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Vipers blog covering 'Rocket Launch'

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by HoopScribe, Oct 21, 2014.

  1. HoopScribe

    HoopScribe Member

    Jul 19, 2013
    Likes Received:
    Coverage from 'Rocket Launch' in Hidalgo last weekend. With videos, news, notes, and analysis.


    Vipers Beat Reporter: Dennis Silva II | Twitter: @densilva2

    10.20.14 Wrapping up 'Rocket Launch'
    The fourth Rocket Launch came to a close Sunday with a 90-83 Rockets preseason win over Golden State at State Farm Arena.
    Here's coverage from Day 3:
    My AP game story
    Rockets' additions of Ariza, Terry making big difference
    While Rockets return stars, Warriors rest theirs
    And some takeaways:
    * The big position battle in camp is the backup point guard spot. Former Vipers Ish Smith and Isaiah Canaan are competing for it, though Smith jumped ahead of Canaan, presumably, on Sunday.
    Smith played the backup point role almost all night, playing 16 minutes and getting 2 points, an assist, and three turnovers. Canaan came in late when the game was well in hand and had just a turnover in six minutes.
    The position has been up and down all camp. Smith had a strong start and was in front, Canaan then played really well early last week and put his name back in the conversation, and now it seems Smith has a leg up again. It's a tough choice for McHale. Smith is the better player now, but Canaan is likely to be the better player down the road.
    * Former Vipers weren't given a lot of love Sunday night by Rockets coach Kevin McHale despite the game behind held at the home of the Vipers, State Farm Arena. Smith and Joey Dorsey were the only ones that saw significant time, aside from consistent mainstays Terrence Jones and Donatas Motiejunas. Last year's stars Canaan and Troy Daniels played well into the fourth quarter, as did former Viper Jeff Adrien.
    With the return of Jason Terry to the lineup, that may have an effect on Daniels' and Canaan's playing time. McHale went with Smith at point and Terry at the 2 often, and it worked well. Terry seamlessly transitioned into game competition despite it being his first preseason game after dealing with a hamstring injury. Though I thought it unlikely heading into the season, it is entirely possible Daniels and Canaan spend time with the Vipers this season.
    * Dorsey and Adrien were acquired in the summer to add toughness and rebounding to a team desperately searching for a defensive identity. Adrien has played well this preseason. Dorsey is still recovering from a foot injury, though McHale said he looks like he's getting his legs back and he rebounded better. Dorsey had eight rebounds and two blocks in 17 minutes.
    With the emergence of rookie Tarik Black, the first big man off the bench Sunday, Dorsey could find himself as the odd man out for a team that has three more cuts to make after the releases of Robert Covington and Akil Mitchell. It's probable the latter two end up with the Vipers unless claimed by an NBA team.
    * And finally, Vipers coach Nevada Smith said Sunday that guard Gary Talton, forward Tony Bishop Jr. and maybe guard Akeem Ellis will return this season. The Vipers will also have two first-round picks in November's D-League draft. Assuming Covington and Mitchell come down, as well as Rockets first-round draft pick Clint Capela, who has not played this preseason, the Vipers' roster is filling up rather quickly with camp on the horizon in two weeks.

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