Houston Rockets

The holidays are here and that means food, drugstore family and football.  No wait, this is Christmas and that means food, family and BASKETBALL.  It’s easy to get confused because Christmas is to the NBA what Thanksgiving is the NFL.  An annual tradition that dates back to 1947 of all day basketball folly.  In 2011, the slate of games grew to 5, tipping off at 11am, and has stayed as large and as long ever since.

This year we’re looking at anything and everything from coast to coast match ups, a Finals rematch (or preview), East vs. West face-offs, and a Staples Center showdown, all complete with the requisite NBA Christmas uniforms, which I am not mad about this year.

If you’re looking to pick and choose when to watch vs. when to eat, sleep or spend time with the fam, here’s the game by game rundown.

11am CT New Orleans at Miami

A match up of the somewhat surprisingly intriguing Heat vs. the under performing Pelicans.  The Brow is always a fun watch and seeing him take on Hassan Whiteside in the paint shouldn’t disappoint.  But New Orleans is ravaged by injuries and an inability to adjust to the new coaching staff.  While I’m much more partial to New Orleans for eating, drinking and dancing, I’d pick Miami in this one.

1:30pm CT Chicago at OKC

The NBA so wanted Derrick Rose vs. Russell Westbrook to mean what it used to.  Unfortunately three knee surgeries has taken its toll on one much more than the other.  Despite this, the Bulls beat the Thunder earlier in the season behind a great game from Rose, who has since lost his facemask, the height of his hair, and his shot.  Both teams are playing under new head coaches who made the jump from college ball, but OKC is surging, while the Bulls count their lucky playoffs stars that they’re in the East.  I want to take the Bulls to turn it around and bring this one home because they always seem to surprise me on Christmas but without Joakim Noah, I have little faith this holiday season.

4pm CT Cleveland at Golden State

Get out the eggnog early because this is going to be good.  You can call it a Finals rematch or a Finals preview, but the top teams in each conference are at full strength with Cleveland seeing the return of Kyrie Irving this week, and they’re about to go at it.  Golden State boasts one of the best crowds in the NBA, who have been getting to games an hour early just see Steph Curry warm up.  And Lebron, well he’s mad.  Golden State makes history with every win so I’m picking the Warriors, if only to hope for a Riley Curry sighting at the post game press conference.

7:00pm CT San Antonio at Houston

Eat dinner quickly so you can be on the couch for an in-state battle of two completely opposite teams.  The Spurs quietly have the second best record in the NBA with only two less wins than the Warriors.  Pop is still sitting during games since it’s not April, and Kawhi Leonard shows us nightly how much bigger, stronger and faster he is than other top shooting guards in the league.  He’ll face another one in James Harden on Friday, but Harden’s Rockets have not done anything quietly this season.  Already working with an interim head coach and Dwight Howard trade rumors, the Rockets have been incredibly mediorcre so far, and outright bad at times.  They are however coming off of a 3 game win streak and have the talent to put on a show at home.  But if NBA fans know one thing, it’s to never bet against the Spurs.

9:00pm CT Los Angeles at Los Angeles

Many family Christmas gatherings may be able to relate to this match up – two passive aggressive siblings, living under the same roof, cut from the same cloth, with so little in common on any level.  On one end of the floor, the Lakers are a mess.  In the midst of the Kobe retirement tour, they boast two young stars in the making in Randle and Russell, who go in and out of the lineup for no apparent reason.  Kobe may score 34 points, or he may have 3 or 4 air balls.  Meanwhile, the Clippers are as good as they’ve ever been, but it doesn’t look to be good enough.  Their team is filled with controversial players who have never made it quite as far as they should have, and it doesn’t look like they ever will after the first few months of the season.  Kobe will be looking to go out with a bang in his 16th Christmas game, but I’d still take the Clippers to use the holiday to get their season back on track, as they continue to chase the shadow of the Warriors.

And that’s a wrap on Santa’s gift to all NBA fans this year.  Wishing you a very merry NBA Christmas, from our SDI family to yours!

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We’re 11 games into the NBA season and we have our first firing.  And in a shocking twist, nurse it wasn’t by the Kings.  The Houston Rockets have fired Kevin McHale after limping to a 4-7 start to tip off a season with Championship expectations.

On the surface this seems premature.  McHale has been the Rockets coach since 2011 and holds the highest win percentage in Rockets history.  4-7 isn’t the biggest hole to climb out of and the Rockets had topped two of the Western Conference’s best teams – OKC and the Clippers. McHale was signed to a 3 year $13 million extension less than a year ago, viagra and drew buzz in the Coach of the Year conversation in June.

So how did he end up out of a job in mid-November?  In reality, illness it wasn’t a total overreaction by the Rockets front office.  The team is in disarray.  The Rockets lost 3 games to mediocre teams by 20+ points before picking up their first win this season.  Dwight Howard has been in and out of the lineup and unable to set the tone for a group of players who seem unaware of what it takes to get to the Finals.  James Harden has shot particularly poorly to start off a season following one in which he believed he was the MVP, on top of his awful defensive effort and alleged general aloofness. It goes without saying but I’m going to say it anyway that the Kardashian effect is way more than a coincidence at this point.

The word is that McHale had lost the locker room to a point of no return, in which case it makes sense to make a quick change.  The talent is there for the Rockets but clearly the chemistry is not.  You can’t fire players on guaranteed contracts, so McHale is the logical target.  There has been buzz about tension between the old school coaching staff and the analytical front office (Bulls fans have seen this movie before), and it came to brighter light during the losing stretch.  Rockets owner Leslie Alexander went as far as to say that this season, he knew his team was going to lose. An awful feeling most fans can relate to, but tough to hear from an owner.

“I’m watching the games, I’m watching us lose by huge amounts and not playing hard. Then I watched the Boston game, and before the game starts, I know we’re going to lose. I knew I was going to lose to Dallas, and I thought we’d lose the game before that. Then we played Boston, and I was 100% sure we’d lose even when we were up, I knew we were going to lose…I didn’t watch the fourth quarter. First time I never watched a quarter of my team’s play, I knew we were going to lose. I don’t like to watch losing. It’s no fun losing.”

Zero. Fun. Sir. So what’s next next for the Rockets?  Alexander named assistant coach J.B. Bickerstaff as Interim Head coach and announced that he would stay on for the remainder of this season before the Rockets topped the hot Blazers in overtime last night. A question Chicago fans may be asking – will we see Thibs barking at players from 3 feet in front of the Rockets bench next year?  My opinion?  Highly doubtful.  Thibs strict and demanding system with scripted offense is in sharp contrast to GM Daryl Morey’s poster boy status for analytics and progression.  I don’t see Thibs resting Dwight Howard and saving him for the playoffs, or dealing well with such poor defensive effort from the team’s star player.

No matter who is coaching this season or next, it’s pretty clear that there are issues beyond the head coach in Houston.  Whether it’s Dwight Howard’s leadership, James Harden’s effort, Ty Lawson’s fit, or the true effectiveness of analytics in the NBA, it was high time for some non-Clippers or Kings related drama, so bring it on.

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Source: espn.com

It’s official Bulls fans, site our men in red will kick off their 2013-2014 season on October 29th in the exact same place last season’s playoff run was snapped – American Airlines Arena against the defending Champion Miami Heat. Clear your calendars ladies, viagra it doesn’t get any better than this!

It was just over a week ago that Derrick Rose self-proclaimed he is the best player in the league and now he has the perfect opportunity to back himself up. To be the best you have to beat the best, click and right now the reigning MVP Lebron James is sitting atop his NBA throne just waiting to be challenged.

We say, bring it King James.

The season opener won’t be Rose’s official “return” as he is slated to play during the Bulls’ preseason, but all eyes will be on the point guard to see how he matches up against the defending champs. The night will also feature the Heat accepting their championship rings and hoisting their banner – maybe tune in a few minutes late.

The NBA released the full 2013-2014 season schedules on Tuesday afternoon and the Bulls will be showcased quite a bit making 33 appearances on national broadcasts.

Games to Watch this Season:

  • October 31: Bulls will host the New York Knicks in their Halloween home opener at the United Center at 7 p.m.
  • December 25th: For the fourth straight year Chicago will participate in the NBA’s Christmas Day festivities facing a very revamped Brooklyn Nets team (Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce traded east coast cities over the off season). This will be the team’s first meeting since a battered Bulls team booted a healthy Nets team from the playoffs during the postseason.
  • March 7th – 17th: This Bulls homestand is a doozy. They take on five playoff teams over a 10 day span. You’ll see the Memphis Grizzilies, Miami Heat, San Antonio Spurs, Houston Rockets, Sacramento Kings and Oklahoma City Thunder. I’d recommend scoring some tickets to witness the action in person!

See full season schedule here: http://www.nba.com/bulls/schedule

Buckle up Bulls fans! It’s going to be an exciting season so make sure you’re ready for the wild ride.

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Rip Hamilton

The Chicago Bulls very own masked-menace, help discount Rip Hamilton, click was back on the floor of the United Center tonight. After being served an ego shattering loss to the OKC Thunder last night, for sale the Bulls needed a big win Monday, but the Bulls suffered a back-to-back loss to the Houston Rockets 99-93. Chicago was able to put one of it’s missing pieces of the injury ridden puzzle back into their starting lineup tonight, but they’re still not complete.

What you need to know:

  • Richard “Rip” Hamilton, is the newest edition to the Bulls this season, but has missed what feels like the majority of the season due to injury. He missed the past 14 games because of a right shoulder contusion.
  • Rip Hamilton’s “signature look” of a protective face mask and a matching sweat-band is a result of breaking his nose one too many times back with the Pistons.
  • A veteran of the NBA, Hamilton started tonight as a “two-guard” otherwise known as a “shooting guard” – he’s supposed to be the player on the team with a consistent jump shot as well as excellent ball handling skills, but it looks like he was a bit rusty with only six points, three assists and five turnovers after playing 20 minutes.
  • Tonight’s loss was the first time the Bulls have lost two consecutive games since February 7, 2011. C.J. Watson, who started the game at point guard, only had two points – not great.

Your Take Away Piece:

“Although Hamilton returned to the starting lineup tonight, the Bulls seem to be struggling without their super star Derrick Rose. I’m not sure how long the Bulls can hold the number one spot without their MVP, the “Bench Mob” can only take Chicago so far.” The Bulls are going to need to be healthy and get back into their rhythm as a team to take on power houses like the Miami Heat in the playoffs. 

What’s Next:

Bulls fans are anxiously awaiting the return of reigning MVP Derrick Rose, who missed his 11th straight game tonight because of a groin injury, his return date is still up in the air. With the playoffs creeping around the NBA’s corner, can the Bulls keep the best record in the Eastern Conference? The Bulls will face Rajon Rondo and the Boston Celtics on Thursday. Rondo is going to give C.J. Watson a run for his money this week!

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