Dwight Howard responds to reports about him being unhappy in Houston

On Tuesday, Chris Sheridan (@sheridanhoops) reported that Houston Rockets Center Dwight Howard was unhappy with his role of being second fiddle to alpha dog James Harden and he predicted Howard would be traded to the Miami Heat for Center Hassan Whiteside. Rockets fans immediately panicked and asked me if this was true.

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Not reading or hearing about the report at the time, I told a couple people my opinion that the report is false.

Around the same time I found out about the report, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel tweeted there is nothing to speculation linking Whiteside to Dwight Howard or DeMarcus Cousins.

During the post game interview session after the Rockets 107-97 loss to the Sacramento Kings, Howard was asked about the report. His response?

“I haven’t said anything to anybody about anything,” Howard said. “People make up lies and rumors. That’s never been my focus. I’m trying to get these guys to play better and get myself to play better.”

 

“People are going to say what they got to say to get a story out. People are always going to come up with some rumor and lies. That’s what it is. I can’t focus on that. And I don’t want my teammates to focus on that.”

So, here’s your answer Rockets fans, from the man himself. Now whether you want him traded or not, or believe if he will be traded, that’s a whole different discussion.

But for now, we know one thing (as we all should’ve known), Dwight Howard is not unhappy with his role or his teammates.

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ROOT SPORTS announces expansion to broadcast Rockets games

On Wednesday, Houston Rockets fans residing across Central and Southwest Texas regions received exciting news as ROOT SPORTS announced a 200,000 household expansion, which are now in the Houston Rockets TV Broadcast Territory and will be able to receive Rockets coverage.

With permission from the NBA, ROOT SPORTS will now be able to make Rockets games available to 400 additional ZIP codes in Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas. Rockets fans in the Austin, San Antonio, Laredo, Waco-Temple-Bryan, Shreveport, Corpus Christi, Lafayette, Baton Rouge and San Angelo areas will now be able to watch the games.

Northern areas that will now be able to broadcast games include Austin suburbs, Round Rock, Georgetown, Pflugerville, Temple, Belton, Killeen, Manor, Bastrop, Leander, Del Rio, Gatesville, Copperas Cove, Lampasas, Salado, Lorena, McGregor, Marlin, Taylor, Mason, Jarrell and San Saba.

For a complete list of ZIP codes that now have Rockets coverage available through ROOT SPORTS, visit http://www.rootsports.com/RocketsTerritory/

ROOT SPORTS is currently available on DIRECTV, AT&T U-Verse, XFINITY and other cable providers. For complete channel listings, visit http://southwest.rootsports.com/alternate-channel-listings/.

Houston Rockets primed for pursuit of the 2015-2016 NBA Championship

Going into the off-season after having a magical postseason run, yet falling short in the Western Conference Finals to the Golden State Warriors in five games, the Houston Rockets front office had one goal in mind: to bring every member of that squad back for another run at the championship.

Re-signing unrestricted free agents Patrick Beverley, Corey Brewer, K.J. McDaniels and Jason Terry was the Rockets’ top priority, and while they locked each up to multi-year contracts, they also filled a void they were desperately searching for: a point guard.

Daryl Morey, the Rockets’ GM known as the mastermind behind the NBA analytics movement as well as the co-founder of MIT’s annual Sloan Sports Analytics Conference held in Boston, pulled off another improbable trade in the off-season.

Ty Lawson

The Rockets traded away Kostas Papanikolaou, Joey Dorsey, Nick Johnson, Pablo Prigioni and a lottery-protected 2016 first-round draft pick to Denver for PG Ty Lawson.

Putting Lawson’s off-court issues in the rear view mirror, he is not only a top 10 point guard who fits perfectly in Kevin McHale’s offense, but he is the point guard James Harden needs.

Last season, Lawson was the seventh best point producer in the league, which combines points and points generated by assist. He is a top 10 shot-creator, he ranked second in team points per game off of drives with 13.9. Who lead that category? James Harden. Lawson also has a incredible basketball IQ, which gives the Rockets arguably the most brilliant backcourt in the NBA this season.

Lawson also fits McHale’s philosophy of going “downhill” and ball movement on the perimeter as he shot 61 percent from the rim last season and most of his assists were dished to three-point shooters.

Lawson comes to a winning Rockets environment that has welcomed him with open arms and has taken care of him after spending the past six seasons with the Denver Nuggets, which the last couple being catastrophic because of coaching changes, missing the postseason and off-court alcohol abuse.

With the Rockets tipping off their 49th season on Oct. 28th at Toyota Center vs. Lawson’s former team the Denver Nuggets, neither talent, athleticism, psychological mindset, free throw shooting, or offense and defense will be the biggest key to the Rockets’ success this season.

Health

Just as any team in the association, health will be the most pivotal deciding factor on how far the Rockets go in the playoffs this season. Last season, the Rockets missed 182 games to injury, which was the highest total for any playoff team in the Western Conference. They still managed to pull off 56 wins and earned the second seed in the conference all while losing starting Center Dwight Howard for 41 games, Forward Terrance Jones for 49 games, starting Guard Patrick Beverley for 26 games and Forward Donatas Motiejunas for 11 games.

If the Rockets can figure out how to defeat their biggest kryptonite for 82 games, and that’s a MASSIVE IF, which is the injury bug, the sky is the limit for this group, because everyone on this team has the correct mentality and one goal in mind.

Pursuit

The term “Pursuit” has a much larger definition for this team than your simple synonyms of quest or chase. The Rockets adapted “Pursuit” as their official marketing campaign and slogan last season, but it’s more than a slogan, it’s a mindset that each player on this roster has stuck to: Pursuit of the championship. Everywhere you look inside Toyota Center, the arena is decked out in “#Pursuit”, fans are wearing shirts that say “#Pursuit”, it has even become its own hashtag on social media for the Rockets and its fans. Every guy in the locker room has strong belief and a great feeling knowing they can accomplish something special.

Each player on this roster knows they will have to give their 110 percent every night and do what they do best individually so everyone can come together as a team and have a shot at winning every game in a brutal Western Conference to accomplish that Pursuit when they hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy in June.

Houston Rockets unveil new alternate jerseys

Houston Rockets fans have been patiently waiting for new jerseys for a long time and their wish finally came true.

The Rockets unveiled three new alternate jerseys on Tuesday, September 15 at a private season ticket holder event at the House of Blues in Downtown Houston. Lights shined bright on stage and cameras flashed at Dwight Howard, Donatas Motiejunas and Sam Dekker as they modeled the new alternates.

image: Pictured L-R: Sam Dekker, Dwight Howard and Donatas Motiejunas stand and model the Houston Rockets’ three new alternate jerseys. Photo courtesy of @00rocketgirl on Twitter.

Pictured L-R: Sam Dekker, Dwight Howard and Donatas Motiejunas stand and model the Houston Rockets’ three new alternate jerseys. Photo courtesy of @00rocketgirl on Twitter.

The sickest jersey of the three was rocked by Sam Dekker, which was an all black jersey with red trim around the shoulder, that says “HOUSTON” on the front. THAT is the road alternate jersey for the 2016-2017 season. Yes, unfortunately fans will have to wait one more year to see the incredibly cool black jerseys.

image: Sam Dekker stands and models the new 2016-2017 Houston Rockets road alternate jersey. Photo courtesy of @00rocketgirl on Twitter.

Sam Dekker stands and models the new 2016-2017 Houston Rockets road alternate jersey. Photo courtesy of @00rocketgirl on Twitter.

But, don’t worry because my personal favorite new alternate jersey was worn by Donatas Motiejunas: a “CLUTCH CITY” jersey! The shirts debuted last season versus the Oklahoma City Thunder; now we get actual ketchup and mustard jerseys that say “CLUTCH CITY” on the front. The only downside about those jerseys is they’re the sleeved jerseys, which in my opinion, look extremely ugly but just because they’re ketchup and mustard and say “CLUTCH CITY” on the front. I’m definitely buying one. Fans won’t have to wait long to see the Rockets wear the “CLUTCH CITY” jerseys as they will debut on Nov. 14 at home versus the Dallas Mavericks.

image: Donatas Motiejunas stands and models the Houston Rockets’ alternate pride “CLUTCH CITY” jersey. Photo courtesy of @00rocketgirl on Twitter.

Donatas Motiejunas stands and models the Houston Rockets’ alternate pride “CLUTCH CITY” jersey. Photo courtesy of @00rocketgirl on Twitter.

The last, and my least favorite jersey of the three is the new home alternate jersey, displayed by Dwight Howard, a sleeved all silver with black trim jersey. When you mix a sleeved jersey with the color silver, that spells disaster. That jersey is so ugly I wish they didn’t even unveil it. But, unfortunately we have to live with it because the jersey will make its debut on Nov. 25 at home versus the Memphis Grizzlies and will be worn six times during the season.

image: Dwight Howard flexes and models the Houston Rockets’ new home alternate jersey. Photo courtesy of @00rocketgirl on Twitter.

Dwight Howard flexes and models the Houston Rockets’ new home alternate jersey. Photo courtesy of @00rocketgirl on Twitter.

A downer in the jersey unveilings is that with the three new jerseys, one jersey has been eliminated from the jersey rotation, and that jersey was not only my favorite but a fan favorite as well: the ketchup and mustard alternate jersey that said “HOUSTON” on the front. So go ahead and wear those jerseys for the last time because the Rockets will not be wearing them anymore.

With the jerseys unveiled, which one is your favorite? Which one will you purchase and add to your jersey collection?

image: From L-R: Sam Dekker, Dwight Howard and Donatas Motiejunas pose for a picture as they model the new Rockets alternate jerseys. Photo courtesy of rockets.com

From L-R: Sam Dekker, Dwight Howard and Donatas Motiejunas pose for a picture as they model the new Rockets alternate jerseys. Photo courtesy of rockets.com

 

2015-2016 Houston Rockets schedule

The 2015-2016 NBA schedule has been released and here’s what sticks out to me as far as the Rockets go:

The Rockets debut the preseason on Oct. 6 at Memphis then come back home the next night to play the Mavericks at Toyota Center. Rockets then fly to their D-League affiliate Rio Grande Valley Vipers where they will host the Magic at State Farm Arena on Oct. 11. Rockets will play five more preseason games before beginning their pursuit to the championship on Oct. 28.

The Rockets will open the 2015-2016 season at home on Oct. 28 vs the Denver Nuggets then host the Golden State Warriors for a nationally televised game on ESPN two nights later on Oct. 30.

The Rockets will have 19 nationally televised games (not counting NBATV) (eight at home), with 10 on ESPN, 7 on TNT and twice on ABC.

  • Oct. 30 Hou vs. GSW 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
  • Nov. 6 Hou at Sac 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)
  • Dec. 17 Hou at LAL 9:30 p.m. (TNT)
  • Dec. 25 Hou vs. SAS 7:00 p.m. (ESPN) (Christmas)
  • Jan 15 Hou vs. Clev 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
  • Jan 18 Hou at LAC 9:30 p.m. (TNT) (MLK Day)
  • Jan 27 Hou at SAS 7:00 p.m. (ESPN)
  • Feb 4 Hou at Phx 9:30 p.m. (TNT)
  • Feb 9 Hou at GSW 9:30 p.m. (TNT)
  • Feb 10 Hou at Pdx 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)
  • Mar 2 Hou vs NOP 7:00 p.m. (ESPN)
  • Mar 5 Hou at Chi 7:30 p.m. (ABC)
  • Mar 14 Hou vs Mem 7:00 p.m. (ESPN)
  • Mar 16 Hou vs LAC 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
  • Mar 22 Hou at Okc 7:00 p.m. (TNT)
  • Mar 29 Hou at Clev 7:00 p.m. (TNT)
  • Mar 31 Hou vs Chi 6:00 p.m. (TNT)
  • Apr 3 Hou vs Okc 2:30 p.m. (ABC)
  • Apr 6 Hou at Dal 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Start making your Christmas plans early #RedNation because the Rockets have a Christmas game AT HOME at Toyota Center!!!!!

The annual New Years Eve game this season at Toyota Center will feature the defending champs Golden State Warriors.

Josh Smith makes his Rockets return on Dec. 19 when the Los Angeles Clippers visit Toyota Center.

As noted by the voice of the Rockets Craig Ackerman (ca_rockets), the Rockets only have 19 sets of back-to-back games and no four games in five nights.

Check out the full schedule on rockets.com and let me know what Rockets game(s) you’re looking forward to the most.

 

 

Dwight Howard attends #MarvelSDCC

If you’re at Marvel Comic-Con 2015 in San Diego and see a giant ant/insect looking character walking around on two feet, its Dwight Howard of the Houston Rockets.
Howard has been sharing his day at Comi-Con through his Instagram page:

Hey guys check out @ryanbnjmn and @cheeks_galloway @tabletaffy_studios! They have awesome work. @fandango @movieclips

A post shared by Dwight Howard (@dwighthoward) on

If you know Dwight Howard, you know he loves his superheroes, science fiction characters, and most of all he loves life, so what better convention for him to attend than the annual event, which has been going on for 45 years.
Howard stopped by Marvel LIVE! to discuss his day at the convention:
Howard will also be featured in a set of short films collaborated by ESPN & Marvel titled “1 of 1 – Origins”, which will showcase athletes, or “heroes” and their origins.

On this date: An NBA Draft that transformed the association

On a day where college kids become professionals at the NBA Draft, it can be a tough task to accurately speculate or predict the future of 21-year-old college phenoms.

That task was especially true 31 years ago at the 1984 NBA Draft, held on June 19, 1984 at “The Mecca of Basketball” Madison Square Garden in New York. The draft turned out to not only be the most talented draft class, but a class that innovated and impacted the game of basketball in a way that no one could’ve imagined, and transformed the National Basketball Association as a whole.

“The history of basketball cannot be written without that group of guys. The class of ’84 ought to go down as the greatest class of all time.” -Michael Wilbon, sports journalist.

The Houston Rockets, Portland Trailblazers and Chicago Bulls held the top three picks, which as we all know, were Hakeem Olajuwon, a Center out of University of Houston; Sam Bowie, a Center out of Kentucky; and Michael Jordan, a Guard out of North Carolina.

The draft produced

  • five Hall of Fame inductees
    • Hakeem Olajuwon
    • Michael Jordan
    • Charles Barkley
    • John Stockton
    • Oscar Schmidt
  • seven All-Star players
    • Charles Barkley
      • 11x NBA All-Star (1987-1997)
    • Michael Jordan
      • 14x NBA All-Star (1985-1993, 1996-1998, 2002-2003)
    • Hakeem Olajuwon
      • 12x NBA All-Star (1985-1990, 1992-1997)
    • Alvin Robertson
      • 4x NBA All-Star (1986-1988, 1991)
    • John Stockton
      • 10x NBA All-Star (1989-1997, 2000)
    • Otis Thorpe (1992)
    • Kevin Willis (1992)
  • Three NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award winners
    • Michael Jordan
      • 5x NBA MVP (1988, 1991-1992,1996,1998)
    • Hakeem Olajuwon
      • NBA MVP (1994)
    • Charles Barkley
      • NBA MVP (1993)

The Hall of Famers John Stockton and Hakeem Olajuwon hold all-time NBA records in assists, steals, and blocks respectively as well as combined 12 trips to the Finals, 8 championships and two Defensive Player of the Year winners among Stockton, Olajuwon, Jordan and Barkley.

Much has been questioned and debated whether or not the Houston Rockets made the correct decision in drafting Olajuwon over Jordan. What strikes me is not only the Rockets had the option of drafting Jordan over Olajuwon, but the Blazers were willing to trade the Rockets the second pick plus Clyde Drexler for Ralph Sampson, which means the Rockets would’ve had the first pick, the second pick, and Drexler. Had the Rockets gone along and accepted the trade offer, they could’ve had a big three of Olajuwon, Drexler and Jordan. Talk about a dream team.

But all we can do is hope that a “Dream” comes true, which is exactly what the City of Houston received on the night of the 1984 NBA Draft followed by their two championships 10 years later in 1994 and 1995.

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