Pre-Game Jitters: Rockets

The Warriors are in Houston tonight.  The Rockets have struggled badly after a hot start to the season.  They are 4-6 in January, and have lost 4 out of 5 games on their current home stand.  Their problem has been putting the ball in the hole.  With Trevor Ariza and Shane Battier at the two and three,  the Rockets are perhaps the only team in the league that doesn’t have a natural scorer at either of the wing positions.  Their effort to make Ariza into a  go-to guy has been a failure:  He is shooting a miserable 38% from the floor, taking 15 shots a game, and 30% from three, taking 6 a game.        

Nevertheless, the injury-riddled Warriors will be hard-pressed to win this game. It begins with Monta Ellis.  He has been largely missing in action since his return from injury.  He needs to be the star of the game for the Warriors to have a chance.

Andris Biedrins got eaten alive by the 6-6″ Chuck Hayes and the Rockets active front line in the first meeting of these teams.  That was before his injury, when he was completely healthy.  Or was he?  Biedrins needs to show up before the fourth quarter in this game, which he has been unable to do as of late.

Anthony Tolliver will also have his hands full with Luis Scola and Carl Landry. This is a matchup to watch, as the Warriors are very thin behind Tolliver. Maggette got a hip-pointer in the last game, and is a game-time decision. As for Vlad Rad, Nellie might be better served simply giving him a dirty look while he’s seated on the bench, and spare us the two minutes of wretched court time.

Aaron Brooks is the jitter-bug that makes the Rockets go.  The Warriors had no answer for him down the stretch in the last meeting.  We’ll get a chance to see whether Stephen Curry has picked up a few tricks to keep Brooks in front of him.

The Rockets are -7 home favorites.  The Warriors are in a tailspin.  Ankles and hip-pointers and Achilles tendons and bad backs and D-leaguers and all-star rejections and trade deadline rumors are flying out the windows.  Will the pilot be able to pull up before impact in the Texas Triangle? You tell me.

8 Responses to Pre-Game Jitters: Rockets

  1. I recall Battier and Scola having big games in the last meeting. Batteir was schooling Morrow and we had no answer for Scola. Defensively, I actually think the Warriors are better now. If we move the ball without too many TO’s, shoot at a decent percentage and don’t get terribly outrebounded, we could pull this one off. I thinnk the matchups will be interesting tonight..Tolliver/Landry, Karl/Scola and most of all Curry/Brooks. Curry has played his best games against smaller guards.

  2. An open letter to Tim Kawakami:

    Dear Tim,

    I hope you’ll have a chance to read this and respond. I’d be happy to provide you with the spread sheet. I sorted Ellis’ stats after 42 games based on the number of minutes he plays. His season average is about 43 minutes so I divided the stats in half considering games where he played 43 minutes or less and games where he played more than 43 minutes. Here’s what I found:

    AVERAGE MARGIN WHEN ELLIS PLAYS 43 minutes or less = 17.5 points
    Ellis minutes=864, Non Ellis Minutes=266 (about 5.54 games)

    AVERAGE MARGIN WHEN ELLIS PLAYS more than 43 minutes = 8.8 points
    Ellis minutes Non Ellis Minutes #games
    Ellis minutes=1210, Non Ellis Minutes=86 (about 1.79 games)

    I think you should consider revising the conclusions* you make using +/-. It is a valid measure of what is happening on the court but you need to consider a large number of games and the context of where the minutes are coming from.

    The substitution pattern Nelson has employed is that when a game gets out of hand, Ellis sits. Sorting the games by Ellis’ minutes shows the ratio of meaningful non-Ellis minutes versus blowout non-Ellis minutes is more than 3:1 (~86/266). So out of every 4 minutes that Ellis was off of the court, 3 of those minutes comes from games where the average margin of victory was 17.5 points whereas just 1 minute comes from games where the average margin of victory was 8.8 points. Is it really meaningful to look at +/- stats that are weighted substantially with blowouts? Probably not.

    “Ellis is -182 in the plus/minus, which is not a good number. He’s -4.4 per game. The Warriors are -3.4 per game on the season overall.”

  3. Nice analysis PJ. Here’s another one on the same issue:

    It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that TK doesn’t know a thing about what he’s talking about, and doesn’t care. He’s about slinging mud, and selling newspapers.

  4. felbotloveslosing

    feltbot knows a thing or two about how to enjoy losing.

  5. There is a niche in sports writing for people who do nothing but rile up the fans with garbage…lets call them what they are-scribe rats. TK and Cohn make a living at pissing people off. I’ve decided to completely ignore them.

  6. I am tired of those “come back”, “almost win”. All those “come back” are coming from our starters better than their bench players, or their starters just fooling around because they won by so much.

  7. Feltbot,

    Maybe take a break and skip the recap tonight?

  8. lol, just what I was thinking Nivrag. Feltbot out with injury!

    A brain injury…