It’s November 9th, and the Houston Rockets finally have a winning record.
Sure, no one thought we’d be saying that 12 days into the season, but it’s better late than never. And nothing makes being over .500 better than watching James Harden drop 40 on the Los Angeles Clippers in the Staples Center.
Despite being down Patrick Beverley both games and Dwight Howard in Sacramento, the Houston offense hummed better than ever. Even though the defense looks like it can use some work, there’s still 75 games to get it figured out.
Houston Rockets news and notes from around the web
What’s the record for the shortest tenure in NBA history? Because I’m sure if Chuck Hayes doesn’t have it he certainly flirted with it this weekend. After only two days, four points, seven rebounds and four turnovers in 15 minutes played – Chuck’s gone. His departure is a direct result of Terrance Jones being brought back in, as Adrian Wojnarowski reported.
Source: Rockets waive Chuck Hayes as Terrence Jones, Patrick Beverley return [Yahoo! Sports – Adrian Wojnarowski]
"Hayes, 32, played his first six NBA seasons for the Rockets and remains a favorite of the organization. Hayes could ultimately retire into a coaching staff role with the team, but is focused on continuing his playing career this season, sources said."
Now on to the whiny Clippers – although it pains me to say they may be justified in their whininess this time. Yes, as it turned out Howard’s tip at the rim in the waning second of Saturday’s game should have been called goal tending – which at the time would have tied the game. The full explanation is here:
NBA says refs missed goaltending call at end of Clippers-Rockets game [ESPN NBA – Calvin Watkins]
"In the NBA’s Last Two Minutes report, the league said the officials should have called a goaltending on Howard. “I just try and not let the ball get in the basket,” Howard said. “It’s [the referee’s] job to make calls and my job to play. Can’t do nothing about it now.”"
Houston… we have a win streak. Four games to be exact, two of which have come against legit title contenders. Granted, we’re still very early into the season still but most fears from starting 0-3 seem to have been averted. What’s going right? What’s been fixed? Let our sister site get you pumped up:
Houston Rockets: It’s Called A Win Streak! [House of Houston – Brian K. Patterson]
"Although it’s quite apparent they’ve got the once sputtering offense going — they’ve risen to 15th in the league, averaging 99.6 points per 100 possessions — their defensive efficiency is still holding at 25th, with the team giving up 106 points per 100 possessions."
Let’s take a look at the western conference standings here, because things don’t look as bad as they seem. Houston isn’t in that bad of shape compared to the rest of the west, and the schedule is relatively easy this week:
"Despite their dreadful start, the Rockets are just a loss back of the 2-seed Blazers! Only the Warriors have distanced themselves from the pack. This is looking like it could play out like last year again."
Dwight deserves a hand here, and not just for throwing down a 20-20 against the Clippers. In this video taken at the game, you can see Dwight get some of his usual ribbing from opposing fans. The way he responds is an encouraging sign that Howard may have grown up once and for all.
Dwight Howard Isn’t Amused by Heckling Fan, Tells Him to ‘Let It Go’ [Bleacher Report NBA – Thomas Duffy]
My dad courtside at the clippers game part one ?pic.twitter.com/UuVlNNNwid
— JenniferRies☀ (@Jennnnifeeerrr) November 8, 2015
Finishing up today is a feature on one of the refreshing new pieces on the Rockets. Marcus Thorton has been scoring over 16 points a game while shooting at a 45 percent clip, but as this piece details Thorton has proved himself to be way more than a nice offensive player in the Rockets rotation:
Thornton shows Rockets he’s more than a shooter [Houston Chronicle – Jonathan Feigan]
"“He’s a very good passer,” coach Kevin McHale said. “He’s a good on-ball defender. All of our guys have to get better as off-ball defenders. He’s kind of one of those old-time (types). He’s a baller. He’s just a basketball player.”"
Finally, by now I’m sure you’ve all seen James Harden giving the head-shake, eye-roll combo to a Root sports reporter after the Clippers game. It’s now starting to become an internet meme and there are some good ones. Just a couple of examples follow below:
“Did you smash?” https://t.co/WvVp3Ucm5b
— NBA Talk (@NBA_Updates15) November 9, 2015
“What happened to you and _________?” https://t.co/EvV89SDTUn
— Black People Vines (@BlackPplVines) November 9, 2015
Look, I know it’s Monday. And it’ll be Wednesday before we see any Rockets basketball again. But cheer up, let some football hold you down while we wait to see the worst team in the NBA come to town. Good luck out there y’all.