Houston Rockets leading race to get Corey Brewer

The Houston Rockets may be the leader in the race to acquire Minnesota Timberwolves swingman Corey Brewer, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein. Brewer, a rangy, athletic wing defender, has been rumored to be the apple of the Cavaliers’ eye, but Stein says that the Rockets are ready to act now while the Cavs are debating whether to acquire a wing player or a big man. Rockets GM Daryl Morey is one of the most active and creative deal-makers in the league, and the Cavs’ hesitation may be enough for him to swoop in and snag Brewer, a 6-foot-9 University of Florida product.
Things are fluid, as always in trade talks, but latest word is Houston more likely than Cleveland as landing spot via trade for Corey Brewer
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) November 20, 2014

Rockets have made it clear they’re ready to move NOW. Cavs said to be weighing whether to prioritize pursuing rim protector or wing depth
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) November 20, 2014

Tricky one for CLE since Corey Brewer is available now AND

View full post on Yardbarker: NBA

Lakers vs. Rockets: Score and Twitter Reaction

In Round 1, Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard said what they thought of each other in a near brawl. In Round 2, Howard killed a large part of the intrigue by sitting out with an injury. But at least the Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets gave fans a basketball game worth watching this time around.

Kobe Bryant scored 29 points, Carlos Boozer and Jordan Hill each turned in double-doubles and the Lakers scored the game’s last nine points en route to a 98-92 victory over the Howard-less Rockets on Wednesday.

Houston missed Howard’s presence throughout the game, but its plight without its All-Star center came to a head on a critical sequence that helped decide the game. Following a wild missed three-pointer from Bryant, the Rockets allowed an offensive rebound that resulted in Wesley Johnson finishing a layup plus the foul. Johnson’s free throw gave Los Angeles a 94-92 lead with 43 seconds remaining.

The Rockets’ next trip down the floor was a stilted offensive possession that ended in a post-up—for Howard replacement Tarik Black. Black’s twisting turnaround attempt missed, and Nick Young knocked down two clutch free throws to seal the game after the Lakers grabbed the rebound.

Howard played 28 minutes in the Rockets’ 119-93 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday, but reporters saw him after the game. Though he initially downplayed the injury and was expected to be in the lineup, the Rockets ruled him out with a strained knee just before tipoff. Howard did not watch the game from the Houston bench, and the team has not given a timetable for his return.

“Bumps and bruises,” Howard told Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle on Monday. “I’m getting old. I’m going to need a cane in a second. But it’s all good. This is just the usual post-game pain. I’ll be all right though, God willing.”

James Harden, flustered into a six-point performance by Tony Allen on Monday, again started slowly. He went scoreless for nearly the entire first half and had attempted only two shots at the halftime break, taking on far more of a distributor role.

Instead the first-half scoring burden went to Kostas Papanikolaou, who scored 16 of his career-high 19 points before the break. The Lakers left the Greek rookie wide-open at points thanks to poor defensive rotations, and he blitzed them from the wing and corners. Consistent shooting has been the only thing to hold Papanikolaou back in his young NBA career, as he’s shown above-average rebounding capabilities and is a plus passer for a forward.

Harden reclaimed his status as the offensive fulcrum in the second half, expertly weaving his way into the paint for easy shots near the rim or to draw the foul. Stylistically, Harden has taken a beating as his career progresses for the at-times aesthetic horror show that is his game. But he’s arguably the best in the world at drawing fouls and finished with 24 points on only 11 shots. It’s not pretty, but it is good basketball.

The Lakers, coming off their first road win of the season Tuesday night in Atlanta, earned their first win over a Western Conference opponent this season. Bryant threw up 28 shots to get his 29 points but added seven assists, and the Los Angeles offense at times bordered on cohesive. Boozer turned in his second straight double-double, and Hill had his fourth consecutive.

Hill and Boozer kept going to the back-to-the-basket well for most of the night. With Howard out, the Rockets started the undrafted Black at center. While Black has looked fine in limited minutes this season and may carve out a long-term niche as a backup big, Wednesday night served as proof of how desperately Houston needs Howard to stay on the floor.

The Lakers were able to break through the Rockets’ so-so perimeter defense and get decent looks at the basket, though some players (mostly wings) struggled finishing. Houston came into the game with the league’s most efficient defense, but the Lakers’ offensive rebounding numbers and the looks they got at the rim exposed the Rockets’ depth problems.

Last season Houston could have plugged Omer Asik, among the league’s best half-dozen rim protectors, into Howard’s spot. Asik’s trade to New Orleans and the Rockets’ lack of a proper replacement left Kevin McHale at times running a five-out system with no obvious rim protector on the floor. Those lineups can work in short spurts against below-average offenses, but it’s an issue that may have long-term ramifications.

Outside of the Howard injury, the Lakers’ effort also received a boost from Young, who provided a spark off the bench in his second game of the season. Young scored 16 points, 13 of which came in the second half. He hasn’t shown many adverse signs from the thumb injury that kept him out the first 10 games. It’s also worth noting—mostly because he’ll tell us all even if we ignore it—that the Lakers are undefeated with Swaggy P back in the lineup.

“That’s the thing that I love about Nick,” Lakers coach Byron Scott told reporters Tuesday. “He brings positive energy. He’s an energy giver, not taker, and that’s what we need.”

The widespread praise of Young comes largely from his infectious personality, but he’s not without merit on this team. Young will likely become the de facto second scoring option next to Bryant over the course of the season. Anyone who watched the Lakers in their first 10 games knows Bryant needs help anywhere he can get it—even if it comes in the redundant chucker department.

Young’s swag may not rub off on his teammates enough to make the Lakers a playoff team, but it could make help them competent. After the first few weeks, that’s a reason to be positive.

 

Follow Tyler Conway (@tylerconway22) on Twitter

Read more NBA news on BleacherReport.com

View full post on Bleacher Report – NBA

Kobe, Lakers rally past Rockets for second win in a row

Kobe Bryant scored 29 points as Los Angeles took advantage of Dwight Howard’s absence.

      
 

 

View full post on USATODAY – NBA Top Stories

Lakers vs. Rockets: Score and Twitter Reaction from 2014 Regular Season

In Round 1, Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard said what they thought of the other in a near-brawl. In Round 2, Howard killed a large part of the intrigue by sitting out with an injury. But at least the Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets gave fans a basketball game worth watching this time around.

Kobe Bryant scored 29 points, Carlos Boozer and Jordan Hill each turned in double-doubles and the Lakers scored the game’s last nine points en route to a 98-92 victory over the Howard-less Rockets on Wednesday. 

Howard’s presence was felt throughout the game, but Houston’s plight without its All-Star center came to a head on a critical sequence that helped decide the game. Following a wild missed three-pointer from Bryant, the Rockets allowed an offensive rebound that resulted in Wesley Johnson finishing a lay-up plus the foul. Johnson’s free-throw gave Los Angeles a 94-92 lead with 43 seconds remaining. 

The Rockets’ next trip down the floor was a stilted offensive possession that ended in a post-up—for Howard replacement Tarik Black. Black’s twisting turnaround attempt missed, and Nick Young knocked down two clutch free throws to seal the game after the Lakers grabbed the rebound.

Howard, who played 28 minutes in the Rockets’ 119-93 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday, was seen limping by reporters after the game. Though he initially downplayed the injury and was expected to be in the lineup, the Rockets ruled him out with a strained knee just before tip-off. Howard did not watch the game from the Houston bench and no timetable has been given for his return.

“Bumps and bruises,” Howard told Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. “I’m getting old. I’m going to need a cane in a second. But it’s all good. This is just the usual post-game pain. I’ll be all right though, God willing.”

James Harden, who was flustered into a six-point performance from Tony Allen on Monday, again started slowly. He went scoreless for nearly the entire first half and had attempted only two shots at the halftime break, taking on far more of a distributor role.

Instead the first-half scoring burden went to Papanikolaou, who scored 16 of his career-high 19 points before the break. The Greek rookie was left wide-open at points thanks to poor defensive rotations, blitzing the Lakers from the wing and corners. Consistent shooting has been the only thing to hold Papanikolaou back in his young NBA career, as he’s shown above-average rebounding capabilities and is a plus passer for a forward.

Harden reclaimed his status as the offensive fulcrum in the second half, expertly weaving his way into the paint for easy shots near the rim or to draw the foul. Stylistically, Harden has taken a beating as his career progresses for the at-times aesthetic horror show that is his game. But he’s arguably the best in the world at drawing fouls and finished with his 24 points on only 11 shots. It’s not pretty, but it is good basketball. 

The Lakers, coming off their first road win of the season Tuesday night in Atlanta, earned their first win over a Western Conference opponent this season. Bryant threw up 28 shots to get his 29 points but added seven assists, and the Los Angeles offense at times bordered on cohesive. Boozer turned in his second straight double-double and Hill had his fourth.

Hill and Boozer were able to keep going to the back-to-the-basket well for most of the night. With Howard out, the Rockets started the undrafted Black at center. While Black has looked fine in limited minutes this season and may carve out a long-term niche as a backup big, Wednesday night served as proof of how desperately Houston needs Howard to stay on the floor.

The Lakers were able to break through the Rockets’ so-so perimeter defense and get decent looks at the basket, though some players (mostly wings) struggled finishing. Houston came into the game with the league’s most efficient defense, but the Lakers’ offensive rebounding numbers and the looks they got at the rim exposed the Rockets’ depth problems.

Last season Houston could have plugged Omer Asik, among the league’s best half-dozen rim protectors, into Howard’s spot. Asik’s trade to New Orleans and the Rockets’ lack of proper replacement left Kevin McHale at times running a five-out system with no obvious rim protector on the floor. Those lineups can work in short spurts against below-average, but it’s an issue that may have long-term ramifications.

Outside the Howard injury, the Lakers’ effort was also boosted by Young, providing a spark off the bench in his second game of the season. Young scored 16 points, 13 of which came in the second half. He hasn’t shown many adverse signs from the thumb injury that kept him out the first 10 games. It’s also worth noting—mostly because he’ll tell us all even if we ignore it—that the Lakers are undefeated with Swaggy P back in the lineup.

“That’s the thing that I love about Nick,” Lakers coach Byron Scott told reporters. “He brings positive energy. He’s an energy giver, not taker, and that’s what we need.” 

The widespread praise of Young comes largely from his infectious personality, but he’s not without merit on this team. Young will likely become the de-facto second scoring option next to Bryant over the course of the season. Anyone who watched the Lakers in their first 10 games knows Bryant needs help anywhere he can get it—even if it comes in the redundant chucker department.

Young’s swag may not rub off on his teammates enough to make the Lakers a playoff team. But it could make help them competent. And after the first few weeks, that’s a reason to be positive.

 

Follow Tyler Conway (@tylerconway22) on Twitter

Read more NBA news on BleacherReport.com

View full post on Bleacher Report – NBA

Dwight Howard Injury: Updates on Rockets Star’s Knee and Return

Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard will not play in Wednesday night’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers due to a strain in his right knee:

Jonathan Feigen of the the Houston Chronicle had the news:

Houston’s Twitter account provided tonight’s starting lineup without Howard:

Howard has been a rare breed among centers in the NBA. He’s a true post player who can dominate down low by scoring and rebounding. He’s also been an excellent shot-blocker throughout his career, averaging 2.2 rejections per game over his first 10 seasons. 

He’s had some nagging injuries but has appeared in at least 71 games in nine of his 10 seasons (the exception being the lockout-shortened 2011-12 campaign, in which he played 54 of 66 games). Despite all of that success, it’s hard for fans and analysts to resist taking shots at him. 

The 28-year-old Howard has been the target of heavy criticism dating back to his final season in Orlando, but there’s no denying how valuable Howard is as a player. Last year, for instance, he finished third in points, rebounds and field-goal percentage, tied for third in double-doubles and fourth in blocks per game among centers.  

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports profiled Howard before the preseason started. Injuries and toughness were part of the article, with the big man noting that he didn’t regret playing through a torn labrum with the Lakers two years ago:

The good thing about it, I didn’t develop any other major injuries. The torn labrum eventually healed itself. But coming back early from the back, I believed it helped me out in the long run. It made me really develop a thicker skin, going through all the things that I went through because of the injury.

I was always taught never to show pain, never to show weakness, never to show fear. Always put a smile on your face. But I’m glad it did happen. It made me a better person. The world coming down on you, saying you weren’t playing as hard as you could.

Howard and the Rockets had a successful first season together. He averaged 18.3 points and 12.2 rebounds per game en route to a 54-28 record before losing to Portland in the first round of the Western Conference Playoffs. 

While all those regular-season numbers and accolades are great, Howard is ultimately going to be judged by what happens in the playoffs. His health is a critical factor for the Rockets to make a run in a loaded Western Conference.

James Harden is the focal point of Houston’s offense, but Howard is the straw that stirs the drink because of his ability to play defense and get those tough points in the paint. His absence for any length of time is enough to cause major panic in Houston. 

 

If you want to talk sports, hit me up on Twitter. 


Read more NBA news on BleacherReport.com

View full post on Bleacher Report – NBA

Bosh on not joining Rockets: ‘All that guarantees is pressure’

With the NBA offseason and the free agency period in full swing over the summer, there appeared to be mutual interest between Chris Bosh and the Houston Rockets. So much so, in fact, that the Rockets offered Bosh a max deal. With LeBron James’ future with the Miami Heat hanging in the balance, it was…Read More
The post Chris Bosh on why he didn’t join Rockets: ‘All that guarantees is a bunch of pressure’ appeared first on Sportress of Blogitude.

View full post on Yardbarker: NBA

Chris Bosh Turned Down Houston Rockets to Avoid More Big 3 Pressure

Big Threes are overrated—you know, after you’ve spent four years being a part of one.

And if your name is Chris Bosh.

Instead of following LeBron James’ free-agency lead and forming another NBA superpower with the Houston Rockets, Bosh elected to stay with the Miami Heat over the offseason. Months after the fact, the All-Star big man revealed more about the logic behind his decision to CBS Sports’ Ken Berger.

“I could see where people would think that’s an attractive site,” he said. “They were trying to win right away. And I was really happy to be touted that I possibly could’ve been out there. But you know, that doesn’t guarantee anything, and I know that. All that guarantees is a bunch of pressure.”

Makes sense.

Bosh enjoyed four seasons of title contention in Miami alongside Dwyane Wade and James. But he and his partners in crime also faced unparalleled pressure. Every loss was scrutinized and blown out of proportion. That the Heat caged two championships after four straight Finals appearances was somehow depicted as a failure within certain circles.

More of the same awaited Bosh in Houston, where he would have joined James Harden, Dwight Howard and presumably Chandler Parsons, giving the Rockets a Big Four. The pressure there arguably would have been worse.

Jumping to yet another team would mean Bosh was chasing titles. Abandoning Miami would mean he had to win those titles, lest he be remembered as a moderately successful championship hanger-on.

Staying with the Heat was the safe play in that sense. It safeguarded him against Big Three dissection while adding a pinch of loyalty to his NBA resume.

There were other factors, of course. More than $118 million was thrown his way, and the new-look Heat promised a featured role the superstar-stuffed Rockets could not.

Some might see that as a flagrant cop out. Others might interpret it as Bosh prioritizing money over winning. And perhaps it is all those things. But, more than anything else, Berger says this is Bosh absolving himself, however slightly, of Big Three wear and tear:

Before you jump on Bosh for taking the easy way out, consider what the past four years were like for him. He was never the most important corner of the James-Wade-Bosh triangle, except when he missed an open jumper or flubbed a defensive assignment. He had to sacrifice and unlearn key parts of his game to adapt to the more dominant talents and personalities around him. For four years, every day in the life of the Miami Heat was like being on tour with the No. 1 artist in the land.

The perpetual chase, the championship-or-bust environment, the celebrity status afforded basketball’s three-headed monster — all of it wore on James, who spoke often last season of the mental fatigue of pursuing a fourth straight trip to the Finals. Everyone was so busy chronicling James’ every word that they forgot to ask Bosh what he thought.

It wore on him, too.

Remaining with the Heat was Bosh’s escape—his deserved respite from four years of status-wobbling. This is not to be confused with a vacation. There is still work to be done in Miami.

The Heat are battling through injuries and a depthless rotation, trying to remain in the Eastern Conference playoff picture. Their 15th-ranked defense is vulnerable to penetration, their 11th-ranked offense is desperately dependent on Bosh and Wade.

Bosh himself is still coming to terms with his new role. His stats are up across the board—most notably his assist and usage rates—and he’s now a defensive-afterthought-turned-focal-point.

Adjusting to life as a grinder has been, and shall remain, a process. For four years, even in the most uncertain times, Bosh had the luxury of knowing the Heat would be right there in the end. No such guarantees can be made now.

“But it’s what I asked for, I guess,” Bosh said of the situation in Miami, per Sports on Earth’s Howard Megdal. “So I have to be stern with myself, and patient at the same time. To just know it’s a process, and to live with that process.”

Tougher parts of this process await. Wade’s status moving forward is unknown, and upcoming opponents include the Los Angeles Clippers, Charlotte Hornets and Golden State Warriors. Each contest is another measuring stick, and a chance for Miami to show where it stands.

Succeed or fail, Bosh will be at the forefront of everything—the alpha dog on a Heat team that gave him what he asked for by being less than super.

 

Read more NBA news on BleacherReport.com

View full post on Bleacher Report – NBA

Chris Bosh on why he didn’t join Rockets: ‘All that guarantees is a bunch of pressure’

With the NBA offseason and the free agency period in full swing over the summer, there appeared to be mutual interest between Chris Bosh and the Houston Rockets. So much so, in fact, that the Rockets offered Bosh a max deal. With LeBron James’ future with the Miami Heat hanging in the balance, it was…Read More
The post Chris Bosh on why he didn’t join Rockets: ‘All that guarantees is a bunch of pressure’ appeared first on Sportress of Blogitude.

View full post on Yardbarker: NBA

Conley scores 19 as Grizzlies rout Rockets

7 Grizzlies reach double figures as Memphis defeats Rockets

      
 

 

View full post on USATODAY – NBA Top Stories

Conley scores 19 as Grizzlies rout Rockets 119-93 (Yahoo Sports)

MEMPHIS, TN - NOVEMBER 17: Mike Conley #11 of the Memphis Grizzlies drives to the basket against Patrick Beverley #2 of the Houston Rockets during the game on November 17, 2014 at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee. (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — For a night, the Houston Rockets new defensive mindset was blown up completely, leading to a blowout by the Memphis Grizzlies.


View full post on Yahoo Sports – NBA News

Next Page »