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@  thejohnnygold : (29 December 2015 - 08:46 PM) Don't forget that -40 of those came in 2 of the first 3 games when Dwight didn't play. That skews the relation a wee bit.
@  majik19 : (28 December 2015 - 07:49 PM) Also from Marc Stein's Twitter (and makes you rethink Capela's development so far...): How key is Dwight Howard to Houston's success? Entering Christmas, Rockets were +36 this season with Dwight on floor ... and -80 without him
@  majik19 : (28 December 2015 - 07:47 PM) From Marc Stein's Twitter: James Harden attempted 10 or more 3s in each of his first eight games this season. Since then? 10+ in just three of Houston's last 23 games
@  Mario Peña : (26 December 2015 - 08:44 PM) Tonight is a big test for Harden and company. Amid holiday distractions and on the second night of a back to back can this team bring maximum effort and not play down to the opponent?
@  majik19 : (24 December 2015 - 11:13 PM) In case you didn't see this, today is the anniversary of 13 in 34...
@  Mario Peña : (22 December 2015 - 03:36 PM) LeBron usually hides on weaker offensive opposition, George I cannot speak to and defense has been Leonard's calling card and priority up until this year.
@  SadLakerFan : (22 December 2015 - 04:04 AM) Hey, you guys are above .500! Watched parts of the game. Nice game by Harden tonight. Lots of mental mistakes by a number of players tho.
@  ale11 : (21 December 2015 - 03:38 PM) txtdo1411: I do watch most games. I even stayed up until 3 am watching this one (I'm from Uruguay) to see it. The fact that we need to put Ariza on the best player speaks for itself. LeBron, George, Leonard, they guard the best opponent, you don't hide them. If you are going to hide on defense, at least be efficient on offense like Curry. I love Harden, but he is not trying on D unless it's on ball defense (and not all the time either)
@  majik19 : (20 December 2015 - 03:53 AM) so i didn't watch this game - what the hell happened? Shot only 32% from 3, but still managed to win by 10. Only 15 turnovers? I don't understand this team.
@  txtdo1411 : (18 December 2015 - 10:45 PM) Whoops, I did not realize it was going to swallow the entire shoutbox. My apologies folks!
@  txtdo1411 : (18 December 2015 - 10:45 PM) I always love when posters make comments that point to them clearly not watching the games, or at the very least paying attention. Ale11, here are all of Kobe's scores from last night, care to guess who was guarding him 95% of the time he scored?
@  slick shoes : (18 December 2015 - 07:29 PM) http://espn.go.com/n...driving-arrests
@  slick shoes : (18 December 2015 - 07:28 PM) Lawson's agent feeling out his value to other teams....
@  slick shoes : (18 December 2015 - 06:21 PM) @JG That and we don't have a backup for Bev other than Father Time himself.
@  DenverRocket : (18 December 2015 - 06:20 PM) I'm surprised he's attempted 9 shots, every time he catches the ball he looks terrified to let it fly. Zero confidence. What/who could we get for him and TJ, realistically?
@  thejohnnygold : (18 December 2015 - 06:15 PM) Lawson over the last 3 games: 39 minutes, 2 points on 1-9 shooting, 8 assists, 1 reb, 1 stl, 3 turnovers. If this guy wasn't Harden's buddy on a $12M deal with a proven track record he'd be in the D-League with Dekker right now.
@  DenverRocket : (18 December 2015 - 06:11 PM) Lawson suspended for the next 2 games as punishment for the 2014 DUI charges. No big deal given his current role ( or lack of it).
@  ale11 : (18 December 2015 - 05:23 PM) Not only many guys got season and career highs against us, now Harden is making Kobe more efficient than him....sigh
@  ale11 : (18 December 2015 - 05:22 PM) http://www.basketbal...1/gamelog/2016/
@  ale11 : (18 December 2015 - 05:22 PM) Looking at the box score, I thought that Kobe did pretty well against us....again. Here's a fun fact: Kobe's two most efficient games of the season came against us

Photo

Looking into the numbers during the Bickerstaff era


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#1 Red94

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    Posted 28 December 2015 - 03:18 AM

    New post: Looking into the numbers during the Bickerstaff era
    By: Rahat Huq

    At 16-16, the Rockets overall are shooting 43.6% from the field, for 24th in the league; they're shooting 34% on 3's for 20th in the league, despite leading the league in attempts.  They're 20th in the league in rebounds per game, 6th in offensive rebounds per game.  Houston has climbed to 13th in offensive rating (102.6 points per 100 possessions), but is still down at 22nd in defensive rating (104.4 points per 100 possessions).

     

    The Rockets fired head coach Kevin McHale on November 18, 2015.  Through 11 games, at that point, the team was shooting 42% from the field and 29% on 3's.  They averaged 43.5 rebounds per game: 32.2 on the defensive glass, and 11.4 on the offensive glass.  They had an offensive rating of 98.5 and a defensive rating of 106.5 through that point in the season.  That offense was 24th in the league; the defense was  29th.

     

    In the 21 games the Rockets have played in the J.B. Bickerstaff era, they've shot 44% from the field and 37% on 3's.  They've averaged 43.1 boards per game: 31.7 on the defensive glass, and 11.4 on the offensive glass.  They've had an offensive rating of 104.7 and a defensive rating of 103.3.  That 104.7 rating has been good for 7th in the league during the stretch; the 103.3 defensive rating has been 16th in the league.

     

    So the team has improved, pretty drastically.  Offensively, they look a lot less stagnant, though I wonder how much of that improvement was simply regularization towards the mean.  Every player was performing beneath his career norms.

     

    After last night's loss, J.B. Bickerstaff questioned his team's priorities.  Such a public rebuke was quite the bold step.  What does he have to lose?  While his team has improved, barring a drastic turnaround, Bickerstaff is gone this summer.  He has to do whatever he can to get through to this baffling group of characters.


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    #2 Willk

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      Posted 28 December 2015 - 08:39 AM

      I don't think JBB really has made that much of a difference. I think players are starting to play to their career norms on offense. This is just standard regression. I think the basket-making has lead to better defense. It is easier to defend when the other team is taking the ball out of the basket. I still do not see any kind of defensive philosophy. I feel the only way this team challenges for a title is if they hire a coach like Thibs.
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      #3 cointurtlemoose

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        Posted 28 December 2015 - 08:00 PM

        I think some of the offense is progression to the mean, but some of it might be due to JB; it's hard to tell from the outside. I know that I have liked JB's rotations a bit better (though, McHale's were pretty bad before he was fired, so maybe that's not saying much). Then again, part of the improved rotations might just be the team figuring out their roles better now.


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        #4 thejohnnygold

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        Posted 30 December 2015 - 04:24 PM

        Let's look at some more numbers.  Sorry for the long post.  Apparently I needed some catharsis.

         

        James Harden leads the league with 149 turnovers.  He averages 4.5/game.  He sports an assist to turnover ratio of 1.52.

         

        Per basketball-reference.com, James Harden--MVP-runner-up and NBA superstar--has a +/- of -1 per 100 possessions.  Yes, you read that correctly.  When James Harden is on the court the Rockets operate in the negative.

         

        It's not just one thing.  It's the 34% shooting from deep on 8 attempts per game.  It's the ever decreasing frequency with which he gets to the rim (down to 23% of his total shots--last season he was at 31%.  To his credit he is converting a solid 65% of those.).  It's the 37% of his shots he takes from mid-range at sub-standard efficiency.

         

        He is dunking less.  In fact, he has tracked steadily downward since his second year with OKC when 7% of his total shot attempts were dunks.  This year he is at 1%.

         

        James Harden leads the league in minutes played, field goal attempts, free throws, free throw attempts, and total points (in addition to the turnover lead).  His usage rate is the highest of his career at 32.8 (currently).

         

        To look at his basic stat line is misleading.

         

        28.6 pts    6.1 rebs    6.9 asts    1.6 stls

         

        He's fillin' up the stat sheet!

         

        The problem is he is doing it inefficiently.  His TS% of .580 is the lowest since his rookie season.  TS% includes that bevy of free throws he takes every game.  Harden's eFG% (no free throws here) is at .484 also the lowest since his rookie season.  Harden's regular FG% is .416 but that is largely due to the 8.0 three pointers he takes per game.

         

        Combine that with the turnovers and it's not difficult to understand why we have so many losses.

         

        Watching the Rockets play offense reminds me of watching the UT Longhorns during the Mack Brown era--particularly in the OU game against Bob Stoops.  Mack Brown was so dead-set on his style of offense that he refused to adjust--no matter what.  Stoops, being a good and smart football coach made adjustments and game-planned accordingly and if you look at the list of worse losses in UT football history you'll see a lot of OU games.  It got so bad there was a 5-year stretch (all OU wins) where the average score was 38 to 11 for OU.  The only reason it looks that close is because OU scored 12 once to drop their average and UT scored 24 once to boost ours.  Take those out and it's 44 to 8.   :(  Those were really good UT teams too.

         

        The point is the Rockets remind me of Brown and UT because they keep doing the same thing over and over while, seemingly, expecting a different result.  We all know what that means...

         

        There is strong backlash when anyone suggests that Harden may be the problem and it might be prudent to trade him.  I get it.  I just don't agree with it.

         

        If I told you about a team with a ball-hogging point guard who shoots inefficiently and turns the ball over at a high rate while being an average distributor and slacking off on defense what would you think of that team's chances?  Well, that's what we're working with.  Harden may maintain his SG status, but he plays the PG role for us.

         

        That's another part of the problem.  We don't need a Ty Lawson (unless Harden will give up the rock, but it doesn't look like that is going to happen).  We need a Wes Matthews.  Khris Middleton.  Danny Green (back when he could shoot, that is).  George Hill.  Beverley does a solid job, but I think those guys would all be upgrades.

         

        The reason we need a "secondary" play-maker is because Harden is an average one playing the role of a great one.  Don't look at the base stats--look at the numbers behind those stats.  7 assists.  4.5 turnovers.  That means for every 7 scoring opportunities he puts on the table he is taking 4.5 off.  That is a net of +2.5 for each game.  Lots of those turnovers lead to easy buckets for the other team.  That is the guy running our offense.

         

        Sure, we're putting up points.  We're playing the 6th fastest pace in the league and we have played a relatively weak schedule (ranked 26th in strength).  That makes everything worse than it may seem.

         

        The worst part of all this?  It doesn't even begin to include the defensive problems.


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