Southwest Notes: Rockets, Bertans, Pelicans

The Rockets‘ defense, which was bolstered by the midseason acquisitions of Josh Smith and Corey Brewer, has floundered in the playoffs, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. During the regular season, Houston ranked sixth in the NBA in points allowed per 100 possessions at 100.5. But against the Clippers, that number has ballooned to 110.6, the highest of the eight teams in the second round of the playoffs. “We have to get back in transition,” Brewer said after Friday’s loss in Game 3. “They just ran it down our throats all night.” Both Brewer and Smith will be free agents this summer.

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Davis Bertans, a Latvian player whose rights are owned by the Spurs, is rehabbing from a knee injury in San Antonio, tweets David Pick of Basketball Insiders. A source said Bertans’ progress is “inspiring.” He suffered an ACL tear in his right knee during a March game.
  • LaMarcus Aldridge would be the perfect addition to keep the Spurs‘ dynasty alive, contends Dave Leonardis of Bleacher Report. He estimates San Antonio would have to offer about $81MM over four years to lure the Texas native away from Portland.
  • The midseason additions of Dante Cunningham and Quincy Pondexter were vital to the Pelicans‘ playoff push, writes John Reid of The Times-Picayune. Cunningham was signed as a free agent in December; Pondexter came from Memphis in a three-team deal in January. Reid notes that they gave New Orleans the flexibility to survive when a stress reaction injury knocked Jrue Holiday out for more than half the season.

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