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@  jorgeaam : (16 January 2015 - 01:45 AM) Wow, Rockets leading 40-18 after 1Q against OKC
@  cointurtlemoose : (15 January 2015 - 04:15 AM) And we seemed to be fighting lethargy on our D all night, and too heavily depending on rim protection that had been dragged out of the paint via Vucevic. Oh, and turnovers.
@  cointurtlemoose : (15 January 2015 - 04:13 AM) Coming off of that CHI win, Orlando was clicking; I was actually kinda impressed.
@  Mario Peña : (15 January 2015 - 03:52 AM) What happened? I just got home from work and see the Rockets lost to Orlando.
@  jorgeaam : (13 January 2015 - 06:15 AM) What were you expecting? He's been a poor shooter all his career :P
@  SadLakerFan : (13 January 2015 - 04:54 AM) Maybe Smith was a good pickup after all. In the 4 games since Boston Rondo is 7-37 (18.9%), 0 FT, )3PG. Atrocious.
@  jorgeaam : (10 January 2015 - 07:53 PM) The Knicks are losing 89-44 trough 3 quarters today
@  cointurtlemoose : (10 January 2015 - 07:25 PM) Shoutout to Tarik having a monster 17 min for the Lakers last night!
@  Losthief : (09 January 2015 - 11:12 PM) yeah its impressive, but really just made me sad for the leastern conference that winning 7 in a row after being 5-23ish allows you to get into playoff contention.
@  jorgeaam : (09 January 2015 - 09:46 PM) Is anyone here impressed by the fact that the Pistons are 7-0 since waiving Josh Smith?, they've beat the Kings, Spurs, Mavs, Pacers and Cleveland with LeBron in that span.
@  jorgeaam : (09 January 2015 - 09:41 PM) Poor Melo, his team is just terrible
@  Mario Peña : (09 January 2015 - 08:38 PM) Right, I wonder if Melo thought about his Houston visit, probably not but still. I was riding backseat in the Melo bandwagon last summer but I'm glad that didn't happen, I think, mostly.
@  Cooper : (09 January 2015 - 06:36 PM) watching melo react to cole aldrich post ups was a good laugh
@  cointurtlemoose : (09 January 2015 - 06:18 PM) Good points actually!
@  Mario Peña : (09 January 2015 - 04:55 PM) Plus I like watching Fish squirm and Jackson look foolish when they're across the court facing the Rockets.
@  Mario Peña : (09 January 2015 - 04:53 PM) For me any time the Rockets can destroy New York it brings me joy, 1994 seems like not long ago in my basketball memory.
@  cointurtlemoose : (09 January 2015 - 04:24 AM) Was that a real NBA game or some sort of weird, nationally-televised scrimmage?
@  Mario Peña : (07 January 2015 - 03:29 PM) Have fun bboley! Don't forget your Rockets socks!
@  bboley24 : (06 January 2015 - 07:08 PM) Driving to Cleveland tomorrow to see the Rockets take on Cleveland... in the snow.
@  thenit : (06 January 2015 - 01:42 AM) Schump is a great fit in that lineup. Plays D and doesn't need the ball and doesn't take many shots


Houston Rockets 113, Brooklyn Nets 99 - Don't wake the beard

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#1 Red94


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    Posted 13 January 2015 - 04:45 AM

    New post: Houston Rockets 113, Brooklyn Nets 99 - Don't wake the beard
    By: Forrest Walker

    If you want to sneak up on a better team, don't throw the basketball at their head first. The Brooklyn Nets learned that the hard way after a sudden and unexpected altercation erupted four minutes into the game. Kevin Garnett took exception to Dwight Howard's play under the rim and gave Howard a bit of a shove, the beginning of an exchange that included a headbutt from Garnett. Kevin Garnett walked around the court shouting (and being held by various players) before the altercation finally ended. When the dust settled, Garnett was ejected and Howard was given a technical foul. Then the rest of the dust settled, and James Harden was standing atop the rubble of the Brooklyn Nets.


    The Rockets might have been vulnerable to a bit of ennui, just complacent enough for a veteran team with a veteran coach to get the better of. We'll never know if a languid Houston team might have fallen, because Kevin Garnett woke the beard, and sometimes the beard eats you. The Nets were scoring at a mighty clip to begin the game, and actually hung around for a good while. In the second half, however, the Rockets slammed the door shut quickly, calmly, and directly on the head of an already hurting Nets team. The game tightened up significantly in garbage time, which lasted nearly the entire fourth quarter. It was a tremendous blowout, which is the best possible way to curtail minutes for the starters.


    The Nets were able to take advantage of some porous defense and some disappointing play from Dwight Howard to rally within two points, led by Mason Plumlee's 24 points (on 10-11 shooting! Not Dwight's best cover). The less said about Howard's performance, the better. He had 8 points and it took him 9 shots to get there. His 5 boards were atrocious, even for a lower-than-average 28 minutes of burn. He didn't look in rhythm all night and was getting pushed around down low by Brook Lopez and Mason Plumlee. As long as he gets right by the time the Rockets come home to host the Thunder, all will be forgotten.


    James Harden, however, had no such troubles. Instead, Harden had 30 points on 13 shots, shot 4-7 from deep, dished out 6 assists and only turned the ball over twice. Oh, and he did it in 30 minutes. Harden's consistently torching everyone he comes across, and he's scoring in every conceivable fashion. Layups? Threes? Dribble drives? Coming off screens? Fading away at the elbow? Crossing over and posting up? Check, check, check. He's earning himself a long rest during fourth quarters, all the better to keep his energy up on both sides of the ball. This incarnation of James Harden is otherworldly, deadly, and most surprisingly looks sustainable. If he and a certain other MVP candidate meet in the playoffs, the parquet might just light on fire.


    Any night when Donatas Motiejunas leads the team in minutes played (37) and the Rockets win is a great outing. He notched yet another double double with 18 points and 11 rebounds, all while shooting an incredibly efficient 8-11 from the field. He's been scoring in the post with contemptible ease, and handily defending his starting position from the usurper Josh Smith. We'll soon see if he can keep this assault up against the tougher fours in the league, but so far he's been utter poison when paired with James Harden. He promised years ago that he would catch up to Dwight Howard, and right now he looks like he spends every day working toward that goal.


    Trevor Ariza quietly broiled the Nets, knocking down 3-5 from downtown on the way to 12 points and 4 boards. He was only credited with one steal (and the team with 9), but it looked like a lot more than that as he played the passing lanes with the precision and dexterity we've come to expect. The last starter, Patrick Beverley, has a solid if not flashy 11 points on 10 shots, 7 rebounds and 5 assists. It was a team effort for the Rockets in Brooklyn.


    Even Josh Smith got to have some fun. He only shot 5-15 (get used to him taking the most shots on the team, by the way) but his six rebounds, three assists, two blocks and a steal are nice peripheral stats for a player who seems to be sliding into the sixth man slot. Against second units, he's creating havok (for both teams), and sometimes that's what's needed. If his headband comrades Corey Brewer and Jason Terry had shot better from deep (0-5 and 3-7 respectively), his unit would have looked even more impressive. The jury remains out on Josh Smith, but with him off the bench, deliberations are going a bit better.


    The Rockets are still figuring out their rotation, but it looks as if they're creeping toward that chemistry they had when they were rolling in November. This game against a seriously depleted Brooklyn team may not have been much of a challenge, but it was a test they aced. There's room for optimism, here, something that Houston will surely need against a schedule that's about to come down on them like a ton of bricks. Today, however, the beard is in charge.

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    #2 thejohnnygold



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    Posted 13 January 2015 - 06:16 PM


    That video of D-Mo speaks for itself.


    As for Dwight, ignore the numbers.  The best thing he is doing is just being on the floor.  Defenses are drawn to him like he has his own gravity.  Does anyone remember that article about Kyle Korver last year?  It's about Korver scaring defenses to the point his coach can construct offense around it.  Dwight has been doing the same for us.


    On pick n rolls he rarely gets to touch the ball because defenses swarm him (which somehow makes people think he doesn't run the pick n roll), but those corner threes sure are wide open.  I can't wait for D-Mo to get double teamed every time he gets the ball in the post (teams have to start doing this, right?)  An open Dwight on the weakside (or Josh Smith) is unthinkable, but that's what is going to happen.  On post ups, Dwight's double team opens up the weak side for offensive rebounding as well.


    Dwight is still averaging 17 & 11 for the season, but that's not important.  In January (7 games), he is averaging 13 & 10 and, more importantly, doing it in just 30 mpg.  His usg% is down to 21% and has been for the last 2 months after being in the upper 20's earlier.



    This chart from basketball-reference.com is interesting.  It shows the positive effect rest is having for Dwight and also that his optimal minutes range seems to be around 33 mpg.  Ignore the individual stats and check out the +/- (or overall team effect).  That's what I care about.  When Dwight is on the floor and well-rested things seem to go well.


    Everytime I think he's lost a step I'll see him sky for an alley-oop and quickly remember that he can still do Dwight things.  I think he is on permanent cruise control until the playoffs.  In the meantime, Motie and Beverley are becoming more integral parts of the offense (particularly in acting as creators in lieu of Harden doing it all.  Bev is averaging 10, 4, and 4 in January and his 3 pt. shooting has held up (NO JINX!).


    Josh Smith....I guess I will just have to live with the fact that people are going to take pot shots at Smith forever.  



    It's easy to focus on "bad" Josh Smith.  It's also easy to blow things out of proportion.


    His ft% is atrocious.  It's true.  Good thing he rarely shoots free throws then, isn't it?


    His 3 pt.% is atrocious.  It's true.  Good thing he rarely shoots threes then, isn't it?  (the 1-5 in the CHI game has been addressed--many of his threes have context and aren't "just Josh being Josh").


    He shoots too much.  Not true.  Notice that his high FGA games coincide with his high ORB games.  The guy has an uncanny ability to get his own rebound--which inflates his FGA numbers, but on a per possession basis works out quite nicely.  Also, there are quite a few games where he barely shoots at all.


    He shoots too many mid-range jumpers (the cardinal sin for Rox fans).  Guess what?  That 5-15 last night included but one mid-range shot.  Since his arrival he shoots 18% of his shots from mid-range--or slightly less than 1 out of every 5.  Considering he is averaging 10.8 shots per game that is hardly the team killer people want to make it out to be.  


    Look at his minutes played.  Look at his peripheral numbers.  Realize that, eventually, he is going to figure out where people are on the floor and stop passing to ghosts.  Realize he is playing solid defense.  Realize he makes game-changing plays--often.  Realize that Smith is not what crazed basketball fans say he is.


    Let's try not blowing things out of proportion.  That's all.

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    #3 cointurtlemoose



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      Posted 13 January 2015 - 06:59 PM

      I thought I heard Worrell say something during broadcast last night about Dwight saying that the knees have been bothering him again, and that they're kind of slowing him down. Don't know if that's common knowledge, but I hadn't heard it till then, and it explains a lot of what we've seen the last 6 or 7 games.


      Get well Dwight!


      I'm just glad to see most of our spot up guys hitting their wide open threes again!

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      #4 thenit


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        Posted 13 January 2015 - 10:51 PM

        Dmo must have one of the softest hands in the NBA, those hooks and lay in are soft like butter on a warm summer's eve

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        #5 bboley24


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          Posted 14 January 2015 - 12:22 AM

          Id say sit Dwight...  Dmo at center, Smith at PF and let Dmo go to work.  Let Dwight do what he has to do and now I see TJones coming in and making a difference.

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