It was raining three-pointers in Houston. Jeremy Lin (28 PTS, 9 AST) hit five of the Rockets’ team record 23 triples, which equals the NBA mark. James Harden (18 PTS, 7 AST, 3 STL) and Chandler Parsons (16 PTS, 8 REB) added four apiece, and the bench knocked down another nine. As a team, they shot 23-40 from deep (57.5%) and scored 140 points, 77 in the first half.
One name that won’t make as much noise this time around is Dwight Howard, who was the center of all the drama last season. According to Steven Marcus of Newsday, the Los Angeles Lakers big man is apparently off the market this season:
“We’re very happy with Mike D’Antoni,” Kupchak said. “I think when he took the job I think he thought Nash [fractured left leg] might be out a week or two. Not two months. Getting everybody on the same page took a little longer than expected. Not to say it’s been smooth sailing, that’s for sure.” Asked about his remaining options to salvage this season, Kupchak said, “We will not make a trade. We will not trade Dwight Howard. We have no intention of making a trade. It’s unlikely that we’ll make any trade with any of our principal players. To make another change at this time of the year being behind the eight-ball like we are, I think that would just make it more difficult. The talent is there. We have to find our way.”
The question is, when is he ever not on the trading block?
The high-flyer’s name seems to come up season after season for one reason or another, from failing to take over as the franchise player the team may have hoped he’d become, to possible chemistry issues with Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol due to his sometimes-chucking tendencies.
This probably would not have been much of a discussion earlier in the season when the Grizzlies came out like the team to beat in the West, winning all but one game in the month of November. Since then, however, they have gone 8-8 and have literally played at the level of a .500 team.