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Tag:Houston Rockets
Posted on: December 15, 2010 10:53 am
Edited on: December 15, 2010 12:37 pm
 

Shootaround 12.15.10: Knicks-Celtics non-rivalry

Posted by Matt Moore
  • Michael Jordan was inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame last night. Well, technically he was inducted in 1993, but couldn't make it because he was busy off being Michael Jordan. So he went in at halftime of a Raptors-Bobcats game. Better than the lady who spins plates on sticks. 
  • Do Boston and New York have a rivalry ? Not really, but the thing is, every time Boston says they don't have a rivalry with someone that team beats them. Happened with Atlanta last year. They don't have a rivalry but still shouldn't say so, you know?
Posted on: December 14, 2010 6:50 pm
Edited on: December 14, 2010 6:58 pm
 

Are the Nets positioning for a run at Carmelo?

Posted by Royce Young

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com along with multiple outlets are reporting that the Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets and New Jersey Nets have agreed in principle to a trade that would send Sasha Vujacic to the Nets, Joe Smith to the Lakers and Terrence Williams to the Rockets.

The deal can't be finalized until Wednesday because Smith is a player that can't be traded until Dec. 15.

But the three players players moving isn't the most interesting aspect of this trade. Sure, Terrence Williams heading to Houston is somewhat intriguing because he's a player in desperate need of a new situation, but really, it's all the throw-ins that makes this interesting.

The Nets are also adding No. 1 picks from Houston and Los Angeles as well as Vujacic's $5.5 million expiring contract. Can you say "positioning for Carmelo?" (The pick from L.A. is for 2011 and from Houston 2012, to be clear.)

All signs have been pointing towards Carmelo Anthony heading to New York, but obviously the Nets aren't buying that. This deal is clearly a move in the direction of sweetening the post for the Nuggets. Not only does New Jersey have the talent to deal in Derrick Favors, but now they've got another expiring, plus two (not one) first-rounders to dangle in front of Denver.

Berger has some great thoughts on how the Nets are setting up for a run at Anthony,
but also mentions this:
According to a person with direct knowledge of Anthony's strategy, he recently became entrenched in his desire to agree to an extend-and-trade only if the deal sent him to the Knicks. The person who provided this information could not have been more unequivocal -- and could not have been closer to Anthony's inner circle. 

Contrary to another report, however, Anthony at no point informed the Nuggets of his stance. The Nets, who according to sources have received repeated assurances from Anthony's camp that he would extend his contract in a trade to New Jersey, continued with their aggressive strategy to sweeten the assets they could offer the Nuggets.
So that could be important to know. Anthony wants New York. The Nets want Anthony. Either New Jersey isn't willing to take no for an answer or they just don't get it.

Also, remember how the Knicks thought they had a first-round pick ready for them when they needed it from Houston? Well it looks like the Nets may have slid in and taken it away. Talk about a pretty good power play for Nets general manager Billy King. Undercut the Knicks while just giving up a player that was sent down to the D-League a couple weeks ago? Not too bad at all really.

If this trade goes final Wednesday, the Nets will have five first-round picks over the next two drafts. That makes them a player in any deal, not just one for Carmelo.

The Nuggets have been pretty adament about looking for the best possible deal if they're going to trade their star. Well, the Nets now have the ability to really sweeten the pot. Their main competitor in the Knicks, don't have near the pieces right now. They may have the fact that Carmelo evidently wants to play there, but the Nuggets want the best trade and right now, New Jersey has it by far.
Posted on: December 14, 2010 6:40 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:36 pm
 

Nets, Lakers, Rockets, Kings talk trades

The New Jersey Nets, Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets are discussing a three-team trade involving Terrence Williams, Sasha Vujacic andterrence-williams Joe Smith. Posted by Ben Golliver

Multiple outlets, including Yahoo! Sports and CBSSports.com's Ken Berger, are reporting that the New Jersey Nets, Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets have a three-team trade in place. Berger writes...
The Nets have begun putting into motion a plan to acquire several assets that the Nuggets have asked for in a potential blockbuster trade for Carmelo Anthony, two people familiar with the situation told CBSSports.com. 
The first step, agreed to in principle Tuesday, is a three-team trade in which the Nets get a first-round pick from the Rockets and another one from the Lakers. New Jersey sends Terrence Williams to the Rockets and Joe Smith to the Lakers, who send Sasha Vujacic to the Nets, the people familiar with the framework of the deal said. 
Berger also notes that the trade cannot be completed until tomorrow, once the NBA's Dec. 15 deadline for players that were signed in the offseason to be traded has passed. Williams, a physical second-year wing out of Louisville who is averaging 6.7 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 20.6 minutes per game this season, ran afoul of the Nets and coach Avery Johnson in late November, when he repeatedly showed up late for practices and was demoted to the D-League. He will join former teammate Courtney Lee in Houston, who was traded to the Rockets in a four-team trade last summer.  Given Williams's talent level and need for a change of scenery, the move is a reasonable risk for the Rockets, who have struggled through a 9-14 start and are currently in last place in the Southwest Division. To make room for Williams, ESPN.com reports that the Rockets will dump little-used reserve guard Jermaine Taylor, who has long been rumored as a candidate for trade, to the Sacramento Kings for a future second-round pick.  Smith, a veteran big man, has barely touched the floor for New Jersey this season and is essentially a non-factor. Vujacic has also been buried on Los Angeles's bench this season, after the team's offseason acquisitions of Matt Barnes and Steve Blake, and the continued emergence of Shannon Brown, pushed him down and out of the team's depth chart. The move is a great one for Los Angeles, as they move the $5.4 million owed to Vujacic off their books. Taking back the $1.3 million owed to Smith, the Lakers net $4.1 million in cap savings and the only cost is a first round draft pick, which will likely be no higher than No. 25. As the Lakers are well over the luxury tax line, those savings are doubled, making for a total savings of ~$8 million, making this deal even sweeter. Sure, the Lakers aren't exactly a small market team aching for savings, but any time you can turn a bottom of the first round pick into ~$8 million worth of savings, you do it and you don't think twice.  From New Jersey's side, it's the picks, not the players, who are the obvious key to this deal, as they afford the Nets important additional assets to use in trade talks prior to this year's deadline. Their major target, of course, could be Denver Nuggets all star forward Carmelo Anthony. The Nuggets, as we've written numerous times, need to receive salary cap flexibility and future assets when they move Anthony, and first round picks certainly qualify. So does Vujacic's expiring contract, which could be re-packaged to allow the Nets to take back salary in a deal. At first glance, this trade is a winner for all parties. The Rockets take a reasonable risk on a talented player, the Lakers receive some much-needed financial relief and the Nets accumulate trade assets. The final chapter to this trade analysis book can't be written until we see what deals are in New Jersey's future.
Posted on: December 11, 2010 11:44 am
Edited on: December 11, 2010 11:45 am
 

Rockets, Knicks talking about Anthony Randolph

Posted by Royce Young

Anthony Randolph has always been considered one of the most unique, talented and gifted players in the league. And when he was traded to New York as part of the David Lee trade, the common thinking was he'd have a chance to break out some.

That hasn't totally happened yet, but Randolph may have another unique value to the Knicks. He may be the player that brings them Carmelo Anthony.

According to the New York Daily News, the Knicks have fielded several calls from different Western Conference teams regarding a trade for Randolph. One of those has been with the Houston Rockets, who would likely send back the first-round pick that the Knicks traded them in last season's Tracy McGrady deal.

Knicks president and general manager Donnie Walsh has said that he regrets giving away that pick and has been working to get a 2011 pick back. The Nuggets have made their wishes clear that a first-rounder needs to be included in a potential trade, something the Knicks don't currently have.

A couple months ago, there was news about the Knicks having a first-round pick trade available to them when they needed it. Maybe this was it.

Ken Berger's recent report that the Nuggets are now moving into trade mode with Anthony means teams will likely get a lot more serious to position themselves to get him. The Dec. 15 date is almost here when players that were acquired during the offseason can be moved (Randolph is one of those). And in Berger's report, it's clear the Nuggets will trade Anthony by the trade deadline if he's absolutely not going to sign an extension. Which he's not going to.

We've known that Carmelo wants to play in New York for a while, but the question is just whether or not the Knicks could put together an acceptable trade for him. Now, it looks like they're getting closer.

The question is, is Walsh going to have any hesitations with the team playing so well right now? Obviously a deal for Carmelo is a little bit down the line so the circumstances will likely be different. But with the Knicks having won 12 of 13, is Walsh willing to mess with what's working? I'm saying definitely yes, because all the Knicks have proven is that they're capable of beating average and bad teams, not the elite squads. The Knicks are headed in the right direction without Carmelo. So they probably feel like he might be the missing piece to something big sooner than later.
Posted on: December 10, 2010 2:47 pm
Edited on: December 10, 2010 2:49 pm
 

F&R Quarterly Report: 1st Quarter Good and Bad

Here's a look at the 1st quarter and what we've taken away from it.
Posted by Matt Moore




We're a quarter in to the season, and it hasn't gone exactly according to plan. Some things we thought would happen, some things we didn't. As we head towards the season being halfway through, here's a look back at the first quarter of the season and what we thought about it.

MVP: As Ben Golliver will be telling you later, Dwight Howard makes a pretty strong case for first quarter MVP. Royce and I wound up on the Big German's side of the aisle, though. With the Mavericks on a ridiculous winning streak (make it 11 after blasting the Comrade's Nyetzkies on Thursday night), Nowitzki has been off the charts so far this year. The Mavericks look better this year because of their depth and their defense, but without Nowitzki, they'd still be nowhere.

As Nowitzki's career begins to wind down (we think?), it's important to let go of the past where people questioned Dirk's intensity, toughness, and clutchness. He's been one of the best players in the world for the past ten years, and the fact that he's still putting together stretches of games like this only confirms that. Don't believe me? Check the elbow.

ROY: Boy, was I wrong . Again. John Wall hasn't been a slouch by any means, but to compare the impact the two has on the court is to examine the ballistic missile barrage that is Blake Griffin on a nightly basis. It's not just the dunks (but trust us, we'll get there). It's things like the way he absolutely blew Lamar Odom off the block, and his intensity and athleticism while rebounding. It's the way that even though this Clippers team has no hope of winning on any given night, Griffin looks like he's dying for a win, to try, to compete. He's the only unanimous pick for a reason.

Biggest Surprise: We're split between the Knicks, who were supposed to be better but not this better, and the Pacers, who were supposed to be bad and are really pretty good. Amar'e Stoudemire has the Knicks rolling, and Danny Granger alongside Roy Hibbert is making up one of the best frontcourts in the NBA this year. Great to see teams surprise us in a good way.

Best Overall Performance: We're all very impressed with the Celtics, basically. Except Ken. But we think that's because he had a bad cab ride. Maybe it was bad chowder. No, couldn't be that, there's no such thing as bad chowder in Boston. Probably the cab ride. Anyway, the rest of us are completely horrified of Boston coming into our homes at night and subjugate us under their imperial rule.

Biggest Letdown: Ken and Ben (hey, that rhymes!) have a soft spot in their hearts for the sad plight of the Blazers' health. I'm more concerned about Houston and why they're not competing among the West's elite (but they're getting there), and Royce has the same question about the Bucks in the East. If you couldn't see this coming in Portland... you probably haven't been paying attention for the past, oh, forty years.

Ticking Time-Bomb: While Ben Golliver frets over Chris Paul continuing to keep his cards close to his vest, the rest of us are alarmed at how DeMarcus Cousins seems hell-bent on alienating his teammates and coaches. Tick, tick, tick.

Best dunk: Yeah, sorry, not going to be able to get over this, regardless of whether he traveled or not :





Here's a look at our votes for the first quarter of the 2010-2011 season.




Posted on: December 8, 2010 4:32 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2010 5:16 pm
 

John Kuester may need new scouting reports


Posted by Matt Moore

This is going to come across like I think all coaches should have an encyclopedic knowledge of all 15ish players on all other 29 teams beyond their own. Not at all. But John Kuester may not have done his homework to the degree best of his ability. From the Detroit Free Press after Kevin Martin logged 15 free throws in the Rockets' 97-83 win over the Pistons, Kuester lobbed this quote out there: 
"I'm amazed Kevin Martin could get that many free throws," Kuester said. "I never knew he was a post player. We have to work through those things. The mental composure has to come through."
Okay, well, maybe that did come out of nowhere. 

Or, maybe not. 

Take it away, Ziller!
For the record, Martin's 15 FTAs on Tuesday don't register among his career top 20 free throw performances. Martin has had at least 20 free throws in a game four times, and at least 15 in 32 games. This wasn't exactly a fluke.

What's more, Kuester coached against Martin three times last season; Martin averaged more than nine free throw attempts a game in those contests, and had 12 in one of the matches.

Even more ridiculous? Kuester was a top assistant with the Cavaliers in the 2007-08 and 2008-09 season. Martin, then with the Kings, played against Cleveland three times. His free throw totals in those games: 14, 17 and 18. So in the last three seasons, Martin had averaged 12.8 free throws a game against Kuester's teams, and yet Kuester is amazed -- amazed -- Martin could get 15 in one game.
 via Pistons Coach John Kuester Is Not An Expert On Kevin Martin, Possibly The NBA - From Our Editors - SBNation.com.

So just to review: 
 
John Kuester was amazed that Kevin Martin, who is a premier scorer in this league, was surprised that Kevin Martin did something he has done nearly each time he's played, and in particular each time he's played against a Kuester-coached team. Martin is a tricky, crafty player with good length and excellent ball fakes. It's hardly a wonder that he was able to pull in that many freebies. 

Just sayin', Coach. Should have saw this coming. 
Posted on: December 8, 2010 12:43 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2010 1:03 pm
 

3-Up, 3-Down: Falling all over

Three rising and three falling teams this week as the Rockets are getting it together and the Hornets are falling apart.  Posted by Matt Moore




3-Up, 3-Down for this week in our Power Rankings :

3-Up

Boston Celtics (3): The Celtics are doing all of this without Rajon Rondo at 100% . That's insane. They're simply crushing opponents. Their ability to coast through games and still win while getting up for big games is considerable.  Against the Bulls, the Celtics just went out and obliterated a tough team inside by going over them. Particularly, Kevin Garnett is assassinating people all over the floor. Last season he was limited largely to the pick and pop 18 footer. This season he's got the drop step-hook, the face-up baseline jumper, and a few driving dunks in his bag. That makes such a huge difference for this team.

Miami Heat (4): Six spot jump for the Heat who may  have hit the low point and started to climb back up. It's not just that they've been beating inferior competition, it's that they've been pounding them. Furthermore, Wade and James seem to be getting on the same page, while Mike Miller inches closer and closer to returning. Some big games come up for this team in the next week with Utah and New Orleans on the docket for a chance at redemption for the Heat. They need these wins not only to keep their momentum going, but to prove that they're able to beat, you know, good teams. 

Houston Rockets (17): Slowly but surely the Rockets continue to climb their way out of the bizarre hole they built for themselves. They've gone from the worst defense in the league to the 8th worst defense in the league. Progress! The most bizarre thing is that their performance is largely independent of opponent. They lost to good teams and bad, and they've beaten good teams (LA) and bad (Memphis) in the past week. Still in a hole, but starting to climb out. 

3-Down

Los Angeles Lakers (9): A four-spot drop for the Lakeshow this week after a four-game losing streak stretched from last week to this one. But a win over the dreadful Kings and a post-rankings win over the Wizards are just what the Yellow and Purple needed to get things going again. This team is tired, largely because of a lack of depth. Andrew Bynum may be back in a week, which would also help. Of course, me getting a pot of gold from a rainbow would help too, and both have about the same chance of happening, given Bynum's injury recovery history.

New Orleans Hornets (10):
If everything went right for the Hornets in the first eight games, everything has gone wrong in the last 8. David West isn't dominating but getting the ball a ton, Chris Paul is too passive, the defense has fallen off, and Jarrett Jack was not a magical improvement, but instead has been a curse so far. With all the off-court turmoil, this team needs a reassuring run to staunch the bleeding.

Oklahoma City Thunder (12):
Yeah, we don't get it either. The team has simply been inconsistent. Time to bring it up. Coach of the Year curse?

Check out the rest of the Power Rankings here .
Posted on: December 8, 2010 11:22 am
Edited on: December 8, 2010 11:36 am
 

Game Changer 12.8.10: Elbow trouble

Dirk and his elbow, surprising guards, and Monroe exists, all in today's Game Changer.  Posted by Matt Moore

Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer.

THE BIG ONE: David Lee STILL HAS ELBOW PROBLEMS

While the Dallas bench was doing its thing , the Warriors managed to stay in this one with turnovers leading to fast breaks. Or, basically, your standard Warrior plan of attack. But when the Mavericks absolutely had to get buckets? They turned to Dirk Nowitzki. Either with his elbow, or at the elbow.

Example A:



What you'll notice here is that Nowitzki's able to create space with his shooting elbow, which is kind of insane. It's the post-fake that gets David Lee shook trying to recover, but on the step-back through, he brings that elbow up and through, with his forearm creating kind of a stone wall between Lee's recovery attempt and a block. Granted, Nowitzki being seven feet tall helps quite a bit, but that perfect elbow placement is part of it.

Example 2: 



And again, we see Nowitzki stepping back into Lee, freezing him. By the time Lee recognizes what's happening, Dirk's elbow is already in place, again, creating a barrier between he and Lee. You've got to body Nowitzki in order to defend it, and bodying Nowitzki means you're probably fouling him. This is why he's Dirk.

And finally, in crunch time:



Forget for a moment that Jason Terry successfully screens two Warriors defenders. When Nowitzki receives this pass, he's at that elbow sweet spot. But he doesn't have to disturb his placement at all when the pass comes in. The movement is one fluid process. Step out to receive the pass, catch the ball, swing the other leg back to square up, rise, and release.

Perfect.

You know what keeps Dirk Nowitzki as good as he is at 32? Precision. 

GO-GO-GADGET LINE OF THE NIGHT:

Josh Smith: 34 points on 14-16 shooting, 7 assists, 3 rebounds (weird), 1 steal, 2 blocks in 38 minutes.

Runners-Up:

Luis Scola: 35 points, 12 rebounds, 1 block

Pau Gasol: 21 points, 14 rebounds, 8 assists

WHAT YOU MISSED: 

SURPRISING GUARDS SURPRISING

Some underrated guards had a few nice games last night:
  • D.J. Augustin has developed a solid sense of when to pull up for a three. A lot of guards are unsure and are constantly trying to figure out when to shoot and when not to. Augustin though, has a good sense of when the defense is sagging and when the shot is in the flow of the offense. He doesn't leave his rebounders out to dry while they're trying to establish position. 
  • Kyle Lowry has been pretty ridiculous lately. His three-point shot, which has been pathetic until this season, has all of a sudden started dropping. His perimeter speed is creating a fair amount of steals and in transition he's becoming quite the guard. With Aaron Brooks on the shelf, the Rockets are getting back into contention, slowly but surely, because of Lowry's particular abilities. 
  • Devin Harris struggled with his shot last night, but he did manage to run the offense reasonably well. He understands Lopez better than any other player in the league and has an innate sense of where the offense runs. 

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Stephen Curry has a ridiculous set of fakes to his arsenal, particularly while on the move with the ball. He's got fakes within fakes within fakes. Last night he used about five of them on a baseline drive that absolutely froze Shawn Marion, allowing an easy reverse under the basket.

Greg Monroe is alive! 7 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, and 2 blocks for the young'n which isn't much, but he also looked more confident in 25 minutes against the Rockets. Good signs for a Pistons team that needs some element of hope.

Luis Scola has a remarkable ability to shoot directly from wherever he lands on an offensive rebound. He snares the ball, then goes right back up in a hook.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com