Rockets Finally Got their Mind Right in Easy Defeat of Nets (119 – 106)

The Hornets game on January 2nd is the one that ended the Rockets 5-game winning streak. Lets hope that yesterday’s Hornets game is the one that will start a new winning streak. Before that yesterday’s game, the coaching staff showed the Rockets players tape of how they played when they were rolling back ind December and I think that was a very smart move by the coaching staff. I said so in one of my comments before Friday’s Hornets game. When you’ve done everything wrong, as the Rockets have done in January, it doesn’t make much of an impact to keep focusing on all the mistakes. It gets to be too overwhelming and focusing on the negatives will only tear down an already beaten up group of guys. It’s better to change their state and give them a much needed confidence boost by letting the players see with their own eyes what they’re capable of. So far, that has carried into tonight’s game, where the Rockets looked just as sharp as they did during December. The ball movement and player movement was fantastic today, and I don’t think it’s because the Nets are a horrible defensive team. When the Rockets move the ball and move without the ball, they are a very difficult team to stop, because they have a lot of different offensive weapons.

I didn’t think D-Williams would go for 30 tonight, but he already had 20 in the first quarter, where he went and implausible 9 for 9. By some miracle, he only ended up with 27 points, but that’s basically 30. So I was wrong about D-Williams. He definitely came out for blood. I’m sure revenge on Lin was on his mind, but I think he also wanted to bounce back from their dismal performance against the Grizzlies last night. Fortunately for the Rockets, they didn’t. Even though Lopez ended up with 21, I think he got bailed out a number of times by the refs. Before the refs started bailing him out, Lopez was pretty dismal and completely got owned by Asik, who had a great game after a slump. Asik finally realized that he’s 7 feet and started dunking the ball tonight, rather than laying it up like a 6-footer. Asik even caught a few bounce passes down low tonight. He ended with 20 points and 16 rebounds in one of his best games of the season–especially since he was against a star Center. Smith also had great minutes and had several powerful dunks that I think got Asik going, because it was only after Smith got all those dunks that Asik got going. The team also ended with 50 rebounds, which has to be one of the best rebounding games of the season.

Parsons had a career high 11 assists (he tied his career high 8 assists in the first half). Morris had a career high 10 rebounds. So a couple of career nights for the guys. Harden scored 29 points and is looking like his range is back, as well as his free throw shooting. Harden also committed zero turnovers.

Lin is still being treated unfairly by the refs. It’s very disturbing. He had 6 turnovers, and for sure one of them was because he was called for an offensive foul, even though his man was so not set it wasn’t even funny. The guy just ran right in front of Lin and they call the charge on Lin. So ridiculous. And these refs just get away with it. Lin also didn’t get a foul called when he was hammered in the fourth quarter on a transition reverse lay up. He came out of it with a bunch of scratches on his arm and no whistles from the refs. There needs to be recourse for bad ref calls. It makes no sense why when the league came up with the flop rule, they didn’t come up with a counterpart to keep refs in line. It can’t just be the players that need to be held accountable. If you’re going to hold players accountable, you need to do the same for the refs. It’s very frustrating to watch games where the refs end up deciding. Refs should be a non-factor, yet, for the Houston Rockets–especially–they become a big factor almost every night. The reason is that the Rockets have the the most amount of no-names and young players on their roster, who often get shafted by the refs. This open acceptance of discrimination in a work place is a disgrace.

Anyway, I can go on and on about that stuff. As a Jeremy Lin fan, it’s very frustrating to watch. I don’t know of the Rockets have done anything about it. I don’t know that there’s much they can do.

Lin ended up with a solid game. Once again, he played better in the second half than in the first half. I thought he was pretty ineffective in the first half. So he still needs to work on getting going at tip off. I heard he got off to a good start last night. I really liked the way he kept his dribble alive in the second half. This allows him to wait and find the optimal play. He also had a great move to the basket where he picked up his dribble and was trapped by two players, but pivoted his way to the basket for a lay-in. These are the types of moves Lin needs to do more. There are a lot of other things that I want to see Lin doing, like when he’s down low, rather than just go hard to the basket all the time, he should stop short and fake a shot to get his defender in the air and then jump into the defender to draw a foul. I think Lin can pretty much do this every time, because no one expects this out of Lin, but it seems like such an easy way for him to get himself to the free throw line for easy baskets. Don’t know why he doesn’t do this and don’t know why the coaching staff isn’t all over him about doing this. He can pretty much get a few of these every single game. That’s like 6 easy points right there in my eyes. Overall, Lin needs to learn to draw fouls and he’s got a great teacher in Harden. Knowing Lin, I’m surprised he hasn’t picked this up from Harden quicker. Lin needs to stop avoiding contact. He needs to welcome contact and keep his hand up so the refs can see. I don’t think it’s that hard, but it does take good arm strength and hand strength to hang onto the ball. But too often, Lin avoids contact and puts up a very difficult shot. And because he avoids contact, the refs assume that he didn’t get hit, even though he often still gets hit. But if he goes right as the defender and doesn’t make adjustments and keep his hands up, it makes it easier on the refs. But knowing the discrimination towards Lin, he’ll probably try it in a few games and get called for offensive fouls and then he’ll stop.

Anyway, great team win. Rockets look like they did back in December when they were rolling. Hope this is the start of another winning streak. They just need to keep visualizing how they play when they play their game so they can get it into their being and not forget. Because the problem with these young guys is that they keep forgetting how to play. The need constant reminding, but instead of relying on the refs, they should do some visualization exercises themselves. Rockets also did a great job of taking care of the ball tonight. Only 11 turnovers (Lin had 6 of them, justly or unjustly).

 

About JLintel

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  • Doc

    Lin is one of the best players (for sure point guard) that I have seen. He has the qualities of a Jason Kidd/ Steve Nash/John Stockton. I watch Houston just to watch him play.

    There are a few things that you are overlooking in your comments above:

    1) Kevin McHale is not a fan of Jeremy and does not like him (watch his interviews about Jeremy Lin). He has never said a positive thing about Jeremy Lin’s game. He has said that he doesn’t need Lin to be a superstar after he almost carried the team to a win over the Spurs. This comment is absolutely unthinkable. Every coach wants all your players to be superstars. Lin is the only point guard in the game that brings up the ball up court and touches the ball on offense 25% of the time. There is no play for him whatsoever in McHale’s system. Every shot he makes he has to earn it. No one (ever) gives him an assists. Still if Houston ever wins Lin is the creator for the Rockets. If Lin isn’t strong and doesn’t realize that McHale is up to no good and doesn’t like him, McHale may succeed in destroying him. McHale, Matt Bullard (the biggest bum to ever play basketball) and Clyde Drexler (who I used to like till I heard is butt commenting on Jeremy Lin) are despicable.

    2) the league does not want Lin to succeed. The NBA did not choose him to be a star. Lin gets fouled almost on every drive. Two things occur when this happens: a) you become gun shy and change your shot (which causes you to miss more); b) your opponent fouls you more since no call is forthcoming. Not to mention, your teammates lose faith in your ability.

    Without Lin, the Rockets cannot win.

    James Harden is not that good—he is a bench player. The NBA wants to make him a star so the referees give him ridiculous “bailout calls”. He can’t go right, travels and turns over the ball all the time—with no negative comment. He is a turnover machine. Why is he handling the ball? He is supposed to be on the wing. I still like him. But lately, he is playing no defense

    Parsons–bench player; Needs to stop thinking he is a star. He should focus on being a supporting player like Kirilenko. He should not handle the ball.

    Delfino—bench player

    Asik- bonafide basketball player. Needs a little work, but a championship caliber player.

    Smith- bonafide player. Him and Asik would make a great front court.

    Douglas & Lin– great combination.

    Patterson, Morris bench players;

    • standupphilosopher

      Thanks for your comments, Doc. A lot of people compare Lin to Nash and some to Stockton, but I think these are lazy comparisons–especially the Nash one. I think people do the Nash comparison, because he broke out when he was with D’Antoni, but Lin is a different player than a Nash or a Stockton. He’s a lot more aggressive and is more of a scorer than a pure point guard. At least that’s what he was during Linsanity. During Linsanity, I thought he was a little closer to Allen Iverson than Nash, because drives aggressively to the rim and makes plays almost equally for himself and his teammates. This season, Tony Parker has come out and said that Lin reminds him of himself and I like that comparison better than Nash. But I like to think that Lin is just Lin himself and not like any other player. He has his own style of playing. Right now, Lin is still getting used to his new role withe the Rockets, so his stats are inconsistent, but I think in the long run learning to play without the ball will make Lin an even better player.

      As for your other comments, it would take too long for me to respond to them. I’ve touched on many of the things you talk about, such as McHale’s views on Lin, etc. in previous posts.

      It’s counterintuitive to me why the league wouldn’t want Lin to succeed–especially with David Stern at the helm. He’s been very big about appealing to China, so I would think that he would be thrilled with Lin’s rise. So that’s why it doesn’t make any sense to me why the refs discriminate against LIn so blatantly. I really don’t know what it’s all about. But, yeah, I agree with you how it really hurts Lin’s game. That’s why I wish there was a big push to hold refs accountable for blatant missed calls or bad calls. I don’t know why David Stern isn’t all over the refs about this.

      I disagree with our views on Harden. To me, he’s a top 5 player. I said he’s a superstar when I saw him play his first game in Houston and he has not disappointed me. Sure, he gets the superstar calls from the refs, but not more than any other superstar. Harden is a special type of player. He’s extremely efficient and I don’t see any other player move the way Harden does. He’s got great footwork. He can penetrate at will and he also has an outside shot. So he’s impossible to guard. He also understands how to draw fouls. He’s number 1 at it. And that’s HUGE! He does get bailed out by the refs sometimes. And there would be a few games where the refs wouldn’t give him the benefit of the doubt and those have been some of his worst games. He also commits a lot of turnovers when he tries to do too much and takes on double and triple teams. He did that a lot in the first few games, but is getting better at picking his spots. But as long as he helps the team win games, I’m fine with his turnovers as I was fine with Lin’s turnovers during Linsanity. I’ve discussed turnovers at length in my blog last season, so won’t get into it here. I heard a stat that the Rockets are 11 – 2 or something when Harden scores 30+ points. Now, I take these stats with a grain of salt, but that’s a sign of a great player when you score a lot and your team wins. This is not the case with some superstars, like Melo or Bryant. So that’s another reason why he belongs int he top 5. Harden is deadly efficient when he’s playing within the offense. I do think the Rockets would be a better team if Lin is the floor general 75% of the time when Lin and Harden are on the floor together.

      I’m a big fan of Smith and am glad to see him get solid minutes. He’s our best PnR big at the moment. That’s the area where the Rockets are really weak in. With Lin and Harden, we really need Bigs who can play PnR. A lot of our Bigs aren’t very good at setting screens and don’t often set screens for Lin, which is a huge mistake. Lin is often fighting through screen after screen on the defensive end, but his man doesn’t have to worry about any screens when defending Lin. To me, that’s one of the biggest fails in McHale’s offense and I don’t know if it’s because of McHale or if the Bigs are just not comfortable setting screens. It’s not something that’s difficult to teach, I don’t think. Our bigs often get called for moving screens. That’s something McHale needs to work on with the Bigs.

      Parsons is not a flashy player, but he’s a guy who can do a little bit of everything. He reminds me of a Shane Battier. He’s a guy who does all the little things that help you win games. So to me, he is a starter. Sure, he does get into trouble when he tries to take on the ball handling roles, but I don’t think he does this enough for it to be a concern.

      Apologies for the long rambling reply. Hope some of it makes sense.

  • MrPingPong

    Philosopher, I like your analysis of Lin’s game and your suggestions for improvement. One would think that Lin and the Rox coaching staff, with all their experiences and knowledge of the game, would see at the very least the same things as what you are seeing, no!
    I am patient. Lin will learn and will get better and better, that I am sure.

    • standupphilosopher

      Thanks, MrPingPong. Yeah, I know Lin will get better. Also, once he improves his outside shot, it will open up a lot of things for him.

  • He mentioned in his post game interview that turnovers on his side will be inevitable because of his aggressiveness in playing the game and I forgot the other one hehehe.
    Anyway, yes Mr. Philosopher the Hornets now the Pelicans is the team that broke their winning streak and hopefully it’s the same team that will make them go back to their winning ways after having that victory in their last meeting.
    He will watch the Linsanity:The Movie tonight and said that he will just enjoy it and I do think he will have fun.
    I want to watch it too but not sure if it reach here 🙁

    • MrPingPong

      Yeah, numbers don’t lie but they do not tell the whole story either. People who do not what the game and base their judgements on Lin solely on the stats are just as blind as the FEP.

      • That’s the thing, we watch the game and I don’t know about them.

    • MrPingPong

      Sorry, typo: I meant “watch the game” instead of “what the game”.
      🙂

      • No worries Mr.PingPong 🙂
        Been through a lot of typo’s myself 😉

    • standupphilosopher

      Yeah, I was surprised that he mentioned that point about his turnovers, but I’m glad that he did. It shows that he’s maybe not as concerned about committing turnovers and playing scared. I hope he really does internalize that attitude about turnovers and just play without worrying about committing turnovers. The coaches should encourage him to do that, as well. Lin is at bis best when he’s attacking and he did a great job of attacking on most possessions in the Nets game in the fourth quarter. He doesn’t have to try and score every time he attacks, but he should keep attacking even if it means just going into the lane and coming back out, keeping his dribble alive. Just keep testing the defense and good things will happen for a point guard.

  • And his back to back 3’s..that was HUGE!

    • standupphilosopher

      Yeah that was awesome. Lin was huge in the fourth, as usual. He was the key to the Rockets not letting the lead slip away. If somehow Lin can be hypnotized into thinking that every quarter is the fourth quarter.

  • MrPingPong

    Allow me to use this old post as a segue to tonight’s game (02/22/2013) against the Nets. Nets fans over at NetsDaily.com seem rather disinterested. D-Will has been taking cortisone shots for his ankles in order to be able play. Not a good idea. JJ is hurt and won’t play. That’s not fair. It will be too easy for the Rockets! Lin/Harden will run all over them. Trap game? 🙂

    On a separate note, it just dawns on me that Linsanity 2.0 is more than just Lin. Deeply intertwined in the script is the story of the Bearded One. As articulate as he is, Lin couldn’t even come up with words to describe Harden’s surreal performance in the win over OKC.

    Can’t wait to watch another beat down of the Nets tonight!

    • standupphilosopher

      Hope it’s not a trap game. We could really use some easy games during this transition time. I think McHale is still going to have Delfino start at the Power Forward. I still think it’s a mistake, because I think D-Mo can provide us with range, spread the floor and can defend that position better than Delfino. The Rockets love the lineup with Delfino, because their offensive stats are great with that small lineup. But I that includes stats where Delfino was playing well. He’s been struggling, lately, so I think it’s very shortsighted to use those stats to justify using Delfino in the starting lineup. Also, they’ve never had D-Mo in that lineup, so how do they know having D-Mo in the line up won’t be even better? It’s the same thing when people were saying that Rockets had a great offense and nothing needed to change with Lin, but then when Lin started playing more of the floor general back in December their offense skyrocketed. It always frustrates me when people are shortsighted and can’t see “what could be”.

      MrPingPong, in one of my first posts about the Rockets (the one about them being the Most Interesting Team), this is what I was alluding to. This Rockets team is Linsanity 2.0. The Bearded one, definitely, but also Asik and Parsons. It’s one of the many reasons why I really love this Rockets team and hope the core stay together for the long haul. I’m really concerned that they’re gong to get rid of Asik and bring in the Dwightmare in the summer. In fact, it’s almost a certainty that the Dwightmare will be in Houston next season in my mind. Morey is not going to be able to pass up on Dwightmare. I know pretty much every Rockets fans want this, but I’m concerned that Dwightmare is going to mess up the chemistry of the team. Although, he seems to really want to play in Houston now that Harden is there and he sees the success Houston is having. He also would be a phenomenal PnR pairing for Linharden. But I just don’t want his prima donna attitude to mess up the character of this team. You know who I would rather have? Tyson Chandler. I have no idea if he’ll be available this summer. I’m guessing he won’t. But he would be perfect to pair with Linharden. Otherwise, I would rather just keep Asik as starting center and find him an adequate backup. The overwhelming consensus is that the Rockets need another superstar to be a title contender. While I don’t disagree with this, I think we can be a title contender if one of our Power Forwards (including TRob) develops into a star (not necessarily a superstar). Anyway, we’ll deal with this when the time comes.