Wednesday Afternoon Rockets/NBA Links

Tough loss last night, right? A lot of fans are going to take a loss like that hard - make stupid posts about how the season is over. Fortunately for us, Dwyer is there to keep things level.

This is how it's going to be for Houston. The team is talented, I'm not passing off an early 4-3 (and nearly 5-2) record as some bit of luck. But the team also creates its own fortune in a way that's somehow different than the 29 other teams out there that are creating their own fortune. The Rockets have to work hard, and they have to hope that a lot falls into place.

The work was there, in this loss, but the shots dried up after a while. Good shots, too. Even as Dallas stormed back from what seemed like a blowout loss of its own to turn it into a blowout win, the Rockets were still getting fair looks more often than not.

Where have I heard that before?

Houston just can't create good shots, at this point. It's why Scola and Shane Battier(notes) combined to miss 12 of 15 shots, and why the team nearly had as many turnovers (16) as assists (18). It'll be a hallmark. But it will be up to other teams to take advantage of because they're never going to give up.

Right: immediately after the loss to Portland.

It seems to me that all of us do basically what I was criticizing in regards to the McGrady story yesterday: we take a narrative we created independent of any sort of evidence and then project it upon reality. If the Bulls or Cavs or whoever lose by twenty to a good team, it's because they had a bad game or the other team played out of their minds or just because shit happens. If the Rockets do it, however, it's because "that's just how it is for this team - they're scrappy, but they need to create shots." That might really be the issue, but the evidence so far doesn't seem to support that. Is that really different from how the Mavs have to win games? I don't think so. Things have to go right for them, too. If none of their good shots fall, then they're going to lose. I remember this happening last year, too. It happens to all teams.

The problems last night were, from my view, caused by a great deal of bad luck (shot just didn't fall - go figure) and by relatively poor defense (something the Rockets have faced all of this short season). In other words, the Rockets had some bad luck and there wasn't a strong defense to bail them out like last year.

The important thing is to not overreact to this loss. The Rockets have done well so far - beat the bad teams we expect them to beat and play the good teams relatively evenly. Good basketball, but nothing spectacular.

More links after the jump, as always.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has cancer, but his prognosis is good.

Abdul-Jabbar is a special assistant with the Lakers and said he hasn't had to cut back his level of activity of coaching, change his regimen or adjust his diet. "I'm able to sneak out for Thai food," he said.

"There is hope. This condition can be treated. You can still live a productive, full life," he said. "I'm living proof I can make it."

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B-R Blog has links to the entire Game 7 of the '94 Finals. Relive what has been called one of the most boring NBA Finals of all time by people who don't know what they're talking about.

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Tonight, Hasheem Thabeet won't be visiting the city where he went to high school.

Thabeet, the No. 2 overall selection in last June's draft, crashed into the back of teammate Zach Randolph's head while scrambling for a rebound late in the first quarter. He went to the floor while team trainers attended to his jaw before eventually leaving the court under his own power.

Early indications are that the 22-year-old will sit out tonight with no firm timetable for his return. The former standout at UConn is averaging just 0.6 points and 1.6 rebounds in under seven minutes per game through Memphis' first seven contests of the year, however.

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Brad Miller hit what seemed to be the game-winning shot against the Nuggets last night, only to have the decision on the floor reversed upon review. Bulls fans are apparently up in arms about this, but it seems pretty clear to me that the ball hadn't left Miller's hand when time expired.

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Last, Beth Shoals looks at the Eddy Curry trade four years later.

But here we are, four years after Curry was swapped for the picks that would become Thomas and Curry, and it's pretty clear Noah's the strongest piece to emerge from that tangled trade. Curry, initially at risk due to heart trouble, is now perennially injured and may or may not suit up any day now. Thomas has had stretches where he actually made good on his potential, but never sustained it, and now is out with a broken arm. Noah, meanwhile, is looking like a legit starting center, albeit a scrawny, hustle-based one. As of this morning, the former Florida star is averaging 11.4 points, 12.4 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game.

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Okay, one more - Chuck Hayes gets more love, this time from Hoops World.

"Chuck Hayes definitely embodies what our team is about, the way that the roster has been put together, and the way our coaches go about planning for games," says Hinkie. " He is a winner who has consistently won, who makes winning basketball plays on both ends of the floor - not just defensively. He's playing now more like he played in his second year in the league after we called him up from the D-League in his rookie year. He's an aggressive and opportunistic offensive player who takes advantage of what's give to him. He's always been a stalwart for us defensively, and there were times when his role was smaller and he was sort of in our bullpen. We could call on him when we needed him, which was quite often, as a defensive specialist. I think he's back to a place physically and mentally, and has been given a role, in which he can do more and we need him to do more. He's doing a great job."

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