Posts Tagged ‘James Harden’

Do Not Drink the Rocket Kool-Aid, Just Yet

Monday, March 5th, 2018

by Gus Griffin






The Houston Rockets are very very good! Their winning streak is at 15 and counting. They have the best record in basketball, which if maintained would give them home court throughout the playoffs. They have won two of three from the defending champion Warriors. James Harden would get my vote for MVP up to this point.

Yet, if you tell me that Houston Rocket Kool-Aid taste like a team that will win the NBA title, I am just not ready to drink.

In no particular order, I am going to outline the four reasons why I refuse to drink:

When has a Mike D’Antoni coached team played enough defense to be a threat to win an NBA title? The answer is NEVER! It is a highly entertaining brand of basketball, without a doubt. His teams remind me of Big 12 college football teams; high scoring, very little defense, and as much as you may want to believe that they can win it all, you know in your heart of hearts, they will not beat defensive-minded SEC teams.

Another concern is that no eventual champion team has ever blown a 26-point lead to lose a game as the Rockets did earlier in the year to Boston. Some will cite the Cavaliers blowing the same lead last year against the Hawks. The difference is that they blew that after having won a title. It is indefensible in either case but Cleveland already achieved the essential goal. Houston has not reached that level.

Yet another reason is James Harden’s Game 6-elimination performance against San Antonio last year. After a disappointing overtime loss in game 5, in which Harden was great with 33 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists. After averaging 20 shots in the first 5 games, at home in game 6 he only took 11 shots, making 2 to score 10 points. It is one thing to go 9 of 30 with the season on the line. At least we could say he left everything on the floor. However, this effort, in my mind, can only be classified as quitting. We have seen great regular season performers across sports that simply did not duplicate the performance in the post season. The best example is Dodgers Ace Clayton Kershaw. Even as a die-hard Giants fan, I freely acknowledge Kershaw as being the best….regular season pitcher in baseball. In the playoffs, he has simply been subpar.

The last reason, which if I were ordering would be the first: The Golden State Warriors. We should not over think this folks. If not for Draymond Green’s suspension in The Finals two years ago, the Warriors likely would be pursuing their fourth straight NBA title.  That ain’t luck. The simple reality is that they are that much better than everyone else. It is the only team that need not play its best to win it all this year. Health is a far greater threat than the Rockets or any other team, to the Warriors.

We have seen with LeBron James, especially in 2015, that even a Herculean effort by a team’s best player can at best stretch the series to six games….and that was before Durant came to Golden State. Even if you believe Harden is ready to play at that level, why would you believe it would be enough?

So in spite of these reasons to doubt, why are so many ready to crown the Rockets? I suspect it is Golden State Warrior fatigue. As sports fans, we prefer some degree of suspense about who will eventually wear the crown. With that in mind, people want to believe that there is a worthy challenger. In wanting that, many do what the human mind often does, which is to embellish evidence to validate its hopes.

What is the evidence that the Rockets are ready? The addition of Chris Paul? He is a great player and I believe is unfairly blamed for the failure of his teams to advance in the playoffs……but the fact is that they have not. Would it be the 15 game winning streak? Excluding this year’s Celtics, 11 other teams in NBA history have won 15 straight that did not win the title. James Harden? How can you trust him after San Antonio last year?

Therefore, as much as I want a worthy challenger for the title, I am holding off on anointing the Rockets as the answer. Maybe I should have been born in Missouri because you have to SHOW ME and the Rockets have not done so yet.


Gus Griffin, for War Room Sports

Sports is Sanity

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

by Justin Bankers






I don’t know about anyone else’s reasons for loving sports. Entertainment? Passion? Competitive nature? Living a dream that never turned out vicariously through these men/women? Everyone has their reasons. Mine lately, has been sanity.

I’m currently on the home stretch of preparing for my first physique competition. For anyone who has no idea what that’s like, I’ve dropped 23lbs in the past 8 weeks and haven’t consumed a single carb in the last 3 days. The mental determination it takes is more than I thought it would be. I have just over 2 weeks until the competition, which brings more cardio, fewer carbs, and more stress. Which brings me to the topic of this writing. Sanity.

At this moment, sports is what is keeping me sane, keeping my mind off of the stress. Start with the NBA. The storylines are wonderful, but let’s discuss the MVP race. It’s currently more diverse than it has been in years. There are 6 men with legitimate claims to that award, when in years past it’s generally been a 2 man race. Steph Curry, James Harden, LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, Anthony Davis, and creeping in the shadows (although he is highly unlikely) is Marc Gasol. I actually saw a comment on an ESPN article that made me laugh. All of the first 5 guys have different “political” claims to the award. LeBron is the “Mass Media” MVP. Curry is the “New face of the NBA” MVP. Harden is “The People’s” MVP. Westbrook and all of his controlled raging glory is the “Writer’s” MVP, while Davis is the “Real” MVP. It all fits when you think about it. My personal pick is Harden. LeBron spent too much time coasting, Curry has alot more help than most people seem to realize, Davis probably won’t make the playoffs, and Westbrook has been insanely good but hasn’t sustained it as long as Harden. Harden is taking a team that really isn’t very good (watch them play, just do it) and dragging them to the top end of a loaded Western Conference. The only way my pick changes is if the Pelicans snag the 8 seed from the Thunder, because that will mean that Anthony Davis just dragged a steaming bag of garbage into the playoffs in the most loaded conference I’ve seen in quite some time.

Then you have the NFL. Holy offseason storylines. I’m not used to NFL offseasons being this crazy. McCoy traded away, the Patriots lost Revis already and are potentially losing Brandon Browner too. Big names who were the faces of their franchise for so long are no longer with those franchises, and Chip Kelly is slowly turning the Philadelphia Eagles into the Oregon Ducks. I wonder how many Red Bulls Adam Schefter is surviving on right now.

On top of those 2 monster sports, we are entering Tournament time in the NCAA with a potential perfect season on the way from Kentucky, and any wrestling fan is excited about this road to Wrestlemania with good matches lined up and finally a strong talent pool. Not to mention MLB Spring Training starting up and the NHL rolling in full force.

All of this excitement could not come at a better time for me. The next 2 weeks are going to be stressful, but I have ALOT of fantastic things to look forward to.

And Dwight Howard is a walking vagina. You’re welcome B.


Justin Bankers, for War Room Sports

Making NASCAR History, ft Tia Norfleet (ep 119)

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

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