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Kevin Durant on Rockets: ‘Those dudes can’t check me one-on-one’

Kevin DurantKevin Durant is averaging a career-high 32.1 points per game this season and is likely going to win the NBA MVP award. Not many teams have been able to slow him down, but the Houston Rockets were able to hold him to a modest 7-for-19 shooting night on Friday. Durant still scored 28 points, but his 36.8% shooting was one of the Oklahoma City Thunder star’s worst games of the year.

After the game, Durant was asked if the Rockets frustrated him by playing so physically. The normally soft-spoken star briefly broke character.

“They wasn’t playing one-on-one, it was one-on-three,” Durant said, via Clutch Fans. “They were funneling on me with two or three guys. Before I got the ball they had two guys on me. Those dudes can’t check me one-on-one. They know that. I ain’t afraid to say it either. I was playing with double-teams, triple-teams, but you still gotta find a way to do it. They’re physical like everybody else.”

The Rockets probably don’t care if they can check Durant one-on-one. They won the game, which is more important than being able to brag about shutting one of the best players in the game down with one-on-one defense.

The Thunder and Rockets are two of the better teams in the Western Conference. They could very well meet again in the playoffs, so perhaps Durant is trying to get Houston’s head a bit by challenging them. We wouldn’t doubt it.

H/T Bleacher Report

Houston Rockets players accused of taunting server with homophobic slurs

Rockets-logoThe Houston Rockets have been accused of hurling homophobic slurs at a gay food server while he was setting up the buffet in their locker room at the Barclays Center last year. Rasean Tate, 28, filed a discrimination lawsuit against the team earlier this week.

According to the NY Daily News, the lawsuit alleges that several Rockets players taunted Tate while he had his back turned.

“Get this f—-t out of here!” an unnamed player allegedly said. “He’s trying to catch a sneaky peeky!”

Tate’s lawyer Marjorie Masador claimed the insults were “loud and gregarious” and that several players harassed him with their voices overlapping. A Brooklyn Nets representative claims to have witnessed the taunting, at which point he told Tate to leave the locker room so he could finish setting up the buffet.

“I think there’s a bit of irony that this occurred in the same place where a person’s (Jason Collins) sexual identity is accepted and welcomed with openness, while in the same place a visiting team chose to degrade Rasean and set us back,” Masador said.

I don’t really think the Nets signing Collins has any relevance to the lawsuit, but it certainly doesn’t sound good for the Rockets. The team has not commented on the alleged incident, while the Nets reportedly apologized to the catering manager from Tate’s company and had their players attend a class on “tolerance and sensitivity training.” Neither the Nets nor the Barclays center are being sued.

Tate also said he was suspended without pay in January for failing to follow instructions, but he believes the suspension was a result of his sexual harassment suit. Unless there is a lot more to the story than what we have heard, this has settlement written all over it for the Rockets.

Houston Rockets Twitter clowns team for embarrassing second half

Kevin McHale Rockets

The Houston Rockets set a record on Thursday night, and it wasn’t the kind of record you want to set.

The Rockets recorded the largest point differential between halves in NBA history after scoring 73 points in the first half and only 19 in the second half. The 54-point difference was greater than any other in history. They went from leading 73-59 at the half to losing 104-92. It was difficult to watch.

After making 12 3-pointers in the first half, Houston went 0-for-14 from long range in the second. They just couldn’t do anything right.

The team’s official Twitter account had no choice but to tell it like it was during the embarrassing half, noting that they had a long drought from 3-point range. But they won Twitter with this great tweet comparing the team’s performance in each half to the Godfather movies:

Couldn’t have put it better myself.

Photo: Twitter/Jose3030

Houston Rockets did a Mortal Kombat skit pregame (Video)

Dwight Howard Mortal KombatThink Dwight Howard isn’t enjoying his new team in Houston? The Rockets center did a “Mortal Kombat” skit during introductions prior to the Rockets’ game against the Brooklyn Nets on Friday night. Howard mimicked the moves of “Scorpion” from the video game, throwing his rope at Aaron Brooks and reeling in the guard. Howard then delivered the “finish him” uppercut to perfection.

The skit was funny, but I’m not going to say it’s an excuse to fall in love with Howard again. However, it is a great sign that Howard really went to an environment where he could be a leader, be himself, and really have fun. Could you see him doing anything like that when he was with the Los Angeles Lakers? No way.

Houston Rockets will experiment with Dwight Howard at forward

Dwight Howard RocketsThe Houston Rockets have a fairly stacked front court after signing free agent centers in consecutive years. This offseason, they managed to land Dwight Howard, who was the most coveted player on the market. The year before, they signed Omer Asik to a three-year deal.

Asik was said to be upset after the team acquired Howard and reportedly wanted to be traded. He is still with Houston, and it looks like the team will try to make the most of having both players.

Rockets GM Daryl Morey conducted an “ask me anything” session on Reddit Friday and explained Asik’s role on the team.

“Omer would prefer to be a starter and is certainly a starter+ quality player. That said, he is a winner first & likes being on a winning team,” Morey said in response to someone who asked about Asik and Howard sharing the center position.

Morey was also asked if Asik could see minutes as a power forward, which would allow him and Howard to be on the court at the same time. Morey says they will explore that possibility, only with the positions reversed.

“Coach McHale plans to experiment with Dwight at PF and Omer as C in training camp. If it works and helps us win, obviously we would look at using it,” Morey wrote.

There is speculation that Morey saying he will play Asik and Howard together is a claim intended to boost Asik’s trade value. It certainly doesn’t seem like having Howard and Asik — both big rebounders and defensive presences who can’t shoot free throws very well — together on the court at the same time would be a great idea.

Another interesting quote came when Morey was asked about the report that Chris Paul was threatening the Clippers that he would sign with the Rockets. In response, Morey called Chris Paul the best point guard in the NBA and said it was flattering to hear the Clippers guard had interest in joining their team.

H/T Rotoworld

Little kid rips Shaq for disrespecting Dwight Howard, Houston Rockets (Video)

Little-Rockets-fan-rips-ShaqHouston Rockets fans have quickly forgotten the rough season Dwight Howard had with the Los Angeles Lakers last year. They are looking forward to the future with their new franchise cornerstone, and rightfully so. If you want to know how the city feels about its new addition, look no further than the fiery little fan you see in the video above from ABC 13.

Like many others, Shaquille O’Neal was critical of Howard for leaving LA. Shaq said that he expected Dwight to leave and that some guys can’t handle the bright lights, calling Houston a “safe little town.” The little dude at the 1:05 mark apparently heard every word Shaq said about his favorite team, and he didn’t like it one bit.

“Dwight Howard is the best center in the league,” he said while beating his chest. “Shaq, I wanna say one thing to you, don’t ever disrespect Houston like that again! Don’t ever disrespect Houston. H-town, baby!”

Game, set, match. Shaq shouldn’t even try firing back, because this kid has more swagger than any Rockets fan I’ve ever seen.

H/T The Big Lead

Josh Smith, Omer Asik trades could be next for Rockets

Josh SmithDwight Howard reportedly has chosen to sign with the Houston Rockets as a free agent, but you have to figure the team has more in the works. As good as James Harden is, and as nice of a young player as Chandler Parsons is, the Rockets still need another top-level player to compete with Oklahoma City and San Antonio, among other Western Conference teams. Even Howard reportedly asked the Rockets about their plans to add a third star player when he met with them. That third player may be Josh Smith.

Zach Klein of WSB in Atlanta says the Rockets will try to talk with the Atlanta Hawks about a potential sign-and-trade deal for Smith. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst adds the Hawks would be open to a sign-and-trade deal for Smith.

Windhorst also reports that Omer Asik, who signed a three-year, $25.1 million deal with Houston last season, does not want to back up Howard at center. Instead, he would prefer a trade.

Several reporters have suggested the Rockets could deal Asik to the Hawks for Smith in a sign-and-trade, but Atlanta and Asik would have to be interested in such a deal for that to happen.

As Eye on Basketball previously noted, Howard and Smith are friends from their AAU days in Atlanta.

We don’t know what moves Houston will make, but we can be certain that adding Howard is not all they plan to do.