It wasn’t a pretty game and I didn’t pay attention to it that closely, until late in the fourth quarter, but Rockets managed to eek out a win in double overtime. I wasn’t planning on watching this game, but couldn’t help myself and I’m so glad I did, because Jeremy had a great game. He ended up getting “Player of the Game” recognition, which I think is the first time he got that in a Rockets uniform. The only other time he may have gotten it was when he scored 38 last season against the Spurs, but I think they might have given it to someone on the Spurs in that game. I don’t remember. In either case, Lin had a very efficient game. I’ll get to that in a minute, but I just looked at the box score and it says that Lin got zero assists, which is completely incorrect. Again, I think Lin gets robbed on his stats, because I could point out at least ONE assist that Lin got. It was on a pass to Harden for a three pointer in which Harden got fouled and ended up getting a four-point-play. Now, I could be wrong, but I think that assist should count, because the player you passed it to made the basket after getting fouled. That should count as an assist. If that’s the case, then I don’t know how, as a statistician, you can miss a blatant assist like that–especially on such a memorable play. So I don’t know what’s going on with these statisticians. There were also other assists that Lin had, but it’s hard to recall all of them, since I wasn’t sitting there counting all of Lin’s assist. But I I’m very certain he had more than that one assist to Harden. So even if that assist to Harden doesn’t count, since Harden was fouled, Lin should have had other assists.
Anyway, Lin ended with a very efficient 10 of 17 shooting (3 of 6 from three point) and 8 of 9 from the free throw line. 5 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block, and 5 turnovers.Lin ended up playing the third most minutes on the team (Lin played 46 minutes, Harden played 47:43 minutes and Parsons played 50 minutes), tonight and Beverley ended up getting benched. I actually didn’t see Beverley play much tonight, since I missed most of the third quarter. But it sounded like he couldn’t get anything going.
Lin was the big hero tonight. He was the only one making shots for the team during stretches when Rockets couldn’t find a scorer. He also made big shots during overtime and bailed the Rockets out. Harden was the second leading scorer with 26 and Parsons and Howard both chipped in 18. Howard had a big first half, where he was dominant on both ends of the court and he was a low post presence. He ended with 24 rebounds, which is close to his career high of 26. So Howard had a great game, but didn’t do a whole lot after the first half, except miss free throws.
I was very happy to see TJones get minutes. He was solid and did a good job defensively. He ended with 10 rebounds and 4 blocks. Howard had 5 blocks. But TJones is definitely one of the guys who McHale is just letting rot on the bench. I keep saying this, but the Rockets have a very deep bench. Once they get off this ridiculous twin towers experiment, they will be a force. This twin towers experiment is really hurting the Rockets in a big way. It’s a big reason why they’ve been so sloppy, lately, because they keep getting off to slow starts and it messes their rhythm the rest of the way. They need to have either TJones or DMo start. And then use a ten man rotation. Remember when the Rockets dominated a good team like the Pacers in the preseason? I know it was the preseason, but the Rockets looked so good. They looked exactly how I expected this team to look and it was because Asik was injured and they couldn’t do the insane twin towers experiment. Ever since they started that experiment, the Rockets have looked sluggish and they got no flow to their game. And my biggest concern is that the longer this ridiculous experiment continues the more the Rockets will get into the habit of playing with not player and not ball movement.
Even though they won tonight, this Rockets team looks really bad. They are way under-performing and there’s no one to blame but McHale. His player rotation is atrocious. He’s blessed with great players, but has no idea how to use all of them. They need to go back to the rotation they had in the pre-season where they were doing more of a 10-man rotation. They have enough good players to pull this off. Keep the guys fresh. McHale has been riding Harden to the ground. No wonder Harden is already banged up and we’ve barely started the season. That’s poor player management, which really is the most important job of a coach. Because the players pretty much take care of the rest. As a coach, you just need to know when to put in your players and how to use them. McHale fails at this job in a big way and it’s a big reason the Rockets don’t look anywhere near what they’re capable of. It’s really hurting team morale and players aren’t playing with high energy and don’t seem to be having fun out there like they did in the preseason.
Anyway, apologies for the rant. For Lin fans, it was a great night. If Lin keeps this up, he’ll definitely be in the running for 6th man of the year. Would be awesome if he can win it. He’ll have to perform way better than any other sixth man who has won it in the past in order to win it, though, because of the NBA’s bias against Lin.