Archive for the ‘ Houston Rockets Blog ’ Category

Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle thinks it’s absurd that the Houston Rockets have fired head coach Kevin McHale. Here’s the Dallas Morning News reporting:

rick carlisle

Rick Carlisle, who played with McHale in Boston and has been friends with him ever since, didn’t mince words about the Rockets’ move.

“It’s preposterous,” he said. “It’s beyond belief. I’m really shocked. It’s just hard to believe that something could happen at this stage to a guy who took a team unexpectedly to the conference finals last year. To have this happen after just 11 games is just preposterous. Nobody expects this. It’s very disappointing to hear. But Kevin will be fine. There will be a lot of people wanting to hire him. I can tell you that.”

Report: Kevin McHale fired by Rockets

Report: Rockets fire Kevin McHale

When a team with the exact same core of players that has proven to be successful in the very recent past under a certain coach stops performing up to expectations, what often happens?

The head coach gets fired, that’s what.

And that’s what is going down with the Houston Rockets, who are off to a 4-7 start and have reportedly fired head coach Kevin McHale, per a Yahoo Sports report.

McHale delivered the Rockets to the Western Conference Finals a year ago, but four straight blowout losses and a roster struggling to respond with effort pushed the organization to make a move to salvage what had been expected to be a season of championship contention.

Only 11 games into the season, the move reflects owner Leslie Alexander’s seriousness about winning within the present window with James Harden and Dwight Howard. Alexander and management, including executives Daryl Morey and Gersson Rosas, made the decision on Tuesday to replace McHale, league sources said.

McHale signed a three-year contract extension a year ago and is owed approximately $12 million.

A look at Rockets player shooting percentages this season is alarming: James Harden 37.2%, Trevor Ariza 33.6%, newly-acquired guard Ty Lawson 33.3%, Patrick Beverley 34.2%, Corey Brewer 29.9%.

Even worse, the team’s quality of play so far has actually appeared worse than their 4-7 record would suggest. The Rockets have been one of the lowest-rated squads in the league this short season both offensively and defensively per 100 possessions.

And per the Washington Post:

The symbol of Houston’s disastrous start has been Ty Lawson, a mercurial point guard the Rockets dealt for this summer after a tumultuous prior 12 months with the Denver Nuggets. Lawson – the player who organized Tuesday’s players-only meeting – has been awful thus far, averaging just 8.9 points and 5.6 assists while shooting 33.3 percent overall and 27.3 percent from three-point range. The combination of two ball-dominant guards in Lawson and James Harden, last year’s league MVP runner-up, has made for an awkward pairing.

The Rockets certainly have the roster needed to bounce back. But if it happens, it’ll be under new leadership.

Houston Rockets point guard Ty Lawson is averaging a modest 10.5 points and 5.6 assists per game as he continues to develop chemistry with his new teammates. Here’s the Denver Postreporting on Lawson and his former team, the Nuggets:

Ty Lawson says he appreciated his time with Nuggets

Ty Lawson was trying out a product in his future while talking about the past. He was sitting in one of the baseline seats at the Pepsi Center, in Houston Rockets garb, with his new business venture on his feet — a pair of big slippers called Sleekers, which are due out later this month.

“It’s a little different, coming through here seven years, just coming back,” he said after Rockets shootaround Friday morning.

Lawson makes his Denver debut in a different uniform in the Nuggets game against Houston. It is the first time he’ll take the Pepsi Center court as anything other than a Nugget, which he was for six seasons.

“It was pretty great,” said Lawson of his time with the Nuggets. “I had a good couple of years here. This team gave me my first opportunity and chance. So I have nothing bad to say.”

Rockets defense not up to par

Here’s the Houston Chronicle reporting on the Rockets, who are off to a disappointing 4-4 start:

Last season, the Rockets were the NBA’s sixth-rated defensive team, allowing 100.5 points per 100 possessions and were considerably better when Dwight Howard played.

Through eight games this season, they rank 27th, allowing six more points per 100 possessions with opponents making 47.1 percent of their shots, the third-worst field goal percentage defense in the league.

The problem, they said, was made clear when the low-scoring and previously winless Nets burned them for 106 points on Wednesday.

“Effort and rebounding,” Rockets coach Kevin McHale said of the primary issues. “We have not been very good defensively.”

Dwight Howard out Friday vs. Kings

Here’s the Houston Chronicle reporting on the 2-3 Rockets:

Dwight Howard out Friday vs. Kings

The Rockets’ hopes that Dwight Howard would be available to play both games of their road trip back-to-back ended before Friday’s morning shootaround began.

Howard was ruled out for Friday’s game at the Sacramento Kings while the Rockets continue to manage his workload in back-to-back games. He is expected to play Saturday against the Clippers in Los Angeles.

Forward Terrence Jones, out since playing the season’s first two games because of a cut eyelid, and Pat Beverley, who suffered a concussion on Wednesday, did not make the trip. Forward Donatas Motiejunas has not yet been cleared to practice since last season’s back surgery.

Here’s the Houston Chronicle reporting on Rockets guard Jason Terry, who at this point in his career isn’t particularly interested in preseason action:

Jason Terry taking it easy in preseason

Rockets veteran guard Jason Terry did not dress for Tuesday’s preseason opener and does not expect to play Wednesday against Dallas. After 16 NBA seasons, Terry said he knows how to be ready for the season and that does not involve playing many, if any preseason games.

“Oct. 28, I’ll see you then,” Terry said. “About my 10th year, when I was in Dallas, I played maybe four games. It doesn’t really affect me. I have my set routine, how I know to prepare my body, to be ready for the first flight.”

Moses Malone funeral will be Saturday

Here’s the Houston Chronicle blog reporting on the late, great Moses Malone:

Moses Malone funeral will be Saturday

The funeral for NBA great Moses Malone will be held at noon Saturday at Lakewood Church, [the] former site of The Summit where Malone built much of his legend as one of the NBA’s greatest players ever.

Moses Malone Jr. said that the ceremony will be a celebration of his father’s life with NBA players from around the country expected to attend.

Malone died Sunday morning in Virginia of an apparent heart attack. He was 60-years-old.

Former teammate and fellow Hall of Famer Charles Barkley will deliver the eulogy, Malone Jr. said. Barkley, who called Malone “dad,” often credited Malone for his success as a player.

Here’s the Orlando Sentinel blog reporting on Rockets center Dwight Howard, who made a mistake you cannot make in an airport:

Dwight Howard detained at airport due to gun

Former Orlando Magic star Dwight Howard has a personal collection of more than 50 guns – shotguns, bazookas, handguns and semiautomatics.

But the Houston Rockets center apparently tried to take a pistol on an airplane last Friday and was detained at George Bush Intercontinental airport in Houston.

According to ESPN, Houston Police Department spokesperson Kese Smith said Wednesday that Howard was stopped at Terminal E at 7 a.m. when TSA officials discovered a pistol in the bottom of a carry-on bag.

Rockets re-sign Jason Terry

Jason Terry re-signs with Rockets

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that the team has re-signed guard Jason Terry.

Terry (6-2, 180, Arizona) played 77 games for the Houston Rockets during the 2014-15 season averaging 7.0 points, 1.9 assists and 1.6 rebounds in 21.3 minutes per game. The sixteenth year guard also played in and started all 17 games for the Rockets during the 2015 NBA Playoffs averaging 9.2 points, 2.8 assists and 1.9 rebounds in 28.6 minutes per game. The University of Arizona product and Seattle native holds career averages of 14.8 points, 4.2 assists, 2.5 rebounds and 1.4 steals in 31.8 minutes per game over the course of 1,213 career appearances, including 668 starts, with the Atlanta Hawks, Dallas Mavericks, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets and Houston Rockets.

Terry was originally selected tenth overall in the 1999 NBA Draft by the Atlanta Hawks. In his first season in Houston, Terry became only the third player in NBA history, along with Ray Allen and Jason Kidd, to make more than 2,000 three-point field goals in their career. He currently sits at 2,076 three-point field goals made and third on the all-time list. Terry was also named NBA Sixth Man of the Year in 2009. He was acquired by the Houston Rockets on September 17, 2014 in a trade with the Sacramento Kings.

Rockets re-sign K.J. McDaniels

Rockets re-sign K.J. McDaniels

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that the team has re-signed restricted free agent K.J. McDaniels to a multi-year deal.

McDaniels (6-6, 200, Clemson) played 62 games as a rookie for the Houston Rockets and Philadelphia 76ers during the 2014-15 season recording a combined 7.9 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.1 blocks in 21.8 minutes per game.

McDaniels was drafted 32nd overall in the 2014 NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers. He was acquired from Philadelphia by Houston in a trade on Feb.19, 2015.

Nuggets trade Ty Lawson to Rockets

Nuggets trade Ty Lawson to Rockets

The Denver Nuggets have acquired Joey Dorsey, Nick Johnson, Kostas Papanikolaou, Pablo Prigioni, a protected 2016 first round pick and cash considerations from Houston in exchange for Ty Lawson and a 2017 second round pick, General Manager and Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly announced today. Subsequently, Prigioni was waived by Denver following the trade.

Dorsey, 6-8, 268, appeared in 69 games (17 starts) and averaged 2.7 points and 4.0 rebounds in 12.4 minutes per game for the Rockets during the 2014-15 season. The four-year NBA veteran holds career averages of 2.6 points and 3.9 rebounds in 130 career games (26 starts) with Houston, Sacramento and Toronto. Dorsey was originally drafted with the 33rd overall selection of the 2008 NBA Draft out of the University of Memphis.

Johnson, 6-3, 200, averaged 2.6 points and 1.4 rebounds in 9.4 minutes per game in 28 games for the Houston Rockets during his rookie campaign in 2014-15. The first-year guard also appeared in 20 games for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the NBA D-League, averaging 18.2 points, 5.4 rebounds and 5.1 assists in 33.9 minutes per game. The Arizona product was selected 42nd overall by the Houston Rockets in the 2014 NBA Draft.

Papanikolaou, 6-8, 225, appeared in 43 games (one start) in his rookie season with Houston, averaging 4.2 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 18.5 minutes per game. He was originally drafted by the New York Knicks with the 48th pick of the 2012 NBA Draft and was traded to Portland in 2012 and then to Houston on July 10, 2013. From 2011 to 2013, the Greek forward played for Olympiacos and in 2013-14 he played for FC Barcelona in the Spanish ACB league.

Prigioni, 6-3, 180, averaged 3.0 points and 2.8 assists in 16.8 minutes per game in 24 games with the Houston Rockets during the 2014-15 NBA season. Prigioni went undrafted in the 1999 NBA Draft and has appeared in 211 career games (48 starts) in three seasons with New York and Houston, averaging 3.8 points, 1.9 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game.

Lawson, 5-11, 195, appeared in 75 games (all starts), averaging 15.2 points and a career-high 9.6 assists in 35.5 minutes per game with Denver during the 2014-15 NBA season. Lawson spent the first six years of his career with the Nuggets, playing in 416 games (307 starts) and averaging 14.2 points, 6.6 assists, 2.9 rebounds and 1.2 steals in 35.5 minutes per game. The North Carolina Tar-Heel was originally selected 18th overall in the 2009 NBA Draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves and was traded to Denver in a draft-night deal.

Point guard Ty Lawson has been busy getting in trouble off the court and will soon be wearing a different jersey on his back. Here is Yahoo Sports reporting:

The Denver Nuggets have reached agreement to trade guard Ty Lawson to the Houston Rockets, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Houston will send Kostas Papanikolaou, Pablo Prigioni, Joey Dorsey, Nick Johnson and a protected 2016 first-round draft pick to Denver, sources said. Along with Lawson, the Nuggets will send a 2017 second-round pick to Houston.

Denver’s plan is to turn the team over to rookie point guard Emmanuel Mudiay, the seventh overall pick in the June NBA draft, and veteran guard Jameer Nelson.

Donatas Motiejunas expects to be healthy by training camp

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

nba blog

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.


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

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