Exactly how Charlotte can go 14-4 at home in front of an average attendance of what can't be more than eight thousand people is beyond me. The idea isn't staggering, as most teams perform better at home, but the record certainly is. Can't say I wasn't impressed with the way the Bobcats played, though. They made the Rockets look silly in the second half.
I hated this game. Absolutely hated it. For the first time all season, the Rockets were outcoached, and if anyone was going to do it, it would be Larry Brown. He made the necessary halftime adjustments, and literally shut off the paint. We were to get nothing and like it.
Aside from Luis Scola, who started off the game on a tear and then decided to stop doing such awful things, the only Rocket whom I can give any credit to for keeping the game close is Kyle Lowry. Please, Daryl, if there's a lineup of possible trading chips, keep Kyle in the back. Any point guard who puts up 9/7/5 off the bench is our friend. Lowry was everywhere, forcing turnovers and keeping possessions alive. It's too bad we couldn't capitalize on those possessions.
And now for something completely different... something has been bugging me lately.
I understand our problem with starting quarters recently. But good god, we can't finish them either, at least not when we have the ball with a dead shot clock. There's a little thing called "momentum" that can translate from the end of a quarter to the beginning of the next. Momentum can be good or bad. So, sucking at the end of quarters may have something to do with sucking at the beginning of them. Just saying. Let's try an example:
To end the third quarter, the Rockets dribbled away all but four seconds of the shot clock before Aaron Brooks decided to pass the ball. You know, so Trevor Ariza's laughable shot attempt wouldn't count, because by the time he would get it off, the buzzer would have sounded. Thankfully, the ball got tipped out of bounds. Cue Matt Bullard:
Every NBA team, including the Rockets, has a late-clock play that they practice constantly.
I assumed that this brilliant insider analysis would yield some magical out-of-bounds play from Adelman. Instead, with a whole two seconds left, we passed to Ariza, who decided to duck-and-cover while he was dribbling, and then forced up one joke of a shot. We ended the third quarter lackadaisically, and whaddayaknow, we began our craptastic fourth quarter the same way. My personal advice: A) Don't waste as much clock to begin with. B) Don't let Trevor near the basketball when it's important, because even if he doesn't fling up an awkward shot attempt, he may get fouled, and miss two free throws.
This brings us to the end of the game. The Rockets turned it into an isolation festival, and looked to Shane Battier and Brooks to shoot Houston out of any chance of winning. Every time either of those two caught the ball behind the arc, it suddenly became their duty to hoist up a prayer, regardless of how well they were defended. And while Charlotte did a great job defensively in forcing the Rockets out of their element, the Rockets hurt themselves by ignoring their lucious power forward duo of Scola and Carl Landry. Scola made eight of ten shots in the first half, but only had four attempts in the second. Why not go back to Scola in the fourth? He was the only consistent scorer we had throughout the entire game. I'll at least give Charlotte credit for defending Landry well, but the Scola thing really irritates me.
Tough luck when Stephen Jackson has the game of his life, too.
That's all I've got. This will also be my last recap for quite a while. I'll let you know why on Thursday, when I'm allowed to explain why. Til then, be sure to encourage Dave on following through on an idea for a "Trevor Ariza Shock Collar" post. He lead the Rockets in shot attempts again.