Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Breaking News: I Got a Real Job

Wave goodbye to Clutch City Hoops.

Clutch City Hoops is no more; I am now writing for TheDreamShake.com. Sorry, loan reader of the blog, but you'll no longer see my ramblings on this site. As of tonight, I'll be writing for the top Rockets blog anywhere around, my individual blog name being Bring Back Novak, so you know where to find me. Thanks for reading for a month, and especially to the one guy who gave me a comment.


Monday, December 8, 2008

Recap: Grizzlies 109 - Rockets 97

Bleh. Ugh. Ew. The list of AIM words to describe this game can go on and on, but despite how bad it was, we couldn't have really expected anything else. Think about it: no T-Mac and no Rawn. Why not just put 3 guys on Yao and leave everyone else wide open? That's what I would have done, but the Grizzlies took their chances with single coverage and wound up successful. Marc Gasol shut Yao down, and while we didn't get him the ball enough, the Grizz deserve credit. We saw this generosity and immediately recognized it by giving up 109 points to a team that played it's star only 24 minutes off the bench. Yuck.

Three Up:
Von Wafer - Von stepped in to the starting lineup in place of Ron Artest and played well, shooting 7-12, netting 15 points.

Luis Scola - My Friend From Argentina went 16/15, shot well, and chipped in 3 assists. The only reason I'm not calling out his terrible defense of Hakim Warrick is because I've become used to it by now.

Rafer Alston - He shot 50%, had 8 assists, made four threes, and had four rebounds. Not much else to say about the man.

Three Down:
Luther Head -- This may not be his fault seeing as I blatantly cursed him earlier this season. But he shot 1-8 and, get this, was an incredible -27 while on the floor. -27? This statistical disaster must be addressed and dissected. Paging John Hollinger, Mr. John Hollinger.

Yao Ming -- It wasn't like Yao had a terrible game, it was just that we A) Couldn't get him the ball, and B) Marc Gasol is 7'1, 280, which is large. He's going to have off-nights like this. 4 rebounds is pretty embarrassing, though.

Defense -- Losing Rawn hurts, but this was essentially the same team that shut down opposing offenses last season when T-Mac missed games. So to give up 109 points to a bunch of Chuckers and Darko is pretty lousy.

Stats of the Night:
Luther Head +/- while on the floor: -27

Greg Buckner +/- while on the floor: +20

Number of shot attempts by Yao Ming: 8

Number of shot attempts by Marc Gasol: 10

Number of points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks combined by Chuck Hayes: 3

Number of fouls by Chuck Hayes: 5

Number of turnovers by the Grizzlies: 6

Number of fans in attendance: 10,691

Number of fans who were fooled into thinking that they had tickets to a Toby Keith concert: 8,507

Almost-Injury of the Night:
The Basketball Gods took a look at our roster tonight and gave us a break.

T-Mac = Ewing Theory?: Ron Artest's absence throws off the Ewing Theory Watch for tonight.

Rudy Gay/Shane Battier Trade Update: Um, Shane brings intangibles...(sigh).

Violet Palmer Is a Female Referee: Yes.

Next Game: Tuesday vs. Atlanta

Rafer vs. Wafer

I have a friend who has trouble pronouncing his R's. So when Von Wafer made the Rockets at the beginning of the season, there was bound to be some confusion. Sure enough, during the Memphis-Houston preseason game, my friend broke the ice.

"Nice shot, Wafer."

"You mean Rafer?"

"No, I mean Wafer."

"Oh, Von?"

"No, Wafer."

"So Rafer."

"No, I mean Wafer. Wait, is his name Von?"

This continued to happen and still does to this day. So I wondered how Bill Worrell would handle it. Watch this video below, and at :25 and :30, see if you can tell the difference between Wafer and Rafer (You know what's coming due to the video's title, but come on, work with me here):

Be sure to roll your R's, children!

Rockets Vocab Word of the Day: "T-Mac Epidemic"

Today's word is "T-Mac Epidemic."

This guy must be yet another Rockets fan suffering from the T-Mac Epidemic

Definition: An epidemic that has caused young basketball players in Houston to kick their leg out and fade away on easy jump shots. The epidemic has spread ever since Tracy McGrady's arrival in Houston, thus linking the two together.

As in "Since when do tall, white, nonathletic, lanky kids fade away on 10 footers? Must be another case of the T-Mac Epidemic."

I've noticed this for a while now, and the day I was stricken with the disease, I knew immediately that anyone could be affected. After watching McGrady on two consecutive nights, I played with some friends the following day and began fading away without realizing it. Soon enough, my teammates pointed out that I was sucking and maybe I should stop leg-kicking, which of course I had no knowledge of. However, on my very next shot, I noticed what I was doing, and immediately ran inside of my house to find the cure: Dr. Hal Wissel's "Confidence, Rhythm, and Mechanics," the king of basketball shooting instructional videos. I then took a look at my Mike Krzyzewski poster on my wall, thought fundamental thoughts, and went back outside, cured and ready to rain.

This has happened to most people in Houston after watching McGrady play. I suggest that, if you live in Houston, you try to vaccinate yourself by closing your eyes every time he touches the ball. If what has happened this year continues, you won't miss anything.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Rockets Vocab Word of the Day: "5th Quarter"

Today's word is "5th Quarter."

Intentional fouls like these fuel all the 5th Quarter action

Definition: A period of time near the end of a game when a team starts to foul on purpose even while they cannot possibly win.

As in "Why would the Knicks be fouling down 10 with a minute left? Time to go - looks like the 5th Quarter has begun."

There is nothing more annoying than the 5th quarter in any form of basketball. It's completely unnecessary, and yet players, for some wild reason, think that fouling will somehow improve their chances of winning the game.

Bar none, the worst 5th Quarter games were during the San Antonio/Phoenix playoff series last season and the whole "Hack-A-Shaq" fiasco. It started in the first half, thus becoming the longest 5th Quarter in NBA history. Only the Spurs...

After some searching, the only logical reason I could find for starting or extending the 5th Quarter is the video below. For those that don't know, Ricky Davis was one rebound shy of a triple-double in a game that Cleveland had all sealed up, 120-96. But then he does this and gets rightfully hacked:

That's your only excuse, players. Nothing else goes. Stop fouling and let me go home.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Rockets...131?!?!...Golden State 112

To somewhat quote Al Michaels: "We did WHAT?"

That's right: we scored 131 points. Mind you, it was against the league's worst defense, but it's the NBA, and 131 points is ridiculous, regardless of the opponent. Here's what contributed to this outburst:

1. Golden State is horrible at defense. Their interior defense is at a collegiate level at best, and their guards...well let's just leave it at "It's Jamal Crawford and Stephen Jackson...think about it."

2. We got Yao the ball. Stat geeks might say, "Well Yao only took 12 shots in the game." Well how about those 19 free throw attempts, 17 of which were makes? That's the key: Yao must get to the line.

2b. By getting Yao the ball, we opened up the three point shot when the double team would come, allowing us to go a D'Antonian 13-21 from deep.

3. Von Wafer had 18 points. So...that helps.

4. Chuck Hayes shot another three pointer and went 0-3 from the field. I don't know what significance that has, but whatever.

5. We went 36-40 from the free throw line. That's got to be one of the best team performance from the charity stripe in Rockets history.

Now that we've scored 131 points, can we finally get Steve Francis in the game?

"Right now my benching is, um...the best thing...for the...(sigh)...um, the team."

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Ron Artest Is a Layup Disaster

I found this on NBA.com's "Hot Spots" presented by NBA Live 08 - it shows the percentages of a player over different areas of the court:

In case you have trouble reading the small font, that's .355 under layups, which translates to 35%.  Let it sink in for a second...RAWN IS SHOOTING 35% ON LAYUPS.  Even worse, he's cold in nearly all of the places closest to the basket.  But that layup percentage is incredible.  If you want a comparison, the Suns are shooting 60 percent as a team from layup range, and I'm sure other teams are better.  It's incredibly sad.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Rockets 103 - Clippers 96...and Steve Novak Returns!

Quick recap for tonight, mainly because it's the Clippers and nobody cares.

Three Up:
Yao Ming -- 24 points and 10 rebounds for Godzilla tonight, but most importantly, he shot 12-13 from the FT line. While the percentage isn't surprising, it is GREAT to see that Yao shot 13 free throws tonight. He needs to keep being this aggressive. Or the refs need to keep giving him fouls.

Carl Landry -- I don't even care about Carl's stats tonight; it's his plunge over Rusty Hardin into the stands that impressed me. But just to add to Carl's praise, he went 12/8 in 24 minutes of work.

Rafer...(sigh)...Alston -- It pains me to award Rafer with a Three Up, but he played well tonight. Two things concerning Rafer have caught my attention: 1. He sucks at running a fast break. 2. He is obsessed with making 6 shots out of 10+ in games. This is his fifth such occasion.

Honorary 4th Up:
Steve Novak -- Welcome back, Rocket Redeemer. Steve buried his only shot of the night, a long fade away two-pointer in Shane Battier's face. Even better, Steve got what must have been his first taste of First-Half basketball in the NBA.

Three Down:
Mike Dunleavy -- How can you not play DeAndre Jordan when he is back in his home town? Even Brian Skinner played 2 minutes!

Luis Scola -- Not a good night for My Friend From Argentina. He took a lot of contested shots and just didn't look in sync. Or should I say, "N'SYNC." Or not.

Clutch -- Clutch came up to our upper-deck seats to give away free hats, but he didn't throw me one. Asshole.

Stats of the Night:
Chuck Hayes's Statline: Minutes: 18:28. FT: 1-2! And the stat of all stats, 3pt: 0-1!!!!!! Chuck Hayes shot a three pointer!!

Almost-Injury of the Night: Shane Battier went down at the end of the game but was able to finish and should be fine.

Tracy McGrady Injury Update: McGrady missed the game in order to sit on his leather couch, eat cheetos, and watch "2Fast 2Furious."

Tracy McGrady=Ewing Theory?: It's starting to take form. Still too early to tell, though.

73-9 Update: 12-7. So we can only lose two more games this entire season. Fine by me.

Rockets Vocab Word of the Day: "Yao Punch"

Today's word is "Yao Punch."

Shaquille O'Neal just got Yao Punched.

Definition: A last-ditch effort by Yao Ming to keep a rebound or play alive that results in Yao punching the ball out of another player's hands.

As in "Brian Skinner grabbed the ball in the air, but before he could come down to the floor, Yao Ming Yao Punched it back to Aaron Brooks."

The Yao punch will be seen at least once in most Rockets games. Keep an eye out for them.

There's not much else I can say.

It's Official: No T-Mac For Three Weeks

Tracy McGrady is out for three weeks.  You'll be able to find him here:

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Dallas Mavericks Starting Lineup Watch

I'm obsessed with Dallas's starting lineup numbers while Josh Howard has been out with injury. Besides Dirk Nowitzki, they've continued to put up abysmal point numbers, and tonight was probably the worst showing they've had all year. Unfortunately for the Rockets, Dallas played the LA Clippers tonight, coming back from a 98-91 deficit late in the fourth quarter to win 100-98. But let's ignore the score for a second and look at what really matters here:

Min FG 3Pt FT +/- Off Reb Ast Stl BS Pts
J. Kidd G 32:28 0-6 0-4 0-0 -6 2 7 8 4 0 0
G. Green G 5:43 2-4 0-1 0-0 -9 0 0 0 0 1 4
E. Dampier C 2:59 0-0 0-0 0-0 -9 1 1 0 0 0 0
D. Nowitzki F 43:15 10-27 2-6 7-7 -2 1 10 2 2 2 29
D. George F 22:03 1-3 0-1 1-2 -12 0 1 1 1 0 3
Min FG 3Pt FT +/- Off Reb Ast Stl BS Pts
J. Terry
40:22 9-17 5-7 3-4 +11 1 3 3 0 0 26
B. Bass
26:22 6-8 0-0 2-2 +13 3 7 0 0 0 14
J. Barea
24:55 7-11 1-2 0-0 +21 0 1 6 0 0 15
D. Diop
23:23 1-4 0-0 1-4 +2 3 9 1 1 2 3
S. Williams
18:28 3-7 0-2 0-0 +1 2 5 0 0 1 6
J. Singleton
DNP - Coach's Decision
A. Wright
DNP - Coach's Decision


39-87 8-23 14-19
13 44 21 8 6 100

A few things to note from tonight's performance, besides the fact that the supporting starters combined for 7 points:

1. Gerald Green can tell nightclub girls that he starts for the Dallas Mavericks. He might not want to spill the beans on his playing time, however. 5 minutes from a starter?

2. Scratch that. Erick Dampier was worse. 2 minutes. Incredible. The fellas at Basketbawful must be disappointed to see that Dampier was one measly offensive rebound away from recording a two trillion as a starter. That would take the cake. Unless Erick got there first.

3. Jason Kidd for Devin Harris. Devin scores 47 in his previous game. Jason scores zero. This Is Why Cuban Sucks.

4. Devean George is starting now? What???

Note to Josh Howard: Please stay injured and keep the DMSLW alive. It's just too cool.

Rockets Vocab Word of the Day: "Chucker"

Today's word is "Chucker." It can also be referred to as "Chucking."

Two of the NBA's prime Chuckers in action

Definition: A player that constantly takes way too many questionable shots despite the fact that he doesn't make very many of them. Chuckers often shoot between 35-45 percent from the field.

As in "Tracy McGrady's been chucking turnaround fade-aways all game and hasn't made one yet."
Or "LeBron James is quite a Chucker from three point range. He rarely makes any and yet he won't stop shooting them."

Though you might think this has something to do with Chuck Hayes, it doesn't. I cut him some slack this time. Here are your Chucker All-Stars:

LeBron James From Three
Tracy McGrady
Danny Granger
Baron Davis
Andre Iguodala
Tyrus Thomas
Al Harrington
Rashard Lewis
Larry Hughes <--- Click the link. You will not be disappointed.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Goodbye, Houston Comets

"Pass you by, glory days, glory days..."

It's official: The Houston Comets are done. It was 10 years of WNBA greatness, meaning oodles of left-hand layups, crossover dribbles, and over-emphasized goose-necks. We won four championships in our first four years of existence, the first four in WNBA history, in fact. But now it's done. And to be honest, I don't really care seeing as I hate the WNBA. But as a token of my appreciation for the effort that the Comets did give us every night, I post this video in the hopes that the legacy of the Houston Comets will live on forever in our hearts, minds, and souls:

Rockets Blog : Fun With Free Agents

In non-basketball-related news, the Houston Astros signed pitcher Mike Hampton today to a one-year, 2 million dollar deal with many incentives. Hampton, who once won 22 games with the Astros back at the turn of the century, is a full blown injury machine. He's 36, has been injured more times than T-Mac, and might be best known for signing a Grant Hill Contract back in 2000.

So what does this have to do with the Rockets? Absolutely nothing. But in the spirit of old timers like Hampton, and with the Rockets having an extra roster spot and plenty of cap room, what big, white, forgotten free agent NBA geezers would ever show up on the Rockets' ink radar? This is honestly more like a poke at nostalgic fun:

1. Arvydas Sabonis (age 43) - Bill Walton once said after a few tokes during a broadcast, "Show some respect to this living legend, this hall of famer...Arvydas Sabonis." Yes, a living legend indeed. Key word there is "living", thus making us eligible to sign him.

2. Detlef Schrempf (age 45) - This is quickly turning into a list of my favorite NBA Names of the '90s. But you gotta love Detlef, the Dirk Nowitzki of his era. There's also a song by Band of Horses named after him.

3. Greg Ostertag (age 35) - You knew this was coming. What you didn't know was that Oster Streudel is still in his mid-thirties and capable of wreaking havoc upon any man or basketball that comes near him. Unless it's our buddy Arvydas going strong to the hole.

4. Rik Smits (age 42) - He's got to be my favorite. How can you not love a 7'4 Dutch basketball player with a sweet hook shot and long, flowing blonde hair?

5. Bryant Reeves (age 35) - 'Big Country' was a one of a kind fatass in Vancouver. And Bryant can rock the vintage Grizzlies unis (as seen in his sweet trading card picture) like none other. I would honestly be ecstatic if this somehow happened.

So there it is. Pray and hope that Daryl Morey throws all common sense aside as Ed Wade has.

Rockets Vocab Word of the Day: "Grant Hill Contract"

Today's word is "Grant Hill Contract."

Definition: A contract in which a player gets a huge sum of money due to recent success, only to play in a minuscule amount of games for that team and continue to get injured year after year despite hopes of a 'return to form.' A Grant Hill Contract also handicaps the team from being able to move the player, seeing as he is too expensive.

As in "Looks like Gilbert Arenas signed a Grant Hill Contract when he agreed to a 6-year, 111 million dollar deal in July of 2008. He hasn't played a single game in 2008 yet."

This doesn't happen very often, but it translates to many sports, mostly baseball. Or you could look at the entire Isiah Thomas Era in New York (Jerome James, anyone?). So there.