Tag:Rockets
Posted on: December 6, 2010 9:35 am
 

Shootaround 12.6.10: The Brad Miller Engine

Miller drops his man, Gortat is a soccer nut, Z-BO for USA, and the worst half of basketball ever, all in today's Shootaround.  Posted by Matt Moore

Knicks blog Posting and Toasting says Danilo Galinari needs to make Landry Fields his hero: "Gallo has returned to chilling around the three-point arc and waiting for kick-outs. Even there, his conversion rate has been uncomfortably low. One way he might see more opportunities is to do what Chandler and Landry Fields have been doing and dive in diagonally or along the baseline when Stoudemire receives the ball around the free throw line. It's not like Gallo's hurting the team (5 assists, 4 boards, and decent enough defense on the perimeter), but he can do much more to help them. 2-7 isn't the kind of output you expect from someone with Gallo's scoring ability."

Zach Randolph wants to play for Team USA. I'm curious as to whether Zach realizes that the traditional block concept is nearly absent in international play. 

Marcin Gortat was a huge soccer fan and played it almost exclusively until he was 18 when he found basketball. Add him to the list of guys you'd put on a soccer team from NBA players with Steve Nash being the obvious first overall choice. 

Behold: The worst half of basketball ever.

Brad Miller dropped the man coming around his screen this weekend. Unfortunately, it was his own man

Ben Wallace is so good even at his age that bloggers know they're taking him for granted: "I don’t spend much time writing about Wallace anymore because, frankly, he’s just so consistently good that I don’t think it needs pointing out. But he, along with Hamilton and Prince, was part of the “retro” performance I alluded to in the headline. Wallace had 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 blocks and a steal. He was an imposing presence inside and a huge reason Cleveland’s guards shot poorly. They may have been getting penetration, but Wallace blocked or altered several shots in his 24 minutes and he continued to show that he’s a great high-post passer and someone the Pistons can comfortably take advantage of on offense."

A lockout would be devastating on so many fronts, but here's another: Kevin Garnett may retire

Our own Ben Golliver on what was memorable from last night's Blazers win over the Clippers, the violence: "This game will endure for its random acts of violence. First, and most memorably, Blazers center Joel Przybilla, who was greeted with a standing ovation upon his entry to the game, was flagrantly fouled by Brian Cook with 4 second remaining in the third quarter. The mid-air hit, which sent Przybilla flying to the ground, wound up earning Cook a Flagrant Foul 2 and an immediate ejection. It also set off a tussle under Portland's basket, with Clippers point guard Baron Davis getting into Blazers forward Nicolas Batum's chest, and Przybilla and Clippers big man Craig Smith apparently getting after it as well. All four were assessed technical fouls, and the sequence resulted with Przybilla splitting the free throws awarded him for Cook's flagrant foul, for his only point of the game."

If Brad Miller is the fuel for your offense? You may need to get a new engine.

Glen Davis, meet medicine ball
Posted on: December 2, 2010 11:08 am
 

Phil Jackson not exactly "there" for Tomjanovich

Posted by Matt Moore

I have come to the conclusion that Phil Jackson is literally willing to disrespect anyone. You, me, the Pope, the President, your mother, his mother, Abraham Lincoln, Captain America, Jesus Christ, Chuck Norris, anyone. He really just does not care; his first priority is to make sure he maintains his lofty perch at the top.

Maybe the comments were taken out of context. Maybe he was ribbing an old colleague. Maybe it's not as bad as it sounds. But man, it doesn't sound good.

As noted this morning in Shootaround, the Houston Chronicle asked Phil Jackson about Rudy Tomjanovich's nomination for the Hall of Fame:

Lakers coach Phil Jackson said that it was "wonderful" that former Rockets and Lakers coach Rudy Tomjanovich was nominated for induction into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. Jackson offered a less-than-enthusiastic endorsement.

Asked if he thought Tomjanovich was deserving, Jackson said, "Well see. I'm not on that committee. I like all the coaches to get a chance to go in."Jackson agreed with the argument that the Rockets championships were tainted because Michael Jordan was out of the league for the first of their title seasons and much of the next."Definitely," Jackson said. "Without a doubt. Clearly, if the Bulls were whole, we would have won. Its pretty much registered by now. When Michael played, we won the championship."
via Rockets notes: Hall remarks about Tomjanovich | NBA Basketball | Chron.com - Houston Chronicle .

Couple of things here. Michael Jordan was the greatest basketball player of all time. No one is arguing this. Phil Jackson is either 1a or 1b in terms of greatest coaches in NBA history. No one's really arguing that, it just depends on "a vs. b" if you're in green or purple. This isn't questioning the greatness of the mid-90's Bulls or the legacy of Phil Jackson nor Michael Jordan.

But straight up, this wasn't necessary.

Rudy Tomjanovich coached for 24 years in the NBA as either an assistant or head coach. During that time he established a .559 winning percentage. He had only two losing seasons during that stretch run, a .567 playoff winning percentage in the playoffs, and oh, yes, those two championships, asterisks or no. Tomjanovich went on to coach the Lakers in a disastrous season while Phil took some time off to go dance or meditate or whatever Phil Jackson does when he's not calling timeouts to coach the best players in NBA history.

Tomjanovich stayed on with the Lakers as a consultant and scout,and that's what's so disheartening about this. Tomjanovich worked hard for the Lakers, despite the fact that Kermit Washington, who broke Tomjanovich's face with The Punch, was a Laker at the time. He always held himself with class and success. And whether Jackson likes it or not, Michael Jordan did retire those two seasons, and the Houston Rockets were the best team in the league for those two years. Furthermore, as great as Jordan was, and as likely as a Bulls victory would have been, to overlook the 94-95 Rockets is to ignore a priceless season from Hakeem Olajuwon who was no slouch, and a team rife with shooters, versatility, and stellar defense. Maybe Olajuwon's Rockets wouldn't have beaten Jordan's Bulls. But it would have been one heck of a match.

Beyond the questions here is the fact that Phil Jackson simply didn't have to say that. He had no reason not to simply say "I think it would be tremendous for Rudy to make the Hall. I respect him as a friend and colleague." It's true that we want coaches to be more honest. But being passive-agressive and not extending common courtesy? It just seems a bit out of line. It took more effort for Jackson to waffle on his endorsement, purposefully, than to simply extend a courtesy to a colleague.

But that's Phil Jackson.

Greatest coach on earth.
Posted on: November 23, 2010 9:26 am
 

Game Changer 11.23.10: Spurs and ammo

Spurs and Magic have a classic, the Pacers show they're decent in dismantling a mediocre Miami team, and the Celtics take the Hawks to the shed in today's Game Changer.
Posted by Matt Moore


Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer.  


THE BIG ONE: Spurs have one more round than Magic in shootout


San Antonio 106 Orlando 97 .

That's the final score but it doesn't even come close to descrbing A. how great this game was or B. how close this game was. It was a back and forth affair for the entire game, as neither team could shake the other one. Just as one team would seem to be pulling away, the other would respond with a flurry of offense. San Antonio would bruise their way to a lead, only to find the Magic creating turnovers, sparking the break, and dropping in three-pointers in transition. The Magic would burst their way into a lead only to find the Spurs settle down, get a bucket, then a stop, then Manu Ginobili Ginobili'ing his way with a knife to their heart. In the end, the Spurs had a few more bullets left in the gun and the Magic were unable to find an answer for Manu.

Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili combined to shoot 23 of 42, for 64 points, 13 rebounds, 21 assists, 5 steals, and 2 blocks. Guess Boston and Miami aren't the only ones with Big 3s. The efficiency with which the Spurs attacked was ruthless. In the third, Tony Parker got up to full speed and was using those wide curving pick and rolls to find Duncan, while Ginobili was using the deep wing picks for that step-back jumper he's gotten to like so much. It was a clinic in execution, and the Magic weren't far behind, with Dwight Howard forcing the issue and the Magic backcourt raining 3s. Combined the two teams hit 21 threes on 37 attempts which is just ridiculous. Matt Bonner came through with 4 big ones (4-4 from the arc) while Mikael Pietrus kept breaking up Spurs runs on his way to a 3-5 run from the perimeter.

Sharp defense, tough shots, fun basketball, a close game. This one was a beauty.

WHAT YOU MISSED: The Heat suck.


I torched the Heat for their lack of effort, cohesion, and heart.

Ken Berger spoke with Delonte West in a must-read interview about his experiences with bipolar disorder .


DEAD BEFORE THE SHIP EVEN SANK

Last night's Celtics-Hawks game was not a game. It was a mercy killing, only without the mercy. The Celtics owned the Hawks 39-13 in the first quarter, and it didn't feel that close. Boston simply could not miss. Sharp passes, smart playsets, intensity at both ends of the floor, attacking rebounds, and Nate Robinson doing his best Rondo Baron Davis when he was good impression, throw in the Hawks looking like they wanted to be anywhere but on the floor and Al Horford being physically dominated by Boston's size and you've got a recipe for Von Wafer to get a fair amount of time by the end of this one.

It was stunning, considering the Hawks swept the Celtics last year. But call it motivation over last year's flukes, or the Celtics' last fluke against the Raptors, or just the impact of a healthy Kevin Garnett, but this one was over with before the t-shirt guns had even been loaded. The Hawks continue to perplex as they look genuinely good and improved at times, and like roadkill in others.

Kevin Garnett looks not only like he's healthy, but like he's healthy like when he was 31. That's terrifying for the rest of the league.

YOUR DAILY "QUAKE" GRIFFIN NIGHTMARE DUNK:




GO-GO-GADGET LINE OF THE NIGHT:


Carmelo Anthony:
39 points (17-17 from the line), 9 rebound, 5 assists

Runner-Up:


Manu Ginobili: 25 points, 6 rebounds, 9 assists

FINAL THOUGHTS:


The Hornets are 11-2. Which is great. But the last few games have shown some of their cracks in the foundation. Relying on Jason Smith to be a significant bench contributor isn't going to get it done. Neither is hoping Emeka Okafor stays as an offensive force. The bigger concern may be that Chris Paul has started looking flat-out tired at the ends of games. Him missing the game-tying assist to David West was nothing more than one of those that happens, but in general he looked lethargic down the stretch. Some concerns for the Hornets do exist, even at 11-2.

Last night's game perfectly illustrates why Boston fans get so frustrated with their team. They look so awesome when they consistently try.

The story from Indiana-Miami was the Heat playing terribly but the Pacers deserve a world of credit for getting Danny Granger going, and Brandon Rush took it to Dwyane Wade, which, injured or not, isn't an easy thing to do. The Pacers look like a solid playoff contender.

People will tell you that the Oklahoma City-Minnesota game was closer than the final score appears. And it's true the Wolves lead down the stretch. So maybe I'm just exhibiting confirmation bias when I tell you that I never had a doubt the Thunder would win that game. The Wolves have no idea how to execute in clutch situations most times, and Michael Beasley still does a lot of Michael Beasley-type things.

Houston loses. Again.


Follow F&R on Twitter at @CBSSportsNBA and check out our RSS feed . This has been your daily edition of the Game Changer.



Posted on: November 11, 2010 10:25 am
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:41 pm
 

Game Changer 11.11.10: Wall 3D's Rockets

Michael Beasley Nets a career high, John Wall gets his first career triple-double and finishes a sick alley oop, a giant Sonny Weems head makes an appearance in Toronto, Elton Brandon re-emerges, plus plenty of audio and video from Oklahoma City vs. Philly. Posted by Ben Golliver

Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer. 

THE BIG ONE: JOHN WALL GETS HISTORIC ON THE Rockets

Wednesday was an historic, high-flying night for Washington Wizards rookie point guard John Wall, and he was all over the court on the way to his first career triple-double in a 98-91 Wizards win over the Houston Rockets in D.C.  Wall's top end speed is among the best in the league, and against the Rockets, who are dealing with absences and injuries in their backcourt, he was often a blur, racing out in transition and leaping into passing lanes. It was a hyperactive but still controlled performance for Wall, who finished with just one turnover on the evening and looked more comfortable shooting from range than he has all season.  For Houston, it was a tough night all around, as the Rockets lost Yao Ming during the first half due to a leg injury .  Yao or no Yao, the Rockets and they had no answer for Wall, who joined some elite NBA company by registering his 19 point, 10 rebound, 13 assist triple-double in just his sixth NBA game. Take a look at the chart to see how he stacks up to some of the league's all-time greats. john-wall-graphic And we'd be lacking in our Wizards/Rockets coverage if we didn't link up this video of Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas tossing a soft alley oop to Wall, who finished acrobatically with one hand. Too sick.

GO-GO-GADGET LINES OF THE NIGHT:

Michael Beasley:  42 points, nine rebounds, two assists, 1 steal on 17-31 shooting in 41 minutes in a road win for Minnesota over the Sacramento Kings. The 42 points were a career-high for Beasley.

Honorable mention to...


John Wall:
  19 points, 10 rebounds, 13 assists, six steals, one block on 8-16 shooting in 42 minutes in a home win for Washington over the Houston Rockets. Deron Williams: 30 points, five rebounds, 14 assists on 8-19 shooting in 42 minutes in a road win for the Utah Jazz at the Orlando Magic. 

Kris Humphries: 13 points, 18 rebounds, three assists, one steal, two blocks on 6-12 shooting in 40 minutes in a road win for the New Jersey Nets at the Cleveland Cavaliers.

TURN BACK THE BRAND:

By Royce Young

OKLAHOMA CITY -- At one point, I had to look at my watch. I could've sworn it was 2005. There was Elton Brand, slender, fit, healthy and playing excellent basketball. It was like seeing an old dog get up and remember some of the tricks you taught it as a puppy.

Brand had his mid-range jumper working, was aggressive on the glass, posted up and defended the paint. Most people have sort of forgotten what an absolute force Brand was in the past, but with his start to 2010, folks are getting a refresher.

Against Oklahoma City, Brand put up a smooth 17 points and nine rebounds. On the season, he's averaging 18.4 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. And for a rebuilding team where he's a big focus for opponents.

In the offseason, it's crazy to think Brand was going to be given away for next to nothing. The Sixers wanted to dump his massive contract, get some picks and young players back and go from there. At no point did it seem realistic that Brand could be part of that building. He seems happy being on this young squad.

"I can see us getting better," Brand said after the close loss to the Thunder. "We need to grow and have this translate into victories which it will. That's a sign of us getting better; us closing these games."

This is the first time really since Brand has been in Philly that he's completely healthy and in shape. And when he has those two things working, his basketballing abilities really come out. He's not one of the premier power forwards any longer, but probably 20 other teams would enjoy having his services. (But not his huge contract.)

The question is if Brand can sustain this for a full 82. It's not that he's over-the-hill (he's 31) or that he has a ton of mileage on him. It's that his recent history has held him back and makes one wonder if he's got it in him to keep going. Character has never been an issue for Brand so even if the Sixers stink - which they will - he's going to go hard.

Brand almost looks like he's from another era. It just doesn't seem like he fits on the floor, especially in a game featuring the young Thunder against the pups of the Sixers. But Brand is throwing back to an earlier time, playing like that former self that fits right alongside these up-and-comers. And the old man showed the kids a thing or two Wednesday in Oklahoma City.

DON'T MISS:

 

WHIMSY:

Toronto Raptors fans hold up a giant version of guard Sonny Weems' head. 

sonny-weems

 

AUDIO/VIDEO GALORE:

Here's some video of Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook, who had a huge night with 31 points, five rebounds, and 12 assists, talking about his team's 109-103 win over the Philadelphia 76ers.



And here's audio of Philadelphia 76ers coach Doug Collins breaking down the game from the losing side.

ONE FINAL THOUGHT:

During his career-high scoring night on Wednesday, Minnesota Timberwolves forward Michael Beasley was wearing his NBA head band upside down , violating the league's new mandate. Will he be fined by the league office?

Follow F&R on Twitter at @CBSSportsNBA and check out our RSS feed . This has been your daily edition of the Game Changer.
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: 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.


Posted on: October 27, 2010 1:55 am
Edited on: October 27, 2010 2:38 am
 

Lakers' poise overcomes Rockets' hard work

Lakers overcome tough contest by Rockets thanks to Shannon Brown as Kobe struggles from the field.
Posted by Matt Moore

The Rockets worked hard. They hustled. They shot well. They drove, and dished. They gave up offensive boards, but they worked on defense. They forced Kobe Bryant into a hard night. They gave everything they had for three quarters.

And it only took one quarter for the Lakers to show why they're the champs. After the Rockets led by as many as 15 in the second half, the Lakers made a furious comeback behind an explosive performance from Shannon Brown, then iced it with a Steve Blake three with less than twenty seconds to go. Brown went ballistic in the third with a barrage of threes and finished with 16 points. With one last possesion and less than ten seconds, Steve Blake made a terrific defensive stop on Aaron Brooks under the basket and the Lakers walked out with a 112-110 win.

Take a look at Shannon Brown's shot chart from our CBSSports.com GameTracker :



The Rockets had solid performances from Kevin Martin in the loss, with 26 points. Aaron Brooks, outside of that last possession, was also brilliant with 24 points and 9 assists. The key for the Rockets? Turnovers. 19 turnovers to LA's 11.

Yao Ming was held to his 24-minute limit, fouling out in the 24th minute, exactly. That's one way to get the most for your minutes. Yao was great early, fighting off Pau Gasol and grabbing rebounds, but Lamar Odom decided to show for LA, and when that happens, they're impossible to stop. 14 points, 10 rebounds for the Space Cadet, and a 112-110 win for the Lakers.

Kobe Bryant was 8 of 20 from the field for 27 points, but did have 5 rebounds and 7 assists. More on #24 in tomorrow's GameChanger.


Posted on: September 23, 2010 4:38 pm
 

Preseason Primer: Houston Rockets

Posted by Matt Moore

The Rockets finally have Yao Ming healthy. They finally have Tracy McGrady out of their hair. They finally have the pieces together to make another run. But can any of the pieces fit together? Are they really as dangerous as everyone says they are? Does speaking in rhetorical questions make you want to read this, our next selection in our Preseason Primers ? Let's find out as we talk about the Rox.


Training camp site: Houston, TX (Hidalgo, TX in early October)

Training camp starts: September 25th

Key additions: Brad Miller (free agent), Courtney Lee (trade), Patrick Patterson (draft)

Key subtractions: Trevor Ariza (trade), David Andersen (trade)

Likely starting lineup:
Aaron Brooks (PG), Kevin Martin (SG), Shane Battier (SF), Luis Scola (PF), Yao Ming (C)

Player to watch:
Patrick Patterson. Assuming the Rox don't go all nuts and acquire Carmelo Anthony during camp, their starting lineup is pretty well set. But Patterson is a rookie who comes out of that ridiculous Kentucky class and could wind up being the kind of flex player that makes a big impression on Rick Adelman. He's versatile, strong, has a good mid-range, and can work inside of a complex offense. He's got a great opportunity to make an impact for the Rockets during camp.


Chemistry quiz:
The Rockets have seemed like a team that's liked one another for years. They hung together when Yao Ming went down, and their samurai-like approach last year was noble, even if it fell short. Basically, even without the star talent you need to win in this league, the Rockets were the team you didn't want to run into in a dark alley. They were tough, gritty, and hung together. The addition of Kevin Martin, trying to reassert himself as a premier player in this league could cause issues, and there's no telling if the same goodwill will maintain with as many changes as the Rockets have made in the past two years. But the core elements are in place, and the tone of camp should be fun and focused, instead of contentious and tense. Not having solified expectations due to Yao's injury should help with manners as well.


Camp battles:
Small forward was set to be a huge battle but promising second year man Chase Budinger tweaked an ankle and won't be able to battle old man Battier for the slot left open by Trevor Ariza's departure. Jermaine Taylor, Courtney Lee, and Jared Jeffries should have a good one for the backup role behind Martin. Jordan Hill vs. Patterson should make for a nice one as well, with Hill's scrap versus Patterson's finesse providing contrast in style.

Injury issues:
Budinger's ankle is significant, but other than that the Rockets seem really healthy and don't have any pro...OH, YEAH. Yao Ming is coming back from an injury that's held him out for a year and a half and is trying to just stay on the floor while the rest of the team holds its breath everytime his feet leave the ground. camp.

Biggest strength:
Doin' work. The Rockets put in a full effort every night, a testament to both the roster assembled and Rick Adelman's job. They lacked an identity last year without Yao, but it did help them to adjust to whatever they faced. The Rockets can get out and run, or grind it out. They're really best when they're doing both. They'll battle for every loose ball and every player knows his role. It's a strong team they've put together.

Glaring weakness:
Three point shooting. Brooks isn't an efficient shooter. Martin's three point shooting dropped off a cliff last season. Budinger can shoot, but the rest of the team isn't great from the arc, including backup point guard Kyle Lowry.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com