Tag Archives: Houston

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

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

End of Texans OTAs

 

Here are some of the things we learned in the concluding week of OTAs for the Texans

 

  • Derek Newton was named starting Right Tackle. With Brennan Williams still rehabbing an injury from last year and David Quessenberry out battling cancer, Newton is the only viable option as of right now. Knowing Newton is most likely going to be the starter again in the season opener isn’t a great feeling but unless the Texans can sign somebody who is cut from another team that is better, Newton is the best thing available. Newton is said to have come into this offseason a little bit leaner and in really good shape but we will see what kind of effect that will have on him after the drop in performance Duane Brown had when he cut some weight for the 2013 season.

Continue reading

Houston Texans’ Voluntary Mini-Camp

Houston, Texans, First Day of Voluntary Minicamp, O'Brien, Andre, Johnson

Houston Texans’ first day of voluntary mini-camp practice. Photo Credit: HoustonTexans.com

Bill O’Brien and the coaches got their first opportunity to work with the Texans players.

Because the Houston Texans are one of the few teams that have a first year head coach they are given an early opportunity to get with their players on the field and work with them.

There are a few noteworthy things from the first day of voluntary mini-camp that stood out.

 

  • Brian Cushing’s status not fully determined

In the months after Brian Cushing’s knee injury, he said he figured to be healthy and back to normal around the first week of February. Cushing also as recently as 3 weeks ago posted a picture on Instagram saying they he was 100% healthy, but he is not a participant in the team’s voluntary camp.

Cushing of late seems to have a change of tune when it comes to expectations on future participation in team activities. Cushing had a youth football camp a few days ago, and said he does not yet know how limited he will be in drills during OTAs in the coming weeks, but the main focus is being 100% healthy for week 1 of the season. Cushing didn’t even play in J.J. Watt’s charity Softball game this past weekend, instead acted as the Head coach of the defensive side.

Coach O’Brien after the practice was asked if he had a timetable for Brian Cushing, and O’Brien simply answered, “No.”

The Texans are possibly just being as cautious as can be since Brian is coming off back to back years of having season ending knee injuries. There might not be any need for concern but it is still disappointing that the leader of the Texans defense has to be limited during off-season team activities.

  • Andre Johnson missing from voluntary mini-camp

The news of Andre not being at the voluntary mini-camp came as a bit of a surprise. I don’t see it as a big deal but I would have figured that Andre be present because of the simple fact that there is a new coaching regime, playbook, etc.

However, we know what Andre is about, and if anybody has earned the right to skip out on voluntary practices, it would be Andre Johnson.

  • J.J. Watt is probably not going to holdout

J.J. Watt from his brief post practice media session gave off the impression that he has no intention of holding-out during off-season activities in hopes of reaching a big contract extension from the Texans. He was firm on his typical J.J. Watt talk of the showing up to “work” every day, working hard, and the team working hard during the first practice.

Holding-out would be the smart thing for Watt to do, and I for one would not blame him for doing so. He has been the best defensive player in the NFL these past two seasons and  Injuries can happen at anytime, Watt himself was lucky not to have missed the entire 2012 season when he dislocated his elbow during a training camp practice.

On a different note, J.J. Watt had a funny response to two questions involving the upcoming draft.

He was asked whether he has been paying attention to all the talk surrounding the draft, and whether he will be watching the draft. Watt answered with a simple “No” to both questions.

J.J. Watt in the past has said he does not like being compared to other players, and I’m guessing J.J. has finally had his fill of draft talk and doesn’t want to address the draft talk anymore.

  • The Helmets and Jerseys that the team practiced in

The Texans went through the first day of voluntary practice with helmets that didn’t have a Texans logo on them, and in jerseys that did not have players’ names on the back. Coach O’Brien brushed it off when asked about it and said not to read into it, but i think it is obvious that it might be some kind of message to the team. Unless of course things these things are changed back in the second practice.

  • Pace of O’Brien’s practice

The practice was said to have been with a much faster pace than what Kubiak would run. It will be interesting to see what kind of effect, if any practicing with a faster pace will have on  the team. Both Duane Brown and Ryan Fitzpatrick described the flow of practice as “very detailed”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

McHale, Rockets blow last play of game

Houston Rockets, Portland Trailblazers, nba, playoffs. Damien Lillard, Chandler Parsons

The Houston Rockets blow the final play, Lillard sinks dagger to end Rockets’ season. Photo Credit: Craig Mitchelldyer, USA Today Sports

The Houston Rockets come close, but blow the game with 0.9 seconds left.

The Houston Rockets fought valiantly and were able to take the lead 98-96 with 0.9 seconds left, but on the last play of the game allowed Damien Lillard to easily release and get off a 3-point shot for the win at the buzzer. It was  totally disheartening, crushing buzzer beating 3-pointer that ripped the hearts out of all Rockets fans.

One has to question the match-ups and the defensive strategy on the final possession of the game. Yes coach/coaching is going to take a lot of the blame when a team loses, but I haven’t been one to overly criticize McHale. However, this falls on him and the rest of the coaches.

Damien Lillard has hit a few buzzer beaters this season for the Blazers and the Rockets had to know he was most likely getting the ball. With 0.9 seconds there is no looking for the open man, the most skilled and versatile player is going to get that shot.

If Portland hits a tough 2 point shot it goes to overtime, but you absolutely cannot give up a 3 point shot to lose the game. McHale in the post game press conference said he specifically told the team no 3s. This raises a few questions about how the final played out.

Here were the match-ups at first before a timeout was called due to some confusion.

Initially Beverly is on Lillard, Lin on Williams, Parsons on Matthews, Harden on Aldridge (who knows how) and Howard guarding the inbound pass.

For some reason there was some confusion on the match-ups and Harden was on Aldridge. I think the Rockets would have been fine with the players they had on the floor. They just needed to rearrange Howard on Aldridge, Harden on Matthews, and Chandler Parsons guarding the pass.

Beverly is the best possible defender to stay with Lillard. NOT that Beverly can stay with Lillard, because he is so athletically quick and fast, but Beverly has the best chance out of anybody else on the Rockets to stick with him. The Trail Blazers had killed the Rockets, Beverly included, all series long setting screens for Lillard and letting him launch 3s. So this is something that could have been expected for Portland to do.

 

Here the Rockets are trying to get things straight during the timeout.

 

After the timeout the Rockets made a few changes, now Chandler Parsons is on Lillard, Beverly on Mo Williams, Dwight Howard on Aldridge, and Harden on Matthews.

I pointed out that all series long even Beverly had been getting caught on screens that resulted in Lillard hitting 3-pointers. And the screens were usually coming from Portland’s big men, on this particular play Mo Williams was on the screen.

Now if Beverly has trouble staying with and contesting Lillard on screens I don’t really understand the logic of putting a much slower and less agile Parsons on Lillard. I suppose the length over Lillard was why, but he has to be able to stick with Lillard first.

The second thing I don’t understand is why the Rockets didn’t switch defenders that they were guarding on the screen? The Rockets have been through these situations before, it even cost them a game against the Lakers during the season.

Mixing and matching players and having them switch would have been much easier to contest the Blazers’ player that got loose.

Maybe the Rockets were guessing that Mo Williams was going to end up with the last shot, and wanted Beverly on him? Who knows.

Lastly, McHale specifically said he told the team no 3s. So if that is the case it makes no sense that Terrance Jones is not blocking off the path to the 3-point line. Batum had a completely open passing lane to Lillard on the 3-pointer once he easily got away from the Rockets defense.

Terrance Jones is instead positioned to block a passing lane in the direction of Aldridge who is closer to the basket. So not only is there a bad match up for Parsons holding Lillard on the last play. And not only do the Rockets not switch on defense to better defend a man that got loose off of a screen. The Rockets also allow a totally open passing lane to the 3-point line to  the one Portland player who makes the most ridiculous and deflating 3-point shots.

It has been unbelievable all series long how Portland was able to hit so many incredible and improbable shots. No words.
Game footage courtesy of CSN Houston