Expect a ton of smallball this series. 1) Because that’s what the Rockets do and 2) because the Thunder don’t have any lowpost threats, you can’t get punished at the other end.
I began wondering which of the team’s smallball lineups had been the most effective.
In the 205 minutes the team has trotted out the quintet of Harden, Parsons, Asik, Delfino, and Lin, the unit has produced 1.126 PPP while shooting 46.8% from the field.
Replace Lin with Beverley and in those 42 minutes, PPP increases to 1.210 but shooting drops to 42.9%.
It all starts tomorrow. The matchup for which the national media had been begging. If the Rockets somehow pull it off, by some act of divine intervention, it would surely be the greatest upset in NBA history. What distinguishes this from Golden State over Dallas (currently considered the greatest upset) is the storyline element of the banished son returning to conquer and reclaim disinherited lands. Or something like that.
In my mind, there are only a few ways this series can play out. If Houston wins game 1, either Houston or Oklahoma City will win in 7. If Oklahoma City wins game 1, Houston’s only chance at winning a game in the series is in Game 3, and the Thunder will win the series in either 4 or 5 games. Thus, there is only one scenario by which Houston can win this series. Note that this analysis was in no way based on any relevant mathematical data and was largely pulled out of my ass and thought up in the shower this morning.
In our effort to preview Houston’s first round series against Oklahoma City, Red94 has decided to run a quick 5-on-5 style question and answer session with six members of our staff. Taking part are Ming Wang, Robert Dover, Forrest Walker, John Eby, Paul McGuire, and Michael Pina (that’d be me). Enjoy, and be sure to bombard the forum with more discussion. Read More
Antiheroes – Henry Abbott (TrueHoop) seconds Rahat’s motion for the Rockets to abandon James Harden’s fruitless isolation plays at the end of close games:
Hero Ball, or isolating your best player with the ball and letting him create for himself, is one of those things that looks dumber with time. Not long ago there was no way to know if it was the best approach or not. Increasingly, though, the evidence is making clear it’s far better to attack the defense at its weakest. (Hero Ball does the opposite.)
So, why are the Rockets, such a smart team, using this approach?
Most Valuable Asset – Bill Simmons (Grantland) has fired up the first half of his annual trade value column. He acknowledged that Lin dropped out of his top 50 from last year (must be something about the jersey he’s wearing), Omer Asik just barely didn’t make the cut, and Chandler Parsons weighed in at no. 48 with a great idea for a TV show: Read More
I’ve done some thinking in the last 15 or so hours since this morning’s post and I have some new thoughts. But first, some housekeeping: some of you found my prior comments objectionable, intimating that my comments were misguided and that the team should only be addressed with pride. While I respect differing opinions, I find this to be an invalid line of reasoning.
One can be a fan and feel pride for a team while still recognizing flaws and areas in need of improvement. The two events aren’t mutually exclusive. Just like a mother loves her young child unconditionally and views his development, his first words and first steps, as her life’s pride, so do I feel a sense of pride in this team’s success this season in overcoming adversity and coming together as the youngest roster in the league; but just as that mother feels disappointment and concern when the child errs, I too find alarm in spectacles like last night’s. In neither event does the concern diminish the pride and it is because of the pride that the concern is born.