Houston Rockets Fall To Warriors In Game 1

Houston Rockets, Warriors playoffs

James Harden’s great performance wasn’t enough to hold off Warriors. Photo Credit: Kyle Terada, USA today sports

The Houston Rockets let game 1 slip away

The Houston Rockets had the Warriors right where they wanted them in the first and second quarters of game 1. The Rockets quickly quieted the crowd and kept them quiet as the they controlled the majority of the first quarter.

Two and a half minutes into the game the Rockets found themselves 9-2 on top of the Warriors. That momentum was killed when the Jason Terry got an offense rebound and gave a nice bounce pass to Dwight but he lost the ball and the Warrior took it for a fast break lay up at their end.

The Warriors went on to take a 14-12 lead before the Rockets regained control of the game and finished the quarter with a 31-24 lead. Up until midway through the second quarter the Rockets looked like they were the favorites in this with with having as large as a 16 point lead.

Many people believed that the Rockets were going to get their doors blown off, in large part due to the lopsided 4-0 season series that the Warriors had against the Rockets. The Rockets have a chance to win this series, no matter if their chances are slim.

Heading into game 1 I thought that the Rockets were going to win the game because I thought they were going to have a few things going in their favor. The Rockets were coming off an incredible series comeback and I thought that was a huge confidence boost for the Rockets. I thought that they would bring that over into this series right off the start and punch the Warriors in the mouth unexpectedly.

The Rockets are no doubt a different team than the one the Warriors dominated in the regular season, but the Rockets are plagued with too many stretches of bad execution. Turnovers, careless/sloppy play, and bad execution is what this series is going to come down to for the Rockets.

If the Rockets are to win this series they will have to go through every single possession like it truly matters because against a team like the Warriors it does to a great extent.

The Rockets showed that they can hang with the Warriors, and frankly they should have won game 1 but didn’t because they couldn’t play enough clean basketball. The Warriors were feasting on the turnovers and bad plays made by the Rockets and that is what cost them the game.

The Warriors and Rockets have very similar styles, but the two biggest differences are that the Warriors take better care of the ball and they have a little bit better team depth. Because of this the Rockets have to play 40-45 minutes of good basketball to beat the Warriors, that is what its going to come down to.

I think it is a little disheartening that the Rockets couldn’t capitalize on a game in which James Harden finally had one of those MVP type games that he had much of the season. Trevor Ariza also kept up his great play on the the defense end and with his shooting, but nobody else stepped up.

Dwight Howard’s injury was a big hit to the Rockets’ defense and rebounding, and perhaps they find a way to win the game if he doesn’t get his knee injured. Howard tried to gut it out but I think McHale didn’t recognize how injured he was and stuck with him for too long. Continue reading

Playoffs: Rockets vs Mavericks Round 1

James Harden , houston Rockets, playoffs

James Harden has Rockets in playoffs for 3rd straight year.

Rockets Must Take Advantage Of Favorable First Round Opponent

The Houston Rockets head into the first round of the NBA playoffs as favorites to win their match-up vs the Dallas Mavericks. The Rockets won the season series 3-1, and in three of those games Dwight Howard did not pay. The Mavericks come into town tonight as 6 point underdogs.

There is a big spotlight on both James Harden and Dwight Howard to perform well and at the absolute bare minimum advance to the second round. The pairing should translate into playoff success at some kind of level. If the Rockets manage to lose to the Mavericks not only a disaster but an embarrassing disaster.

It isn’t even just the Houston vs Dallas city rivalry, there have been jabs thrown between Mavs owner Mark Cuban and Daryl Morey for the past 2 years or so. Also not to leave out that Chandler Parsons is a Maverick.

Just this week for a piece with Grantland’s Kirk Goldsberry, Mark Cuban said that there isn’t a more predictable team than the Rockets. He also said that the Rockets are a very talented team, and believes that James Harden is the MVP, but only because the Rockets aren’t very good.

I was actually surprised that Cuban at least gave Harden the nod for MVP since he is pretty much discounting the Rockets as a team. But for a smart man I’m confused as to how he said the the Rockets are very talented but that the 2nd seed Rockets aren’t good.

The Mavericks on the other hand started out the season as a very good team but became a just barely above average team once they made the Rondo trade. The Mavericks exchanged to underrated pieces of their bench in Jae Crowder and Brandon Wright for Rondo. Monte Ellis is a talented scorer but he tailed off a little in the second half of the season. Continue reading

Why Hasten Jadeveon Clowney’s Return For 2015

 

Jadeveon Clowney, Houston Texans

Jadeveon Clowney.  (Credit: USA Today Sports)

The Texans Should Ease Jadeveon Clowney Into The 2015 Season

A few weeks ago at the AFC Coaches breakfast in Phoenix, Bill O’Brien informed the media there wasn’t a timetable for Clowney’s return but is hoping to have him back on the field at some point during training camp.

When this news came out I was really surprised that O’Brien gave any kind of information other than a standard answer about Clowney working hard and improving. NFL coaches are usually reluctant to give too much information about player injuries and especially about return dates because of the possibility of players not being ready in time.

O’Brien on numerous occasions last season made it a point to say that the organization is very high on Clowney, and that he is a hard worker. O’Brien is having Clowney’s back by doing this likely because the Texans are aware of a ridiculous narrative about Clowney being lazy or not caring about football.

You know that O’Brien is clearly supporting Clowney after hearing OB torch Louis Nix multiple times already.

This is only adds to why I continue to be confused with how the Texans are handling Clowney’s knee injuries. I don’t understand why O’Brien and the Texans are deciding to add a little bit of pressure on Clowney to make his return a month or so earlier than expected. Continue reading

Reflection on Texans’ Loss To Cowboys

Houston Texans, watt

The Texans Let One Slip Away, Waste A Great Performance From Arian Foster

The loss was a tough one to stomach because not only are the Cowboys an in-state rival, but also because of the thousands of Texans fans that traveled to Dallas and took away the home-field advantage. The Texans ultimately couldn’t capitalize on having their fair share of fans in the crowd and they let a huge day from Arian Foster become just a nice looking stat line.

The loss also caused them to lose the division lead over the Colts, which now stands at a tie at 3-2 after their win over the Baltimore Ravens.

The Three Biggest Game Changing plays

There are three plays that stand out the most in what eventually lead to the Texans losing to the Cowboys. First is the the 43 yard touchdown that Tony Romo threw to Terrence Williams after spinning and avoiding a sack from J.J. Watt. The sack would have lost the cowboys about ten yards and would have put the Cowboys in 3rd and 14 situation.

J.J. Watt completely beat Tyrone Smith off the edge and it is a play that he makes almost every time. Avoiding defenders with that reverse spin is one of the things that Romo does best and he was able to spot Watt in his peripheral vision will looking down the field. On a side note, I thought Watt was offsides originally but he simply had a tremdendous jump on the snap and easily sped past Smith.

The second devastating part of the play is that Kendrick Lewis was in position to make a play on the ball to prevent the touchdown but tripped when his foot hit the back of Williams’ shoe. Lewis was only a step behind Williams and almost assuredly could have either had an interception or simply knocked the ball down. There was a play to be made because the ball was a little bit behind Williams on his left shoulder.  The score gave the Cowboys a 10-7 lead.

The 3rd and 2 play in overtime before the Texans eventually lost on a game winning field goal was perhaps the most controversial. Many thought that Arian Foster should have been given the ball to get those two yards, but I don’t think it was the horrible decision some said it to be. On the first two plays of the drive Arian ran for 24 yards then for 6 yards and the took himself out for a play. On 2nd and 4 Alred Blue got the ball and only was able to get 2 yards.

The Cowboys had stopped Blue on the previous play and had they ran the ball again it would have been a 4 straight run plays. O’Brien obviously wanted to change it up and get the ball to Arian in a match up with a linebacker. That is why I didn’t have a big problem with the play call, I just think that all the practice time missed during training camp with certain players has come back to haunt the the Texans in some ways. The team just needs to start executing better.

The  37 yard completion in overtime that Tony Romo threw up for Dez Bryant and some how caugth was also a tough one to take. The pass was thrown on 3rd and 9, and Johnathan Joseph had great coverage on Bryant. The only other thing Joseph could have done was to pull down on his right forearm which would have likely made Bryant lose control of the ball.

The defense overall played as well as you could hope for them to play against a team with a good quarterback and numerous weapons like the Cowboys have. With both A.J. Bouye and Darryl Morris out, Elbert Mack and rookie Andre Hal stepped in nicely. Andre Hal allowed a back shoulder touchdown reception to Dez Bryant but there isn’t anything else Hal could have done without getting flagged

People use the cliche’ about defensive players “flying around” to describe how they are playing but it usually isn’t used literally. Such wasn’t the case when it came to D.J. Swearinger’s play against the Cowboys because on three or four occasions he launched his body in the air when making tackles.

Aside from the touchdown Kendrick Lewis gave up he played a good game and he continues to play a large role in helping the Texans create turnovers. He read Tony Romo’s rushed pass to Dez Bryant and jumped in front for the interception.

Brian Cushing had an impressive sack on Tony Romo early in the game, but he looks like he is still in the process of working his way back to his old self.

It is the same story with the defensive line, offensive line, offense, quarterback, and tight ends. Each one of these units needs to pick up their games, especially the offensive and defensive line because everybody else’s play will be enhanced if they do their jobs.

 

 

 

Reflection of Texans’ Victory Over Bills

Houston Texans, J.J. Watt

Texans Move To 3-1 Despite Struggling Offensive Line

The good news through the first quarter of the season is that the Texans have been able to grind out a 3-1 record, and there is still the potential for the team to get better as the season progresses. Continue reading