Houston Rockets Daily: Smith Pays Immediate Dividends

Jan 22, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets center Josh Smith (5) is interviewed by the media after rejoining the Rockets via a trade with the Los Angeles Clippers. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 22, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets center Josh Smith (5) is interviewed by the media after rejoining the Rockets via a trade with the Los Angeles Clippers. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

Rockets Science Daily: news and notes

A full 24 hours has passed since Josh Smith returned to the team he had success with last season. Smith contributed in his first game back and furthermore played a pivotal role in the Houston Rockets win over Milwaukee.

Given how joyous the team appeared on the sidelines and the myriad of fundamental (but important) qualities Smith brings to the floor it’s not surprising he continues to dominate the Houston Rockets headlines.

To that end, lets take a look at Houston Rockets news featured around the web and nationally:

Robert Morales article Doc Rivers explains Clippers trade of Josh Smith to Rockets featured in the Los Angeles Daily News

It was clear the Clippers and Smith never gelled and this article highlights those facts:

"Smith had played in just four of the previous 14 games before the Clippers (28-15) took on and routed the New York Knicks 116-88 on Friday night at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Smith this season had a shouting match with assistant coach Mike Woodson after one game and an in-game verbal row with Rivers during another."

And further Doc Rivers comments were telling (even in what he doesn’t say):

"“ ” Obviously, I wanted Josh to work out, it just didn’t for us,” said Rivers, whose team next plays at Toronto on Sunday at 3 p.m. (on Prime Ticket). “Like I said earlier, he was very good, a good teammate and all that, but it just doesn’t work and so we wanted to go in another direction."

Smith’s return to the Rockets has decidedly been received with open arms, especially from his close friend and best man at his wedding (Dwight Howard).  Though Howard said Smith “had to pay” for leaving Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle highlights just how giddy the Rockets players are to have him back:

"“ ” – Howard Just happy to have him back,”  “I thought that me and him together in the playoffs was key. I thought we really had great chemistry on both ends of the floor. – – “All of us have a crazy type of relationship, especially me and Josh. . We’ll see how it works. I think it’s going to be great. He’s happy. We’re happy he’s back"

Speaking of Howard his ankle remains a question mark and though the big man felt great after testing it Friday he was less successful in the follow-up Saturday as the Gary Coronado of  the Houston Chronicle blog Ultimate Rockets highlighted:

".” “That’s the next step, to be able to run without pain, then jump and then cut through all the stuff I like to do and the way I like to play,” Howard said. “It wouldn’t be smart of me to just try to rush"

Outside of Houston the big news around the NBA was the firing of David Blatt by the Eastern Conference leading Cleveland Cavaliers and hiring (not interim tag as would usually occur) of former Houston Rockets guard Tyronn Lue. While many were surprised there was a feeling LeBron James had never truly taken to Blatt or his style. Cleveland has gone out of their way to protect James with comments such as “James had nothing to do with it“, “James didn’t know it (the firing) was coming” and my personal favorite Lue saying he told him “he (James) will need to be held accountable and openly accept criticism” from Lu, most aren’t buying it.

League wide as expected there were varying reactions, but Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle who is quickly adding the Popovich presser talent to his repertoire had arguably the best sound bites. Sean Highkin of NBC Sports covered Carlisle’s comments:

"“ .” He’s done some phenomenal things adjusting to this league. I’m embarrassed for our league that something like this could happen. It’s just bizarre. Now is Tyron Lue going to coach the All-Star Game? It just leaves you with a bit of an empty feeling. Because Blatt’s a great guy and he did a great job there"

More from Space City Scoop

Perhaps Blatt will get the last laugh as Lue’s first outing behind the bench wasn’t just a loss, but a listless 96-83 -effort for which the Cavalier’s fans booed their team off the court.

As we prepare for game day remember tip-off is much earlier today (3:30 ET or 2:30 CT) when the Rockets will play the Mavericks who lost a heart breaker to the Thunder Friday.  Prior to that here’s a little ditty from Space City Scoop’s very own Andre Cantalogo who begins his “Best of” series. Up first he picks the best point guard in Houston Rockets History. I don’t want to ruin the surprise, so I’m blacking out portions of the quote from Andre’s excellent article.

"“ “ Career Stats: 18.1 Points, 6 Assists, 5.6 Rebounds, 42.9% Field Goal Percent, 3 time NBA All-Star, NBA Rookie of The Year –  -Even the two other players ranked above him just don’t have the same averages xxxx xxxx achieved as the Rockets leader in the early 2xxx’s. …The impression was that he gave his maximum effort every single game, despite not always having a capable supporting entourage."

Can you guess who it is? Well check out his article and be sure to come back each of the next 4 weeks as Andre brings you the best all time Rockets player for each position.

That’s it for Sunday’s Rocket Science Daily. Make sure to check back with us tomorrow for all the exciting Rockets news in our Monday Rocket Science Daily.

Send any Rockets-related article/video/tweet/gram/vine that we may have missed via Twitter direct message to @TTOTambz.

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Make sure you catch up on our entire Team Preview Series, our Houston Rockets Player Profile Series, as well as our Space City Scoop Round Table Sessions to help you get through the season. Start your morning with SCS Daily Rocket Science, which offers an update on the Rockets around the National and Social Media sites. Visit us throughout the day to stay on top of all your Houston Rockets news and updates.