How Thunder's Russell Westbrook returned earlier than expected from serious knee injury (Yahoo Sports)
(Tue, 10 Dec 2013 13:58:40 PST)
Russell Westbrook's unrelenting confidence never let him waver in his belief he could return from knee surgery just as dominating as before.
McHale misses practice for personal reasons (Comcast SportsNet Houston)
(Tue, 10 Dec 2013 12:39:52 PST)
Rockets head coach Kevin McHale missed Tuesday's Rockets practice for personal reasons.Assistant coach Kelvin Sampson led practice in his absence.Sampson said hopefully McHale would be back on Wednesday, but the team wasn't sure.Jeremy Lin returned to practice from his knee injury and spoke about McHale's absence."It's kind of similar to an injured player, except this is a little bigger with your leader, your voice not being here," he said. "Hopefully he'll be back soon."
Lin practices, says he'll play Thursday (Comcast SportsNet Houston)
(Tue, 10 Dec 2013 12:15:06 PST)
As expected, Rockets guard Jeremy Lin went through practice on Tuesday and he said he will play against Portland on Thursday. I went through practice today," Lin said.
Orlando Magic to Center Nikola Vucevic: Get Well Soon! (Yahoo Contributor Network)
(Tue, 10 Dec 2013 09:24:00 PST)
COMMENTARY | After a surprising start to the 2013-14 NBA season, the Orlando Magic had the look of a potential playoff contender in a very weak Eastern Conference. Of late, however, the Magic have been downright dreadful losing six straight, including the last four with center Nikola Vucevic out of the lineup. While Vucevic is a solid all-around player for Orlando, his absence has been most felt on the offensive end of the floor. The Orlando Magic will need to defeat the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday night to avoid a winless six-game road trip.
East team for NBA All-Star Game could be full of unfamiliar names (Comcast SportsNet Chicago)
(Tue, 10 Dec 2013 08:53:22 PST)
With all of the talk about how bad the NBA's Eastern Conference is compared to the West, has anybody considered exactly who might be representing the East in February's All-Star Game? With Bulls point guard Derrick Rose out for the season, Celtics counterpart Rajon Rondo still sidelined from his ACL injury last spring and Pacers swingman Paul George now considered a forward, Cleveland's Kyrie Irving, a former Rookie of the Year coming off his debut All-Star appearance as a reserve last season and equipped with widespread popularity from his "Uncle Drew" commercial could land a starting nod in the backcourt alongside Miami's Dwayne Wade. The aforementioned George is likely to start in the East's frontcourt, next to Heat superstar LeBron James and New York's Carmelo Anthony, both fellow small forwards. That doesn't give the East a whole lot of size up front to battle the likes of Houston's Dwight Howard for the Western Conference, but at least the lineup is sure to provide some exciting basketball and name recognition for fans.
Can Sixers do better than Asik for Young? (Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia)
(Tue, 10 Dec 2013 01:58:25 PST)
The latest report by ESPN -- unconfirmed by CSNPhilly, it should be noted -- speculated that Philadelphia could be “a viable destination” for marginalized Houston Rockets center Omer Asik. Thaddeus Young (see story). Asik’s cap hit for this season and next is approximately $8.37 million. Young will make $8.85 million this season and $9.41 million next year.
Robin Lopez records double-double, Trail Blazers beat Jazz (Automated Insights)
(Mon, 09 Dec 2013 21:20:59 PST)
Robin Lopez finished with 15 points and added 11 rebounds, his ninth double-double of the season, to lead the Portland Trail Blazers to a victory over the Utah Jazz, 105-94. This is the eighth win for Portland (18-4) in its last 10 games. Other key players for Portland included LaMarcus Aldridge with 24 points and 6 rebounds, and Damian Lillard with 18 points and 5 rebounds. On 8-11 shooting from the field and 4-4 from the free throw line, Alec Burks scored 20 points off the bench for Utah in the loss.
Trail Blazers-Rockets Preview (Automated Insights)
(Mon, 09 Dec 2013 21:20:40 PST)
It will be a meeting between the league's top two scoring offenses when the Portland Trail Blazers (106.2 PPG) meet the Houston Rockets (107.5 PPG). The Trail Blazers are looking to continue their great season, currently holding an 18-4 record. Entering the game with a 15-7 record, the Rockets have won their fair share of games. The Trail Blazers come into today's game after beating Utah, 105-94.
Paul, Clippers race past 76ers (The SportsXchange)
(Mon, 09 Dec 2013 19:51:33 PST)
PHILADELPHIA -- Doc Rivers, in his first year as coach of the Los Angeles Clippers, always knew Chris Paul was good. "He does things even better than I thought," Rivers said after Paul's 25-point, 13-assist performance Monday in the Clippers' 94-83 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers. Forward Blake Griffin topped the Clippers with 26 points, and Paul had 12 points and five assists in the pivotal third quarter, when Los Angeles led by as many as 21. Center DeAndre Jordan added 11 points and a season-high 21 rebounds for the Clippers, who limited Philadelphia to a season-low point total on 35.9 percent shooting from the floor.
Clippers 94, 76ers 83 (The SportsXchange)
(Mon, 09 Dec 2013 18:40:19 PST)
PHILADELPHIA -- Forward Blake Griffin scored 26 points, and point guard Chris Paul had 12 of his 25 points and five of his 13 assists in the pivotal third quarter Monday night as the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Philadelphia 76ers 94-83.
It's official: Kings acquire Gay, Acy, Gray from Toronto (Comcast SportsNet Bay Area)
(Mon, 09 Dec 2013 15:23:23 PST)
SACRAMENTO -- The Sacramento Kings today acquired forwards Rudy Gay and Quincy Acy along with center Aaron Gray from the Toronto Raptors in exchange for guard Greivis Vasquez and forwards John Salmons, Patrick Patterson and Chuck Hayes, according to Kings General Manager Pete D’Alessandro.“We’re excited to welcome these additions to our team,” said D’Alessandro. “In Rudy we’ve acquired one of the league’s proven scorers while Aaron and Quincy provide size and depth in our frontcourt. ...
Thad Young for Omer Asik? It could work (Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia)
(Mon, 09 Dec 2013 13:46:58 PST)
When the rumor hit about the Sixers possibly being a landing spot for disgruntled Rockets center Omer Asik, you gave the ESPN Trade Machine a thorough workout. According to the always-plugged in Marc Stein, the Rockets are talking to “multiple” teams about dealing Asik, but the Sixers “seems” to be the most “viable” landing spot for the Turkish big man. Front-runner would be overstating it, but the notion that the Sixers are a viable destination for Asik is increasingly making the rounds. And that certainly makes sense given (A) Philly’s front office is run by a certified Asik fan, former Rockets exec Sam Hinkie;
Harden's game reaching new level of intensity (Comcast SportsNet Houston)
(Mon, 09 Dec 2013 13:04:44 PST)
There’s little doubt that is what has happened over the last two games for the Houston Rockets as they’ve turned a brief two-game losing streak into a two-game winning streak. James Harden is fifth in the NBA in scoring at 24.5 points per game. “I thought the last two nights, James was fantastic on both sides of the ball,” Rockets head coach Kevin McHale said.
Wolves’ Corey Brewer fined $5,000 for flopping against Heat’s LeBron James (Video) (Ball Don't Lie)
(Mon, 09 Dec 2013 12:30:34 PST)
Minnesota Timberwolves swingman Corey Brewer has been fined $5,000 for a second violation of the NBA's anti-flopping policy, the NBA announced Monday . The simulation in question took place with 2:51 left in the first quarter of the Wolves' 103-82 home loss to the Miami Heat on Saturday, as Brewer elected to embellish the contact he received from Heat star LeBron James while the two vied for a rebound of a missed Ray Allen 3-pointer:
Brewer had previously been warned for this explosive fall during a Wolves win over the New York Knicks on Nov. 3:
Rockets celebrate Dwight Howard’s birthday with silly string attack (VIDEO) (NBC Sports)
(Mon, 09 Dec 2013 10:59:06 PST)
Dwight Howard turned 28 on Sunday. (Maybe that’s why Kobe decided to not play Friday and wait until Sunday… nah.) Howard celebrated by dropping 20 points and grabbing 22 rebounds on his old Orlando Magic team (you knew he’d be up for that game) then the team went out bowling with his Rockets’ teammates —…
Teammates surprise Dwight Howard on his 28th birthday (Comcast SportsNet Houston)
(Mon, 09 Dec 2013 00:30:11 PST)
Sunday was a day of celebration for Dwight Howard.He recorded 20 points and 22 rebounds in the Rockets' 98-88 win over his former team, the Orlando Magic, on Sunday night at Toyota Center. It was also his 28th birthday. “I knew he was going to play good,” Rockets forward Chandler Parsons said after the game. “With the whole Orlando thing, I know he was ready for tonight. He’s a big kid, so I’m glad he enjoyed himself tonight and had a good birthday.” Indeed he did as the celebration continued well after the game ended. ...
Heat-Pacers set to renew their rivalry (The Associated Press)
(Mon, 09 Dec 2013 00:26:12 PST)
MIAMI (AP) -- In the Eastern Conference, there's Indiana, there's Miami, and there's everybody else.
NBA-Highlights of Sunday's NBA games
(Sun, 08 Dec 2013 22:34:02 PST)
Dec 8 (The Sports Xchange) - Highlights of Sunday's National Basketball Association games. - - - Raptors 106, Lakers 94 Amir Johnson scored 32 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as the Toronto Raptors beat Los Angeles despite the return of Kobe Bryant. Toronto guard DeMar DeRozen scored 26 points and had three steals and the Raptors (7-12) ended a five-game losing streak and a 10-game skid to the Lakers (10-10) in L.A. Bryant played for the first time since going down almost eight months ago with a torn Achilles, and finished with nine points and eight rebounds. Bryant also had eight turnovers. ...
NBA Capsules (Comcast SportsNet Houston)
(Sun, 08 Dec 2013 22:04:00 PST)
LOS ANGELES (AP) Kobe Bryant had nine points and eight rebounds in his season debut for the Lakers, but Amir Johnson scored a career-high 32 points in the trade-depleted Toronto Raptors' 106-94 victory over Los Angeles on Sunday night.
Rockets force a lot of Magic misses (Comcast SportsNet Houston)
(Sun, 08 Dec 2013 21:04:14 PST)
The Rockets did a lot of things right in getting their 15th win of the season, topping the Magic 98-88. They allowed the Magic to grab 15 offensive rebounds, the second-highest total they have allowed this season. The Magic scored 23 second chance points off of those rebounds, also the second-highest total Houston has given up this season. (Toronto missed 66 shots against Houston on Nov. 11 in a double overtime Rockets victory.)
Howard, Harden lead Rockets over Magic 98-88 (The Associated Press)
(Sun, 08 Dec 2013 20:35:53 PST)
Dwight Howard was late for the pregame shootaround. Howard had 20 points and 22 rebounds Sunday night to lead the Houston Rockets over the Orlando Magic 98-88. ''I'm just happy our team came out tonight, settled down and played basketball.'' Howard became the first Rockets player since Ralph Sampson in 1985-86 to pull down 18 or more rebounds in three straight games. ''I shouldn't have done it.'' James Harden scored 27 points and also had 10 assists and eight rebounds for the Rockets.
Rockets handle Magic, 98-88 (Comcast SportsNet Houston)
(Sun, 08 Dec 2013 20:22:52 PST)
For the second time this season, Dwight Howard had at least 20 points and 20 rebounds in a game. His 20 points and 22 rebounds led the Rockets to a 98-88 win over his former team, the Orlando Magic on Sunday night at Toyota Center. After a sluggish start that had the Rockets trailing the Magic 9-2, Houston blitzed the Magic with 17 straight points, including a stretch that had them making four consecutive 3-pointers. There were two big reasons the Magic were unable to recover from that offensive barrage.
Harden boosts Rockets past Magic (The SportsXchange)
(Sun, 08 Dec 2013 20:20:30 PST)
HOUSTON -- There were moments this season when Houston Rockets guard James Harden was chastised for his lackluster commitment to defense and an overall malaise toward anything outside of scoring. Harden offered no opportunity for criticism Sunday night, delivering a dominating all-around performance while leading the Rockets to a 98-88 victory over the Orlando Magic at Toyota Center. Harden combined critical scoring with dazzling playmaking, pairing 27 points with 10 assists while defending Magic guard Arron Afflalo with vigor. He challenged Afflalo throughout, with his engagement on both ends of the court central to the Rockets' ability to outlast feisty Orlando.
James Harden, Dwight Howard spark Rockets by Magic (Automated Insights)
(Sun, 08 Dec 2013 19:21:33 PST)
James Harden finished with 27 points and recorded 10 assists and 8 rebounds in a spectacular all-around effort to lead the Houston Rockets to a victory over the Orlando Magic, 98-88. This is the seventh win for Houston (15-7) in its last 10 games. Other key performers for Houston were Dwight Howard with 20 points and 22 rebounds, and Terrence Jones with 16 points and 13 rebounds. On 8-18 shooting from the field and 2-4 from the free throw line, Glen Davis put up 18 points for Orlando in the loss.
Rockets 98, Magic 88 (The SportsXchange)
(Sun, 08 Dec 2013 18:50:24 PST)
HOUSTON -- Guard James Harden delivered a dominating all-around performance, leading the Houston Rockets to a 98-88 victory over the Orlando Magic on Sunday night at Toyota Center. Harden combined critical scoring with dazzling playmaking, pairing 27 points with 10 assists while defending Magic guard Arron Afflalo with vigor. Houston (15-7) won for the 10th time in 13 games and embarks on a West Coast swing through Portland, Golden State and Sacramento. The Magic (6-14) cut a 22-point deficit to 10 midway through the fourth quarter but could not stave off a fifth consecutive defeat.
Instant replay: Howard leads Rockets past former team (Comcast SportsNet Houston)
(Sun, 08 Dec 2013 18:45:44 PST)
The Houston Rockets have dominated eastern conference competition this year and Sunday night was no different as they beat Orlando 98-88, to improve to 7-1 against the east and move to 15-7 overall. Dwight Howard was a monster against his former team posting 20 points and grabbing 22 rebounds, the seventh time in his career he’s had a 20 point-20 rebound game. James Harden was fantastic on both ends for the second game in a row. He helped hold Orlando’s leading scorer Arron Afflalo to 6-of-17 shooting and just 16 points.
Rockets report card through 21 games (Comcast SportsNet Houston)
(Sun, 08 Dec 2013 14:10:35 PST)
After 21 games, roughly one quarter of the season, Houston sits at 14-7 and coming off one of their more impressive games to date. They took apart the Golden State Warriors, 105-83 and did so with Jeremy Lin (knee) and Omer Asik (thigh) still sidelined with injuries. Dwight Howard is already the only Rockets player to appear in every game. But on the bright side, even with nearly every player on the team getting hurt in some form, none have cost them extended time and none of them, outside of Chandler Parsons' back spasms, appear to be lingering.
Dwight Howard to face his former team on his 28th birthday (Comcast SportsNet Houston)
(Sun, 08 Dec 2013 13:55:27 PST)
While Dwight Howard grew unhappy in Orlando after eight seasons with the Magic, he's surely pleased with how things are working out in Houston. The Rockets go for an eighth home win in nine games Sunday night when Howard faces his former team. Houston, which signed Howard to a four-year deal worth roughly $88 million this summer, has opened 14-7 while posting an NBA-leading 107.9 points per game. The Rockets have also started to clamp down defensively, holding teams to an average of 95.1 during a 6-2 stretch.