Archive for the ‘ Houston Rockets Blog ’ Category

Donatas Motiejunas expects to be healthy by training camp

Here’s the Houston Chronicle with an update on Rockets forward Donatas Motiejunas:

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The first week of the postseason, Rockets forward Donatas Motiejunas watched his team play as he laid in a bed, unable to get around after having back surgery.

As the Rockets continued to play through the playoffs – beating the Mavericks in the first round, then spurring an historic comeback against the Clippers in the semifinals and eventually falling to the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals, Motiejunas watched from the sidelines, wishing he could be on the floor with them.

Just before the Rockets made the best playoff run they’ve had in recent history, Motiejunas had lumbar microdisectomy surgery, ending his season.

Motiejunas is slowly recovering and said he will be cleared to play by the time training camp starts in the fall. And the forward, who started 62 games for the Rockets this season, can’t wait to be back on the court. “I will just keep working to get better and be better,” Motiejunas said. “No question about it. I will be ready for training camp.”

The AP reports: After a generation of wishing and waiting, the Golden State Warriors have finally arrived on basketball’s biggest stage again. Stephen Curry had 26 points and eight rebounds, Harrison Barnes added 24 points and the Warriors advanced to the NBA Finals for the first time in 40 years with a 104-90 victory over the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night… The Warriors shook off a slow start and sweated out a shaky finish in Game 5 to close out the Rockets and set up a matchup with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers beginning June 4… Dwight Howard led Houston with 18 points and 16 rebounds. But MVP runner-up James Harden had a forgettable finale, with a playoff-record 13 turnovers and 14 points on 2-of-11 shooting.

The AP reports: Things got tougher on Curry and the Warriors when backcourt mate Klay Thompson faked a shot that drew Trevor Ariza in the air early in the fourth quarter. Thompson absorbed Ariza’s knee to the side of his head, sending him to the floor. Thompson, who finished with 20 points, lay on the ground for a minute before walking to the locker room. He came back to the bench after receiving stitches on his right ear.

AFP reports: Forward Harrison Barnes played a key role, helping Golden State break open a close contest with four straight baskets to cap an 11-2 scoring run that turned a six-point lead into an 87-72 Warriors advantage with 7:07 left to play. Barnes scored nine straight points on a jump shot, a three-pointer, a running basket and a dunk.

AFP reports: The Warriors defense harried Rockets star guard James Harden into a dismal two-for-11 shooting performance. He missed all three of his three-point attempts and finished with an NBA playoff record 13 turnovers.

AFP reports: Dwight Howard led Houston with 18 points and 16 rebounds, but the Rockets shot just 35.1 percent from the field.

Reuters reports: The Rockets had won Game Four of the series on Monday to avoid being swept, but were outscored 35-24 in the second quarter on Wednesday and played catch up the rest of the way.

Rockets win Game 4 vs Warriors

Rockets win Game 4 vs Warriors

When Golden State’s Stephen Curry crashed into Trevor Ariza’s shoulder, was upended and sent flying toward the court on Monday night against Houston, it felt like forever before he landed.

”That was the worst (fall ever) because you’re in the air for a long time,” Curry said. ”And not knowing how you’re going to hit the floor, knowing that it’s going to happen, it’s inevitable, but you’re up there just trying to brace yourself.”

The MVP was able to return to Game 4 of the Western Conference finals after the spill but the Warriors couldn’t overcome a big deficit, as James Harden scored 45 points in the Rockets’ 128-115 victory.

– Associated Press

While the Rockets prevented a sweep, no team in NBA history has recovered from a 3-0 deficit to win a playoff series.

“We’re a really good team when we are moving the ball and working together,” Harden said. “We’ve got to do a better job of being consistent.”

Harden made 13-of-22 shots from the floor, including 7-of-11 from 3-point range, and added nine rebounds and five assists.

– AFP

Harden also pulled down nine rebounds, while center Dwight Howard notched 14 points and 12 boards as the Rockets ensured they would live to fight another day, pulling back to 3-1 down in the best-of-seven series.

Curry finished with 23 points, while guard Klay Thompson led the Warriors with 24.

Golden State, who will have their next chance to close out the series back in Oakland on Wednesday, have not been to the NBA finals since 1975.

– Reuters

James Harden struggles in Game 3 loss to Warriors

The Houston Rockets got smoked at home by the Golden State Warriors last night. Here’s the Houston Chronicle reporting:

James Harden struggles in Game 3 loss to Warriors

Harden and the Rockets had their first off night of the Western Conference Finals on Saturday night. Instead of having a chance to be their hero, Harden was on the bench for the entire fourth quarter watching his team fall to the Warriors 115-80 and fall to 0-3 in the series.

“They outworked us,” Harden said. “They played a lot better than us tonight. They played downhill all night and we never recovered.”

Harden was stellar in Games 1 and 2 in Oakland, averaging 33 points, shooting .585 from the field. He also averaged 10.5 rebounds, nine assists and 3.5 steals in the first two games.

On Saturday in Game 3, Harden had 17 points, shot .187 from the field, dished out three assists and had four rebounds.

After the first two games, guarding Harden was key for the Warriors.

“I mean, it’s hard to stop him,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “He’s got an incredible pace to his game. He sees angles. He gets into the cracks of the defense and there’s little subtle things you do that he may exploit, he may not. I thought we did a better job taking away some of the angles that he was attacking on us in the first couple games.”

Stephen Curry shines, Warriors take 3-0 lead vs Rockets

Here’s the Houston Chronicle reporting on Golden State Warriors Stephen Curry, who was even more brilliant than usual Saturday night in Houston, helping his team dominate the Rockets 115-80 to take a 3-0 series lead in the Western Conference Finals:

Stephen Curry shines, Warriors take 3-0 lead vs Rockets

Curry was marvelous in Game 1 and deadly in Game 2. He was both and more in Game 3, pouring in a game-high 40 points on 12-of-19 shooting, including a sublime 7-of-9 on 3-pointers.

The scrawny, tiny Curry has never stood larger in his basketball career. He broke Reggie Miller’s NBA record for 3s made in a playoff year. He’s averaging 35.6 points on 61.2 percent shooting (38 of 62) from the field and 58 percent (18 of 31) beyond the arc. He’s made Harden forgettable, placed his name among the league’s historic greats and put once-forgotten Golden State within sight of the only series that matters.

Curry was very, very good before the 2014-15 playoffs. Thanks to three games against the once-resilient Rockets, a 6-foot-3, 190-pound point guard has become indisputably great.

“Steph was Steph. He’s the MVP,” said Warriors coach Steve Kerr, whose highly confident team blew out the fight-less Rockets 115-80 Saturday at the Toyota Center. “He’s had a brilliant season. The shooting is hard to describe because I don’t think we’ve ever seen anybody shoot the ball the way Steph does off the dribble, off the catch. Seven-for-nine from 3. I mean, it was remarkable. Just a tremendous performance.”

Check this video of the top five plays from Rockets at Warriors, Western Conference Finals Game 2, which Golden State won 99-98 to take a 2-0 series lead.

Warriors edge Rockets 99-98 to take 2-0 series lead

James Harden had Game 2 on his fingertips - and then he didn’t.

Now the Golden State Warriors have the Western Conference finals in their grasp.

Stephen Curry scored 33 points before Harden lost the ball in the closing seconds, and the Warriors held off the Houston Rockets 99-98 on Thursday night to take a 2-0 lead in the series.

Harden rallied the Rockets from 17 points down in the second quarter and had a chance to finish off the comeback in the fourth. Instead, Klay Thompson harassed him and Curry came over to trap Harden, who lost the ball as time expired…

Harden had 38 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, and Dwight Howard overcame a sprained left knee that slowed him down to finish with 19 points and 17 rebounds for a Rockets team headed home in a major hole.

– Associated Press

Rockets complete comeback, eliminate Clippers in seven games

James Harden scored 31 points, Dwight Howard had 16 points and 15 rebounds and the Houston Rockets never trailed in a 113-100 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday, sending them to the Western Conference finals for the first time since 1997.

It’s the ninth time in NBA history that a team has overcome a 3-1 series deficit to win a playoff series.

The Rockets needed an epic comeback to overcome a 19-point third-quarter deficit and force Game 7. No such heroics were needed Sunday when they were up by 17 after three and Howard opened the fourth quarter with a 3-point play to push it to 88-68.

Blake Griffin scored five points in a 9-0 run to cut the lead to eight points with less than 2 1/2 minutes remaining. Harden made a pair of free throws after that, but a dunk by DeAndre Jordan got the Clippers within eight again. This time Trevor Ariza hit a 3 from the corner to secure the victory.

– Associated Press

James Harden trying to shake off effects of flu

The Houston Rockets face elimination tonight in Game 6 unless they can step up and once again beat the Los Angeles Clippers. Rockets star James Harden, who is averaging 24.8 points, 6.0 assists and 9.2 assists per game in this second round series through five games, is shaking off the effects of the flu. Here’s ESPN.com reporting:

James Harden trying to shake off effects of flu

James Harden was coughing and trying to clear his throat during his chat with reporters on Thursday morning.

The Houston Rockets’ starting guard will play in Thursday’s critical Game 6 against the Los Angeles Clippers while still feeling the effects of the flu.

“I’m all right, I’m good,” said Harden, who played through the illness and needed IV fluids the morning of Game 5 on Tuesday. “I’m all right, I’m in a good place right now.”

His team isn’t.

The Rockets trail the Western Conference semifinal best-of-seven series 3-2, and to force a Game 7 at home, they must win in a place where they have played badly.

The Clippers lead the Rockets 3 games to 2 in their second round playoff series. Tonight’s Game 6, in Los Angeles, is must-win for Houston. Here’s the Houston Chronicle reporting:

Josh Smith will start Rockets-Clippers Game 6

Rockets coach Kevin McHale said he would start forward Josh Smith again in Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals on Thursday night in Los Angeles.

Smith started in Game 5 and forward Terrence Jones came off the bench.

“We just tried to change some things up, tried to get (Jones) with that second unit, maybe get him some more looks, get him going,” McHale said. “Josh is a very good passer. We gotta use another guy out there to break them down.”

NBA fines Dwight Howard $15K

Dwight Howard fined for hard foul on Matt Barnes

NBA fines Dwight Howard $15K

The NBA announced today that they have fined Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard $15,000 for making contact above the shoulders with Los Angeles Clippers forward Matt Barnes in Rockets-Clippers Game 4 on May 10.

Howard’s actions occurred with 9:21 remaining in the first quarter of the Clippers’ 128-95 win over the Rockets on May 10 at Staples Center.

The Clippers currently lead their second round series with the Rockets three games to one.

Tyson Chandler denies throwing a punch at Dwight Howard

Here’s the Houston Chronicle clearing up something you may have heard about but probably didn’t because it didn’t actually happen. Not the Chronicle’s fault. They’re simply clarifying what’s up. Here is the report:

Tyson Chandler denies throwing a punch at Dwight Howard

Dallas center Tyson Chandler said he had no idea there were rumors that he might face suspension for an altercation between he and Rockets center Dwight Howard in Game 4 on Sunday.

On Monday, a video of a play where Chandler and Howard were tangled up and both called for technical fouls floated around social media. In some angles, it looked like Chandler might have thrown a punch, which according to NBA rules would have left him with a one-game suspension.

Chandler said he hadn’t heard any of that speculation until shoot around before Game 5 on Tuesday.

“That is the first time I heard that,” Chandler said. “I didn’t throw any punches. I wouldn’t throw a punch at Dwight.”

Jason Terry fined for flopping vs Mavs

Jason Terry fined for flopping vs Mavs

Houston Rockets guard Jason Terry has been fined $5,000 by the NBA for violating the league’s anti-flopping rules during Game 2 of Houston’s first-round playoff series against the Dallas Mavericks.

The incident occurred with 6:25 remaining in the third quarter of Rockets’ 111-99 victory over the Mavericks last night at Toyota Center.

To view the play, click on this link.

Former AAU teammates now together in playoffs for Rockets

It’s cool when buddies from your childhood are in your life years later. Especially when they’re your teammate on a really good NBA playoff team. Here’s ESPN Houston reporting:

As kids growing up in Atlanta, they played on the same AAU team, just having a good time and dreaming about the big time: playing in the NBA.

Josh Smith’s dad, Pete, picked the kids up and directed them on basketball. Dwight Howard, a close friend of Josh’s, would ride along and have a good time talking about the future.

“I looked at a picture of me and him in high school that we took together playing AAU basketball,” Howard said Tuesday morning. “It’s crazy that we’re actually competing, hoping for a chance at an NBA title. It’s amazing and we’re blessed that we have an excellent opportunity in front of us and we have to take advantage of it.”

Tuesday night, that future turned into the present as Howard and Smith dominated the second half of a sloppy first-round playoff game at the Toyota Center.

During the middle of the noise and the good times, Smith and Howard gave each other a shoulder bump, just like old times. At the end of the evening, the Houston Rockets took control of this series against the turmoil-plagued Dallas Mavericks with a 111-99 victory to take a 2-0 series lead.

Howard happily gets to focus on the upcoming playoffs

Here’s the Houston Chronicle reporting on Rockets center Dwight Howard, who will fortunately get to focus on the upcoming NBA playoffs instead of off-court issues:

Atlanta (Ga.) Police will not press charges of child abuse against Rockets center Dwight Howard, according to Atlanta Police spokesman Sgt. Gregory Lyon.

“We have investigated this case and are not moving forward with charges,” Lyon said via email.

The mother of one of Howard’s children had alleged that Howard had caused bruises on their then six-year-old son. The case was originally investigated by the Florida Department of Children and Families, but no charges were brought.

Dwight Howard hopes to play 20 NBA seasons

Here’s the Houston Chronicle reporting on center Dwight Howard, who hope to put two decades of NBA work in before he hangs up his sneakers and Superman cape.

Dwight Howard hopes to play 20 NBA seasons

Dwight Howard said he hopes he can have a career as long as the one his Wednesday night opponent — Tim Duncan — has had in San Antonio.

Duncan, 38, has played 17 years in the NBA and is still starting for the Spurs and is considered to be one of the best big men in the league.

“That’s always been my goal- to play 20 years in the league so I think it can be done,” said Howard, who is in his 11th NBA season. “It would be great. Tim (Duncan) is still playing great basketball. He has migrated to different spots on the floor instead of just the post.”

James Harden not focused on NBA scoring title

James Harden not focused on scoring title

Here’s the Houston Chronicle reporting on Rockets guard James Harden, with stats through Tuesday’s games and not including Wednesday’s results:

With Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook scoring just 17 points on Tuesday, Rockets guard James Harden’s lead for the NBA scoring title grew to two-tenths of a point, the largest margin since Harden regained the scoring lead last week.

Harden is averaging 27.7 going into tonight’s game vs. San Antonio. Westbrook is at 27.5.

Harden did not know. He did not want to know, and his friends, family and teammates know not to tell him.

“I don’t want to hear it,” Harden said. “I don’t want to hear. I think the most important thing right now is winning. I’ve said it plenty of times, just winning and getting in a rhythm going into the postseason.

Brook Lopez, James Harden named NBA Players of Week through April 5

brook lopez

Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez and Houston Rockets guard James Harden today were named NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, March 30, through Sunday, April 5.

Lopez led the Nets to a 3-1 week behind team-leading averages of 20.8 points (sixth in the conference), 10.3 rebounds (fourth in the conference) and 2.0 blocks (tied-fifth in the conference). Lopez shot better than 50 percent in all four contests, and ranked seventh in the East for the week with a field goal percentage of 59.4. He recorded two point-rebound double-doubles, including a 30-point, 17-rebound outing during a 114-109 win over the Toronto Raptors on April 3.

james harden

Harden helped the Rockets to a 3-1 week behind a league-leading 36.8 points. He scored 40-plus twice, raising his league-leading total of 40-point games this season to 10. Harden recorded his second 50-point game of the season when he netted a career-high 51 during a 115-111 win over the Sacramento Kings on April 1.

Other nominees for the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week were Atlanta’s DeMarre Carroll, Brooklyn’s Deron Williams, Cleveland’s LeBron James, the Los Angeles Clippers’ Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan, San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard, Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan and Washington’s John Wall.

Dwight Howard participates in some of Rockets practice

Here’s the Houston Chronicle reporting on the Rockets, who will be happy to welcome Dwight Howard back when he’s ready to return, even if they’ve shown a terrific ability to play and win without him:

Dwight Howard participates in some of Rockets practice

Rockets center Dwight Howard was able to go through a lot of practice with the team on Monday, said coach Kevin McHale.

There is still no date set for Howard’s return but he is getting closer, after being out the last 22 games with edema in his knee.

“We didn’t have a really hard practice, but he was able to do some things and he looked good,” McHale said.

James Harden suspended for kicking LeBron James

James Harden suspended for kicking LeBron James

Houston Rockets guard James Harden has been suspended one game without pay for kicking Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James in the groin, it was announced today by Rod Thorn, President, Basketball Operations.

The incident occurred with 2:08 remaining in the third quarter of the Rockets’ 105-103 overtime victory against the Cavaliers at Toyota Center on March 1. Harden was assessed a Flagrant Foul 1 for the incident, and it has been upgraded to a Flagrant Foul 2 upon league office review.

Harden will serve his suspension tomorrow when the Rockets travel to Atlanta to play the Hawks.

To view the play, click on this link.

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