The Dream Shake - a Houston Rockets blog: September 2008

Monday, September 29, 2008

55: Making numbers work in your favor

55. I consider this to be a magic number for the Houston Rockets franchise. Why "55," you might ask?? Well... in the limited history of the team, "55" has always been a good indication of future success. And by 55, I mean regular season wins.

You see, last year the Rockets finished 55-27 in the regular season. It was good enough to get to the playoffs, but not very far beyond that. It was also only the 2nd time in franchise history the team won exactly 55 games.

Maybe you see where I am going with this now...

Today, ESPN put out their pre-season power rankings. The Rockets are currently ranked 4th, behind Boston, L.A. (Lakers, of course) and the New Orleans CP3s. I care not about arbitrary power rankings and yet I always find myself reading them. Just for fun. But something struck me this time. When I saw the regular season record and Marc Stein's plea for "cautious optimism" for our team - I remembered something from the team's glory days.

You see, the last time the Rockets won exactly 55 games was the 1992-1993 season. That just so happened to be Robert Horry's rookie year. Yes, this is important. Keep reading.

Anyway, in 1993, Kenny Smith couldn't make a freakin' open jumpshot so the Rockets lost to Seattle in overtime in Game 7 of the Western semis. That sucked. And I'm still mad about it. Just like I am still mad about Tracy McGrady being an Initech employee during last year's playoffs. And yet... this is a good sign for the future.


Well - in the entire history of the franchise, EVERY time the Rockets won 55 games in a regular season, the team ended up winning the NBA Championship the very next year. It's true. Go look it up for yourself. So, maybe playing the "Robert Horry role" for this team is Luis Scola... and in his 2nd year, the Rockets will shock the world and win the ring! Again.

Ahh, a story with a happy ending. I like that.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Oh, yeah - we got interviewed or something

the Laker Nation blog sent us some questions to distract us during Hurricane Ike. When we had no power and limited access to the Interwebs.

Here's the results. Their commenters are like funny and hypocritical and stuff.

Go Rockets!

Names we can safely remove from lists

That did not take very long - the Rockets matched the offer sheet Carl Landry signed with the Charlotte Bobcats. No surprises there, except that maybe now Luis Scola will demand a pay-raise (and no argument here, he'd deserve it).

The really good news is that we now no longer have to hear the name "Buddy Baker" for the next 2-3 years! Yes, "Buddy Baker" is the clown acting as Carl Landry's agent. A wannabe Scott Boras/Drew Rosenhaus type who missed the day they taught about "leverage" at Agent school. But now he gets to collect his 5% or whatever and leave us Rockets fans alone.

... at least I can tell Danny McGrath to remove his name from the list of "People to Kill."

I sure am glad we called that guy...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Get Red, Give Red: Rockets Blood Drive TODAY 9AM-2PM

The Rockets are holding a blood drive at the Toyota Center today. Get Red, Give Red is the slogan.

Sept 25
9AM to 2PM
Benefiting the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Bank

Free T-Shirts to the first 300 donors and Rockets players will be in attendance

To see Tracy McGrady's message, click here

I can only assume: Welcome Back Carl Landry!

If the deal is really 3 years and $9 MM from the Bobcats, then I think we can safely rest assured that the Rockets resident GM genius will be matching it. And seriously, the third year is a team option? That makes it the perfect contract. It's not too expensive, will put the Rockets close, but possibly not over the luxury tax threshold and Landry gets what he wanted, he didn't have to do the knee MRI. Really it's a win all the way around for the Rockets and a no lose situation for the Bobcats.

So, I say welcome back Carl, now come and show that the Rockets should tie you up longer term in the next two years.

Daryl Morey, you are a genius, you proved your point, as $3MM was probably not far off from your offer and that's all he could get. He didn't go overseas like we all knew he wouldn't and you made his agent spend countless dollars of his own to get right back to the same spot they already were in.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Let the training camp Battle Royale begin!

With training camp about to begin, there is one primary question associated with the Rockets. No, that question is not "will they ever get out of the first round?" because we know the answer to that is "hell yes, and this year in fact!" Instead, the real question is "who starts at small forward for Houston this year: Shane Battier or Ron Artest?"

Let's face it, the Rockets would not have acquired Ron Artest if we didn't consider there to be at least some sort of a weakness at the small forward position. Shane Battier is great at what he does - which is defend the opposing teams best non-center while staying out of T-Mac and Yao's way on offense. The problem is that this supposed strength is great for the Rockets when they are on the defensive end, but it slows down the offense.'s Marty Burns discussed this exact dilemma today:

The skinny: Don't assume Artest will just step into the starting lineup. Battier is a valuable cog as a long-armed defender and three-point shooter. He also does a lot of other little things that complement Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming. Houston coach Rick Adelman might be reluctant to tinker with success, and instead opt to use Artest off the bench as a sparkplug and scorer much the way the Spurs do with Manu Ginobili. (At the end of games, Adelman can always use Artest and Battier on the floor with T-Mac as the principal ball handler). Artest, by the way, has said he would accept a reserve role.
Here's my concern with Burns' conclusion - yes, the Rockets have seen "success" using Battier as the small forward. But only in the regular season. Come April and May, the offense historically suffers dramatically. This is precisely why the Artest trade was made. Further, even the Spurs typically end up using Ginobili as a starter in the playoffs. Why? You play your best five guys as much as you can for as long as you can. That's what wins in the NBA. Lastly, while Artest says he would accept a reserve role, by December it would probably irritate him to see Shane continue to be a relative non-factor on offense. The last thing the Rockets want is an irritated Crazy Pills. Let's try to avoid this.

Meanwhile, because it is Ron Artest we are talking about... why not have a WWE-style Battle Royale to determine the training camp winner? Shane Battier is basically the whitest non-white dude there is, so I'm almost certain he watches professional wrestling. This could be awesome. Artest diving off the top rope to finish off Battier... only for Battier to be playing possum and roll away from the flying elbow...

Okay, yeah, it's clear I need the NBA to start. As soon as possible.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Really, really sorry... but...

I really am sorry for the lack of posts here recently. The problem is that neither Lee or I have power at home yet. Still. Which means no Internet access during our free time. And the job doesn't pay me to blog during the working day on corporate/client time. So......

Not sure who annoys me more right now... the Utah Jazz or Centerpoint Energy.

Training camp should provide some interesting stories soon. And there will be season previews posted everywhere before you know it. Basketball is almost here!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Site news: Sorry about the domain name issues

We are in the transition phase of moving over to Sports Blog Nation (SBN)... and the domain name will once again point to this here blog in due time. Right now though, it's a dead link for reasons I can't explain, so I am forced to temporarily go back to the blogspot domain name ( We will let ya know when the transition is finished.

In the meantime, it's a complete cluster-fuck over here. Just like most everything else in Houston right now. Maybe I can blame this on Hurricane Ike, to0?

Always remember -- don't mess with Texas!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Hurricane Ike update: we survived. Sort of.

Okay, there's no other way to put it: that sucked.

And it continues to suck. I stayed in Houston through the entire storm. Ike was much, much, much stronger than forecast and it really messed up the city. My neighborhood did not fare very well in the storm. Somehow, my house remained fully intact - even the roof - but I remain without power, TV, A/C or Interwebs access at home.

Which is why I type this from the office...

My fantasy football teams all bit the big one because I couldn't update my lineups at all. Too many Texans putting up goose-eggs for me. Worst part was that I wasn't even able to *watch* football this weekend. I had to be told about the Broncos/Chargers game. I had to rely on hearsay statements to get any updates on anything football-related. Ike ruined my weekend. And I get really, really angry when someone ruins my Sundays anytime between September and December!!!

I really need the Rockets and Texans to do well this season now... hurricane diversions are going to be in great demand here. (I'm still waiting on the Astros to get a freakin' hit...)

The good news is that I'm okay and everything will be back to "normal" soon. But Saturday morning was some scary stuff. And here I thought Canadians were supposed to be a peaceful sort. F-U, Ike!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Yahoo likes us, they really like us!

Yahoo's Ball Don't Lie NBA blog has a cool pre-season feature where Kelly Dwyer and J.E. Skeets are going team-by-team and identifying (ranking?) the top or most predominant blogs for each team...

Today the Houston Rockets were the Team Du Jour. Odd timing considering most people in Houston are busy dealing with a freakin' hurricane - but nonetheless, I'm just here reporting the news. Of course, I'm selfish and am not afraid of shameless self-promotion. Which is the reason I point this out, because Lee and I have been noticed.

BDL puts us as the #2 Houston Rockets blog!

Behind only the awesome Clutch Fans site (not sure if it's a "blog" per se, but hey, no need to get into a semantical Interwebs argument!).

So, thanks to everyone who has noticed us, promoted us or made any effort too read what we've published over the last year. It is much appreciated! (And that even goes for you, Rafer.... in case you've been reading!)

Go Rockets! I soooo can't wait for the regular season to start!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Site news: We hate hurricanes

Hurricane Ike remains projected to kick Houston's ass this weekend.

One of us has already evacuated.
The other is stuck in Houston.

Don't expect much, if any, updates to this blog in the meantime. Or rants. Or raves. Or anything that would include a "Rafer Alston sucks" tag. Even though he does. Just know that.

I hate hurricanes.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Rafer going on trial for DWI

So Rafer Alston is actually going to go through with the charade of a public trial for his DWI charge from back in August. Not only is he killing me slowly as a basketball player, now he's going to force Houston prosecutors to spend my freakin' tax dollars to prove that he was drunk.

yeah, yeah, I know - "innocent until proven guilty" and all that. I think they mentioned something along those lines in my criminal law class 8 years ago. And no, I was not sick the day they taught law at law school!

Nevertheless: a show of hands of anyone who thinks Rafer wasn't drinking and driving that night? Anyone? Anyone...? Bueller...??? Yeah, that's what I thought. I wasn't even there, but circumstantial evidence suggests that something was going on. Washington Avenue at *3*am. No headlights. And he had bloodshot eyes.

As for what the cops claim:

The officer said Alston had bloodshot eyes and the smell of alcohol on his breath. He said the basketball player was unsteady on his feet and had to grab
his car to balance himself.
Clearly Mr. Officer hasn't watched a Rockets game in a while. Alston being "unsteady on his feet" isn't exactly news to me!

Of course, Rafer hired Rusty Hardin. Who for some reason now seems to be the Texas version of Johnny Cochran.
Which means we can all see where Mr. Hardin's cross examination is going......... "Rafer Alston's driver's license says he's a resident of Toronto! Canadia! Why would he be driving at 3am in Houston in August?? Now that does not make sense!!"

... and Rafer will somehow be found innocent.

Hey, Carl Landry - stop listening to Ben Gordon!

Allow me to rant and rave for a little while...

Hey, Carl Landry!!! Get your shit together, sign your contract and quit trying to play hardball with boy genius Daryl Morey!!!

I mean, if you know what's best for you, that is. (And, no, I do not think your agent knows what is best for you... right now he strikes me as the inverse Jerry Maguire. Only one client, but no contacts or connection to the industry.) Dammit, I want to make sure that the other 1/2 of Luis Landry is ready to go during the 2009 Championship Season!!

Things we know to be true:

1. You are not worth $10M a season, Carl.
2. You aren't even worth $8M a season, Carl.
3. The Rockets have every reason to be concerned about your injury history and the current status of your knee. It's what we call doing "due diligence."
4. You are in a good situation where you can thrive right now.
5. Europe ain't that fun. Ask Kumar - Eurotrip kinda sucked.
6. Europe ain't giving you $10M a year, either, anyway.
7. Your agent just might be an idiot.
8. Daryl Morey is a genius and is not going to be out-leveraged by you or your agent.
9. Luis Scola is making $3.1M this year. He's better than you and is the starter. He should be making more. Do you see where I am going?
10. If the Rockets offer you anything approximating $3M a year over 3-4 years, you should freakin' take it. Like, yesterday.

Things that somehow confuse me:

1. Why the f--k have you not signed a contract with the Rockets, Carl?!?

Hurry up, Carl! Make up your mind and commit to your team! Randal "Pink" Floyd you are not! Stop hanging out with that loser agent of yours and let's play some basketball!!!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Let the countdown begin: 50 days 'til tip off!

50 days from now, the future 2008/2009 NBA Champion Houston Rockets begin the regular season by hosting the Memphis Grizzlies. Just 50 days!!

And for those looking just a little farther ahead... it's only three months and 18 days until the Rockets and new acquisition Ron Artest get to embarrass the Utah Jazz. I can't wait! And from the look of it, someone else is ready for the season to start, too!

Go Rockets!!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Your Floor Burns Champ: Shane Battier!

Shane Battier, following a massive surge in voting, captured the first Floor Burns Tournament Championship. Shane Battier is your winner! He captured 59% of the vote to beat Jason Maxiell in the Finals...

Maxiell, the runner-up, will just have to be content with his ability to eat babies.

Congratulations, Shane! (and many thanks to ClutchFans!)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Get Red! - Rockets' Front Office guarantees a title!

Okay, so it was just a marketing ploy by one guy, but I thought it was a nice feeling by anyone in the organization. From the official Get Red announcement:

“We want to be like Celtics’ green and Lakers’ gold," says Sheirr. "We want Rockets’ red to be nationally recognized as a big part of who we are and what our brand is. We want to own the color locally and, quite frankly, when we win the championship this year, we’ll own it nationally, too.”

I love it. And frankly, I'm just glad our color is red again, and not pajama stripe blue.

So let's "Get Red" everyone!

Hakeem The Dream - An Official Hall of Famer

I wrote my long Olajuwon makes the Hall of Fame post back in April and didn't want to rehash the same thing. However, it's still a special time when the greatest Houston Rocket all time, the arguable best center of all time, and the inarguable top 3 center of all time, Hakeem "The Dream" Olajuwon is inducted into the Springfield Hall.
Here is the induction ceremony the Rockets held for him in April:

Here is a link to his acceptance speech (Note: If anyone has an embed link for it, send it my way and I'll post it here)

And as much as I don't think Ewing is really a full fledged Hall of Famer, Hakeem was extremely complimentary of him, so that's good enough for me. Also, every picture I've seen of Hakeem and Patrick seems to show that The Dream is taller. Now I know for an absolute fact that Olajuwon is not really 7 feet tall and that he's probably closer to 6'10 than 7', so what does that mean about Ewing? Has he shrunk 3 inches? I always thought he was a true 7 footer? I will get one jab at Ewing in here though, as eloquent as Hakeem was, and remember, English is like his 8th language, Ewing could barely put together a sentence.

JA Adande wrote a great article about Hakeem, and sums up a lot of what I feel about the Olajuwon era. I know that Clutchfans got all overreact-y about it, but there is nothing wrong with that article. Adande wasn't trying to hype Jordan in any way, and it's kind of weak to suggest he was. All he was doing was trying to talk to the casual NBA fan, the guy that only knows Jordan was phenomenal and show that Olajuwon was phenomenal as well. No, he wasn't American, he was one of the first International players to dominate, and everyone should know it, not just Rockets fans.

Friday, September 5, 2008

A great article on the Namesake

There will never be another Hakeem Olajuwon.

I love Yao Ming's game... but he's not on Hakeem's level (yet).

Check out this excellent article in the Chronicle on Hakeem and how it was he made it to Houston to begin his path to the Hall of Fame.

Oh, and suck it, David Robinson -- I never get tired of this clip:

Thursday, September 4, 2008

You may now also refer to us as "Element 48"

The Dream Shake is now considered to be a fundamental element of the universe known as the NBA Blogosphere. Element #48 on your periodic table, aka "DS". Hey... I didn't make the proclaimation. (I would have, but I was either too lazy or not smart enough to do so before. Or both.)

No, this groundbreaking discovery is to be attributed to the guys over at Hardwood Paroxysm and Trey at the Blowtorch. See for yourselves:

I should have paid more attention in chemistry... this sorta gives me a headache. While also feeding my ego. I love the Interwebs.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Shane Battier Knows White People, the sequel

Hello again, everyone! Based on the surprising success and popularity of our last celebrity installment - the network has demanded that I host another edition of "I Know White People"!! [audience cheers wildly - Chuck Taylor mutters "damn you, Chappelle!" under his breath]

For those of you who still do not recognize me, my name is Chuck Taylor and I'll be your host this evening! [audience golf clap]

Again joining us today are members of the professional basketball team from the City of Houston - the Rockets! Today's contestants are Ron Artest, Brent Barry, Joey Dorsey... and our returning champion, Mr. Shane Battier!

Good evening, Mr. Taylor! It's nice to be back!

Yo, 'sup? Am I getting paid for this??

We're getting paid? Sweeeeet. Can I get mine in $1 bills?

Kiss the rings, bitch!!!
Oh, sorry... I always wanted to say that. Hello...

Now, contestants, as I hope you are aware, the purpose of today's contest is to see which of you best knows the habits and tendencies of pigment-challenged Americans. As always, the questions will explore pop culture, slang and stereotypes commonly associated with Caucasians like myself. Let us once again find out which of you best knows white people, shall we?

Today's first question:
Who performed and recorded the song "Achy Breaky Heart?"

It wasn't me. Hey, Chuck, did you know I'm a recording artist, too? I have a new album coming out. Tru Warier records! Look for me... I'm a rapper! I'd never name no song "Achy Breaky Heart" though. That shit sounds gay.

Yeah! That sounds weak. Unlike my dunks - which are nothing but strong!

Bitch, please - no way your white ass can dunk.

But I can! I have! Really!!

[rolling his eyes] Yes, Mr. Barry, I believe you, but I need an answer to the question. How about you, Shane? Do you know?

But of course, Chuck! The song "Achy Breaky Heart" was originally performed by the Marcy Brothers, but was later re-recorded and made famous by Billy Ray Cyrus for his 1992 album "Some Gave All". Some would say it is his signature song.

That is correct!

Wait... did you say "Cyrus"? Like that Miley Cyrus chick I saw some half-naked pictures of on the Internet? Best $19.95 I spent that month. Teenagers today are crazy cool! I love the Internet.

Thanks for sharing, Mr. Barry. Please never do that again. Ever.

Now, for our next question:
Who was the first winner of the TV show "Dancing with the Stars" in the U.S.?

Someone say "dancers"? Cool, I needed a lap dance. Here's $20! Put on some music Chucky! And where are the girls??

Rookie gets no nookie!! Shut the fuck up and go get me a sandwich, chump!
[Joey Dorsey slowly walks off the set with bug eyes]

Ummm, wow. Mr. Artest you are starting to scare me. Shane, is it possible you know the answer to this?

Certainly, Mr. Taylor! While the United States was not the first to air "Dancing with the Stars" the first winner in this country was a soap opera star named Kelly Monaco. Her partner was Alec Mazo. There was actually some controversy.......

Yeah, there's controversy - cause that chick ain't famous for bein' on a soap opera. No, I've seen that chick naked on the Internet. A lot!! Thank you, Hugh Hefner! I love you, man!

Mr. Barry, please don't interrupt. And keep your hands where I can see them! Nonetheless, Shane - that is correct!!

[runs back onto the set with Ron Artest's sandwich] Yo, that girl could dance for me any day! I might even give her $40!

[looks at sandwich]
Bitch -- this has mayonnaise on it!! The fuck is wrong with you, rookie!?!

Mr. Artest, please, can we try to focus on the show? Please??? Anyway, uhh, yeah, let's just go to the next question.

Our third question today:
What 1975 movie parodies King Arthur's court and a search for a chalice of spiritual importance?

A chalice? Sounds like a pimp to me! It's good to be a King. Just not a Sacramento King. On that note, I certainly wasn't paid like a King when I played for the Kings. Do you see the irony in that, Chuck??? Do you?!?!

No, no I don't Ron. I have no idea what you are talking about.

I was once king of the Slam Dunk competition... true story. Really.

I get treated like a king every time I go to the club. VIP and stuff. The girls love the J-Train. I got a room named after me in Memphis and everything!

I give up! Shane, do you know the answer?

I think I do, Mr. Taylor. Are you referring to the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail? I love that movie. John Cleese always cracks me up. I keep trying to get Dikembe to watch it with me...

nah, Dikembe's too busy showing me the ropes -- if ya know what I mean. And by "ropes" I mean he's taking me to every club in Houston and announcing "Who wants to sex Mutombo?" I've tried to say "Who wants to sex Dorsey?" but Mutombo hit me with an elbow last time I did that. At least I hope it was his elbow.

[hangs head in shame]
Shane... your answer is correct. And now, before I kill myself, I'm going to ask one more question of the group.

Tonight's final question:
Who is this man?

That mo-fo looks like Santa Claus got a dye job!

Yo, playin' Santa Claus is fun... every Christmas I get every girl to sit on my lap. And I give 'em exactly what they want. Even if they say "no"... 'cause you know they mean "yes"!

Is that our head coach?

No, wait, is that the Monty Python pimp you were asking about earlier?

[muttering to himself]
yeah, gotta keep them ho's in check with my pimp hand...

Actually, guys, that's Wayne Newton! You know, "Mr. Las Vegas"! He's an icon! He is the epitome of coolness! I love that guy!

there is nothing even remotely cool about that ugly mo-fo.
The fuck is up with his hair?

Oh, man, Las Vegas! Now there are some dirty girls out in Las Vegas! Me and Coach Cal once had a crazy night out there... And the only gambling I did was whether I'd be gettin' some nasty disease after picking a skank outta that lineup of options at the Bunny Ranch!

Now, Joseph, you've got to treat women with more respect than that. Especially now that you are a professional athlete and represent Houston!

Yo, if I weren't a professional athlete there's no way I'd be able to keep up with them girls. And now I can finally afford the champagne room. Damn I'm gonna love Houston!

Ahhhhh, enough! That's it. I can't take it anymore. I need a shower.

Shane Battier, after correctly answering all four of tonight's questions, you are once again the winner of "I Know White People"!! Congratulations!

However, because the FCC is going to probably fine us a few hundred thousand dollars for even considering having Mr. Artest and Mr. Dorsey on this show, we didn't have much money for prizes. So, please enjoy this used DVD of Season 1 of "Three's Company" and may I never, ever have to host a game show again. Ever.

[Chuck storms off the set]

Yo, Chuck, where you goin'???

Oh, yeah, the buffet starts soon!
Chris Rock was wrong - titties and tater-tots DO mix. And I like it!

But... guys... come on... we have practice tomorrow!!!

[end show / credits roll]