The Rockets started off looking like they would be run over by the Heat when they were down 5 to 22. But the Rockets made it a game after they got over the nerves of playing Lebron and company. Good team effort overall. Four of our starters (minus Lin) scored around the 20 point mark. The ball moved much better today and our shots started falling after the poor start. Still shooting well under 50 percent, though.
Lin wasn’t very effective for most of the first half. He played extremely passively, then contributed more in the second half, but still wasn’t very aggressive. Harden had his fewest turnovers since he’s been in Houston (2). And as a team, the Rockets only had 11 turnovers, which is tremendous. Lin’s only great statistic of the night was his three blocked shots. Wow! I saw a couple, but didn’t know he ended up with three.
The Rockets did a great job to pull ahead in the fourth quarter, but I had a strong feeling that they would end up losing the game, even after Parsons hit a three to give the Rockets a solid lead. I just knew the Heat would continue to put pressure on the young Rockets team and as a result the Rockets wouldn’t be able to hold Lebron and company off to maintain the lead till the end.
Lin had a chance to be the hero and ended up air-balling a wide open shot. That was ridiculous. Only thing I can think of is nerves. He didn’t shoot the ball with confidence. Too much second-guessing –that’s how you get an air ball in those situations. The second-guessing disrupted his natural flow. Linsanity would have hit that shot almost 100 percent of the time. Jeremy’s going to beat himself up for that shot. In the game you can see him repeating over and over “my fault” to his teammates. That horrible miss is not going to help Lin’s case when it comes to involving him at the end of games.
The Rockets had a final chance to tie it up, but we got the wrong shot. The shot Jeremy took was the right shot. It just didn’t go in. But that last shot by Harden was the wrong shot. They should have ran a play to get Delfino open. Harden was doing too much dribbling. But can’t really criticize that too much. It is what it is.
I thought overall Sampson did a solid job. He managed players minutes well, except he didn’t give Parsons enough rest. Even though Harden played almost as many minutes as Parsons, Sampson did a better job of resting Harden. Sampson also experimented with different lineups to take advantage of the Heat line up and that worked out really well. Asik had his best game of the season, scoring a career high 19 points. But aside from that, Asik did everything tonight. Harden also had the best game he’s had since probably his debut games. In particular, he did a good job of taking care of the ball tonight and not forcing shots. So that’s great to see him making adjustments–especially against the best defensive team in the league.
Overall (minus the 5-22 start), I thought it was the best the Rockets had looked all season, even though we ended up losing the game. Hope we can continue building on this game and hope Lin leaves that shot behind him. He can’t let that haunt him. Just gotta forget about it and move on. Easier said than done. We’ll see how it affects his next few games.