It seems to have become a tradition that any Canishooper(TM Tollysnipes 2013) who attends a Wolves' game in enemy territory writes a summary from inside the arena. Therefore, unless someone else has moved to the babe suckling at the teat of big oil and sprawl that is Houston, I guess it is up to me. Here we go: 3.. 2. . .1 (traditional Houston count down):
To start: A poem about Rubio I composed pregame:
Unicorno Magisterio, Volando en alas hechos de suenos, quien sabe lo que hace, quien puede entender antes de ver. Genio. Unicorno. Rubio.
We arrived at the Toyota center ten minutes early and were greeted by a long line for the entrance. My girl and I got free tickets through my future cousin in law. It was a bit of a last second thing, as I have been pretty busy with work and completely overlooked that the Wolves were in town. Needless to say I was stoked. We did Flash tickets and all you need to do to get in is scan your credit card, after the obligatory purse search and wand wave, so the line went fast. Apparently the way to sneak booze in is mini liquor in your sock (you're welcome kids), but no one told me that in advance so $8.50 12oz beers it was.
The crowd started at half full and by a quarter in was about two thirds full, and to be honest it was pretty listless. They got excited on occasion, but there was little energy overall. It was kind of strange how silent the stadium was when the Wolves would have a sweet play (more on Brewer's fast breaks to come). There was no reaction at all, neither positive or negative, just crickets. Our seats were in the very last row on the end, but the view was solid considering.
Twolves start attacking the net, but Howard is impressive earlier and either blocks or alters everything. After about three posessions, the Wolves stop attacking the net. With the exception of Cory Brewer, this seems to be a trend all night. The Rockets go on a big run and before you know it they have over a dozen and the Wolves are barely on the board.
However, Rubio is impressive early, and Love does what he does and the Wolves get back in it pretty quick. Rubio has at least three steals in the first quarter, and is having a disruptive presence on the game in much the same way as Howard is having on the other end.
Rest of Game notes (I did not take quarter by quarter notes after the 1st):
It was clear from his first shot that Bad JJ showed up. Right then I explained Bad JJ/ Good JJ to my friends (there was four of us in total) and that Bad JJ clearly was the man today. He did not disapoint and went 1-10.
Continuing on the negative, I have been pretty dissapointed in Kevin Martin the last few games I have seen. He seems to be playing the gunner, and I am not a fan of the constant turn around contested long jumpers. He had his moments tonight, but too often he was going solo and taking early, difficult shots without getting into the flow of the offense. I understand that he has the talent to do that on occasion, but I would like to see less freelancing.
Teams clearly have learned to cheap shot Rubio. You can see it some on the TV, but seeing it in person when they are away is something else. They hit him all game long. One instance in particular was Chandler Parsons just elbowing Rubio in the stomach as Rubio tried to shoot the screen. Rubio got frustrated clearly, and I have to admit, I am frustrated by the cheapness as well.
Love was still great, but he took a beating as well. He looked pretty gassed at times, but still managed to put in a really well rounded perfornance. My friend asked me if I would be willing to trade Love. Answer: No.
And now for the positives:
Corey Brewer was awesome. 22 points and 5 steals does not do it justice. The Rockets put in a pretty good defensive showing, but time and time again Brewer made something out of nothing. Constant hustle, steals, break away dunks. I can finally feel no shame when I say I am a big Corey fan (well, at least for the first time since Corey's Heim and Feldman).
Rubio looked really good overall. He is credited for 4 steals, but he disrupted way more plays then that. My girl asked if she would see any through the legs passes, and while he did not do that, we did get to see a steal/behind the back dribble combo, and one of those crazy snake arm passes. Future cousin in law described him a "a dribbling wizard" and "much lankier than he expected".
I love Pek. Watching him push Dwight around was a highlight for me. Friends kept commenting on how huge he was. Dwight kept trying to use his arms to keep him out of the lane rather than bodying him up, to amusing results.
I like Robbie Hummel's hustle. He is a gamer, and I hope he continues to get better. Dieng had a pretty impressive 2 minutes. 3 blocks, including a very impressive close out block.
Overall game impressions:
The game was over with 7:30 left when a JJ three that would have brought the game to within 8 rimmed out and pretty quickly the rockets had countered and brought the game back up to over 15. Adelman threw in the towel with 2 minutes left and brought in the subs. I was asked my opinion of DWIll, so at least there is some interest in fans of other teams.
The Rockets shooting was ridiculous. Overall the game was pretty even, but you cannot beat a team that shoots 31 threes and makes 17. Especially when that team can count on having two excellent defensive centers to make up for perimeter shortcomings.
The Rockets got a bunch of good looks from three and seemed to knock it down whenever they were open, the Wolves were much more human.
The MPE award goes to. . . drumroll. . . Aaron Brooks. 26 point 4 Rebounds 5 assists 6/7 from three. It was crazy. A guy who was almost out of the league a couple of years ago looked like one of the best players on the floor. I have always been a fan, and it was good to see him play well.
I was pretty impressed with Chandler Parsons. The guy just does everything. He even gave Love some trouble on occasion, though my favorite moment was when he tried to beat Rubio off the dribble and got pwned, strip to layup.
It was kids night which may have accounted for some of the lackluster atmosphere. They had a giant kid hiphop dancer group that were super impressive, baby races at the first quarter (awesome) and teen girls Chloe and Halle at half time. The kids were excited, so apparently they are known. They weren't bad actually.
The "these darned kids need to stay off my lawn" award goes to the little punk who sat down in the one seat(not his own) in a row of eight empties that my girl was resting her feet on, and instead of saying excuse me just gave her attitude looks before saying "your feet!". One thing I love about dating a Vietnamese girl is they do not take any shiz from kids. She has no qualms about making random kids say please and thank you or otherwise act right. It is pretty funny, but in the back of my mind I always wonder if I will end up having to fight some random crazy parent(and hoping not).
For those of you who made it through this entire summary, congratulations and thanks! For those of you who gave up early: how dare you, you impudent slathertropes! Remember that girl (or guy) you liked in high school? We totally dated, and I did not even ask your permission. What. What now? That is what I thought. Nothing.
Beer of choice for the evening: Karbach. Local to Houston, pretty new. Pretty good.