Rockets Notes: Protest, McLemore, Westbrook, Clark

The Rockets have a challenging case to prove now that their protest of Tuesday’s game is official, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times. Houston must provide “clear evidence” that the outcome in San Antonio was affected by a James Harden dunk that was disallowed. Stein calls it a “high bar” to convince the league that a single basket with 7:50 left to play would have made the difference between winning and losing (Twitter link).

Harden scored on a breakaway that would have given Houston a 104-89 lead, but he dunked the ball so hard that it popped in front of the rim after going through the hoop, leading to confusion over whether it was a made shot. Officials disallowed the basket and refused to let Mike D’Antoni use a coach’s challenge because a 30-second time limit had expired. The Rockets lost in double overtime.

The team has five days to submit evidence after filing the protest, then commissioner Adam Silver has five days to issue a ruling, according to Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press (Twitter link). The Rockets also had to pay a $10K protest fee that will be refunded if they are successful, notes Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today.

There’s more from Houston:

  • Ben McLemore has been effective as a starter, but he appears headed back to the bench now that Danuel House is healthier, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. McLemore has performed far better in the starting lineup, including a season-high 28 points Thursday night in Toronto, but D’Antoni prefers the defense and versatility that House brings. “He plays hard and he’s coachable,” D’Antoni said of McLemore, who is in his first season with the team. “He does have a nice shot. He needs confidence. He needs to play. He needs to feel wanted. Hopefully, he will continue to get better.”
  • Management isn’t concerned over Russell Westbrook‘s inconsistent play so far, states Kelly Iko of The Athletic. Westbrook’s shot has been misfiring and his win shares are at a career-low 0.7, but he has multiple dislocated fingers and is still being managed for knee pain. The team isn’t expecting Westbrook to fully be himself until after the All-Star break.
  • Gary Clark‘s surprising contributions at the start of last season were part of the reason the club moved on from Carmelo Anthony, but the second-year forward hasn’t been able to carve out a regular role, Iko adds in the same piece. Between Clark’s poor shooting and the Rockets’ deep rotation, it appears he’ll have to wait his turn for regular minutes, even though D’Antoni likes what he brings to the team.
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16 thoughts on “Rockets Notes: Protest, McLemore, Westbrook, Clark

  1. afsooner02

    Lol @ the rocket fans that thought they fleeced okc with the Russ/Paul trade. We’re both stuck with players not worth their contracts except we have 1 less year to pay on ours and got a bunch of draft picks/swaps on top of that.

    You won’t win a title with your current lineup so you’ll be no better off than us except wasting hardens prime with 0 championships.

    • amk3510

      They traded Harrell, Lou Williams, Beverley and control of 5 first round picks for Westbrook. Any Rocket fan who thinks they actually came out on top of that is insane.

      • Cory Taylor

        They were a hamstring pull from a chip. That’s a deal you make every day of the week

        • bowserhound

          Um, no. CP-Pee would not have magically got them a chip. Rockets are a joke and mockery of the game. Zero integrity.

    • harden-westbrook-mvps

      No one in their right mind would want to pay Chris Paul $124M over the next 3 seasons instead of having Westbrook for the next 4 seasons at a price of $171M, that’s absurd. During that time Russ will shatter Oscar Robertson’s career record of 181 triple-doubles. All the Thunder get in the deal will be a couple of very late first rounders around picks 28-30. Years from now people will wonder why OKC gave away two of their best players in franchise history and only got a broken down CP3 in return, just wait and see.

      • bowserhound

        Both overpaid and disappear in the playoffs. Good luck with comparing those two.

  2. Reflect

    So how much evidence would they really need? Without the disallowed basket, the game went to overtime. Seems pretty self explanatory to me.

  3. harden-westbrook-mvps

    It’s nice how he points out that the Rockets have a deep rotation. Even though most people mistakenly think their bench is the worst in the NBA because it doesn’t score that many points. But the reason for that is their starters lead the NBA in scoring, just like the Warriors starters did the last 3 seasons.

    But once they get Eric Gordon back in a couple of weeks they will easily have one of the deepest benches in the NBA. Starting 5: Harden, Westbrook, Clint Capela, PJ Tucker, and Danuel House. 2nd unit: Gordon, Tyson Chandler, Austin Rivers, and Ben McLemore. Reserves: Sefolosha, Gary Clark, Chris Clemons, and Isaiah Hartenstein.

  4. phillyballers

    True about any team’s best player. Rockets can probably earn a spot 5-8. I mean the West is weaker.

  5. Watching BBALLBREAKDOWN videos analysing Russell shows how bad he is.
    I love his competitive spirit, his athleticism and the lack of drama. However, given the big questions around his iq when he first landed in the league, it seems those questions were never answered and he’s ‘got by’ on supreme athletic ability.
    We’re now in an age of increased scrutiny and his flaws are under the microscope.

  6. Rockets are making the same mistake they make every year worrying about a win in regular season instead of resting players. Harden is averaging the most minutes in the NBA. By playoff time they will be burned out. That is the main reason Harden is not as good in the playoffs. The protest is a joke. Could you imagine if Coaches protested Harden 24 foul shots in that game. you know a few were not fouls.

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