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@  Mario Peña : (10 October 2015 - 01:12 PM) If your part if the Red94 Fantasy Basketball League check the thread to vote for the date and time for the draft event. Thanks y'all!
@  jorgeaam : (07 October 2015 - 08:47 PM) Guys we need 1 more owner for the Red94 fantasy league, if interested please comment on the post in the fantasy basketball thread
@  slick shoes : (07 October 2015 - 06:50 PM) Kobe ranked one spot higher than Ariza? Is this based on legacy or...??
@  slick shoes : (07 October 2015 - 04:13 PM) It was hard to keep up with both the Astros and Rockets at the same time. Should be interesting on Thursday with the Texans and Astros on simultaneously.
@  Mario Peña : (07 October 2015 - 04:09 PM) It was fun to have the Rockets on last night! Right now I'm watching the Celtics versus Milan and Alessandro Gentile is impressive.
@  jorgeaam : (06 October 2015 - 07:47 PM) Well, thinking twice about it, I'd rather have him score less and have the team as a whole do better. Lawson should take a lot of his load off
@  jorgeaam : (06 October 2015 - 07:47 PM) Loving that, hope he hits 30 PPG this year
@  thejohnnygold : (06 October 2015 - 06:15 PM) Someone is feeling confident :) : LINK
@  jorgeaam : (06 October 2015 - 05:54 PM) 10 Teams done, will need 2 more
@  Mario Peña : (06 October 2015 - 02:35 PM) Alright guys, if anyone is interested in joining the Red94 fantasy basketball league we could use one more player to get us to 10 teams (or three to get us to 12 teams). Just check the thread in the Fantasy Basketball forum. Thanks!
@  thejohnnygold : (05 October 2015 - 06:23 PM) I use leaguepass here in Austin with no problems...
@  skip 2 my lou : (05 October 2015 - 03:14 PM) Hey fellas, I'm a rocket fan but I live in the heart of Dallas. Does anybody know if I buy NBA Leaguepass if it's too close to be subject to blackouts?
@  Losthief : (02 October 2015 - 02:24 AM) tks jg
@  thejohnnygold : (29 September 2015 - 05:16 AM) FYI, it was media day today. Interviews are up at NBA.com
@  slick shoes : (23 September 2015 - 06:37 PM) kind of late in the day but NBATV is broadcasting classis Rockets games all day today.
@  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.

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Houston Rockets 119, Los Angeles Clippers 107: The Headband Brigade


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#1 Red94

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    Posted 15 May 2015 - 01:01 PM

    New post: Houston Rockets 119, Los Angeles Clippers 107: The Headband Brigade
    By: Mitchell Felker

    June 7, 1995.  I was an 11-year old gangly mess of arms and legs that refused to wear shoes outside of school and couldn't even look a girl in the face yet.  But I was the biggest sports fan in the world, so who needed girls anyway.  And to that point, I'd lived quite the charmed sports-life.  Being born in rural north Texas, the only thing that mattered to me was that blue star (I know, I know).  But then after moving to Houston in the early 90's, it didn't take long for basketball (and to a lesser extent, baseball) to get its claws into me.  Soon the Dreamshake and Killer B's were right there on the wall next to my Michael Irvin "Playmaker" poster.

     

    So to recap, before my 12th birthday, I was in the midst of the greatest NFL dynasty there will ever be (save it, THE. GREATEST.), had seen a National league MVP and likely champ in baseball if not for a soul-killing strike, and had already witnessed my still-favorite basketball player ever carry a ragtag team to an NBA Championship.

     

    So in Game 1 of the '95 Finals, with the Magic up by three on the Rockets with six seconds to play and Nick Anderson at the free throw stripe, I was pretty sure I was about to explode with anxiety.  I was basically batting 1.000 in big games at that point in my life (who knew that would flip so, so hard), so I had no idea what to do with my self when it seemed the Rockets may lose.  My dad was plugging away on the graveyard shift, and my mom had zero interest in sports, so I was left to my own devices during one of the biggest moments I'd ever witnessed.  We all know how Nick the Brick earned his nickname, but when he missed that second free throw and yet managed to grab his own rebound before getting fouled again, I spiked the remote control (don't tell Dad) and turned off the TV to go shoot baskets in the dark to cool off.  It wasn't till two hours later, after I'd imaginarily helped Dream dispatch Shaq and Penny in Game 7 to win the title, that I came back in and watched Sportscenter.  To my shock/elation/dismay, Anderson missed both of his free throws, the Jet tied the game to send it to overtime, and the Magic didn't box out Hakeem (6:10 mark).

     

    My point is, kids are dumb.  "I'll never make that mistake again," I told myself.

     

    Well, some things never change.  I'm still an idiot.

     

    Last night the game headed into a commercial break with three minutes to go in the third, and the Rockets down 18.  DeAndre Jordan had just REJECTED a Dwight Howard hook-shot and the Clippers were capping a 14-2 run.  "This is an avalanche!" Jon Berry said.  And I was absolutely buried in it.  Able to take no more, I turned the sound down low, wrapped myself in the warmest blanket in the world, and intentionally dozed off on the couch.  I was in no mood to write the doom-and-gloom recap this was sure to be, choosing rather to wake up early after I'd digested what was happening, and finish the fourth quarter to have it posted before coffee time.  But around 12:30 last night, my phone started buzzing with texts from my buddy Chad.

     

    "Holy S***"

     

    "You watching??"

     

    "49-18 run!!!"

     

    Needless to say, I restarted the fourth quarter immediately.  After finishing the game, the opening paragraph of Jonathan Abrams' Grantland piece on Josh Smith was sticking in my head.

    Quote:

     

    From the stands, Pete Smith can still hear people complain about his son’s play. He has to restrain himself from responding. He detests the critical comments, the jabs from people who’ve never played the game at an elite level. They don’t know how hard it can be. They don’t know that you need guts to take those shots. They don’t know that Josh Smith is living a dream that’s been transferred from father to son.

     

    Well Mr. Smith, can you hear the haters now?

     

    Dwight Howard (20 pts, 21 reb with 7 offensive, 1 ast, 1 stl & 2 blk) was the only reason the Rockets were hanging in the game early while LA was running their layup lines on Houston's defense.  But his obligatory silly fouls and even a flagrant and technical foul each eventually handcuffed his aggressiveness.  James Harden (scored 17 of 23 points in the 2nd) was the only reason Houston fought back and took a lead in the second quarter, but remnants of the flu sapped his strength early and he went MIA in the second half.

     

    So near the end of that dreadful third quarter, after Kevin McHale's mistimed Hack-A-Shaq had sparked the Clippers into retaking the lead, the Rockets were running out of ideas.  With their two best players hamstrung, who would step up and be the reason they got back in the game in the fourth quarter?  Who would grab the team by the belt and make certain that they didn't go meekly into the offseason?  Josh Smith and the rest of the Headband Brigade, that's who.

     

    jason-terry-josh-smith-corey-brewer-nba-minnesota-timberwolves-houston-rockets1-850x560

     

    When the Rockets were healthy this season, or at least healthy-ish, I L-U-V loved their bench mob.  It didn't matter who else was on the court (although D-Mo made them particularly formidable), what really made it fun to watch was the Brigade.  Smith added his playmaking, Jason Terry his shooting and Corey Brewer his Corey Brewer-ness.  At full strength, I liked Houston's bench as much as any in the NBA.

     

    But never in my wildest dreams did I think they had that in them.  Against Chris Paul (31 pts, 7 reb & 11 ast) fighting to prove he can carry a team to the second round and the best Blake Griffin (28 pts, 8 reb, 2 ast, 2 stl & 1 blk) we've seen to date, in a do-or-die elimination game ON THE ROAD, and without the league MVP runner-up, the Rockets outscored the Clippers 40-15 in the fourth quarter.  Smith (19 pts, 6 reb & 2 ast), Brewer (19, 10 & 2, and a +/- of +32) and Terry (7, 7 & 5) were good all night, but definitely saved their best for last.  They combined for 34 of those 40 fourth quarter points (15 for Brewer, Smith 14 and Terry 5).  Smith more-or-less played the point and was nearly flawless.  He took care of the ball and although he shot too much from the outside (4 attempts), they were going in (3 makes), so it didn't matter.  He had the guts to take those shots.

     

    But it wasn't just the offense.  The defense in the fourth quarter was outstanding as well.  I don't know if it was tired legs on the Clippers part, but the Rockets looked quicker, sharper than they have all playoffs.  They didn't miss a rotation and there were no open shots to be found on the perimeter for Clippers' shooters.  Blake Griffin definitely got tight and was scared to pull the trigger on his 17-footer, which had been deadly all night up to that point.  Dwight Howard and Smoove controlled the rim and kept the Clips' bigs off the glass while Brewer and Trevor Ariza bounced around the outside like they were spring-loaded.  I don't want to think James Harden, even sick, was hurting them so much in that department, rather they just finally felt the heat on their ass, but that was the defense that's required to win championships.

     

    As for the rest of the Rockets, Terrence Jones was a factor off the bench, scoring 16 points on 6-8 shooting, with 5 rebounds, 2 assists and a steal. He thoroughly outplayed the Clippers backup bigs, but just doesn't have much to offer against Blake Griffin.  I'm oddly a huge Pablo Prigioni fan, but he was actively bad last night, and even picked up a tech for punching a chair.  On another positive note, Jamal Crawford seems to have cooled off from where he was earlier in the series and Austin Rivers has come back to earth, as both were a non-factor last night.

     

    So now, back to Houston for Game 7.  This is undoubtedly the biggest game the Rockets have played in almost 20 years, since John Stockton buried them in Game 6 of the '97 Western Conference Finals.  The three days will help James Harden get his legs back after the flu, but it will also give the Clippers some much needed rest; they haven't had three days off since Game 2 of the first round against San Antonio.  You better believe Chris Paul will be as focused and ready as we've ever seen him, with Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan at max volume.  The Rockets can't afford another slow start or count on more dreadful Hack-A-Shaq to keep them in it.  They need to feed off the home crowd and come out hot, with the same intensity on defense that they showed in the fourth quarter last night.

     

    But if the Rockets do fall behind and need a spark, be sure that Josh Smith, Corey Brewer and Jason Terry will be ready.  For when the night was at it's darkest, and the Rockets hanging by a thread, it was the Brigade that rescued them.  Let's just hope they're not so necessary on Sunday.


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    #2 redlead

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      Posted 15 May 2015 - 02:09 PM

      Same Chad that wrote his first novel at 27yo?


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      #3 RocketMan

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      Posted 15 May 2015 - 02:41 PM

      I was actively searching for something else to watch with 3 minutes left in the third. I told myself, if they can get the lead to less than 15 going into the fourth, I'll watch. Sure enough, they had a decent finish to the quarter with some aggressive plays. This was enough to keep me on the channel, still not optimistic, wondering who would be responsible besides Brewer for a decent run.


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      #4 Lucas Daniel Uribe

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      Posted 15 May 2015 - 03:04 PM

      I cannot believe it!!! Brigade of Band of Brothers! Let's rest up & come out with Elite Level Defense on Sunday. James Harden will be ready to play, he has no choice. #Rockets #Pursuit
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      #5 slick shoes

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      Posted 15 May 2015 - 03:06 PM

      I'm ashamed to say it, but I was close to shutting it down and heading to bed, but only stuck it out because this was potentially the last game of the season and I wanted to see how we finished.


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      trickin' six digits on kicks and still holdin'.

      #6 majik19

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        Posted 15 May 2015 - 03:22 PM

        Last night was awesome. 

         

        Unfortunately, some of it is not sustainable. Josh Smith going 4/6 from 3 is not going to happen again. The Clips won't shoot that poorly again in the 4th. Harden won't ride the bench in the 4th. 

         

        However - Harden will hopefully have his legs back Sunday. The national pundits are piling on Harden, but you could tell he just didn't have his legs anymore in the 2nd half - surely sapped by the flu (I hope this isn't wishful thinking). 

         

        But man... that 4th quarter defense. We didn't just guard them in the 4th, we terrorized them. That was just beautiful to watch - credit the headbands plus Ariza and Howard, and credit JB Bickerstaff and Kevin McHale. 

         

        Also, I feel like the refs have been tilting the fouls toward the home court. I have no objective reason to think that, just seems that way. That definitely goes in our favor for Game 7. 


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        #7 Incubus2803

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          Posted 15 May 2015 - 03:24 PM

          The Rockets be like...

          Edited by Incubus2803, 15 May 2015 - 03:25 PM.

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          #8 Incubus2803

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            Posted 15 May 2015 - 03:34 PM

            "Also, I feel like the refs have been tilting the fouls toward the home court. I have no objective reason to think that, just seems that way. That definitely goes in our favor for Game 7."

            I tried looking into this, but it's near impossible. With all the hack-a-shaq, short of counting each individual foul, I can't tell how the refs are calling it.
            But you're right, it does (and always has) feel like home teams get calls. Attack attack attack.
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            #9 NorEastern

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              Posted 15 May 2015 - 04:13 PM

              McHale has some stones, not playing his best player in the fourth quarter. If he plays Harden in the fourth and loses there will be little criticism. If he does not play Harden in the fourth and they lose ...


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              #10 bernardo

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                Posted 15 May 2015 - 05:00 PM

                (to the team)

                Sorry guys. I was ready to give up after game 4. I was also ready to give up when watching the game in the morning. Luckly, I didn't do it. I wanted to see the rest of our probable last game of the season. Games 3 and 4 had come to mind. But then, you made a run at the end of the 3rd. In the 4th, you kept closing in and the clippers couldn't buy a bucket to save their lifes. Yes, they were missing more than usual, but your defense was awesome and contributed to that as well. Supposed "team cancer" Josh smith made his 3's besides everything else. We were getting buckets inside. Then, we got that lead to 9 and after that, to double digits. I was almost crying after realizing that we had won this with that amazing comeback. Now, we have game 7 at home. Let's get this done.

                 

                Crowd at Toyota Center, PLEASE, MAKE SOME DAMN NOISE ON SUNDAY. A game that could see us making the WCF. It doesn't get much bigger than that.

                 

                Also, props to the coaching staff. They've made some adjustments that are really paying off now. Now, we need just one more game. Go ahead and take it.


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                #11 thenit

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                  Posted 15 May 2015 - 07:27 PM

                  McHale has some stones, not playing his best player in the fourth quarter. If he plays Harden in the fourth and loses there will be little criticism. If he does not play Harden in the fourth and they lose ...

                   

                  Totally agree, not been the biggest fan of Mchale but that took stones to keep Harden on the bench and riding the bench mob. Iw ill give credit when its due, hopefully like I said in the chatbox it lights a fire for Harden and he goes Beast mode for the rest of the playoffs bringing the intensity we know he has.


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                  #12 rocketrick

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                    Posted 16 May 2015 - 02:33 AM

                    Crowd at Toyota Center, PLEASE, MAKE SOME DAMN NOISE ON SUNDAY. A game that could see us making the WCF. It doesn't get much bigger than that.

                     

                     

                     

                    I attended Game 5 at Toyota Center and I am pleased to report it was quite noisy for the better part of the game! It helps when our team is up by double digits for the majority of the game. Just like with any sports team, if the home team is trailing by close to or more than double digits or in the process of losing a large lead (like the Clippers last night), the crowd naturally tends to become more nervous and quieter. Yes, the Rockets do have the fair share of "casual fans" such as the ones leaving with 4 minutes to go in Game 5. Of course, Coach Rivers helped cause that by pulling all his starters, too. In my experience fans tend to linger longer after Game 7's in Houston so we shall see what happens on Sunday!


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                    #13 bernardo

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                      Posted 16 May 2015 - 02:10 PM

                      I agree with you, let's see what happens. Game 7 at home, I'm hoping for something good obviously. From seeing the games on LP, I found myself disappointed by that crowd too many times. We'll see.


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                      #14 cointurtlemoose

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                        Posted 16 May 2015 - 11:41 PM

                        I'M STILL HYPED. ANYONE ELSE STILL HYPED??

                         

                        That Ariza out-of-bound, through-the-legs save - that Smith on Griffin rejection - Terry being a 37 year-old BOSS chasing Chris Paul around screens like a banshee - Brewer playing passing lanes and forcing TOs - Howard grabbing seemingly EVERY rebound - and all three of those "no no no, yeeesss!!!", high-arching Smith three pointers...

                         

                        Even if we lose in game 7, as long as its competitive, those images in that fourth quarter will satisfy me. That type of effort is what I've wanted all series, and I guess we just waited to squash it all into one quarter of play.


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