No matter what happens each season, Red Nation for life.

After 82 regular season games and 6 playoff games, the 2012-13 season is over for my favorite team in the NBA, the Houston Rockets. Well in this blog entry, we look back on what has been one season for the books for these “Youngbloodsand what to look forward come next season.

After three seasons of sitting in ninth place in the Western Conference standings despite having winning seasons in all three of those season, the off-season began when Rockets GM Daryl Morey making a large roster overhaul. He brought in players like Jeremy Lin who was coming off the “Linsanity” fare in New York, Omer Asik who was playing as the back-up center for the Bulls. He also brought in players like Toney Douglas, Carlos Delfinoas well as drafting Jeremy Lamb, Terrence Jones and Royce White in the draft. Gone were players like Goran Dragic, Kyle Lowry, Luis Scola, Courtney Lee, Chase Budinger, Samuel Dalembert and Marcus Camby. However, all that was overshadowed when the Rockets pulled a trade with the Thunder sending Kevin Martin and Lamb to Oklahoma City for Sixth Man of the Year awardee James Harden, together with Cole Aldrich, Daequan Cook and Lazar Hayward. When the dust settled, only Chandler Parsons, Patrick Patterson, Greg Smith and Marcus Morris remained from last year’s roster as the season began. The Rockets would make moves during the off-season as Patterson, Douglasand Morris were sent elsewhere and they brought in players like Francisco Garciaand Thomas Robinson. They also signed players like Patrick Beverleyand Donatas Motiejunas as well as bringing back 2010 Most Improved Player awardee Aaron Brooks who was a part of that 2009 Playoff run.

James Harden had a breakout year for the Rockets, from a sixth man in Oklahoma City to becoming the face of the franchise in Houston. He finished the season 5th in scoring in the NBA. He alsois one of the league leaders in free throws made and attempted. He was named to his first All-Star selection at homeand is on track to become a part of this year’s All-NBA team.

Jeremy Lin had a nice season with the Rockets on his first full year playing starter‘s minutes. He showed his durability as he was able to play all 82 regular season games while putting up respectable numbers. He also came out as one of the league leaders in steals as well as keeping his turnovers down which has been a problem throughout his entire career. He participated in All-Star weekend at the Skills Challenge.

Chandler Parsons came out big in his sophomore campaign. Being one of the two guys (Greg Smith) left from last year’s roster, Parsons came out as the second leading scorer for the Rockets this season behind Harden. He also shot the ball better from three point range as he led the Rockets this season in 3 point percentage. He also played in the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge during All-Star weekend.

Omer Asik also came out hugewhen he got starter’s minutes for the Rockets. He finishes the season as one of the leaders in rebounding, as well as providing a defensive presence for the Rockets all season long. Like Lin, he was able to play into all 82 games during the regular season and was able to play in all six playoff games.

Carlos Delfino and Francisco Garcia provided a veteran presence on a very young team. These two players live and die with the three pointer. They also have been great elder statesmen as they have been in the league for a long time now. Patrick Beverley and Aaron Brooks brought along speed and pure heart on a season which they never played from start to finish. It would be great to see them back in a Rockets uniform for a full year. Greg Smith, Terrence Jones, James Anderson and Donatas Motiejunas will have time to develop their game in the seasons to come.

Give a ton of credit also to head coach Kevin McHale who in his second year as the man calling the shots for the Rockets. He was able to find a style of play which made the Rocketsa very exciting team during the course of the regular season despite going through a large roster overhaul during the off-season and the regular season

The Rockets finished 45-37 this season and were seeded 8th in the Western Conference ending a four year playoff drought. They would push the top-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder to six games before bowing out.

So yeah, it’s been a great time being part of Red Nation this season. This is a a season to remember for me in the 10 years I’ve been a part of Red Nation. No one else though that this team, the youngest team in the NBA today would come up with a ton of heart and grit all season long. Now the off-season begins for them. With a cap space large enough to lure a big name in. These “Youngbloods” will be out to make a ton of noise come next season.

To cap this blog entry, let me share to you this banner made by the Rockets for the Red Nation. Truly the New Age has only just begun.

Photo ©Houston Rockets

See you in October here in the Philippines.

West champs survive Rockets scare.

Two of the youngest teams in the NBA went to war as the top seed in the West and the reigning Western Conference Champions Oklahoma City Thunder survive a late push by the eight seeded Houston Rockets after a series which saw the Thunder up 3-0, the Rockets winning two straight before the Thunder wrapped them up in six games on the road.

Photos ©NBA
The Rockets came into the season as the youngest team in the NBA with the players averaging 25 years of age. They also underwent a major roster overhaul during the off-season and during the regular season itself. Coming into the playoffs, Only two players remained from the Rockets roster last year. Chandler Parsons who have stepped up big during his sophomore campaign this season and Greg Smith who have become servicable throughout the season. Talking more about the major overhaul, they brought in a big fish in James Harden who has turned himself from a sixth man in Oklahoma City to the face of the Rockets franchise. They also brought in Jeremy Lin coming off from his Linsanity days in New York. As well as other players like Omer Asik, Carlos Delfino, Francisco Garcia, Aaron Brooks (Brooks, a relic from the Rockets’ last playoff run in 2009) and Patrick Beverley. Down 0-3 in the series, everyone else thought it would end in a sweep. However, they pushed the series to six games before bowing out at home in Game 6.
As for the Thunder, who are gunning for a season of redemption after losing to the Heat in the NBA Finals last season, their road back to the Finals hit a roadblock during this series as their spark plug All-Star point guard in Russell Westbrook went down with an injury after Game 2 that put him out of commission for the rest of the playoffs. Now, the focus is now on Kevin Durant who scored well in the series and is the leading scorer in this year’s playoffs so far. But Durant can’t do it alone, he must find other options on offense. Players like Serge Ibaka, Kevin Martin, Reggie Jackson and Derek Fisher should step up offensively if the Thunder would have a shot on winning the championship. Aside from the usual defensive presence of Ibaka, Kendrick Perkins, Thabo Sefolosha and Nick Collison. The Thunder may have survived this series, but their road to redemption will get tougher with each game that come along.
The Thunder will face the fifth seeded Memphis Grizzlies who stunned the Los Angeles Clippers in six games setting up a rematch between the two teams in the second round who last fought in 2011.
As for the Rockets, though their season ended in a bitter defeat, with a lot of cap space this off-season, the future looks bright for these “Youngbloods” as they will look to catch another big fish come the off-season, and work on the development of their young but already potent team. Watch out for them to make a ton of noise come next season.

Now here are the scores from all games of the series:

Game 1 @ Oklahoma City: Rockets 91-120 Thunder

Rockets leaders:

Points: Harden 20, Beverley 11, Delfino 10
Rebounds: Jones 8, Asik 7, Harden 6
Assists: Lin 4, Beverley 4, Brooks 3

Thunder leaders:

Points: Durant 24, Westbrook 19, Ibaka 17
Rebounds: Westbrook 8, Ibaka 7, Durant 6
Assists: Westbrook 10, Durant 4, Jackson 4, Collison 4

Game 2 @ Oklahoma City: Rockets 102-105 Thunder

Rockets leaders:

Points: Harden 36, Parsons 17, Beverley 16
Rebounds: Asik 14, Beverley 12, Harden 11
Assists:Harden 6, Beverley 6, Lin 3

Thunder leaders:
Points: Durant 29, Westbrook 29, Ibaka 12

Rebounds: Ibaka 11, Sefolosha 7, Perkins 6
Assists: Durant 9, Westbrook 4, Jackson 3
Game 3 @ Houston: Thunder 104-101 Rockets

Thunder leaders:

Points: Durant 41, Ibaka 17, Jackson 14
Rebounds: Durant 14, Ibaka 11, Sefolosha 9
Assists: Durant 4, Jackson 3, Martin 3

Rockets leaders:

Points: Harden 30, Parsons 21, Garcia 18
Rebounds: Harden 8, Asik 8, Parsons 7, Jones 7
Assists: Parsons 7, Harden 6, Delfino 4
Game 4 @ Houston: Thunder 103-105 Rockets
Thunder leaders:
Points: Durant 38, Jackson 18, Martin 16
Rebounds: Durant 8, Collison 6, Ibaka 5, Liggins 5
Assists: Durant 6, Jackson 3

Rockets leaders:

Points: Parsons 27, Asik 17, Beverley 16
Rebounds: Asik 14, Parsons 10, Beverley 4, Delfino 4
Assists: Parsons 8, Harden 3, Beverley 3, Delfino 3
Game 5 @ Oklahoma City: Rockets 107-100 Thunder

Rockets leaders:
Points: Harden 31, Asik 21, Garcia 18
Rebounds: Asik 11, Harden 8, Beverley 8
Assists: Parsons 4, Garcia 3, Harden 3, Brooks 3
Thunder leaders:
Points: Durant 36, Jackson 20, Ibaka 14
Rebounds: Ibaka 9, Sefolosha 8, Durant 7
Assists: Durant 7, Sefolosha 6, Jackson 3
Game 6 @ Houston: Thunder 103-94 Rockets
Thunder leaders:
Points: Durant 27, Martin 25, Jackson 17
Rebounds: Collison 9, Durant 8, Jackson 7, Ibaka 7
Assists: Jackson 8, Durant 6, Martin 3

Rockets leaders:

Points: Harden 26, Parsons 25, Asik 13
Rebounds: Asik 13, Parsons 7, Harden 6, Garcia 6
Assists: Harden 7, Garcia 5, Parsons 3
Thunder win series 4-2

Grizzlies "Grit-n-Grind" themselves to Round 2.

In a battle of two contrasting styles, the “Grit-n-Grind” fifth seeded Memphis Grizzlies advance to the second round after knocking out the team that knocked them out of the first round last season, the fourth-seeded Los Angeles Clippers as a second team playing at the Staples Center bows out of the first round this season.

Photos ©NBA
The Clippers finished a franchise season as they won the Pacific Division title for the first time in franchise history and had their best winning season in franchise history. Led by the Lob City duo of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, the Clippers were poised on following up their nice playoff run from last season. Joining the duo are Jamal Crawford, DeAndre Jordan, Caron Butler, Chauncey Billups, Matt Barnes, Ryan Hollins and Eric Bledsoe to name some. The Clippers looked good when they won the first two games at home including a Paul game winner in Game 2. However, the series went down for them afterwards as they lost the next four games (including one at home) to drop the series and ending a promising season for these men from Lob City.

The Grizzlies haven’t missed a beat, even after trading away their star forward in Rudy Gay to the Raptors during the season. In fact, they have played better without Gay as the main focus went to their big men in Zach Randolph who had an All-Star worthy season for the Grizzlies and Marc Gasol who won the Defensive Player of the Year this season and putting up All-star numbers. They also had a big spark from Mike Conley who has been vital in running the “Grit-n-Grind” offense. The players the got in the Gay trade like veteran Tayshaun Prince and Ed Davis made their impact on this Grizzlies team. As well as players like Tony Allen, Jerryd Bayless, Darrell Arthur and Quincy Pondexter. Now, these “Grit-n’-Grind” Grizzlies continue their chase for a shot at the championship this season.
The Grizzlies will face the top seeded team in the West, the Oklahoma City Thunder who survived against the eight seeded Houston Rockets after being up 3-0 in the series and allowing the Rockets to take two games afterwards before the Thunder finally wrapped them up in six games. Thus, it sets up a rematch of their 2nd round battle in 2011.
As for the Clippers, it was a bitter finish to a promising year. In one of those seasons where they came up better than their Staples co-tentants. The spotlight will be on their head coach Vinny del Negro, whether or not he’ll continue to coach the Clippers or someone else would come and coach these men from Lob City.
Here are the scores from all games of the series:
Game 1 @ Los Angeles: Grizzlies 91-112 Clippers

Grizzlies leaders:
Points: Bayless 19, Gasol 16, Randolph 13
Rebounds: Davis 6, Randolph 4, Prince 4
Assists: Gasol 7, Conley 5, Bayless 3, Prince 3
Clippers leaders:
Points: Paul 23, Billups 14, Crawford 13, Butler 13
Rebounds: Jordan 8, Butler 7, Odom 7, Griffin 5
Assists: Paul 7, Bledsoe 4, Griffin 3, Odom 3

Game 2 @ Los Angeles: Grizzlies 91-93 Clippers

Grizzlies leaders:
Points: Conley 28, Gasol 17, Allen 16
Rebounds: Allen 10, Randolph 8, Gasol 7
Assists: Conley 9, Gasol 2, Bayless 2
Clippers leaders:
Points: Paul 24, Griffin 21, Crawford 15
Rebounds: Griffin 8, Jordan 8, Odom 5
Assists: Paul 9, Griffin 4, Odom 2
Game 3 @ Memphis: Clippers 82-94 Grizzlies
Clippers leaders:
Points: Griffin 16, Barnes 12, Billups 11
Rebounds: Jordan 8, Paul 6, Hollins 4
Assists: Paul 4, Crawford 3, Bledsoe 3

Grizzlies leaders:
Points: Randolph 27, Gasol 16, Allen 13, Pondexter 13

Rebounds: Randolph 11, Allen 9, Gasol 8
Assists: Conley 10, Randolph 2, Gasol 2
Game 4 @ Memphis: Clippers 83-104 Grizzlies

Clippers leaders:

Points: Paul 19, Griffin 19, Crawford 12
Rebounds: Griffin 10, Odom 3
Assists: Paul 6, Bledsoe 5, Griffin 2

Grizzlies leaders:
Points: Randolph 24, Gasol 24, Prince 15, Conley 15

Rebounds: Gasol 13, Randolph 9, Prince 6
Assists: Conley 13, Gasol 4, Prince 3

Game 5 @ Los Angeles: Grizzlies 103-93 Clippers

Grizzlies leaders:
Points: Randolph 25, Gasol 21, Conley 20

Rebounds: Randolph 11, Gasol 8, Allen 8
Assists: Conley 6, Allen 4, Gasol 4
Clippers leaders:
Points: Paul 35, Crawford 15, Bledsoe 7
Rebounds: Barnes 9, Jordan 8, Paul 5
Assists: Griffin 5, Paul 4, Crawford 3
Game 6 @ Memphis: Clippers 105-118 Grizzlies
Clippers leaders:
Points: Barnes 30, Paul 28, Butler 14
Rebounds: Barnes 10, Jordan 4, Paul 4, Hill 4
Assists: Paul 8, Bledsoe 3
Grizzlies leaders:
Points: Randolph 23, Conley 23, Allen 19
Rebounds: Gasol 7, Allen 7, Prince 6
Assists: Conley 7, Allen 6, Prince 5

Grizzlies win series 4-2


Knicks survive emotional Celtics rally.

In a emotional battle between two rival cities, the second seeded New York Knicks survive a comeback push by the seventh seeded Boston Celtics who came back to won two games after trailing the series 0-3. The Knicks would take the series in six games and advance to the second round for the first time since 2000.

Photos ©NBA
The Celtics managed to come back to the playoffs despite losing their superstar point guard in Rajon Rondo to a season-ending foot injury. Led by their trusted veterans in Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, the Celtics keep themselves above the win column despite getting hit by the injury bug all season long. They also got big contributions from Jason Terry, Jeff Green, Brandon Bass and Avery Bradley all season long. They were down 0-3 in the series and managed to put the Knicks on the brink of a 7th and decisive game back in New York. They trailed by 20 points in the 4th quarter and managed to bring the lead down to four. But the Knicks, made all the stops in the final three minutes of the game to seal the series. Despite bowing out in the series, the Celtics fought with a lot of heart and determination especially coming off the Boston Marathon tragedy which is well appreciated by any NBA fan.
The Knicks, led by the new scoring champion Carmelo Anthony won the Atlantic Division title for the first time since 1994. They showed their dominance in this series by going out with three straight wins on the Celtics, before the Celtics won two straight to extend the series before bowing out in Game 6. Anthony is backed up well by J.R. Smith, Tyson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Steve Novak and the rest of the Knicks roster who have been playing great basketball in the Big Apple. The Knicks now continue their run back into contending for a championship come June.
The Knicks will face the third seeded Indiana Pacers in the second round who wrapped up the sixth seeded Atlanta Hawks in similar fashion. Setting up a rebirth of a classic Eastern Conference rivalry.
As for the Celtics, question now looms on whether Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett on whether they will cap off their careers in Boston together with the returning Rajon Rondo or move elsewhere to finish their illustrious Hall of Fame worthy careers.
Now here are the scores from all games of the series:
Game 1 @ New York: Celtics 78-85 Knicks
Celtics leaders:
Points: Green 26, Pierce 21, Bradley 15
Rebounds: Bass 10, Garnett 9, Green 7
Assists: Pierce 7, Bradley 4, Garnett 3
Knicks leaders:
Points: Anthony 36, Smith 15, Felton 13
Rebounds: Martin 9, Anthony 6, Chandler 5, Smith 5, Shumpert 5, Kidd 5
Assists: Felton 6, Kidd 3, Shumpert 3
Game 2 @ New York: Celtics 71-87 Knicks
Celtics leaders:
Points: Pierce 18, Garnett 12, Green 10, Crawford 10
Rebounds: Garnett 11, Bass 10, Pierce 6
Assists: Pierce 6, Terry 3, Bradley 2
Knicks leaders:
Points: Anthony 34, Smith 19, Felton 16
Rebounds: Martin 11, Felton 7, Kidd 6
Assists: Prigioni 5, Felton 2, Kidd 2, Martin 2
Game 3 @ Boston: Knicks 90-76 Celtics
Knicks leaders:
Points: Anthony 26, Smith 15, Felton 15
Rebounds: Chandler 8, Shumpert 8, Kidd 6
Assists: Felton 10, Kidd 6, Smith 3
Celtics leaders:
Points: Green 21, Pierce 17, Terry 14
Rebounds: Garnett 17, Green 9, Bass 7
Assists: Pierce 5, Green 4, Garnett 2, Terry 2
Game 4 @ Boston: Knicks 90-97 Celtics (OT)
Knicks leaders:
Points: Anthony 36, Felton 27, Shumpert 12
Rebounds: Shumpert 12, Chandler 11, Kidd 9
Assists: Felton 3, Anthony 2, Prigioni 2, Kidd 2
Celtics leaders:
Points: Pierce 29, Green 26, Terry 18
Rebounds: Garnett 17, Pierce 8, Green 6
Assists: Pierce 6, Garnett 6, Terry 4
Game 5 @ New York: Celtics 92-86 Knicks
Celtics leaders:
Points: Green 18, Terry 17, Bass 17, Pierce 16, Garnett 16
Rebounds: Garnett 18, Bass 5
Assists: Garnett 5, Green 4
Knicks leaders:
Points: Anthony 22, Felton 21, Smith 14
Rebounds: Chandler 11, Anthony 7, Shumpert 6, Felton 6
Assists: Felton 4, Anthony 2, Chandler 2, Smith 2
Game 6 @ Boston: Knicks 88-80 Celtics

Knicks leaders:
Points: Anthony 21, Shumpert 17, Prigioni 14
Rebounds: Chandler 12, Anthony 7, Smith 7
Assists: Felton 7, Anthony 5, Prigioni 3
Knicks win series 4-2

Pacers advance to Round 2 for 2nd straight year.

In a series full of double-digit victories, the third seeded Indiana Pacers wrapped up the sixth seeded Atlanta Hawks in six gamesto advance to the second round for the second straight season.

Photos ©NBA
The Hawks returned to the playoffs for the sixth straight season, that is after they lost one of their main men in Joe Johnson through a trade with the Nets. They were led by Josh Smith who should have been an All-Star this season if not for his off-court troubles. Al Horford had another great season in a Hawks uniform. While Jeff Teague had a career year. They also got help from Kyle Korver, Deshawn Stevenson, Ivan Johnson to name some. They fought their hearts out especially coming back in Game 6 from a huge deficit, but they eventually came up short on their home floor.
As for the Pacers, they won the Central Division title for the first time since 2004 despite losing their main man from their last playoff run Danny Granger to injuries which kept him out for most of the season. With Granger’s absence, Paul George stepped up his game leading to a All-Star season for him. Together with David West, George Hill, Roy Hibbert, Lance Stephenson and DJ Augustin. The Pacers turned around a bad start to their season as they were able to get back in third place in the Eastern Conference standings. Now, they’ll be back in the second round as their playoff run to prove continues.
The Pacers will now face the second seeded New York Knicks who wrapped up the seventh seeded Boston Celtics in similar fashion as the Pacers setting up a rebirth between these two fierce rivals from the 1990’s.
As for the Hawks, the spotlight is now on Josh Smith who is a free agent this offseason, will he stay in his hometown team or move to another team for next season? A lot of uncertainty lies in “The Highlight Factory” this off-season.
Now here are the scores from all games of the series:
Game 1 @ Indiana: Hawks 90-107 Pacers
Hawks leaders:
Points: Teague 21, Smith 15, Horford 14
Rebounds: Smith 8, Horford 6, Johnson 5
Assists: Teague 7, Smith 5, Horford 3, Mack 3
Pacers leaders:
Points: George 23, Hill 18, Hibbert 16
Rebounds: George 11, West 9, Hibbert 8
Assists: George 12, Stephenson 4
Game 2 @ Indiana: Hawks 98-113 Pacers
Hawks leaders:
Points: Harris 17, Smith 16, Teague 16
Rebounds: Horford 10, Smith 6, Stevenson 5
Assists: Horford 5, Teague 5, Harris 4
Pacers leaders:
Points: George 27, Hill 22, Hibbert 15, Green 15
Rebounds: Hibbert 9, George 8, Pendergraph 7
Assists: George 3, West 3, Hibbert 3, Hill 3, Augustin 3
Game 3 @ Atlanta: Pacers 69-90 Hawks

Pacers leaders:
Points: West 18, George 16, Green 10
Rebounds: George 9, Hibbert 9, Hansbrough 9
Assists: Hill 3, Stephenson 2, West 2
Hawks leaders:
Points: Horford 26, Smith 14, Teague 13
Rebounds: Horford 16, Johnson 7, Smith 6, Teague 6
Assists: Smith 6, Teague 5, Harris 4
Game 4 @ Atlanta: Pacers 91-102 Hawks
Pacers leaders:
Points: George 21, West 15, Hibbert 14
Rebounds: George 12, Stephenson 9, Hibbert 7
Assists: Stephenson 8, Hill 6
Hawks leaders:
Points: Smith 29, Korver 19, Horford 18
Rebounds: Smith 11, Petro 8, Horford 5, Harris 5, Korver 5, Johnson 5
Assists: Teague 6, Harris 6, Smith 4, Horford 4
Game 5 @ Indiana: Hawks 83-106 Pacers
Hawks leaders:
Points: Smith 14, Horford 14, Harris 13
Rebounds: Horford 9, Smith 5, Korver 5
Assists: Teague 5, Harris 3, Horford 2
Pacers leaders:
Points: West 24, George 21, Hibbert 18
Rebounds: Stephenson 12, George 10, Hibbert 9
Assists: Hill 10, George 5, Stephenson 4
Game 6 @ Atlanta: Pacers 81-73 Hawks
Pacers leaders:
Points: West 21, Hill 21, Hibbert 17
Rebounds: Hibbert 11, Stephenson 11, West 8
Assists: George 7, Stephenson 6
Hawks leaders:
Points: Horford 15, Smith 14, Harris 14
Rebounds: Smith 9, Horford 7, Petro 6
Assists: Smith 3, Horford 3, Teague 3
Pacers win series 4-2