Rocketman: Dwight chooses Houston
Dwight Howard’s uncertain future finally became clear when he decided to sign with the Houston Rockets on a 4-year deal.
The 27 year-old leaves the Los Angeles Lakers after just one season and will now hope to revive his Championship dream in Texas. Howard was officially announced as a Rocket and said:
“I’m not going to say we’re going to win 5 Championships but if we really dedicate ourselves and sacrifice everything we’ve got then we give ourselves a chance at the end of the season.” Continue reading
Featured Game of the Night- LA Lakers @ Brooklyn Nets
The Lakers recorded an important win in their play-off push; beating the Nets 93-82 in Brooklyn. Brook Lopez had a game-high 30 points as well as 11 rebounds for the hosts but a 21 point haul from Kobe Bryant helped LA to the win. The Lakers were already without Dwight Howard (shoulder injury) and Metta World Peace (suspension) when Pau Gasol went off injured in the fourth quarter and was reported to have left the arena on crutches. The second quarter proved pivotal as the Lakers outscored their opponents 31-16 and managed to restrict Brooklyn to just 34.1 % from the field on the night. Lopez had given the Nets a one point lead with 2:33 to go but the visiting Lakers closed out the win with a 10-0 run containing 4/4 from the free throw line from Steve Nash– who finished with 17 points and 8 assists. Earl Clark has seen his playing time increase in 2013 and has justified the reward; adding a third straight double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds. LA improve to a 23-26 record after making it three consecutive victories while Brooklyn drop to 28-20 which leaves them fifth in the Eastern Conference standings.
The Rockets were on fire in Houston (27-23) with a blistering 23 3-pointers equalling an NBA record in a comprehensive 140-109 victory at home to the Golden State Warriors (30-18). The hosts had a total of EIGHT players in double-figures and were led by Jeremy Lin‘s 28 points whilst he also provided nine assists. Both teams set the tone for a high-scoring game in the opening quarter which was edged by Houston– 38-37. By the half, Houston maintained their high level of offence to lead 77-62 on their way to posting the highest score of the season.
In the three other matches; Denver (31-18) made it SEVEN consecutive wins with a 112-104 success against the Milwaukee Bucks (25-22). The Nuggets outscored their opponents 33-18 in the final quarter to get the victory despite a 35 point, 12 rebound double-double from Samuel Dalembert. Phoenix Suns (17-32) picked up a 96-90 win on the road at Memphis (30-17) with the Grizzlies‘ All-Star Zach Randolph posting 21 points and 13 boards. Finally, the Pacers (30-19) got the W again with a home 114-104 victory against the Atlanta Hawks (26-21). All of Indiana‘s starters had double-figures as well as D.J Augustin and Ian Mahinmi off the bench with Paul George leading the way with a 29 points personal.
Harden in action for the Rockets.
Houston Rockets’ James Harden believes his side need to improve on defence if they are to become a great team.
Houston are the second-best team in the league in terms of points per game average behind Oklahoma City Thunder but Harden feels a step up on defence is required.
“We score a lot of points but need to build on defence as it’s the only way we can get out in transition,” Harden insisted, when speaking to the media following a practice session.
“We want to build our idenitity to become a great team”
James Harden was speaking to the national media following a practice session.
In three seasons at OKC, Harden started just seven games but has enjoyed a different role with the Rockets this season having started all of his 48 games so far. The 23 year-old is averaging 25.8 points per game (5th best in the league) having posted 30+ points in a game on twelve occasions so far with a career high 45 against the Atlanta Hawks in November.
Joining Harden in the back court is Jeremy Lin and while ‘Lisanity’ has cooled the youngster has 300 assists and 100 steals to his name with Omer Asik and Chandler Parsons also regular starters for the side. Houston (26-23) are currently eighth in the race for the play-offs with the likes of Portland and the Lakers trailing behind. The Rockets have failed to reach the end of season play-offs for the last three seasons but Kevin McHale will hope to lead his team beyond the regular season in his second year in charge.
Houston take on Golden State, Miami and Portland this week and Harden is aware of the challenges they face:
“It’s going to be tough, these teams are strong offensively and we need to make sure we are locking in on the defensive end”
Harden was selected as an All-Star for the first time in his four year NBA career and will represent the Rockets in front of his home fans in Houston.