Takeaways From Houston Rockets Win Against the Heat

Feb 2, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) celebrates after making a basket during the fourth quarter against the Miami Heat at Toyota Center. The Rockets won 115-102. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 2, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) celebrates after making a basket during the fourth quarter against the Miami Heat at Toyota Center. The Rockets won 115-102. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /

No Dwight Howard, no Clint Capela, no Donatas Motiejunas? No problem! At least that seemed to be the case for the Houston Rockets last night (February 2nd) against the Miami Heat.

Although I’d argue that Hassan Whiteside’s absence might have something to do with it, the Rockets fueled by Josh Smith and James Harden grabbed a much needed home win after dropping three consecutive games.

And they did it with relatively ease.

It’s speculation time! Let’s jump to the Three Things We Saw from the Rockets win against the Heat and try to understand what they did to capture the victory.

No Dwight, No problem? For Real?

Tough one. And it comes immediately when reports are emerging that the Boston Celtics are engaging in talks with the Rockets about the big man.

There’s no doubt Dwight Howard had his moments this season and for a while it seemed he was in redemption mode.

There’s also no denying that he appears to be too much on edge lately. Technical foul after technical foul, suspensions, Dwight Howard looks to be on a downward spiral.

Plus, against facts there are no arguments, the Rockets do feel Howard’s absence on defense but he is not the future of the franchise in the center position. That belongs to Clint Capela.

Add to that the fact the Rockets had a great defensive night against the Heat (who, again, were lacking starting big man Whiteside) and you have a scenario in which the Rockets might not need Howard.

Not quite.

Watch Amar’e Stoudemire manhandling Terrence Jones all the way to the basket. That’s 33 year-old-way-past-his-prime Amar’e Stoudemire.

That’s not to say that the Rockets desperately need Dwight Howard there, but some form of athletic presence below the rim does make a difference. After this game the Rockets were praised for their defense and rightfully so, but still this same defense allowed Stoudemire to score 14 points in 23 minutes.

Howard might as well be traded, but by no means is he expendable for the Rockets. The team needs him as he continues to be the anchor of the defense.

Daryl Morey cannot be played by other teams with cries of Howard’s “low market value” or become hostage to the ” better get something for him now instead of losing him for nothing later”.

Bottom line Superman might not be the same player he once was, but trading him for essentially a contract dump (like David Lee or Evan Turner) as many are reporting doesn’t make sense.

Does Ty Lawson even care anymore?

As the Trade Deadline draws closer the Rockets’ patience is growing thin.

For those of you who might not have followed Lawson since he first arrived in Houston, in fairness he’s actually improved from the beginning of the season.

Which looking back is pretty ridiculous.

I like Ty Lawson and I really thought he would become the last piece of the puzzle in Rockets pursuit for a championship.

I now have to acknowledge I was wrong. Houston must follow the same path as Denver, cut their losses and try to get anything back from Lawson asap. It just wasn’t a good fit.

And then it’s obvious that Ty feels the added pressure.

First: he is not playing well. Second: The team is struggling to be over .500.

That might lead to plays like the following:

Well, I suppose anyone can lose control of the ball while driving to the basket in high speed.


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Now that’s when it gets annoying. How sloppy was that pass?! How careless? It’s unacceptable.

I understand Ty must be under a terrible amount of stress right now. Carrying a load of weight on his shoulders due to the flawed experiment in Houston and his recent problems with the police.

And I feel Lawson can once again in the future become a relevant piece of a contending team just like he was at one point in Denver.

That’s just not happening in Houston!

So Much Potential

Each time I feel more and more convinced that with the Draft Class of 2015 we witnessed one of the most talented draft pools of NBA history. And while I believe we did manage to strike gold even at the 32nd position with Montrezl Harrell, I have to admit I’m jealous of teams that had lottery picks.

Every time I look at Houston-born Justise Winslow I feel that way.

I’m just so amazed by his skill set. His natural build, athleticism… It’s easy to look at him and predict a world class defensive player in due time.

But how about Karl Anthony Towns and Kristaps Porzingis? Even Jahlil Okafor, Stanley Johnson, Mario Hezonja

After one largely unimpressive and a somewhat regular draft classes, we might actually be in for something special here once again.

Next: Howard Trade Rumors Continue

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