I went to the Rockets / Warriors game the other day. Some notes:
- I went by myself. Is that weird? I dunno, I’m very comfortable doing things on my own, movies, sporting events, whatever. Not that I prefer going alone. I’m just not bothered by it. I found a great deal for a lower level ticket at half price so I went (first time ever sitting lower level at an NBA game). I had a great time.
- The Rockets are an easy team to like. Just good, scrappy, team-oriented guys. Scola is still my favorite player – he works hard and is wise in how he plays. And they have a lot of good assets – their bench is pretty deep.
- The problem is that they don’t have a single dominant player, which is well-recognized problem. Morey believes in only paying premium salaries for premium talent, and I completely agree with that philosophy. It’s just tough because it leaves the team in limbo – too good to hit the lottery jackpot, but not good (or attractive) enough to draw a top-tier player. I don’t see any solution to this. Except for the Knicks sucking, since we own their draft pick, but sadly, they’re better this year.
- Their other problem: perimeter defense. I like Kevin Martin – he reminds me of a cross between Eddie Jones and Reggie Miller – but the man can’t play defense. Opposing guards look like superstars against the Rockets. Monta Ellis in 2 games against the Rockets: 46 and 44 points. Dwyane Wade scored his season high against the Rockets. All guards do well against them, because their guard defense is awful, especially K-Mart’s.
- That said, the team is coming together and I think they have a legitimate shot at a 6 seed in the West. The whole Yao thing early in the season screwed them up – the system they used in limiting his minutes and keeping him out of back-to-backs messed up the team’s understanding of their roles. The game I went to, it seemed much more clear what everyone was supposed to do. (They also played Brooks and Landry together for a while. Interesting.)
- Jeremy Lin played 10 minutes. There was a local newspaper article recently saying how he plays worse at home because the crowd is too into him – it puts undue pressure on him. I could see that in his body language. He seemed embarrassed by the attention. And Monta didn’t help. Soon after he checked in, Lin missed a shot, and Monta was jawing and glaring at him for minutes afterwards, through a couple of possessions. Not sure why – Lin definitely added energy and the Warriors were +5 while he was in the game. I guess Monta is just a jerk.