The Dream Shake - a Houston Rockets blog: August 2008

Friday, August 29, 2008

Umm, Mr. Morey - could you please explain this?

The Rockets traded Patrick Ewing, Jr. Hey, cool, he wasn't really going to help us, so I have no real complaints about that. Plus his dad belongs in that category of players I despise along with Malone and Stockton...

Alas, who did the Rockets acquire for Ewing the Second?

This guy.

and no, not that pansy Vince Carter... no, we traded for the guy who got tea-bagged in the above video. Who has never done anything in the NBA. Ummm, why did we make this trade???

Mr. Morey? Please explain?? Help???

Does ESPN like the Houston Rockets??

My lunchtime Interwebs browsing brought me over to ESPN...
where I saw these predictions/projections for 2008/09.

Funny this is -- I can't really come up with much of a legitimate argument to say why ESPN is misguided or flat out wrong in this analysis. They predict the Rockets to get homecourt advantage and be competitive in the typically ultra-competitive Western Conference. Hard to complain about that kind of praise. I mean, they did short-change us by 6 wins (predicting only 53) - even though I did a painstaking game-by-game analysis already and determined that the magic number was indeed 59. Yes, 59 - and that was me at my most objective and non-biased moment!

So - even ESPN likes the Ron Artest trade! Excellent!

I am soooo ready for the season to start!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A few quick links

Want to sleep where Yao has laid? Ya, me either, but for those crazy peeps out there, you can!
(ht Matt and Hardwood Paroxysm)

Baller Blogger reminisces about The Dream! Good times!!
(ht Brandon at Baller Blogger)

SI rating the offseason moves

Lack of Posting Explained

I haven't been posting as much as I'd hoped lately, but I have good reason!

My second son was born yesterday: Austin Ryan - 20 inches, 7lbs 11.5 oz
No Rockets' infant clothes with us, but we'll be sure to toss some on him by Game 1.

He looks about 800 years old in that picture, but it's the best I have for now

Expect my season predictions up before the weekend is over! And as a quick preview, I think Dave's prediction is a little light in the wins column.

Rudy T is infinitely better at everything than Jerry Sloan

I have to say, for a fan of/writer for the Utah Jazz, I typically like Ross Siller. He is a solid writer that doesn't seem to be swayed from his opinion easily. With the niceties out of the way, Mr. Siller, you could not be more wrong.

He writes:

I won't rehash the whole thing for you, but the bottom line is Sloan was the lead assistant for the 1996 Olympic team. Everyone figured he would get the top job in 2000, given USA Basketball protocol going back to the Dream Team days. But Sloan was bypassed in favor of Tomjanovich for the head coaching job in Sydney.

The snub was a result of politics, personalities and backroom maneuvering and left the veteran Jazz coach as upset and disillusioned as I have ever seen him, mostly because he did not know what he did wrong.

The fact is, Sloan did nothing wrong.
The only part of those words that seems correct to me is that Sloan was indeed bypassed in favor of Tomjanovich. But let's get one thing straight; At no point in time, in either of their careers, was Sloan a better player OR coach than Rudy Tomjanovich. Not for one single second. Sloan would be, and was at that time, a terrible choice to coach Team USA. He simply is not fit for that job. It's the same reason he couldn't ever win a championship with two top 50 all time players for their entire carrers; he just doesn't have what it takes to win a championship of any kind. While he had Malone and Stockton's loyalty, I just never saw that from his other players that weren't stars. Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer (though I'm less sure of him) seem to be in the same boat. I'm not stating this with any kind of inside knowledge. It is in every way my own opinion, but Sloan just seems like an asshole. That alone is enough to not reach most of today's players. Coaches like him are over, they aren't what wins championships in the NBA or International play. Coaches like Rudy T were the new breed, they relate to players and still get their message across.

And I know Tomjanovich isn't an NBA coach still, though let it be very clear that this had NOTHING to do with lack of ability. He was a fantastic NBA coach from the day he took the job till the day he quit for medical reasons. Let's not forget, Rudy probably should have died after that Kermit Washington punch. His medical reasons for stopping were multiple. His coaching reasons for stopping were nil.

Ross, I know your point was to say that Sloan should have coached the team, but leave Rudy out of it.

Lee is like famous and stuff now

If y'all get a chance today, make a trek across the Interwebs to read the interview Empty the Bench did with Lee. Lots and lots and lots of Rockets-related questions, comments and things of that nature.

(at least now I know why Lee's been quiet on the blog, he's been pimping himself out! Nicely done, sir!)

Be careful though with the new-found fame - there are some shady agents out there trying to make a quick buck! Namely this guy:

just don't let him put you in a boxing match.......

At least he's giving me material...

I was going to ignore it. I really, really was.
I mean, I already gave this guy a forum last week.

And I generally try to ignore the no-talent assclowns that walk the Earth. Alas, this I could not let this go. More evidence that Richard Justice is a complete tool.

I had a creepy feeling watching Ron Artest get that wild ovation when the Rockets introduced him Monday. It just doesn't seem right. This guy has been a poster boy for bad behavior, with everything from domestic violence to animal neglect to punching out a fan. He has been suspended 10 times

Uhhh, since when do we expect our athletes to be choir boys? Allow me to repeat after Charles Barkley - athletes are NOT role models. The city of Houston is extremely lucky to have guys like Yao Ming, Shane Battier, Luis Scola and even Tracy McGrady as representatives of our team. They are good people. Very good people. But let's face it, the cliche usually is true - nice guys finish last. I'm sick of supporting a team that comes up just short and is accepting of such a fate.

Also, it's not like Artest is the only NBA player ever accused of domestic violence, either. One such guy just so happened to represent our freakin' country the last few weeks at the Olympics (yeah, I'm looking at you, Jason Kidd.) And suspensions? Kobe Bryant has been suspended a handful of times, too - is Richard Justice suggesting that he wouldn't be good enough for the Rockets? If it is the Detroit brawl that bothers him so much, I'd love to see how li'l Dickie reacts if someone threw beer at him while he was at his desk typing that dreck he calls "journalism"!! Sorry, but if you throw beer at me, you better expect retaliation. And I'm not a thug. That said - I am not holding Artest out to be a beacon for all that is good and pure about humanity and/or basketball. I just think his personality is something the team has sorely needed for a LONG time...

Yet he's our guy now, and because he might help the Rockets get out of the first round of the playoffs, let's let the good times roll. I'm know I'm out of step on this. I know most of you would be happy to have O.J. Simpson if he could still be productive.
Did you just compare Ron Artest to O.J. f--kin' Simpson??? Yeah, getting in a fight when some jackass throws beer at you is completely analogous to brutally killing your ex-wife and her boyfriend. Sure. (Enter Mr. Chris Rock: "I ain't sayin' it was right... but I understand." And I'm talking about Artest there, not O.J.)

You dislike how the Astros place a premium on character. You think the Texans are naive for not wanting Tank Johnson, Cedric Benson or Pacman Jones. You love the Rockets. They're all about winning. Character be damned.
No, we think the Texans are smart for not going after players that cost too much and probably won't help us win. Quit listening to the peanut gallery, RJ. Oh, and yes, I do love the Rockets. Thanks for noticing. But character is just one factor. Hakeem Olajuwon wasn't exactly a choir boy. Neither were Vernon Maxwell, Robert Horry or Charles Barkley (yeah, remember he was a Rocket for a while...).

The Astros haven't exactly been perfect either. Let me be the first to say in the blogosphere that I am shocked the name "Bagwell, Jeff" was not in the Mitchell Report. Aside from Craig Biggio... the Astros have had a lot of shady characters pass through - I mean, Ken Caminiti was just the tip of the iceberg for Astros that had "problems" with drugs, alcohol, women, etc.

I understand the move from a basketball standpoint. Ron Artest makes the Rockets better. For GM Daryl Morey, it's a no-brainer.
Yeah, Daryl Morey has a job... and "winning" is a huge part of the job requirements. Plus, he's like a genius or something. Not that you'd ever be able to relate to that, Dickie. Ron Artest DOES make the Rockets better. And if you haven't noticed, we live in a society that places a premium on winning. We tend to like winners. Again, not that you'd know anything about that, RJ. Though I guess you would be the expert on what is or is not a "no-brainer" - you have the requisite lack of that...

I'm having trouble wrapping my mind around Les Alexander allowing this guy on his team. Is winning that important? Does character no longer count for anything?
Maybe Les Alexander likes winning, too?!?!?! It's not rocket science here (though I'll be sure to add "rocket science" to the list of things that you'd probably also have trouble wrapping your mind around...)

And maybe, just maybe, Ron Artest isn't the monster you want to make him out to be. Yes, I know if he were that it would make it *so* much easier for you to write columns and sell papers. Maybe that's why you are so disappointed. God forbid you actually offer an original and unique opinion that doesn't tend towards Yellow Journalism.

Hey! I have an idea! Maybe you and Jay Mariotti can start your own little club... I hear he's looking for work now. Or do you get too much of a kick insulting innocent people who have the audacity to comment on your blog and actually offer up legitimate discussion points?

Mr. Justice... FOAD. Thank you.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Because pictures are fun!

Ron Artest... in Rocket Red

I'm actually somewhat saddened that Artest didn't go the Chad Johnson route and try to legally change his name to Crazy Pills. Then I could buy a #96 jersey with "C. Pills" on the back!

(h/t - Skeets at Ball Don't Lie )

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

"... we have a trade!"

Yes, the Rockets made another trade last night...

acquiring D.J. Strawberry for Sean Singletary (who?).

Hey, maybe Darryl Strawberry will show up for a few games now. Then I could break the "Darrrrrrryl! ... Darrrrrryl!" taunt!

Oh, and I hear D.J. is kinda good, too...

Monday, August 25, 2008

Battier makes the Final Four (again)

Being a Dukie, I'm sure Shane Battier is quite familiar with tournaments and making the "Final Four"... and he's done so again.

Battier squares off against Ronnie Turiaf in the Conference Finals of the Floor Burns Tournament. Battier also has the opportunity to avenge the brutal voting death of his teammate, Chuck Hayes (who somehow lost to Turiaf in Round 1).

Go Vote!!!

Just to clarify - this guy is a no-talent assclown

I usually hesitate to post entries that don't have at least some tangential connection to the Houston Rockets or the NBA... but this has to be shared. We rip on him here all the time, and most anyone who reads the Houston Chronicle can't be surprised, but Richard Justice continues to be a no-talent assclown .

For a professional writer/journalist... the display of hubris and immaturity here is actually quite impressive. It also makes me sad that this is the guy hired to "cover" the professional sports teams that I spend so much energy supporting.

Not even Michael Bolton was this much of an assclown... and at least he won grammies.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

And oh by the way - Scola got a medal, too

Yes, yes, the U.S. Olympic Men's Basketball Team won the gold. Barely. You can thank Kobe and his penchant for 4 point plays for that... but anyway, that's not really a surprise, and I'm saddened that I can no longer use the "LeBronze" joke.

Meanwhile, Luis Scola added to his medal collection, picking up the Bronze to go with that Gold freakin' Medal he won back in 2004 (you know, back when the U.S.O.C. was dumb enough to let Stephon Marbury wear the red/white/blue... and let Larry Brown "coach" the team. Brilliant.) Anyway, so Scola proved he was a badass against the U.S. - Leading scorer with a double-double that day. He just had no help.

He finished it off today and made sure he got some sort of medal for his efforts. He had a simple 16 points on 50% shooting in the consolation game, but it was enough for a 12 point victory over Lithuania. Yes, Luis Scola is a badass. Still.

(also, I guess it's time to retire the "Luis Scola has a gold medal and Kobe does not" tag.) (*#&@, the 2008 Olympics are ruining all my good jokes.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

You want 'em? You got 'em - U.S. to face Scolas!

The "Redeem Team" (even though the team is filled with such shady characters as Carlos Boozer, Jason Kidd, Carmelo Anthony and even Kobe) continues its march toward the Gold Medal. Next up? Argentina. A team Kobe Bryant not-so-secretly wished the U.S. would play.

So, you wanna face Argentina, huh? Well... now's your chance.

Just remember one thing: Luis Scola is a badass!
(even if Manu is a no-good dirty flopper)

and if nothing else, it gives me a reason to post this picture again:

Careful what you wish for...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Predicting the 2009 Season in August

The 2008/09 NBA Schedule for the Rockets has been out for a few weeks now. We've already noted that the schedule makers did not do the Rockets any early-season favors (yeah, F-U schedule makers!). Of course, the Rockets do have a cakewalk February if they can focus and take care of business against inferior teams.

In addition, Lee and I have been somewhat successful in predicting things on this here blog. Or do we need to remind you that Lee himself did, in fact, predict that a very long winning streak was coming. That winning streak ended up being 22 games if you've forgotten about that already...

Since we are playing with house money in the prediction department, why not try to predict the entire 2009 regular season? I shall do my best to be objective. Let us begin:

Wed, Oct 29, v. Memphis - W
(we aren't losing to the overmatched Grizz on opening night.
No freakin' way.)

Thu, Oct 30, @ Dallas - L
(the first "screw you, Rockets" by the schedulers.
2nd part of a back-to-back and on the road.)

Sat, Nov 1, v. Durants - W

Tue, Nov 4, v. Boston - L
(early matchup against the Champs, uh oh)

Thur, Nov 6, @ Portland - W
(Yao > Oden)

Fri, Nov 7, @ Clippers - W
(no Elton, no team)

Sun, Nov 9, @ Lakers - W
(Kobe's first taste of Artest + Battier)

Wed, Nov 12, @ Phoenix - W
(Yao > the Fat Ass)

Fri, Nov 14, @ San Antonio - L
(last of 5 straight road games. Not fair.)

Sat, Nov 15, v. New Orleans - W
(we match up well against the CP3s)

Mon, Nov 17, @ Durants - W
(too young to beat us... at this point)

Wed, Nov 19, v. Dallas - W
(Jason Kidd kinda sucks)

Fri, Nov 21, @ Washington - W
(I like Agent Zero a lot, but... no.)

Sat, Nov 22, @ Orlando - L
(I sense a trap/let-down game)

Mon, Nov 24, @ Miami - W
(Flash or no Flash, they aren't very good)

Wed, Nov 26, v. Indiana - W

Sat, Nov 29, v. San Antonio - W
(yeah, I'm calling it a win here. I just am.)

Sun, Nov 30, @ Denver - L
(gotta fly to Denver for back-to-back? Ouch.)

Wed, Dec 3, v. Clippers - W
(sorry, I just don't see the Clips competing)

Fri, Dec 5, v. Golden State - W
(just a hunch, we'll take 'em at home)

Mon, Dec 8, @ Memphis - W
(Memphis still sucks. And probably will for a while.)

Tue, Dec 9, v. Atlanta - W
(if we lose this game, I will be very, very angry.)

Fri, Dec 12, @ Golden State - L
(the game where G.S. gets even...)

Sat, Dec 13, @ Clippers - W
(look, I'm not ever going to pick the Clips to beat us.)

Tue, Dec 16, v. Denver - W
(Denver has only gotten worse this offseason.)

Fri, Dec 19, v. Sacramento - W
(Crazy Pills won't let us lose this one)

Sat, Dec 20, @ Minnesota - W
(Minnesota sucks, too - but the new unis are cool.)

Mon, Dec 22, @ New Jersey - W
(I am not scared of Vince Carter)

Tue, Dec 23, @ Cleveland - L
(I am kinda scared of LeBron)

Fri, Dec 26, @ New Orleans - L
(this is not a very nice x-mas gift to the Rockets.)

Sat, Dec 27, v. Utah - W
(F-U, Utah! We are winning this game!)

Mon, Dec 29, v. Washington - W
(Agent Zero will need to score 60. He won't.)

Wed, Dec 31, v. Milwaukee - W
(Didn't Milwaukee trade their whole team?)

Fri, Jan 2, @ Toronto - L
(post-New Year's trap game...
Joey Dorsey + Canadian strip clubs could be scary.)

Sat, Jan 3, @ Atlanta - L
(hangover, part 2 - long trip and back-to-back)

Tue, Jan 6, @ Philly - W
(where we wake up but are sick of playing on the road)

Wed, Jan 7, @ Boston - L
(this road trip got ugly fast)

Fri, Jan 9, @ Durants - W
(we love KD here, but... not happening.)

Sat, Jan 10, v. Knicks - W
(New York can't even hope to contain Yao)

Tue, Jan 13, v. LA Lakers - W
(again, Artest + Battier > Kobe)

Sat, Jan 17, v. Miami - W
(not losing to Miami. Certainly not at home.)

Mon, Jan 19, v. Denver - L
(I sense another let-down game here...)

Wed, Jan 21, v. Utah - W
(... because we are thinking ahead to Utah)

Fri, Jan 23, @ Indiana - W
(Indiana is a sinking ship... and Artest will kill 'em)

Sun, Jan 25, @ Detroit - L
(for some reason, we never play well at Detroit)

Mon, Jan 26, @ NY Knicks - W
(Yao loves the Garden. Many dunks ahead.)

Wed, Jan 28, v. Philly - W
(to make up for last year's Philly Debacle)

Sat, Jan 31, v. Golden State - L
(a high-scoring game??)

Tue, Feb 3, v. Chicago - W
(the Undefeated February begins)

Wed, Feb 4, @ Memphis - W
(it's still only Memphis)

Sat, Feb 7, v. Minnesota - W
(I told you February was easy)

Mon, Feb 9, @ Milwaukee - W
(easy road game. Or should be...)

Wed, Feb 11, v. Sacramento - W
(Ron Ron won't let us lose to Kings. No way.)

Tue, Feb 17 v. New Jersey - W
(return from All Star break with easy victory.)

Fri, Feb 20, v. Dallas - W
(J-Kidd only getting older by the day.)

Sun, Feb 22, v. Charlotte - W
(Bobcats getting better, but still kinda shitty.)

Tue, Feb 24, v. Portland - W
(first trip to Houston for Oden)

Thur, Feb 26, v. Cleveland - W
(we own the LeBrons at home)

Sat, Feb 28, v. Chicago - W
(if for no other reason than to stay unbeaten in Feb.)

Sun, Mar 1, @ Minnesota - W
(OJ Mayo is not stopping the Streak, part II)

Tue, Mar 3, v. Toronto - L
(trapped again in looking ahead to Utah...)

Wed, Mar 4, @ Utah - W
(Utah sucks. Or maybe I just hate 'em.)

Fri, Mar 6, v. Phoenix - L
(another let-down game... I hate the Fat Ass still.)

Sun, Mar 8 v. Memphis - W
(Kevin Love is not going to beat us)

Mon, Mar 9, @ Denver - W
(making the playoff push now)

Wed, Mar 11, v. Lakers - W
(Kobe is going to have nightmares about this game.)

Fri, Mar 13, @ Charlotte - L
(I sense a bad, bad game here... but that's okay)

Sat, Mar 14, v. San Antonio - W
(because this will make up for it)

Mon, Mar 16, @ New Orleans - L

Wed, Mar 18, v. Detroit - W
(Detroit will be at end of disappointing season)

Fri, Mar 20, v. Minnesota - W
(Rockets just keep winning)

Sun, Mar 22, @ San Antonio - L
(damned schedule makers!!!)

Tue, Mar 24, @ Utah - W
(if you ever think I predict a Utah "W"...
you clearly haven't been paying attention)

Sat, Mar 28, v. Clippers - W
(come on, it's still the Clippers)

Wed, Apr 1, @ Phoenix - L
(April Fool's Shaq - you're still a f--king joke!)

Fri, Apr 3, @ LA Lakers - W
(Kobe steals one at home)

Sun, Apr 5, v. Portland - L
(Oden is kinda good... and not really a rookie)

Tue, Apr 7, v. Orlando - W
(Rashard comes home, Rockets disappoint him again.)

Thu, Apr 9, @ Sacramento - W
(if Artest plays here... we win. That simple.)

Fri, Apr 10, @ Golden State - L
(damn back-to-back games!!)

Mon, Apr 13, v. New Orleans - W
(I still maintain we match up well.)

Wed, Apr 15, @ Dallas - L
(Rockets will have a top seed locked-up by now)

Final Regular season standings??
Houston Rockets: 59-23 (projected)

I'll take that... we'd have home court again, at the very least!

Yao and China: Elimated in 8th place

Yao and the Chinese National Team lost to Lithuania 94-68, in a crushing defeat. Lithuania is clearly a top 4 team, and China is clearly not. This loss makes the loss to Spain, blowing a 20 point lead (14 in the 4th) , and the complete lay down to Greece hurt even more for the Chinese. Without those losses they could have finished as high as 6th, even with a loss to Argentina (which would have beaten them as bad, if not worse than Lithuania).

I want to be sad for Yao about the loss, but honestly, I'm too giddy about the fact that he's not going to have to play anymore non-NBA games before the start of the season. I was absolutely cheering for Yao to win the silver, or bronze if Luis Scola won the silver, but I'm not going to pretend that I'm sad that they are out.

I found something interesting in Fran Blinebury's article about the loss:

Yao said before the start of the Games that he did not want to play in the 2012
Olympics in London and would like to cut back his involvement with the Chinese
national team to rest his body for the NBA.

I'm not going to pretend like I saw that anywhere else, I didn't. And it's news that is wonderful for Rockets fans. It's even great news to fans from China. While it is arguable that any Yao playing for China in the Olympics held there was more important to the country than a healthy Yao playing in the NBA, it is not arguable that a healthy NBA Yao is worth infinitely more to the country than any Yao playing in National Team competitions and the Olympics in London. I am absolutely a country first guy, I'd trade a Rockets championship in an Olympic year for the gold medal as a team. I want to own the world in every sport, be it basketball or synchronized swimming or shooting or hell even the freaking trampoline. I love this country, and with my grandmother leaving Russia during the revolution, and then having her family move to China, and then eventually meeting a bad ass American Soldier and coming here, I know how important and great this country is. I care more about the US and even Texas than I do about 1 NBA championship. That being said, I love the Rockets and always want a championship given I don't have to give it up for something else. And a Rockets championship with Yao as the dominant superstar would do amazing things for China, things that finishing 4th or lower at the Olympics would never do. If they had a realistic chance to medal, and they unequivocally do not, I'd change my tune. However, can you imagine the profile a Chinese born player would have if he stood on top of the American basketball world? It would be something that not even Tiger Woods in America could touch. He is already the biggest thing in China, but he would transcend generations. He would be the reason China eventually finds 12 guys in the country that can compete for a medal on the World level. That alone would be worth him not playing in the 2012 Olympics. And here's the thing, I don't believe he will have to (or even will for that matter) sit out the Olympics. He can still play in them and not play in any other events. While the US National team had to check their egos at the door and learn how to play with each other, Yao doesn't have to do that. He is the ultimate team player. He doesn't need to play any different than he does in the NBA night in and night out, so his adjustment time to another team would be significantly shortened.

Now it's time to get down to business. With Artest in the fold, some more minor trades to come and McGrady talking like he's willing to be his old self again, I need some more of this:

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Oh yeah, we have multiple Olympians!

Because I haven't given nearly enough time or attention to the Houston Rockets' other participant in the 2008 Olympic Games... here's a random YouTube highlight clip I saw of Luis Scola playing internationally:

yup, still a badass.

I just have to say...

The NFL and NBA regular seasons cannot get here soon enough.

I need football and basketball back in my life. Like... now! The Astros are killing me. One day at a time. And I'm sorry, but while Michael Phelps is unabashedly a badass, the Olympics overall are still kinda boring. They are. Just accept it.

The thought of waiting another 2+ months for the Rockets to start playing might make me go crazier than a certain Crazy Pills.

(Maybe he'll put a little Rocket ship in his haircut in October??)

Quandary of the day: Do I root for China?

I like Yao Ming.
I want Yao to do well.

Even at the Olympics.
Especially when the Olympics are being held in his hometown. I mean, Yao is one of the top 2-3 athletes in all of China. That's a billion-plus built-in fans. Not bad!

My question for today, however, is whether I should cheer for Yao and his fellow Chinese basketball players. Yao's already made the game of basketball hugely popular in the Far Eastern Hemisphere... but what about those of us with vested interests in the Western Hemisphere?

I've already made my opinion clear that I am not convinced the U.S. Men's basketball team will runaway and win the gold easily. That said, I'm not exactly concerned about China being the team to stop them. Which means I don't really consider China to be "the competition" right now - which allows me to support Yao's team without any feelings of guilt. I mean, I like Yao a lot, but I'm American, dammit - and I have no problems chanting "U.S.A., U.S.A.!" when it matters.

Enough dawdling... the point I am trying to make today is this:

China plays a quarterfinal game tomorrow. China finished pool play 2-3 but now can compete for a bronze or silver medal. Yao has been playing a lot more than expected this summer (and let's not forget he's not exactly healthy). I love that Yao has been angry in defeat. Love it. But I also want Yao to be able to be angry when the Rockets lose (on those rare occasions).

So the question is:

(a) Do I root for Yao/China and hope the Chinese go as far as they can?


(b) Do I root for Yao/China to lose a close game tomorrow and immediately get Yao shipped back to Houston to prepare for the 2008/09 season?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Floor Burns - Round 3 - Battier still alive!

Yes, we have made it to week 3 of Hoops Addict's Floor Burns Tournament.

Shane Battier is still alive, and this week is matched up with Julian Wright. This should be a huge beat-down. In Shane's favor, of course. But he needs the votes - and this is far more interesting (and easier) than the Presidential Election, so go quickly place a vote for Shane Battier.

note - I'm going to go vote against Jason Maxiell while I am at it, for it appears Max might be the only real threat to Shane winning this whole tournament.

And anyone who says Battier is the most overrated player in the NBA can kiss my ass. The fact that Robert Horry was also on that list just proves how idiotic said list is. The added fact that Yao freakin' Ming was on the list should require the author to get publicly tar-and-feathered. Or at least mocked loudly. Very loudly. For Yao Ming is a badass, even when he's playing at only 60%. Ask Chris Kaman.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

I found it! I found it! Someone made the worst list of all time!

I can't see who picked this list, but it is unequivocally the worst list I have ever seen. There are 5 people on this list, there are 5 people on this list that are actually UNDERRATED and not overrated as it tries to claim. I don't understand how anyone can be this big of an idiot.

I almost don't want to post the link as it will just up his reader count, but oh well, here it is:

5. Dwyane Wade - That's just stupid in every way. The Olympics should show the person that wrote this that knows nothing about basketball how good Wade really is

4. Robert Horry - His greatness has been chronicled here many times

3. Yao - I would punch whoever this is if they didn't hide behind the site and not reveal their name. Yao overrated? On what planet, it seems most people don't even respect his offense, much less his entire game. That's right, Yao is a good, while not great, defender. His post defense is the best in the NBA. Anyone that thought the later portion of the 22 game winning streak saw the Rockets play better than the first 12 games is, well, a dumb-fuck. Yao was DESTROYING people in those games. Yes, they kept it up, but not quite at the same level. Yao was literally the MVP of the league during those 12 games.

2. Shawn Marion - Ahh, the ever so popular, so underratted that he's now overrated. By who exactly? I don't think anywhere near enough people respect him for the player he is.

1. Shane Battier - He's quite possibly the best team defender in the league, and he's in the top 10 individual defenders. How exactly is he overrated? If you think Shane Battier is even rated enough to be underrated than I guess that is something for Dave and I. We both think he's woefully underrated as a player. No, he's not an offensive phenom. Luckily, that's in no way his job.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

It's official! Welcome aboard Ron!

Ron Artest is officially a Houston Rocket!

(ht Clutchfans on the pic)

Rafer is compounding his mistakes

So... Rafer "apologized" for his DWI arrest today.

here's his actual apology:

"On behalf of Mr. Alston, he wishes to apologize to the Rockets and the fans... He never intended for this to happen. He is looking forward to putting this behind him."

Mistake #1 - hiring Rusty Hardin's firm to represent you. After the Roger Clemens debacle, hiring Rusty just makes you look guilty. And unlike hiring Johnny Cochran, you don't get the option of "I'd rather look guilty at the mall" here (thank you, Chris Rock). Then again, that leads us into Mistake #2..

Mistake #2 - why the hell are you apologizing? Step 1 should be to deny everything. Step 3 is to profit. I thought this was common knowledge by now?!?

Or, put it another way, you should have used the Bundy Credo!!!
(no, not the one about "hooters, hooters, yum, yum, yum" - I meant the other Bundy Credo!)

"lie... sell shoes ...and lie!"

Then again, you are driving around Houston with a Canadian driver's license? And you still list your residence as Toronto, Canada? Wow - maybe you and I both agree that you should be run out of Houston?!? We may finally have found some common ground here!

This is my favorite part though:

"The officer described Alston as being belligerent and combative."

Ya don't say? If only you were belligerent and combative in the playoffs, then I wouldn't be asking the Rockets to trade your sorry, drunken ass.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Reminder: Tomorrow is August 14th

Also known as Ron Artest becomes a Rocket day!

I am beyond pumped up about this season. I'm pretty sure that my soon to be newborn son is going to think I'm crazy with all the screaming I plan on doing during games. My 2 year old already knows I'm nuts, he actually revels in it

Rockets/Jazz - if only the playoffs started TODAY

With all the distractions of the Olympics and Rafer's drunken antics, I almost forgot that the Ron Artest trade should be official tomorrow. Which makes me "officially" wonder what the Rockets could have done last year if only we had the services of Crazy Pills during the playoffs.

My conclusion? There is no freakin' way the Jazz would have beat the Rockets in any of the two previous years if we had Artest on the roster. No freakin' way.

Yes, I know, the Rockets have lost to the Utah Jazz the last two years in the first round of the playoffs. Blah, blah, blah. It's not like Utah did anything thereafter. The Jazz are still o-for-forever on NBA Championship rings...

(haha, suck it, Utah!)

Ah, that taunt never gets old... but anyway...

Take a look at the rosters and matchups as they would exist today. Too many people think Utah might be one of the top 2 teams in the West right now. Those people would be wrong.

As of tomorrow, the Rockets roster/rotation will look like this:

PG: Rafer (sober, I hope)
SG: Tracy McGrady
SF: Ron Artest
PF: Luis Scola
C: Yao Ming

off the bench, we'll have the luxury of subbing in:

Shane Battier, Brent Barry, Carl Landry (I hope), Aaron Brooks and Chuck Hayes.

Which means we could have a 4th Q "finishing 5" of T-Mac, Crazy Pills, Battier, Scola and Yao. Would any team legitimately be able to expect to score more than 20 points in a quarter against that group? Even if the Rockets have trouble scoring on their own (which they won't), they are going to pose defensive matchup nightmares for every team they face. Close games are going to favor the Rockets. Finally.

Though, in the spirit of equal time, here's the rag-tag group the Jazz might throw out on the court next season in their continued effort to offend, insult and bore NBA fans nationwide:

PG: Deron Williams (okay, he's cool)
SG: Ronnie Brewer
SF: Andrei Kirilenko
PF: the guy who stabs blind guys in the front
C: Mehmet Okur

off the bench, the Jazz will have no choice but to turn to:

Ashton Korver, Matt Harpring (pwn3d, bitch!), C.J. Miles and Paul Millsap (unless they also want me to mention Jarron Collins and Brevin Knight, but I'm guessing "no" there).

Hmmm, let's see... starting lineup - definitely favors the Rockets. Major advantages at C and SG overcome Utah's only real advantage - which would be at the PG spot. But since Deron can't play the whole game, the Rockets' depth, size and experience would (and will) overwhelm Utah over the course of any game/series. And don't start with any "Boozer would kill Scola" arguments. Scola is a badass. Boozer is a coward. Scola already has a gold freakin' medal, while Boozer is playing the Christian Laettner role this year for the U.S. squad.

I am so ready for the 2008/2009 season to begin. Rockets v. Jazz, first matchup - Saturday, December 27, 2008 @ Houston. I'll take that belated Christmas gift, thank you very much. Ron Ron will have had 2 months to get acclimated to his new teammates. Correspondingly, the Rockets will have learned how to play as a team by then... uh oh!!!

Listen up everyone, turn up your volumes, announcement

I’ve got good news!
And it isn't that we’re extending arts and crafts time by 4 hours today (though we can do that if you want).

You may have noticed that in your address bar, it says, instead of the blogger name. It finally became available so I jumped on it. Suck on that anyone with a shake that is dreamy and tastes good! So, if you have us bookmarked, and we hope you do, change it over to delete the blogger part please.

Now, on to the big news! To go along with the site change, Dave and I made the decision today to move the blog. We are going to be a part of SportsBlogNation, a network of individual blog communities run by fans, for fans and united by a common devotion to their favorite team or sports. SBNation is the largest independent sports blog network in all the universe.

I'm not completely sure when the transfer will happen, but we'll try to post the news up here a few days beforehand. You won't have to change your bookmark from unless something crazy happens.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


If you have driven drunk you are an idiot. I've done it, I fully admit I was a dumb mofo in my college years. That being said, if you are a multi-millionaire and you drive drunk, you are a mega fucking idiot.

Rafer, and the rest of the guys in a spot to be a role model, spend those millions on a cab, hell, on a limo. Don't be a freaking moron.

Yao's not afraid of the fake German or the real one

I was watching the US vs China basketball game on Sunday with a lot of attention through the first half on Sunday, but when the blowout began I went back to only watching it in spurts. It was on, but I was engrossed in other activities with it in the background. Then a little blurb about Yao and Chris Kaman came up in the third.

“We are not afraid of Germany,” he said. “Yi (Jianlian) has improved tremendously, and he can limit Nowitzki. And I can take care of Kaman.”

That's right, this:

was no fluke. Yao knows that Kaman is his bitch. Not only can he not stop him in the NBA, there is not a chance he can stop him in International play, where the moving pick is a thing of beauty and Yao can effectively goal tend. That's like allowing Hakeem to take an extra step on The Dream Shake, it's just unfair in one on one play. I am loving the semi-trash talking coming out of Yao, it was the singular biggest improvement in his game last year. The passion was there to dominate, and before the injury that is what he was doing. I am beyond excited that he still has that aspect of his game still intact.

I have no problem visualizing Kaman's destruction at the hands of Yao, but I'm not so sure about Yi limiting a monumentally better player in Dirk. I don't know all the ins and outs of the international game, but much better is much better, and that doesn't even come close to describing the gap between those two players. After losses to the US by 31 and Spain by 10 in OT, China has to beat either Greece or Germany plus Angola and be 2-3 to advance. That loss to Spain was extremely promising. Yao actually had a relatively sub par game, mostly due to his 4-12 shooting performance, and China still took them to OT. Unfortunately they ran out of gas and couldn't keep the Spanish team from winning. Mind you, this team from Spain has 5-6 legitimate NBA players on it, that's a heck of a performance from China. If they can keep up that type of play, they will give Greece and Germany good games. I'm just hoping they don't get discouraged by loss that could have turned into a victory.

Let me get this out there too, I'm about as big of a USA nationalist, backer and fan as they come, but I don't have to begrudge Yao and his country a chance to bring national pride just by getting out of their pool. There isn't a chance on earth that they win a medal, so if they can somehow knock off anyone by the US to get there, I'm all for it.

China gets their shot at Germany on Saturday morning at 7AM CST. Good luck Yao!

Yao and China - More people who just don't get it

Things Adrian Wojnarowski is right about:

1. Yao has delivered (he always does)
2. China and the NBA owe Yao a huge debt of gratitude
3. No player has ever entered the NBA with more pressure

beyond that... Mr. Wojnarowski is wrong in just about every conclusion in his article yesterday. His article just reinforces all the improper assumptions people have made about Yao, the Chinese basketball team, and Yao's commitment to playing International basketball.

First and foremost: Yao loves the game of basketball. From every interview, story, rumor, gossip, newspiece - there is no evidence to suggest that Yao feels like he is trapped into doing something he does not want to do. The dude loves playing basketball. Pure and simple.

Second, Yao is not like the American players we are all too familiar with. The Shaquille O'Neals, Tim Duncans and Kevin Garnetts of the NBA may believe they are "above" playing in the Olympics and representing their country. They may believe, rightly or wrongly, that they do not owe their country an obligation to play for the national basketball team. So be it. The difference is that - from all accounts - Yao has an overwhelming sense of national pride in representing China. Especially this year. While I am sure the Chinese would pressure him to play if he felt otherwise, I truly believe that it was Yao's personal decision to speed up the rehab so that he could participate in the 2008 Olympics in his home country. Why should we encourage Yao to set aside his interests in playing for China?

Just because the NBA (and we as fans) might get to see more of Yao Ming in a Houston Rockets jersey if he told the Chinese government to stick it -- that doesn't necessarily mean it's what Yao should or must do.

Yes, I do realize that there is a large chance that the more Yao plays in the "offseason" that it might directly affect his ability to stay healthy during the NBA season. It may altogether shorten his career. That alone, however, is not a reason to tell a man to turn his back on his country. Yeah, the United States might have issues with China's communist stance, its attitude towards human rights and the totalitarian government that supresses many of the rights of its citizens. But Yao is not American. He is not a United States citizen (nor is it likely he ever will attempt to gain citizenship here). We cannot judge him based on our previous notions of foreign basketball players. Yao is Chinese. And a proud representative of his country.

Let Yao Ming make his own decisions.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Shane needs to avoid Chuck's fate!

Round 2 of the Floor Burns Tournament started today...

please go vote for Shane Battier again!!!!
(sadly, I must report that Chuck Hayes was defeated in Round 1 by Ronnie Turiaf. I still claim the deck was stacked against Chuck based on the matchups and the glowing Turiaf-based article that was linked next to his introduction.)

Shane got screwed on the DPOY voting and the All-NBA-Defense teams again this past year. The Floor Burns Tourney is a good start towards making up for these transgressions!

Thoughts following Yao v. the United States

I actually woke up at 8am yesterday to watch Yao take on the United States... aka "the Redeem Team" (which just may be the dumbest moniker ever). Not that I expected China to compete with the U.S. team - I just wanted to see how Yao looked in his first real, true game action since February.

How'd he look? Pretty good for a guy playing at 60%!!

Yao even buried a 3 to start the game! (link is terrible video quality... sorry 'bout that). For some unexplainable, crazy-ass reason, Yao played 30 minutes yesterday. Or, put another way, 75% of the game. Why the hell would China use Yao so extensively in a game they could not reasonably expect to win? If China is that interested and serious about making it to the Medal Round, over-using Yao in Game #1 probably isn't the best idea. You are going to need the big fella for your other handful of games... why potentially ruin a good thing on the first day?

In the end, China got fatigued (such a surprise!), the United States went on a couple of big runs and put the game away in the third quarter.

Yao finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds -- and look at that, he made 6-6 from the FT line! Eat that, Dwight Howard! Not a bad start for a guy playing on a bum foot still. Of course, Yao falling down and clutching his ankle in the third quarter made me cringe and start cries of "get up, Yao! Get up!" - yeah, I was a bit scared. He looks to be okay though...

Other thoughts? The U.S. team is not going to win the gold. They still do not play like a team unless they have a 30 point lead and want to try alley-oops. Simple half-court offense is difficult for a team when they have 4 Type "A" personalities on the floor each demanding the basketball. As much as I love Kobe... even he got shot happy yesterday. For no reason. Unless you think he's trying to justify being the most popular player in China. I just have a weird feeling the U.S. LeBrons are going to get tripped up by Lithuania, Argentina or Spain in the Medal Round. Those are teams that are used to playing close games and having to grind it out in the 4th quarter. The Americans have no such experience to date.

Then again, I hope they prove me wrong and get to face Yao again in the Finals. (Though a matchup with Argentina and resident badass Luis Scola would be entertaining, too. Even though Scola's gang surprisingly lost yesterday...)

Friday, August 8, 2008

To Answer Dave's Question : Yes, Artest Hates Utah Too!

Another undefeated February for Rockets?

After reviewing the 2008/09 schedule for the first time earlier this week, I wanted to punch the NBA schedule-makers. A straight-shot, right to their collective baby-maker(s). But then I noticed something... as bad as November and April might be, we could see the Rockets taking part in yet another epic month of February. It was kind to us last year... check out this year:

@ Memphis
@ Milwaukee
New Jersey
@ Chicago

8 home games. 3 road games. Only Dallas and Portland really concern me here. And Dallas is backsliding. Portland is scary, but a healthy Yao can handle a one-legged Great Oden's Raven. At worst the Rockets go 9-2 in February next year. It gets better... here's the three games immediately before February:

@ NY Knicks
Golden State

Sure, Philly gave us the January Debacle last year. And Golden State is always a bad matchup. But these are home games. And no one is scared about the Knicks.

But, wait... there's more. Here are the three games to begin March:

@ Minnesota
@ Utah

We are beating Minny and Toronto. And we really, really hate the Utah Jazz. Hopefully Crazy Pills Artest does, too. So let's just chalk that up as a "W" today. Utah is goin' down. Rockets just need to keep their head on a swivel, cause that's what you gotta do when you find yourself in a vicious cock fight.

I'm quite sure no one in Utah would be surprised if RonRon tried to stab someone with a trident. But it's okay... the Jazz have it comin'.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Rockets Trade Novak

Looks like we get a big bag of nothing, but in essence, we get cap relief and a the right to switch picks in a later draft, probably about 2022.

Rockets 2008-09 Schedule is out!

Rockets open up with 7 of 10 on the road. I'd like to take right now to say F You to the NBA scheduler. Of those 7 games, 4 are against playoff teams from last year, and add in Portland as a team I think will make the playoffs this year. And while the Memphis and Oklahoma games should be cakewalks at home, our only game at home against Boston comes in game 4 of the season.

As if that wasn't enough, we also close the season out with 7 of our last 11 on the road. Again, F You NBA scheduler. 5 of those 7 are against playoff teams from last year and one against Golden State who was only a game or so out. Home games against Portland, Orlando and New Orleans tossed in there.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Floor Burns - Shane and Chuck need your help!

Hoops Addict has posted a very interesting tournament concept this week... an all "floor burn" competition among NBA players. Or, more specifically:

Each night ESPN, and YouTube are flooded with clips of players soaring through the air for rim rocking dunks, buzzer beating three-pointers and blocked shots that make your jaw drop in amazement. While those are all entertaining plays, teams who win championships need players who are willing to get a little dirty and do the little things needed to help their team win. As valuable and crucial as these players are to their respective teams success, these players rarely get the credit or respect that they deserve. With that in mind, the First Annual Hoops Addict Floor Burn Tournament will kick off this week.

Over the next few weeks we’re going to pare down 32 participants until we’re left with one final player who will be heralded as the First Annual Floor Burn Tournament Champion. As players are eliminated, they’ll be matched against the bracket below them. For example, the winner of the West/Powe match-up will face off against the winner of Dudley/Nocioni in the second round.

Keep in mind that voting for the first round will end on August 11th at 12:00 AM.

Now, how cool of an idea is that? It's made even more cool with the inclusion of Shane Battier and Chuck Hayes as the representatives from the Rockets. Ryan from Hoops Addict was even nice enough to stack the deck in Round 1 and put Shane up against that annoying P.O.S. Matt Harpring of the Utah Jazz, a team I hate so very, very much. Not surprisingly, Shane is kicking that Georgia Tech ass all over the brackets. Meanwhile, Chuck has a more difficult matchup against Ronnie Turiaf - and as of this posting, Chuck is maintaining a slim lead.

So ... what are you waiting for - go stuff the ballot box! And when finished, you can always go check out Chuck's free throw form again for some laughs.