Archives For Houston Rockets

The Rockets were without James Harden and Dwight Howard, but were still deadly enough to nearly take out the Hawks with a barrage of shots in the first three quarters. However, the Hawks rallied behind a hot crowd in the fourth quarter and completed a 18-point comeback to win 104-96.

“Seems like we were constantly trying to dig ourselves out of a hole,” said head coach Mike Budenholzer on his players. “The last one I think we went down 15 with nine or ten minutes left in the quarter and they found a way to make one more run to get over the hump.”

The Hawks came out of the gates extremely sluggish, as Jeff Teague’s lack of attention on the opening tip led to an easy layup for the Rockets instead of the Hawks taking possession. This sloppy play persisted throughout the first quarter, punctuated by nine Atlanta turnovers, which resulted in a 31-22 Rockets lead after 12 minutes of play.

“I didn’t like our focus coming out,” said Budenholzer, who was assessed a technical foul in the first quarter.

The Rockets continued to pile on in the second quarter, with Jason Terry and Terrence Jones combining for 21 points in the period. The Hawks interior defense on Jones was non-existent and Terry kept punishing the out-of-position Hawks by nailing open 3-pointers.

“They were doing a lot of great things offensively,” said Al Horford, who scored 18 points in the game. “It kept us guessing a lot of the time. We prepared for playing against, you know, like James Harden and everything and it kind of changes how you’re going to approach the game.” Continue Reading…

With how good the Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks, and San Antonio Spurs often are, it is hard for road teams from the East to come into Texas and expect any success. The Hawks are not an exception to that, but Atlanta grinded out a rare victory in the Lone Star state, beating the Rockets 104-97. The Hawks now sit at 19-7 and have now won 14 of their last 16 games.

Atlanta managed to pull it out in the end thanks to some nice passing and solid execution. It also helped that Jason Terry completely forgot to cover Kyle Korver during one of the game’s most crucial moments.

While the game started off close, it wasn’t like that until midway through the third quarter. The Hawks had a decently-sized lead through most of the first half thanks to crisp ball movement getting them a lot of open looks. For the majority of the game, the best the Rockets could do was go on a small run occasionally, but the Hawks would withstand it and get right back to business and build up their lead once more. That was until the Rockets adjusted.

During halftime, the Rockets made some tweaks that managed to get them back into the game, tying the game up by the end of the quarter. Part of it was the Hawks just not hitting shots, but the Rockets rotations were much more organized in the second half; when the Hawks started to move the ball, the Rockets were right there to contest the shot. Continue Reading…

FINAL

HOU.gif(23-14) 83 – 80 (20-17)ATL

Key Performers:
K. Korver (ATL): 20 pts, 5 reb, 2 ast, 3 stl
J. Harden (HOU): 25 pts, 7 reb, 7 ast
[FULL BOX SCORE]

The Rockets jumped out to an 11-0 lead in the first quarter, but Mike Scott responded with eight first quarter points to keep the Hawks within a reasonable distance. The Hawks then won the next two quarters 55-42 to take a 65-60 lead into the fourth quarter. In the fourth, the Hawks used a DeMarre Carroll three-pointer to take a 79-78 advantage that they would not relinquish as four free throws from Kyle Korver iced the game in favor of the Hawks. The win gives the Hawks 20 on the season as they improved to 14-5 in Philips Arena.

Reaction grades [assessed 0-10]:

Paul Millsap: After four very rough games for Millsap, he was able to respond against Houston. His jumper was still a little off, but he did get a couple of three-pointers to fall. His four offensive rebounds were very important, as that was one of the keys that pushed the Hawks to victory despite a 37.2% shooting night from team. 7/10

DeMarre Carroll: DeMarre’s night kind of reminded me of Pero’s game against Charlotte. He was doing the little things throughout the game, but he could not hit a shot to save his life. Finally, with the Hawks trailing 78-76, he got a three to fall. 6/10

Pero Antic: Not a very good night for Pero, who finish with four points on eight shots. On defense, he wasn’t doing completely terrible, but Dwight was simply too physical for Pero on some possessions. The result was Pero getting into foul trouble and a minutes increase for Elton Brand. 4/10

Jeff Teague: Teague was outplayed by both Lou-Will and Shelvin tonight. Dwight Howard’s defense probably gave Jeff the most difficulties of any ATL player, as Jeff just couldn’t do what he wanted in the lane. Outside of the lane, Jeff was consistently short on his jumper, which is very reminiscent of how he was shooting the ball at the beginning of the season. 4/10

Kyle Korver: Kyle Korver has been the team’s top performer in consecutive wins against Indiana and Houston. Korver was 6-for-11 from the field and his three three-pointers in the third quarter were huge for the Hawks being able to take the lead. Korver also played very strong defense in the second half, as his digs and activity caused problems for Houston’s big and their guards. 9/10 Continue Reading…

Hawks Notes: Dec. 24

Buddy Grizzard —  December 24, 2013 — 4 Comments

Hawks Notes is an occasionally subjective, always stream-of-consciousness rambling on the state of the NBA in the ATL.

Teague continues to out-perform his man

We mentioned back at mid-month that Jeff Teague had a string of comparatively-strong performances against some of the game’s best point guards. Since then, Teague’s numbers compared to the opposing team’s starting point guard have only gotten better.

Teague followed up the previously-mentioned run by limiting John Wall to 13 points on 22 shots in a Hawks win. For December, Teague is averaging 14.1 PPG and 7.9 APG on 42% shooting from the field and 41% shooting from 3-point range. During the same stretch, the opposing team’s starting point guard is averaging 10.8 PPG and 6.9 APG on 36% shooting from the field and 26% shooting from 3-point range. As I mentioned on Twitter, Teague’s defense is becoming a thing. Continue Reading…

When Hawks GM Danny Ferry traded Joe Johnson to the Brooklyn Nets for spare parts, the reaction among Hawks fans was largely euphoric. When he followed this up by dumping Marvin Williams on the Utah Jazz, it seemed for a while that Ferry could do no wrong. However, there’s one interested party who seems conspicuously less-enamored with Ferry’s moves than the average Hawks fan: Al Horford.

In an interview with NBA.com writer Sekou Smith, Horford expressed dissatisfaction with Atlanta’s off-season moves.

I was under the impression some changes were going to happen. They didn’t happen. And I have to deal with it and adjust to this new style of play. Continue Reading…

FINAL

HOU(11-5) 113 – 84 (8-8) ATL    

Key Performers:
A. Brooks (HOU): 21 pts, 2 reb, 4 ast, 2 stl
A. Horford (ATL): 14 pts, 8 reb, 2 ast, 2 stl, 2 blk
[FULL BOX SCORE]

The Rockets were without James Harden, and then Jeremy Lin after he left the game in the first quarter due to injury. Didn’t matter, as the Rockets routed the Hawks with a barrage of three-pointers. Aaron Brook and Francisco Garcia each scored 21 off of the bench, and Houston scored 36 points in the fourth quarter to close the game out. The Hawks may have been without Kyle Korver, Lou Williams, and Shelvin Mack, but losing by 29 to a Rockets team that was playing without Harden and Lin isn’t an ideal result. I guess this does help show how important Korver’s spacing is to this team. The Hawks have now lost three straight games.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Al Horford: Al did his best on Dwight Howard, and the Rockets big man only had 11 points and eight rebounds. However, Horford didn’t do too much on the offensive end, scoring 14 points on 14 shots, many of which were wide open jumpers that he needs to be hitting at a better clip. 7/10

Jeff Teague: Not a good night for Teague. He was killed defensively, and his offense just wasn’t there. He was 0-for-5 from the field in the first quarter, and he didn’t take a shot after that point. He did have six assists and probably should have had a few more, but he definitely wasn’t able to attack the rim as effectively with Howard and Asik manning the paint for the Rockets. 5/10

Paul Millsap: Millsap was battling foul trouble for some of the night, but when he was in, he was doing his best to take advantage of Terrence Jones and Omri Casspi. Millsap had 16 points on just 10 shots and he was dominating on the block. He did have a few head-scratching turnovers in this game, but he was definitely the most effect Hawk on offense. 6.5/10

DeMarre Carroll: 2-for-8 from the field is not what you want from DeMarre. The Hawks have weirdly been running pick-and-rolls for DeMarre lately, and it’s effective sometimes… but a lot of times it is ending up with DeMarre taking weird looking floaters in the lane, which is really a shot I only want Jeff Teague or Lou Williams to take. 4/10

Cartier Martin: Starting in Kyle’s place, Cartier was actually effective in being the team’s go-to three-point shooter. Cartier scored 14 points, including 4-for-7 from behind the arc. Defensively, he was… you know what, everyone was awful defensively. Just assume that for each following player unless I note otherwise. 7/10 Continue Reading…

2012-13 Record: 45-37 (8th in West)z-rockets

Playoff Result: Lost in First Round

Key Additions: Reggie Williams (free agent), Omri Casspi (free agent)) – oh and that Dwight Howard guy.

Key Losses: Carlos Delfino (free agent), Thomas Robinson (trade)

Projected 2013-14 Record: 52-30 (5th in West)*

What to Expect: Here’s the thing with Houston. Last year they were exceptional on offense with a very efficiency-driven approach. That meant a lot of threes and a lot of free throws. The flip side was that they were “meh” defensively with the team relying on Omer Asik in his first year as a starter and defensive anchor and Carlos Delfino who was 31. What changed? Well, they got Dwight freakin’ Howard.

Now immediately you think Dwight Howard, top echelon center, on top of this young and prolific core of James Harden, Chandler Parsons and Patrick Beverley/Jeremy Lin means a cemented spot among the top teams in the Western Conference.

Yes, and no.

The Rockets’ biggest issue was their defense, and nabbing Howard to take Asik’s spot wasn’t a huge upgrade. Howard is obviously better at that end, but questions remain about his health with the back problem that seemingly has been bothersome for over a year. Not to mention that Houston really has little help defensively for Dwight, losing Delfino and quite possibly starting Lin over the defensive spark-plug Beverley this year. One could say starting Asik with Howard would alleviate these concerns, and that’s true, but they’d just bring up spacing ones on the other end. Obviously, Howard is a major upgrade over Asik in terms of offense. Continue Reading…

Sam Amick with USA Today reports that two people with knowledge of Monday’s meeting in Los Angeles between the Houston Rockets and Josh Smith indicated that the Rockets intend to pursue both Smith and fellow Atlanta native Dwight Howard.

Earlier I downplayed the market for Smith, referencing a Yahoo! Sports report that the Rockets had only promised to make a contract offer to Smith if the franchise failed to land Howard. Amick now reports that the Rockets will try to land both players. He noted that Ken Berger’s report on the eve of free agency that the Rockets will make Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin available in trades indicates preparation for this effort. Wrote Amick:

There would be serious hurdles to this sort of deal, but the Rockets may be able to get it done if they could convince Smith’s former team, the Atlanta Hawks, to take part in a sign-and-trade that would clear the necessary salary cap space to sign both players.

I’ve been a fan of Jeremy Lin ever since he put the hammer down on John Wall in NBA Summer League. Although Lin won both head-to-head match-ups this season, if you compare the 2012-13 age 24 regular season stats for both players (4th season for Teague, 3rd for Lin), you see that Teague wins almost every category except rebounding and steals. Continue Reading…

With Josh Smith rated as the 3rd-best player in free agency after Chris Paul and Dwight Howard, the buzz surrounding him has been a bit underwhelming. Further, two of the teams that have shown interest, the Detroit Pistons and Milwaukee Bucks, are already loaded at Smith’s optimal position of power forward.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski and Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports, the Houston Rockets met with Smith in Los Angeles on Monday and informed him that they would make a contract offer if they fail to land Howard. Smith also met for five hours with the Pistons who have likewise yet to make a contract offer. Continue Reading…

Of course, with Chris Paul likely off the table and Dwight Howard expected to sign elsewhere, eyes turn to Atlanta’s own free agent in Josh Smith.

On Sunday, Josh met with the Detroit Pistons, who apparently made a rather intriguing offer.

Detroit would be a rather strange fit with Smoove. Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe are good players, but both work best when they are closer to the basket, meaning that Josh would again find himself out on the perimeter. Of course, after Detroit’s last free agency debacle (Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva), they are definitely looking to sign a guy that’s actually good this time around. Even with as much criticism as Smoove takes, he’s still a good player.

Reports say that Smith returning to Atlanta isn’t out of the question. According to Yahoo!’s Marc Spears, Smith is very respectful of Mike Budenholzer’s tenure under Gregg Popovich and would still be very open about returning to his hometown team. With CP3 and Dwight likely out of the equation, the Hawks are going to have to offer money to someone and all indications are that Smoove may be that someone.