I’m not gonna say anything that sounds bitter or angry. What were the odds that the Rockets would push the Thunder to Game 7, like 100,000 to 1?
If anything, the fact that the Rockets push the Thunder to 6 games after three straight loses signals a bright future for this team. In all likelihood the shooters (Delfino, Garcia), dead weight (Ohlbrecht, Machado, Anderson) and hopefully Jeremy Lin (Jeremy Lin) will be gone, in an effort to continue the team’s renaissance1. I hoped for the Rockets to keep fighting back, I hoped that Harden and Parsons would catch on fire, Asik would grab enough boards and Patrick Beverley would cripple another Thunder All-Star. Everything didn’t work out perfectly, but man, did it look pretty for two games. Continue reading
I spent the better part of Game One too discouraged beyond the first quarter to write anything and the better part of Game Two too captured by the game to write anything. Speaking of which, what the hell is this?
It’s a bigger deal than one might think. If Parsons closes out on Sefolosha, the Rockets probably get another chance to go down the court without panicking, and that might result in a Rockets win. Instead of being down 0-3 today, the Rockets could be nursing a somewhat smaller 1-2 series deficit. Does this mean I think the Rockets can conceivably beat the Thunder without Westbrook? Hell yes! Look at the stats between Durant and the rest of his team today
Kevin Durant: 41 points, 14 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, 43% shooting, 44% three-point shooting, 85% free throw shooting
Rest of Thunder: 63 points, 35 rebounds, 10 assists, 5 steals, 5 blocks, 35% shooting, 35% three-point shooting, 100% free throw shooting Continue reading
I can’t remember the last time the Rockets were two wins away to clinch a playoff spot. As of this article, the Rockets sit at 43-34 with five games left to go in the season. The last time the Rockets were in this similar position, it was last year and the team choked away six straight losses to send my hopes down the toilet for another year1. Save for a home game against the Grizzlies, the Rockets could easily win the other four and sit comfortable come April 17th at 47-35 with a sixth or seventh seed.
If they’re lucky, they’ll get run out of the gym by the Nuggets. If they’re unlucky, they’ll get run out of the gym by the Thunder. Even if Harden, Lin and Parsons somehow catch fire at the same time, the sheer lack of defensive intensity and playoff experience will be lucky to win the Rockets one game, much less two or three. If Halley’s Comet and the Aurora lights descend on Houston in the same night, maybe then the Rockets will win four game and proceed to get their butts kicked by the next team. Continue reading
- Entering this game, it all seemed a little too perfect. Five years ago to the day, the Celtics unceremoniously ended the Rockets’ legendary 22 game win streak1 on their warpath to sweep the Texas triangle2 and to win the franchise’s 17th championship. Now, they had a chance to end the exact same streak on their homecourt. Honestly, I was freaked out before the game started and thanks to ESPN and the internet’s legion of bloggers, the Celtics were as jinxed as humanly possible.
When it was reported that KG would have to sit out of the game due to a game-day flu, it was even more improbable that the Celtics ran out to an early lead and maintained that lead well into the game. If there was any situation that was perfectly set up for the Heat, it was this exact scenario. A chance to break a modern NBA record on the road against a hated conference rival while they were at their absolute weakest was too much for LeBron to pass up, and man did he deliver. Continue reading
With the trade deadline looming, there’s really only four types of teams in the NBA right now:
1. I’m going to ride Durant/LeBron all the way to the Finals. I don’t give a crap anymore, I’m Sam f-ing Presti/Pat f-ing Riley!
2. How can we possibly beat one of those two teams? Maybe we should start shopping our crappy contracts…
3. We’re stuck between the 8th seed and the bottom of the lottery. We might as well ship our old vets out for picks and young guys.
4. Dur-dur, we’re Toronto. Lets trade Kyle Lowry after 30 games!1 Continue reading
There’s certain things nobody ever wants to see on T.V. Especially in basketball, if something doesn’t work you can see it quite clearly. If a team is working through a new system that leads to a 1-5 or 2-8 start, it’s easy to see if the team would ever grasp the system. That’s why coaches really need their players to “buy into the system” for everything to work out. That’s why Mike Brown was fired after only 5 games of the God awful Princeton offense. That’s why Avery Johnson was given the boot in New Jersey (and if rumors are to be believed, also because D-Will is a prima donna). That’s why Randy Wittman is still head coach in Washington, since it’s not technically his fault that John Wall has been injured all season and only recently returned. Continue reading
As a Rockets fan, Royce White was like finding a diamond in the rough.
Right there at the 16th pick in the draft the Rockets picked White, who along with Perry Jones and Jared Sullinger form the most intriguing players of the draft. The stories surrounding the draft were that this kid was a particularly tough case. A spotty history that resulted in his transfer from Minnesota to Iowa State paired with an anxiety disorder that triggered right before he was reported to sign with Kentucky kept him from being drafted early on, despite the fact that his talent and skillset drew comparisons to a second coming of Antoine Walker1. Considering the fact that the Rockets picked him up between Tyler Zeller and Mo Harkless, Christmas started very early for me this NBA season. I mean, this guy led his team in points, rebounds, assists, steals AND blocks. You know what other player I’ve watched in person that has been able to do that? Scottie Pippen. Continue reading
Note: I wrote this article on the 16th, so some numbers and dates might be off. I’ve been working on this column for a while, and I really want to get one last dig at the Lakers before 2013. Happy holidays, ya’ll.
I’m a firm believer of not jumping to conclusions in the NBA until 20 games have been played, at least. The Celtics were completely written off in 2010 and they somehow beat the top two seeds to advance to the Finals for the second time in three years. The 1995 Rockets were absolutely written off to repeat as champions, despite the fact that Drexler came in a mid-season trade and Hakeem was injured for 10 games.
So here we are. The Lakers have played 24 games, and are 10-14. There is plenty of time for the team to rebound, considering their new hire at the head coach post has been with the Lakers for a grand total of 14 games and their star point guard is injured. Kobe, Dwight, Pau and Nash form one of the most battle-tested and extremely talented cores in all of basketball, so they’ll eventually get their heads together and play good basketball. The Miami Three went 9-8 before they steamrolled the entire Eastern Conference to get to the Finals. Talented teams work their shit out.1 Continue reading
There’s always that one asshole in your life you don’t like dealing with.
For the longest time in my life, that asshole was an upperclassman who just seemed to get kicks out of annoying the living hell out of me. Imagine that kid Ralph Macchio fought in Karate Kid mixed with basic-level steroids, and you have the guy who for the purposes of this column will be called StickButt.1
I’m not a good basketball player in any way, shape or form. I have little to no offensive awareness, I’m the laziest rebounder in the world and I’ve been living on a rickety jumper for the past four years which hits at about a 15% clip.2 There’s a reason I’ve never tried out for my school team since sophomore year, considering I barely made it on the team back then. I’d be eaten alive by the “Jock McJock-Jock’s” and the “Lanky McUber-Athletico’s.” You know that relative you have who lives on a single basketball trick for their entire life? I’m definitely that guy, and that trick is definitely my baseline spin move. Continue reading
Watching Zack Shaw play brings to mind a hound on the hunt.
In this case, that would make the opposing ball-handler the prey, and the ball the prey’s vulnerable jugular. Zack can, and is more than willing to go for the kill.
There’s something to be said for guys who commit themselves to the full package on defense. More than a handful of basketball players, from prep to pro, will hedge on screens, try to cheat on pick-and-rolls and stray from their designated target in an effort to make the “big play.”1 People remember the players who make the statement block, or the ones who start a fast break for two easy points, not the gritty defenders who spend twenty minutes chasing around an annoyingly fast scorer on defense.
As a small bulldog point guard, defense is how Shaw stands out from the pack. A mentality of “He will not get by me” fuels his desire and thirst to excel on defense. Far from being a statistical analyst or mathematic genius on how to play defense, Shaw implements the basic tricks and strategies one learns over the years, tricks like staring at your opponent’s stomach as opposed to his eyes. It sounds simple, but it can save you from tripping over a crossover dribble or being just a fraction of a second too late to block a jumper. Continue reading