Rockets Hang in to Win a Huge Playoff-Atmosphere Game on the Road Against Golden State

I didn’t see the Dallas game, but from looking through forums like Dreamshake, it sounds like fans overwhelmingly disagreed with McHale’s decision to bench Lin. So looks like, unlike in the Orlando game, McHale made a mistake in benching Lin in the last game. I’m pretty sure Morey and Les weren’t happy with McHale’s decision either. Hopefully, learns from it.

Lin started off slow in tonight’s game. It’s probably the worst he’s played in a while, in terms of being too passive. I’ve been very happy with Lin’s play as of late, but in tonight’s game, he played passively in the first half. The thing that I’ve noticed about Lin, lately, is that he’s had a lot of really strong starts. He’s been playing better in the first half than in the second. Well, partly it’s because he’s been absent in the fourth quarter in the past three games. But he has been uncharacteristically strong at the beginning of games and then he slows down in the third quarter. Tonight, he started weak and turned things up in the third quarter. I have a feeling Lin’s ankle or something is bothering him, because Lin looked slow and he looked like he was recovering from an injury or something. He fell down a lot and didn’t have enough lift. That’s concerning. Hope he’s not injured or something.

Rockets have now taken three games from the Warriors. It was a huge game tonight and Rockets pulled it out. Rockets had a horrible second quarter (late in the first and into the second quarter)–one of the worst they’ve played in a while. There was no ball movement. Things did not look good in the second quarter and it looked like the Warriors wanted the game more and would be able to get the home win. But Rockets pulled it together in the second half with a spark from Lin in the beginning of the third quarter. He was scoring and making plays and put the Rockets ahead by 6 points. I missed a lot of the third quarter after that, so not sure what happened, but Warriors came back to take the lead. Then it stayed a tight game after that with both teams picking up the intensity. Of course, tonight, McHale didn’t dare bench Lin, so Lin got to play in the fourth quarter.

Parsons, once again, had a hot shooting game. He’s been on the last five or so games. I think he’s scored 20+ points 5 or so games in a row. He was a huge factor in keeping us in the game. Once again, McHale relies too much on Delfino. I actually like Garcia’s game more than Delfino and was happy to see Garcia in the game in the fourth quarter. But then McHale took Garcia out and replaced him with Delfino, which I thought was a mistake. Garcia is very aggressive defensively and he goes after loose balls. He also has range. I think he provides more than Delfino and he doesn’t have a bum elbow. Garcia is a guy I’d like to see play more and Anderson, too, of course. But with Garcia, Anderson has no hope of getting minutes. McHale really needs to reduce Delfino’s minutes drastically. We have too many players on the bench to deserve more minutes. Every time Garcia is in there, he works his tail off. And when Garcia is on the bench, he’s constantly standing up and cheering or coaching. I’m not sure what he’s doing, but he’s always so vocal on the bench. I think he’s a better veteran presence than Delfino. But McHale has some sort of blind love affair with Delfino, in which Delfino can do no wrong. It’s probably because Delfino was essentially the only veteran, but now that McHale has Garcia, I’m hoping he gains a more realistic perspective on Delfino’s game.

Harden has been off the mark ever since his ridiculous OKC performance. Looks like his knee is really bothering him. Doesn’t have the same explosiveness and he’s not finishing like he used to. In fact, the entire Rockets team missed a bunch of baskets at the rim tonight. It’s not the only time they’ve done that. Rockets will have games where they’ll do that in bunches. Tonight was one of those nights.

Tonight’s game was vital for playoff standings. I think Warriors needed this game more than the Rockets, because now the Rockets own the tie-breaker. Rockets showed a lot of grit by not folding after their horrible second quarter performance on the road. They kept hanging in there and did whatever they needed to pull out a win. It wasn’t the prettiest game, but a win’s a win. Our guys look banged up, though. So that’s a concern. Lin and Harden look like they’re playing hurt. Good thing they have an “easy” opponent tomorrow. But I have a feeling it won’t be an easy win. Phoenix have a lot of former Rockets who will be gearing up to get some revenge on their old team. Still, I expect a win. Would be psychologically damaging if we lost tomorrow after this big win. It would be like giving up this big win. Rockets still haven’t figured out their rotations, as to be expected. So that’s going to be an ongoing concern. Good thing they have a favorable schedule pretty much the rest of the way to the post-season, which includes a long home stretch, where they’ll have lots of much-needed practice time. I’ll be looking to see if McHale starts favoring Garcia over Delfino. I really hope so, because I really like what I’ve seen from Garcia’s limited minutes.

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  • cosmot

    I thought Jeremy’s last game was awkward and not smooth. I think he should focus on the beauty/efficiency of the game but not anything else (e.g. personal brand of the game). He should not focus on what he can do but the power which allows him to read any given moments and react the best way accordingly.

    • tia

      I agree with you. It was hard to see as a Lin fan. Today he was even worse. I think he was just down right bad… this is just so depressing.

      • standupphilosopher

        I didn’t see the Phoenix game, but Lin looked like he was injured or something in the Warriors game. He didn’t have the same movement on the court. Looked sluggish and clumsy. Sounds like it was even worse in the Phoenix game. That’s concerning.

      • MrPingPong

        Yeah, Lin did not do well last night against Los Suns. He appeared gassed, and his shots fell short many times. The box score shows it too. The team as a whole did not play well with lousy FT % and inferior rebounding giving the “bad guys” too many second chances. Harden’s iso heroics kept the game close but not enough to win. Los Suns played inspired team ball and deserved to win.

        This is the NBA Lin wants to play in: a full season with all kinds of physical/psychological/emotional/political adversities. I am a Lin fan and I believe, barring serious injuries, Lin will triumph in the end and yet will get no recognition whatsoever!

  • wz–zw

    that one was lucky for houston,but lin did compromise his style of playing to mcfale’s stupid game plan which is giving the ball to harden and standing by,,,,although i hate to see rockets lose,,but i think itis inevitable for a losing streak,if mcfale stick to his stubbornness.There are two ways to win games in a long run in nba,win with star-power or win with a system,the first one need at least two superstars which is not the case for houston,because neither parsons or Jlin possess the individually attacking ability of a superstar level ,but Jlin is a hell of a offensive facilitator who can bring out the very best of his teamates,so combination of Harden’s individual attacking ability wiht LIn’s ability to be a good facilitator,houston has the capability to get a quick win from most teams except 2 or 3 championship caliber teams like thunder heat,or clippers which we still get a chance to compete,,but it just not gonna happen,not until mcfale still in coach’s position

    • standupphilosopher

      The crazy thing, to me, is that Lin is the perfect Point Guard for this Rockets team, who are very team-oriented. McHale has done a lot of good things with this squad. He’s got the right game plan for this team, which is to run and move the ball. Keep things simple. I do like McHale’s game plan. The only real major flaw in his game plan is to not have Lin be the primary floor general. McHale also stopped staggering Lin and Harden’s minutes. It worked really well when McHale started staggering their minutes back in December, but he inexplicably went away from it. A lot of people give McHale credit for taking this team so far. I think he does deserve some of the credit, but I think this team would actually go even further if he lets Lin be the primary floor general. This is what he did back in December then he has gone away from it inexplicably. It’s a shame. Lin is the perfect Point Guard for a free flowing offense. I know a lot of people won’t believe this, because there are a lot of Lin doubters, but Rockets would be even better if Lin was the primary floor general. Back in the beginning of the season, I was the lone guy out there saying that the Rockets are a LOCK to make the playoffs. People had very low expectations of the Rockets because they’re blinded to the talents in the Rockets team, since Rockets are full of Jeremy Lins, if you know what I mean. I wasn’t blinded to it. And now that the Rockets are doing so well, McHale is getting a lot of credit for somehow making this mediocre team into playoff contenders, when they are actually a talented bunch and likely would have had success with ANY old coach. McHale has actually cost them several games with his poor in-game decisions. McHale is good at communicating with his players and they have their trust. But he still has a lot of work to do to improve on his in-game decision-making.

  • Interesting discussions as always, Mr.Philosopher!

    • standupphilosopher

      Thanks, Rubielyn!

  • ashley

    Actually, Lin has shown that he could play like a elite player, a superstar. I just don’t know why he can’t bring it more often. I feel this Suns game turned out to be a pity for Lin because it was the second game he got to play in the 4 quarter after being frozen for three straight games. All I saw was Harden having a one man show, keeping the team in the game. How I wish it had been like the OKC game, where he and Harden both excelled and pulled out a miraculous win. Or I wish if he had been a bit more productive, like in the previous game, which proved he and Asik worthy of 4th-quarter minutes.

    Some said because it was a back to back game so Jeremy and the team were tired. Some said he expended too much energy on the defense. And I think the foul calls really tied him down. HE FOULED
    OUT! Mr. Philosopher, this game could likely offer proof for unfair
    calls on Lin. One was called when he tried to stop Dragic, which ended up with his chin (?) hit by Dragic’s elbow and bled. That I think should be treated merely as a collision between two players, sort of like his collision with the Bucks guy.

    • standupphilosopher

      Wow! Lin fouled out? Hm..I wonder if there’s video of those fouls. I am still working on that video, but can’t seem to find any actual video clips, since highlight clips don’t generally include bad foul calls or bad non-calls.

      I have noticed, though that those unfair calls or non-calls aren’t as apparent, lately. Maybe the league cracked down on it. I don’t know. But up until recently, it was very egregious.

      • MrPingPong

        Yeah, Lin fouled out. He did not play well, made bad decisions, bad passes, etc. He should realize the refs were not favoring him and back off a little. He will learn.

        I’ll be at the game tomorrow! Let’s go, Lin!

        • Enjoy the game MrPingPong!! πŸ™‚
          Go JLin!! πŸ™‚

      • standupphilosopher

        Should be an exciting game. That’s awesome that you’ll be able to go. Have fun, MrPingPong!

      • MrPingPong

        Thanks Rubielyn and Philosopher.
        The last time I went to Toyota Center was new year’s eve when we beat the J***s out of Atlanta.
        This time I hope Lin and the team redeem themselves and beat the J***s out of Los Suns. Lin still has a fat lip from Dragic’s elbow. I don’t know why Lin does not wear a mouthpiece to protect at least his teeth.
        Lin went to watch Linsanity The Movie in Austin over the weekend. Lin will boss again, like in the recent Jazzy game! πŸ™‚

      • standupphilosopher

        I’d be disappointed if the Rockets don’t blow out the Suns tonight or at least win easily and take care of business. The only hesitation I have is that there are so many Suns who are looking for revenge in their former home. But I don’t think that will be enough, so if Rockets don’t win tonight, then there’s real reason for concern. I’m also expecting Lin to boss tonight. Good to hear that he watched his movie. That should give him some motivation.

      • MrPingPong

        Philosopher, what do think of these post practice interviews with KM?
        http://www.nba.com/rockets/video/2013/03/11/ZOOM0003MOV-2410461
        http://www.nba.com/rockets/video/2013/03/12/ZOOM0006MOV-2411440
        http://www.nba.com/rockets/video/2013/03/13/ZOOM0003MOV-2412160
        KM’s tone seems somewhat short if not “hostile” to me.

      • standupphilosopher

        MrPingPong, the links aren’t working. But if you’re talking about the interview in which McHale said “horse shit” then I did a reaction video to that interview in my YouTube Channel yesterday: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAowVqR9eVE

    • MrPingPong

      Hmm, the links work for me. What browser do you use, Philosopher?
      Yes, “horseshit” is the first one.
      Lin was not solely responsible for the loss to the Suns. Yes, he missed a few shots, turned over the balls three times and fouled out toward the end of the 4th. But that’s not why Rox lost that game.
      Anyway, any mention of the name “Lin” seems to upset KM tremendously. Poor guy!
      Whoever writes the movie script for Linsanity 2.0 can make good use of the Lin-McHale dynamic!

  • David

    This is in reference to the most recent game against Phoenix on Saturday March 9, 2013 where I saw the rookie, Kendall Marshall, carry the ball numerous times and never got a violation. Many players carry the ball and don’t get called for it. In contrast Jeremy Lin got several carry violations this season. This is another example of unfair calls against Jeremy.

    • standupphilosopher

      Thanks, David! I notice that, as well. I just wish there was some video of it. Keep them coming.

  • Oh yes MrPingPong, I can’t forget that game.
    I think I saw the happiest JLin so far though he was not playing in the 4Q.
    Hoping to see the same outcome as last time wherein the Rockets and Jeremy played good basketball and ended up winners.