Cleveland Rox - A New Rockets Fan's First Live Game in 15 Years

So since we are in the middle of a drought, I wanted to rewind the clock two weeks back, when we were on a 3 game winning streak... (Note: Light on actual basketball, heavy on experience)

Christmas 2012

I started reading TDS over the summer, when the Dwightmare consumed all things Rockets, and really liked the tone of the articles (more aggressive than Posting and Toasting, but just as good), especially when BD and AK would wade into melees with commenters. The Harden trade happened, and I couldn't believe it. I love James Harden's game and weird personality, which is so different from other superstars (air fiving invisible teammates is my favorite thing ever), and I was convinced that the Thunder wouldn't move him until closer to the deadline, if at all. Also, since wwert called it hours before it leaked, I was sure it wouldn't happen since he loves to make trade proposals with absolute conviction that seem outlandish on the surface. Props to wwert. I've watched every preseason and regular season Rockets game so far, except for the Raptors game, which was the day before a final I was cramming for. Anyhow, my wife got me tickets to see the Rockets play the Cavaliers on January 5th in Cleveland, and I was psyched.

Rock and Roll is Dead

Quicken Loans Arena, or "The Q" as it is known, sits in downtown Cleveland right by Lake Erie. It was cold out, and we arrived at 2:30 for a 7:30 tip, so we decided to hit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, since no one could give us any suggestions for things to do in Cleveland. Their downtown is much nicer than I expected, but there was literally no one around at 2:30, which was eerie (no pun). In short, this "Hall of Fame" was awful, and not in the way I was hoping. I love kitschy manufactured entertainment as much as anyone, but I don't know anything about guitars except which ones look cool, and many of their selections for the Hall of Fame are boring/obvious (Michael Jackson) or diametrically opposed to my taste (Grateful Dead, which had two full floors of stuff). Also, is it too much to ask for some insightful or interesting memorabilia as well? I mean we don't need to see Bowie's Ziggy Stardust outfit again, it's been the stock photo of Bowie for longer than I've been alive. Or if you put Michael Jackson's glove out, have some information with it. How many rhinestones is that? Were there models that were scrapped? Who decided that MJ should dress like a Maj. General of the Disco Army? Where's Bubbles' skeleton? Eventually we just went around to each section and played a game of "If you had to wear one thing on this wall, what would it be?" Let's just say you should all be hopeful that, should this be a requirement one day, I'm not standing in front of Mick Jagger's wall. Also, I believe that I assembled a complete Robin Hood/Elven Ranger outfit using pieces from every decade. I did like the Joy Division exhibit, which had the original handwritten lyrics to "Love Will Tear Us Apart" WITH RED INK EDITS that became the recorded version.

The hip hop section was totally awful, completely ignoring the contributions of proto-hip hop scenes like GoGo in DC and Chicago House music, as well as spoken word/poets with musical components like Gil Scott Heron and The Last Poets. But they did have the gloves and goggles the Beastie Boys wore in the video for "Intergalactic," which is cool.

Oh wait, you want to hear about the game?


1. I was in my seat 90 minutes before tip, and Harden was already on the floor running shooting drills with Sampson (Sampson in warmups was strange, I’ve only seen him suited up previously), all from midrange and the corners, which I thought was interesting. Lin came out 10 minutes later with a bald coach to do around the world three point drills, and I know it’s incomparably different, but Jeremy hit like 90% of his spot ups (only head on from the top of the key did he miss more than one) from 3. Net snapping swishes too. He did a few more laps around the arc doing stepbacks, pump fakes, and leaners, and was still nailing like 70% percent. He also made the Cavs ballboys crack up after a swish with a bunch of backspin bonked one of them in the head. Delfino joined for the final 10 minutes, but was just goofing around shooting shots I pray he never has to take. No other Rockets came out until the pregame layup drills.

2. The Cavs have an AWESOME fan base. It was packed by the middle of the first when the stragglers finally rolled through and may be the most merch I’ve seen fans wear outside of OKC. Most people appeared to have a jersey (Kyrie the most popular by far, with Boobie Gibson next, no one close to those two, sorry Varejao) with a Cavs T shirt under it at the minimum. They get really, really loud too. McHale got the most boos by far (until Harden’s 4th quarter), something held over from the 80’s?

3. My wife, who knows nothing about basketball and really didn’t want to go at all (she brought her Kindle just in case, smh) was a good sport and got into a lot more as I did some play by play for her and explained some basic rules ("Why doesn’t he get to shoot free throws since he got fouled there?", which later led to "He wasn’t shooting it when he got fouled, why did he get free throws?"). She clapped and cheered every single Rockets bucket, even as the crowd started getting hostile, and flashed the Harden "Three" sign while staring down the frat bros across the aisle when he hit the first one. They were good sports though and said the eurostep is travelling and James gets bullshit calls and with Varejao they would’ve won.

4. In the fourth, when Harden took over with that first Iso play, I said to my wife "Watch this" as she didn’t understand what was so great since he missed all those shots. On the ride back she just wanted to talk about how awesome he is.

5. The frat bros from above apparently went to Duke, or just like Duke basketball, and they HATE Parsons and UF.

6. The most interesting thing is that for the whole game there were two completely different huddles. The coaches stood in one circle, and the players in another. In the fourth, Harden got called over to the coaches huddle, and proceeded to go HAM. Is this normal?

Favorite quotes:
"Jeremy Lin sucks and is so overrated, but you can’t leave open like that!"
"Harden sucks, all his points come from free throws!"
"Kyrie never gets calls! (Said as Lin is slammed into the floor with no call, again and Asik starts spouting blood from his head)"

The Good Wife

My wife is really into nailart, so she did this for the game:



Note that she did home, away, pinstripe horror, ketchup and mustard, and Christmas 2012 for the game's starting lineup on this hand.



Guess the symbols!



Corresponding Icons.

So that's the game, cheer up bros and broettes, remember that we are young, dumb, and wildly talented!

No cursing in title. No pirated material, such as links to online game streams. Do not cut/paste entire sections of content from other websites. Thanks.

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