On Cusp of NBA Season, Rockets-Mavericks Rivalry Is Going Next Level

Monica Fuentes
As much as we'd all like to get along, as much as life becomes easier with peace and harmony, there is no doubt that conflict stokes people.

Many of you reading this live in the great state of Texas, where conflict is inherently baked into our opinions on the state as a whole and our respective cities within the state. Houston hates San Antonio, San Antonio hates Houston, and everyone hates Dallas. Hell, conflict is the basis for our state's catchphrase, for Willie Nelson's sake!

Don't mess with Texas.

Our state is one big people stew of various flavors of the "likes to fight" guy. Don't mess with our city, don't mess with our state. So in the one professional sport where the state has more than two teams (and that third team just happens to be the best in the world at that sport), it's fun to see leadership for a couple of the teams get feisty and personal.

Yes, the NBA season is here, and if the quotes from Rockets general manager Daryl Morey are any indication as to how his players and coaches feel about the Dallas Mavericks, then (to quote WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross) business is, by GAWD, about to pick up!

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Root! Root! for Root Sports Houston!

Say hello to the new name of CSN Houston.
If Judge Marvin Isgur approves the bankruptcy plan proposed for CSN Houston, Houston sports fans will be able to watch the Rockets this season. They'll no longer be able to watch the Dynamo, or any of the Houston-centric sportscasts aired by CSN Houston, but the return of the World Poker Tour should make up for that, right?

Word came down Tuesday that if the plan is approved, 75 of the network's 105 employees will lose their jobs. That includes most of the on-air talent and the behind-the-scenes personnel such as camera and graphics operators, producers, statisticians and other support personnel. These people aren't required for DirecTV/AT&T operations because with these entities, local product is strongly discouraged.

Most of Houston never had the chance to see CSN Houston because of disputes between network owners and the other various cable/satellite providers over the cost of distributing the network. AT&T/DirecTV will tell you the cost was too high. Astros owner/network partner Jim Crane says that that price point was established by Drayton McLane and Les Alexander so they're the ones at fault, and Crane has filed a lawsuit against McLane alleging fraud because of this. And if you talk to McLane, he'll strongly dispute this contention. But no matter who was at fault -- something that may be known only after many years of lawsuits -- the fact remains that over 60 percent of the Houston market was unable to view the network.

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TMZ: Dwight Howard "Blows More Reds Than Communist Hooker"

Categories: Basketball, Sports

Photo by Jeff Balke
Howard is seeing red...lights. What?
Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard is a happy, free-spirited guy to go with his tremendous talent on the court. He is also, apparently, a scofflaw, at least in Florida. According to a report by TMZ, Howard recently had his Florida license suspended for multiple traffic violations, mostly running red lights.

Red-light cameras -- those things we see all over Houston that pissed off Houstonians so much that they were rescinded, but the equipment remains atop our intersections because government -- caught Howard running lights nine times in ten months beginning in 2012 and once more in 2014 for a total of ten violations. Court records indicate he paid for nine of the tickets, but the one outstanding ticket -- for a whopping $285 -- is outstanding, triggering the suspension.

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Time, Goodwill Could Be Running Short for Harden

Categories: Basketball, Sports

Photo by Groovehouse
Fans have his back for now, but another poor defensive showing this season and James Harden will be on his own.
It's amazing how quickly things can turn. One minute, you're at a podium in front of thousands of screaming fans telling them how you are going to bring them a championship. The next, you are taking the brunt of every fan's animosity while your team toils away in mediocrity. Ask Tracy McGrady.

Few players have entered the Rockets organization with as much fanfare as the former scoring champ. And few have left with as many curse words from the same people who stood and cheered for him when he arrived. That is the blessing and the curse of being a superstar player. You carry the weight of your team on your shoulders, often having to work harder and score more while still being a leader and unselfishly making those around you better. But hoisting that probably feels like a feather pillow compared to the burden of expectations.

If James Harden is not experiencing that pressure, he soon will.

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Zapruder Analysis of the Latest Swimming Pool Dunk (VIDEO)

Screen shot from JamBroz
I have to say, Internet, rarely do I chastise you. Rarely do you let me down.

But I'll be honest -- the lack of acrobatic suburban white kid swimming pool dunks from you has been disappointing. Frankly, those dunks were a big part of what sustained me last summer from a content standpoint. (Aaron Hernandez's addiction to killing people was the unfortunate other part.)

However, if you're going to make a late run in the latter part of August, I may be willing to forgive and forget. The latest pool dunk you've given us is a pretty good start toward mending fences.

Not only a pool dunk, but apparently a pool dunking faction that I was unaware of! Like a WWE stable whose gimmick is perfectly timed jumps off diving boards and rocking GoPro cameras on their heads!

Say hello to the Jambroz, who if I'm not mistaken authored the "ring of fire" dunk I Zaprudered earlier this summer.

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Notable Dates on the 2014-15 Houston Rockets Schedule

Categories: Basketball, Sports

Time to dig in to the Rockets 2014-15 schedule.
The NBA released its schedule for the upcoming season and, naturally, the first thing everyone looked for was when Lebron James would return to Miami (Christmas Day as it turns out), but we here in Houston were more interested in the Rockets, who will try to improve on their 54-win season and first round knockout at the hands of Damian Lillard and the Portland Trailblazers.

The Rockets have 16 nationally televised games (not counting games on NBATV), which is key considering their home network still isn't on providers other than Comcast -- though that could change if things go their way at hearings in October. But, there are plenty of interesting games on the schedule worth noting.

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Outtakes from the James Harden, Charles Barkley Foot Locker Video

Categories: Basketball, Sports

Barkley can crack up anybody.
Charles Barkley makes pretty much everyone laugh. James Harden is no exception. The current Rocket, while filming a Foot Locker commercial with a pair of former Rockets in Barkley and Scottie Pippen, was the picture of dry sense of humor, something he is known for. But, the outtakes tell a different story.

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Jeremy Lin's Dunk Cam Will Make You Like Jeremy Lin (VIDEO)

Photo by Groovehouse
He can dunk too!
I'll admit, I wanted the Rockets to trade Jeremy Lin this past summer. Unconditionally, I wanted him gone from Houston.

Part of it certainly was about fiscal responsibility, as Lin is scheduled to make $15 million in cold, hard cash in the final year of his three-year "poison pill" deal, and for a backup point guard who plays around 25 to 30 minutes a night, that's just too much money.

The other part of it was admittedly a psychological "scarred fan" thing, where Lin's mere presence was a reminder of his failure late in the pivotal Game 4 of the Portland series and, in turn, the team's overall failure to get out of the first round of the playoffs.

Well, ultimately, after a number of chess moves executed before and after, I got my wish -- Lin was traded (along with a first-round pick as a sweetener) to the Los Angeles Lakers in a deal in which the Rockets received an $8.4 million trade exception.

When the Chris Bosh free agency courtship fell through, an argument could be made that the Rockets should've held onto Lin, but I didn't care. I was ready for the Houston chapter of Linsanity to end.

Now I fear I might have been wrong.

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CSN Houston Has a New Owner...Maybe

And the new partial owner of CSN Houston is...
So it comes to pass that DirecTV and AT&T U-verse were the mystery parties attempting to purchase CSN Houston out of bankruptcy. It was revealed in court papers filed late on Wednesday night that, should the court accept the network's bankruptcy reorganization plan, DirecTV and U-verse will together own 100 percent of the failed network. Both companies will also add the network to their distribution lineup.

The Astros and Rockets will both sign new media rights deals with the new entity, and both will forget about collecting the amount they are due under the media rights deal with CSN Houston. Comcast will have neither an ownership nor a management stake in the network, but it does appear that Comcast will continue to carry the network on its system.

But all of the above is still a big if. Now that the joint DirecTV/U-verse bid has been made public, other parties can attempt to make bids on the network, including Comcast. And there are still a lot of unknowns. So while we're waiting for the final outcome, here are a few items to watch:

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James Harden, Charles Barkley and Scottie Pippen Team Up for Funny Foot Locker Video

Categories: Basketball, Sports

Harden and Barkley discuss short memories.
The NBA season may still be several months off, but James Harden is back in another Foot Locker commercial. This one features a pair of former Rockets and all-time NBA greats in Charles Barkley and Scottie Pippen discussion how all great players need short memories, something Harden and the Rockets no doubt need after the forgettable offseason they've had so far.

Harden runs down a list of embarrassing moments for Barkley who claims not to remember including the incident where the threw someone through a window. "I'm a pacifist," Barkley responds.

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