Archive for the ‘Rockets’ Category

Houston, we have a problematic punny title…

July 31, 2008

In regards to this last trade and the whole summer in general, I couldn’t help but think that NBA teams are starting to operate exactly like a fantasy league. What was supposed to be a quiet summer of non-elite free agents resigning with the current teams has instead given way to seismic shifts through both conferences. I can almost imagine Daryl Morey sitting at his computer, fooling with a trade machine and texting the Maloofs with dumb ideas like “Artest 4 Deke + Lutherhead? Don’t Laugh!”

I guess this is what happens when the old guard of Phoenix and Dallas weakens. (I’m not including SA, here, for obvious reasons.) After surveying the wreckage of this surprising Artest fire-sale, I’m inclined to think this would not have flown in our fantasy league, though. The soon-to-be-retired Bobby Jackson, a 1st rounder, and the deluxe gunner of the Vegas Summer League Donte Green for Ron Artest? This is the sort of discount that true instability generates, I guess. Sure, his numbers have dropped and he is a ball-stopping liability, but he can make baskets if properly motivated.

Putting aside my initial dissapointment that Artest was not paired up with Kobe (a combustible pipe deam, I suppose), this story caught my eye, leaving open the window for some classic Artest conflict. Artest vs. Yao! Now that’s a brawl I would pay to see. Houston fans, yall ready for this?!

Speechless

April 28, 2008

I haven’t written much here just because I don’t have anything unique to contribute to the deluge of micro-analysis out there. Even though the excitement has been unexpectedly out East, there’s not much else to say except, Didn’t see that coming.

Instead, here are some of my favorites plays/performances from the past week.

1. Josh Smith, fired up.

This taste of the playoffs may keep him inspired all regular season. Color me (and my fantasy keeper league team) excited.

2. Al Horford making Paul Pierce his bitch.

Yeah, that was probably uncalled for, but A) I loved the fire and balls it showed, and B) you know the odds are really good Pierce’s smug ass did something to deserve it.

3. Carl Landry really is Carl Landry.

Flying all over the court and making crazy unexpected playing, he’s forcing me to love his game even though I tried, and tried again, to chalk it up to a fluke.

4. Lebron.

Nuff said.

This Seems Familiar

April 20, 2008

One day in and the playoffs are already as good as advertised. Something surprising is how quickly the matchups have settled into familiar patterns. That probably should’ve been expected with so many rematches from last season. But with all the trades and movement this year, I guess we all expected more upheaval.

Instead…

  • The Wiz talk big, then get overpowered by Lebron.
  • Really obvious questions: Why in God’s name would you provoke Lebron? He’s a human bulldozer and you decide to get physical with him?
  • The Suns look positively snake-bit against the Spurs, losing a game they were in position to win.
  • Q: Why not let Steve Nash win the game for you? He hit a huge clutch fade-away three in the second OT, but why didn’t D’Antoni run plays for him at the end of regulation or the first OT? As a Spurs fan, fine by me. Also: When is Amare going to learn to take what the defense gives him? He could’ve sealed the win in the first OT by knocking down a wide open 10-footer, but instead he went flying at the hoop, picked up an offensive foul, and fouled out. Whaaa?
  • Shaq plays terribly on offense, then tries to blame “the floppers.”
  • Q: For a guy who’s relied on the kindness of referees all career, he sure complains a lot, huh?
  • The Mavs face a quicker, less experienced team in the first round, then look completely  shell-shocked when the other team gets rolling. Dirk plays like a beast but gets zero help.
  • Q: How many more times will Howard, Terry, and Stackhouse disappear in the post-season? They combined to shoot 9-32. That’s Kenyon-Martin-in-a-big-game-esque.
  • Houston’s not getting out of the first round.
  • Q: This isn’t totally his fault, but when is McGrady going to learn that 20 points on 21 shots isn’t going to cut it.?
  • Denver is also on their way to flaming out again, because they apparently refuse to stop Gasol from dunking. Seriously, he sucks in the post! Just guard him!
  • Q: How many games before they start taking cheap shots and smirking like punks while getting their asses handed to them?

The one thing I didn’t expect: the Sixers are a lot better than I thought. They won’t beat Detroit, but they might give them trouble.

The Curry-Up Offense

March 30, 2008

Quick observation from the Davidson game: Doesn’t it look like they’re using the same formula as the Rockets minus Yao? So far it’s been really solid team defense — they’ve somehow deployed multiple white guys to slow down Kansas’ athletes in the first half — paired with a freakish scorer who can efficiently chew up a ton of offensive possessions. Not surprising then that both rely on consistent high-level point guard play. Rafer’s lucky run of competence fueled the Rockets’ streak; Davidson’s PG, Jason Richards, leads the NCAA in assists at 8.1/game.

Kansas might want to think about doing their best single coverage on Curry and trying to dominate the defensive glass. That’s a pretty effective way to smoke the Rockets. Then again, watching Curry, he might actually be a better pure scorer than McGrady. Holy crap, can this kid shoot.

The MVP Algorithm

March 21, 2008

The other night Reid and I found a pretty cool sports bar here in SF with League Pass and got into the standard MVP discussion with the bartender: Lebron, Kobe, or Paul. We all know the arguments for and against, and they’re all both valid and yet still unconvincing. So wouldn’t the voting have to come down to what happens down the stretch? Something like this:

IF Lakers win the West

THEN Kobe = MVP

ELSEIF Hornets win the West

THEN Paul = MVP

ELSEIF The Lakers hang close enough to justify Kobe’s career-achievement award

THEN Kobe = MVP

ELSEIF Both N.O. and L.A. fade down the stretch

THEN Lebron and his ridiculous 31-8-7.5-1.8-1 stat line = MVP

Seems about right. Tracy McGrady left out of the discussion intentionally. The bartender was a die-hard from Houston and he didn’t even bring it up. Screw the Rockets, their offense is bunk.

An Open Letter to Rafer Alston

March 21, 2008

Dear Rafer,

You’re just not that good. Quit talking so much. (I can’t believe Bobby Jackson’s double-cluth, desperation three was the winning margin against the Warriors.)

Sincerely,

The Blogjammin’ Team

P.S. — See also the recent Hollinger article where Chris Paul embarrasses you: “Tracy McGrady is a great player. If I was Rafer Alston, I’d probably ride his coattails too,” Paul said. There’s more.

Go Ahead and Crown Their Asses

February 29, 2008

A little perspective on how schedules contribute to long winning streaks. Opponents with winning records are in bold.

Houston Rockets, 13 games, Jan. 29 – present:

  1. Warriors
  2. @Pacers
  3. @Bucks
  4. @T-Wolves
  5. Cavs
  6. Hawks
  7. Blazers
  8. Kings
  9. @Cavs
  10. Heat
  11. @Hornets
  12. Bulls
  13. Wizards

L.A. Lakers, 10 games, Feb. 8 – present:

  1. @Magic
  2. @Heat
  3. @Bobcats
  4. @T-Wolves
  5. Hawks
  6. @Suns (Shaq’s first game)
  7. Clippers
  8. @Sonics
  9. Blazers
  10. Heat

Portland Trailblazers, 13 games, Dec. 3 – Dec. 30

  1. @Grizz
  2. Heat
  3. Bucks
  4. @Jazz
  5. Warriors
  6. Jazz
  7. @Nuggets
  8. Hornets
  9. Raptors
  10. Nuggets
  11. Sonics
  12. T-Wolves
  13. Sixers

Since the Pau Gasol trade I’ve heard the Lakers offense referred to as a “juggernaut” at least half a dozen times and some commentators call them the team to beat. Even skeptics like Reid — who, like me, is hardly inclined to give the Rockets’ boring-ass game any cred — said the other day he was starting to bump them into the upper echelon of title contenders before Yao went down. And yet the most impressive of any of those streaks is the Blazers’. They’ve gone 12-16 since it ended.

This isn’t to say that the Lakers aren’t very good or that the Rockets weren’t playing significantly better, but I’ll wait to decide until I see both teams face some better comp.

UPDATE: Not that this proves anything definitively, but sure enough, last night the short-handed Rockets beat a decimated Grizzlies team while the Lakers lost in Portland.

Seriously, Who Does ESPN’s Graphics?

February 26, 2008

Today Yao goes down for the season and gets the Charlie Brown treatment:

A couple weeks ago, the Jason Kidd trade got its own special graphic that looked like a bad movie poster for Trade 2: Trade Harder(*):

Apparently, Kidd was ready for some real serious kung-fu shit, but then … why does Avery look like Eddie Griffin? Why does Dirk look like Seann William Scott in Dude Where’s My Car? And why does Cuban look mentally challenged?

Oh well, at least we know which team in the West is going to fall into the lottery now.

*Joke © Kevin Ray, 2001