Clint Capela

Report: Rockets sign Chuck Hayes to one-year deal

1 Comment

Chuck Hayes spent the first six years of his NBA career in Houston, never giving them many points but instead giving them good defense in the post, strength on the glass, and hustle everywhere on the court.

Now he’s back.

After a down year in Toronto, Hayes is heading to Houston to help round out a deep front court, reports Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports.

The Rockets are close to rounding out their roster, but don’t expect them to be spending much to do it, notes former Nets assistant GM Bobby Marks.

Teammates love Hayes and love playing with him, which is why this is a good pickup for Houston. All Hayes does is work hard and do the little things — battles on the boards, sets hard screens, and play physical defense. He is a consummate professional.

He’s also one that has battled injuries and had a couple down seasons in a row.

That said, it’s a low-risk move for Houston to help round out a strong frontcourt already. Dwight Howard and probably Terrence Jones will start, behind them is the underrated Donatas Motiejunas, plus youngsters Clint Capela and Montrezl Harrell. This could mean fewer minutes for Capela and Harrell, but there should be chances for everyone.

This is simply another solid addition to a title contending team.

Stephen Curry’s buzzer-beating jumper caps 21-4 Warriors run (video)

2 Comments

The Rockets led the Warriors by 16 points in the second quarter.

With Draymond Green as a small-ball center, Golden State responded with a 21-4 run. The Warriors’ flexibility stretched Houston’s defense and caused matchups like Clint Capela on Stephen Curry.

You see how Curry handled it.

Rockets’ Clint Capela dunks all over Spencer Hawes (VIDEO)

3 Comments

That play pretty much sums up the Clippers and the Rockets Game 5.

The Rockets came out with a sense of desperation and were attacking the rim. The Clippers were a step late and not playing with the passion needed to close out a quality team.

So you get things like Clint Capela dunking on the late-rotating Spencer Hawes. But this was just one of a lot of smart passing plays and finishes by the Rockets. Houston earned the right to extend this series.

Adjusting for playoff rotations round two: Watch out for the Wizards

2 Comments

Before the playoffs began, I assessed each team based on projected postseason rotation.

Here’s the idea:

In an attempt to get better data, I’ve used nba wowy! to rank playoff teams by regular-season net rating (offensive rating minus defensive rating), counting only the lineups that include five players projected to be in the team’s post-season rotation.

This measure is far from perfect. It doesn’t account for opponent or weigh lineups based on how often they’ll be used in the postseason, and it’s impossible to precisely predict a team’s playoff rotation.

The system and straight seeding differed twice for the first round, each method correctly predicting one of those two series:

  • My projection correct: Wizards over Raptors
  • Seeding correct: Bucks over Bulls

We now have more information – both about which players actually made the postseason rotation and how teams fared in the first round.

Here are the new adjusted ratings from full regular season to pre-playoff projection to pre-second round projection (counting first-round games and updating the postseason rotation when necessary):

EASTERN CONFERENCE

5. Washington Wizards

  • Offensive rating: 104.3 to 107.7 to 112.3
  • Defensive rating: 103.5 to 101.1 to 100.9
  • Net rating: +0.8 to +6.6 to +11.4

Kevin Seraphin, not Kris Humphries as I predicted, made the playoff rotation. That would have boosted the Wizards’ pre-playoff projection even higher, and they were already a sleeper based on this model.

A sweep of the Raptors supported all the positivity these numbers suggested about Washington.

2. Cleveland Cavaliers

  • Offensive rating: 111.7 to 118.2 to 114.2
  • Defensive rating: 106.9 to 101.0 to 105.6
  • Net rating: +4.8 to +17.2 to +8.6

I left James Jones out of my projected playoff rotation. Including him would have weakened the Cavaliers’ pre-playoff adjusted numbers on both ends of the floor, but they still would have ranked second in the league behind the Warriors for adjusted net rating.

Of course, Kevin Love is the big issue headed into the next round. It’s unclear how David Blatt will replace the power forward, but I added Mike Miller and Shawn Marion to the rotation. If it’s just one of the two or neither with no other replacement, the Cavs’ adjusted net rating would be a little better.

Remove J.R. Smith, who’s suspended the first two games though counted as part of the rotation here, and Cleveland actually fares a little better on both ends (with Miller and Marion in the rotation) than it would with Smith.

Still, the picture is clear: Cleveland gets downgraded significantly without Love. Enough to lose to the Bulls? Not according to this model.

3. Chicago Bulls

  • Offensive rating: 107.7 to 108.6 to 108.4
  • Defensive rating: 104. 4 to 103.3 to 102.5
  • Net rating: +3.3 to +5.3 to +5.9

I didn’t include Tony Snell in the Bulls’ playoff rotation, but he stuck, even when Kirk Hinrich was healthy. Had I included Snell, Chicago would have fared slightly better in my first-round projections.

To the surprise of many, the Bucks pushed the Bulls to six games, but that doesn’t give me pause about Chicago. The pre-playoff projection was high on Milwaukee, and though the model actually rated the Bucks above the Bulls, I think the actual result showed the point of the projection. It’s one data point of many, and the lesson should have been that the first-round series could be closer than expected – which happened.

1. Atlanta Hawks

  • Offensive rating: 109.6 to 109.9 to 110.0
  • Defensive rating: 103.8 to 104.9 to 105.1
  • Net rating: +5.8 to +5.0 to +4.9

I incorrectly left Shelvin Mack out of the predicted rotation, though he wouldn’t have changed much.

There were reasons to be concerned about the Hawks entering the playoffs based on this model. A six-game series against the Nets was surprising, because Brooklyn also looked weak. But the first-round matchup also exposed issues with Atlanta this model predicted.

Pick the No. 1 seed to advance at your own risk.

WESTERN CONFERENCE

1. Golden State Warriors

  • Offensive rating: 111.7 to 116.4 to 114.7
  • Defensive rating: 101.3 to 95.7 to 99.1
  • Net rating: +10.4 to +20.7 to +15.6

I didn’t include Marreese Speights and Leandro Barbosa in the Warriors’ rotation, but Steve Kerr did. If I had, Golden State’s projection would have suffered on both ends of the floor.

The Warriors are favored here regardless, but I believe if necessary, they can trim their rotation and become even stronger.

3. Los Angeles Clippers

  • Offensive rating: 113.2 to 117.5 to 118.8
  • Defensive rating: 106.3 to 105.9 to 105.4
  • Net rating: +6.9 to +11.6 to +13.4

I mistakenly had Spencer Hawes in the playoff rotation, but it’s clear Doc Rivers doesn’t trust him. Removing Hawes doesn’t make much difference, though it improves the Clippers’ adjusted rating a bit on both ends of the floor.

The big issue: Will Chris Paul be healthy? A playoff rotation without him projects to have an offensive/defensive/net rating of 97.0/108.1/-11.1. That’s disastrous, but it’s a small sample and overly relies on bench-heavy units. Blake Griffin and the Clippers’ other starters just didn’t play that much without Paul.

If Paul is healthy, the Clippers rate better than the Rockets. If not, lower – though it’s not clear just how much lower Los Angeles actually should be.

2. Houston Rockets

  • Offensive rating: 107.5 to 110.1 to 112.3
  • Defensive rating: 104.0 to 101.0  to 101.2
  • Net rating: 3.5 to +9.1 to +11.1

Clint Capela, not Joey Dorsey, was Houston’s backup center – and that would have boosted their pre-playoff projection on both ends of the floor.

For the most part, the Rockets are the steadier team in their second-round matchup. It’s Paul’s health that should determine everything.

Make no mistake, though: Houston’s playoff rotation is good and will require the Clippers to play well to advance.

5. Memphis Grizzlies

  • Offensive rating: 106.2 to 108.0 to 109.1
  • Defensive rating: 102.7 to 102.7 to 102.8
  • Net rating: +3.5 to +5.3 to +6.3

I included Mike Conley in this projection. If he can’t play, the offensive/defensive/net splits go to 107.3/101.6+5.7.

That’s not as large a drop as I anticipated, but it probably doesn’t matter much. The Grizzlies land well behind the Warriors either way.

Monta Ellis, J.J. Barea pairing ignites Mavericks offense, gets Dallas Game 4 win over Houston

10 Comments

This result wIll be only stalling the inevitable at this point, but it makes you wonder: What if there had been no Rajon Rondo this series? What if it had been J.J. Barea and Monta Ellis in the backcourt from the start?

Barea came in and sped up the tempo of the Dallas offense. Monta Ellis clearly plays more freely without Rondo next to him. Rick Carlisle finally just went with his best lineup, and it worked.

Ellis put up 31 points, Barea had 17 points and 13 assists, Dallas owned Game 4 from the second quarter on and beat Houston 121-109, much to the delight of the Dallas home crowd.

Houston still leads the series 3-1. Game 5 is in Houston on Tuesday.

To have seen the start of this game, you would never have guessed the ending. The Rockets came out pounding the ball inside and getting the buckets they wanted — Dwight Howard was 5-of-5 in the first quarter, James Harden had 10 points on six shots (and he was attacking), and as a team the Rockets shot 68.7 percent. It was the kind of quarter where even when the Mavericks went to hack-a-Rocket and fouled Clint Capela he hit both free throws. At the end of one the Rockets were up 34-25.

Then everything changed. The second quarter started to feel like an elimination game, with some chippy play and Rick Carlisle picking up a technical for complaining to the refs. The Rockets missed five shots in a row, Howard went 1-of-9 from the free-throw line and Houston started to come apart (when teams go to hack-a-Howard he often gets passive). That plus some big plays from Monta Ellis and Barea pushing the ball in transition sparked a 28-11 Dallas run. By halftime, Dallas was up 61-53.

Then Dallas opened the second half on a 20-4 run. Houston shot 0-12 from the field to start the third quarter while Dallas hit 8-of-11.Dallas shot 67 percent in third quarter; they blew the game open and were never seriously threatened.

A lot of things went right for the Mavericks. Al-Farouq Aminu did a good job on James Harden, holding him to 24 points and a relatively quiet night. Dallas was strong on the offensive glass grabbing 37.2 percent of their missed shots. Dallas did everything well save hit their free throws (9-of-21).

The question is can they replicate all of that on the road? And can Kevin McHale make some adjustments to end the series Tuesday night and let his team get some rest while they wait for the winner of the Spurs/Clippers series?

Game 4 felt like the series we expected from these two teams, and Dallas showed Houston is going to have to earn Game 5.