Well, this game was a bit more fun to watch than the other two games. The Rockets showed teamwork as opposed to play that looked like a bunch of guys just getting together for pickup game. The game showed some sweet execution on offense and defense as well as several mental lapses.
The Rockets were pretty much in command after the 1st quarter. The start of the 1st quarter had to be one of the most boring sessions of basketball I've ever witnessed watching a Rockets team, regular season or otherwise. By the 5 or 6 minute mark of the first quarter, we had 2 points. With as many times as Tito was giving the ball up, you almost felt sorry for the guy. I actually did. The quarter ended 16-16.
The second quarter is where the Rockets came together and blew the doors open on an otherwise lackluster and close game. The Rockets started the quarter outscoring the Warriors something like 20-3 and eventually took the lead up to about 20 pts. Don't you just love the way I use words such as "like" and "about" as if I wasn't there? What do you think I am? The Houston Chronicle? If I had all the accurate numbers, I'd be getting the results to you sometime later today like them. Gimme a break! ;) The Rockets claimed their large 2nd quarter lead thanks to some good defense, intense hustle, and attacking offense. By the end of the 2nd quarter, they had pushed the out to 49-33.
The third quarter started off with Tito Maddox on the court and Jason Miskiri and Malick Badiane on the pine. And it showed. We were called for back-to-back 8 second violations, and then soon after got hit with a 5 sec inbound violation. We were playing so dumb, I swear I thought somebody had spiked the water with Cuttino Juice (I think I just felt all his fans punch a wall). We did close the quarter up 7, 67-60.
The fourth quarter saw the Warriors bring the Rockets lead down to 4. Gut check time. Thank goodness the guys with the guts were out there. Led by Badiane, Miskiri, and Mike Hicks, the Rockets ran and hustled their lead back up to double figures. This is the quarter I noticed something about the coaching staff that I've never seen in our previous coaching staff. More to come regarding that later (ooh... a teaser - but not much of one).
Did I spell that right? Ok, cool. Well, as some of you pessimistic folks may have surmised by the leading scorer list above, Bostjan Nachbar's shot failed to show up once again. I don't know how many shots he took, but there was a stretch after a couple of misses where he handled the ball but rarely attempted a shot. He was still hustling in all other aspects of the game, so I have to give him that. He played pretty good d, but tonight, Michael Dunleavy, Jr., who went off for something like 25 points was popping from long and mid-range. Dunleavy seems to have bulked up, or maybe I'm just thinking that since I'm not familiar with the Warriors due to their yearly suckitude. Either way, Dunleavy did a pump-fake that saw Bostjan go into orbit while Mike casually made a bucket. What's even more tragic about Boki this game is that he did something at one point in the game that had the crowd ooh'ing and aah'ing. I suspect it was a flying dunk or layup. Of course, I miss it as I'm editing pictures on my camera. Boki gave me a second opportunity to witness his glory in the 3rd quarter when he blocked a dunk attempt by a Warrior at the rim. Great defensive play. All-in-all Boki's game was off once again. The guy's snakebit. I apologize to those that were waiting for Boki's stats. I don't have them. Even if I did, they'd probably crash the server or something... believe me, nothing good can come of it.
The Bad Man Cometh...
He's about 6'10" and 230 lbs. of hustle. That's all I can say about him. The numbers don't show him as the team leader in points, but it was about 50% his hustle that kept the Warriors out of this game.
Example : Badiane is helping to defend a player on the right sideline when a pass comes in that gets tipped away (not sure if Badiane tipped it). The ball bounces all the way across to the other sideline. Everyone else just stands there or gives up on the play, but Badiane hauls ass across the court and nearly saves the ball. I think Miskiri or Hicks also went for the ball, but no one went cross-court like Badiane did.
Badiane also had possibly the highlight of the game when he did a 2-handed ram down some Warrior's throat. The whole crowd erupted as Badiane grabbed the rim and did a jiggle a la American streetballers and got fouled in the process. Pretty soon he'll be dribbling the ball to death, crossing people over 10 times as the clock runs out, and shooting boneheaded jumpers... yay. ;)
Not to be outdone by Boki's block of a dunk attempt, Badiane had a block at the rim of Warrior shot as well. One thing about Badiane is that he goes after anything. I just sat there thinking to myself "this guy goes after the ball anytime it's not in the possession of a human hand". If it's a loose ball, he'll dive for it or chase it. If it's the other team's shot, he'll try to block it or rebound the miss. If it's our shot, he'll try to fly in and jam it or get a rebound. Whether it's the summer leagues or the regular season, hustle is hustle, and he's got plenty of it.
This guy has offensive moves that are in their infancy, but you know he's not completely raw. There was one play where he pump-faked a guy into the air then went up for 2. He did brick one 15 footer, but he seems to like the baseline 15-footer where he's left open. He seems competent hitting that shot.
Overall, a great showing by the Bad Man. So good, I saw during one timeout Patrick Ewing grab a towel from someone else and hand it to Badiane. Sweet... you just got Patrick Ewing as your towel boy - you're going places, kid. :D
If Tito makes the team this year, move over Charles, I am kissing Kenny Smith's ass. But then who knows - I've seen crazier things happen. On offense, very little went right with Tito out there. Jason Miskiri, in my not so basketball-wise opinion, runs a better offense than does Tito. Things just work better with Jason in there. Tito had the ball picked from him on back-to-back (or nearly back-to-back) possessions. He had a couple of 8 second violations (one which may not have been entirely his fault). When Tito was in there, we damn near fell apart. But in his defense, he was in there with Bostjan, so maybe it was that double whammy that made it seem so bad. Titata.
The Not Ready for Primetime Players strike again...
Who are these guys? I originally said they wouldn't make the team, but man, I'm starting to love Jason Miskiri's game. If you leave him open, he can pop a shot. If you play him close, he can go by you. He controls the offense pretty well and can push the ball. He also can penetrate pretty well, too. He's an antinorris if I've ever seen one.
Juaquin Hawkins. I love this guy's game and hustle. He got a bit lit up by Jiri Welsch tonight, but his defense wasn't all that bad. Jiri just had it going. He takes charges (or more often than not, flops really well), he goes after loose balls, and is active on defense. With a squad containing Posey, Hawkins, and Badiane, you'll see some bodies flying out there.
Other stuff you may be interested in...
Watching the Rockets in the 2nd quarter was so much fun. I saw several plays where guys would lob passes into a guy cutting to the basket down the lane for an easy two. When we got a turnover or a rebound, I saw people flat out haul ass to the other end on a fastbreak. It was usually led by Badiane. I swear the dude's a big blur when he's in. What was cool was that the Rockets were just pushing the hell out of the ball at every opportunity.
No CD at this game. Must be in his hotel room or back in Houston getting ready for that blockbuster acquisition we're about to make (just a bit of humor guys... I know nothing).
I hope I'm getting the assistant right, but I believe it's been Thibodeau that's been coaching these summer league games. Since the stadium was basically empty due to the late non-Laker game and it being a weekday, I could hear the coaches clearly. Thibodeau wasn't coaching out there - he was running a damn boot camp. I've never seen a coach that stands there dictates and teaches on every action of a play. I've seen coaches call out plays, but Thibodeau was doing things like telling people where to go, when to cut, when to act, what to do - every freaking step of the play. "Now Jason, now!" "Go!", "To the middle of the court!" It was a joy to watch. As a fan, if you sat in the stands, watched, and heard this, I swear you'd be learning basketball - you would be getting coached. He was that detailed. He was detailed, he wasn't insulting to the players, he didn't have that "aw damn, why the hell did you do that" look on his face like you see from Dunleavy, and he congratulated players that did well as they went by at times. I don't know about the X's and O's part, but everything else points to him being damn good coaching material. He had that quality where you knew he was in control - period.
Patrick Ewing was at the game before ours. The coaches and team were already there, but Patrick came out and watched the game before ours which were just pro teams thrown together (not NBA squads). I'm not sure if he was just bored and came out and watched or if he was actually scouting anyone. For those interested, some of the familiar names in that game included Pig Miller and Tracy Murray (who sat out).
I saw a lady in the stands with a new Houston Rockets logo cap on. She was sitting next to a lady holding a baby. I could've sworn I saw the lady holding the baby earlier with some guy looking like AC Green. Maybe his wife? I have pics of all that.
Thanks to Big E for sitting and chatting with me this game. Hope you make it out to the game today (damn, it's already today, huh?). Thanks for pointing out the lady with the new logo hat on, too. It was fun, man!