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[Star Telegram]Rockets play it straight, but were they smart?

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by Yaowaming, Apr 20, 2005.

  1. Yaowaming

    Yaowaming Contributing Member

    Nov 18, 2002
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    Posted on Wed, Apr. 20, 2005


    Rockets play it straight, but were they smart?

    By Randy Galloway

    Star-Telegram Staff Writer

    Somewhere, Dick Motta had to be flashing that once-familiar devilish grin.

    The original Mavericks coach could have had some fun with this one.

    Back in the day, like in the '80s, the Houston Rockets were found guilty in the court of public opinion for dumping games at the end of the season to benefit their situation.

    The Rockets denied all, of course. But the record shows a big fellow named Hakeem Olajuwon fell into their drafting arms, and so did Ralph Sampson.

    Motta, watching from up here, never let the opportunity pass to throw a few verbal darts at the Rockets. And although the NBA never said so publicly, it was undoubtedly because of Houston's antics that the league changed to a lottery system in the draft.

    But, now, two decades later, guess who found basketball religion?

    Logic says a real bad place to open the first round of the Western Conference playoffs this weekend was as the five seed.

    Despite, however, three teams being logjammed at that five-hole, it was the Houston Rockets who kept the pedal to the metal in the last two weeks of the regular season.

    They played hard. Played to win. Dick Motta must have fainted.

    Meanwhile, the Kings and the Nuggets may or may not have "backed off" a bit. Depends on who you ask.

    Anyway, the Rockets wrapped up the five-seed Monday night.

    Now, it's a "Texas Thang" in what is probably the most intriguing (some will say Nuggets and Spurs, due to the health questions on Tim Duncan) first-round matchup of the entire NBA playoffs.

    Mavericks and Rockets, best-of-seven, starting at the arena in downtown Dallas on Saturday with a 4:30 tip.

    From the Tuesday morning edition of the Houston Chronicle, sports columnist John Lopez frequently invoked the name of a large German, and wondered how in the world the Rockets would have an answer for Mr. Nowitzki.

    Lopez wrote:

    "That matchup, along with the Rockets' success against Seattle this season, sort of makes you wonder why the Rockets didn't --wink, wink -- unfortunately allow some of these late-season games to slip away. Then, they could have slipped to a much better draw in the six-hole."

    Avery Johnson, being a smart little guy, will no doubt attempt to use that kind of commentary as a motivational kick in the butt for his troops.

    "See there," Avery can preach, "since they didn't dump games, they're not scared of us."

    Obviously, not.

    But the Dirk deal is of high concern for the Rockets.

    "With Dallas, it's going to be tough competition for us," the explosive Tracy McGrady told reporters after the Monday game in Houston. "That team is pretty deep, and what gives us problems is Dirk. Dirk is a huge problem for us on the offensive end."

    For example:

    Elton Brand of the Clippers is a decent power foward. As the Clips were being run out of the gym Monday night, Brand scored 36 points on 15-of-19 shooting, continuing a trend of the Rockets being lit up at that position.

    Brand ain't exactly in Dirk's league.

    The Rockets' best defensive power foward was ex-Mav Juwan Howard until he was sidelined with a serious medical problem (a virus in his heart).

    Since then, power foward has become a three-way rotation of Clarence Weatherspoon, Scott Padgett and Ryan Bowen. They haven't had much luck stopping anyone.

    Dirk is not an NBA anyone.

    The same can be said for McGrady at small forward, except the Mavs hope to have a keep-him-under-30 defensive answer in Josh Howard.

    Factor in the presence of Yao Ming, and away we go. This will be some good and interesting I-45 action.

    But there's also a mystery element, due to some X-factor coaching philosophies.

    Under Jeff Van Gundy, once the Tom DeLay of NBA offense, the Rockets' game has taken a sudden left-wing turn.

    These people will run-and-shoot with you, encouraged to do so by Van Gundy, who has wisely attempted to channel his offense to McGrady's strengths.

    But these are the playoffs. Do you think coach Van Boredom will continue this trend at a time when the half-court game usually prevails?

    Whatever, Avery Johnson has attempted to have the Mavs ready for any game you can name.

    There has been much media emphasis on Johnson's season-long devotion to drilling defense into the free-wheeling Mavs.

    But, since becoming head coach five weeks ago, he has worked every bit as hard at installing a new half-court offensive philosophy. Avery preaches free-flow passing on the perimeter. The end result is supposed to be this:

    The harder a team has to work on defense, the less energy it has on the offensive end, the more it helps the Mavs' defense.

    Last week in Seattle, playing a Sonics team that borrowed its offense from Big Nellie, it was the Mavs who were dictating a half-court game. And they won with it. Unheard of, not that long ago.

    Normally, we would accuse Van Gundy of wanting to have games in this series played in the 80-point range. But, who knows? That might now be Avery.

    Whatever, the Rockets played hard to secure the five seed.

    Somewhere, Dick Motta is laughing.
  2. cson

    cson Contributing Member

    Jul 22, 2000
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    I'd rather go in winning any day. We all said "Not the Spurs!" , we got our wish and should enjoy this chance to fock up the Mavs
  3. room4rentsf

    room4rentsf Contributing Member

    Dec 11, 2003
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    Yeah Dick is laughing at the stupid Mav fans.

  4. Rockets34Legend

    Rockets34Legend Contributing Member

    Jun 12, 2002
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    Man, I can't wait to kick some ass against the Mavericks.

    I'm getting tired of hearing Dirk is going to run all over us.
  5. JayZ750

    JayZ750 Contributing Member

    May 16, 2000
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    You think he can ride Dirk's jock any harder?

    If Dirk shoots more than 19 shots in any game of the series AND makes a higher clip than Elton Brand did the other night, I'll donate $10 to the tip jar.
  6. Uprising

    Uprising Contributing Member

    Dec 29, 2000
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    Van Boredom?

    Rockets in trouble?

    Motta laughing?


    This is one reason why I NEVER read the Star Telegram when I lived in Fort Worth. YUCK!
  7. room4rentsf

    room4rentsf Contributing Member

    Dec 11, 2003
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    #1 who is Dick Motta? did I miss something in the article?

    This guy needs to wake up.. he just fueled the fire, started the engine for the Machine.

  8. funky

    funky Member

    Dec 11, 2002
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    aaa (another arrogant *******)
  9. wouldabeen23

    wouldabeen23 Contributing Member

    Dec 11, 2002
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    Yeah...funny article...

    I love the fact that he seems to think that Mavs fans, the absolute most BLATENT bandwagon jumpers in the NBA next to old Bulls and Lakers "fans", even know that there was a Basketball team in Dallas during the 80's....

    Lets ask them about all the STELLAR draft choices that the Mavs have made through the years with all their top three picks that they were awarded for sucking harder than Anna Nicole Smith on a.....hehe..milkshake.

    "But these are the playoffs. Do you think coach Van Boredom will continue this trend at a time when the half-court game usually prevails?":rolleyes:

    I wish I had rolleyes that were MORE sarcastic...Anyone who can say with some sort of a straight deleivery that Avey Johnson is somehow a better coach than Van Gundy should be FLOGGED
  10. ty185

    ty185 Member

    Aug 24, 2002
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    I don't know who is Dick Motta, but it seems he is related to Sura... :D
  11. Texas Stoke

    Texas Stoke Contributing Member

    Aug 16, 2002
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    Mcgrady has not seen single coverage in a game all year. If they send Josh Howard on a solo mission to cover Mcgrady with the hope he may hold Mcgrady under 30, I feel sorry for them, I really do.
  12. BiGGieStuFF

    BiGGieStuFF Contributing Member

    May 20, 2002
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    We did play it smart. JVG knows this team performs better when it's seen as the underdog. Now that the pressure is on Dallas to beat us, I think we will play well.
  13. RocketForever

    RocketForever Contributing Member

    Jun 3, 2002
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    People outside of cf.net have caught on with the "Sura fainted" joke. :D
  14. Williamson

    Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Dec 6, 2002
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    Elton Brand is decent. Wow. decent. He makes it sound like the guy is barely worthy of being a starter in the NBA. 20 and 10 every year since he was a rookie and he's decent. Wow.

    Also, what the hell kind of writer starts two sentences with "Whatever"? He might as well starting saying things like "he's like totally awesome."
  15. pippendagimp

    pippendagimp Member

    Sep 1, 2000
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    The Star Telegram sounds almost as giddy as the Orlando Sentinal did just a few months back.
  16. MrRolo

    MrRolo Contributing Member

    Nov 22, 2002
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    Is this article even hinting that AJ is better than JVG???? :rolleyes:

    This will be a coaching battle as well... I think JVG will school AJ personally.
  17. SirCharlesFan

    SirCharlesFan Contributing Member

    Apr 8, 1999
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    Yeah, when the guy calls Elton Brand "decent" I just stopped taking the article seriously. I mean, come ON. Elton Brand is a stud in this league, and as a matter of fact, a couple of years ago I saw him light up Dallas at the AAC for about 30 and 17 (or somethin like that) and the Clips ran the Mavs at home. No doubt that Dirk is a better player than Elton, but Elton ain't chopped liver.
  18. Mr Boo

    Mr Boo Contributing Member

    Nov 7, 2003
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    Okay...here I go....

    Alrighty, I read this paragraph three times now, and I still think Galloway point was a very weak point with no substantial evidence to back it up. Everyone knows that the Rockets could've dumped games, so what Lopez was saying is nothing new at all. But what Galloway refuses to look at was what JVG had stated in the press, as cited in the Houston Chronicle on April 18th: "We're going to try to win every game. We're going to try to get the highest seed, and the biggest thing for us is to try to improve to be in position to win a first-round series, no matter who we play. Then whoever we play is going to be a decided favorite, and who cares? We'll line up and play." The way JVG goes at it, the Rockets are keeping their heads down and be prepared to fight. In no way are JVG's coaching decisions/philosphies a knock on the Mavs or Avery Johnson; the Rockets are kinda like a horse with blinders on, they're just gonna keep plowing forward at best they can. Thus Galloway is trying to stir up crap when there's nothing there.

    And Brand ain't exactly chopped liver either...what did he average this year? Only 20.1 pts and 9.5 rebs per game and shooting at a 50.4% clip. Also, he's averaging frickin' 2.1 blocks per game. Yeah...Elton Brand is a decent power forward. If he were on the Rockets right now, we all know Galloway and other Mavs fans would be pissing in their pants.

    If you can only cite last week as the Mavs most indicating time of using a half court system, then I wouldn't be bragging about it. I don't think tweaking a system this late in the season is a good sign. And for what it's worth, Galloway is just probably just wrong about this. Also, it's getting a little bit old all the digs about JVG and 80 point games...another words, Galloway gets paid for writing, so come up with something new will ya.

    Yeah...he might be laughing at your writing, Galloway.
  19. Valio!

    Valio! Member

    Feb 12, 2000
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    Wow...can't believe that was actually printed in a major newspaper. The whole premise of the article is that the Mavericks are so much better than the Sonics and the rockets that it would be daft for the rockets to even considering not throwing games just to avoid facing them. Here are the flaws the authors makes:

    1. The Mavericks are good, but not THAT good. Not good enough that a team like the Rockets would need to tank.

    2. The rockets arent that bad. The rockets have won a few games in a row themselves. They arent going to toss away that kind of momentum just so they can face the sonics instead of the mavericks. I like that the rockets did this. It shows they are focussing on the most important thing - their own play.

    Stupid comments:

    3. This was a dumb comment: "Avery Johnson, being a smart little guy, will no doubt attempt to use that kind of commentary as a motivational kick in the butt for his troops. 'See there,' Avery can preach, 'since they didn't dump games, they're not scared of us.'

    Why would that motivate the mavs? The rockets tried to win their remaining games - oooooohhhh... what a diss! Yeah! Let's go kick the Rockets butts for trying to win their regular season games! Yeah, that a real motivational kick in the pants!

    4. Belittling Brand? He scored 23 on Dallas in one game this season and typically gets double digit rebounds against them. He's a little better than decent.
  20. macfan

    macfan Contributing Member

    Mar 12, 2005
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    Could not agree with you any more. You made all the points I wanted to make and more. Lopez has been tanking it lately. Has everybody noticed the quality of his articles? They suck. How on earth is Dallas gonna use the Rockets trying to win as motivation?
    I could make an argument the other way around. If Houston was trying to lose games, but they still ended up facing Dallas, Dallas would say: "These guys didn't want to play us. They're scared of us"
    The Rockets did the right thing. Think about it. Sacramento and Denver lost some games lately, so even if the Rockets had lost the last two, they would still face Dallas. They own the tiebreaker with both teams. Good move by JVG.
    If they had lost to Memphis, Denver and LA they would be facing San Antonio. The way it turned out (Sacramento tanking their games), a Seattle-Houston matchup was impossible.

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