Archive for the ‘ Houston Rockets Blog ’ Category

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.

Nets fall short vs Rockets

Nets fall short vs Rockets

Here’s the New York Post with an update on the Brooklyn Nets, whose despite tonight’s loss should be proud of the basketball they’ve played lately:

The Nets are only a few possessions away from being 4-0 since the All-Star break. But when you’re playing on the road in the Western Conference, it only takes a couple of possessions to separate wins and losses, and that’s why the Nets find themselves 2-2 since the break after falling 102-98 to the Rockets at Toyota Center on Friday night.

The combination of the Nets, Hornets and Pistons losing and the Celtics and Pacers winning means five teams — the Pacers, who are eighth, the Nets, Hornets and Celtics, who are tied for ninth, and the Pistons, who are 12th — are within a game of one another for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Nets (23-33) led for the vast majority of the game and had the ball with a 95-90 lead and just more than two minutes remaining.

Rockets add Pablo Prigioni and KJ McDaniels

The 36-17 Houston Rockets don’t need a ton of help, and as the NBA trade deadline passed they came away with a few new additions that should help their bench a bit. Here’s the Houston Chronicle blog reporting:

Hoping to swing for the fences, the Rockets settled for a few trade deadline cuts they hope will become solid singles.

The Rockets did not come close to reaching the Suns’ asking price for guard Goran Dragic, backing away when it was clear they could not keep the free agent to be after the season. Instead, while several Western Conference playoff teams loaded up, the Rockets made smaller moves to pick up Knicks veteran point guard Pablo Prigioni and 76ers rookie small forward/shooting guard KJ McDaniels.

Neither is certain to move immediately into the Rockets’ rotation, though Prigioni offers a different style of point guard behind Pat Beverley than Jason Terry while still a catch-and-shoot threat. With Corey Brewer getting most of the small forward and shooting guard minutes off the bench, McDaniels is likely to serve an apprenticeship, with potential to fill the role if Brewer leaves as a free agent and the Rockets sign McDaniels.

For now, the Rockets settled for players they like, even if they do not have a clear role to play. To get Prigioni, the Rockets sent guard Alexey Shved and the Rockets’ second-round picks in 2017 and 2019 to New York.

New York Knicks President Phil Jackson announced today that the team has acquired guard Alexey Shved and second round draft picks in 2017 and 2019 from the Houston Rockets in exchange for guard Pablo Prigioni.

Shved, 6-6, 190-pounds, averaged 7.6 points and 1.9 assists over 13.2 minutes in 26 games with Philadelphia and Houston this season. He holds career averages of 6.7 points and 2.4 assists over 17.2 minutes in 166 games over three seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves, 76ers and Rockets. The Belgorod, Russia-native originally signed with Minnesota on Jul. 25, 2012 after playing six seasons professionally in Russia.

Prigioni, 6-3, 185-pounds, averaged 4.7 points and 2.4 assists over 18.5 minutes in 43 games this season. He originally signed with the Knicks as a free agent on Jul. 24, 2012 and averaged 3.9 points and 3.0 assists over 17.9 minutes in 187 career games, over three seasons, with the team.

Patrick Beverley replaces John Wall in 2015 Skills Challenge

Patrick Beverley replaces John Wall in 2015 Skills Challenge

Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley will replace Washington Wizards guard John Wall in the 2015 Skills Challenge during All-Star Saturday Night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Feb. 14.

As far as we know, Wall hasn’t suffered a new injury. He likely just feels he can use the extra rest and has chosen to not participate. We’ll update this info if it changes, but it probably won’t.

Beverley, in his third NBA season with the Rockets, is averaging 10.7 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 39 games. A second-round pick of the Los Angeles Lakers in 2009, Beverley signed with Houston in January 2013 after four-plus seasons playing overseas. He was named to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team in 2013-14.

The Chicago Bulls’ Jimmy Butler, the Toronto Raptors’ Kyle Lowry and the Atlanta Hawks’ Jeff Teague, all selected to play in the 2015 NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, Feb. 15, at Madison Square Garden, headline the Skills Challenge field. Defending champion Trey Burke of the Utah Jazz, the Philadelphia 76ers’ Michael Carter-Williams, the Milwaukee Bucks’ Brandon Knight and the Phoenix Suns’ Isaiah Thomas will also compete in the three-round, obstacle-course competition that tests dribbling, passing, agility and shooting skills.

The 33-15 Houston Rockets face a troubling injury situation, according to this report:

Dwight Howard knee issue may keep him out for extended period

The Houston Rockets are bracing for the loss of Dwight Howard for at least a month due to persistent trouble with his right knee, according to league sources.

Sources told that the Rockets, while confident that Howard ‎has enough time to bounce back for the regular-season stretch run and playoffs, fear their defensive anchor will be lost for a period of “weeks” as opposed to days.

Howard is still in the process of getting additional consultation from various doctors to determine the best treatment course for the knee.

Kevin Garnett suspended for headbutting Dwight Howard

Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Garnett has been suspended one game without pay for initiating an altercation with Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard and headbutting him. Howard was fined $15,000 for pushing Garnett in the neck area. The penalties were announced today by Rod Thorn, President, Basketball Operations.

The incident occurred with 7:53 remaining in the first quarter of the Rockets’ 113-99 win over the Nets on Monday, Jan. 12, at Barclays Center.

Garnett will serve his suspension on Wednesday, Jan. 14, when the Nets host the Memphis Grizzlies at Barclays Center.

To view the play, click on this link.

Donatas Motiejunas playing well for Houston

Houstono Rockets forward Donatas Motiejunas has been playing the best basketball of his career this season. He has recorded three of his four career 20-point performances this season, including a new career-high 25 points vs. DEN on 12/13. He has particularly thrived as his role has increased. D-mo has averaged 6.9 points and 3.8 rebounds per game in his career, but is averaging a career best 10.6 points and 5.9 rebounds per game this season in a career-high 27.5 minutes per game. Motiejunas has recorded 21 games with 10+ points this season, which already surpasses his total of 13 from the 2013-14 season. Currently, after recordeing 14 points and 10 rebounds (his 3rd double-double of the season), Motiejunas is riding a seven game stretch of scoring in double-figures, just one games shy of his career-long streak set earlier this year.

Rockets love the 3-point shot

The Houston Rockets shooting from beyond the arc has been a huge key to their success this year. These notes do not include Monday’s current-ongoing game in Brooklyn against the Nets:

- The Rockets lead the entire NBA in 3PT FGM per game at 11.8 (1.5 more per game than 2nd place LAC). At their current pace, the Rockets are on track to make 967 3PT FG over the course of the 82 game season. This would shatter the NBA single season mark of 891 3PT FG set by New York in 2012-13. Additionally, after making a three-pointer late in the 3Q of the home win vs. POR on 12/22, Jason Terry joined Ray Allen and Reggie Miller as the only players in NBA history to reach 2,000 3PT FG for their careers.

- James Harden hit a career-high 8 3PT FG on just 11 attempts on 12/31 vs. CHA. This is the third most 3PT FG a Rockets player has made in a regulation game, and ties the fewest attempts a Rockets player has hit 8+ 3PT FG on (Alston, 8-11, 3/16/08).

- With Corey Brewer’s 6 three-pointers (6-8 3PT FG) vs. SAS on 12/28, the Rockets now have had five different players with 6 or more threes in a game (Ariza, Beverley, Canaan and Harden). No other team in the league has more than two players who have done it.

- Trevor Ariza and James Harden headline the Rockets long range shooting. Harden has made 90 3PT FG (90-250, .360) good for sixth in the NBA and Ariza has made 85 3PT FG (85-266, .320) good for tenth in the NBA.

- The Rockets made 10+ 3PT FG in each of their first eight games and including last season nine straight overall (4/16/14 to 11/12/14). This surpassed the longest streak in franchise history of seven straight games set in 2013. The Rockets tied the streak again with nine straight from 11/19 through the 12/6. The two nine game streaks sit tied at the fourth the longest streaks in NBA history (2 shy of record). Ultimately the Rockets have done it in all but nine games this season.

- The Rockets tied their season-high with 17 3PT FGM on 17-43 (.395) shooting vs. CHA on 12/31. The Rockets attempted 46 three-pointers vs. DAL on 11/22 (going 15-46) to set a new high mark in the NBA and tied the Rockets franchise record (2/26/13 at WAS).

- On the defensive end, the Rockets are holding teams to 31.1% 3PT FG shooting, the 2nd lowest opponent 3PT FG%.

Rockets sign Josh Smith, waive Tarik Black

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that the team has signed unrestricted free agent Josh Smith. The versatile big man was the youngest player in NBA to record 500 career blocks, was twice named NBA Eastern Conference Player of the Week (12/9/07 and 12/10/12) and was named to the 2010 All-NBA Defensive Second Team.

Smith (6-9, 225, Oak Hill Academy) owns career averages of 15.4 points, 7.9 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.3 steals and 2.0 blocks in 781 games (758 starts) with the Atlanta Hawks and Detroit Pistons. The versatile big man averaged career highs of 18.8 points, 9.6 rebounds per game while starting all 66 games of the 2011-12 season. Smith has averaged double-digit scoring in every season since his rookie year in 2004-05. He has also started 52 career postseason contests, averaging 15.8 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.7 blocks, as well as winning Eastern Conference Quarterfinal Series in 2009, 2010 and 2011

Selected by the Atlanta Hawks 17th overall in the 2004 NBA Draft, Smith rank’s highly among many of Atlanta’s all-time franchise leaders. He ranks ninth in games played (676), seventh in total rebounds (5407), ninth in free throws made (2044), fifth in steals (857) and second in blocks (1440).

The 11th year forward was waived by the Detroit Pistons on December 22, 2014 and was signed as a free agent by the Rockets after clearing waivers on December 24, 2014.

In order to maintain a roster of 15 players, the team has requested waivers on Tarik Black.

Black (6-8, 253, Kansas), has appeared in 25 contests with the Rockets this season (including 12 starts) averaging 4.2 points and 5.1 rebounds in 15.7 minutes per game. Undrafted in the 2014 NBA Draft, Tarik Black was originally signed by the Houston Rockets on August 27, 2014.

Rockets will sign Josh Smith

Houston Rockets will sign Josh Smith

Rockets will sign Josh Smith

Forward Josh Smith, recently waived by the badly-struggling Detroit Pistons, is going to clear waivers and reportedly sign a contract with the Houston Rockets.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, “Josh Smith has committed to signing with the Houston Rockets, league sources tell Yahoo Sports. He clears waivers at 5 PM today.”

The Rockets, with a 20-7 record through Tuesday’s games, are having an excellent season, and are much-improved on the defensive end this season. They’ve kept winning even while center Dwight Howard was out.

Several reports say Smith will start for the Rockets. While that may be the case, considering the Rockets already have nice chemistry, we think Smith is best used in limited fashion, at least initially, so the team can see exactly how he fits in. Giving him a huge role right away seems questionable. But still, if managed properly, this is a good move for both Smith and Houston.

Three-team trade sends Corey Brewer and Alexey Shved to Rockets

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that the team has acquired forward Corey Brewer from the Minnesota Timberwolves and Alexey Shved from the Philadelphia 76ers as a part of a three-team trade.

In the deal, the Rockets will send Troy Daniels to the Minnesota Timberwolves along with the Sacramento Kings 2015 2nd Round Pick (protected for picks 50-60), Houston’s 2016 2nd Round Pick (protected for picks 31-45) and cash considerations. Houston will send its 2nd Round Pick and the rights to Serhiy Lishchuk to Philadelphia. Minnesota will send Corey Brewer to Houston and Ronny Turiaf to Philadelphia. Philadelphia will convey Alexey Shved to Houston.

In order to facilitate the transaction, the Houston Rockets have waived Francisco Garcia and the roster now stands at 15.

The draft picks acquired by the Wolves in the trade are as follows: Houston’s protected second round pick in 2016 and Sacramento’s protected second round pick in 2015 (originally acquired by Houston on Sept. 17, 2014).

Brewer (6-9, 185, Florida) has averaged 10.5 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.3 steals in 24 appearances (16 starts) with the Minnesota Timberwolves this season. The eighth year veteran’s numbers mark career-highs for rebounds, assists and steals per game. After being drafted seventh overall in the 2007 NBA Draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves, Brewer has appeared in 491 career games (265 starts) with Minnesota, Dallas and Denver holding career averages of 10.1 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game. Brewer also adds 19 games of playoff experience to the Rockets roster, including winning an NBA championship in 2011. In his time at the University of Florida, Brewer won two NCAA championships and was named the 2007 NCAA tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.

Shved (6-6, 187, Russia) has averaged 9.9 points, 2.7 assists and 1.3 rebounds per game in 17 appearances with the Philadelphia 76ers this season. The third year pro went undrafted in the 2010 NBA Draft and originally signed as free agent with the Minnesota Timberwolves on July 23, 2012. In 157 career appearances (including 16 starts) with the Timberwolves and 76ers, Shved holds career averages of 6.9 points, 2.5 assists and 1.3 rebounds per game.

Troy Daniels, 23, owns career averages of 4.0 points, 0.5 rebounds and 0.4 assists in 22 games, one start, in parts of two seasons with the Rockets. In five games in 2013-14, the 6-4 guard averaged 8.4 points on 48.4% shooting, including 48.0% (12-of-25) from beyond the arc. In four postseason contests, Daniels posted averages of 7.8 points on 52.9% shooting, including 53.3% (8-of-15) from deep. Daniels hit the go-ahead 3-point shot with 11.9 seconds left in overtime to propel the Rockets to a 121-116 win over the Blazers on April 25, 2014. Two nights later he scored a new playoff career-high 17 points (5-of-7 FG, 4-of-5 3FG, 3-3 FT) in Game 4 at Portland.

Originally undrafted out of Virginia Commonwealth University, Daniels spent much of the 2013-14 season in the NBA Development League with the Rio Grande Valley where he averaged 21.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.9 assists in 48 games (37 starts). He led the D-League in three pointers made with 240 — a league single-season record — and ranked eighth in the D-League in scoring average with 21.5 ppg. Daniels was signed by the Rockets on February 21, 2014. 

Garcia (6-7, 195, Louisville) has 3.2 points and 1.2 rebounds per game in 14 appearances with the Houston Rockets during the 2014-15 season. The tenth year player and product of the Dominican Republic was re-signed by the Rockets this past offseason on September 29, 2014.

Houston Rockets recall Clint Capela from D-League

Rockets recall Clint Capela from D-League

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that the team recalled center Clint Capela from Houston’s single-affiliation NBA D-League partner Rio Grande Valley.

Capela (6-10, 245, France), appeared in six games with the Vipers averaging 9.0 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.2 blocks in 14.1 minutes per game. Prior to his D-League assignment, Capela appeared in one game with the Rockets on November 6th versus San Antonio, recording three rebounds and one assist. The former Elan Chalon player out of France was selected by the Rockets 25th overall in the 2014 NBA Draft.

The Houston Rockets are off to a great start this season with a 9-3 record, though they’ve dropped two games in a row. Center Dwight Howard is in recovery from a minor knee issue. Here’s the Houston Chronicle with the latest:

Dwight Howard recovering from knee strain

The Rockets listed Dwight Howard as “day-to-day” to return from his strained right knee, but no one seemed to think that day would be Saturday.

Rockets coach Kevin McHale even said the Rockets would “probably” be without Howard when they face the Dallas Mavericks. The question that will only be answered then is whether his knee or the Rockets’ offense needs more therapy.

Howard had sat out Wednesday’s game against the Lakers with no announcement coming until minutes before tip and after Howard had been in uniform intending to play.

As a player, Steve Kerr was a key role player for squads that won championships. Now he’s coaching one of the key squads in the  league.

Guard Jason Terry, now towards the end of his days as a player, still has skills, mostly as a backup guard at this point.

Here’s the Houston Chronicle reporting on their past:

Steve Kerr and Jason Terry share basketball roots

Warriors coach Steve Kerr and Rockets guard Jason Terry go back a long way. Not only did the two both play in the NBA at the same time – early in Terry’s career and near the end of Kerr’s – they also knew each other from summer pick up games in the University of Arizona gym.

“I remember when Jason first got to U of A, I was going back a lot in the summers and I played pick up ball with the guys,” Kerr, also an Arizona alum, said. “He was a sophomore and I was maybe in my fifth year in the league and you could tell he was going to be good right away.”

Terry was familiar with Kerr and would speak with him often. The two became friends over the years and have always kept in touch.

Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard exchange words in regular season opener

The 2014-15 NBA regular season began Tuesday night, featuring three games, the last of which was a Rockets win over the Lakers that unfortunately included LAL rookie Julius Randle breaking his leg. But there was also some fun in the form of former teammates Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard exchanging some less-than-pleasant words.

Here’s the Houston Chronicle with more:

Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard exchange words

The Lakers’ season opener was supposed to be about the return of Kobe Bryant. After missing all but six games last year, the All-Star was to be back on the court to save the Lakers from another postseasonless season.

Part of that comeback would include running into Rockets center Dwight Howard, who Bryant has a rocky history with.

While both players have said since before the start of the 2013-14 season that their drama was in the past, it became the present on Tuesday night at the Staples Center, when the two shared some words in the fourth quarter.

After Howard elbowed Bryant in the face after a rebound, the two started talking. Video shows Howard saying, “I know you, dog,” and Bryant saying, “Try me” and calling Howard “soft” as he approached the Lakers bench.

Lakers face Rockets on NBA opening night

Lakers face Rockets on NBA opening night

The 2014-15 NBA regular season begins tonight! Basketball is back.

There are two 8pm ET games: Pelicans/Magic and Spurs/Mavericks. And at 10:30pm ET the Lakers face the Rockets. Nobody expects much of the Lakers this season, but as long as Kobe Bryant is healthy and can lace up his sneakers they are going to be of interest. And they did add Carlos Boozer, and rookie Julius Randle. So there’s that.

Here’s the Orange County Register with more on the Lakers/Rockets:

Maybe the 2012-13 feud between Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard feels like ancient history.

But the two former teammates will hit a different kind of milestone Tuesday on the opening night of the NBA’s regular season: It will mark the first time the two have played against each other since Howard spurned the Lakers to sign with the Rockets.

It’s true. While Howard played four games against the Lakers last season, Bryant missed each contest because of injuries.

Howard and Bryant openly bickered in their one season together and after Howard signed with the Rockets, Bryant delivered the ultimate insult imaginable in this tech age.

He unfollowed Howard on Twitter.

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