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Alston's primary focus is leading Rockets to playoffs

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by fbagulbagul, Mar 23, 2007.

  1. fbagulbagul

    fbagulbagul Member

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    Looks like rafer reads clutchfans too.....

    HOUSTON -- Rafer Alston is well aware that his play is heavily scrutinized on sports radio call-in shows and fan message boards.

    Does such criticism bother him?

    Not really.

    "I don't really pay attention to them," Alston said. "I don't worry about that stuff."

    He's more concerned with helping lead the Rockets back into the postseason.

    Despite receiving little love on radio waves or fan forums, Alston has managed to ignore concerns over his streaky shooting and lead the Rockets to the fifth best record in the Western Conference.

    Under his guidance, the Rockets are pushing the Utah Jazz for home court advantage in the opening round of the playoffs and could clinch a playoff spot Sunday night when they visit the Hornets in Oklahoma City. The Rockets (44-25) can book a postseason spot with a win and a Golden State loss.

    Alston hasn't received much credit for putting his team in such a position.

    Since he is shooting 37.8 percent from the field and has endured his share of off-shooting nights, the Rockets point guard has drawn criticism for his up-and-down shooting.

    Alston understands some of the concern. However, he wouldn't mind being acknowledged for the things that he does do to help his team.

    "I understand I'm a streaky shooting point guard," Alston said. "But one thing I'm not is a high-turnover guy. I defend the ball and I make plays."

    The Rockets have seen enough of Alston to know that he's played a major role in the team's march to the postseason.

    While he isn't drilling three-pointers every night, Alston is in charge of organizing the Rockets' offense. He typically receives signals from Jeff Van Gundy on the sideline and orchestrates where guys should be on the floor by pointing them in the right direction.

    No game, perhaps, showed Alston's value more than a Feb. 3 performance against the Hornets. That's because the point guard missed most of it.

    After being ejected in the first quarter for receiving two technical fouls, the Rockets struggled to get into an offensive flow and ended up being dealt an 87-74 home loss. Houston shot 37 percent and matched a season low with 30 first-half points.

    Rockets forward Chuck Hayes said Alston's ability to run the offensive is invaluable.

    "He runs our offense and gets us into sets," Hayes said. "Streaky shooter? Everybody in the league is a streaky shooter. There are very few pure shooters in this league. Some nights, a guy is on. Some nights, a guy is off. So people getting on Rafer for being a streaky shooter is nonsense."

    Alston, however, rarely gets much love even on the nights when he is canning open jumpers.

    "It's interesting to me that when Rafer plays (well), it's overlooked and when Rafer plays bad, he is the main reason we lose," Van Gundy said last week. "That's many people's perspective."

    Alston has been on a roll of late. Since leading his team to a home win over the Los Angeles Clippers on March 14, the point guard is averaging 14 points per game on 54.4 percent shooting. He's been just as good beyond the arc, sinking 53.6 percent of his attempts.

    With those recent numbers, Alston is now shooting 37.5 percent from three-point range -- his best rate since 2002-03 -- and has already sunk a career-high 162 three-pointers this season.

    Still, the point guard wishes his shooting numbers were better considering the work that he put in over the summer.

    "I shot about 500 three-pointers per day," Alston said. "My shot was looking great in the summer and that's the disappointing thing about this season. I thought I would come in and shoot a higher percentage. It hasn't worked out. But of late, I've been shooting at high clip. I just want to continue from there and keep moving forward."

    He certainly isn't worried about proving people wrong.

    "The most important thing is we're winning," Alston said. "People, not just in this organization but around the league, recognize we're winning with the guys that we have. And that's most important statistic of all."
     
  2. durvasa

    durvasa Contributing Member

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    Rafer frustrates me as much as anyone, but I agree about his value to our offense. If Rafer got injured for any length of time, I think our offense would suffer considerably. He might actually be more important to our offense than Yao (*ducking for cover*).
     
  3. Yaozer

    Yaozer Member

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    But... then what are Yao and Tmac gonna do if he's leading?
     
  4. TTRocket

    TTRocket Contributing Member

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    Obviously Van Gundy strongly endorses Alston which makes me a little confused. I've always believed that the role our PG plays is not that of a playmaker, but that of someone who can knock down the open shot by feeding off Yao/Tmac. IMO, Alston doesn't fit this mold at all since he is a streaky shooter(generally very bad).

    That being said, Alston has really picked up his play in the last 5 or 6 games and if continues to play at this level we really don't need a backup or a replacement for him.
     
  5. durvasa

    durvasa Contributing Member

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    The PG doesn't have to be the playmaker, necessarily, but he should be able to directly the offense competently such that we execute in an efficient manner. When Rafer's in the game, we get better shots, and more important we don't turn it over nearly as much. Perhaps that says more about how poor Luther has been running the point than how good Rafer has been.
     
  6. DaGlide

    DaGlide Contributing Member

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    I'll tell you one thing - Alston gets the ball up the court fast, fast, fast! Last night's game was an excellent example of that. He gives us more time in the half-court and in those situations when we have a running squad in the game, he knows how to finish the break.
     
  7. durvasa

    durvasa Contributing Member

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    Where's the LINK for this article?
     
  8. dookiester

    dookiester Member

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    i think we've all learned by now that running the point, even on this team, is harder than it looks. so as important as it is to knock down 3s (which rafer is actually average to above average at), it's equally if not more important to be able to HANDLE the ball, under pressure, and get this team into offensive sets without turning it over. rafer isn't the best possible fit, but he's definitely not the worst. if you think all it takes to 'fit the mold' is someone who can hit 3s at a high rate, just imagine if luther head was running the point on this team. he probably wouldn't make any 3s because our team would never have the ball because he'd keep coughing it up.

    the only people better for this team are guys who are comparable to rafer in terms of taking care of the ball, but can shoot more consistently. there are plenty of guards who shoot better than rafer, but not all of them are as secure with the ball.
     
  9. dntrwl

    dntrwl Member

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    I was very impressed at how Rafer sped up the offense and got the ball down the court last night, he's got his priorities straight
     
  10. RocketForever

    RocketForever Contributing Member

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    After saying something idiotic like that, you should.
     
  11. Clutch

    Clutch Administrator
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  12. durvasa

    durvasa Contributing Member

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    Look at it this way.

    In 30 games with both McGrady and Yao, our offensive efficiency is 107.0. In 32 games with McGrady but no Yao, our offensive efficiency was 106.7.

    Do you think the dropoff in our offense would have been that small if it was Rafer that missed 32 games, instead of Yao?

    Maybe we were facing much weaker defensive teams while Yao was out. That could explain it.
     
    #12 durvasa, Mar 23, 2007
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2007
  13. Head9

    Head9 Member

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    Rafer may not be a top10 PG or even a top20 PG, but he is the only real PG we have, he played the longest minutes when we face tough opponents.

    Therefore he might appear to very important to the team, but he is not that great. If he keeps what he has been doing in last 5-6 games, we should be more than happy.
     
  14. Hayesfan

    Hayesfan Contributing Member

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  15. RocketForever

    RocketForever Contributing Member

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    You gave one of the possible reasons. The other reasons include, but not limited to, almost everyone stepped it up and contributed after Yao got injuried, Tmac played out of his mind at times, etc. To say that Rafer might actually be more important to our offense than Yao is crazy.
     
  16. LCII

    LCII Contributing Member

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  17. Amel

    Amel Contributing Member

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    LOl

    Media using us to ask questions that should have been asked 4 months ago

    poor Rafer, he doesn't care what some net freaks have to say...
     
  18. Outlier

    Outlier Member

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  19. BrockStapper

    BrockStapper Contributing Member

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  20. NewYorker

    NewYorker Ghost of Clutch Fans

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    Rafer's problem isn't the number of shots he takes - it's the shot selection.

    He does well when he shots off a set pass out of a double team. He shoots really well.

    He shoots well when he drives and no one picks him up because he beat his man.

    Any other scenario and he's close to 10%.

    Lately he's shooting well because he's taking SMARTER shots - which also means less shots. He's taking open-threes. He's not been shooting off the dribble. He's not forcing driving floaters as much.

    Result: Higher fg% and more Rocket's wins.
     

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