Kevin Martin of the Houston Rockets has stepped it up further after losing former teammates Aaron Brooks and Shane Battier to player trades. On Sunday night, Martin came up with another good offensive game, scoring 33 points to help the Rockets overcome the New Orleans Hornets 91-89 despite trailing by 16 points in the second half.
Martin gave the Rockets a 90-87 lead when he sank two free throws with 18 seconds to play. The Hornets failed to tie the score when Willie Green missed on a three-point attempt. Courtney Lee grabbed the defensive rebound and was fouled with five ticks left, making one of two free throws for the final count.
The Hornets led 55-40 at halftime and even led by 16 at one point. They were held to 34 points in the second half against the Rockets’ 51 points.
The Rockets now have won four consecutive games.
Starting point guard Kyle Lowry finished the game with 18 points. Goran Dragic, who was acquired in a trade with the Phoenix Suns for Brooks, did not see action due to flu-like symptoms.
The new-look Houston Rockets beat the New Jersey Nets and Deron Williams 123-108 on Saturday. Since losing Aaron Brooks and Shane Battier to trades, they won their first game behind big games from Kevin Martin, Chase Budinger and Luis Scola.
Martin had 30 points, six rebounds and four assists. Budinger, who took the starting spot from Battier who has been traded to the Memphis Grizzlies, scored 27 points by going 8-for-11 from the field and 3 out of 4 from the three-point area. Scola finished with 23 points and seven rebounds for the Rockets.
Williams paced the Nets with 15 points and a season-high 17 assists. Brook Lopez led the Nets in scoring with 21 points. Kris Humphries contributed 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Nets.
The Rockets acquired Goran Dragic from the Phoenix Suns for Brooks while Battier was shipped to Memphis for center Hasheem Thabeet. Dragic scored 6 points and issued an assist in his first game as a Rocket. Thabeet saw brief action but was hardly a factor. It may take some more time for Houston head coach Rick Adelman how Thabeet fits in the team.
The Houston Rockets leaned on Patrick Patterson to pull off a 108-100 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday. The rookie forward scored 20 points with 11 of them coming in the fourth quarter to push the Rockets ahead for good after several lead exchanges.
Patterson scored seven straight points in a crucial stretch in the final quarter. His tip-in basket gave the Rockets a 95-94 lead. Patterson’s three-point play and two free throws gave Houston a six-point lead with less than three minutes to play.
Kevin Martin, the only starter to score more than ten points, scored 16 points. Luis Scola had 8 points and 9 rebounds while Chuck Hayes had 8 points and 8 rebounds. Chase Budinger scored 10 points off the bench.
Will Bynum came off the bench to score 21 points for Detroit. Starters Rodney Stuckey had 19 points, Greg Monroe finished with 12 while former Rocket Tracy McGrady had 10 points. Ben Gordon had 15 points off the bench.
The Houston Rockets overcame a 50-point performance by Carmelo Anthony to beat the Denver Nuggets 108-103 on Monday night. Kevin Martin scored 18 points in the third quarter to spark a 13-0 run and give the Rockets a 15-point lead at 71-56. Houston outscored Denver, 29-16, in the third quarter that provided enough cushion for a searing rally in the fourth quarter.
Martin led all Rockets in scoring with 37 points. Luis Scola had 25 points and 8 rebounds to backstop Martin. Chuck Hayes finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds while Kyle Lowry and sixth man Chase Budinger both had 11 points.
Anthony came up with a very productive night by tying his career high in scoring and pulling down 11 rebounds but the Nuggets clearly missed Nene while Chauncey Billups left the game early due to an injury. Ty Lawson took on playmaking chores and finished with 19 points.
Melo scored nine points in the final seconds of the game but came up short of a comeback when Kyle Lowry doused the Nuggets rally with two free throws.
Aaron Brooks did not see action for the Rockets to serve a one-game suspension for walking out of the court on Saturday against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Houston Rockets skyscraper Yao Ming has been working on his post up game lately. Team doctor Tom Clanton has given him clearance to play basketball without physical restrictions. His injured left foot must have fully healed after surgery and missing the entire 2010 NBA season.
He is now ready to get back in action with a Rockets team that has changed in a way. Gone is Tracy McGrady who has signed up with the Detroit Pistons. This could be a positive change since it will allow Yao and the rest of the team more touches on offense.
Yao has never played with some players but they look still look strong enough to make the playoffs. Kevin Martin, Jordan Hill, Courtney Lee and Chase Budinger will surely contribute to the Rockets cause. Backup point guard Kyle Lowry and hardworking power forward Luis Scola have signed new contracts. Aaron Brooks, Shane Battier and Chuck Hayes are ol reliable players. The acquisiton of veteran center Brad Miller provides depth in Yao’ postion, giving Yao the luxury of rest for the post-season.
The Rockets have the heart to win. This coming season, they are even stronger and will surely make it to the playoffs granted that Yao stays healthy.
An offseason trade between four NBA teams and five players resulted to the departure of Houston Rockets forward Trevor Ariza and former New Jersey Nets shooting guard Courtney Lee joining the Rockets. It appears to be a cost cutting measure for the Rockets, freeing up $28 million of Ariza’s contract.
The Rockets just re-signed Luis Scola and Kyle Lowry, then picked up Brad Miller from free agency. Now they have a young talented player in Lee for what seems like a good bargain. For a young player who can play three positions, the Rockets are paying Lee $1.35 million this coming season. The team option on Lee in the 2012 season is worth $2.23 million. This is real value for money!
Although Lee is not as good a defender as Ariza, he gives the Rockets more options as he can play both guard positions and on some occasions the small forward as well. Kevin Martin can also take the small forward position too. Shane Battier will continue to defend well from the perimeter.
Overall, the Rockets lost an athletic player in Ariza but they got a young talent in return, for much less money.
NBA All-Star center Yao Ming of the Houston Rockets has indicated that he may retire after next season if his foot does not heal as expected. Yao made his comments before the Xinhua News Agency while promoting charity events in China. He will likely miss the 2012 London Olympics as well.
After missing the entire 2010 NBA season, he is set to get back in action. On paper, the Rockets seem to have the manpower to make a good run next season. They ended last season with a 42-40 win-loss record, missing the playoffs without the talented center.
What remains to be seen is how Yao will adjust with players he has not played with before. Tracy McGrady and Ron Artest are gone but they probably have a deeper roster this year with the addition of Kevin Martin, Trevor Ariza, promising young players in Chase Budinger and Jordan Hill. They also have re-signed hardworking Luis Scola and backup point guard Kyle Lowry.
In addition, the Rockets signed Brad Miller to provide solid minutes as backup center for Yao. Miller should be able to ease up some minutes from Yao, which can help reduce Yao’s playing time through the regular season and beyond.
Yao Ming is one of the best centers we have seen in the NBA. At 30, it would be sad to see a such a talented big man leave the game. We have seen players who have clearly diminished skills who have overstayed in the league for their own good. Yao still has the skills that make him an elite player but the body may just not hold up.
Literally and figuratively, Yao’s size 18 shoes will be very difficult to fill.
NBA free agent center Brad Miller has just agreed to a three-year deal to join the Houston Rockets. Terms of the deal were reportedly worth $15 million. What could have influenced Miller into joining the Rockets was the fact that he has played under Rockets coach Rick Adelman while they were together with the Sacramento Kings.
Miller is expected to play back up to All-Star center Yao Ming. Yao was sidelined last season due to injury. The Rockets were trying to lure Chris Bosh as soon as free agency opened this month but Bosh decided to join forces with Dwayne Wade and LeBron James in Miami.
Brad Miller is a 12-year veteran who can ably fill the height disadvantage that the Rockets struggled with last season. He suited up for the Bulls last season playing all 82 games with averages of 8.8 points, 4.9 rebounds in 24 minutes of action per game.
Miller’s agent stated that he and Miller saw championship potential in the Houston Rockets, another reason why they opted to join Yao, Adelman and company.