I plan on breaking-down Tuesday’s loss to the Rockets in screen shots at some point in the near future. But until then, here are some pictures of various Houston Rockets from the pre-game shoot-around followed by some of the best of what was said about the game.
No longer your daddy, just Battier.
Things looking up for Hilton Armstrong?
Flippin’ David Andersen, mate.
Jordan Hill and balls.
This is Chuck Hayes.
Andray Blatche thinks he is a strong dude.
I will not argue.
Chuck Hayes WHAT?!?!
Chuck Hayes What-ever
At some point, it disappeared. It could’ve been right when Josh Howard suffered his season-ending knee injury, or when the opponents on the Washington Wizards’ schedule changed to more teams jostling for playoff position. But the excitement, the adrenaline rush and hustle that propelled the Wizards to three victories in their first four games after the trade-deadline flurry is gone.
Andray Blatche needs to chill out, though I can’t blame him for having absolutely no idea what to do at this point in his career.
The guy’s been fantastic since the Wizards sent Antawn Jamison to Cleveland, but he also forces shots and really has no idea how to react when a wrench is thrown into the proceedings. It’s not that he’s being selfish when he makes up his mind before going into a move that he’s going to shoot the ball no matter what, it’s that he has no idea how to execute anything other than putting up a shot. He’s never had to deal with being the focus before.
I’m not sure how we are supposed to feel about Andray Blatche anymore. In this new Wizards world, his 18 points and 8 rebounds certainly weren’t gawd-awful. But with 9 for 22 shooting and 5 turnovers, there’s still something significant missing, especially when he didn’t play down the stretch and wasn’t involved as the Wizards tried to make a comeback. And his over the shoulder pass straight into the first row in the third quarter was easily the one of the worst plays of the night.
And, this really isn’t about what the Rockets did. It’s more about what the Wizards didn’t, or rather can’t do – score. I’ve harped on the limited scoring options for this team, and it was nice that Young finally broke from his slump to score 18 points. But in order for the Wizards to get more offense, those kind of games have to become the norm for Young, not the exception.
In general, while the Wizards played relatively hard, they were outsmarted. Just think of all the transition buckets Houston got in this game. Their big men — Luis Scola, Jordan Hill and Chuck Hayes — should never outrun Blatche and JaVale McGee, but that’s exactly what they did. Since Houston doesn’t have much half-court scoring capability, this was especially problematic.
On the team I’m building I’ll be more than happy with a 6′7 point guard who is happier distributing the ball than shooting it. And to say that he can’t score is not all that accurate either. Is scoring Livingston’s strong suit, absolutely not, but on this team a pass first point guard who doesn’t dribble the Spalding off the ball is not such a bad thing to have.
It was not a beauty contest. The Houston Rockets only shot 38 percent from the field, but were more aggressive on the boards and made more free-throws to pull out a 96-88 win over the Washington Wizards.
The Rockets are the fifth-best offensive rebounding team in the NBA and it helped save them against the Wizards. The Rockets finished with 16 offensive rebounds and a 24-8 advantage in second chance points.
When the Houston Rockets came to Washington D.C. to play the Wizards last season, the post-game locker room could best be described as chaotic. Ron Artest was holding court in the back of the locker room, a group of reporters were waiting for Tracy McGrady to come out of the shower so they could interview him, and Yao Ming had the biggest crowd of them all with Chinese media, David Aldridge, Michael Wilbon and a host of others waiting to speak with him.
Last night prior to the Wizards/Rockets matchup the scene in the Rockets locker room was anything but chaotic. Yao is still with the team, but was out due to injury, and McGrady and Artest have since left the team. Current players like Aaron Brooks, Trevor Ariza and Chase Budinger watched film and quietly joked with one another, and I was the only journalist/blogger in sight. I took advantage of this serene atmosphere, and struck up a conversation with newly acquired guard Kevin Martin.
I realized why I’m so intrigued by [Jordan] Hill. It suddenly hit me during the game that he is the first rookie lottery pick that we have had the pleasure of watching since Yao Ming’s debut at the start of the last decade. More than mere escapism from a lost season, previously acclaimed prospects enable the imagination, allowing it to envisage a savior at the position, sans fear of inhibition of unreasonable odds; because he was the 8th pick, we actually don’t have to feel silly discussing Jordan Hill’s upside.
Here’s what is important: clutch-ness is overrated. Good teams blow out teams like the Wizards. If you want to win lots of games, you can’t rely on any magical ability to come through in the clutch. And after seeing the NBA’s “WHERE CLUTCH HAPPENS” eight or nine times during the broadcast, I began to think about this in relation to the game (btw: why was Clutch the Bear not in that commercial???)
Anyways, the Rockets built an 18-point lead in the third quarter, and they rode that to victory. If you rearrange some of the scoring events, the Rockets would have the same outcome, but we’d be talking all about how the Rockets “came back” because of their “clutch play” or “iron will” or some shit. In reality, the Rockets are simply a better team than the Wizards, and they were able to overcome some late difficulties by playing really well earlier.
I guess that’s not particularly insightful or anything (gee, the Rockets won because they scored more points than their opponents), but I suppose it’s de-mystifying.
The author here, a self-proclaimed stat nerd, or at least among those who favor stats as an explanation over intangibles, makes an interesting point. However, in the process, he seems to deny the psychological difference between playing with the lead versus trying to make a comeback, on the road much less. This is obviously something stats cannot, and never will measure. The mentality of individuals is unable to be explained by numbers. Some stat heads have problems understanding this, and that’s unfortunate. And don’t worry, I’m not arguing about the Rockets being a better team than the Wizards because they are.
Stats and observational analysis must go hand-in-hand. The next time you see a team make an amazing comeback, whether their opponent is presumed inferior or not, because, and excuse the cliche, all guys in the NBA possess a talent that you and I will never understand, bask in the mental/intestinal fortitude that it took for said team to make a comeback and don’t write it off as something that occurred just because they happened to be behind instead of ahead.