Houston Rockets v Chicago Bulls

Dwight Howard likely out for Rockets Thursday due to ankle injury


Dwight Howard has been healthy this season, and with that played like the guy the Lakers thought they were getting a year ago. Houston has looked good and improving with him in the paint.

But he was out Monday night against Utah with an ankle strain suffered against Miami on Sunday.

Now he is going to miss a second game as well, coach Kevin McHale said.

This is where Houston’s depth comes in handy, you will see a lot more Omer Asik. Also you will see Terrence Jones on Kevin Love in an interesting matchup. Still the Rockets will miss the 18.6 points on 57 percent shooting and the 12.4 boards a night Howard brings.

Getting healthy is what should matter most to the Rockets, they don’t want this to linger. Right now they are pretty much locked in on the four seed, two back of a hot Clippers team for the third seed and 1.5 up on slumping Portland in the five spot. Golden State is two games back in the six slot.

With the NCAA tournament in full swing the NBA stops its Thursday night TNT NBA showcase games for a couple weeks to let the next crop of NBA stars — and maybe a Cinderella — take the spotlight. So that Rockets/Timberwolves showdown wasn’t going to be on national television, you’re not missing anything.

Dwight Howard crushes Kristaps Porzingis with dunk (video)

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Sometimes – as Kristaps Porzingis sees against Dwight Howard – it’s more flattering just to play James Harden-level defense.

Marc Gasol heads ball into basket after drawing foul (video)

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This was not Marc Gasol‘s first attempt to head in the ball after a whistle, but this time, he converted.

Here was his January try:


James Harden’s defense: Stop and point while opponent flies to rim (video)


As Rockets general manager Daryl Morey once noted, cherry-picking James Harden‘s worst defensive plays to create a video is unfair. Many players would look awful by that measure.

But Harden provides serious ammo for these worst-of videos.

This non-attempt to stop Lance Thomas is just brutal.

At least Houston buckled down to beat the Knicks, 116-111 in overtime. The Rockets have climbed to 26th in points allowed per possession.

Jerry Colangelo says Kobe Bryant could still make 2016 U.S. Olympic team

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So, Kobe Bryant‘s NBA career is officially going to come to an end after the 2015-16 season. That part he announced on Sunday.

What’s still up in the air is Bryant’s participation in one last Olympics. Bryant has been in consideration to make Team USA this summer at the games in Rio de Janeiro, and USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo tells ESPN.com’s Marc Stein that he hasn’t ruled that out yet:

Kobe was asked about this at his post-game press conference Sunday and said it was not a goal, but if it was offered he’d consider it.

“I’d be honored if that was there, it would be fantastic to be around that group and spend kind of the last journey with them,” Bryant said. “That being said, it’s not something that I’m obsessing over.”

‘When Bryant made it known that he wanted to play in Rio, he made it clear to Colangelo and Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski that he wanted to earn a spot, not be given one as a lifetime achievement award. Watching him so far this season, it’s almost impossible to imagine him making the roster on merit.

But nobody should begrudge him if he wanted to extend the farewell tour just a little bit longer.