 2014 - 02:01 PM

            Measuring Aldridge on points-per-shot is a bit misleading in this game. Several of his 8 offensive rebounds were recovering his own missed shots and going back up, the net effect of which is that his shooting numbers are made to look worse than the reality of his effectiveness while his rebounding totals are slightly padded.

             

            Really good win for the Rockets tonight. I can't quite figure out whether I'd want to face these Blazers in a best of 7 series though. Based on what I've seen so far I'd probably prefer San Antonio, as strange as that sounds.

             

            ST


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            #9 HoopsReportCard

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              Posted 21 January 2014 - 03:11 PM

              I couldnt have said it any better myself. Patrick Beverly is key to this team's success.

              Edited by feelingsupersonic, 21 January 2014 - 05:30 PM.

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              #10 thenit

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                Posted 21 January 2014 - 09:35 PM

                It was a good win, and good to see Bev out there. He is just such a better fit next to Harden and the other starters, while I think Lin will get back into rhytm in a few games with the other rotation players. Lin has played poorly in January.

                 

                I would say all our rotation players are important to our success in the playoffs. Some more and some less. Good to see Dmo play well again, I'm just wondering why we don't feed the man 1 or 2 times a game in the post. He has better move than Dwight and should be able to have a good mis match with opposing PF.


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                #11 Buckko

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                  Posted 21 January 2014 - 10:10 PM

                  I would take a 7 game series with the blazers. They simply do not have the personnel for defense for the playoffs. They have the 22nd rank D, we have the 10th. Not to mention our D will only get better with health,chemistry, and experience. We can all agree that harden is getting better, getting P-Bev back, and asik coming back soon is fantastic. Now I would like to play the spurs too and AVOID OKC, boy Durant has our number. Ever wonder if he harbors a secret resentment for harden for forcing his way out to houston, leading us to the playoffs and Beverly giving Westbrook a career jeopardizing injury when they could've been in the greatest dynasty since Jordan?
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                  #12 thejohnnygold

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                  Posted 21 January 2014 - 11:52 PM

                  I would take a 7 game series with the blazers. They simply do not have the personnel for defense for the playoffs. They have the 22nd rank D, we have the 10th. Not to mention our D will only get better with health,chemistry, and experience. We can all agree that harden is getting better, getting P-Bev back, and asik coming back soon is fantastic. Now I would like to play the spurs too and AVOID OKC, boy Durant has our number. Ever wonder if he harbors a secret resentment for harden for forcing his way out to houston, leading us to the playoffs and Beverly giving Westbrook a career jeopardizing injury when they could've been in the greatest dynasty since Jordan?

                   

                  I'm pretty sure that's not what happened.  OKC management knew they could only pay one of Ibaka or Harden and opted for Ibaka.  Harden was shown the door.  If Durant harbors resentment for anyone it's Presti for trading Jeff Green for Perkins and not amnestying Perk which directly led to Harden's departure.  Harden wanted to stay in OKC.  They would be closing out games with Westbrook, Harden, Durant, Green, and Ibaka on the floor....never lose a 4th quarter again.


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                  #13 Buckko

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                    Posted 22 January 2014 - 12:58 AM

                    Ok but back to the point harden isn't there anymore and I never see durant play with such energy as he does against us.
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                    #14 SadLakerFan

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                      Posted 22 January 2014 - 04:40 AM

                      I couldnt have said it any better myself. Patrick Beverly is key to this team's success.

                      You mean as opposed to Harden, Howard and Parsons?  Patrick, is that you?


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