February 9, 2015 at 11:19 am

What’s Wrong With Patrick Beverley?

Patrick Beverley

In the last nine games, Patrick Beverley is averaging just 7.7 points on 32.9% shooting and 25% from three-point range (11-44).

But it’s one thing to struggle offensively as a role player. It’s another to be wildly inconsistent at your bread and butter — defense.

MK Bower of CultureMap joins me on the podcast from the Toyota Center after the Rockets fell 109-98 to the Blazers. We discuss the game, Beverley’s struggles and the team’s need for help at the point. We also touch on just how special this season has been for James Harden, the trade deadline and the impact of Dwight Howard being out 6-8 weeks.

Posted in Houston Rockets, Podcasts |
February 8, 2015 at 6:34 pm

Dwight Howard reveals “6-to-8 week” time frame for return

Dwight Howard on Sunday spoke to the media for the first time since receiving a bone marrow aspirate injection in his right knee, and the Rockets’ center revealed that he expected to be out six to eight weeks.

“Looking at the doctors say six to eight weeks, you’re like ‘Oh man, that’s a long time,’” said Howard. “But then I just start thinking about the positive things that can happen in those six to eight weeks.”

Howard was in great spirits, saying repeatedly that “everything happens for a reason” and that he’s looking at the positives.

Dr. Walt Lowe of the Memorial Hermann Sports Medicine Institute, who performed the procedure, followed Dwight in speaking to the press and said that time frame is “very reasonable.”

Lowe was asked when that 6-8 week time frame technically started and he clarified that Dwight can come back much sooner than that, depending on how he’s doing.

“It’s kind of whenever you want it to (start),” said Dr. Lowe. “Seriously, it’s just an estimate. This will happen as he heals, so I’m not going to let him wait to four weeks if he’s ready to push at two. We have to make decisions week in and week out based on how he’s doing and based on the level of loading. I’d say from the day of the procedure, the day he quit playing is probably where that concept comes from, but really it’s more just a time frame to say that’s probably very reasonable for him to be Dwight again.”

Lowe was optimistic, saying it’s not a day to day thing but a “week to week” injury.

dwight howard knee injury media Dwight Howard reveals 6 to 8 week time frame for return

Posted in Houston Rockets |
February 4, 2015 at 6:55 pm

James Harden Named Player of the Month… Again

james harden player month James Harden Named Player of the Month... Again

James Harden is making his case for 2014-15 MVP.

Harden was named the Western Conference Player of the Month for January today, marking the second straight month he has earned the award. It’s the first time in franchise history that a Rocket has won the award in consecutive months. He joins Yao Ming, Hakeem Olajuwon and Moses Malone as the only Rockets players to win Western Conference Player of the Month Honors multiple times.

It’s no surprise. Harden averaged 25.8 points (47.6% FG, 42.6% from three and 87.4% at the line) to go with 6.7 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 2.2 steals per night in January.

Over the last two months where Harden won the awards (31 games), Harden is averaging 28.0 points on a blistering 47.7% from the field and 40.7% from three, 6.9 assists, 5.3 rebounds and 2.0 steals.

Posted in Houston Rockets |
February 4, 2015 at 11:50 am

The latest news on Dwight Howard’s knee is not good at all

dwight howard knee The latest news on Dwight Howards knee is not good at all

The Houston Rockets released an update this morning on Dwight Howard’s knee, and it’s not exactly encouraging:

This morning Dr. Walt Lowe of the Memorial Hermann Sports Medicine Institute conducted a bone marrow aspirate injection on Rockets center Dwight Howard’s right knee. Howard will begin rehabilitation immediately and will be re-evaluated in approximately four weeks.

We went from twisted ankle to this. Howard, who has missed the last four games, will miss a minimum of 13 more over the next four weeks, but the procedure that he underwent shows that the knee issue they’re trying to tackle is more serious than something that would just require rest.

The Rockets are known for not revealing much about player injuries, as we saw for some time with Terrence Jones, and we certainly don’t have all the facts about Dwight’s knee here, but a bone marrow aspirate injection suggests a cartilage issue. Dwight revealed as much back in early December, but it was hard to take his words as an actual medical diagnosis. Not anymore.

“The problem was my cartilage was wearing down, and it’s been wearing down because I’ve been playing basketball for a very long time,” said Howard at that time. “When you have the bone rubbing on bone, it brings a lot of pain.”

When there’s a cartilage issue in the knee and the words “bone on bone” are used, microfracture surgery is always feared.

Again, I’m not pretending to know the details of the situation and am in wait-and-see mode like the rest of us, but it’s hard to be too optimistic after reports like this.

UPDATE: While it’s still clear there has been some cartilage loss in Dwight’s knee, Dr. Walter Lowe did provide that optimism, speaking with local Fox’s Mark Berman to provide some context on why they went forward with the procedure.

It’s a biologically active injection that helps almost everything heal in the knee. We took some bone marrow out of his pelvis. It gives us some young, very strong platelets with a lot of healing factors. I think his prognosis is great. This is something we did today to try to hasten the recovery time. It’s really a shot. It’s not a surgical procedure. It’s a 20 minute deal. I don’t think it’s a big deal. We want to do everything we can to give Dwight the best chance of being back as fast as he can be back. The other side of that is we want him to feel like Dwight and be one hundred percent when he comes back. This sort of mixes those two things together. I think he would get well even without this today. We’re really treating this like a bone bruise. There is nothing structurally wrong with his knee. That soreness is what we’re trying to get rid of. So we’re really basically treating a bone bruise. The time frame for these bone bruises to heal is in that 4-6 week timeframe. The most important thing for Dwight is his pain (to be) gone. That’s more important than what the MRI is going to show me in four weeks. As long as we’re seeing a combination of bone bruise gone away (and) symptoms being better, then that’s when we’ll start the transition back to the court. What makes this heal is essentially rest. I would certainly expect him before the playoffs. I hope we have quite a few games before the playoffs. I really expect him to recover and play again this season.”

Posted in Houston Rockets |
January 20, 2015 at 12:06 pm

Podcast: The Halfway Point for Rockets

Dwight Howard James Harden

We’re just past the halfway point of the season, with Houston sitting at 29-13 on the year. The Rockets have won six of their last eight games, but their two losses — a disappointment in Orlando and an embarrassment at home to Golden State — have revealed a lot about them and shown that they still have a lot of progress left to make.

MK Bower of CultureMap joins me on the podcast from the Toyota Center following the 110-98 Rocket win against the Indiana Pacers on Monday. We discuss the recent play of the Rockets, the need for more on-court synergy between James Harden and Dwight Howard, how Josh Smith and Corey Brewer have fit in and the lack of obvious trade targets for the Rockets with the February trade deadline on the horizon.

Posted in Houston Rockets, Podcasts |
January 5, 2015 at 12:17 pm

Houston Rockets Salary Cap Update

Josh Smith Corey Brewer Houston Rockets

Back in October, I wrote that (a) the Houston Rockets had enough room to use the Jeremy Lin trade exception, possibly the Bi-Annual Exception (BAE) and still use salary matching rules to take on additional salary and (b) the luxury tax would not be a significant deterrent for Rockets owner Leslie Alexander.

Well, Rockets GM Daryl Morey has been busy following this very plan.
Read More

Posted in Houston Rockets |
December 24, 2014 at 12:41 pm

Josh Smith agrees to sign with the Houston Rockets

Josh Smith Houston Rockets

It’s happening.

As first reported by Yahoo! Sports, Josh Smith will be a Houston Rocket. The 6-foot-9 forward was shockingly cut by the Detroit Pistons earlier this week and will clear waivers at 5:00pm Eastern Time today, paving the way for him to sign with the Rockets.

As discussed in the podcast on Monday, this seemed like it was going to happen based on the behind-the-scenes chatter at the Toyota Center. There were too many reasons for this marriage not to occur — Smith has history with the city of Houston and has wanted to be here in the past, he is close friends with Dwight Howard (his former AAU teammate) and the Rockets could extend to him their bi-annual exception (roughly $2.1 million), something other contenders could not offer.

There are several intriguing possibilities here with Smith. It’s a low-risk, potentially high-reward move for the team’s depth that could bolster the bigs rotation and put the Rockets in a better position to make another trade. As a result, it will be interesting to see how this impacts the future of either Terrence Jones or Donatas Motiejunas in Houston.

That’s not to say that Smith doesn’t have his flaws. Smith shot a career-low 39.1% from the field for the Pistons this season (just 24.3% from three-point range), and that’s on high volume (14.0 shots per game). His shot selection has been panned by fans and media for years. But the big hope is that he can make a real impact defensively and in transition — two of his strong suits historically. Meanwhile, on the offensive side of the ball, playing a lesser role next to the likes of James Harden and Howard could make the game easier for Smith.

But at this price, there’s not much to dislike here. If it doesn’t work out, Daryl Morey and company haven’t risked much at all in terms of cap or dollars.

Some highlights of Smith’s last season with the Pistons:

Posted in Houston Rockets |
December 23, 2014 at 10:25 am

Podcast: On Corey Brewer’s Debut and the Looming Josh Smith Signing

Josh Smith Houston Rockets James Harden

MK Bower of CultureMap joins me on the podcast from the Toyota Center after Houston’s 110-95 win over the shorthanded Portland Blazers. We discuss the win, James Harden’s monster performance (44 points on 14-26 shooting), the Corey Brewer trade and his debut and the looming signing of free agent forward Josh Smith.

Posted in Houston Rockets, Podcasts |