Archive for the ‘ Houston Rockets Blog ’ Category

Houston Rockets rookie Robert Covington, who has played on assignment with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, was today named the 2014 NBA Development League Rookie of the Year, as voted on by the league’s 17 head coaches. The award recognizes the first-year professional who most significantly contributed to his team’s success during the course of the season.

Covington (6-9, 215, Tennessee State) played in 42 of the Vipers 50 regular season games on assignment from the Rockets, 41 as a starter. He averaged a team-high 23.2 points, good for second-best in the NBA D-League, while shooting 44 percent from the field. He rounded out his stat line averaging a Vipers-best 9.2 rebounds and 2.4 steals, second-highest in the league. During the regular season, Covington led the team in scoring 21 times and was the Vipers leading rebounder in 13 contests. He scored in double figures in 41 of his 42 games in Rio Grande Valley, recording two 40-plus point games and four additional 30-plus point outings.

A 2014 NBA D-League All-Star, Covington scored an NBA D-League All-Star record 33 points, 22 of which came in the game’s final six minutes, en route to earning MVP honors in the game. He connected on 12 of his 23 shots, including four-of-eight three-pointers at NBA All-Star festivities in New Orleans.

“Robert has had an excellent rookie season on assignment with the Vipers,” said Chris Alpert, Vice President of Basketball Operations and Player Personnel for the NBA D-League. “He embraced the opportunity to develop all aspects of his game in the NBA D-League and proved that he is able to perform at a professional level. I congratulate him on such a successful start to his career and look forward to watching his progress with the Houston Rockets.”

Covington helped the Vipers secure the fifth seed in the 2014 NBA D-League Playoffs, averaging 18.3 points in Rio Grande Valley’s first-round match-up against the Iowa Energy, a series the Vipers won in three games. He will re-join the Vipers tonight in Texas for the team’s game second-round playoff game against the Santa Cruz Warriors. Rio Grande Valley currently trails the Warriors 1-0 in the best-of-three series.

Rockets sign Dexter Pittman, waive Greg Smith

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that the team has signed center Dexter Pittman to a multi-year contract. The 47th “Call-Up” this season, Pittman joins the Rockets from the D-League’s Austin Toros. To open a roster spot, the Rockets have waived center/forward Greg Smith.

Pittman (6-11, 285, Texas), who is currently in his fourth season in the NBA, was originally selected by Miami in the second round (32nd overall) of the 2010 NBA Draft. He has appeared in 50 regular season games (six starts) with Miami, Memphis and Atlanta, averaging 2.3 points and 1.8 rebounds in 6.9 minutes per outing. Pittman has also seen action in three career postseason contests (one start) with the Heat. This season, Pittman was signed to a 10-day contract by the Hawks on Feb. 22 and appeared in two games before being released on Feb. 27. Pittman previously played three seasons with the Heat before being traded to the Grizzlies. In addition, he participated in 2013 NBA Summer League with the San Antonio Spurs followed by a training camp invite from the Chicago Bulls.

In 28 games with the Toros (20 starts) this season, Pittman averaged 11.3 points, 6.8 rebounds and finished third overall in the D-League with 2.25 blocks per game. Pittman was acquired by Austin from the Springfield Armor on Jan. 6, 2014. While with Miami, Pittman was also assigned to the D-League Sioux Falls Skyforce (2010-11 and 2012-13), where he averaged 13.6 points and 8.4 rebounds in 37 games played (34 starts).

A former standout at Terry High School in Rosenberg, TX, Pittman played four seasons at the University of Texas. He appeared in 134 games (59 starts), averaging 6.6 points and 3.9 rebounds over four seasons with the Longhorns.

Smith (6-10, 250, Fresno State), who was in his third season with Houston, saw action in just 11 games this season with the Rockets.

The Houston Rockets are heading to the playoffs for the second straight year and believe wins like the one they picked up Friday night will help them when they get there.

James Harden scored 39 points and the Rockets ended a three-game skid and clinched a playoff berth with a 111-107 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder

“It was a great win for us … just to give ourselves confidence, especially going into the playoffs,” Harden said. “We might see them. It was a big win for us. It shows the resilience we have.”

Kevin Durant scored 28 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for his 40th straight game with at least 25 points, the longest streak since Michael Jordan also did it 40 consecutive times in 1986-87. But he was in no mood to talk about matching the feat after the game.

“We lost the game that’s all I’m worried about,” he said. “I don’t care. We lost.”

– Associated Press

Houston Rockets power forward/center Dwight Howard received the March Community Assist Award in recognition of his charitable contributions and efforts in the Greater Houston area, the NBA announced today. The award recognizes an NBA player each month who best reflects the passion that the league and its players have for giving back to their communities.

Last month, Howard’s D12 Foundation launched its grassroots program, “Block Out Violence,” within participating junior and senior high schools in Houston to promote anti-bullying, nonviolence, respect and acceptance. Howard began the campaign by hosting an assembly and a flash mob at Carnegie Vanguard High School, encouraging kids to help create safer campuses and communities. Thirty-two Houston schools have participated in the program, spurring thousands of students and their families to host events in their neighborhoods and post 800,000 positive messages of nonviolence on social media using the #BOV hashtag.

In addition to the “Block Out Violence” program, Howard has dedicated his time and resources to helping disadvantaged children and their families throughout Houston. Howard purchased 50 season tickets for kids as part of the Rockets for Youth ticket program. He also hosted a breakfast and provided gifts for homeless mothers and their children at the Salvation Army Residence Center in Houston. Extending his charity beyond his community, Howard worked with the D12 Foundation to provide $10,000 to the BETA Center in Orlando, an organization that provides support to teen moms and at-risk families.

“I’ve made it a point to give back to the community since my career began, and now that Houston is my home I want to make a difference here. I’ve been concerned about the violence and bullying that seems to be taking control of our schools and communities – not only in Houston, but throughout the country,” said Howard. “My hope is that the “Block Out Violence” campaign will motivate students to start grassroots movements in their schools that get them thinking and talking about the way they treat one another – ultimately, making safer schools and communities.”

During tonight’s home game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, NBA Cares Ambassador Bob Lanier and Houston Rockets and Toyota Center CEO Tad Brown will present Howard with the David Robinson Plaque during an oncourt ceremony. In addition, and the NBA will donate $10,000 on Howard’s behalf to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston.

The Houston Rockets on Thursday beat the Philadelphia 76ers, 120-98. It was the 26th straight loss for the Sixers. Rockets star James Harden put up 26 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in the win. Here are some Harden video highlights:

Here’s a quick video feature from the league with Rockets center Dwight Howard. The team has a terrific 46-22 record, and Howard is averaging 18.6 points, 12.4 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game, with 58.9 percent shooting.

On Sunday the Miami heat beat the Houston Rockets 113-104. Here are some cool, slow-motion video highlights:

Here’s the New York Post with an early report on some possible free agency fun coming this summer:

According to a league source, the Rockets will make a bid for Carmelo Anthony this summer, even though they probably won’t have cap space and would have to orchestrate a creative sign-and-trade. The source said Houston asked the Knicks about Anthony before February’s trade deadline.

The Knicks have held discussions with the Rockets about power forward Omer Asik. Even though Rockets president Daryl Morey is the pioneer of advanced statistics and Anthony has never fared well in some efficiency categories, Morey’s old-school instincts believe he could form a terrific Big 3 with Dwight Howard and James Harden. Rockets management also believes Anthony has made advancements in the grit department the past two seasons.

The only way the Rockets can get under the cap is by dealing the expiring contracts of Jeremy Lin, who is entering the poison pill year of $15 million, and Asik, also scheduled to make $15 million.

Watch former teammates Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder) and James Harden (Houston Rockets) do big things for their respective squad in a recent matchup against each other:

Texas Legends’ forward Damion James was today named NBA Development League Performer of the Week for games played Monday, March 4 – Sunday, March 9. The award is the first for James, who becomes the second Legends player to be honored as Performer of the Week this season.

James (6-7, 225, Texas) led the Legends to a 3-0 week last week, averaging 24.7 points to go with 14.7 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.7 blocks. He recorded a season-high 19 rebounds on March 6, in a 126-119 win over the Iowa Energy, scoring 34 points to tie his season best.

James, who was traded to Texas from the Bakersfield Jam last month, is averaging 24.9 points and 12.0 rebounds in eight games with the Legends. For the season, he is averaging 16.4 points and 7.9 rebounds in 35 total games.

Other top performers considered included Canton’s Arinze Onuaku, playing on assignment from the Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles’ Manny Harris, Maine’s Tyshawn Taylor, Springfield’s Willie Reed and Sioux Falls’ Larry Drew II.

Rockets re-assign Troy Daniels to D-League

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced that the team re-assigned guard Troy Daniels to Houston’s single-affiliation NBA D-League partner Rio Grande Valley.

Daniels (6-4, 204, Virginia Commonwealth), who was recalled by Houston on Mar. 2, scored the first five points (2-4 FG, 1-3 3FG) of his NBA career in 5:32 off the bench vs. Indiana (3/7/14). The D-League Gatorade Call-Up was signed by the Rockets on Feb. 21 and assigned back to the Vipers.

Overall this season, Daniels has averaged 22.8 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.98 assists in 36 games (25 starts) with Rio Grande Valley. At the time of his recall, Daniels led the D-League in 3-pointers made (190) and ranked tied for fourth in the league in scoring average (22.8). The Vipers co-leading scorer actually broke the NBA D-League record for 3-pointers made in a single season with his 153rd on Jan. 29 vs. Tulsa. He also tied the NBA D-League record for 3-point field goals made in a game with 10 treys on Jan. 4 at Idaho. The D-League rookie placed second in a sudden-death round of the 2014 Boost Mobile NBA D-League 3-Point Competition. He was also selected to play in the 2014 NBA D-League All-Star Game, where he scored 21 points for Team Prospects in a 145-142 win over All-Star Weekend in New Orleans.

Here’s the Houston Chronicle reporting on the Rockets:

The Rockets had a familiar face on the practice court on Saturday afternoon.

Hakeem Olajuwon was in the gym working with several players. He spent a lot of time with Omer Asik, Terrence Jones and Dwight Howard.

“Its a great learning experience – a Hall of Famer, one of the best bigs to ever play this game and he has so much knowledge and experience,” Jones said. “It’s so much to take in.”

Jones said he and Olajuwon worked specifically on post moves.

Rockets face tough upcoming schedule

Here’s the Houston Chronicle on the Rockets, who will have to be at their best these next few weeks:

The Rockets did a lot of things well in their 118-110 win over Detroit on Saturday.

They are going to have to do that and much more over the next weeks to come out on top in one of their toughest stretches of the season.

In the next two weeks, the Rockets face several of the league’s top teams. They will see Miami twice, Indiana, Portland and Oklahoma City. They also face Chicago and Orlando in that time.

“It is definitely going to be a tough couple of weeks,” guard James Harden said. “It will be a good test.”

The Rockets got off to a good start in March after going 8-2 in February.

Houston Rocket sign Troy Daniels

The Houston Rockets today signed Troy Daniels from the NBA Development League’s Rio Grande Valley Vipers. The signing is the 19th GATORADE Call-Up this season.

In a related move, the Rockets assigned Daniels to the Vipers, the team’s NBA D-League affiliate.

The assignment is the 133rd of the 2013-14 campaign and Daniels is the 49th NBA player to be assigned to his NBA D-League affiliate this season.

Nuggets trade Jordan Hamilton to Rockets for Aaron Brooks

The Denver Nuggets have acquired guard Aaron Brooks from the Houston Rockets in exchange for swingman Jordan Hamilton, Nuggets General Manager/Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly announced today.

Brooks, 6-0, 161, has averaged 11.1 points and 3.2 assists in six seasons with the Rockets, Phoenix Suns and Sacramento Kings. He also is a career .844 free-throw shooter and owns a .414 mark from 3-point range.

In 43 games with Houston this season, Brooks averaged 7.0 points and 1.9 assists in 16.7 minutes.

Selected 26th overall by Houston in the 2007 NBA Draft, Brooks was outstanding for the Rockets during the 2009 Western Conference playoffs. He averaged 16.8 points in 13 games, highlighted by a 34-point performance in Game 4 of Houston’s second-round series against the Los Angeles Lakers.

He followed his strong postseason play by averaging 19.6 points and 5.3 assists – both career-bests – in 2009-10 and was named the NBA’s Most Improved Player.

Brooks, 29, also spent the 2011-12 season playing for Guangdong in the Chinese Basketball Association.

The Los Angeles Lakers are having a rough season, with a limited roster as well as nonstop injuries, but that won’t stop Laker fans from voicing their opinions in L.A. tonight as the team hosts Dwight Howard and the visiting Houston Rockets. If you enjoy hearing boos, watch this game. Here’s the Los Angeles Times with more:

Dwight Howard knows what’s coming. Ear plugs would be a good start.

His dress rehearsal didn’t go well a few months ago at Staples Center when he was booed incessantly and his team lost badly to the Clippers. Now he faces his past in his first road game against the Lakers since spurning them last July for a four-year, $88-million deal with the Houston Rockets.

It’s easy to predict the most popular three-letter word Wednesday at Staples Center: b-o-o.

“I’m going to get a lot of boos,” Howard said Tuesday after the Rockets practiced at UCLA. “I know I’m going to hear it the whole game — ‘Coward,’ whatever.

“Thank God, this year I’ve been through it a lot in every city. There’s Lakers fans everywhere. So I think I’m a little bit prepared for it.”

James Harden was an Allen Iverson fan

Here’s the Houston Chronicle reporting the feelings of a current terrific scoring guard on a former great:

The Philadelphia 76ers announced Wednesday that 11-time All-Star guard Allen Iverson will have his No. 3 jersey retired by the franchise on March 1.

Upon hearing the news, Rockets guard James Harden said Iverson was very deserving of the honor.

“He is one of the best players, one of the best scorers I have ever watched, period,” Harden said. “He is so small but he got it done. He was a warrior.”

Good from the Houston Chronicle today on the Rockets. They don’t necessarily need Omer Asik, who was on the trading block, but no matter what, he’s certainly more valuable healthy than hurt:

omer asik

Rockets center Omer Asik, who has missed the majority of the season with thigh and knee injuries, went through Thursday’s practice and said he is feeling much better.

In response to how his knee was feeling, Asik said, “It’s close to 100 percent. I can’t say 100 percent, but it’s much better. Hopefully I will get a little bit more practice then get back on the court.”

Neither coach Kevin McHale or Asik gave an exact date for return, but McHale said it would be “sooner than later.”

Here is ESPN.com News Services reporting on the Houston Rockets and failed draft pick Royce White:

royce white

Royce White is the NBA draft’s “worst first-round pick ever,” according to the man who picked him.

Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey selected White with the 16th overall pick in the 2012 draft, but White has yet to appear in an NBA game.

“I take some sort of pride in that you could argue that Royce White is the worst first-round pick ever,” Morey said in a Q&A discussion with Houston season ticketholders, according to the ClutchFans.net blog.

White, who is 6-foot-8, has struggled with an acknowledged anxiety disorder that would make it a challenge for him to play a full NBA season.

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that the team has re-assigned guard Isaiah Canaan to Houston’s single-affiliation NBA D-League partner Rio Grande Valley.

Canaan (6-0, 188, Murray State), who saw action in his first five NBA games with the Rockets in 2013-14, averaged 21.7 points, 9.2 assists and 4.3 rebounds in 12 games (12 starts) in his first stint with Rio Grande Valley this season. At the time of his recall on Dec. 23, Canaan stood second in the D-League in assists per game (9.2) and ranked ninth in the league in scoring average (21.7). He was also named along with Pierre Jackson of the Idaho Stampede as the NBA D-League Co-Performers of the Week for games played Dec. 2-8.

The Biloxi, Mississippi native was selected by the Rockets with the 34th overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. He played in 132 career games over four seasons at Murray State, averaging 15.5 points, 2.9 assists and 2.8 rebounds. Overall, Canaan scored over 2,000 points in his collegiate career (2,050) while shooting 304-of-725 (.419) from beyond the arc. He was named Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year as a junior and OVC Co-Player of the Year as a senior. Canaan added Honorable Mention All-America honors from the Associated Press as a senior.

Basketball blog