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Game report -- Warriors/Rockets on Fri. 7/13

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by Swopa, Jul 14, 2001.

  1. Swopa

    Swopa Contributing Member

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    Did I complain about L.A. traffic in a previous report? I shouldn’t have, because it was nothing compared to tonight. Even leaving an hour early, I didn’t get into the arena until 3:36 was left in first quarter, with the score 18-14, Warriors. (I remember now why I moved from L.A. several years ago.) The scoreboard showed 10 points for Mario Bennett, with Jason Richardson and Chris Porter scoreless, so I wondered if the excruciatingly nasty traffic might have been related to sunspots or some bizarre supernatural explanation.

    Just as I settled in, Troy Murphy showed his quick hands again, with a block and a deflected outlet pass … later, though, he seemed to be playing tired (mentally, at least), getting lost on defense several times.

    The Warriors held onto a narrow lead until the early 2nd quarter, when the Rockets closed the gap on the outside sharpshooting of Dan Langhi and Axel Dench, a 6’11" center and Matt-Bullard-in-training from Gonzaga. For the second straight game, I noticed the slow defensive rotations (especially on the perimeter) by the Warriors’ Antonio Harvey, who’s been hanging around the league for years as a shot-blocking pogo stick and is now apparently an aging pogo stick.

    For those who’ve been wondering about the new rules, they are in effect, and the Warriors proved it by being called OFTEN for defensive 3-second violations (usually on Antonio Harvey or Mario Bennett).

    The Rockets' offense had a consistently better flow to it, with superior spacing and the Warriors often confused defensively on rotations. In contrast, because the W's relied more on one-on-play and drives into a congested lane. (I shouldn't have said that; it's bringing back unpleasant memories.) The main beneficiary was Bennett, who scored often by picking up fumbled or deflected dribbles underneath the rim.

    (Noted at halftime: Hidayet Turkoglu and a friend chatting with Euro-sonics Vladimir Radmanovic and Predrag Drobnjak in the corner seats of the floor VIP section.)

    In the 3rd quarter, the Rockets began to take advantage of their superior height at SF/SG, isolating matchups such as 6'3" Gilbert Arenas guarding 6'9" Terrence Morris, and so on. (The Warriors generally have been playing a three-guard lineup with micro-PGs Dean Oliver or Rashad Phillips alongside Arenas at SG and Richardson at SF. In contrast, the Rockets usually had PF/SF tweener-sized Langhi and Morris at the swing positions.)

    Down by 10 at one point, the Warriors came back with better defense and rebounding -- perhaps not coincidentally after Troy Murphy sat down for a while -- along with some rare jump-shot baskets by Jason Richardson and Rashad Phillips. The Rockets pulled back ahead again with disciplined execution of their offense, finding the open man amid the scrambled GS rotations and hitting the resulting outside shots.

    Then Houston started misfirng, beginning with a pair of unproductive low-post touches from Eddie Griffin, who traveled once and short-armed a hook shot (perhaps trying too hard?). The Warriors, meanwhile, began snaring defensive rebounds and running the floor, with Chris Porter putting in consecutive acrobatic layups.

    Down the stretch, Rockets PG' Sean Colson began calling his own number repeatedly, and frequently scoring. The Warriors, though, went ahead on a 3-pointer from Dean Oliver (2-8 FGs for the game) and for the second game in a row played outstanding defense on the final possession. Axel Dench got the inbounds pass a few steps outside his range, but couldn't find anyone to pass to among the swarming blue jerseys. Finally, Sean Colson broke free to take a handoff, and unsurprisingly jacked up a long jumper that missed.

    Among the Warriors draft picks, Jason Richardson had the best game, with a relatively quiet 28 points – never taking over the game, but contributing an alley-oop here, a post-up hoop there, or an occasional jumper at a steady rate throughout the contest. Arenas shot poorly (as usual), and always seemed to get his hands on the ball defensively (as usual). Murphy was unexceptional, a notable dropoff from his first two games.

    For the Rockets, Eddie Griffin was as un-special as Murphy, showing flashes of ability but also disappearing into the flow for long stretches. Dan Langhi may be another prototypical summer-league star, just quick enough, big enough, and a solid enough shooter to be a dominant player against semi-pro competition. (He also padded his total of 27 points with numerous technical FTs after the Warriors were called for illegal defense violations.) Terrence Morris contributed nicely, but unspectacularly. Axel Dench may be the surprise find of the bunch, with a gorgeous stroke from the perimeter (6-9 FGs) but limited opportunities to score after Sean Colson decided it was his show.
     
  2. Kim

    Kim Contributing Member

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    Thanks for the info...now that the new rules have been established, have you noticed any zones being played?
     
  3. Swopa

    Swopa Contributing Member

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    No. At least not any zones obvious enough for me to pick up on.

    The Warriors must have been doing something zone-ish to have someone camping out in the paint so often, but I couldn't tell exactly what.

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