Tag: Terrence Jones

Cleveland Cavaliers v Portland Trail Blazers

Report: Rockets to pursue Kevin Love and LaMarcus Aldridge, looking to trade Terrence Jones


Kevin Love opted out. LaMarcus Aldridge seems increasingly likely to leave Portland.

So, of course, the Rockets are interested.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

Let’s say the Rockets:

  • Trade Terrence Jones without taking any salary in return
  • Renounce all their free agents, including Patrick Beverley and K.J. McDaniels
  • Waive Kostas Papanikolaou (unguaranteed) and Pablo Prigioni (partially guaranteed)

They’d still project to have just $12 million in cap space – well below the $19 million max for Love and Aldridge.

Signing one of those star power forwards would almost certainly mean dealing Trevor Ariza, and it would probably require sacrificing significant depth, too.

And that might be worth it. Either Love or Aldridge would complement James Harden and Dwight Howard well. Then, Houston could recoup depth when the salary cap spikes in 2016, providing more flexibility.

It’s an easy plan to get behind. It’s just much harder to execute, though bank on Daryl Morey trying.

Elimination game Josh Smith is a thing, Rockets live to play another day

Josh Smith

For the fourth time these playoffs, the Houston Rockets stepped on the court knowing if they lost they could make tee times for golfing the next morning — their season would be over.

On just the Rockets’ second possession of the game, Josh Smith walked into a straight on three early in the clock — a shot the Warriors will gladly let him take.

Smith drained it.

He did it again a couple minutes later, capping a 12-0 run by the Rockets to start the game that set the tone for the night. The Rockets held off the Warriors charges in a wild game to survive and get to play in Game 5 Wednesday.

“He started it off for us, knocking down shots and being aggressive,” James Harden said of Smith. “That’s what we need, our four men — Josh and TJ (Terrence Jones) — to be aggressive. Be aggressive and attack the basket. He kind of got it going for us, and the other guys picked it up.”

Smith has done this all playoffs — when the Rockets are up against the wall, it’s Smith making plays. Elimination game Smith is a thing.

In the four Rockets’ elimination games this season, Smith has 63 points on 22-of-34 shooting (64.7 percent). In those games, he’s hit 10-of-18 from three. Most impressive, in those games he’s 10-of-13 on contested looks — even when the defense comes out on him he’s knocking it down.

If your reaction to that is “he can’t sustain that level of play” you’d be right. Over the course of a season he will not sustain it — but in a playoff series he doesn’t have to. Just a quarter here (say, the fourth quarter of Game 6 against the Clippers) or a game there.

Smith just isn’t ready for his time with the Rockets to end. He came to Houston mid-season after Stan Van Gundy and the Pistons paid him just to go away. Smith was a free agent with options, but chose to come to the Rockets because of a relationship with Dwight Howard and the chance to win. When this season is over, Smith is a free agent who could land anywhere. But he’s not letting that time come to an end just yet.

It’s not just Smith; other guys step up in these games as well.

“Josh (Smith) got us off to a great start, James (Harden) had a phenomenal game… I thought Trev (Ariza) did a really good job for us early, hit some big shots”

James Harden is obviously the engine for the Rockets’ offense and in the four closeout games he has a combined 125 points (including 45 against the Rockets Monday). He has hit 34-of-60 shots in those close out games and has a dozen threes.

Beyond him, Dwight Howard has 70 points in those games and is shooting 53.9 percent on contested looks in those contests. Trevor Ariza has 74 points in the games and is 16-of-33 from three. Corey Brewer has knocked down some big shots, particularly in the Game 6 comeback against the Clippers.

The Rockets will need three more can’t miss games from Smith and friends to advance past the Warriors, and that is unlikely. It goes back to the idea that the Rockets can’t sustain that level of shooting, that their role players will regress to the mean. Probably during Game 5 in Oakland.

Maybe. But the Rockets don’t have to sustain the crazy level of shooting that long. Just enough to survive another day. If you don’t think that can happen, you haven’t watched this resilient Rockets team these playoffs.

PBT Extra: Give Warriors defense some credit for stop of Harden on last play

James Harden, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson
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James Harden was nothing short of brilliant Thursday night, but that’s not what everyone is talking about.

It’s all about the last play when the Rockets had the chance to win, and Harden didn’t get a shot off. That’s what Jenna Corrado and I discuss in this latest PBT Extra.

First things first, I think Kevin McHale made the right move not calling for a timeout — Harden with a head of steam in transition has better odds of success than anything the team was going to draw up in a timeout, especially since it let the Warriors’ defense set.

Rather than just blame Harden, give some credit to Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, who got back on defense and cut off the easy path to the rim for Harden. He hesitated. While maybe he could have hit a streaking Terrence Jones, and while he certainly shouldn’t have passed to Dwight Howard, this was as much about good transition defense as anything else.