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Thread: Houston Rocket 2016/7 Season

  
  1. #31
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    Re: Houston Rocket 2016/7 Season

    The Celtics beat the Washington Wizards last night 115-105 to take Game 7 in the best of seven series that will see Boston advance to the Eastern Conference finals against the well-rested Cleveland Cavs. The finals series will begin on Wednesday night in Boston who, amazingly enough, is the One seed and hold home court advantage in the east. There are two stories of this win and that is the unlikely heroics of Boston’s Kelly Olynyk who rained in 26 points, most of which came late in the game. The Celtics were led by Isaiah Thomas’ 29 points but it was Olynyk that carried the Celts down the stretch. The other big story was the complete disappearance of John Wall who missed his last 11 shots of the game. This coming just one game after he drilled a 3 to force this Game 7. Washington teams have been horrible in Game 7’s in their history last winning a G7 way back in 1979 when they were known as the Washington Bullets.

    The other huge story, one that almost eclipses the Celtics-Wizards game, is the response by San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich’s comments about his Spurs Western Conference finals Game 1 loss to Golden State. As he so eloquently stated, Popovich pointed out that, “….we were ahead by 23 half way through the 3rd quarter (when Kawhi Leonard when down), how do you think I feel?” The whole controversy was the way the Warriors’ Zaza Pechulia stepped into Leonard after he shot causing Leonard to come down on his foot reinjuring Leonard’s ankle again. It appears that Leonard will miss Game 2 in Golden State tonight with the Warriors up 1-0 in the series. This link from NBA.com recaps Popovich’s reaction to the Spurs loss in which he compared Pachulia’s play to manslaughter. There is a video of the Popovich presser in the article.

    http://www.nba.com/article/2017/05/1...-zaza-pachulia

  2. #32
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    Re: Houston Rocket 2016/7 Season

    Why is it the best coaches are insufferable to the media? It is a true statement about the Patriot’s Bill Belichick who is notoriously impatient with the media and it’s the same with the Spurs Gregg Popovich. Granted the media is insufferable too and most of the time they ask the most inane, bordering on just plain stupid, questions but do they deserve to be treated like dirt? You can sort of look at Bill Belichick as sort of cute with his one word answers and general lack of interest in the whole presser experience but Popovich is just plain rude a lot of the time and certainly hateful all the time. I like Pop as a coach and there is no denying his skill as a strategist but genius gets pretty pedestrian when you don’t have the players to execute the game plan. Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals is a prime example of this. His team quit on him before the game even started. The Spurs were down 14 after just the first quarter on the way to a 36 point blowout in a 136-100 laugher of a game. The Spurs are down 0-2 as the series will head back to San Antonio on Saturday night. The fact the Spurs get three full days off before the next game is big in that they will get to stew in their own give-up juices which, hopefully, will recharge their competitive fire and Kawhi Leonard will have extra time for his ankle to get better. Notice I said, ‘get better’ and not healed. It’s unlikely Leonard’s ankle won’t completely healed until he can get off it and let it get the rest it needs to truly get better. It doesn’t mean the Spurs are going to come back and win the series it just means they can at least make it respectable before they actually fall to the Warriors who are clearly younger and better than the Spurs. The Spurs know how the Warriors feel because at one time they had Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili in their prime and they were the team to beat in the Western Conference. Tony Parker is done for the season, Tim Duncan is retired and Ginobili is a role player as they are another clear example of Father Time winning every battle. The Spurs are reinventing themselves with Kawhi Leonard and LeMarcus Aldridge leading the way but neither player is truly a great franchise player. If the Spurs could somehow lure James Hardin to San Antonio then you might have something but Daryl Morey isn’t letting Hardin leave Houston any time soon. If San Antonio should be able to get Russell Westbrook then the Spurs would be a real threat to Golden State and it would be an interesting story line to talk about going forward. That’s in the future and in this present the Spurs are toast against the Warriors. The only question is, how many games will it take for the Warriors to put the Spurs away?

    The Western Conference Finals is getting an extended set of days off so the Eastern Conference Finals can sort of catch up. The Celtics-Cav series will play tonight and Friday night to get that series caught up to the WCF who have already played 2 games. Beginning Saturday night the WCF and ECF will alternate nights as they progress through their respective series. There is no accounting for a series sweep and it could very well be that in both conferences. Certainly nobody would be surprised if Cleveland sweeps the Celtics and the way the Spurs rolled over and played dead for the Warriors last night you could see Golden State pulling out the brooms on the Spurs. The Celtics won a big thing last night when the got the #1 pick in the draft when they won the ping pong ball lottery with the Lakers getting the #2 overall pick behind them. But, again, this is now and tonight the Celtics and Cavs will square off in Boston.

  3. #33
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    Re: Houston Rocket 2016/7 Season

    The Spurs have forks sticking out of them as they head into Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals down 3 games to zip. They have not had Kawhi Leonard since the midpoint of the 3rd quarter and the Spurs have played like didn’t have a chance in hell of winning a game since. It is unlikely Leonard will be back for Game 4 tonight and thus I believe the Golden State Warriors will pull out the broom and complete the sweep of the Spurs in San Antonio tonight.
    I really thought the Cavaliers would sweep the Celtics especially after taking Games 1 and 2 in Boston. The table was set for a sweep in front of the home crowd but Boston had one of those backed into a corner type of games and, like the Spurs, their best player was not in the game. Isaiah Thomas was unable to play because of a hip injury but, unlike the Spurs, they had someone who stepped up and played his ass off leading the Celtics to a very unlikely Game 3 win. In fact, the Cavs did their best San Antonio impression by losing a 21 point lead on the way to a 111-108 loss. Marcus Smart came out and played unconscious basketball in relief of Thomas scoring 27 points. The Celtics in general raised their level of play and Cleveland countered with the worst game of the season from LeBron. LeBron owned his poor game saying he just didn’t have it. He shot just 4 of 13 from the floor and he generally played a lousy game. That kind of thing is going to happen even to players as good a LeBron but his boys Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love have to take some ownership. They did have a 21 point lead and they let it slip away. The Cavs seemed to take their collective foot off the gas pedal as they played what can be best described as a lackluster 2nd half against Boston. So, the Eastern Conference Finals are going at least two more games and the 2nd game will be back in Boston. It’s good that Cleveland has had plenty of time off after the first two legs of the playoffs because they will likely be the team going into the finals against Golden State without benefit of the rest the Warriors will have after they finish punishing the upstart Spurs.
    Update: The Spurs are toast. Golden State put yet another ass whoppin' on them and completed the sweep and they are also the first team in NBA history to go into the NBA finals 12-0. As Stef Curry said last night they are just going to kick back and wait on the winner of the Eastern Conference Finals. Stef was diplomatic enough not automatically crown Cleveland as the champs but we all kind of know who is going to get the dunious honor of facing what looks like an unstoppable Golden State Warriors team.

  4. #34
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    Re: Houston Rocket 2016/7 Season

    The Cavaliers beat Boston to take a 3-1 lead in their Eastern Conference Finals by a score of 112-99 in Cleveland. The Cavs were led by Kyrie Irving’s 42 points answering an unspoken call to step up his game because LeBron James got into foul trouble in the 2nd quarter picking up his 4th foul of the game. Kyrie answered the call and led the Cavs to the win. Game 5 is tomorrow night in Boston with the Cavs hoping to close out the series and head into the expected rematch with Golden State.

  5. #35
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    Re: Houston Rocket 2016/7 Season

    Old news by now but Cleveland won Game 5 against the Celtics which is a huge understatement when a team wins by 33 points. The best thing from a fairness standpoint is Cleveland clinched the Eastern Conference title on Thursday and the NBA Finals doesn't start until this coming Thursday meaning Cleveland will get a full week to rest up. Golden State had a few extra days but it doesn't matter at this point. A full week of rest is good enough so there should be no excuses from a fatigue standpoint. It's going to be, may the best team win. Personally, I think Golden State will prevail but you just can't count out the team with the best player in the NBA.

  6. #36
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    Re: Houston Rocket 2016/7 Season

    I know you can't go strictly on one game. We've seen it before, a team looks dominant in the first game only to have reality rear up and strike back showing what a fluke that game was. I am not sure this is the case with the matchup with Cleveland and Golden State. Golden State put a pure D smackdown of the Cavs beating them by 22 points. Golden State looked a little sloppy for about 2 or 3 minutes in the 3rd quarter when Cleveland closed a 21 Warriors lead to 12 points but Golden State woke back up and pushed the lead back to 22 again and they never were threatened again. Golden State's lineup is just too friggin' deep and Cleveland can't match up against this lineup.
    I've been wrong before, terribly wrong in some cases, but I don't see Cleveland as much of a threat to this particular Golden State roster. This team is the best team money can buy and they are ridiculously deep. LeBron might be the best player in the NBA but when Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love don't do squat how can you compete with a roster chalk full of All Stars? Well LeBron had 24 pts and Love had 15 and Kyrie added 24 but outside of Richard Jefferson's 9 points the rest of the Cavs were a no-show on offense and sort of inept on defense.
    By contrast of the 13 players GS dressed last night 12 players scored. Only Kevin Durant, who had a game high 38 pts, and Steph Curry, who added 28 pts, were the only players in double figures but to have so many people involved in the offense it makes you wonder who the hell can defense that balanced of a team.
    Just based on what I saw last night I can't imagine this series going more than five games. Of course, I thought the same about the Rockets-Thunder series after Houston wiped out OKC in Game 1. That series ended up going just 5 games so I guess I am right SOME of the time.
    Game 2 of the finals will be in Golden State on Sunday night at 7 o'clock.

  7. #37
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    Re: Houston Rocket 2016/7 Season

    The Warriors won the NBA title. Big shock there. So far the Rockets have been quiet this offseason other than rumors Chris Paul has had interest from the Rox front office. The big news is Cleveland fired their GM a week before the draft. That is such a Buffalo thing to do.
    Paul's name is also being associated with Cleveland but who's isn't. The Cavs need to match up better against Golden State especially on D. Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving didn't show up all that great and Tristin Thompson and JR Smith should've had their faces on milk cartons. LeBron is no spring chicken and if Cleveland wants to win another ring they need some serious upgrades of talent.
    Unless Houston gets James Hardin some help Houston will continue to play second fiddle to the Warriors in the Western Conference.

  8. #38
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    Re: Houston Rocket 2016/7 Season

    So, the Rockets needed a big upgrade in talent to be able to compete with the other teams in the Western Conference, particularly the Golden State Warriors. Let’s look at the moves Houston made so far this offseason.
    6/28 – Houston trades for Darrun Hilliard, shooting guard, with Detroit for cash considerations. Hilliard was then traded to the Clippers in the Chris Paul deal.
    6/28 – Houston trades for Shawn Long, forward, with the 76ers for a future 2nd round draft pick. Long came to the NBA as an undrafted player in 2016. He’s young and has some length and he can score. Not a bad deal for Houston for a talented player who looks like he will get better.
    6/28 – Ryan Kelly, power forward, came to Houston in a trade with Atlanta. Kelly came into the NBA in 2013 with the Lakers as their 2nd round pick. He spent most of the 2013 – 2016 seasons with the Lakers developmental league. He split time in 2017 with the Atlanta Hawks and Boston Celtics and the developmental league. 4 years and he can’t stick with an NBA team I wonder how good he’s going to be.
    6/28 – The Rockets trade with the LA Clippers for veteran point guard Chris Paul. This was a big signing and even at 32 years of age he still has a couple of prime years left. At some point prior to completing the trade Houston acquired DeAndre Liggins from the Mavs for cash and he and Darrun Hilliard were included in the deal for Paul. In all Houston gave up 8 players and beside Liggins and Hilliard Houston send Patrick Beverly, Lou Williams, Sam Dekker, Montrezl Harrell and Kyle Wiltger plus a the Rox first round pick in 2018 AND cash considerations. I’m sad about losing Beverly but Paul is an upgrade. The Problem is James Hardin was the Rocket’s point guard for 1st year coach Mike D’Antoni and Paul is a point guard. It will be interesting to see how that situation is handled.
    6/29 – Jarrod Uthoff, a forward from Dallas, was acquired from the Mavs for cash considerations. Another predominantly developmental league player. The Rox just got younger in their depth but older in their starting lineup.
    7/6 – PJ Tucker signed as a free agent. Tucker is a 32-year-old veteran of 7 NBA seasons mostly with the Phoenix Suns plus 5 seasons split between the Israeli Premier League, Donetsk in the Ukrainian Super League in Russia and a couple of teams in the European Basketball league. The last 6 seasons he’s been with Phoenix and in 2017 he was traded to the Toronto Raptors where they made the playoffs and won the first-round series but bowed out in the 2nd round to Cleveland. Tucker has both started and come off the bench and been productive. He should be a good role player for the Rox but he’s no star.
    7/6 – Zhou Qi – Houston acquired him in the 2016 draft but he continued to play in the Chinese Basketball League because he was such a raw talent. On July 6th, He actually signed a contract with the Rockets. Qi is 7’1’’ and 210 lbs so he’s sort of a shorter and way more athletic Manute Bol. Qi also has one of the longest wingspans in the NBA at 7’7-3/4”. He’s listed as a power forward and his real skill is his shooting. He averaged 16 PPG and 10 RPG with a shooting % of 58.4. He was also named defensive player of the year in his league. His team, the Xinjiang Flying Tigers won the league championship last season. Qi is listed as a power forward but if he bulks up he would be a dandy post player. I think I might like having a twin towers back in H-town. Years ago, it was Hakeem Olajuwon and Ralph Sampson so this year is could be Nene and Zhou Qi.
    7/7 – Houston signs Nene as a free agent. Nene became a free agent on July 1st and just 6 days later he resigned with the Rox.
    7/8 – Houston signed a contract extension with James Hardin to add four more years on his deal with Houston. That is a very good thing.
    7/1 – Tarik Black was signed as a free agent bringing him back to Houston where he began his NBA career in 2014. Black was in the Lakers organization between 2014 and 2017 going up and down between the Lakers and their developmental league team. Black is nothing special but he’s cheap and that’s something the Rockets needed with a lot of their signings because of their salary cap issues.
    The Rox have also tried to woo Paul George to Houston but he ended up signing with OKC. It would have been sweet to get George but he has made it clear he wants to play for the Lakers so Houston would only have had him for one year. Houston has also courted Carmello Anthony but the dice have come up snake eyes where he’s concerned. All this doesn’t mean GM Darrell Morey isn’t beating the bushes for more talent.
    I saw an article in Bleacher Report that there is a proposal to ditch the Conference system and just allow the top 16 teams record-wise to make the playoffs. This would certainly benefit the Western Conference at this time since they have most of the good teams in the NBA. This is an interesting proposal to me and one I sort of hope the NBA leaders consider.

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