Harden, Playing Unselfishly, Leads Rockets Past Mavs

This is only the second game of the season, so not much to say. Tonight’s game was very different from the Rockets’s debut. Rockets came out looking exactly how I expect this team to play with Lin manning the offense. Lin actually got to play point guard tonight–especially in the opening quarter, in which the Rockets dominated the Mavs. That’s the crazy thing, when Lin is allowed to be the primary ball handler, Harden actually plays better. But McHale and Harden are blinded to this. Although Harden did completely take over in the third quarter with much success, because he started feeling it and everything went in for him. But his “iso’s” tonight weren’t the usual stagnant iso’s he moved around and was very willing to pass the ball and move off the ball. I noticed that Harden was very willing to pass to Lin tonight and I think that allowed Harden the freedom to maneuver instead of hanging onto the ball and getting trapped and trying to force a bad shot. Hope he learns something from tonight’s game. I noticed the entire team trusted Lin with running the floor at the start of the game tonight. It kind of went away later in the game, but at least Lin was given confidence by the team and McHale in the beginning.

Lin had a pretty solid game, although he had 6 turnovers, but a lot of the turnovers was Lin being aggressive, so they weren’t terrible turnovers. They were also forced turnovers, meaning the Mavericks did a great job in stealing the ball from Lin or something, rather than Lin being careless. But he had 3 steals, so that made up for some of those turnovers. The thing I didn’t like about Lin tonight was his three point shot. It looked a lot like the ones he put up last season. The release wasn’t smooth and had way too much arch. None of those threes that he put up looked good tonight. I didn’t have any confidence in them going in when they left his hand. He went 0 for 3 from three point.

Parsons didn’t look good tonight at all. I think he’s dealing with some psychological issues and is not playing loose and free out there. It’s something I was concerned about before the pre-season, but it’s still only just been two games so we’ll see. And if I recall I think he did well in the first game. But Parsons looked like he was over-thinking out there. Too much indecision in his game. Parsons should have been benched tonight for Casspi, who was excellent on both ends of the floor, tonight. Instead, Parsons played the second most minutes of anyone on our team 35:22. McHale is as blinded to Parsons’s failures as he is to Lin’s success, it seems. Casspi deserved Parsons minutes tonight. Casspi was one of the best players on the team tonight and still didn’t manage to take away any minutes from Parsons, who was the worst key player on the team tonight. McHale’s irrationality is unfathomable. Anyway, Garcia continues to be a great spark off the bench. Tonight, it was his defense. He had 3 blocked shots!

I don’t know how long McHale will continue this ridiculous twin-towers experiment. I can’t imagine it would go on much longer. I think he’s only doing it out of respect for Asik and I can totally respect that and am in agreement with it. But if there’s any starter from last year that should be coming off the bench, it’s Asik. Not Lin. There’s a much much stronger case to be made for having Asik come off the bench than for Lin (the case is so obvious I don’t even think I need to verbalize it), but I understand why they’re continuing with the twin towers experiment. Since Asik was injured for most of the pre-season, they didn’t get enough time to experiment with playing Asik and Howard together. So I suppose they feel like they need to show Asik they’re genuinely making an effort so they can say that they tried to make it work before sending Asik to the bench, where Asik belongs. Now, I love Asik, but he is definitely the one who doesn’t fit in this starting lineup. I definitely don’t want Asik traded, because I do think we need him off the bench. Having Asik (and Lin) on this team is the reason why I think this team has a shot at winning it all this season. Having either Howard or Asik on the floor at all times is one of the biggest luxuries that this current Rockets team has. So it’s totally moronic to have both of them on the floor at the same time. But I’m sure the Rockets organization knows this. It should only be a matter of time before they feel like they can stop the “twin towers experiment.”

Stats-wise, Harden had a great game. Played very efficiently, because he was a willing passer and picked his moments to take over the game. Didn’t force the situation much in tonight’s game. As a result he ended with a game high 34 points on an efficient 11 of 17 shooting. So I guess he wasn’t injured, or as injured as I thought he was. Just had a bad game in the first game, primarily because he wasn’t a willing passer and because Lin wasn’t allowed to be the distributor. Lin finished with 14 points, the second leading scorer on the team. Rockets had 5 players in double figures.

On a side note, DMo, TJones, Greg Smith, etc. didn’t make a good case for more playing time tonight. Although the game wasn’t really seriously in jeopardy, but the Mavs managed to cut a 15 point lead to 5 in garbage time.

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  • MrPingPong

    Thanks for your analysis, Philosopher.
    Parsons has got to change for the better…
    Game videos will come up later.
    I got a free ticket tonight from my son’s friend who is a friend of Lin. I’m not kidding!

    • Now way, MrPingPong! That’s awesome. They must have been great seats! Did you go with your son?

      • MrPingPong

        Yes way!
        I went with my son, of course. He wore Linsanity, NYK Lin 17 Green Jersey! We sat in section 114 K pretty near the Rockets bench.

        • Lucky! x2 on scoring the tickets and got to watch Lin’s first start of the season. = P

          If Morey isn’t trying to prop Parson up for a trade later, Casspi should definitely start over Parson especially after ending the twin tower.

          Twin tower actually worked last year in limited sample size with GS and Asik against teams who were especially strong in paint like Clips.

          Oh, Standup, more paragraphs! like 4 to 5 sentences per please.

  • MrPingPong

    OK folks, here is the first quarter. I missed about half of the first quarter because the line was too long outside. Sorry about that.

    http://youtu.be/DB__Z-2cgL4

    More to come later…

  • Chirico

    I love it because Lin got a chance to showcase his improvement before Beverly comes back. After that we can see the difference when Beverly starts. Lin might come out and save Rockets when they are on a losing streak. In fact he’s been doing it so far.

  • le0

    And They say Lin and Harden cant share the court together.
    Also, you might call it a poor shooting night from Caldren but I sure Lin
    had something to do with it.

    Better performance from the Rockets compare to the 1st game.

    Lin needs to continue to start, That’s where he belongs.

    For Patric, he is a great defensive spark off the bench.

    • Great point, le0. Lin is a highly underrated defender. People are still blinded by the fact that he’s a great defender, due to so many reasons that would take me too long to go into.

  • Chirico

    Recently, I’ve noticed that the adversity that JL faces, not only just from rockets coaches but also from sports media as well.
    What elite players media are helping to make and perceived ? I’d like to quote this …

    ” For elites, Abilities are worshipped and deficiencies are downplayed. With JL, it tends to be the reverse. They see a slightly diminished lateral speed on D and yowl about it while overlooking JHs lack of effort, etc. The reasons why JL is not elite are not way off, but they are just not being counterbalanced by what he has shown that he does do as well as anyone else.” – docdlh726 from MBA.si.com

    • Chirico

      Sorry , my iPhone mode me a typo. nba.si.com

    • Yes, people over-fixate on Lin’s faults and don’t give him enough credit for his strengths. There’s definitely an inherent double standard when it comes to Lin.

      • Chirico

        Thx for you echo! Philosopher.

  • Jeff

    This is what happened. JLin was pushing up tempo. Howard and Asik were able to keep up for most of the first half but went out of gas. They pulled Casspi and Brooks in and the team went off with Lin’s running and Hardens ridiculous threes. But then for some reason McHale pulled Lin out until final minute/seconds of 2nd quarter or “garbage time” (these are usually reserved for bench players). Third quarter came and McHale probably asked to slow down the pace. Jeremy was once again relegated to spot up threes and given the ball in last minute dumps by Harden. Harden however was just doing great drawing fouls, slowing down the game and knocking down ISO plays. And Howard was covering up a lot of bad half court plays by the whole team by converting rebounds to second/third attempts. I was pretty bored most of second half πŸ™

    • Excellent summary, Jeff! Thank you.

  • MrPingPong

    Ok folks, here is the second quarter. Somehow I pressed the wrong button on my smart phone and missed the no-look assist from Harden to Lin.

    http://youtu.be/Mcu_Qcnl0Tc

    I am very optimistic about the chemistry between Harden and Lin. Linsanity is contagious. “Resistance is futile”!

  • MrPingPong

    Also check this out…

    http://youtu.be/FNV-ubKter4

    • Wow! MrPingPong, you had awesome seats! Glad Lin and company didn’t let you down.

  • pistolpete

    Awesome move! McHale has no idea how lucky he is to have Jeremy on the team. Not only is he highly talented but he is great for team chemistry.

  • Chirico

    Thx again for rhe video, Pingpong

    • MrPingPong

      You’re welcome, Chirico. Q3 and Q4 are currently being uploaded to youtube. It is taking a very long time because of my slow uplink.

  • MrPingPong

    Man, I missed most of the first quarter of the Jazz game.
    Rockets is looking bad.
    What’s happening?
    Tired legs?
    Jazz also has a back-to-back.
    No excuse!
    πŸ™

    • I didn’t even realize they had a game today so only caught the second half. They got away with one today. Sounded like Rockets just didn’t show up to play much of the first half. Lin had a very quiet 20 point game. There was a lot of confusion on the offensive end when Lin wasn’t in. His +/- today was 21, which is almost twice as much as the second highest +/- on the team (Asik with +12). Lin was definitely a difference maker tonight, although he did it very quietly.

      • MrPingPong

        The Quiet Boss?
        πŸ™‚

        • ashley

          I felt Parsons was the only one that played well in the first half. Jeremy seemed to play safe and passive and I got worried that he might be having a poor game. Thankfully, he did well in the 3rd and 4th quarters–he hit his threes. I’m glad that so far he’s been quite consistent and that he got the chance to start and prove himself again, thought at the cost of Bev’s injury.

          • MrPingPong

            Yes ashley, Parsons has unchanged! πŸ™‚

            As to Lin, in the Mavs game, after missing three 3-ptrs, Lin got gun shy and stopped shooting threes. In the Jazz game, Lin never hesitated to shoot whenever he was open. He created plays and shot short/midrange jumpers as well, just like the way our Philosopher has advocating.

            There will be ups and downs in anyone’s game. But overall, barring injuries, Lin’s game will be up. He is young and has yet to discover and reach his ceiling.

            The season is only starting. Let’s enjoy it!

          • Ha ha, MrPingPong. You make me laugh (I’m not sure if that came out right)!

            I hope Lin will have a chance to practice his long range shot again. I had a ton of confidence in his long range shot in the pre-season, but it hasn’t looked good in the regular season. So I’m concerned.

            Yep, Lin’s game will continue to get better. He’s such a hard worker and always open to improving his game.

          • MrPingPong

            I am glad you got some good laugh out of what I said, Philosopher.

            Seriously, with all the angst generated by KM’s creative jerking around of JL7, I figure it’s best to provide some comic relief here to calm things down! πŸ™‚

            BTW, JL7 decided to get some sun tan yesterday in preparation for the Nail Clippers game (check out his Facebook wall). Just hope that he does not get sunburn, that’s all.

            Anyway, JL7 will burn them up tonight!

            Have a great day/evening everyone, wherever you are on this WEB!

  • Chirico

    Pingpong, in tonight’s game vs JAZZ, JL just again proved himself as the key to winning. Helped rockets catching up at 2nd qtr and 3rd qtr, getting pass JAZZ at 4th qtr and helped creating 8 points lead around 5 mins left.
    Parsons performed really well as we’ll.

    • MrPingPong

      Agreed, Chirico. As you know by now, I am a delusional LOF. I have always believed Lin is one of the keys to the Rockets’ success.

      Yes, Harden is a scoring machine and Howard is a rebounding machine, but without Lin, it will be very difficult for Rockets to go all the way. Of course, Lin cannot carry the team on his back alone. It’s a team game and it will take unselfish teamwork to win the big one.

      I will admit that I am not too crazy about KM as a coach, but as an optimist, I believe KM will learn and will come around to embracing Lin. Linsanity is contagious! Resistance is futile! πŸ™‚

      And see, Parsons has unchanged, bro.

      • Think Houston made it by the thin of its teeth mainly because Howard were making his free throws otherwise the flow of the game could’ve been dictated by Jazz and outcome changed. Of course I am being euphemistic with Howard cuz if he didn’t hit his freethrows then he would’ve been a liability on both ends of the court. 9 rebounds and 9 pts and allowing Jazz to offensive rebound all day long doesn’t spell best center in NBA.

  • MrPingPong

    Ok folks, here is Q4 of the Mavs game.
    Q3 is still being uploaded.

    http://youtu.be/wGfkbEBrggI

  • MrPingPong

    Just making conversation here…

    Lin seemed to be playing more and more freely, not afraid to play through his mistakes. After all, if KM sits Lin down, then who else is gonna play PG at this stage? πŸ™‚

    Andrew Tanenbaum, a famous Computer Scientist, used to say, “If you do not make mistakes, then you are not being creative enough.” The key is to learn from the mistakes.

    That being said, I can see that KM is trying to be creative with Bev and the Twin Towers, jerking Lin around, etc… And I can only hope that KM learns quickly enough to make the correct adjustments in game preparations as well as during games in order to take this “DREAM TEAM” to the NBA final and win it ALL!

    BTW, here is Q3 of the Mavs game:

    http://youtu.be/xbdmHw64yew

    Enjoy!

    • Personal experience at jobs employers don’t like me being creative because they believe I am not able to be as creative as my white colleagues. Same social construct going on here with the lin/mac dynamic?

      Anyways, hope you don’t mind me shamlessly plug a blog post at my site. I personally find the data supporting the conclusion too good to be true. So, click my name and hop over to 3gameanalysis.

      • MrPingPong

        I do browse you blog, etane, and I appreciate the effort you put there. But this is only blog that I respond to.

        It does not matter what stats we come up with to support our views, people will only believe it what they want to believe and see what they want to see. I don’t know if you have read the Philosopher’s Flat Earth People post, but if you haven’t, take a quick look.

        I am sure Morey has all kinds of super secrets data to examine. But again, he would only see what he wants to see. In case you have about 30 minutes to spare, listen to this conversation between Van Gundy and Morey (at around the 16 min mark).

        http://tunein.com/topic/?TopicId=54991777

        • That was a very enjoyable radio program. I like the way those guys–especially Stan Van Gundy–really pushed Morey and cut through the BS. Great stuff. I agree with Van Gundy’s and Morey’s rational for benching Lin. That’s the ONLY main rational that is acceptable: Lin’s fit with Harden.

        • Personally I believe Morey doesn’t think Lin is a scrub. So, it isn’t really about trying to convince Morey that he’s wrong. It’s more about convincing Rockets organization that Jeremy Lin fans are not so stupid to fall for crap dished out by their PR about 6th man and fit. Yah, I covered this in my other blog post “red nation herrings”.. Have a look! (another shameless plug).

          I did hear that radio segment where Morey threw McHale under the bus. Also talked about in the red nation herreings blog post. Heh.

          But, yes, feel free to post wherever you want!

      • Plug away, etane!

    • Yeah, my biggest complaint about McHale is that he doesn’t let Lin play through mistakes. And this is crippling to any player. It’s the worst thing you can do as a coach or a manager of others. No one performs well when they’re doing it scared. And, yeah, I wholeheartedly agree with that quote you referenced, MrPingPong.

      • But KM lets everyone else play through their mistakes. Honestly I no longer think it’s KM but Morey throwing KM under the bus.

        This is pretty funny:

        https://www.facebook.com/Fingercoach/posts/612111215494586

        • MrPingPong

          FingerCoach! I like this guy’s finger! He should have use the ‘other’ finger, you know.

          Anyway, everybody seems to agree that H13 is not a very good defensive player. And of course, unsurprisingly, just about every basketball pundit likes to cherry pick every little mistake JL7 makes and concludes that JL7 is neither good offensively nor defensively.

  • pistolpete

    KM unjustly and with malice aforethought tried to start the back-up player over the true starter — but God was watching…..

    • MrPingPong

      I admit that I am not a religious person. But in this case, the hands of Providence is just as good an explanation as anything! πŸ™‚

  • Chirico

    I did not like how Mchale rotated the players on last Sat. against JAZZ. I think he relied on starting players too much and it was b2b game. Today we will see if Rockets are affected by this poor management.

    • yes he only used three bench players. 6thman/bench roation does not exist in houston.

      • MrPingPong

        But he used Lin, the world’s most famous bench player of any sports!
        πŸ™‚

        • Chirico

          I wanna give you 100 thumbs up

  • pistolpete

    Rockets vs Clippers – Get it on Baby!

    Fans have to realize it’s one game. A team can get blown out one night and destroy another team the next night.

    Still it will be hard to not make predictions about the Western Conference race after this game.

    • MrPingPong

      Not looking too good right now.
      But I believe in Lin!

  • pistolpete

    Head to had Redick is a better SG than no D Haren.

    • MrPingPong

      There are 3 quarters to go.
      Be patient!
      Lin is the off-the-bench- fourth quarter man!

    • MrPingPong

      Lin has to realize the refs are giving CP3 superstar treatment and play smarter.

    • MrPingPong

      Only behind by 12 at half!
      Not bad considering how badly we’ve played so far.
      I am optimistic about our prospect!
      πŸ™‚

  • pistolpete

    Harden needs to be traded for a SG who can play D and McClueless needs to be fired.

    • MrPingPong

      It’s best to think of positive things in this situation.
      Lin’s mind needs to be clear.
      Lin, Omri and Asik will come through for the Rockets.

      • MrPingPong

        I hope KM does not forget Garcia.

    • MrPingPong

      We lost the 3rd quarter.
      Let’s go Lin!

  • pistolpete

    Rokets stink. Need new coach and SG.

    • MrPingPong

      Think positive!

    • MrPingPong

      Let’s go Lin!

  • pistolpete

    Ok. Get rid of McHale and make Harden play D and the Rockets could win it all.

    • MrPingPong

      5 fouls on Lin!
      No problem!
      πŸ™‚
      Think positive!
      πŸ™‚

    • MrPingPong

      Rockets must stay calm and play defense!

  • pistolpete

    McHale must go!

    • MrPingPong

      Harden has changed, bro!
      πŸ™‚

      • ashley

        Mr. Pingong, I truly appreciate your response to my previous post. Your understanding, patience, and optimism about Lin brought much comfort and relief. I didn’t get to watch the game today. Looking at the stats, CP seemed to outplay Lin in every respect, but then I found later that Lin only took 8 shots. I wonder if he was gun-shy again. I hope he can be more aggressive in scoring, which should matter the most and can definitely help win his starting job back. Like you, I am not really religious, but I do gladly suspect some divine intervention. Someone said it was Les, who attended the first game and asked that Lin be put back in the starting lineup, but it can’t explain why Bev still isn’t playing. Anyway, we’ll see.

  • Chirico

    I didn’t get a chance to watch the game vs clippers tonight, but Rockets seems ran out of fuel. Thx to Mchale’s poor roster management.