DC Council Opening Statements: Wizards vs Rockets, Game 54
Here to provide the DC Council Opening Statements for Washington’s 54th game of the season at home against the Houston Rockets are TAI’s Rashad Mobley (@rashad20) and guest Michael Pina (@MichaelVPina) who writes about the Rockets for Red94, an ESPN TrueHoop Network blog.
Wizards Starters (16-37):
John Wall, Bradley Beal, Martell Webster, Nene, Emeka Okafor
Rockets Starters (31-26):
Jeremy Lin, James Harden, Carlos Delfino, Chandler Parsons, Omer Asik
Q #1: What have you done for me lately?
(What’s the status of the Rockets over the past week?)
@MichaelVPina: We just had the trade deadline, which means things are obviously different in Houston. This year Daryl Morey shocked everyone by acquiring reigning number five overall pick Thomas Robinson from Sacramento, and completely renovating the Rockets’ power forward rotation. While Robinson might not be the best player in the six player deal (today, that’s probably Patrick Patterson), he’s without a doubt the most important. It’ll be interesting to see how he fits in down the stretch, and if he can eventually crack the starting lineup.
Editor’s Note: Robinson did not play in the Rockets’ 106-96 victory over the Brooklyn Nets
Q #2: Who threw out my alarm clock?
(Which player(s) are we sleeping on?)
@MichaelVPina: He hasn’t played a game for the Rockets yet—as he was a throw-in in the deal for Thomas Robinson—but Francisco Garcia could be huge for the Rockets. Shackled in Sacramento all these years, he’s a long, good 3-point shooter who should fit right into their up and down offensive style.
Q #3: What game-within-the-game counts most?
(What matchup between two players or between each team in a particular statistical category is most important.)
@MichaelVPina: Jeremy Lin and John Wall is always a fun battle, going back to their infamous Summer League tango a few years ago. Statistically, it’ll be interesting to see how Houston’s much-talked-about offense does against Washington’s not-so-much-talked-about-but-really-good defense.
Q #4: How it’s going down?
(TAI’s general key to the game.)
@rashad20: This has the potential to be a statement game for Bradley Beal. When the Rockets and the John Wall-less Wizards played on December 12th, Beal had 20 points, five assists and four rebounds–not a bad game for a rookie early in the season. James Harden, the man Beal was assigned to check the entire game, had 31 points–17 of them coming in the first quarter. In fairness to Beal, Harden is giving the business to the entire NBA this season by averaging 26.4 points a game, including a 46-point performance against the Oklahoma City Thunder recently. But one of the best ways to slow down a big scorer is to make him work on the other end of the floor, and Beal can do just that. Wall can break down Jeremy Lin at will, and Martell Webster is shooting 44.7 percent from the 3-point line (third-best in the NBA), so the Rockets will not be able to cheat off their respective men to help Harden. If Beal can match or best Harden in the scoring department, while minimizing the cheap fouls (he fouled out against the Rockets in December), the Wizards have a shot at back-to-back victories.
Daryl Morey vs Ernie Grunfeld
@rashad20: The Wizards traded Jordan Crawford for Leandro Barbosa (out with a torn ACL) and Jason Collins (34 years old). The Rockets traded Toney Douglas, Cole Aldrich, Patrick Patterson and $1 million cash to the Sacramento Kings for reserves Francisco Garcia and Tyler Honeycutt, and the No. 5 pick in the 2012 NBA draft, Thomas Robinson. The Rockets clearly made the smarter trade, but for a GM and/or an owner, the trade is only half the battle–the explanation of the trade is what the head coach, the players and the fans will follow closely. A bad explanation could result in a loss or lack of faith, while a smart, detailed plan could buy the team’s front office, the benefit of the doubt.
The Spread: The Wizards are 1.5 point underdogs to the Rockets; the over/under is 210 points (via USA Today).
@MichaelVPina: Houston 111, Washington 89.
@rashad20: Washington 95, Houston 91. The Wizards’ backcourt of Wall and Beal will outplay Houston’s Jeremy Lin and James Harden. Both team will be a bit lethargic playing the second of back-to-back games, but the Wizards will have the Verizon Center advantage.
John Wall on Facing Houston & Harden:
- D.C. Council 12: Wizards at Bucks — Ship Steadied, Comeback Sealed
- Key Legislature: Wizards 111 at Bucks 100 — Pierce and His Wolfpack Shake Off Cleveland Hangover
- D.C. Council 11: Wizards vs Cavs — Lights-Out Wall Leaves Cleveland ‘in the Dark’
- Key Legislature: Wizards 91 vs Cavs 78 — Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall
Recent TAI Posts
- D.C. Council 14: Wizards at Cavs — Pre-Turkey Day Coma in Cleveland November 27, 2014
- Key Legislature: Wizards 87 vs Cavs 113 — Cleveland Rocks The Lethargic Wizards November 27, 2014
- Opening Statements: Wizards at Cavaliers, Game 14 November 26, 2014
- D.C. Council 13: Wizards vs Hawks — Washington’s Sloppiness Proves Costly November 26, 2014
- Key Legislature: Wizards 102 vs Hawks 106 — Washington Leaves Early for Thanksgiving Vacation November 26, 2014
- Wizards vs Hawks, Game 13 Twitter Storify: Turnovers Make Pastries of Washington November 26, 2014
- Opening Statements: Wizards vs Hawks, Game 13 November 25, 2014
- D.C. Council 12: Wizards at Bucks — Ship Steadied, Comeback Sealed November 23, 2014
- Key Legislature: Wizards 111 at Bucks 100 — Pierce and His Wolfpack Shake Off Cleveland Hangover November 23, 2014
- Wizards at Bucks, Game 12 Twitter Storify: Every Penny Pierce Bucks Back November 23, 2014
- Opening Statements: Wizards at Bucks, Game 12 November 22, 2014
- D.C. Council 11: Wizards vs Cavs — Lights-Out Wall Leaves Cleveland ‘in the Dark’ November 22, 2014