April 30, 2015 at 1:04 pm

Every Houston Rocket Highlight from Game 5 vs Dallas

Houston Rockets Highlights Game 5 vs. Dallas

We’re going to miss the local broadcast as it’s all national from here as the Houston Rockets start the second round of the playoffs on Monday.

But it’s a joy to listen to Bill Worrell, Matt Bullard and Clyde Drexler with their final call of the season as the Rockets knock off the Dallas Mavericks with a Game 5 win. Here are all the highlights.

Local Broadcast

Posted in Houston Rockets |
April 29, 2015 at 10:41 am

Tale of the tape: Mark Cuban vs. Rockets

Mark Cuban Houston Rockets series

It’s been less than four years since Dallas owner Mark Cuban dismantled a championship team for the mere chance to pursue Dwight Howard as a free agent. It didn’t work out, of course, with Howard instead eventually choosing to sign with the Houston Rockets, Cuban’s chief rival.

Since Howard spurned Dallas, Cuban and the Mavs have taken repeated personal shots at the Rockets, often using the media in an attempt to drive a narrative against the Rockets being an elite destination for marquee players.

But with the Rockets wrapping up a “gentleman’s sweep” against Cuban’s Mavs in just five games, it feels like an appropriate time to go back to the tape and examine the validity of Cuban’s arguments.

Let’s take a look!

Cuban’s allegation (July 18, 2013)

The Dallas Mavericks will be better off in the immediate future because they missed out on Dwight Howard, allowing them to sign several other free agents, owner Mark Cuban said. “I think we’ve put ourselves in a spot where we’re in a better spot than we were at if we got just the one max-out deal,” Cuban told ESPNDallas.com during the Mavs’ summer league game Wednesday night. “I think it’d be better shorter and longer term. I don’t want to make that sound the wrong way. I think we’ll be better this year because we added five good players or more.”

Verdict: Jose Calderon, Wayne Ellington and Sam Dalembert — three of the four main pieces that Dallas ultimately used that space to sign — are no longer even with Cuban’s team. Monta Ellis, the fourth, is a probable free agent this summer. And having Ellis as arguably the team’s top option has led to 8th- and 7th-place finishes in the West for the Mavs in his two seasons in Dallas.

Cuban’s allegation (October 31, 2013)

“Obviously, he made a mistake in judgment,” Cuban said with a laugh when asked if he could blame Dwight Howard for choosing young James Harden as his key running mate with the Rockets over older Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks. “Do I blame him? No, that’s what young kids do. They make mistakes in judgment.”

“You choose teams,” Cuban said of what he believes is a sound strategy for free agents. “You don’t choose players. If he made a choice off of an individual player, yeah, he made a mistake. You choose teams. You choose organizations. You choose coaches.”

Verdict: Dwight Howard chose a team and organization that’s finished 4th and 2nd in the West in his two seasons in Houston, winning an average of 55 games per season. He’s also currently in the second round of the playoffs. The Mavs have averaged 49.5 wins per season since, resulting in 8th- and 7th-place finishes, and were dispatched in the first round both times. Oh, and did we mention that the second exit for Cuban’s Mavs came directly at the hands of Howard?

Cuban’s allegation (August 22, 2014)

“It says a lot about their approach more than anything else. They just have a different understanding and approach to chemistry than we do. Some teams, and that’s not just the Rockets, just put together talent and the talent takes care of itself. We think chemistry matters. When Carmelo came to visit us, there was no chance that we were going to put him in someone else’s jersey number and put it on the outside of the arena. That’s not our style.”

Chandler Parsons Mark Cuban Verdict: Mr. Chemistry dealt for Rajon Rondo after his Mavs started the season 19-8 and appeared to have one of the great offenses in league history. Including the postseason, the Mavs then went 26-22 in games Rondo played, barely eclipsing .500. There’s also the matter of Cuban stripping down his roster after their 2011 championship run, all for the chance of going after Howard the next summer. Meanwhile, the Rockets are currently starting four of the same five starters (Howard, Harden, Ariza, Jones) they did opening night, with the only absence due to injury (Pat Beverley).

Which team is the one that values chemistry, again?

Cuban’s allegation (September 29, 2014)

Cuban on Daryl Morey’s comments that if players want to win a championship they need to go to Houston: “I’m not sure how he would know that.”

Verdict: Ask Howard, the same guy for which Cuban tore apart a championship team to pursue.

Cuban’s allegation (November 22, 2013)

“They were bad for so long, it wasn’t really there, other than that one playoff year,” Cuban said of a rivalry with the Rockets. “But now they’ve got good people. I think there’s more of a rivalry building. It’s still early in the season for that. But now that we’ve played them two times, we can help them sell tickets next time. I think they need a little help.”

Verdict: The minimum ticket price on the secondary market to get into Rockets/Mavs playoff games at Toyota Center was roughly $100/ticket. Meanwhile, tickets for Sunday’s Game 4 in Dallas were offered for below $40/ticket on StubHub, selling for well below face value. Perhaps Cuban should be more concerned with his own ticket affairs.

Cuban’s allegation (April 17, 2015)

“[The biggest difference is] practice time. There’s no more predictable team than the Rockets. You know exactly what they’re gonna do,” he says. “But James Harden is so good. That’s what analytics have begot. Right? Predictability. If you know what the percentages are, in the playoffs, you have time to counter them. Whether you’re good enough to do it is another question. Because they are very talented, and James Harden, I think, is the MVP. Because that’s not a very good team over there.”

Verdict: The “Predictable, not a very good team” 4, Mark Cuban’s group 1.

Posted in Houston Rockets |
April 29, 2015 at 3:46 am

Podcast: “Predictable” Rockets crush Mavericks, advance to West Semifinals

James Harden celebrates Game 5

“There’s no more predictable team than the Rockets,” said Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. “You know exactly what they’re gonna do.”

Predicting it is one thing. Stopping it is entirely another.

But after dropping 28 points in Game 5 and leading the Rockets to a 4-1 series win — the franchise’s first since 2009 — James Harden made it clear that making quick work of Cuban’s Mavericks wasn’t the end game for the Rockets.

MK Bower joins me on the podcast from the Toyota Center as we recap Game 5 and the series. We discuss how Harden is changing the script, Josh Smith’s huge impact, Dwight Howard putting the knee injury to bed, the possible end to Dirk’s Mavericks and the upcoming Western Conference Semifinals against the Spurs or Clippers.

Posted in Houston Rockets, Podcasts |
April 27, 2015 at 12:18 pm

Tyson Chandler threw a punch at Dwight Howard in Game 4

Tyson Chandler punches Dwight Howard

Things have been getting physical in this series between Dwight Howard and Tyson Chandler. For the Mavericks center, it boiled over Sunday night.

Late in Game 4, Chandler responded to Dwight breaking off his arm hold with a punch to the back. The officials called a double technical, but the replay clearly shows that Chandler reared back with a closed fist and threw a punch at Howard.

According to the NBA rules on fouls and penalties:

Any player who throws a punch, whether it connects or not, has committed an unsportsmanlike act. He will be ejected immediately and suspended for a minimum of one game.

Given how important Chandler is to a team that plays almost no defense and the fact that their backs are to the wall, don’t look for the NBA to enforce the rule, but it’s clearly a punch and would merit a suspension under different circumstances.

Update 3:22pm: No surprise, but the NBA will not suspend Tyson Chandler for throwing this punch — he will play Tuesday night in Game 5. It sets an interesting precedent that teams could use in the future to potentially avoid suspensions. The reaction Chandler gets from Houston fans in Game 5 should be interesting.

Posted in Houston Rockets |
April 25, 2015 at 1:34 am

Every Houston Rocket Highlight from Game 3 in Dallas

Houston Rockets Game 3 vs Dallas Highlights

The Houston Rockets took the best punch the Dallas Mavericks could deliver and it still didn’t matter.

Despite Dallas putting up an insane 72 points in the first half, the Rockets hung tough, took the lead back in the third and went on to the 130-128 win behind monster performances from superstars James Harden (playoff career-high 42 points) and Dwight Howard (playoff career-high 26 rebounds) and huge contributions from Josh Smith, Corey Brewer and Trevor Ariza.

When your team drops 130, this takes several hours to put together, but here is every Rocket highlight from the local broadcast of Game 3:

Game 3

See Also: Every Houston Rocket Highlight from Games 1 and 2

Posted in Houston Rockets |
April 23, 2015 at 3:20 pm

Every Houston Rocket Highlight from Game 1 and Game 2 vs. Dallas

Houston Rockets Playoffs Video Highlights

That was quite a thrill ride at the Toyota Center as key mid-season acquisitions Corey Brewer and Josh Smith each played huge roles in helping the Rockets take a 2-0 series lead over the Dallas Mavericks.

If you live out of town or watched the ESPN and TNT broadcasts, you may have missed the excitement that Bill Worrell and Matt Bullard bring to the call. Here is every Rocket highlight from the local broadcasts of the games:

Game 1

Game 2

Well-known ClutchFans user batkins has also posted every Rocket highlight from Game 2 on the TNT broadcast.

Posted in Houston Rockets |
April 22, 2015 at 2:40 pm

Mavericks rule out Rajon Rondo indefinitely to ego injury — err, I mean “back” injury

Rajon Rondo Dallas Mavericks

Rajon Rondo melted down in Game 2 and now he’s reportedly out “indefinitely” this series.

This isn’t even questionable — anyone who watched Rondo in Game 2 knows that he completely checked out and was looking for a fight. To suggest he can’t play because of a back injury is a blatant cover-up by Dallas.

But that doesn’t really matter. The question is — does this help or hurt the Rockets? Rondo is the best defender that the Mavericks can throw at James Harden, but as we’ve talked about in the last few podcasts, he is a complete mess for that Dallas team on the offensive end of the ball. The Rockets are consistently able to sag off Rondo and force him to shoot outside shots, where he’s a total train wreck.

The Rockets will be seeing a lot more of JJ Barea, Ray Felton and Devin Harris (once healthy from a toe injury) in this series, so some adjustments will have to be made. Jason Terry has been fantastic shooting the ball in the series (6-9 from three-point range) but can be a liability on defense. I don’t think any player in that mediocre Dallas trio is going to force the Rockets to slide Trevor Ariza or Corey Brewer over, but it’s something to keep an eye on in Game 3 this Friday.

But with the Mavericks giving up three key contributors in Brandan Wright, Jae Crowder and Jameer Nelson, plus a first round pick, for Rondo, I’m reminded of Mavericks owner Mark Cuban’s comments this past summer when talking about the difference between the Mavericks and the Rockets.

“(The Rockets) just have a different understanding and approach to chemistry than we do,” said Cuban. “Some teams, and that’s not just the Rockets, just put together talent and the talent takes care of itself. We think chemistry matters.”

Talk about blowing up in your face.

Posted in Houston Rockets |
April 22, 2015 at 3:22 am

Podcast: The Josh Smith Show in Game 2

Josh Smith dominates Game 2

Josh Smith was struggling against the Dallas Mavericks in this series.

The key word there is was.

Smith exploded for 13 points, 9 assists and 6 rebounds in the second half alone (See Video), feasting like a king on lob passes to good friend Dwight Howard as the Houston Rockets pulled away from the Mavericks in the fourth quarter for a 111-99 win in Game 2 to take a 2-0 series lead.

MK Bower joins me on the podcast late into the night at the Toyota Center as we discuss the huge win, Smith and Howard’s big night, James Harden’s struggles, the crumbling Mavs and how Daryl Morey appears to have outsmarted Mark Cuban.

Posted in Houston Rockets, Podcasts |