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Friday, January 17th, 2014 at 9:00 am  |  48 responses

Post Up: Brick City

Rockets set ugly record in loss to OKC

by Brett Weisband | @weisband

Nets (16-22) 127, Hawks (20-19) 110

The Nets did their best to trick the British crowd at the O2 Arena into thinking that Eastern conference basketball can be aesthetically pleasing, outgunning the Hawks in London. Joe Johnson lit up his former team, scoring 26 of his 29 points in the first half. The Nets didn’t trail after the first quarter, stretching their lead as large as 33 points early in the fourth quarter.

Defense was not at a premium for either side; the Nets allowed Atlanta to shoot 49.4 percent from the field while sending them to the line 22 times, but Brooklyn  shot 58.2 percent themselves, including 59.3 percent (16-27) from long range. Johnson hit 6-8 triples, Alan Anderson (15 points) made 4-6 and Mirza Teletovic came off the bench to hit 3-3 for his nine points. Andray Blatche posted a double double in his reserve role with 20 points and 14 boards. Only one player that played 10 or more minutes (Jason Terry) shot under 50 percent from the field. 

The Hawks had a scare that lasted until the fourth quarter – Kyle Korver missed his first seven long-range attempts, putting his streak of games with a made 3-pointer in jeopardy. Despite the blowout, he managed to sink one with eight minutes to go for his only basket of the game, extending the streak to 108 games. Mike Scott and Shelvin Mack both came off the bench to score 17 for Atlanta, while Jeff Teague had 16.

The win took the Nets franchise to 3-0 in London games and extended their current hot streak, giving them their sixth win in seven games.

Pacers (31-7) 117, Knicks (15-24) 89

The Knicks came out swinging, but the Pacers responded quickly to that opening flurry and put New York in a submission hold the rest of the way. Lance Stephenson had a career-high 28 points, putting on a show at both ends for the Indiana fans against his hometown team. Stephenson chipped in four rebounds and four assists, making several highlight-worthy plays along the way. Lance was also a whopping plus-30 for the game, the highest of any Pacer, as they held the Knicks to 40 percent shooting.

Basically everything good that happened for the Knicks came in the first quarter, where they scored 31 points thanks to some crisp ball movement and a scoring outburst from Carmelo Anthony, who dropped 18 of his 28 in the first on 6-8 shooting. 

Indiana apparently had enough of the idea of their opponent scoring and put New York on lock down in the second quarter, holding them to just 17 points as they pulled away. After going up by 10 with a minute to go in the first half, their lead never dipped back into single digits. Paul George was stellar for Indiana, scoring 25 on 8-17 shooting and knocking down four 3-pointers. Roy Hibbert was mostly quiet, scoring 11 points in just 27 minutes, but had one very loud play that gave Melo some flashbacks to last spring.

Thunder (29-10) 104, Rockets (26-15) 92

After the Rockets scorched the nets in the first half, Oklahoma City shut everything down over the final 24 minutes. Houston rang up 73 points and 12-20 shooting from behind the arc in the first two quarters, but the Thunder played some stifling defense and held them to 19 points and 19 percent shooting in the second half. That’s for the entire second half. That scoring gap, minus-54, is an NBA record for the largest negative point differential between halves in a game. Kevin Durant had 36 points to lead OKC to the win, getting to the line 20 times (and hitting 18) to power them through a tough start to the game in which the Thunder missed their first 14 shots from deep.

Everyone was knocking down 3-pointers for the Rockets early. Chandler Parsons (14 points), Aaron Brooks (11 points) and Donatas Montiejunas (15 points) all hit three of them in the first half, while James Harden continuously sliced to the rim against his former team. All that changed in the second half; Houston did not knock down a 3-pointer after halftime, and  the looks the Rockets were getting early were nowhere near as open as the game wore on. Dwight Howard struggled for the Rockets, getting himself into foul trouble and putting up just 11 points and eight boards.

While Houston was hitting all of the long-range bombs early, OKC caught the fever down the stretch. After that 0-14 start from deep, the Thunder finished the game on a 6-11 tear from downtown. OKC’s spree was capped off by Reggie Jackson, who rebounded from a poor start to finish with 23 points and six steals and banked in a back-breaking 3. He put the exclamation point on the comeback with a breakaway windmill dunk. Serge Ibaka had a monster game as well, going for 21 and 15 on 10-13 shooting while playing his usual intimidating help-side defense, swatting away five shots, hitting Dwight and the Houston crowd with a Mutombo finger wave after one crucial block down the stretch.

The Rockets’ collapse will give critics of their strategy plenty of ammunition. Despite going ice cold in the second half, Houston’s shot chart looked the same as ever: tons of 3-pointers, tons of layup attempts, nothing in the middle. If this team wants to make noise in the Playoffs, they’ll have to get a little more flexible in their philosophy and adjust when the shots just won’t fall.

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  • the rain

    KD gets MVP this year.

  • Stepfan Raiford

    Incredible defense from OKC in the second half. I would like to see that kind of effort from Segre on a more consistent basis. Rockets clearly struggle when the game slows down. You live by the three ball and you die by it. I’ll leave the one time Laker alone cause, Lakeshow said I’m to hard on these players.

  • LLC#12

    It sure was nice to watch an NBA game without having to stay up until 4am.

    Why does Melo hit himself in the head after he scores sometimes? I’ve been wondering this for a while.

    Houston is like Golden State, in that, when the three’s aren’t falling, they aren’t great.

    LeBron may be 3rd in the MVP race, right now you could definitely make cases for George and Durant.

  • JJ Jones

    Kd is mvp. Dwight Howard is a joke he played little no defense because he wasnt getting his touches in the post. As soon as he did he couldnt do a damn thing out there. Its time for this clown to take some responsibilty blaming stan van gundy, kobe(a five time champion) for his shortcomings. Whats the excuse now? What the he’ll did McHale and Hakeem teach him. Houston is going home in the first round if this no defense b.s. continues.

  • Max

    Cosign your first point to the fullest lol.

  • JJ Jones

    Kendrick perkins is only kept around to make d12 his b**ch.

  • JJ Jones

    Durant yes George no. Paul george has improved but he h as sent played well as of late and isn’t anywhere close to lbj and Durant level. Indiana’s defense and improved depth is what makes that team what it is not Paul george.

  • Stepfan Raiford

    And he gets in his head every single time they play. Even Stephen Adams gave him problems.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Paul George is not really in the conversation. He’s what Melo/Chris Paul was last season to the MVP race. His team is great, he’s been really good, but when talking about the actual MVP, he’s really not in the conversation.

  • LLC#12

    The distinction between Melo and CP3 is that George is on the team that’s led the league pretty much the whole season.
    I don’t think George is near Durant/LeBrons level yet, but being the best player on the best team at least puts you in the conversation, in my opinion.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    San Antonio is 31-8 …. Indiana is 31-7
    .
    San Antonio likely doesn’t even have an all star. The best team argument is so damn shallow too me. It feels like a cop out to say just because he’s the best player on the best team that he should be in the conversation.

  • Harvey

    San Antonio do have All-Stars. Their whole damn team are!
    But honestly, Parker should be one. He’s playing superbly.

  • Harvey

    I see Dwight Howard was disappointing again last night. But he’ll continue to get another undeserved All-Star start…

  • LLC#12

    I think the arguments a cop out if you say “the best player on the best team argument IS the mvp”, but I think it’s reasonable to use it to put someone in the conversation at least. It would be a cop out if a team had no clear best player, but George is clearly Indiana’s best player.
    And IMO TP is easily an all-star talent, he just happens to be in an all-star heavy position, which might work against him when it comes to the ASG.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Parker probably should be an all star, but there are soo many guards in the West, he might not be. That was my point, they might finish with the best record, and not even have an all star.

  • Harvey

    I think the coaches will put Parker in. Most coaches adore the Spurs, and they will notice he is contributing heavily to getting the team wins. In his last game he came up BIG in the 4th to get the W.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    George is Indiana’s best player on offense.
    Hibbert is Indiana’s best player on defense.

    The team is 8 points better per 48 minutes with George on the floor offensively.
    The team is 5 points better per 48 minutes with Hibbert on the floor defensively.
    ——————————————————————————–
    So while i agree that George is the best player on the Pacers, it’s hard to argue that he is so much better than everyone else, that he’s in the conversation as the most valuable player in the league.
    .
    .
    And i’m not saying Tony Parker isn’t an all star level talent, I’m just making a point that team record doesn’t and shouldn’t be an over ruling factor in individual award races. Indiana and San Antonio are great because their teams are great as a whole.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    right but there has also been games recently where Parker was pedestrian.

    10 points on 41% shooting against Memphis….
    6 points on 27% shooting against Houston….
    8 points on 37% shooting against LA-Clippers….

    it’s arguable that while he’s been great, he just hasn’t been one of the best 6 guards in the West. Sh*t, you could argue he hasn’t even been a top 6 point guard in the West.

    Here is a list that doesn’t include Chris Paul …. and you could argue Tony Parker comes in 6th of these 6 guys.
    http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=0&p1=parketo01&y1=2014&p2=lillada01&y2=2014&p3=thomais02&y3=2014&p4=curryst01&y4=2014&p5=lawsoty01&y5=2014&p6=dragigo01&y6=2014

    -

  • http://www.rich-imaging.com/ Dutch Rich

    Heavy Dwight bashing from TNT to Slam. What a difference a half makes. The whole team played like crap the second half. Never seen Parsons struggle so much in a game. He looked like he was drugged. McHale may need to take some responsibility here instead of blaming it on guys missing open looks and lay-ups. That team is still very young.

  • spit hot fiyah

    also a lot of injuries. i think the coaches put him there just so we can have a spur

  • spit hot fiyah

    steven “problems” adams, should be his name

  • Max

    Couldn’t they just put the snubs on the East because they are so terrible?

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    hahahahah i wish

  • Saleem Rainman

    We all know Houston isnt going anywhere in the playoffs, right?

  • JJ Jones

    Damn right this guy is an entitled joke

  • LakeShow

    Yes. And I think we should judge them incredibly harshly.

    Harden was alleged to have surpassed Kobe last season, and Dwight just needed to be where he wanted to be in order to play up to his talent level…

    So much for that. They suck.

    But they could have a second half resurgence.

  • LakeShow

    Anthony Davis has been a better player than him this season.

    By far.

    He should start.

  • LakeShow

    As much as I’d love for him to be… He’s not currently.

    Maybe if he surges even more in the 2nd half of the season he can get into legitimacy.

  • LakeShow

    This^

  • Max

    Maybe they have one round where they go all ’09 Magic and go HAM from deep. But yeah they aren’t going anywhere.

  • LakeShow

    YES lol

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    pre-season, i had them making the finals. not making excuses, i’ll stick to my guns. But i was fully expecting them to get some value for Asik. which isn’t looking like it’s going to happen this year. but i still think they can make noise in the playoffs.

  • LakeShow

    Yeah.

    It’s not that they should suck and do. It’s that they do and they shouldn’t.

    I could easily see them making noise if they start wanting to…

    That’s why I think we should judge them harshly. It’s not injuries really. It’s effort.

  • JJ Jones

    Yeah dwight left to the lakers because he didn’t like mike dantoni system. He goes to Houston where they do the EXACT same thing and doesn’t say a word. He’s soft and was afraid of the pressure period.

  • JJ Jones

    Lmao!

  • BE.water

    I love when Lance Stephenson is feeling it out there. When his confidence is through the roof, his game is soo lovely to watch. He plays hard and with a Star player swagger.

    If we’re talking ASG, to me it’s..

    East:

    Bron, Melo, PG, Hibbert, John Wall, DeRozan, Stephenson, Kyrie, Boozer, Teague/Millsap, Bosh/Wade? Maybe like Joe Johnson or something but I can’t think of any guys just straight up going in like that in the East at the moment.

    West:

    KD, LaMarcus, Curry, Iguodala, Lillard, KLove, Blake Griffin, Parker, Boogie Cousins, Harden, Rudy Gay (this is a hopeful, I like Rudy), Dirk? Ant Davis? CP3 if he wasn’t hurt. Obvious fan vote will get Dwight there, but I don’t feel he is deserving.

    I’m just going off of guys who arent injured.

  • LakeShow

    Lance Stephenson: Love him or hate him.

    You only got two options lol.

  • rtn

    I can’t believe your avatar is a picture of you masturbating to yourself in the mirror.

  • LakeShow

    Exactly. He just hates the Lakers all around. Not always though.

    Once Shaq started making fun of him like 6-7 years ago for “wanting to go to LA” and taking his Superman shtick he started hating the place. Then got traded here, and was injured and hated it even more because KB and the fan-base was hard on him.

  • spottieottiedopaliscious

    I hear you on Stephenson. He gets so revved up and it’s fun to watch. Sometimes (like last night) it ends up with beautiful results…sometimes not lol.

    I watched a game earlier this year where he made a couple of good plays and started getting that bounce in his step and the next time down he just launched an off balance three that hit nothing but backboard. Haha and then he simmered down and looked at Vogel like “my bad coach I blacked out”…lol f*ckin guy

  • LakeShow

    That’s pretty funny.

    I do like that confidence though.

  • Nathan Shane Long

    Lance Stephenson went AND-1 STREETBALL on the Knicks punk ass last night

  • JJ Jones

    Hey that’s what u have to go through if u really want to be great not just say it and cry like a b**ch when things don’t go your way its sad

  • spottieottiedopaliscious

    Me too. He’s a great player to have on your team. That spark plug sort of player. One of my favorites right now.

  • JJ Jones

    Love that dudes motor

  • The Fury

    I just hope The Dragic makes it.

  • The Fury

    1) Durant
    2) Aldridge
    3) Lebron

  • pposse

    its the hands bro its alll about those big ass hands

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