Tag:Houston Rockets
Posted on: February 1, 2012 1:37 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2012 1:28 pm
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Who's contending and who's pretending?

Posted by Royce Young

Are the Lakers and Celtics challengers for a championship, or for just a postseason appearance? (Getty Images)

Almost every team has played 20 games so far this season, which is a pretty nice sample size to make a semi-educated judgment on just how good some are. We know there are a lot of competitive teams in each conference. Teams that have a quality roster, a decent record and a chance at the postseason.

But what's coming into focus more and more is who is for real and who is for fake. Not in the sense of who is actually good and who is fool's gold, but what teams should we be really watching for to make a push at a championship?

In the same way there's no reason to waste time saying the Wizards and Hornets are not contenders, I don't need to tell you that the Oklahoma City Thunder, Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls are obvious contenders. They aren't just contenders, they're the title favorites as of now. Those three teams have clearly separated themselves a bit from the pack, but that doesn't mean that there isn't another team lingering as a potential title threat. This time last season nobody was really looking at the Mavericks as a team poised to hoist the Larry O'Brien trophy.

So let's break down the current field of playoff contending teams and separate the contenders from the pretenders.

Orlando Magic

After an 11-4 start, a good number of people kind of came around from "They have to trade Dwight Howard right now" to "Maybe they should keep him and make a run at it." Now, after a week of complete stinkage, maybe it's time to take another good look at blowing the hinges off the organization and starting over. If you're consistently having trouble getting out of the 60s, you're not going to win a seven-game series against a good team.

Verdict: PRETENDER

Philadelphia 76ers

A 15-6 record and the best point differential in the league is not something to be ignored. A 4-4 road record indicates that maybe the Sixers aren't quite ready to step into the conversation of competing for the East. I'm going to choose to ignore that. The Bulls and Heat are clearly the class of the East, but it's not hard for me to picture the Sixers taking down one in a seven-game series. Their depth, defense and determination will have them right in any game they play.

Verdict: CONTENDER

Utah Jazz

Rewind to last season. Jerry Sloan had resigned and Deron Williams was traded. It was understandable that the Jazz would finish out the season in the lottery. That was the plan. Get younger, find some cap flexibility and plan for the future. Except that didn't work out. The Jazz aren't a franchise that deal with losing much so this season wasn't just going to be one of tanking. But they're overachieving. They have some nice wins on the resume, but a core of Paul Millsap, Al Jefferon and Gordon Hayward aren't making a title push.

Verdict: PRETENDER

Indiana Pacers

I want to believe. I really do. The Pacers are a fun team and their resurgence over the past two seasons has been something else. David West was a nice addition and Roy Hibbert is playing really well. They've built up their resume with some good wins over the past couple weeks, but I don't see how they improved in the area that killed them last postseason -- fourth quarter execution. Danny Granger is a good player but can't shoulder the load of getting tough, key baskets in crunchtime. I can't see them beating the Bulls, Heat or even 76ers.

Verdict: PRETENDER

New York Knicks

I almost didn't even include them in this list. And not for the reason the Bulls, Heat and Thunder aren't in it. Unless Baron Davis has a superpower in that beard, the Knicks aren't getting out of the first round, and that's if they even get there. Serious obstacles are going to have to be overcome before this team actually competes for a championship.

Verdict: PRETENDER

Dallas Mavericks

It appears the championship hangover is finally wearing off. But for a while there, the defending champs had us concerned. They looked flat, uninterested and worst of all, not as good after losing J.J. Barea, Tyson Chandler and DeShawn Stevenson. But the Mavs are finding their form a bit and if Lamar Odom can ever finally wake up, Dallas goes eight deep with a nice rotation. And as long as that tall German guy is on the roster, they're a tough matchup for anyone.

Verdict CONTENDER

Houston Rockets

As I was writing down the teams I needed to mention for this, I didn't have the Rockets. And then I looked at the West standings and their record and said, "Whoa, the Rockets are 12-9? When did that happen?" I think they're going to be players at the trade deadline, but as the team stands now, they're position in the West's top eight will probably be short lived.

Verdict: PRETENDER

San Antonio Spurs

Could the Los Angeles Clippers -- the Clippers -- really be contenders? (Getty Images)
You just wait. Gregg Popovich knows what he's doing. Manu Ginobili will be healthy soon and the Spurs are going to go on a run of games in late February or March where they win like 14 of 16 and rocket up to third in the West. It's coming. I know it is.

Verdict: CONTENDER

Los Angeles Clippers

I picked the Clippers to finish second in the West but also wrote that they weren't a contender. I'm confused about the Clippers. But they definitely showed a little something this past week with a win in Denver and a win against the Thunder. Part of the reason many doubted that the Clips were ready to contend was it looked like they needed another piece for some depth. But they may already have it as Mo Williams is making a strong case for Sixth Man of the Year. Two top 15 players, a monster rim protector inside, a solid identity and veteran leadership -- the Clips kind of have it all. Only two things are holding them back -- Vinny Del Negro and a 35-year history filled with miserable failure.

Verdict: CONTENDER

Atlanta Hawks

I'll put it simply: The Hawks made no dramatic improvements to a team that's basically been the definition of pretender and then their best player was injured for pretty much the rest of the season. Their winning record without Al Horford has been a bit of a mirage as they've fortunately found a soft spot in the schedule at the worst time. Playoff team, yes. Title contender? Nah.

Verdict: PRETENDER

Portland Trail Blazers

For about five minutes, the Blazers had everyone talking about them as the prime contender to challenge Oklahoma City in the West. And then they lost their next five of eight and have slipped out of the top eight in the West. There's really not that much distinguishing this Blazer team from the one the was eliminated in last season's opening round. Is Ray Felton an upgrade over Andre Miller? Jamal Crawford an upgrade over Brandon Roy? LaMarcus Aldridge has become a legit superstar, but I don't see him carrying this roster to the Western Finals.

Verdict: PRETENDER

Memphis Grizzlies

I fear the Grizzlies were that classic chic preseason pick that everyone kind of likes that ends up going down in flames. Some would call that the "Houston Texans Disease." But Memphis didn't stumble into the second round of the postseason by accident. They upended the Spurs and then were a seventh game on the road away from advancing to the Western Finals. They're an enigma right now without Zach Randolph, but if he comes back healthy, the Grizzlies could be a nightmare matchup for teams in the playoffs.

Verdict: CONTENDER

Boston Celtics

After all of that, the Celtics are back to .500. They're 10-10 and have eased some of the fears that they might miss the playoffs. But they haven't been able to restore confidence that they're a team that's dangerous in the postseason. Kevin Garnett can't jump, which is a problem. Their offense completely fizzles for long stretches. They're actually relying on key production from guys like Mickael Pietrus and Chris Wilcox. The Celtics aren't bad, but I think ubuntu is on life support.

Verdict: PRETENDER

Denver Nuggets

Can team ball really win? Well, it's winning now and looking pretty darn good doing it. The Nuggets ran into a bad matchup last postseason and the Thunder took care of them in five games. I wouldn't say they necessarily improved this offseason after losing Wilson Chandler, Kenyon Martin and J.R. Smith while adding Rudy Fernandez, Corey Brewer and Andre Miller, but Al Harrington is playing wonderful basketball, Ty Lawson is blossoming and Danilo Gallinari shows flashes of being a star. Winning this way isn't easy, but I wouldn't rule the Nuggets out.

Verdict: CONTENDER

Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers are 2-7 on the road. They've only scored 100 points three times this season. For any other team, we'd say that's a major red flashing sign that they aren't for real. For any other team, we'd look at their offensive struggles, their chemistry issues and the fact they're looking older than ever and easily write them off. But this is the Lakers, the home of Kobe Bryant and you don't do that. But I'm going to. Point guard is a massive issue, they have no depth inside and I still have absolutely no idea why they traded Lamar Odom for nothing. This team subtracted a key piece from a group that got swept out of the playoffs by the Mavericks and they expect that adding Josh McRoberts and a new coach is going to push them over the top? Unless the Lakers have a big trade coming down the pipe, the Lakers as currently constructed aren't going anywhere.

Verdict: PRETENDER

Posted on: January 29, 2012 3:30 pm
Edited on: January 29, 2012 3:39 pm
 

Rockets' Lee: Airbag saved my life in car wreck

Courtney Lee OK after late-night car crash. (Getty Images)
Posted by Ben Golliver 

A member of the Houston Rockets is glad to be alive following a late-night car crash on Saturday.

The Associated Press reports that Rockets guard Courtney Lee's vehicle was reportedly struck by another car following a Saturday night home win over the New York Knicks
Rockets guard Courtney Lee said he was uninjured after his car was struck by another vehicle after Saturday night's game against the New York Knicks. 

Rockets spokesman Nelson Luis said Sunday that Lee contacted a team security guard to tell him he was OK.
Lee wrote the following message on his Twitter account -- @CourtneyLee2211 -- early Sunday morning: "Thanking God right now!!! Thanking Cadillac for airbags!! Without them I could have lost my life tonight and two others close to me."

Lee, 26, is averaging 9.6 points, 2.1 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.4 steals in 23.8 minutes per game off of Houston's bench this season.

Earlier this week, the Rockets opted not to offer a contract extension to Lee, a first round pick in the 2008 NBA Draft. He is now on track to become a restricted free agent in the summer, pending a qualifying offer from Houston.
Posted on: January 25, 2012 4:53 pm
Edited on: January 25, 2012 5:04 pm
 

Report: Vin Baker sues adviser over $86 M losses

Vin Baker is reportedly suing a financial adviser over millions in losses. (Getty Images)
Posted by Ben Golliver

Vin Baker's nickname might as well be "cautionary tale."

After making four All-Star games and earning more than $97 million during a 13-year NBA career, it's been nothing but financial hardship since his retirement in 2006.

Baker has owed more than a million dollars in back taxes to Connecticut, according to NBCConnecticut.com, he's had foreclosures on multiple properties, according to CNBC.com, and now he's reportedly suing his long-time financial adviser for allegedly squandering his fortune.

CourthouseNews.com reports that the 1993 lottery pick has taken legal action against Brodeur & Co. Certified Public Accountants because he believes the company mismanaged his finances between 1997 and 2009.
Retired NBA All-Star Vincent Baker claims his financial adviser lost nearly all of his $86 million nest egg through negligent investments.

Baker says: "During the time that Brodeur and B&C acted as Baker's manager, virtually all of Baker's earnings were spent and/or his investments lost all or nearly all of their value, such that Baker's home was foreclosed and he was forced to liquidate substantial assets for little or no value, leaving him without resources to meet his financial obligations and living expenses."

Baker claims that Brodeur and his firm breached their duties to him "through inadequate oversight and/or failure to implement systems to track sources of money and discourage fraud ... inadequate accounting ... inadequate reporting ... mismanaging Baker's assets, upon information and belief, through commingling of funds and the use of personal credit cards ... by mismanaging Baker's assets, upon information and belief, through transactions with Brodeur and B&C's manager's friends and family; and ... through transactions with Brodeur and B&C's managers, affiliates, business associated, and like entities."
Courant.com reports that Baker admitted to problems with alcohol abuse in a 2010 interview. He was arrested on DUI charges in 2007.

Baker, now 40, averaged 15.0 points and 7.4 rebounds per game during a career that included stops with the Milwaukee Bucks, Seattle SuperSonics, Boston Celtics, New York Knicks, Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers.

Hat tip: ProBasketballTalk
Posted on: January 24, 2012 4:53 pm
Edited on: January 24, 2012 5:00 pm
 

NBA Power Rankings: Breakdown, Takedown Vol. 6

Posted by Royce Young and Ben Golliver

memphis-grizzlies

The 2011-2012 NBA season continues. Here's the sixth weekly installment of CBSSports.com's NBA Power Rankings by Eye On Basketball's Matt Moore.

What did he get right? What did he get wrong? We're here to break it down and take it down.

1. Too High: Memphis Grizzlies at No. 6. I was as impressed as anyone by the Grizzlies comeback over the Warriors. But not by Memphis. I was impressed at the complete unraveling the Warriors pulled off. Playing that terrible and blowing a 20-point fourth quarter lead isn't easy to do. The Grizzlies have endured injury and have stayed afloat in the West winning seven straight, but without Zach Randolph, that team is not six material. Their toughness is nice and it's a good story that they're fighting, but six of those seven wins are against sub .500 teams and the Bulls without Derrick Rose. So let's pump those brakes. -- RY

2. Too Low: Orlando Magic at No. 10. Look up the term "recency bias" in an encyclopedia and you will find this headshot of Matt Moore accompanying the explanation. Yes, the Magic were historically awful on Monday night but if we've learned one lesson over the last month, it's that there will be the occasional super-ugly shooting night where great teams look terrible. This team has posted exceptional offensive efficiency numbers through the first month of the season; their body of work on that end is beyond reproach. They clocked the Lakers, dumped the Knicks and handled the Bobcats last week too. There's no way there are nine teams in the NBA better than the Magic. -- BG

3. Most Overrated: Toronto Raptors at No. 27. OK, so they're 27th in the rankings. But that's too high. See, that's the challenge of power rankings. There has to be a hierarchy, when in reality, it might just be better to have five teams tied at 29. Because right now, the Wizards are the clear worst team with about five others stacked up right together for the honor of second worst. The Raptors have lost eight straight and look rather hopeless. To give them the credit of saying they are any better than 29, or even 28, is giving them far too much reward. -- RY

4. Most Overlooked: Los Angeles Clippers at No. 11. The No. 3 seed in the league's premier conference ranks No. 11 out of 30 teams here. That definitely makes sense. Come on, the Clippers are still benefitting from having a home-loaded schedule and a slow ramp up to the season but they were above .500 last week and within a buzzerbeater of going 4-1. They have premier wins over the likes of Los Angeles and Miami and have weathered an extended Chris Paul injury better than anyone could have reasonably expected. They could slip as the 10 home games vs. four road games disparity tightens up, but give them some credit now. -- BG

5. Sure Thing: Oklahoma City Thunder at No. 2. Catastrophic injury or apathy seems to be the only ways OKC will drop from the top-3 spots in the Power Rankings all season. They've won at home and on the road, they've beaten good teams and bad, and they've dominated in conference play. Russell Westbrook's contract status is settled. All that's left to do is nitpick the play of the lower rotation players until the playoffs finally arrive. A postseason rematch versus Denver at some point sounds like a mighty appetizing idea, doesn't it? -- BG 

6. Wild Card: Houston Rockets at No. 14. I hate it when people do this, but if the playoffs started today (why would they, it's January?) the Rockets would be the eight-seed. That's right, the Rockets, who everyone thought was terrible and underachieving to start the year. Now that they've moved past a killer start to their schedule, they've won games they should and are two games up on .500. It's hard to know if they're good or if this is just a product of beating teams you should, but the Rockets likely will figure into the Western playoff race down the stretch in some regard. -- RY
Posted on: January 23, 2012 10:58 pm
Edited on: January 24, 2012 12:29 pm
 

Report Card: A's and F's

Kevin Garnett and the Celtics embarrassed the Magic Monday night in Boston. (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore

Your nightly report grade gives you the overview of what went on in the NBA. Share your grades with us on Faceboook or Twitter. 

Celtics effort

I'm not trying to dog the Celtics by saying that the execution wasn't there. But they didn't magically get younger. They were still slower than the Magic, still weaker than the Magic. But they showed the effort and intensity that made this team a title contender for four years. And that's going to carry them a long way, especially on nights when the opponent rolls over and dies like the Magic did. Celtics are on a win streak. Are they finally back?

Orlando Magic

Gameplan. Effort. Focus. Effort. Intensity. Effort. Cohesion. Effort. Everything went wrong for the Magic Monday night, but their effort was atrocious. Jameer Nelson let second-year man Avery Bradley get into his skull and turn him over constantly. Dwight Howard was failing to keep position or even jump against Kevin Garnett's half-centimeter hook shot. Brandon Bass stole Glen Davis' lunch money and pretty much ended any conversation about who got the better end of that sign-and-trade. This was one of the most pathetic performances I've seen by an NBA team this season and I've seen the Wizards and Nets play six times each.

Emeka Okafor's game-saving block

Down two against the Hornets, San Antonio ran a picture-perfect play which resulted in Tony Parker dishing to a wide open Tiago Splitter racing down the lane for what would have been a clinching dunk. Emeka Okafor recovered weak side and blocked him. No, I'm sorry, block is too weak a word. He obliterated him. He erased him. He undid Tiago Splitter and all seven feet of him to spark the possession that would tie the game. The Hornets lost the game, but it was honestly one of the best plays of the season.




Tim Duncan's game-winning hook:


Running, across the lane, from fifteen feet, for the win, simply net. Old man can still do work. Game, folks. Drive safe




The Washington Wizards

If this were actual school we would have told the parents the Wizards need to pursue repeating the D-League grade. They had as many assists as a team as Andre Iguodala in the first half. They lost by double-digits. They were down 30 after the first 24 minutes of play. They are bad. Still. 


The Rockets' balance

The Rockets only had a four-man bench, but they provided 36 points. Kyle Lowry had a triple-double. Kevin Martin was all kinds of special. And after a Kevin Love three took the lead for the Wolves, the Rockets responded by hammering the Wolves into nothingness. Very impressive win over a game Wolves team.


Ricky-Rubio-Kevin-Love connection

The two are concocting something special. Rubio dished four behind the back passes that I saw Monday night to Love on the perimeter. You can't defend Love's shot on the perimeter for the entire possession. With a point guard that can find him at any point, it makes it nearly impossible to defend. 


Philadelphia, Chicago and Oklahoma City versus garbage teams

They should have won by twenty. They won by twenty. The end.



Memphis Grizzlies


You just... cannot kill this team. The Grizzlies stormed back from down 16 in the fourth quarter to edge the Warriors, crushing the Dubs with yet another fourth quarter loss. They needed to create steals, they created steals. They needed to hit big shots, the hit big shots (including a Rudy Gay ice-cold turnaround). They needed to make free throws to ice it, they iced it. They needed to stop Monta Ellis, Marc Gasol hedged him all the way to the corner and avoided the foul. The Grizzlies' wild ride of the past two seasons continues. 

Golden State Warrirors



The 2012 Golden State Warriors. Motto? No lead is too big to lose! The irony of their biggest win being against the Heat because the Heat collasped down the stretch is just stunning.
Posted on: January 11, 2012 12:16 am
Edited on: January 11, 2012 1:46 am
 

Report Card 1.10.12: Washington Wizards get a W



By Matt Moore

Your nightly report card gives you a big picture look at what happened each night in the NBA. Grades are granted based on team or individual performances, and are graded on a curve for each element. Leave your own grades in the comments. 

Washington Wizards


A win! A real win! The Nets (0-18 start) is safe! Crack the champagne! Or Shasta! Or something. The Wizards were desperate, the Raptors were lethargic, the Wizards' offense wasn't gangbusters but their defense was stout. The Raptors cut the lead to 8 at one point, and then the Wizards just hit them in the mouth. Trevor Booker was tough inside, Chris Singleton was productive, John Wall had an efficient game passing (and still can't shoot). It wasn't a great game. But a win to get them off the snide, their first of the season? That's an A.


Chicago Bulls/Minnesota Timberwolves

Since we grade on a curve, the Bulls weren't flawless on defense, and the Wolves game them a good scare. But they executed and executed and answered everything the Wolves tried to do in order to steal momentum. Rose came back from an ankle injury and still closed out the game in style, including a dagger right in the eye of Ricky Rubio to put the fire out.

But the Wolves were right there. And where so many teams would wilt and die under the Bulls' pressure, the Wolves stayed in there. What's more, they controlled the turnover battle and produced on offense. Defense was their problem (*cough* Kevin Love *cough*) but they still got some big performances from their stars (*cough* Kevin Love *cough*).

Portland Trail Blazers

The Clippers hung in this one, and that says something about where both teams are at. But the Blazers got what they needed, particularly from Gerald Wallace and Raymond Felton. Felton took over with a whirling dervish of layups and stripped Blake Griffin down the stretch. The Blazers continue to pressure teams into mistakes. It wasn't a flawless performance by any means, but it is a revenge get from the game they let slip in Staples. Blazers keep rolling. 

Houston Rockets


They beat the Bobcats while shooting 39 percent from the field, 35 percent from the arc, and 75 percent from the line. They turned it over 22 times and the Bobcats were missing two starters. So no, I am not impressed. One thing to watch, though. Jordan Hill has become a legitimate center in this league. After being cast off by the Knicks, he's one of the league leaders in rebound percentage and is playing efficiently at both ends. A good gamble that paid off for Houston. 




Memphis Grizzlies down the stretch


The Grizzlies were in this. In all honesty, they should get a B for their work against an exceptional OKC team. But down the stretch, in a tight game, the continuously made stupid fouls against Russell Westbrook who they have never been able to contain when he's in gear. Rudy Gay repeatedly took threes when they needed him creating inside, then turned the ball over in one-possession game. The Grizzlies' final meaningful possession was a Westbrook block of a Conley layup. Someone has to step up and make plays for this team if they're ever going to get out of their hole.

Toronto Raptors


Lost to the Wizards. Au-to-mat-ic.





LeBron James and the Heat in the clutch



Oh, here's a new one! 

The Heat did what they are most known for, completely self-destructing in the fourth quarter. LeBron James did not attempt a field goal in the fourth quarter. In overtime he missed several key shots and was blocked. He took a poor shot to go for the tie instead of working inside and all that post work we talked about? Gone. 

The Heat have been incredible this season, and that's not media fawning, that's just how good their play has been. But Tuesday night was a reminder that that hideous version of themselves that cost their team a championship still exists. They freeze, they lock up, and they let the whole world rain down on their heads. They utterly failed against a team they had down 17 Tuesday night. 


Gold Stars: Kobe Bryant (48 points on 18/31 shooting); Gerald Wallace (20-4-4 and so many huge plays there are too many to count plus a dagger three); David Lee, Dorrell Wright, Raymond Felton, Al Jefferson (30 and 12), Russell Westbrook
Posted on: January 10, 2012 5:18 pm
Edited on: January 10, 2012 6:39 pm
 

NBA Power Rankings: Breakdown, Takedown Vol. 4

Posted by Royce Young and Ben Golliver

ricky-rubio-12

The 2011-2012 NBA season continues to skip along. Here's the fourth weekly installment of CBSSports.com's NBA Power Rankings by Eye On Basketball's Matt Moore.

What did he get right? What did he get wrong? We're here to break it down and take it down.

1. Too High: Milwaukee Bucks at No. 20. The Bucks are one of those teams that you actually notice when they score. Because it doesn't happen with great regularity. Yet somehow despite a 2-6 record and five straight losses (without Andrew Bogut, mind you), the Bucks No. 20? Their schedule isn't overly difficult and their two wins are against the Wolves and Wizards. Not a whole lot to convince anyone that team is very good. -- RY 

2. Too Low: Houston Rockets at No. 27. The fourth worst team in the league? Really? Worse than the dysfunctional Kings, the raw Cavs and the frustrating Warriors? Yeah, they're 2-6 which is tied for last in the West, but they haven't had any easy road thus far. They've played multiple games without Kyle Lowry who is off to an All-Star caliber start and they're schedule has been brutal. Of their eight games, they've played seven against teams in the playoffs last season with the eighth being against the Clippers. The Rockets might be losing, but they haven't had a fair shake of the schedule quite yet. -- RY

3. Most Overrated: Minnesota Timberwolves at No. 16. Sure, it's basketball aficionado sacrilege to talk mess about the Minnesota Timberwolves right now, what with their internationally-acclaimed rookie point guard impressing beyond all reasonable expectations and the young core finally starting to develop. There are still baseline standards to fulfill, though, and Minnesota remains in the Northwest Division basement, trailing the fourth place Denver Nuggets by 2.5 games already. Their 3-6 record includes losses to the dismal Toronto Raptors, Cleveland Cavaliers and Milwaukee Bucks. -- BG

4. Most Overlooked: Utah Jazz at No. 18. Utah deserves to be where Minnesota was ranked, if not a touch higher, after slapping together a 4-game winning streak completely out of nowhere. The Jazz have been a perennial playoff team by exploiting their massive homecourt advantage to full effect, and they still haven't lost at Energy Solutions Arena this year, a promising sign even if they still lack a signature win. This team seemed destined for chaos and/or rebuilding after a 1-3 start; instead, they're back in the playoff picture, at least for now. -- BG

5. Sure Thing: New York Knicks at No. 14. The Knicks are right where they need to be. They've been frustratingly average. Even in beating Charlotte at home Monday, they flirted with disaster. There isn't a lot from the Knicks yet that show they're a real contender in the East. Tyson Chandler is nice, but do they honestly look that improved defensively? They have enough talent to win games and stay in the playoff hunt, but who would you take them to beat in a seven-game playoff series in the East? Would you even take them to beat the Sixers or Pacers right now? -- RY

6. Wild Card: Los Angeles Clippers at No. 12. Every other team in the NBA has played at least eight games. Some have already played 10. The Clippers, meanwhile, have played just six through Monday. How does that make sense? It doesn't, and it also gives us significantly less evidence to determine how legit the Clippers are with their division-leading 4-2 record. They grade out exceedingly well offensively and below-average -- but not terrible -- defensively, so there's a decent chance they can make a push towards perennial top-10 status assuming they can avoid injuries. Then again, their wins have come against Portland, who played incredibly flat, and three teams destined for the lottery. -- BG
Posted on: January 5, 2012 10:14 pm
Edited on: January 5, 2012 10:39 pm
 

Lowry charged with battery against female referee

By Matt Moore

Kyle Lowry has been charged with misdemeanor assault of a female referee stemmig from a September charity game in Las Vegas. MyFoxHouston.com reports
The female victim, Infini Robinson, was one of the referees in the game.

The declaration of warrant/summons said, "At the end of the game, Lowry approached the victim and threw a basketball at her striking her in her torso. The victim picked up the basketball and tossed it back at Lowry. Lowry became upset and stated, 'B****, meet me outside. I will kick you’re a**'."

The warrant goes on to allege that after Lowry walked away, Robinson went to the designated area for officials to change shoes and clothing, and she was hit with a basketball at a high rate of speed.

Also according to the warrant, Charlotte Bobcats forward Corey Maggette apologized to Robinson on behalf of Lowry and that Lowry also approached Robinson and said, "I'm sorry. I truly apologize for what I did. I let my emotions get the best of me."
If convicted, Lowry faces six months in jail. Even in the course of a basketball game, the prosecutor's office in Vegas told the station that Robinson is considered a "protected person" in the course of the game. 

Another referee verified Robinson's claim and stated Lowry was also abusive to him. 

Lowry is enjoying the prime of his career in Houston who has struggled out of the gate this season.  

Rockets' GM Daryl Morey issued a statement to the station that the organization was aware of the summons issued and that they were monitoring the situation.  Morey said the Rockets would not comment further. 

This summer, several players had issues during the exhibitions to fill the time during the lockout. Michael Beasley shoved a fan at an event in New York and Matt Barnes punched an opponent. The charges against Lowry are more serious due to their nature.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com