The Dream Shake - a Houston Rockets blog: May 2008

Friday, May 30, 2008

Bench Robert Horry? You lose.

Hey, San Antonio... when you have a proven asset on your roster, it is usually wise to actually exploit this asset before the Mamba sends you home for the summer.

To recap:

With 2.1 seconds left in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals... the Spurs were down by 2 points. And they had possession -- with an inbounds play to be drawn up. Hmmm, down 2 points, time running out and trying to avoid going down 3-1 in the Western Conference Finals... that sounds very familiar. Oh, yeah, now I know why!

So, Coach Pop draws up a play for the most clutch NBA playoff performer of all-time, right? (No?!?!?) How the hell does Robert Horry not get the ball there?

Sure, Brent Barry was fouled. No, that's never actually going to be called a foul there. Plus, the dude was 30 feet from the basket and facing the wrong direction. As far as designing in-bounds plays go - that one was quite awful. Horry may not have made a shot to that point in the game, but the entire building knew he would have made a 3 to win that game if you got him the ball. Idiots.

THEN, adding insult to injury...

In what might have been Big Shot Rob's final NBA game, how do the Spurs use him?

You gotta be f--king kidding me... a DNP-CD??

Just for that, the Spurs deserved to lose.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The NBA will fine Floppers next year (This means you Utah)

According to an ESPN article by Marc Stein, the NBA will fine players for flopping next year. Fine amounts are not set yet, but NBA observers and video reviewers will be tasked with reporting blatant violations. This is fantastic news and something that Dave and I have been pulling for since long before this blog started.

I really like Rasheed Wallace's take on the ridiculousness that is the Celtics flopping in this series:

"All that bull(bleep)-ass calls they had out there. With Mike [Callahan] and
Kenny [Mauer] -- you've all seen that (bleep)," Wallace said. "You saw them
calls. The cats are flopping all over the floor and they're calling that
(bleep). That (bleep) ain't basketball out there. It's all (bleeping)
entertainment. You all should know that (bleep). It's all (bleeping)

I do have to take the potential fining with a grain of salt though. It's Stu Jackson and David Stern running who gets fined ultimately, and much like the way they manipulate officials, this will be manipulated as well.

Another portion of the article talked about possible changes to the playoffs. I'm a huge proponent of letting it be the top 16 teams that get into the playoffs instead of 8 teams in each league. And I wholeheartedly disagree with this being a reason not to do it:
There is also naturally considerable opposition from teams in the East to
sending the clubs with the 16 best records to the playoffs. The current format
enabled several sub-.500 teams this season -- such as Indiana, New Jersey and
Chicago -- to stay in playoff contention well into April, giving them something
to sell to their fan bases in spite of sub-par records and constant reminders
from the media about the West's superior depth.

That is essentially ignoring the fact that there were multiple teams in the West that did not enjoy such a luxury, specifically the Portland Trailblazers and the Sacramento teams. Both of those teams had legitimate arguments that they were better than the Hawks, Wizards, Raptors or 76ers. I don't buy that argument at all, there is a give and take on it that is equal on either side, so in no way is it better to leave it the same just because some crappy teams in the east got a shot at the playoffs that they did not earn.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Robert Horry for the HOF (plea #3)

... and I didn't even have to write the article this time.

JA Adande wrote today's plea. I'm just linking to it here.

Though I think he might have lifted my "Robert Horry is the greatest winner of the modern era" tagline to finish his own column...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Did the Lottery results help the Rockets, too?

Tuesday night, there were some clear winners following the NBA's annual Draft Lottery:

The Chicago Bulls (1.7% chance pays off huge)
The Miami Heat (because the decision is now made easy for them)
David Stern (suck it, conspiracy theorists!)
The Eastern Conference

... and maybe, just maybe -- the Houston Rockets.

Yes, I'm being serious.

Let's break it down. The Houston Rockets have a few basic goals to accomplish during this offseason: (1) find a taker for Luther Head, (2) solidify the point guard position, and (3) get more athletic at the swing-positions. I think we can all agree on this, right?

Now, let's look at the Chicago Bulls. They have their choice between Derrick Rose - the supposed can't miss PG who also happens to be from Chicago, or Michael Beasley - the low-post presence Chicago has never really had before. They can't go wrong here. BUT... the fans, bloggers and media are already begging the Bulls to bypass Beasley and draft Rose.

So, let's say the Bulls settle on Rose.

Enter Daryl Morey...

If the Bulls take Rose, that is a clear signal that they have no use for Kirk Hinrich anymore. There's a fan petition out to get rid of him already. Which sounds too much like my initial Rafer petition. Hey! Idea!!!

ESPN is killing me by not having the Trade Machine already operational for the offseason, so we'll have to wing it here......... but don't the Rockets have to at least consider a big trade with Chicago if the price is right? T-Mac still hasn't gotten out of the first round. He's about to be a very, very old 29 year old with a bad back and lots of mileage. Luther Head sucks. Rafer sucks less than he used to, but he's not exactly CP3 or Deron Williams.

If Chicago is at all interested in the concept of Rose being paired with McGrady -- wouldn't the Rockets also be interested in a lineup of, say:

C: Yao/ Mutombo (or Hibbert??)
PF: Scola/ Landry/ Hayes
SF: Battier/ Luol Deng / Mike Harris
SG: Ben Gordon / Battier / Deng
PG: Kirk Hinrich / Aaron Brooks / Bobby J

while you could never replace the intangibles McGrady brings... I think it's fair to say McGrady hasn't exactly been bringing much of 'em to the table lately. Furthermore, McGrady has two years left on his contract at $20M each year. Deng was a potential all-star a year ago. Hinrich is coming off a down year but the dude can ball. And he's clearly better than Rafer/Luther. Gordon is going into his 4th year and is instant offense *plus* he can actually shoot free throws.

Isn't this the very definition of "buy low / sell high"???

The only real issue would be getting the contracts to match for salary cap purposes, since Hinrich is a base-year player right now and Deng and Gordon don't exactly have contracts just yet. But Daryl Morey is a genius and he could figure it out.

This trade would make the Rockets younger, faster and more flexible at each position almost immediately. Yao would still be the Man, but he's get many more open shots with Scola on the post and Deng able to hit the mid-range J with regularity. The Rockets could be scary good.

Am I wrong, or could this really work!?!?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Chad Ford forgot to pay attention

In his mock draft today, Chad Ford did a pretty decent job. At least he did up until the Rockets pick, saying they would take JJ Hickson out of North Carolina St. If you don't know anything about Hickson, he's actually a really good player. He's also a Power Forward.

I know that for every year that did not include Charles Barkley post the Otis Thorpe era that the Rockets have needed a power forward. This year is not one of those year. While Ford accurately notates that the Rockets have Luis Scola already, he forgets that 1. The Rockets just drafted a rookie in Carl Landry at the PF slot last year, a rookie that worked out very well and 2. The Rockets signed Chuck Hayes to a 4 year contract before last year.

So Mr. Ford, I know it's still early, but that's just a terrible mistake.

Also, let it be known that I believe the Rockets need to draft 1 of 4 players for this draft not to suck: DJ Augustin, Chris Douglas Roberts, Brandon Rush or Roy Hibbert

That's my draft board, DJ is a pipe dream, but one of the other three should be there. They all fit a huge need and I beleive Daryl Morey will find a way to make it happen.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I guess that was a false alarm

The rumors of Robert Horry's retirement have been greatly exaggerated...

or he and his team just felt like playing a few more games.

Though as much as I am a huge Horry fan, I was actually hoping CP3 would win and he would be able to match up against Kobe. Now I'm just praying that we aren't subjected to a Detroit/San Antonio Finals again. (Detroit v. Kobe... sure. Boston v. Kobe... even better. Boston v. San Antonio... hmmmmmm.)

I did find it odd that both Steve Javie *and* Dick Bavetta were the refs last night. Javie seems to be the ref at most every playoff game this year. Even though he's the worst referee in the league not named "Violet Palmer."

... let the conspiracy talk begin. David Stern obviously doesn't care. He's not even trying to be subtle about it anymore.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Ding, Dong!

... the Wicked Witch is dead!

Enjoy yet another ringless year, Utah.

(oh, and thank you, Kobe... I can rest easy again knowing that the Jazz will once again not win anything. I am "okay" with the Lakers, Pistons or Hornets as Champs... maybe even Boston or San Antonio. Just please not Cleveland.)

Hey, Utah, maybe next year... try not having your (second) best player foul out with 4 minutes left in an elimination game. Just a thought.

What am I thinking... Utah not fouling?
That's unpossible.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Phil Ivey hates the Utah Jazz, too

Noted professional poker player Phil Ivey was at the Lakers/Jazz game last night...

courtside, naturally.

Oh, he's the only person sitting down in this picture:

My guess? Ivey is a noted Houston Rockets fan, so he was just there last night to make sure the Utah Jazz lose. Even Phil Ivey hates the Utah Jazz. Looks like we have something in common.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Robert Horry for the HOF (plea #2)

Last night, Robert Horry set a new milestone: Most playoff games ever (238). He surpassed the record previously held by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. I guess it helps to be a Laker for part of your career if you want to play in a lot of playoff games (?)

This is just another playoff-related record for Mr. Horry. His name is all over the record book for various things accomplished in the months of April through June. Particularly in June... or did everyone forget the dude has seven rings. Seven! (More than MJ!)

Yes, it still hurts to see Horry in a Spurs jersey. It hurts a lot. But anyway...

Sadly, because the Spurs cannot win in even-numbered years and now trail the New Orleans Hornets 3 games to 2 after losing last night, I realized that the next game the Spurs play just might be the last time we see Robert Horry in an NBA uniform. Think about that for a second.

Thursday night could possibly be the last game of Robert Horry's career.

Horry was part of the loaded draft of 1992 (Shaq, Alonzo, Laettner, Harold Miner, etc. etc.).


Horry has won championship rings in 1994, 1995, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005 and 2007. Because the Spurs fear even numbers, I think it's safe to say Horry will not get ring #8 this year. And that's okay. (Just so long as Utah doesn't win a ring, I'll be fine.)

What kills me though is seeing this on ESPN this morning:

"won't get into the Hall of Fame..." Why the hell not? Why is Horry already precluded from even being considered a Hall of Famer? No, he has not been an All Star before. No, Horry does not average 20 points a game or grab 15 rebounds or some other hollow statistical marker you might deem notable. All the guy has done for 17 years is win. Win! That's what the game is about.

Put another way... every season Robert Horry has been in the NBA - his team has made the playoffs. Every. Single. Year. His bio is quite fantastic. So maybe Horry hasn't been named an All Star before... but whose career would you rather have? Robert Horry's? ... or Vince Carter's? (or even Tracy McGrady's?) Vince Carter may have been half-amazing at one time in his life, but he'd trade places with Horry immediately. So would McGrady.

So I readily acknowledge that Thursday might be the end of the career of my favorite player. All good things must come to an end sometime (like 22 game winning streaks...). Consequently, The Robert Horry for the Hall of Fame Campaign will shift into overdrive here whenever he officially hangs up the sneakers for good. Horry will forever be a Houston Rocket to me.

... nice hair, dude.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Looks like we have that PF slot finally figured out!

Both ends of the Luis Landry rookie power forward made the All Rookie team today. Luis Scola on the first team and Carl Landry on the second team. Congrats to both of our guys and let's get Landry under contract now for a while. Our lone other rookie, Aaron Brooks, even got 1 second place vote!

All Rookie Team

Of note, what idiot coach didn't vote for Durant as a first teamer? I'm guessing it had to be Isiah Thomas, he's the only one dumb enough for that.

Editors Note: Looks like it was probably the same guy that did this: Acie Law, Atlanta, 1
I'm a Longhorn, but I really like Acie Law, but only an absolute moron would think he should be on the all Rookie team in any capacity.

Finally - some good news! (Rookie Team)

Resident badass Luis Scola can now add another line to his resume:

First Team All-Rookie Team (2008).

Yup, the Rockets finally put someone on the first team for something!

Not to be out-done, Carl Landry would also like you to know that he made the 2nd team.

As I've been saying all year, our rookies are better than your rookies!

Special Announcement: Luther Head sucks!

From the beginning of time, or at least the beginning of this blog in November '07, Article I of our blogging constitution was "Rafer Alston sucks!"

I am here today to announce that there has been an amendment to our aforementioned policy. Beginning immediately, Rafer Alston is no longer the (sole) object of our scorn and criticism. Instead, there is a new mission. That mission being to make the Houston Rockets and the rest of the NBA community aware of one sad, yet undisputed fact:

Luther Head sucks.

It hurts to type that. You see, I was quite happy when the Rockets used the 24th pick in 2005 to select the guard from the University of Illinois' runner-up team. He even showed promise early on in his career. He shot 44% from long distance in '07... and we all thought he would only get better. We were all wrong.

Let me see if I can explain this a different way...

Things Luther Head is good at (at least at the NBA level):
1. Making open 3-pointers. But only if he's wide open.
2. entertaining Deke on the bench. [guessing]
3. .... ?

Things Luther Head is not good at (at most any level):
1. Dribbling.
2. Passing.
3. Making a post-entry pass.
4. Making a layup (see Game 5 v. Utah as Exhibit "A").
5. Playing defense against equally-tall opponents.
6. Playing defense against shorter opponents.
7. Not turning the ball over.
8. Decision-making.
9. He's the focus of this blog. Yikes.

Now there could be more on the "bad" list, but I am really struggling to find something on the "good" list I could add. Hell, even Rafer Alston had more than 2 items on the "good" list last year... and I hate(d) him!

I'm not sure I can pinpoint when I gave up on Luther. I think it was official in my mind when I went to the Memphis/Rockets game during the Streak. Luther couldn't make a layup. And I'm not talking during the game... I'm talking during warm-ups!!!! He was missing layups in a layup line! That takes a certain amount of skill I would think. Luther has mastered this.

Of course, the Utah series in the playoffs exposed Luther in the worst way. Adelman couldn't risk even putting him in the game because Luther was destroyed at the defensive end, and he became a liability even on the offensive end. He didn't know when to pass, shoot or dribble. He turned the ball over. He missed open layups. He hesitated to shoot open 3s. It was a shameful exhibition of basketball. I think Daryl Morey knows who to use as trade bait now.

(At least I hope he knows!)

Accordingly, Lee and I had a summit to discuss the issue. The result? Luther Head is the new whipping boy for this blog until the day he is traded, cut, waived, released or in some way no longer on the active roster.

So it has been said. So it shall be.

Disclaimer: The ascension of Mr. Head to "he sucks" status shall under no circumstances be interpreted as or intended to operate as a waiver of any actual or implicit rights to maintain the opinion that Rafer Alston sucks (he still does) or that Rafer Alston has somehow been removed from our s--tlist. He has not.

Dave and I are men, and we lost a bet: Part 1

Dave and I made a bet with MyUtahJazz, that whoever won the series would get 2 posts on the other team's blog. This is Part 1 in the 2 part bet:

Here is a little update on what the Rockets have been up to:

Teacher: Welcome back class. How has everyone's Summer Vacation been so far?
Rockets players in semi-unison: Good teacher…
Teacher: Today I want to hear from some of you. Please stand up and give the team a quick report on how you've been spending your summer vacation up to this point. Tracy, why don't you go first…

T-Mac: Well, I went golfing with my cousin Vinnie. We tried to golf 18 holes…but after 15 holes I had no legs and couldn't finish. Um…what else…I bought a new Ferrari, just because I can. This was another great summer because I didn't miss my summer vacation I had planned in early May. That was nice.

Teacher: Thanks Tracy. It sounds like your summers are the same every year…lucky you. Who's next? Yao?
Yao: My foot still hurt. My government use special witchcraft to prepare me for Beijing Olympic team. Probably lose first round…want to be like Tracy. He my BFF. Carlos Boozer send me many 'Thank You' cards. I don't understand why.

Teacher: Thanks Yao. How about you Shane…
Shane: Well, I plan on going to Salt Lake this summer to hang with my old college buddy Carlos Boozer. He said if I mow his lawn and help around the house, he'll get me an interview with Coach Sloan and Larry Miller. I just want to get back to my winning ways and it seems like know what it takes up in Utah. Plus, Carlos said he would let me play some pick up games with he and Deron so I could see what it's like to play with a real unselfish superstar. I'm super excited!

Tracy: Lucky! I would go with you, but I'm just so tired. Plus, I would need some veteran leadership to show me around up there. I mean I'm only 30 and could easily get lost in a big city like Salt Lake.

Deke: Oh teacher…me! Me!
Teacher: Yes Deke.
Deke: I am Mormon now. Church ask me to do voiceover for new Bible on CD for members. Very excited.
Tracy: I was going to do a voiceover for them too…but I just got so tired…and why did they choose you over me? That was just a bad decision.

Teacher: Well thank you for the update everyone. I hope to hear from you later in the summer with some fun updates! Class dismissed…..Tracy, you can go now…..please stand up and go.

Tracy: I got no legs teach. I'm just so tired. Teacher rolls her eyes and walks out of the room and mumbles something about 2nd round virgins.

Monday, May 12, 2008

NBA All Defensive Team voters = HUGE joke

NBA head coaches, you guys are not too intelligent. Shane Battier absolutely owns Bruce Bowen on the defensive end. Yes, Bowen gets more head lines, mostly because he is a dirty bastard of a defender, but Shane does every single thing on the defensive end better. I feel like a Spurs hater today even though I truly respect what they've done, but Tim Duncan is only an 11 time All NBA first team defensive player because power forwards suck at defense apparently. That's not to say Duncan isn't a really good defender, he's just not a great one. Throw the 11 in a row at me all you want, the stats and my eyes say he is really good, but not great.

Shane Battier was the best defender on the league's third best defensive team. He was also the only truly good defender on the entire team. Let that sink in, Shane carried a team, sometimes by himself, on the defensive end to the third best statistical team on defense. How exactly was he 1. Not the defensive player of the year or 2. Even on the list of first teamers? He constantly guarded the other teams best player and just about always held them down in some easily understood way. Shane out-averaged Bowen in rebounds (5.1 -2.9), steals(1.0-.7) and blocks(1.1-.3). He did lose out to Bowen on a-hole plays (1, the Durant trip, to Infinity, also known as every thing Bowen does).

The most ridiculous part? Shane wasn't even a unanimous second team pick. In fact, 9 coaches (Adelman wasn't allowed to vote for him) didn't put him in the top 2. That's just pathetic and tells me that coaches have no business doing anything but coaching. Chris Paul, who I would trade your first born child for, was only 3 points behind Shane. Chris Paul, while great at playing the passing lane, is simply not a good defender. Even the Hornets fans can admit to this. Yet there Shane is, sitting barely in front of him.

I'm so upset at this. I thought it was just an anomaly that would get corrected this year. And while I'm sure Shane doesn't care, I do. Shane, maybe it's time to be an a-hole on the court, it makes people think you are a better defender than you actually are. You went to Duke, I thought they taught y'all that stuff there?

Shane Battier: Being kicked while he's down

The NBA released the names of the 2008 "All Defensive Team" this afternoon... as I anxiously awaited seeing Shane's name finally and deservedly included among the members of the First Team. So... what the hell happened?

NBA awards voters screwed the pooch. Again.

Look, it was bad enough that Shane wasn't named DPOY to begin with. We all know he should have been the recipient of that award and that it ended up being a consolation prize to KG for not getting the MVP. Fine... but Shane being only 3rd (behind Marcus F'n Camby?) was a total joke. I thought that was the end of it though.


Turns out Shane (just like last year) did not make the First Team.
Naturally, you may ask, if not Shane - then who did make the team?

Kevin Garnett - Forward (I guess he belongs)
Tim Duncan - Forward (no argument here)
Marcus Camby - Center (freakin' joke)
Bruce Bowen -Guard (looks like we're voting out of habit still)


Kobe Bryant.


Look, I am a huge, huge, very huge Kobe fan. I'm not even a Lakers fan and I'm a Kobe fan. That says something, right? And yet, this is absolute bullshit. There is no freakin' way that Kobe Bryant was a better defensive player this season than Shane Battier. No freakin' way.

Yes, I realize that Kobe is the MVP and has been first-team all defense a handful of times now. Most of the time he deserved it. And if, say, Bruce Bowen were kicked off the team for being a no-good dirty scrub, I'd be okay with Kobe's selection. But Shane Battier had to be on the First Team. This is two years in a row now that Shane finished top 5 in DPOY and yet failed to make the First Team All Defense. How the hell does that happen?

It's a traveshamockery!!!!!!

Hey, just because the Rockets' season may be over doesn't mean I'm not paying attention to all of these undeserved slights of my guys. To all the voters who inconveniently forgot to put Shane's name on the ballot......... you're all ON NOTICE! And whomever voted for Josh Smith to be DPOY, don't think I forgot about you either. Oh, yeah, some ass clown also voted for Tyson Chandler as DPOY. Yes, really.

This biggest insult to injury of all?

Shane wasn't even a unanimous pick for the *2nd* team?!?!?

(First-team votes in parentheses)

FIRST TEAM -- Kevin Garnett, f, Boston, 52 (24); Kobe Bryant, g, L.A. Lakers, 52 (24); Marcus Camby, c, Denver, 37 (14); Bruce Bowen, g-f, San Antonio, 36 (13); Tim Duncan, f, San Antonio, 33 (12).

SECOND TEAM -- Shane Battier, f, Houston, 29 (9); Chris Paul, g, New Orleans, 26 (10); Dwight Howard, c, Orlando, 25 (8); Tayshaun Prince, f, Detroit, 20 (3); Raja Bell, g, Phoenix, 18 (4).

OTHERS RECEIVING VOTES -- Chauncey Billups, Detroit, 14 (5); Jason Kidd, Dallas, 13 (4); Rasheed Wallace, Detroit, 13 (3); Rajon Rondo, Boston, 11 (3); Deron Williams, Utah, 8, (3); Josh Smith, Atlanta, 8, (3); Ron Artest, Sacramento, 8 (2); Tyson Chandler, New Orleans, 8 (1); Andrei Kirilenko, Utah, 6; Derek Fisher, Los Angeles Lakers, 4 (1); LeBron James, Cleveland, 4 (1); Manu Ginobili, San Antonio, 4 (1); Kirk Hinrich, Chicago, 3 (1); Samuel Dalembert, Philadelphia, 3 (1); Andre Iguodala, Philadelphia, 1 (2); Brandon Roy, Portland, 2; Paul Pierce, Boston, 2; Andre Miller, Philadelphia, 1; Andres Nocioni, Chicago, 1; Baron Davis, Golden State, 1; Caron Butler, Washington, 1; Chris Bosh, Toronto, 1; Dikembe Mutombo, Houston, 1; Josh Howard, Dallas, 1; Richard Hamilton, Detroit, 1; Ronnie Brewer, Utah, 1.

It is clear that some of our voters need their privileges revoked. This is a f--king joke. A sick, twisted and altogether unfunny joke at that.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Best of the Dream Shake (2007-2008)

Lee and I continue to struggle with the concept that the Rockets' epic 2007/2008 season is over. We have to wait until October to see resident badasses Yao Ming and Luis Scola take the floor as teammates again. That's a long wait. On the flip side, there are now fewer opportunities to bitch about Rafer sucking, Tracy taking too many 3s or how much we hate the Utah Jazz. Well, actually, we can still bitch about Utah. And... we will.

Because of this... and because we are completely devoid of original ideas at the moment... we now present you with the "Best of the Dream Shake (2007-2008)" - or essentially what we considered to be our best or favorite things we wrote in the past 6 months. Yes, I know that Best Of lists and "Greatest Hits" collections tend to suck. But these are the things we wrote that sucked the least. And they are (in no particular order):

10 Things I Hate about the Utah Jazz.
Of course I'm leading off with this.

Why I hate the Utah Jazz.
Yes, we like to repeat ourselves. For emphasis.

Reminiscing with Yao and YouTube.
YouTube clips... because we are lazy.

Petition to Remove Rafer.
The very first post. The reason this blog exists.

The Rockets and Married... with Children.
Because Al Bundy and Tracy are way too much alike.

Time for an 80's Mid-Season Review.
80s Movies and awards... before the Rockets got good.

Inconceivable! Rockets/Kings (Game 8 of the Streak).
Because Steve Novak, for one night, was the Man in Black.

Major Mistakes and How You Correct Them.
Also known as Lee predicting The Streak. Yes, really.

Shane Battier Knows White People.
Because Shane is the whitest man alive.

Gratuitous Post Du Jour.
The Rockets and Family Guy.

You've all been naughty, but.......
Christmas gifts for the (then underachieving) Rockets.

These were our favorite posts to write, read, re-read and shamelessly beg other blogs to link to. I think it worked out in the end. So, commenters, were there any that I should have included above???

And yes, dear readers, prepare for more zaniness and completely off-the-wall entries from us once our hangovers subside and we try to get through the long offseason. The 2009 Rockets are going to kick ass.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Additional reasons to hate Karl Malone, part II

Seriously, Karl Malone...

Go f--k yourself.

I think you've now officially surpassed Emmitt Smith on the list of athletes I despise. Check that, I'm sure you have. Enjoy hell, you bastard.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Thank You Chris Paul

The Rockets season has ended, and I'm sure that you have noticed that I haven't posted anything since that happened. I've wanted to, I just couldn't do it... I had convinced myself that Utah was not that good (partially true) and that the Rockets could play like a team and get through their hodge-podge of injuries (not even close to true). Ultimately I thought the Rockets would win the series. Game 3 really got me going again after I was down in the dumps with two straight home losses, then Game 4 kept my interest peaked as the Rockets could have won another one in the ESA. Game 5 was extra special as everything finally came together, and it was that game that got me fully invested again, trying to believe that the Rockets could get it done. In the end, it didn't happen and I thought my season of basketball watching was over. That was until one Mr. Chris Paul reminded me how great this season of NBA basketball was.

Any of you that know me, know that I couldn't care less about the Spurs. I don't hate them, but I certainly do not want them to go farther than the Rockets...EVER. And I'm getting sick of them winning the championship by flopping and generally playing a little dirty. The series is far from over, but Chris Paul has had two of the best games in NBA playoff history. His drive in the third quarter of game one and game two has been spectacular. If you thought a 29-17 3rd in game one was impressive, how does a 36-18 3rd in game two sound? All of that was keyed by great passes, steals, and scoring by CP3. 17 points and 13 assists with only 2 turnovers in the first game leading to a 19 point win and 30 and 12 with only 1 turnover in the second leading the Hornets to an 18 point win.

Today is Chris Paul Day over at AtTheHive, and since CP3 is my favorite player in the league not named Yao, I had to participate. Dave got his Kobe day and I get my Chris Paul day.

CP3 had one of the statistically greatest seasons in point guard history. 21.1 points on 49% shooting from the field and 37% from the arc, 11.6 assists, 4 boards and 2.7 steals. To put that in perspective, Magic Johnson's (arguable) greatest season ever, 1986-7 saw him with 23.9 on 52% and 21%, 12.2 assists, 6.3 boards and 1.7 steals, it was his 8th season in the league. Look at how close those are. Magic has the edge, but his team was significantly better around him and just remember that this is only CP3's 3rd season. In Magic's 3rd season, he was statistically inferior to CP3 in all but overall field goal percentage and rebounds. That's right, I just compared Paul to the greatest point guard of all time, and he definitely compares favorably. And the next time one of Paul's teammates is compared to Jabbar, McAdoo, or Cooper will be the first. Don't let yourself believe I think Paul's teammates are worthless, in fact if there is one player that is not a Rocket that like even close to CP3 it is David West. Peja is still a good player, though he disappears a little too much for my liking. To show how good Chris Paul is, he has made Tyson Chandler a "good" player. Chandler seems to get about 5 alley oops a game.

What exactly do I like about Chris Paul? Is everything an option? He seems to be a great guy, he is well educated, smart and he gives back to New Orleans and his home all the time. He is the perfect guy for that city (It's a shame the Rockets will be taking him off the Hornet's hands when TMac's contract is up). He's the best scoring PG in the league, the best assist man, and the best at playing the lane for steals. That's a pretty impressive combination if you ask me. He's everything you could want in a player that you cheer for and that you want to cheer for. Did I mention that he's lightning quick, can't be trapped for more than one game in a row and will destroy any double team, even when he is playing against much taller players? I didn't? Well he can. There is only one player even close to him in the league, and that is Deron Williams. I hate to break it to D-Will, who only seems to play up to his potential against Paul, but you're not as good. You can't be as good until you play like that every game, you know, like Chris Paul does.

Thank you Mr. Paul for giving the NBA as a whole back to me. You're the best! Now, about that free agency year...

Random playoff thoughts now that Rockets are out

That Chris Paul guy is really, really good. Imagine how good he'll be when he's 1/2 as good as Rafer Alston!

Deron Williams is really good, too, but he's no CP3 just yet. Sorry, Utah.

Players who are not good? Luther Head.

Detroit could be a really scary team if they could find a way to stay awake for an entire 48 minute game. But it doesn't look like that is going to happen.

San Antonio cannot win in even numbered years. Sorry, Robert Horry.

Why the hell is Phoenix so eager to let Mike D'Antoni go? They should get rid of the Fat Ass first. They were fine until he showed up.

Kobe Bryant is going to be the MVP. He's my favorite non-Rocket still active in the league (hello Reggie Miller!), but even I would have voted for Chris Paul this year.

Yes, I still view Robert Horry as a Houston Rocket....... *I* didn't trade him for Barkley.

Did Toronto actually make the playoffs? I don't remember their games being on TV. Ever.

Boston had its wake up call. The LeBrons are toast.

Joe Smith, however, has escaped the exclusive Tracy McGrady club. Translation? He has finally made it to the second round.

Adonal Foyle is still in the NBA? Wow.

The Utah Jazz still suck. And I hate them.

The referees have been quite awful (again) this year. If it is a foul, call it. But don't call it a foul the first time and then ignore the same infraction later just because it's the fourth quarter. That's weak.

David Stern probably wants to fine me now.

I think Carlos Boozer's acne broke my HDTV.

Luis Scola: still a badass.

The Eastern Conference really is that bad.

If Denver were in the East, they'd be no worse than the #3 seed.

The Rockets would have beaten every team in the East except Boston. And maybe Detroit. But only "maybe".

I actually miss Bill Walton's commentary.

I'm very thankful for Charles Barkley's commentary. And JVG.

If the Celtics win the whole thing, would Doc Rivers be the worst coach to ever win a ring?

If Phil Jackson wins his 10th ring, could his ego actually get bigger?

It's too bad Michael Jordan hates Isiah Thomas. How awesome would it be if MJ were to hire Zeke to be his assistant?

The Jason Kidd and Shaq trades sure worked out, huh?

If I were to vote for MVP, I would have voted (in order): CP3, Kobe, KG, Dwight Howard... and then LeBron. I'm getting sick of people saying LeBron is the best player in the NBA. He's not. He's very, very good... but he's not the best. Yet.

Am I the only one who constantly feels the urge to punch Matt Harpring in the face?

Carmelo Anthony: dumb, moronic or just a lush?

Was it really just two years ago that the Mavericks were 2 games away from sweeping the Heat? (Then the refs stepped in...)

I really think the Lakers will win the whole thing, but New Orleans is even better than I previously imagined.

The Houston Rockets are going to kick ass in 2009!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Requiem for an Awesome Season. Really.

Tracy, Luis, Shane and the gang are now officially in offseason mode. We will hopefully get to see Yao perform in the Olympics in a couple months. Other than that, the Houston Rockets are mostly dormant until next October.

Now that my hangover has mostly subsided, I can properly look back on the 2007/2008 Houston Rockets season for what it was. And the correct answer is "amazing." Yes, the NBA... where amazing happens. Yes, the Rockets lost in the first round again. Yes, it was to Utah again. Yes, I still really, really hate the Utah Jazz. Yes, Tracy McGrady still has to contend with the criticism that he's not a clutch performer (and I'm not straying from that belief myself just yet). None of this defines the '07/'08 Houston Rockets, however.

The team started out 6-1 with a new coach and a new offensive system. (This blog started the next day.)

Immediately thereafter, the team struggled and was below .500 in the insanely competitive Western Conference in mid-December. Most everyone gave up on Houston. Called them "disappointments" and "failures" and I think they even made John Hollinger cry.

Then a great thing happened - this team learned how to play basketball the right way. Yao and Tracy took over, but now they had help from Shane Battier on the defensive end, boosts of energy from Luis Scola and Carl Landry and Aaron Brooks. Rafer Alston even managed to have an out-of-body experience and shoot over 40% from January though March. (Which was even more surprising given how much Rafer sucked in November and December.) McGrady had his annual sabbatical due to "injury" - and again everyone thought the Rockets were done. Yet they started winning. And then continued to win. And then everyone noticed that they weren't just winning, but winning as a team. When McGrady returned to the lineup, he finally bought into the new offensive scheme - and things just took off!

On Tuesday, January 29th, the Houston Rockets beat the Golden State Warriors. The Rockets did not lose again until Tuesday, March 18th. 22 consecutive wins. In a row. This included victories over such playoffs teams as New Orleans, Los Angeles, Denver, Cleveland, Dallas, and Washington.

On February 26th, the Rockets got the news that Yao Ming would miss the rest of the season with a stress fracture in his foot. Again, everyone gave up on Houston. Once again, Houston found new ways to win -- another 10 in a row.

An injury depleted roster finished with 55 wins in the most competitive and cut-throat Western Conference in history. The Rockets even scrambled to have home-court advantage in the playoffs. That was impressive in its own right. Granted, home-court advantage disappeared almost immediately... but I'm going to try to keep a positive outlook on this. I mean, at least I wasn't a Miami Heat fan this year!

The best part is that the Rockets look loaded next year. They are due for a truly healthy Yao/Tracy combination. Scola is going to average 16 and 10 next year. Just watch. Luther Head might get sent packing (he just has to go). Aaron Brooks may be ready to be the full-time backup PG. The draft might bring us an athletic swingman. That's really the only thing the Rockets are missing -- an athletic 2/3 position player who can slash and create his own shot. Gerald Green could have been that player, but he has a 10 cent head. Maybe the Rockets can find the next Kevin Martin or Monta Ellis or someone like that late in the draft this year? I trust Daryl Morey...

and Yao Ming is going to come back angry!

I guess the conclusion is that while it really hurt to be a Rockets fan on Friday night, the long-term outlook is quite bright.

Go Rockets! 2009 is going to kick ass!

edit: Hey, Jason Friedman, stop stealing my headlines!!!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Game 6: The prelude to a hangover

Homer Simpson is a wise man.
"Alcohol - the cause of... and solution to... all of life's problems."

What can I say about Game 6?

Tracy McGrady came to play, Luis Scola again proved that he is a badass, but everything else I said we needed to do in Game 6... we didn't do.

Why did the Rockets lose? It's a littany of things you can't do in do-or-die games:

Miss free throws.
Make only 6 of 23 three pointers.
Score only 11 points in the most important quarter of the season.
Give up 100 points.
Forget how to gather a defensive rebound until you are down by 20.
Let 7 players on the Jazz score double figures.


Thanks for reminding me again why you suck, Rafer.
Thanks for beginning to suck, Luther. Thanks a lot.
Thanks for another brick-fest, Bobby Jackson.

Congrats to Utah. Yet I still really, really hate the Utah Jazz.

So now I have a really bad hangover. I have to deal with the next 5 months where there are no Rockets games.

Time to go sleep this off and pretend for an extended period of time that it never happened.

Friday, May 2, 2008

We're not going back to Utah!!!

Game 6. Tonight. 9:30pm.

If I see anything like this after the game... I am going to be very, very depressed.

I do want to see a lot of this though (and no, I'm not talkin' about Yao):

I am strangely confident that the Rockets will win tonight. I am not even the least bit nervous. Which is very rare for me. Or I could just be really, really drunk and not realize it.

Anyway, while Carlos Boozer failed to back up his statement that the Utah Jazz were "not coming back to Houston" - the Houston Rockets certainly are not going back to Utah after tonight's Game 6. Yes, I feel quite confident that no member of the Rockets will spend any amount of time in the state of Utah until the beginning of next season.

Of course, while the Rockets are in Utah for tonight - they might as well go to work, play hard, and come back to Houston with a victory. I'm just hoping beyond hope that the NBA sends referees that are also willing to go to work (and by "work" I mean "blow the freakin' whistle!"). Matt from HP cares not for my ref-based bitching, but he hasn't had to endure the Jazz/Rockets rivalry for the past 15-20 years. Refs are always an issue. Especially when Utah employed that thug Karl Malone.

(Yes, this is a photo of Tracy and Mr. Tim Donaghy. I am not subtle.)

Solution? Tracy - take the ball to the basket. Make the referees blow the whistle. Then - most importantly - make your freakin' free throws! All of them. No 4-8 performances tonight.

Also, Scola needs to make his layups in traffic, Rafer needs to shoot at least 35%, Luther Head needs to not play at all, Shane needs to make a couple 3s, Mutombo needs one big early finger-wag to piss off the crowd, Landry needs to get 5 offensive rebounds, Chuck/Scola/Landry need to NOT get in foul trouble, and Bobby Jackson must shoot better than 1-10. Is that asking for too much???

This thing is going 7 games.

Go Rockets!

On the Radio Today!

I guess it's my turn, so I will be on ESPN radio Los Angeles to discuss the blog, the Rockets and playoff stuff with Steve Mason at about 5PM CST. Dave did it last time, but I will take it over this go round.

Listen Live Here

I will be on with Kris from BasketballJohn, yet another Utah Jazz blog. I swear I had no idea there were so many Jazz fans out there, but it's well written and insightful. The main topic of conversation for the call will be: "Why would your team be a better match up for the Lakers in round 2?" It is an LA radio station after all, so a tie in to the Lakers is the goal.

I'd give away some of my talking points, but I don't want Kris to have them before the call.

Check out BasketballJohn here.