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.