Saturday, November 29, 2008

Houston Rockets Message to the NBA: "I Was Gettin Some Head"

No recap tonight. It was pretty much self-explanatory greatness. We dominated in all aspects of the game, especially in the paint, and for those of you that were wondering, the Tracy McGrady = Ewing Theory is in effect. But that doesn't matter. What does matter is that one single game may have finally validated our first-round selection of Luther Head. OK, so maybe not entirely, but still, this was quite a performance.

Head went Nuts and scored 21 points, grabbed 5 boards, dished out 4 assists, and had 2 threes and 2 steals. Better yet, he only had Zero turnovers. In fact, this might be the best game that any Rocket has played this season, mainly because nobody saw it coming.

Think about it. If there is one Rocket besides Chuck Hayes who sparks thoughts of "Why is he still on the team?", it's Luther. He was horrible in the playoffs last year and didn't do very much during the regular season either. But now Luther is back. We can take a few things out of this sudden resurgence:

1. It's because he's at his natural position: shooting guard. We've always tried him at point, but he played SG in college at Illinois, where he thrived as a catch-and-shoot player. With three years of experience under his draw string, Head can now return to his position with a deeper arsenal now that Tracy McGrady could be out for a while.

2. The Artest Effect. Now that we have such a deep team with so many stars, like Rawn, it allows other guys such as Luther to find easier shot attempts.

3. T-Mac can rest knowing that someone can be trusted in his place. We still have yet to see Luther's consistency, but assuming he continues to play well, even if it's not at this level, we can finally sit McGrady down.

Then again, I could be wrong about Luther. Maybe he just had a good game. Hell, even Matt Bonner had 17 points. Actually, tonight was kind of a strange night. People around the league had some crazy statlines. Check this out:

David Lee: 37 points, 21 boards.
Chris Duhon: 12 points, 22 Assists
Darius Songaila: 16 points
Marco Belinelli started! Yes!
CJ Watson: 23 points.
Randy Foye: 25 points.
Chuck Hayes: 1 free throw made...and one lane-violation.
Paul Milsap: 20 points, 10 boards.
Steve Novak: 4 incredible minutes of playing time!!!

You know what this means for single, middle-aged men everywhere? Fantasy Party.

But let's hope I'm right. If Luther is legit, then we have one of the deepest 9-man rotations in the league. I mean, Carl Landry is our 9th guy right now, and had the Bobcats signed him this summer, he could have been starting for them. But it's a good night for Luther and I hope it's not the last. As a tribute to Luther, I leave you with this, Luther's theme song:

Thursday, November 27, 2008

McGrady Hints at Taking Time Off

Tracy's knee loves those magazines.

HoopsWorld has reported this story concerning Tracy McGrady's health.  In the article, T-Mac says that he may "take some time off."  Last night's DNP might be the first of many if McGrady decides to hang it up for a month or two.  If that indeed is his decision, I'll be the first to applaud it.

That's right - T-Mac needs to go away for a while.  I realize that we lost last night to a far inferior team, but it was Battier's first game back in the rotation and there might be a few kinks to work out.  However, McGrady's temporary absence might allow a few things to happen:

1. Battier and Artest can play on the court at the same time, thus giving us two shutdown defenders in our starting lineup.

2. Yao Ming gets more touches, and that's never a bad thing.

3. McGrady will be allowed to actually heal.  Besides the short offseason, he never has any time to actually rest his leg.  He's played long enough to where this wouldn't hurt his chemistry with the team, his timing, or anything of that nature.

4. The Ewing Theory can be put to the test.

We should have enough talent to offset McGrady's impact, so for now, send him home and let him heal.  Then in the playoffs, when we really need him, he'll be much healthier.

Pacers 91 - Rockets 90

I'm going to start by becoming the 1 billionth person to say something along the lines of "I know I shouldn't blame the game on the refs, but this one blah blah blah..." So now you're warned. I know I shouldn't blame the game on the refs, but this one should have ended much differently. I realize that we shot 12 more free throws than Indiana, but the calls in crunch time were pitiful. Yao gets swatted in the arms by Jeff Foster and nothing happens? Ron Artest drives to the basket several times in the fourth quarter, gets destroyed as only Rawn can, and nothing happens? I know the Rockets don't sport any Jedi, and I know they don't have the word "Celtics" printed on their jerseys, but come on. Give Houston a chance to show off our league-leading FT percentage. And I almost forgot to mention: Tracy McGrady didn't play. Oh well. On to the recap:

Three Up:
Luis Scola -- My Friend From Argentina has been boarding up like another hurricane is coming to town. He grabbed 18 rebounds tonight, scored 15 points, and as bad as we shot tonight, Scola's 6-17 from the field doesn't look as terrible as it normally would.

Carl Landry -- Landry was a beast tonight, posting a double-double in 29 minutes of work. He had a few monster dunks and had key rebounds down the stretch while Yao was out. He also played well enough to keep the Chuckwagon on the bench for the entire game. Which reminds me...

Chuck Hayes -- He didn't play. Hallelujah.

Three Down:
Troy Murphy Defense -- Holy shit this drove me absolutely nuts! Why do we leave Murphy WIDE OPEN for three pointers late in the game when he has been wet for four quarters? It became practice for him. Overall, he ended up going 21/14, the last thing we needed to happen.

Houston's Shooting in General -- I don't get it: why do we suck at shooting? We certainly have capable shooters. But on some nights, such as tonight, they just can't avoid the rim. It's like all of a sudden, when a player comes to Houston and puts on a Rockets uniform, their FG% completely tanks. Imagine if Yao played on another team; he might shoot 70%!

Statistical Nightmare -- Rasho Nesterovic shoots ten shots, five of which are at least ten footers. Danny Granger goes 0-7 from three-point land. We grab 13 more rebounds than Indiana. We shoot 12 more free throws than Indiana and at a higher percentage. Chuck Hayes doesn't play. And yet we still lose. It goes to show how little other statistics matter compared to shooting sometimes.

Almost-Injury of the Night: Yao went down hard on a no-call that should have been a charge on Marquis Daniels. This resulted in two things: Yao cut his face, but if it's not an injury to his legs, it doesn't matter, thus qualifying it as an almost-injury. In addition to that, we got to see our first and only example of Rusty Wants Justice of the game.

Stats of the Night:
Look at the Statistical Nightmare paragraph above for the glaring stats. There was one more stat, however, that I failed to note:

Number of Minutes Played By Joey Dorsey: Zero. COME ON ADELMAN!! EVEN LUTHER HEAD GOT IN THE GAME!!

Free Throw Defense Reference of the Night: Some fan a few rows behind me shouted "Say something, Bill!" during one of Troy Murphy's trips to the free throw line. I'm positive that he was referring to the strong Free Throw Defense that Rockets broadcaster Bill Worrell has been playing all season. Unfortunately, Murphy made both of those free throws, thus providing us with another example of how mind-boggling Free Throw Defense is.

Tracy McGrady = Ewing Theory?: We can finally put that to rest...for now.

73-9 Update: 10-6. John Hollinger would say it's possible.

Next Home Game: Saturday vs. San Antonio. Manu is back and I don't give a shit.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Rockets Vocab Word of the Day: "Jedi"

Today's word is "Jedi."

Definition: Any NBA superstar player that is allowed 3-4 steps before being called for a travel, most notably LeBron James and Dwayne Wade. The term can also be used when one of these superstar players is given an obvious bailout call, but somewhat rarely.

As in "Dwayne Wade must have taken four steps on that spin move, but the refs held their whistles because he is a Jedi."

I must say, I forced this word a little bit. It had always bugged me that I hadn't come up with a word for known travelers such as Wade (who sports his Jedi Spin Move), James, Paul Pierce, Kobe Bryant, etc. So the term "skywalker" came to mind, and then I figured, "Hey, I always see Jedis in Star Wars jumping around from place to place and getting from Point A to Point B faster than anyone else." Combining that with the fact that Luke Skywalker is a Jedi brought me to the word. So now that you are thoroughly confused, here are some video examples of Jedis.

Dwayne Wade:

Dwayne Wade Bailout Call:

Dwayne Wade One More Time:

LeBron James:

Jedi Wannabe Dan Marjele!

Rockets Power Dancer of the Week: Carrie

I'd like to introduce you to Carrie, who looks like she's having fun in the picture above. She's a four-year RPD member and is this year's team captain. Unlike Julie from last week, Carrie has a job. She's a project controls analyst, and while I have no idea what that is, I'm sure she's good at it. Carrie, like nearly the entire squad, went to UH. Her favorite dance style is simply "jazz." She's also a Matchbox Twenty fan and her signature perfume is Burberry Brit. Hmm, expensive. That's what you should know, and here's what you need to know: Carrie is in the middle of the picture below.

As team captain, she also has dunking dancer duties:

Interests Rating: 8
Signature Perfume Rating: 10
Experience Rating: 10
Hotness Rating: 9
*+2 for Team Captain
Overall Rating: 39/40. Excellent.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Rockets Vocab Word of the Day: "Adelmen"

Today's word is "Adelmen."

Definition: The collective name of Rick Adelman's assistant coaches. Never referred to as "An Adelman", a single coach or staff member can instead be referred to as "one of the" or "a member of the" Adelmen.

As in "After Rafer Alston started a fight, the Adelmen made sure to keep everyone on the bench, and three of them kept Rawn off the floor."

Here are your 2008-2009 Adelmen:

Elston Turner:
2nd year with Rockets.
Spent six years as one of the Adelmen in Sacramento.
Played 505 games in the NBA.
Known for "defensive tenacity as a player" (aka he sucked at scoring).

Jack Sikma:
2nd year with Rockets.
One of the greatest centers in NBA history.
My JV basketball coach called a face-up move in the post a "Jack Sikma move", so he has that going for him.

T.R. Dunn:
2nd year with Rockets.
Spent two years as a member of the Adelemen in Sacramento.
Played 14 years in the NBA
One of the premier defenders of all time (aka he also sucked at scoring)

R.J. Adelman
Seriously, it was the only picture I could find.
Has done a lot of scouting for the Kings and Sonics (who?).
Played basketball at Willamette University.
You guessed it: He's the coach's son

Let's hear it for your 2008-2009 Adelmen!

Ron Artest Wants to be Heard

Thanks to the folks at Ball Don't Lie, it's been discovered that Ron Artest has added to his list of favorite things. He's now a video blogger. Did I see this coming? No, because generally I consider Rawn to be an "actions before words" kind of guy. But hey, give the man some credit - not many people reach out to fans like this. However, he should also watch his back, because Shane Battier is going to pester him for a while until he can get a blog of his own. Ever notice how it's always Battier appearing on the Rockets big screen during timeouts? We'll leave that to another blog. Unlike some other bloggers, I've been kind enough to post all three of Rawn's video blogs. Take a look at that smoke he exhales before starting video #3.

Video #1

Video #2

Video #3

Monday, November 24, 2008

Recap: Rockets 107 - Heat 98

Well so much for that "tough road trip."  We went 3-0 and won every game with relative ease, even the Washington fiasco.  In fact, we probably got Eddie Jordan fired.  So that's nice.  As for tonight's game, there was no question who the better team was.  We also had a huge size advantage, leading to easy shots both inside and outside.  We shot well, played good defense on Dwayne Wade, and our game ended in time for me to watch the second half of Monday Night Football.  Could there be a better way to spend a night...?

Three Up:
Ron Artest: As Bill Worrell said, "Give Ron his Kudos for this game."  He shut down Dwayne Wade, played well while Tracy McGrady and Yao were out, and scored 20 points of his own.  And some good news in terms of that shutdown Rockets defense: Shane Battier is back by Saturday at the very latest.  Good luck scoring on us, everyone. 

Luis Scola: Luis quietly had a huge game tonight, netting 11 points while grabbing 13 rebounds.  He didn't shoot it well, but he did everything else.  And he went 7-9 from the FT line, something he has done well all season.

Carl Landry: Carl was the finisher tonight.  When Rawn ran yet another horrible fast break at the end of the game, Landry dunked home a missed layup that gave the Rockets the comfortable win.  Dare I call him a mini-Dwight Howard?  Yes.

Three Down: Nobody.  In fact, here are some more ups: Chuck Hayes didn't take a single shot.  Bones Barry finally stepped up and made 2 three-pointers.  Mario Chalmers had as many points as Dwayne Wade.

Stats of the Night:
Number of Players with 15 Shots on the Rockets: 3

Number of Shots Taken by Tracy McGrady: 7

Number of Saved By Zero Commercials: 45

Number of Rebounds by Houston: 51

Number of Rebounds by Miami: 35

FT %'s: Rockets - 89%.  Heat - 63%.

Number of Rockets with at least 3 assists: 6

Number of Blocked Shots by Houston: Zero.

Number of Minutes Played by Joey Dorsey: Zero.  COME ON ADELMAN!!

Genius Idea of the Night:
Getting Yao the ball.  While he didn't exactly take a thousand shots, Yao was fed the ball constantly throughout the night, even with a double-team surrounding him every time he touched the ball.  Genius idea, getting our All-World center the ball more.

Bold Declaration of the Night: Bill Worrell on Skip after a clutch shot at the end of the game: "Rafer Alston.  Is.  The.  Man!"  Thanks for that Bill - I was hesitant to award him with The Man status, but now I've seen the light.  However, I was slightly disappointed in the choice of words.  I was looking forward to some "DAGGER!!"

Stat of the Year: Every time the Rockets have scored 100 points or more this year, they've won.  So just do that more, please.

Almost-Injury of the Night: Yao went down hard grabbing a rebound within the last minute of the game.  No wincing this time, but it sounded like an entire section of The Great Wall had just fallen on the ground.  No worries, however, as Yao was all smiles during his post-game interview with Matt Bullard.  Actually, who wouldn't crack a smile to this face.

73-9 Update: 10-5.  Great road trip, fellas.

Next Game: Wednesday vs. Indiana.

Rockets Vocab Word of the Day: "Rafer"

Today's word is "Rafer."  You guessed it - it's named after Rafer Alston.

Definition: A lob or floater that is launched towards the basket when a pull-up jump shot, pass, or layup would have been more appropriate.  A Rafer seldom goes in, but when it does, there's not much you can do except say, "Raferrrr."

As in "Luther Head just drove in the lane with plenty of space, but instead of going strong to the hoop, he just threw up a miserable floater, and yet it somehow went it.  Raferrrrr."

If you aren't sure what exactly I'm trying to get across, take a look at this highlight video that some Toronto Raptors fan made while Alston played above the border.  You'll see plenty of Rafers.  In fact, this video manages to compile all of the Rafers that Skip To My Lou made.  Every single one.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Rockets Defeat Wizards 103-91, etc.

I didn't catch the entire Rockets game tonight, but I did happen to see the last five minutes when we absolutely went off on Washington. Tracy McGrady shot well (and didn't take a whole lot of shots), Ron Artest shot well, and Yao Ming shot well. More importantly, Carl Landry played more minutes than Chuck Hayes...and scored 19 points. Hey, maybe if this happens more often, we won't lose to teams like the Josh Howard-less Mavericks. So that's that - good win for us.

Speaking of the Mavericks...I can't stay away from their atrocious starting lineup numbers. I've never seen anything like it. So here it is, your Mavericks starting lineup update:

Min FG 3Pt FT Reb Ast Stl BS PF Pts
J. Kidd G 34:27 7-12 4-6 0-0 13 6 2 1 3 18
G. Green G 5:48 0-4 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 0 2 0
E. Dampier C 23:04 0-0 0-0 1-2 8 2 0 0 4 1
D. Nowitzki F 35:30 10-20 0-0 5-6 10 3 0 1 1 25
J. Singleton F 29:54 1-7 0-1 3-3 2 1 0 1 3 5

Why does Gerald Green continue to start?? He once again posted a goose-egg in the scoring column and somehow managed to pick up 2 fouls in under six minutes of playing time. But what I love the most is that three of Dallas's starters combined for a mere 6 points. It's so incredible that it garners more attention than Jason Kidd's improbable 7-12 shooting night.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Rockets Blog: Worst Atmosphere In NBA?

Short blog.  Check out this article by Jerome Solomon of the Chronicle.

I can see where he is coming from - there are always a ton of empty seats.  Check out last night's tipoff time attendance below:


Rockets Vocab Word of the Day: "Rusty Wants Justice"

I cheated and used three words instead of one.  Today's word(s) are "Rusty Wants Justice."

Definition: An attempt by big shot Houston attorney Rusty Hardin to somehow convince the referee that he made a bad call against the Rockets by standing up, pointing and hollering, and nearly walking onto the court.

As in "Dude, look at the guy in the front row who's nearly on the court yelling and screaming.  Oh wait, that's Rusty Hardin.  Looks like Rusty Wants Justice!"

The Lakers have Jack Nicholson.  The Spurs have Eva Longoria.  The Rockets have Rusty Hardin.  He's the guy you always see sitting courtside with his law buddies.  If you don't know how to recognize him, he always wears a bright-colored, long-sleeved, button-down shirt with khaki pants to every game he attends.  It's always hilarious when he yells at the refs.  Just another episode of Rusty Wants Justice.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Mavericks 96 - Rockets 86

Tonight was bad. Very bad. Basketbawful should have a field day with us after our performance tonight. And to make matters more embarrassing, the Mavericks didn't even have Josh Howard. Let's just get down to business.

Three Up:
Luis Scola -- My Friend From Argentina had a nice game, going 6-12 for 15 points. It was another solid, yet unspectacular performance from Scola. But what more do you really expect?

Aaron Brooks -- Brooks came in off the bench and made two clutch threes, finishing with 15 points in the game. I'd like to see more assists from him, but he's just starting to develop, and I'm perfectly fine with performances like tonight's.

Dallas's Incredible Starting Lineup! -- I might just keep a nightly update on this from now on (it all started with this horrendous performance by the three supporting starters against New York). Dirk was the only starter in double figures this time around, as the others combined for 22 points. James Singleton also got a start, and Eric Dampier made sure to keep his end of the bargain in the 'Battle of the Offensively-Challenged Centers" with Chuck Hayes. He finished with 3 points.

Three Down:
True Shooting Percentage -- Somebody invented this stat a while back, and it's basically just a combination of FG%, 3-PT FG% and FT%. I'm not sure how exactly to calculate it, but this is what we did tonight (in that statistical order): .372, .240, .710. Yuck. Rawn's 3-8 FT performance was less than desirable.

Tracy McGrady -- I really don't know how to describe McGrady's effect on the Rockets or his role on the team. Is he really a facilitator, because he always seems to slow the offense down, call for isolation, and then take a bad shot. We need a facilitator on offense, and right not T-Mac hasn't been it. He has been the harness on the offense so far. And on some nights, he will refute that with a great game. But his consistency is lacking. He must step up. Sadly enough, his health may not allow him to.

Yao Ming's Foot Injury -- (under a bedsheet, face covered in faded mascara) "LEAVE YAO ALONE!!!"

Stats of the Night:
Number of Mavericks in Double Figures: 2

Number of Threes Taken By the Rockets: We took a D'Antonian 25 three pointers in this one. Yao's absence no doubt affected that statistic.

Number of Hook Shots Taken by the Chuckwagon: 2

Number of Annoying Jet Impersonations by Jason Terry: 1

Number of People Who Had Heard of Dallas Starter James Singleton: Zero.

Number of Shots Taken by Brent Barry: 3

Number of Three Pointers Missed By Brent Barry: 3

Number of Crappy Halftime Show Performances: 1. Kids doing non-violent karate? Please.

Number of Minutes Played By Joey Dorsey: Zero. COME ON ADELMAN!!

Flop of the Night: Referee Derrick Stafford. He was backpedaling down the court, called a foul on the Rockets, and then immediately fell on top of the ESPN cameraman seated behind him. I don't blame Derrick really - after a while, the peer pressure gets to you. He wanted to show off his best stuff while Flop King Dirk Nowitzki was in the building.

Future Convict of the Night: The Benefactor himself, Mark Cuban. He was in the stands tonight with all of the other 2,000 that decided to show up for tipoff.

Bench Player of the Night: Yao Ming. He was the best player that didn't start and instead sat on the bench. Hands down.

Almost-Injury of the Night: Brandon Bass hit the floor hard after fouling Ron Artest. But that's not who we're concerned with. Surprisingly, nobody named McGrady came up limping at any point during the game. And Artest looked fine as usual.

73-9 Update: 7-5. Just...Gotta...Believe...*sigh*

Next Game: Friday vs. Washington. I think I said the word 'performance' about ten times.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Rockets Vocab Word of the Day: "Free Throw Defense."

Shaq doesn't require much Free Throw Defense.

Today's word is "Free Throw Defense."

Definition: A team's collective ability to somehow force the opponent to shoot poorly from the free throw line.

As in "In 2007-2008, the Denver Nuggets led the NBA in Free Throw Defense, holding opponents to a mere 73% from the charity stripe. So the Nuggets do play defense after all."

The Rockets were second in the league in Free Throw Defense last year, and actually led the league in the category during the playoffs. But this year has been a bit different. We're 11th, 10 spots behind the New Look Knicks, and if we want to win more games, we've got to step up our Free Throw Defense. So far, Bill Worrell has been doing his best to help, providing positive stats about opposing players in the hopes that they will miss due to karma. Here's an example from the Oklahoma City Thunder game last night:

Worrell: "Johan Petro actually shot 3/4 from the stripe last night, a good game for him."

(Johan Petro misses both free throws)

Bullard: "Man, Bill, that's some good Free Throw Defense!"

So who sucks at Free Throw Defense? Right now, it's Portland; opposing teams are shooting a silky smooth 82.8% against the Blazers. Cleveland is in second-to-last place, and Dallas and Boston follow.

Does it make any sense? No, but who cares.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Rockets 100 - Thunder 89

I was expecting a football score in this one, but both teams showed up with their offenses and managed to put together a near-watchable game...for the first half. Then Houston put the clamps down on defense and maintained a double digit lead without Tracy McGrady in the second half. The good news is that we won the game pretty handily. The bad news is that we may not have McGrady, Yao, or Artest for a few days as all three left the game early with injuries. However, in Yao or Artest's case, had the game been closer, they probably would have stayed in. Keep an update on them, though. Recap:

Three Up:

Luis Scola -- It's about time Luis came through with a big game. He dropped 23 on the Thunder, and he also grabbed nine rebounds and led the team in shots with 20. Good showing from My Friend From Argentina.

Ron Artest -- Another good game from Artest. He's starting to shoot it better, and he's looking much more comfortable in the offense. But once again, he needs to stay out of the stands...ha.

Yao Ming -- The Yao Punch was in full effect on Monday night. It's how Yao keeps the ball alive. Johan Petro caught an offensive rebound, but before he could bring it down to his chest, Yao punched it towards the lane and we came up with it. He also had a solid statistical game, netting 17 points with 12 boards and 3 blocks. Fantasy party!

Three Down:
Health -- Health wasn't in the building. The Big Three, for now, are The Injured Three.

Chuck Hayes Layups -- He air-balled one and missed another on a pass from Bones Barry. At some point, if you're Chuck, you have to realize that the backboard is meant to help, not harshly reject your putrid free throws. And to make matters worse, Chuck was forced to take a shot from the Biggens Abyss as the shot clock wound down. Fortunately for his self-esteem, it was blocked.

Three Pointers -- The Rockets went 1-8 from three in a game that we scored 100 points. You won't see that again this season. The Thunder weren't much better, going 3-8. Still, the worst three point shooting team in the league made more than us. But we got the W, which is nice.

Stats of the Night:
Number of Total Threes Made by Both Teams-- 4.

Number of Threes the Rockets Average Per Game -- 6.2

Number of Minutes Played By Robert Swift -- 25:01.

Number of Tattoos Sported By Robert Swift -- 26.

Rockets Free Throw Percentage -- .938

Thunder Free Throw Percentage -- .667

Number of Minutes Played by Joey Dorsey -- Zero. COME ON ADELMAN!!

Actual Injury of the Night: Tracy McGrady came out after bumping into Earl Watson before halftime.  He's out for a while, saying his injury "is back to square one."  Which means he's going back to the couch for coffee and video games.

Almost-Injuries of the Night:
Oh boy. This was bad. Yao started wincing again. But something happened that we never thought possible: Rawn went down. Ran straight into the cameraman and hurt his ankle. However, I don't consider these injuries seeing as all three could possibly play Wednesday against Dallas. Is that likely? Of course not, we're the Rockets. So, come Wednesday, you could be looking at a starting lineup of:

PG: Rafer Alston
SG: Brent Barry
SF: Von Wafer
PF: Luis Scola
C: Carl Landry

But chances are, Adelman would start Hayes at center just because he's a hustler.

Classy Broadcaster of the Night: The one and only Matt Bullard.

First, he steals the nickname given to the New York Giants backfield: Earth, Wind, and Fire. He then uses that on the Rockets and takes credit for it. And then he took this little jab at The Benefactor.

Bill Worrell: "I'm not sure what time the game is Wednesday night."
Matt Bullard: "I bet Mark Cuban has some insider information on what time the game starts Wednesday night."


Tracy McGrady = Ewing Theory...?: Ok, fine, fine. I won't say anything more. Forget I even brought it up.

73-9 Update: 7-4. Just Gotta Believe.

Rockets Blog : This Week's Schedule

Here's who is on our horizon for this week:

@ Oklahoma City: Not even karma will save the Thunder when I say that this won't even be close. We haven't had a statement game yet, and when I mean statement game, I mean we have yet to utterly destroy anybody. So, Thunder, you get to be first! And I'm hoping for this to happen not only as a Rockets fan, but also as a genuine viewer of basketball. The Rockets and Thunder (the name will never truly sink in, by the way) are two of the league's worst scoring teams - only Charlotte and LAC are worse. Expect boredom for a number of reasons.
  • The Thunder shoot 7.8 threes per game, which is somewhere near Rafer Alston's per game average. It is also dead last in the league by a large margin. So if you prefer to watch teams suck in the paint rather than watch teams suck from three, this is the game for you!
  • Ready for another Ming vs. Goliath matchup? It's Yao vs. Petro! China's Champion versus France's second of the Thunder's three straight bust centers selected in the first round!
  • Usually I would provide three reasons, but to be honest, this game is going to reach an all-time high in boredom. Yes, even worse than last week's Spurs game.

I really don't care if Dirk and Josh Howard put up 35 points each in this one. In fact, that's basically what happened last night as the duo combined for 40 points...and the Mavericks still had to go to overtime to beat the New Look Knicks. While nobody else seemed to notice, last night's statline was fascinating to me. Check out the amount of production that Dallas's other three starters managed to combine for:

Min FG 3Pt FT Reb Ast TO Stl BS Pts
J. Kidd G 40:21 1-7 1-3 0-0 6 9 2 4 0 3
G. Green G 6:32 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 0 0 0
E. Dampier C 4:05 0-1 0-0 0-0 1 0 0 0 0 0
J. Howard F 45:29 12-24 1-3 6-9 14 2 2 1 3 31
D. Nowitzki F 44:10 13-27 1-1 12-12 15 4 0 1 1 39

Absolutely amazing. First of all, Jason Kidd goes 1-7 against the Knicks. Then, Gerald Green and Eric Dampier combine for 10:30 of playing time, going 0-2 from the field. When, in the history of basketball, have three starters combined for only three points? I wish I knew, and I wish I had readers that would look it up.

As for our matchup, I think we can win this one pretty handily. It didn't take much to beat them in Dallas, and Howard and Dirk went off in that one as well. Until they play defense and find an alternative to The Starters, they're going to be doomed. I'm predicting a Rawning: 30 points in a breakout game at home for Artest.

@ Washington: You thought the OKC game would be boring? I don't even know what to do with this one. OK, so they have Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison. Got it. Patient Zero is still in hibernation mode, so I guess we get a look at some other Witchcraft and Wizardry. Thank God I'm not paying to watch DeShawn Stevenson, Etan Thomas, and Darius Songaila play. Hibachi to you all suffering in D.C., and enjoy this clip of your starting point guard Antonio Daniels:

@ Orlando: Finally, a game that will be worth watching. The Magic have one of the most exciting lineups in the league, and it's headlined by Dwight Howard, who went Hakeem on the Thunder earlier this year with a triple-double via points, rebounds, and blocks. And besides the on-court matchups, including a T-Mac return to Orlando, there is plenty to be observed about the status of the teams themselves. Five years have gone by since the McGrady/Francis trade, and it looks like each team came out as a winner, though the Rockets would have liked to risen another banner or two by now. The deal allowed the Magic to completely rebuild, and since that time, they've quickly regained form and are now among the top teams in the East. K
ey matchups:

Center: Yao vs. Dwight Howard - Edge goes to Dwight in this one. He has been too quick and too powerful for anyone to stop him up to this point, and with Yao's ability to be slow and elderly, he should have plenty of good looks down low. The only question is will he be able to stop Yao on the defensive side of the ball.

Power Forward: Luis Scola vs. Rashard Lewis - Again, the edge goes to Orlando. But it's pretty unfair to choose between these two; their styles of play are polar opposites. Rashard stays outside along the three-point line and is really a small forward, while Luis bangs inside with the big bodies. It's a toss-up, really.

Small Forward: Ron Artest vs. Hedo Turkoglu - Edge goes to Rawn. He's going to start clicking at some point, and Hedo isn't going to D him up as well as others have. Hopefully by this time he will have begun the process of removing himself from the list of potential Queensbridge 96ers.

Shooting Guard: Tracy McGrady vs. Mickael Pietrus - Edge goes to McGrady. In other news, Jamaicans are faster than Eskimos.

Point Guard: Rafer Alston vs. Jameer Nelson - Even. This is quietly going to be the matchup to watch. Two talented, yet often boneheaded and criticized point guards that don't score much but do what it takes to win. Whoever plays the better game may decide the outcome in this one.

Bench: Edge goes to Rockets. Aaron Brooks, Bones, and Landry will play big roles in this game as well.

I think the Rockets can pull this one out by playing good, solid defense. Dwight will get his dunks, but if we force Lewis and Turkoglu into taking bad shots, it could be a low-scoring affair, which is just what we want. Prediction: Rockets 85-Magic 81.

Rockets Vocab Word of the Day: "Biggens Abyss"

Today's word is "Biggens Abyss."

Definition: The area of the court between the free throw line and three point line in which a big man may receive the ball but under no circumstances is allowed to shoot or dribble.  Observe the highlighted portion below: This is the Biggens Abyss.

As in "Ben Wallace received a pass in the Biggens Abyss; thus, he would have to stand and wait until someone else got open."

I've always been confused by the Biggens Abyss.  Why do people such as Wallace, Chuck Hayes, Greg Oden, Andrew Bynum, Shaq, and others always find themselves catching passes inside of its depths?  Why can't they just stay down on the block?  It's asking for a turnover or a five second call.  And it's even worse if the shot clock is running out.

You might be asking, "How is it that someone who is paid millions to play basketball can't make a ten foot jump shot?"  I don't have an answer to that.  The reasons surrounding the difficulty presented by the Biggens Abyss will always remain a mystery.  Yet, some answers can be found as to why big men just can't shoot.  I leave you with Adonal Foyle, my prime example:

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Rockets Power Dancer of the Week: Julie

Meet Julie. A graduate of the University of Houston, Julie is a young, spunky girl whose favorite dance style happens to echo mine in "thrashy jazz." Her favorite movie is "How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days" and her favorite TV show is "Friends." Julie was a fan favorite last season, as she was voted to represent the Rockets on the 2007 All-Star Dance Team. As for her personal mission statement, she might as well sign up for Miss America '09: "Take pride in how far you have come and have faith in how far you will go." Isn't it cute? But enough of this - we need some visual evidence. In fact, chances are you didn't read any of that and instead skipped down here. Ah, yes:

Interests Rating: 7
Personal Mission Statement Rating: 9
Experience Rating: 9
Hotness Rating: 10
Overall Rating: 35/40. Not bad.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Rockets Vocab Word of the Day: "Huffert."

Today's word is "Huffert." In fact, it was just coined hours ago by Rockets broadcaster Matt Bullard. He was even kind enough to spell it for us.

Definition: When a player hustles and gives a lot of effort at the exact same time.

As in "The only reason Ryan Bowen is in the NBA is because of his huffert."

Other Huffert All-Stars of note:

Lindsay Hunter
Ronny Turiaf
Nicolas Batum
Trenton Hassell
Mark Madsen (Huffert All-Stars captain)
The San Antonio Spurs
Chuck Hayes
Ike Diogu
Matt Harpring

Friday, November 14, 2008

Rockets Blog : Spurs 77 - Rockets 75

We gave this one away. It shouldn't have been close. In fact, I was prepared to be disappointed with only a ten point win. Then that changed to a five point win. Then a three point win. Then we lost. If there was a game that we had to win this week, it was this one. So now we have to make up for it.

Three Up:

Ron Artest -- Rawn poured in 18 points on 8-16 shooting, and he had a good game despite the miss at the end. It shouldn't have been his only shot in the final four minutes, though.

Aaron Brooks -- Brooks had a nice game, scoring 14 points in place of Rafer Alston. He also grabbed eight rebounds. That said, he has to do a better job being the floor general.

Use of the Word "English" -- Matt Bullard went nuts tonight, saying the word "English" every chance he got. Though he failed to correctly use the word (correct use is "Proper English"), we applaud the effort.

Three Down:
Tracy McGrady -- T-Mac wasn't hitting anything tonight, and while I understand that he can have off nights, the fact that he was taking shots near the end of the game was ridiculous. We wasted three late possessions with Tracy shooting difficult shots, and on a night like this, he should have been looking to pass.

Luis Scola -- Scola could have been marked 'Absent' after this one: just four points in twenty minutes of work.

The Entire Offense -- 75 points against the f*****g Spurs?!? Terrible. Is Matt Bonner all of a sudden a defensive force?

Stats of the Night:
Number of points by George Hill: 17.

Number of points by Tracy McGrady: 7.

Number of blocked shots by the Rockets: 1.

Number of blocked shot attempts missed by Yao Ming: Thirty-five.

Number of shots taken by Aaron Brooks: 17, which led the team.

Number of minutes played by Von Wafer: 16... *sigh*

Quote of the Night: "Basket is good by George Hill. Hill was born in Indiana and went to Ewie-Pooie." - Bill Worrell, completely failing his attempt to pronounce IUPUI, the college Hill actually attended.

Flops of the Night: If we play San Antonio or Utah, one thing is certain: there will be flops. Fabricio Oberto is tonight's winner. Apparently Aaron Brooks is strong enough to knock a 7 foot Argentinian down to the floor after a screen has already been set. Here's a new rule of thumb for referees: if you see a Spur throw his/her arms in the air and fall, hold the whistle and observe how pathetic the flop attempt is. We also had another great flop tonight, this time coming from Ron Artest. Rawn fell to the ground after Tim Duncan nudged him, causing Spurs fans to cry out in protest as, for the first time in AT&T Center history, a player fell down after barely being touched. Absolutely disgusting.

Almost-Injury of the Night: Yao winced in the fourth quarter, causing the cameraman under the basket to freak out and study the action. Seriously, two zoom-ins and a slow-mo are enough to see Yao squint his eyes.

73-9 Update: 5-4. Just...Gotta...Believe...?

Rockets Blog : Rafer Gets Two Games

Honestly, I'm ok with Rafer Alston getting a two-game suspension. He had his fair share of shoves and punches, and whenever you throw a fist at someone nowadays, you're lucky to get anything under five games. But what ticks me off about this is what Matt Barnes had to say, acting as if he was the victim in this whole shindig...the one that he started.

"They went above and beyond the call of duty here. They didn't call a foul in my situation. We got in a little pushing match and I get suspended for two games? Ridiculous."

First of all, Matt, isn't it our duty as Americans to go above and beyond the call of duty?

American hero Doris Miller went above and beyond the call of duty.

We should all strive to be like Doris, and the refs were just doing their part. Mainly because, for whatever reason, you decided to extend your tat-covered arms right into Rafer's chest. Do you not expect a reaction or punishment? And it's not like you tried to walk away - you kept shoving too.

Barnes should just accept his punishment and shut up. I'm not sure about the Nash suspension, but thank God Tracy McGrady only got fined 25,000 dollars. Since when is that produce a sigh of relief?

Rockets Vocab Word of the Day: "Proper English"

Today's word is "Proper English."

Definition: The amount of backspin and/or touch necessary for the ball to go into the basket upon striking the rim.

As in "Chuck Hayes did not use Proper English on his free throws. However, it wouldn't have mattered seeing as the Chuckwagon lane-violationed himself for the billionth time."

I pick on Chuck for this...

...or this...

...or even this...

We can conclude that Chuck simply does not use any Proper English.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Rockets Blog : Introducing the Houston Rawkets

Last night's brawl with the Phoenix Suns opened my eyes to a new truth: We are now, after a long stint of wimpiness, the Houston Rawkets. No longer do we sit back in our seats and let Maurice Taylor handle the dirty work. No longer do we sport thug wannabes such as Charles Barkley and Kevin Willis. No more. We are now legitimate, fight-to-the-death, ride-together-die-together Rawkets. What changed all of this? It's simple:

Ron Artest. I call him Rawn.

Coming into the season, we knew of his size, his talent, and, well...this:

It's always a sad day for the NBA when that video is shown. What is worse is the fact that when I searched "Detroit brawl" on YouTube, the first few results came not from the Pacers-Pistons fight, but instead from the...WNBA?!?! How could this happen?

But back to the point. We didn't know how Rawn's no-nonsense attitude would be welcomed by his teammates. Would it spread to other players, or would Shane Battier curse it down in the name of Mike Krzyzewski? So far, the former has taken form. We, the Houston Rawkets, have become more physical, more bullying, and straight tougher. Rafer Alston didn't back down last night against Matt Barnes, and instead of everyone sitting and watching, they all came to his aid and shoved people around. I understand how some people would say that shoving and pushing wouldn't help anything, but now we are on the Raw Map, and everyone else is on notice. Mess with the Rawkets, and they'll mess you up.

Rockets Blog : Jack Sikma = Ivan Drago.

It's too easy to say that our buddy Ivan Drago from Rocky IV looks like Andrei Kirilenko or even Andris Biedrins. So I went photo searching and came across a picture of Rockets assistant coach and former Seattle Sonics (What? There was a team called the Sonics?) center Jack Sikma. I'm going to assume this is from his days on the Milwaukee Bucks. Notice the hair - this wasn't a customary Sikma style, but he went with it on picture day and it got him here. Also, can you name anyone else who wore 43 (Jake Voshul, for all the smart-asses out there)? But as for the comparison, it's not dead-on, but come on, he's not even Russian.

Rockets Vocab Word of the Day: "Queensbridge 96"

First vocabulary word of the blog is "Queensbridge 96." Named after Ron Artest's hometown and number, a Queensbridge 96er is someone who is somehow shooting a higher percentage from three than they are from the field. Observe the current stats:

Ron Artest FG: 30%
Ron Artest 3pt: 38%

However, Rawn is not the only person to have done this. Thus, I give you a brand new franchise: the Queensbridge 96ers. To be eligible, the player must have completed at least one season (doesn't have to be a full season) of shooting a higher 3 pt percentage than FG percentage.

The Queensbridge 96ers:

PG: Steve Kerr (3-times)
PG: Rafer Alston (1-time)
SG: Hubert Davis (3-time)
SG: Luther Head (1-time)
SF: Bruce Bowen (3-time)
SF: Quentin Richardson (1-time)
PF: Walt Williams (3-time)
PF: Matt Bullard (1-time)
C: Yao Ming (1-time)*
C: Pat Garrity (1-time)

6th man/12th man: Peja Stojakovic (1-time)

*Yao did it in his rookie season, going 1-2 from three to finish at 50%, .02 percentage points above his FG percentage. Whine all you want about how many attempts he had, I'm not taking him off the list.

Notice the five Rockets on the list. Sadly enough, we could have had our very own squad. And I'm pissed that Matt Maloney didn't make the list. He could have had something going for him, besides being the first white guy to sport a flat top haircut.

Future Prospects: Marvin Williams, Bobby Brown, Spencer Hawes, and of course, Ron Artest.

Rockets Blog: Rockets 94 - Suns 82

It was a good night to start a blog. Oh, and I guarantee someone on Sportscenter references tonight's fight by saying "Houston, we have a problem." Guarantee it. Rockets recap:

Three Up: Tracy McGrady, Rafer Alston, Aaron Brooks.

T-Mac and Rafer combined for 28 of of 39 shooting?!?!? Only in Phoenix can this happen. Mark Jones had a great comment about Rafer's game as well: "He's using every single part of the rim to put the ball in the basket." That's definitely not a compliment. But hey, I'll take it. McGrady went vintage on everyone and showed off how easy it is to shoot threes went you aren't fading away with two people in your face. Rafer showed off his inner-Artest and went right at Matt Barnes, who is at least a good 6 inches taller than Skip. I've also decided that Aaron Brooks should try out for the Texans. Deion Sanders, anyone?

Three Down: Ron Artest, Luis Scola, Keith Jones's jacket.

Rawn is still struggling with his shot, and it's starting to get annoying. He needs to find better looks. And if he's going to shoot threes, he needs to make the wide open ones - all of which he missed tonight. Luis Scola also looked ugly. A-la Ichiro, he started running forward during the middle of his follow through on most of his shots, a technique that I'm sure will not lead to much good. As for Keith Jones, there's not much to say. He wore a lime-green sweater-jacket. I'll let the picture sink into your mind for a second. It's not good.

Stats of the Night: Number of embarrassing missed dunks: 1 - Robin Lopez

Number of blocks by the rim on Yao: Zero. Poor showing from the rim. Yao slammed two home.

Number of points by Raja Bell: Zero. He went 0 for 6.

Number of ridiculous blocks by Aaron Brooks: 1, on the ageful (opposite of ageless) Grant Hill.

Number of fights: 1

Number of fights started by Ron Artest: ZERO! Genius move by Adelman to bench him before the chaos ensued.

Almost-Injury of the Night: We had two scary moments in this one. Yao went down during the pushing and shoving, and anytime Yao hits the ground, we, as Rockets fans, hold our collective breath. Then Shaq joined in on the fun and threw an Illegal Block in the Back on McGrady, shoving him right on top of Steve Nash. It was quite a game for those who live for the tense moments. Remember, cortisone shots are always available!

73-9 Update: We're now 5-3. Just believe.