Rocket traveled to Utah for their second game after the all-star break. The Jazz are one of the top ranked defenses in the league and have been strong at home, winning their last 6. Rockets looked to go into Salt Lake City and gain some momentum to make a push for the playoffs.
For starters the fact that we need to make a push to make the playoffs is beyond pitiful. The first three quarters of this game were great to watch. It was a back and forth game and the Rockets were hustling, sharing the ball, and communicating on the defensive end. Josh Smith played some quality minutes and looked like he was finally in game shape, but rarely saw the court in the second half. Ty Lawson even looked like the Ty Lawson we thought we were getting for 8 minutes or so in the third.
Then the fourth quarter came around and James went to the bench as he usually does to start the quarter. We immediately reverted back to the old Rockets. Lackadaisical passes, shitty defense, and we almost seemed to turn the ball over on purpose. We also got to witness T Jones for the first time since his car accident. I’m glad the guy is okay, but geez I kind of wish he was still concussed. I would match rather see Montrezl get his minutes.
Behind Harden’s offense, Ariza’s defense, and a clutch 3 by old man Terry we were able to force overtime. Overtime wasn’t much better than the fourth quarter. We showed no sense of urgency as James casually walked the ball up the court each possession. We had a chance at the end of the game to tie it up but came up short as we missed a couple of three pointers. Losing 117-114 puts us in the 9 spot being Utah in the playoff picture.
James had another standout game in a Houston loss with 42 points which now ties him with Steph for most 40 point games. Wish these crazy numbers would equate to some wins. Ariza played a ballsy game tonight as he looked injured the entire way. He seemed to have a leg injury but didn’t let that slow him down from playing great defense as he locked up Gordon for the last 11 second of regulation to force overtime. That plus knocking down some big threes proves that Trevor hasn’t given up on this team yet.
Good news is according to Sports Center we caught a dub tonight!! Haha a little premature on their part. Can’t say I blame them, I thought we were going to win as well.
Rockets need to have a short memory as we face Dame Lillard and a scorching hot Portland team on Thursday. We get them on prime time so hopefully we can get a win and prove that we are still a team worth watching.
Houston went into last nights game on a 3 game losing streak. In those last 3 games we’ve looked flat out shitty as a team. Of course James is doing his thing, but Dwight can’t seem to play an entire game without getting ejected. Because of Dwight’s actions towards a referee in the Wizards game, he was not able to suit up against Miami.
In a game where we didn’t have Dwight or Capela we were going to need others to step up. Josh Smith got the nod to start at center, and took full advantage. With J Smoove being the biggest player on the court we were able to switch on most screens and play better team defense. Yes I just said we played good team defense…. Sounds weird right? Good D led to easy buckets in transition which is always nice to get players in a grove.
One player that benefited from those easy shots was Marcus Thornton. His play style can annoy the shit out of you because all he does shoot when he touches the ball. He also looks like one those little gummie bears that you use to eat as kid. However, last night Marcus played well and consistently knocked down shots, going 7/11 from the floor with 18 points.
Then of course there is James Harden. Normally I would bitch about his defense and how his guy lit us up for 35+, JJ Redick cough cough, but James showed more effort and the results were better. Offensively James was the catalyst, he got the rest of the squad involved early and tied his career high with 14 assists. His offensive game is borderline beautiful, it’s honestly awesome to watch. I mean who doesn’t love 3 pointers, euro steps, and a shit ton of free throws. He finished the night with 26 points and was 10/19 from the field.
Yesterdays game featured Justise Winslow who plays for the Heat but grew up and played high school ball here in Houston. He had 11 points and 8 boards in 35 minutes. Justise and Joe Young, Indiana Pacers, are two Houston born rookies playing meaningful minutes this season.
We play the Suns Thursday in Phoenix. Hopefully we come out strong and put the Suns in their place early. I’m also looking to see if KJ McDaniels can get some extra minutes against a younger Suns squad.
It’s Friday night and you want to make watching basketball a little more interesting, so you decide to throw down a couple bets with your bookie. Well if your going to bet some money you might as well win right. Here’s a couple lines I’m throwing some money on for tonight’s NBA lineup.
Cleveland at Detroit, Det +4.5
Ya, ya, ya why would I take Detroit against Cleveland. Well Detroit is 15-6-1 at home against the spread. Pretty good right? To make things even better Cleveland is 9-12-2 against the spread on the road. Combine these factors together and you got your self a nice chance of winning some money.
Brooklyn at Dallas, Dal -9
First things first, Brooklyn is complete ass this year. Add the fact Dallas is 14-7 at home against the spread and you got yourself a nice bet. Following a loss (they lost to the Heat on Tuesday), Brooklyn is 14-16 against the spread. Add in the fact that the Mavericks are 13-8 against the spread when favored and this seems to be a sure fire bet.
Houston at Oklahoma City, Hou +7.5
Normally I would stay away from this game. To be flat out honest, the Rockets are about as shitty as it gets against the spread, but fuck it they are my home town squad and we are on prime time NBATV tonight. The Thunder have been squeezing out some close wins against teams like Minnesota and a Knicks team that didn’t have Melo, they even lost to Brooklyn. With the entire nation watching I think this will be a close game to the end.
Bonus: Charlotte at Portland, Portland -6.5
I’m betting this late night game based off how I do in my early games. I like the game solely for the reason that Damian Lillard was left out of the All-Star game yet again. Dame Dolla came into the league with a chip on his shouldercoming out of Weber State. Tonight that chips going to be a even bigger since he’s clearly played well enough to be invited to Toronto. Look for Lillard to ball the fuck out and get his team a big win tonight.
Going into last nights game the Rockets were hopeful that they could give the Spurs their first home loss of the season. Since the addition of J Smoove (Josh Smith) the Rockets are 3-0 and have been playing good basketball. With that momentum and Dwight coming off injury we had plans to get nice win on the road. We knew Coach Pop would have the Spurs ready to play, especially after coming off a 30 point ass whooping by Golden State.
After the first, the Rockets looked alright and I had a good feeling about the game. That good feeling quickly faded as the Rockets began to shit the bed. This game was over half way into the second quarter. Spurs pulled away quickly and their lead stretched to 31 and never went below 17 as they got the W 130-99.
Harden got his offensively, but defensively was too often found in no man’s land allowing Danny Green to light it up from the 3pt line. Dwight played well coming off an ankle injury but too many times we couldn’t get him the ball with smaller defenders on him. Although Dwight continued his great free throw shooting, 7/8, the team as a whole missed 17 in tonight’s loss. Combine that with the fact that we couldn’t knock down an open 3pt shot contributed to the humiliation. To top it off, our shitty defense allowed the Spurs to shoot over 50% from behind the line and 55% from the field. Can we please trade Terrence Jones already?
All in all, Rockets reverted back to a lot of the same old shit that Houston fans are tired of. Lazy defense, awful passes, and a stagnant offense. The Spurs are now 25-0 at home.
And to Spurs fans reading this and smiling, fuck you. Oh and TMac 13 in 33.