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@  SadLakerFan : (16 September 2015 - 04:37 AM) Man, as a Laker fan, I'm learning how little you care about the off season when your team sucks. Anyway, a quick moment to remember Moses. Still remember watching the 81 team as a kid - losing record, NBA Finals. I would have cried w/joy if they could have beaten the Celtics.
@  jorgeaam : (15 September 2015 - 08:30 PM) http://bleacherrepor...ist-after-crash
@  jorgeaam : (15 September 2015 - 08:30 PM) So to celebrate his new contract, Montrezl Harrell saved someone's life on monday
@  thejohnnygold : (14 September 2015 - 04:36 PM) A good article from Blinebury talking about when Hakeem and Moses used to play in the park. LINK
@  rockets best... : (14 September 2015 - 02:29 AM) I agree totally. I got to watch his Rocket days and the man was a hell of a player. BIG MO R.I.P.
@  Mario Peña : (13 September 2015 - 05:24 PM) Sad to see Moses pass. I don't remember watching him as a Rocket but I do remember his Philly and Hawks teams. He was the perfect man to mentor Dream. It's a very sad day for his family and friends and there are many.
@  majik19 : (12 September 2015 - 09:01 PM) i just saw a post wishing Yao Ming a happy 35th birthday... am I the only one whose mind is blown that he's only 35?
@  cointurtlemoose : (08 September 2015 - 01:17 AM) aaaah, thanks jorge
@  jorgeaam : (08 September 2015 - 12:21 AM) Love it how Hinkie and Morey always target the same players, but hoping he isn't another Covington
@  thejohnnygold : (08 September 2015 - 12:03 AM) Christian Wood has signed with Philly
@  jorgeaam : (07 September 2015 - 10:32 PM) If I'm not wrong, he hasn't been waived yet, they have until october 4th to do that
@  cointurtlemoose : (07 September 2015 - 05:39 PM) Anyone else surprised that Kostas hasn't gotten picked up by anyone yet? I wanna see that guy play somewhere
@  redfaithful : (05 September 2015 - 10:48 PM) Llull line from today loss to Serbia: 30MIN 1-10PG, 0-5 3PG, 4-4FT 6AST, 1TO, 4REB, +/- -11
@  Losthief : (03 September 2015 - 02:27 AM) this dude's gun fired and all he got a misdemeanor at bush lol: http://abc13.com/new...ush-iah/815795/
@  Losthief : (03 September 2015 - 02:26 AM) theres more articles all over, but the jist is houston (and texas) doesn't really arrest for it, they just recommend you leave it in your car when they catch it. So seems dwight got lucky he was in texas and not cali or the NE.
@  Losthief : (03 September 2015 - 02:22 AM) honestly we should just be glad they caught it...
@  Losthief : (03 September 2015 - 02:21 AM) response: http://nymag.com/dai...n_airplane.html
@  Losthief : (03 September 2015 - 01:42 AM) one bullet left in the chamber is diff than fully loaded and ready to go. Still stupid...but not like he was prepared for a shooting spree.
@  jorgeaam : (02 September 2015 - 09:33 PM) http://www.tmz.com/2...t-get-arrested/
@  jorgeaam : (02 September 2015 - 09:33 PM) So according to TMZ (I know, I know) Dwight Howard had an incident last month in which he took a loaded gun into an airport, but he was allowed to give it to a friend to take it back and wasn't arrested.


Examining the Houston Rockets' Dwight Howard and Donatas Motiejunas pairing

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#1 Red94


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    Posted 18 December 2014 - 02:35 PM

    New post: Examining the Houston Rockets' Dwight Howard and Donatas Motiejunas pairing
    By: Rahat Huq

    It's been striking witnessing the complete transformation of the Houston offense these past two games since Dwight Howard's return to the lineup.  After Donatas Motiejunas' emergence as a legitimate post option during Howard's absence, the fear held by many, including myself, was that Kevin McHale would revert the former to his previous role as a bystander.  So far, that has not been the case.  Last night, even with Howard on the court, the Rockets looked to establish Motiejunas on nearly every possession in the early going, surely an astonishing sight for any observer of this team.  D-Mo finished with 18 points on 7-13 shooting; Howard put in 24 and 16.


    We talked extensively of the potential of the big man pairing in our latest podcast episode, but last night's game only reaffirmed my former beliefs.  A budding Motiejunas is not simply a weapon - his emergence signals the total metamorphosis of this team from a year ago.  Primarily a pick and roll team last season, Houston looked either to the blocks for their big men or to a Harden isolation on what seemed like every possession last night.  As I noted on Twitter, there were several possessions where after looking around early in the shot clock for some other development, Houston simply opted to feed Motiejunas on the block and allow him to go to work.  McHale and the team have developed extreme trust in this bailout option.


    The ramifications are simple.  For as much as has been made regarding the low efficiency of postups in today's NBA, they can serve as an anchor, allowing a team to rest while still getting a look at the basket.  There were a shockingly high number of plays last night where James Harden simply walked the ball up and fed Motiejunas, pacing to the weak side to wait for the play to unfold.  If that's what allows him to conserve his energy for sustained defensive effort and late game dominance, so be it.


    The big question going forward for the 7 footer pairing is their effectiveness against the Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Clippers.  Despite the media lovefest surrounding the Warriors, I'm confident in Houston's chances against that team in a 7-game series.  And the Grizzlies are terrifying but Motiejunas has fared well historically against Zach Randolph.  The Thunder and Clippers are the two teams in the West who, in recent history, have tormented the Rockets, and against whom I think things will be very difficult.  I've noted in the past, the disappointing thing last season in the team's losses to those teams was not just that they lost but that Dwight Howard was almost always rendered completely ineffective.  I pegged that as an indictment upon Howard but several of you noted, accurately, the true problem was Terrence Jones.


    As I've stated repeatedly since last year, it is not a surprise that Jones has his best games against bad teams.  Bad teams are bad for a reason.  Aside from having an inferior gameplan, their scouting sometimes leaves much to be desired.  While the Thunder and Clippers dare Jones to shoot, bad teams close out at the three-point, perplexingly respecting his outside shot, allowing him to drive by.  Inside, those two teams swarm Dwight Howard with active bodies, but have the benefit of the likes of a Serge Ibaka being able to recover quickly enough to snuff out anything from Jones near the rim.  The result almost always has been a totally ineffective Jones and a neutralized Howard.  Almost without fail, Kevin McHale last season closed out games without a power forward on the court, against good teams.


    Will things be different now?  For Houston to succeed, they absolutely must get something from the power forward position.  Recall that similarly, while during a completely different, far kinder era, the Rockets could not get past Seattle until acquiring Charles Barkley to man the power forward position.  Precedent to that trade, the Sonics zoned Olajuwon on the block, limiting his effectiveness.  Can Motiejunas come close to that effect?  For one, if he's posting, that already is drawing more attention than Jones ever did.  If the second big doubles down, that leaves an open Dwight Howard - a scary proposition for the basket support.  If they opt to defend one on one, even then, you'd have to like Howard's chances in his matchup from the weakside.  It's less attention than he was drawing before.


    Defensively, the pairing is stout.  The big question, like with the Asik-Howard pairing, pertains to spacing.  If Howard is posting, Motiejunas can kind of drift to the perimeter.  He's not a good shooter, but he has range and has been hitting his threes of late (3/5 last night).  But with Motiejunas posting?  That remains to be seen.  There was one possession in particular early last night that resulted in a very awkward looking Dwight Howard midrange jumpshot.  The other results, at first glance, were promising.




    The above was literally the first play of the game last night.  Since I don't have time to break through every instance of the pair's time together on the floor, I want to take random samplings to assess various instances.  Here, after Motiejunas posts, Beverley feeds him off the roll.  After D-Mo sucks in three defenders, he finds Howard inside for a jump hook which he missed.  You could argue that the Denver defender was able to rotate quickly enough to contest the Howard hook, something Thunder bigs would certainly also be capable of.  On the other hand, had the pass not been errant, that is likely a dunk.


    Look at this freeze:


    Screenshot 2014-12-18 08.24.26


    Motiejunas has three defenders, Ariza is wide open at the 3-point line, and Dwight freaking Howard is wide the f*** open.  Those are some pretty high percentage options.


    I noticed also last night that James Harden seemed to have some spacious driving lanes to the hoop, despite the presence of the 7-footers.  I want to look into that more closely next because that was a point of contention regarding the Asik-Howard pairing last season.


    The Rockets have to find a way to make this work, just like they needed to with Asik and Howard last season.  Having two dangerous 7-footers playing together is a difficult proposition for any team to defend, especially with the league MVP already on the perimeter.

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    #2 NorEastern


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      Posted 18 December 2014 - 03:33 PM

      And I thought I knew everything about the Howard - D-Mo pairing. Boy was I ever wrong.


      D-Mo and Howard defensively bring together two very different styles of defense. Howard is the intimidating shot blocker. D-Mo is the positional defender, adept at keeping his seven foot frame between the ball and the basket. An ideal pairing. D-Mo is weak on the boards, but the Rockets have numerous excellent rebounders, so that weakness is not detrimental.


      Offensively is where the Howard - D-Mo pairing becomes interesting. D-Mo on the post with Howard weak side is perhaps ideal. D-Mo is beginning to get double teamed and the shooters and Howard are beginning to get wide open. Your still captures that situation perfectly. Once D-Mo reviews the tape his passing should begin to make teams pay dearly for that double team. I look forward to a few D-Mo - Howard lobs for dunks every game. I find it fascinating that D-Mo is starting to take Howard's post ups away from him. Howard is by far more productive on P&Rs and weak side play. Maybe D-Mo's presence will limit the inefficient Howard post ups.


      It is becoming obvious to me that D-Mo can guard the Blakes and LMAs in the league. A huge body, very quick feet, and sound positional defense will slow down those power forwards. KD however is a completely different story. But KD is going to get his unless defenders can start utilizing butterfly nets to defend him. We will see.


      As you so accurately pointed out D-Mo is an offensive option that allows the Rockets a short break on offense.The importance of those short breaks cannot be over stated. I find it promising that D-Mo is starting to hit his threes. A master post up player who can also function as a stretch four? Wouldn't that be remarkable?

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      #3 Jatman20


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        Posted 18 December 2014 - 11:52 PM

        I have been very critical of D-Mo in the past! I have confidence in his hook shot with either hand. I felt if Asik had his mind right he could lurk on the opposite side baseline (when on offense with D12 posting up) ready to swoop in or take an alley oop. It appears D-Mo can play the role of D12; with D12 ready to swoop in and follow up with authority. It works for me!! I hate D-Mo's 3 point shot ( feet spread apart while bringing one over to the other as he shoots....work in project ). D-Mo's footwork in the post works for me though. So the question of depth at Center/PF and maybe SG remains IMO. Rondo with Dallas is interesting to me.....can he co-exist with Monta? Lessens the Center depth with the loss of Brandon Wright. I expect us to get Corey Brewer and a backup Center/PF combo player with some experience.
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        #4 Jatman20


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          Posted 19 December 2014 - 12:27 AM

          Now we can go after Brandan Wright near the trading deadline (Depending on Terrence J's health). His PER is currently 26.....yes not the tell-all rating scale; but says he does well over several stats that matter.
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          #5 Cooper


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            Posted 19 December 2014 - 04:04 AM

            Wright is charmin soft is the only issue.

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            #6 Steven



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              Posted 19 December 2014 - 05:39 AM

              I prefer Charmin soft. Way better then John Wayne toilet paper.
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