Bad luck? Apparently so.
While the Rockets may be a paltry 1-5, the team's record is not exactly indicative of its performance. After all, prior to Sunday's game against Minnesota, the Rockets had faced opponents with a combined record of 20-4. They had also played in three road games, as compared to two home games, and, oddly enough, they fared better on the road, nearly defeating the defending champion Lakers, the upstart Warriors and the 4-1 San Antonio Spurs, all on their respective home floors.
It's fairly obvious that, injuries aside, the Rockets have been unlucky. Thanks to the good people at 48 Minutes of Hell, we finally have some rock-hard, statistical proof.
Houston has suffered the most from poor luck thus far, losing 1.6 games more than their scoring differential suggests, 1.2 due to a difficult early schedule and 0.5 from "unlucky shooting." At this point in the season, one could argue that Houston at 0-5 has played better than Atlanta at 6-0!
I'm not going to get into the numbers - you can click the link above to dive into them yourself. This assertion doesn't surprise me in the least, though. For all of the criticism that we have levied at the Rockets (especially regarding their defense), they've played much, much better than a 1-5 team. If they manage to climb back to .500 without Aaron Brooks or Kyle Lowry healthy, we can only assume that this team will continue to gradually improve as the season progresses.
Was Ginobili out of line?
Zach Lowe from The Point Forward has a post up about Manu Ginobili's positioning during Aaron Brooks' half-court shot in Saturday's loss to San Antonio. Of course, this was the play that Brooks injured his ankle, when he fell and landed on Ginobili's foot. Here's the video, for those who missed it.
Clearly, Ginobili made an attempt to take a charge or at least deter Brooks from taking an open shot. Deep down, I'd like to think that Ginobili was trying to purposely injure Brooks and perfectly place himself so that Brooks would happen to land awkwardly on his foot, but that's not the case. Ginobili was simply trying to make a play and prevent a wide-open shot. As Lowe points out, had Ginobili drawn the charge, people would have lauded it as a "smart basketball play."
Now, Ginobili looks like a cheat, at least in the eyes of many Rockets fans. I don't think he was cheating, though I do think that anyone who decides to run in front of a leaping guard and stand still should expect to face criticism should something go wrong. And, to add, this was halftime, not the fourth quarter. Was a charge attempt really necessary?
I hate the play, sure, but it's not cheating, and it wasn't with any bad intentions. But this won't exactly raise my level of respect for Manu Ginobili.