I missed most of the first half of the Warriors game, but did get to see the interview with Sampson before half-time. He said that they got good looks, but the shots just didn’t fall. If that’s the case, then I guess it was just one of those days when your shots don’t fall. The only player who was reliable was Lin. It’s really tough to beat a team four times in a row, so it’s not so surprising that the Warriors won. If they were playing in Golden State, then I would have expected the Warriors to win that game. But I thought the home court advantage would give Rockets the edge, although I have to say the Rockets crowd is one of the worst I’ve seen. It really takes a lot for them to stand up and cheer for the home team, it seems. Or at least that’s what it looks like on TV. They’re a very quiet bunch, from what I can tell. But I don’t live in Houston and haven’t been to Toyota Center, so I’m just basing my read from the broadcast.
I was shocked that the Rockets managed to put together a run to get within 5 points early in the third quarter. That really got the crowd going, then McHale goes and calls a time out. I think he was trying to calm his guys down a little, since he was worried that they would get a little out of control from all the adrenaline, I suppose. But I thought that was a bad time to call timeout. Those are times when the other team would call timeout to stop the momentum. In any case, the timeout wasn’t a game changer or anything, because Marc Jackson would have called a timeout if McHale didn’t. But, still, I thought that was a very odd move by McHale. When the guys came back from the timeout, they looked like a different team. They didn’t have the same level of intensity and then Clay Thompson shot the lights out kept killing the Rockets momentum with every drained trey. He and Curry were the Rockets killer. But I guess that was pay back. Bad loss, but not completely surprising.
In the beginning of this month, I said that these games will be a test to see where the Rockets are at in terms of the growing pains that come with a mini shakeup in the rotation. I said that if they lose no more than 2 games during this stretch before they face the Spurs, then the Rockets are back. Well, Rockets have already lost 3 games. I do expect theme to demolish the Jazz tomorrow and take care of business against the Cavs. So they should end the stretch with three losses. If they do, then they’re borderline in terms of being back in form. I expect them to destroy the Jazz, because the Jazz have been on some sort of crazy spiral as of late. The other night they lost to a very weak Knicks team that basically didn’t have any of their regular starters in the lineup. And Jazz lost on their home court. So if Rockets don’t blow out the Jazz tomorrow, then I’d be very disappointed and concerned about the short-term state of this team. I haven’t payed attention to the Cavs, so have no idea what they’re about, but if Rockets are “back”, then they should be able to take care of business against the Cavs of the league. If Rockets destroy the Jazz and take care of business against the Cavs, then I expect them to beat the Spurs, as well. That is, if the Spurs are still without Tony Parker on Sunday. Spurs are a well-coached team, but I think Rockets are a better team than a Spurs sans Parker. So if things go as I expect them to (Rockets blow out Jazz, take care of business against Cavs and beat the Spurs (possibly even blowing out the Spurs)), then the Warriors loss will essentially be canceled out by the Spurs win. At least that’s how it works out in my crazy mind. After the Spurs, we got three very tough games in a row: Pacers, Grizzlies and Clippers. If we don’t put together a three game winning streak (by beating the Jazz, Cavs and Spurs), then I think we’ll end up losing all three of these games. However, if we do put together a three game winning streak, then I think we’ll win at least one of these three tough match ups. The one I think we have the best shot of winning is the Pacers. I also think we have a shot at beating the Clippers. The game I’m putting down as a loss is the one against the Grizzlies. Grizzlies seem to be a much better team without Rudy Gay. This is the game I’m most looking forward to, because Rockets blew them out back in December and it looks as if Rockets are a match up problem for the Grizzlies, because of our up-tempo style. So I’m curious to see if that’s still the case. Grizzlies seem to be on a roll after dealing Rudy Gay, so I’m curious to see how we match up against them now, because they could be the team Rockets face in the first round if Rockets make it to the sixth seed. But the sixth seed is looking less and less likely with the loss against the Warriors. Warriors look like they may be out of the funk they’ve been in and they have a pretty favorable schedule the rest of the way, so they’ll probably end up securing that sixth spot.
Anyway, just wanted to share some of my very short-term expectations. Of course, you never know what will happen–that’s why they play the games.