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@  Mario Pena (... : (07 December 2014 - 04:46 AM) Beverley is still a game changer for the Rockets, good to see him back on the court.
@  08huangj : (07 December 2014 - 01:38 AM) Bev is playing as an substitute tonight
@  jorgeaam : (06 December 2014 - 11:32 PM) Bev is playing tonight
@  Dan G : (06 December 2014 - 10:09 PM) It's*
@  Dan G : (06 December 2014 - 10:09 PM) rocketrick, true enough. It'd definitely not looking good on that front.
@  jorgeaam : (06 December 2014 - 08:55 PM) Papa, Dwight, Canaan, Jones out tonight, Bev questionable
@  rocketrick : (06 December 2014 - 01:20 PM) 'Dan G' says "We gotta work on our 2nd and 4th quarters." MY HUMBLE OPINION---Hey, How about just concentrating on Team Health for a few weeks.....
@  thejohnnygold : (06 December 2014 - 05:42 AM) Geez, that's nearly half our roster on the injured list...it's cool, Garcia is due to get out of his funk.
@  jorgeaam : (06 December 2014 - 05:28 AM) Kosta Papanikolaou suffered a Grade 1 sprain of his knee on Friday and could miss the next 10 days.
@  Dan G : (06 December 2014 - 03:51 AM) Whew! We gotta work on our 2nd and 4th quarters.
@  jorgeaam : (06 December 2014 - 03:47 AM) I didn't want to jinx it, now it's official, a game winning layup :D
@  jorgeaam : (06 December 2014 - 03:46 AM) Of all the players I'd had expected to drive the lane and make a contested layup with 1 second remaining, Johnson wouldn't be the first
@  jorgeaam : (06 December 2014 - 03:28 AM) D Mo!!!!
@  jorgeaam : (06 December 2014 - 03:22 AM) Oh no, Harden's out
@  SadLakerFan : (06 December 2014 - 03:15 AM) Statement game by the Spurs tonight. TD triple double - the road to the Finals goes through SA.
@  Mario Pena (... : (05 December 2014 - 10:28 PM) I also enjoy how Lowe classifies the different sources of Rockets dislike regarding different aspects of the Rockets (Morey analytics, Dwight's recent history, Harden's ability to get fouls).
@  Mario Pena (... : (05 December 2014 - 10:25 PM) If anyone listens to the Lowe Post podcast with Zach Lowe and Ethan Strauss check out the Rockets talk around 1:05:00. I like how Strauss frankly states that the media doesn't talk about the Rockets because most don't like Houston.
@  thejohnnygold : (04 December 2014 - 05:16 PM) Agreed. He is a long ways off, but I'm cool with investing the time to develop him.
@  txtdo1411 : (04 December 2014 - 04:33 PM) I know Capela looked comically bad at times last night, but man he has all the physical tools to be a dominant defender. I could not believe how effortlessly he would land and jump back above the rim in about a half second. He also seems to have great quickness for a guy that size. I'm extremely excited about his potential.
@  cointurtlemoose : (04 December 2014 - 05:52 AM) 23 offensive rebounds... twenty threeeeee.........

Photo

Houston Rockets 91, New York Knicks 86: The Beard saves the day.


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#1 Red94

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    Posted 25 November 2014 - 04:32 AM

    New post: Houston Rockets 91, New York Knicks 86: The Beard saves the day.
    By: Paul McGuire

    Tonight’s game served as a demonstration both of the importance of having a superstar as well as the fact that even NBA teams without one can pose a serious challenge. Even though Houston did not have three of its starters tonight, the Rockets came out and just outplayed Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks for nearly the entirety of the first half. Melo got his points for much of the game, but the rest of his team seemed completely unable to score. Then with 1:45 left in the second quarter, Anthony left for the locker while gingerly clutching his back. He would not return for the rest of the game, and Houston led 49-38. Easy pickings, right?

     

    Wrong.

     

    Buoyed by Houston’s carelessness, the Knicks promptly closed out the second quarter on an 8-2 run, and then made life miserable for the Rockets for the next one and a half quarters. They switched on every play and forced the Rockets into multiple poor offensive possessions, particularly in the turnover department. J.R. Smith, Pablo Prigioni, and Travis Wear (a rookie from UCLA whom I had never heard of before tonight) hit some major shots. As the Knicks took a 78-72 lead in the fourth quarter, they appeared to be playing better without their superstar and ready to defeat a team with one.

     

    But at the end of the day, New York’s lack of a superstar worked against. James Harden came in with eight minutes left in the game, and proceed to either score or assist on every single Houston basket for the remainder of the game. He finished with 36 points on 11-22 shooting, and an invigorated Houston crowd chanted “MVP” when he stood at the free throw line at the end of the game.

     

    I discussed my concerns about Houston’s offense and its dependency on Harden in the recap against Dallas, so I do not intend to discuss it in detail again. When Terrence Jones, Dwight Howard, and Patrick Beverley return, the Rockets will gain offensive options that they currently do not have while maintaining the elite defense which has led them to victories throughout this season. Still, there were far too many turnovers tonight. After losing Carmelo, New York adjusted their defense to switch whenever they could, preventing the Rockets from making passes for easy shots. Despite his late game heroics, Harden did have five turnovers, including one pass in the third quarter which appeared to be aimed directly at New York point guard Shane Larkin. Kostas Papanikolau also struggled badly on the turnover front and finished with five in just 25 minutes of play.

     

    But despite the offensive problems, the defense has been a beauty to watch. While Harden deserves praise for turning into a good defender after the past few seasons, Trevor Ariza also has changed quite a bit defensively compared to his previous stint in a Rockets uniform. Ariza was not a bad defender back in 2009-10, but he did have a penchant for trying to intercept passes. This was fine when he did succeed, but it just as often left Houston’s defense scrambled and vulnerable when he failed. Ariza this season is no longer doing this as often and has been much more fundamentally sound in comparison to the old Ariza. Nevertheless, he still managed to get three steals against the Knicks tonight. While Ariza’s offense and shooting has been up and down for much of this season, his consistency on the defensive end has been an important steadying factor to a team whose starting lineup seemingly changes from game to game.

     

    But big men remain the linchpin of any elite defense, and the Rockets big men have filled in admirably without Howard. Even Joey Dorsey managed to get some good minutes on the defensive end, much less Tarik Black and Motiejunas. Motiejunas in particular really has become a plus defender. He makes mistakes, especially on the pick and roll, but his speed and length helped to guard the paint, whether from New York’s guard driving or their big men.

     

    But it is one thing to guard Quincy Acy and the corpse of Amare Stoudamire. On Wednesday night, the Rockets will be taking on the Sacramento Kings and a center comparable to if not better than Dwight. Patrick Beverley and Jones will be out for that game, but Howard might be better by then. We will certainly need him to take on Demarcus Cousins.


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    #2 Steven

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      Posted 25 November 2014 - 06:39 AM

      Think Morey can trade for Cousins before Wednesday?
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      #3 Dayak

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      Posted 25 November 2014 - 12:49 PM

      Black and Dorsey will be eaten alive by Cousins :P

      It's nice to see how Harden improves his defense this season. Harden for MPV!
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      #4 marbony81110

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      Posted 25 November 2014 - 03:30 PM

      So I'm reading TheTen on ESPN and the only mention of the Rockets game is a clip of James Harden not running back on D during a fast break. Out of all the stellar things Harden did on offense and defense that is the ONLY thing worth mentioning. Just horrible journalism that will continue to blind people to how much Harden has improved on D. People really want Harden to be some kind of villian. He will never be a true MVP candidate with this type of media coverage.

       

      http://espn.go.com/nba/theten

       

      You should also read the comments on bleacher report. It's actually pretty funny.

       

      http://bleacherrepor...break-vs-knicks


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      #5 cointurtlemoose

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        Posted 25 November 2014 - 04:38 PM

        ^Self-perpetuated internet trends like that bother me too. Perception is usually always ~6 months behind reality.

         

        And I'm really happy about DMo. I knew that early season funk would shake off. Hopefully he can keep it up and keep growing!

         

        And yes, this Kings game is going to be interesting down low...


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        #6 thejohnnygold

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        Posted 25 November 2014 - 04:42 PM

        So I'm reading TheTen on ESPN and the only mention of the Rockets game is a clip of James Harden not running back on D during a fast break. Out of all the stellar things Harden did on offense and defense that is the ONLY thing worth mentioning. Just horrible journalism that will continue to blind people to how much Harden has improved on D. People really want Harden to be some kind of villian. He will never be a true MVP candidate with this type of media coverage.

         

        http://espn.go.com/nba/theten

         

        You should also read the comments on bleacher report. It's actually pretty funny.

         

        http://bleacherrepor...break-vs-knicks

         

        Yeah, that is pretty lousy stuff.  Seems like Harden was trying to catch Larkin with an offensive charge, but he passed away from it.

         

        I went looking to see where James is on the endorsement ladder and found this hilarious article (LINK).  Not sure what, how, or why, but it made me giggle.

         

        It seems if you aren't in the top 10 of endorsement deals you do not matter so I can't find any actual data, but he has definitely been surfacing in more and more ads.  What does this mean and why does it matter?  Easy.  Money.  Those companies are investing a lot of money into an image, an idea, an icon, and they aren't going to let a bunch of hacks and still bitter Lin Fans ruin their investment.

         

        Money talks, and I expect it to start talking about Harden's defense, carrying this MASH unit of a team, his MVP legitimacy, and so on....

         

        There will always be ignorant masses and they almost always have the loudest voice.  I despise them and the vulture journalists who feed off of them.  In one regard, I like it.  I think James needs a little extra kick in the pants (he's not like Kobe who would cut out his own mother's heart if it got him another ring) and all of this may be a blessing in disguise.

         

        Back on topic--I loved last night's game.  Yes, we had some issues and let NY keep it close, but I will still contend that even without Melo this is a professional basketball team with good players.  Calderon, Prigioni (who is under-rated), Stoudemire, Acy (it's like they cloned Reggie Evans), Hardaway Jr., Shump, etc.  That's a professional basketball team, people.  They are very, very good.  Given our current injury situation any win is a good win.  Now, if we still play down to that level with our 3 starters back I will worry more--until then, it's a good win.  They're all good wins!

         

        Big ups for D-Mo.  The bigger question is why aren't we seeing Daniels?  Must be something pretty bad to keep that sniper off the floor.


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