Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Rockets and Warriors Make For A Fine Late Show

The Beard Sees All
NBA TV showed the Rockets in Golden State last night, and man alive, what a wonderful time it is to be a hoops fan.

First off, there's the technology. One of the small joys of living out in Bay Area for seven years was getting used to the upbeat but long-suffering Warrior play by play men, who are just like Warrior fans -- much more deserving of good hoop than what they have been getting all these years. Hearing Bob Fitzgerald and Jim Barnett tonight on the national pick up of the local telecast was like the aural equivalent a nice stiff drink; proper, potent and comforting.

Next, the teams. I love up-tempo ball, with teams filled with guys that can put it on the floor or shoot from distance, and man alive, is that both of these teams. Golden State was desperate for a win, having dropped four in a row after a great start to the year. Houston was somehow 10-17 on the road despite having athletes all over the floor and the unstoppable force that is James Harden. Both of these teams are milling around the bottom slots in the West, push the ball relentlessly, and are looking over their shoulders at the Jazz, Blazers and Lakers, all of whom should be able to handle them inside. So you got playoff-level intensity for most of this one, but with 115+ point pace: catnip. And it didn't hurt at all that I've got Steph Curry and Chandler Parsons on my fantasy team, and that they combined for 48-13-15 with high percentages and 5 three-pointers. Tasty.

As for the game itself, Houston did that trick where they scored more easily, didn't miss their free throws, and didn't give up the back-breaking run that would have let doubt, and the crowd, get well and truly into the game. Parsons and Harden have the over 20-point games, with the former within sniffing distance of a triple double, but I also really loved Omer Asik in this game, who outclassed Andrew Bogut to the tune of 13-15-2 on 6 of 8 shooting. Having Harden to end possessions is also all kinds of useful. For the Warriors, Curry, Klay Thompson and Jarrett Jack gave valiant effort, but David Lee needs to do a lot more than 12-12 and fouling out, and Andrew Bogut is very hit or miss right now. Even if they are playing at their best, Houston just looks like the worst kind of matchup for them.

The Warriors hit the break at 30-22, which is loads better than what they could have hoped for... but a lot less satisfying than 30-17. The All-Star Break couldn't have come at a better time for them. The Rockets look like the most entertaining fraud in the NBA, assuming, of course, that isn't the Warriors. And no one saw it, because it closed up around 1am, due to the time zone difference. The Association's most fun to watch games miss the masses way too often, really...

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