Tag:Houston Rockets
Posted on: November 10, 2010 12:19 pm

Yao possibly getting a bump in minutes

Posted by Royce Young

Before the season, the Rockets made kind of an unprecented move by putting center Yao Ming on the basketball equivalent of a pitch count. Yao is set to play a maximum of 24 minutes a game. Plus, he's not allowed to play in both games of a back-to-back.

This is an effort by the Rockets' medical staff to relieve stress on Yao's body and hopefully present him with an opportunity to stay healthy this season. Except, they might be changing their mind.

The Houston Chronicle has the word:
The Rockets medical staff is exploring through a series of on-going meetings, changing the limits on Yao’s playing time because of the progress he has made in his comeback, a team representative said on Tuesday.

The discussions could lead to an increase in his playing time from the limit of 24 minutes per game, changes in the way his minutes are distributed throughout the game and clearance to play both games of back-to-backs.

Yao is averaging 12.8 points and 6.5 rebounds in 21 minutes per game and the team is excited about how he is returning to form.

The thing is, maybe Houston sees it's time to take things with a more urgent perspective. The team just got its first win of the season a few days ago, but starter Aaron Brooks is now out 4-6 weeks. Add in that Kyle Lowry is hurt, plus Kevin Martin is dinged up and the Rockets are suffering a bit. There's a chance the Rockets could slip behind quite a bit before Christmas. And potentially, that's why the medical staff is now looking to work around Yao's pitch count.

Hopefully the Rockets have a full grasp on the issue here. It was an interesting move before the season to put Yao on the 24-minute count and it's a little surprising to see them re-evaluated only two weeks into the season. But I'm sure they weren't expecting a 1-5 start with a rash of injuries either.

Category: NBA
Posted on: November 8, 2010 5:06 pm

What we've learned: Week 2

Posted by Royce Young

I have a confession. This is something I'm not proud of. This is something I haven't told many people, but I'm going to share with you guys who are my closest friends (right?). Up until about five years ago, I didn't know what "tennis shoes" were. I only knew of these things called "tennashoes." It's true.

I considered (and still do) consider myself a decently bright person. But for some reason, that little nugget of information always slipped past me. I remember saying to myself upon learning the correct usage, "Oh, well you learn something new every day."

And when it comes to the NBA, that's definitely true. In this case, we learn new things every week. Now two weeks are down and everyone has at least five games under their belt. What kind of knowledge do we have now that maybe we didn't have before? Five things:

Forget Durant. Forget LeBron. Chris Paul is your current MVP frontrunner - in November. These things change. Kind of like how in college football everyone freaks out and starts declaring Heisman frontrunners in September (remember Denard Robinson and Ryan Mallett? How are they doing now?), people like to crown MVP winners way too early. So keep that in mind as I tell you that Chris Paul is the early favorite to win the MVP award.

There's a lot of criteria, though undefined, as to what it takes to win the MVP. A great season, a great team and big media attention are all important parts. But right now, CP3 has two added things that makes him a prime candidate: 1) A great story and 2) A great turnaround.

Before the season not many expected the Hornets to be a viable contender in the West. But they've started well going 6-0, which includes a big win over the Heat. And what that means is that Chris Paul gets a lot of credit for raising his game to make what most perceived as an average team into a good team and that immediately, we all start saying things like "CP3 4 MVP!"

Come March though, if the Hornets have returned to the planet and are hovering around .500, playing out a season that most expected, Paul probably won't be an MVP favorite. If Durant's Thunder are on course for 50 wins and he's going to lead the league in scoring, he'll probably win. Or if Dwight Howard is putting up 25 and 12 for a 55-win Magic, he'll get the nod. So it's too early to make any real judgments on it yet, but if we were handing out an MVP for the First Two Weeks Award, Chris Paul would be deserving.

Oklahoma City really does has some work to do. It's not time to panic in Thunderland, but it's not a bad time to raise an eyebrow.

The Thunder are 3-3 with losses to the Jazz, the Clippers and the Celtics. Not terrible loss, considering the Clipper loss came on the road. But the two home losses to the Celtics and Jazz are really the ones that have people puzzled. In both games, OKC was down by 20 points and in both games, struggled on both ends of the floor.

The Thunder offense is basically a complete mess right now. It's all one-on-one basketball with at the most, two passes on a possession. OKC ranks dead last in assists per game and last in assists per field goal made. They aren't moving the ball, aren't spacing and aren't shooting well. Honestly, maybe it's a miracle it's not worse than 3-3.

So much expectation was placed on this team and it's way too early to give up on them. It's too early to even start saying things like, "I thought this team was supposed to challenge the Lakers... yeah right." Give it time. How you're playing in the first two weeks of November doesn't matter near as much as how you're playing the last two weeks of March.

It's too early to be concerned about a team that still has every key piece off a team that won 50 games last season. But it might not be too early to ask what's going on.

It's the Lakers and 29 other teams right now. There are about four elite looking teams in the league right now. The Heat, the Celtics, the Magic and the Lakers. But the Lakers have even separated themselves from those other three at this point.

The 7-0 record is nice, but the Lakers lead the league in point differential, winning by an average of 13.6 points a game. And it's not just that, but they've dismantled teams. Like dominated them. What's scary too, is that they aren't even at full strength without Andrew Bynum. That sound you heard was the entire Western Conference peeing their pants.

It's way premature to start talking about 72 wins for this team because their competition hasn't been that difficult and losing three in a row isn't that hard to do in the NBA. But as it stands now, in terms of ranking power, it's the Lakers alone at the top, with 29 other teams looking up.

Houston may have a big problem. (Has that joke reached a point where it's fair to use again? Like it's so lame that it's kind of OK?) The Rockets start of 1-5 was unexpected. They do have an excuse because they've probably played the toughest schedule in the league thus far. The teams they've lost to are a combined 25-5. They finally caught a bad team, whooping the Timberwolves Sunday.

Houston surely isn't feeling great about its start because you never want to dig a hole early, but with the loss of Aaron Brooks for 4-6 weeks, it could be getting a little rougher for the Rockets. They are on the road for five of their next six and after three weeks of the NBA season could be too far behind to make up ground.

The Wolves are truly terrible. In the same way starting any 72-win talk now is way too early, starting any "worst team ever" talking is equally premature.

Howevah, the Timberwolves are ridiculously, comically bad. They won their opening game by a point over the Kings and now have dropped five straight. They are losing by an average of 17.1 points per game right now. The next closest team is the Wizards, who are losing by 11.6 ppg.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, in the past 20 seasons, only two other teams have suffered three 25-point losses in their first seven games: the Bulls in 2003 and the SuperSonics in 2005. The Wolves have lost by 25 or more in three of their first seven games. Yikes.

Add in the fact that the Wolves lost every functioning point guard on the roster and may be starting Wayne Ellington or Maurice Ager there for a week and it's kind of hard to picture the next Minnesota win.

These are the pains you go through when you're rebuilding (or I guess "building" in Minnesota's case). Remember, the Thunder were 3-29 before Christmas two seasons ago. So things can be turned around. But at this current moment, the Wolves are a total disaster in every way.
Posted on: November 8, 2010 12:53 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:34 pm

Aaron Brooks now out 4-6 weeks with ankle sprain

Houston Rockets point guard Aaron Brooks is now expected to miss at least a month with a sprained ankle. Posted by Ben Golliveraaron-brooks

In a quick postscript to this post from last night, Rockets.com is reporting that Houston point guard Aaron Brooks has been diagnosed with a "moderate to severe left ankle sprain" and "is expected to miss a minimum of four weeks."

The Houston Chronicle reportsthat the timeline stands at 4-6 weeks and quotes Brooks' reaction, which makes it sound like he's taking the news in stride.
"I don't think I ever had an ankle injury like this before," Brooks said. "I did break my hand in college, sat out like eight weeks. Luckily, nothing is broken. It's a sprain. I'll be back to normal. You have to count your blessings."
Brooks was injured when he landed on Manu Ginobili's right foot, but said he did not think Ginobili did anything improper in defending Brooks' running 40-footer at the first-half buzzer.
On Saturday night, prior to the full diagnosis, Rockets coach Rick Adelman had said Brooks would miss at least two weeks.
By missing Sunday's game against the Minnesota Timberwolves due to the ankle injury, Brooks snapped a consecutive games played streak that stood at 119. The last time he missed a game prior to Sunday was a Feb. 2, 2009 game against the Memphis Grizzlies.
As noted last night, in Brooks' absence, Houston would like to turn to Kyle Lowry, but back spasms kept him out of games against San Antonio and Minnesota. Look for promising rookie point guard Ishmael Smith to pick up the slack until Lowry is good to go.

On the bright side, Houston got its first win of the season against the Timberwolves, improving to 1-5. They had been the last remaining winless team in the NBA.
Posted on: November 7, 2010 7:19 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:33 pm

Houston Rockets won't sign Erick Dampier

Free agent center Erick Dampier reportedly will not sign with the Houston Rockets. Posted by Ben Golliver A little over a week ago, Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reported that free agent center Erick Dampier had agreed to sign with the Houston Rockets for their biannual exception. The plan was for Dampier to step in and play some serious minutes now that Houston's franchise center Yao Ming is having his playing time strictly limited as he recovers from a foot injury that caused him to miss last season. Those plans have apparently changed. To make room for Dampier, the Rockets would have had to trade or release a player, and all signs pointed to guard Jermaine Taylor as being the odd man out. But the Houston Chronicle says not so fast
The Rockets told second-year guard Jermaine Taylor on Sunday they would not release him because they no longer planned to sign center Erick Dampier, Taylor’s agent Michael Whitaker said before Sunday’s game.
“I was actually told that I’m here to stay,” Taylor said. “They told me I was here."
Update: Ken Berger of CBSSports.com confirms Monday morning that Dampier will not sign with the Rockets. As we noted earlier Sunday, the Rockets are off to a nightmare 0-5 start and have been beset by injuries up and down the roster. So what's next for Dampier? Who knows. It took forever for him to settle on the Rockets and now the wait is on once again. A number of other teams had been linked to Dampier, including the Phoenix Suns and the Toronto Raptors.
Posted on: November 7, 2010 6:28 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:33 pm

Aaron Brooks out 2 weeks with ankle sprain

Houston Rockets point guard Aaron Brooks is expected to miss at least two weeks with an ankle sprain. Posted by Ben Golliveraaron-brooks Rockets.com reports on Twitter that Houston point guard Aaron Brooks is out "at least two weeks with a sprained ankle" according to Rockets coach Rick Adelman. He will not play in Houston's game Sunday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves.  Brooks, in his fourth year out of the University of Oregon, was voted the NBA's Most Improved Player last season and is known for his immense speed off the dribble, his ability to score the basketball and his improved play-making ability.  He suffered the ankle injury in a game against the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday and the Houston Chronicle reports that he was carried to the locker room.  In Brooks' absence, Houston would like to turn to more-than-capable backup Kyle Lowry, but he has been dealing with back spasms that kept him out of the game against San Antonio. Rockets.com also reports that Lowry will not play against Minnesota, so look for promising rookie point guard Ishmael Smith to pick up the slack. The injuries add to a nightmare start for the Rockets, who had hoped to compete for a playoff spot, but are currently in last place in the Southwest Division at 0-5.  The Rockets, as of Sunday afternoon, were the only remaining winless team in the entire league.
Posted on: November 7, 2010 12:37 pm

Video: Manu Ginobili helps Spurs send Rox to 0-5

Posted by Matt Moore

The Rockets can't win for losing. After hanging with the Spurs and mounting a double-digit comeback, the Rockets had the lead inside a minute against the Spurs. But missed free throws haunted them, as the Spurs forced rookie Ishmael Smith to shoot, he was unable to convert, and even after an offensive rebound by Chuck Hayes, Courtney Lee missed two free throws that would have made the lead three. You give the Spurs an opening, you give Manu Ginobili an opening? He's going to hurt you.

Poo God . Money. The Spurs would go on to win in overtime, knocking the Rockets to 0-5.

The Rockets are now the worst team in the league, having failed to secure a victory before the Pistons, Timberwolves or Raptors. Not exactly the start Daryl Morey envisioned.

The thing on that game-tying Ginobili shot is the behind the back. It's such a flash maneuver, but used for such practical purpose. By going behind his back, he keeps his momentum moving back for the step-back, instead of trying to reverse his momentum. That's why Ginobili is so great at making flash functional. And for the win.
Posted on: November 1, 2010 4:23 pm
Edited on: November 1, 2010 4:25 pm

What we've learned after a week of the NBA season

Posted by Royce Young

In a sport where the regular season is six months long with 82 games packed in between, it's hard to really draw any meaningful conclusions from the opening week of the season. Some fans are panicking, some are filled with unbridled optimism and some are feeling more of the same after spending September convincing themselves, "No, I really think Thaddeus Young can be an All-Star and if so, who knows?"

So despite the fact that roughly only three percent of the season has been played, let's look at five, of what could be 500, things we've learned this far.

The Hornets might be kind of good. Chris Paul, remember that guy? He's pretty good. And his team, the Hornets? They might be too.

They're 3-0, with one of those wins coming on the road against the Spurs. They beat San Antonio, Milwaukee and Denver, three quality opponents that all were in the playoffs last season. They've yet to allow 100 points and are doing an outstanding job of sharing the ball and getting scoring from multiple spots.

With Paul back running the show and new additions Trevor Ariza and Marco Belinelli doing their parts to fill in some scoring, this team could be potentially dangerous. There's not a ton of depth there so if Paul or someone else goes out for an extended period, times get get tougher, but as of now, the 3-0 Hornets look fairly legit.

What makes the Heat scary isn't what you think it is. Teaming LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh together likely makes opposing coaches think, "How in the bleep are we going to stop those guys?"

And while that's still true, the real question might should be, 'How in the bleep are we going to score on those guys?"

Nothing has been more impressive about the Heat thus far than their defense. Toss out any cliche NBA word and it works to describe it. Stifling. Swarming. Stingy. Scoring on the Heat right now is harder than scoring on San Francisco Giants. They can guard every position and their apparent weakness hasn't been exposed at all, even against the league's best big man in Dwight Howard.

The Heat lead the league in defensive efficiency, giving up just 86.6 points per 100 hundred possessions. That's outstanding.

Miami will be tough to beat throughout because of the matchup issues it creates, but what could make them a true title contender is the fact they don't let you score.

The Clippers are probably the Clippers again . In the opener against the Blazers, for three quarters there was legitimate reason for excitement in Clipperland. Blake Griffin looked fantastic, Eric Gordon was scoring and the team has some actual energy and excitement about it.

But as often happens with Clipper seasons, it could be over after that first game. There was some buzz surrounding this team as a potential dark horse in the West, but Sunday's game against the Mavericks really pointed out some serious issues.

The Clippers had no idea what to do offensively. There was no scheme or plan. It was all pointing, talking and bumping into each other. Whoever was running point was basically trying to draw a play from the top of the key as the 24 second clock ticked away. Griffin appeared to be a little frustrated, specifically in the fact that nobody seemed to be playing as hard as him.

It's early and the Clippers have enough talent win some games, but the first impression has been more of the same.

For some reason, Kurt Rambis just doesn't like Kevin Love . After three games, Kevin Love is fifth in the NBA with 13.0 rebounds per game. He's averaging 14 points per game. But here's the problem: He's averaging just 25.3 minutes per game.

Extend Love's current stats out to a per 40 minute average and he's putting up 22.1 ppg and 20.5 rpg. And yet, he continues to get bench minutes in what's now, a starter's role.

It's not like the Wolves are winning and Love is just fitting in. Right now, Minnesota is 1-2 and has struggled scoring (something Love does well). They are however the best rebounding team in the league with a plus-12.7 differential. Imagine how good they'd be if their best rebounder saw over 30 minutes a game?

The Kevin Love situation is honestly one of the most fascinating storylines in the league this season to me. He's Minnesota's best player, best scorer and best rebounder, yet he doesn't get as many minutes as Wayne Ellington, Michael Beasley or Luke Ridnour.

Now in Rambis' defense, nobody on the team averages more than 30 minutes per game and most everyone hovers under 25 minutes per. So maybe it's an institutional thing. But then again, maybe that's a good explanation as to why they haven't been successful thus far. Common sense says play your best players the most minutes. But the Wolves are just preaching transparency and honesty, not common sense.

Nobody knows if Houston is good or just average yet. In the Rockets' opening game against the Lakers, they held a lead for the majority of the night before the defending champs turned it on and won behind late heroics from Shannon Brown. But most agreed - the Rockets will be good.

Then they lost their next two games to the Warriors and the Nuggets which left some scratching their heads. So are the Rockets good, average or possibly bad?

I think you can certainly take out bad because this Houston club has players and will win. But is it a top four team in the West? Maybe not. Really, are they a playoff team? That's potentially up in the air as the last two games really showcased some major defensive problems Houston has right now.

This upcoming set of games could put the Rockets in a big hole early if they don't get their act together though. After playing the Hornets at home, Houston goes on the road for six of their next eight.
Posted on: October 29, 2010 1:22 am
Edited on: October 29, 2010 2:52 pm

Report: Dampier to Rockets

Report says Dampier will sign with Rockets. Posted by Matt Moore

Our long national ... apathy may finally be over. Hoopsworld is reporting that Erick Dampier has made his decision, many moons after "The Decision", and will join the Houston Rockets as a backup center. The Rockets are at 15 players, so there will have to be cut to make room for him, likely Ishmael Smith. Smith may wind up in the Rockets' D-League affiliate Rio Grande Valley Vipers who they use quite a bit.

Dampier makes for a valuable addition to the Rockets. Against the Lakers, when they had a center with size in, they flourished. Those players went out due to minute restrictions or endurance, and production dropped. They need that size, despite having an absolute plethora of bigs. Dampier gives them elite size to combat their opponents' bigger lineups. He's slow, old, and never been a great scorer, but he does his job and does it well. In limited minutes, he could pack a big punch for Houston, who has struggled in rebounding through their first two games.

Dampier had been pursued by Toronto, Portland, Phoenix and Milwaukee, with heavy talks of him signing with all three. But Dampier took his time, or those teams pursued other options, and so now Houston will bring him in and slide Chuck Hayes to backup power forward. The race for size in the Western Conference continues.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com