Linsanity Loses a Heartbreaker in OT in Philly 123 to 117

Lots to say about tonight’s game, but I don’t have much time, so I’ll keep it short. May add more to this post later, but just wanted to get out some thoughts while they’re fresh.

First of all, Lin scored over 30 points two games in a row. Lin ended with a spectacular 34 points, 12 assists (a career high 9 of 15 from three-point), 5 rebounds and 8 turnovers. Lin didn’t do much driving in tonight’s game and they’re still not doing hardly any PnRs with Lin and Howard. But Lin’s three-point shooting was the story tonight. Before the pre-season even started, I predicted that Lin would shoot 40%+ from three-point this season, so I’m not too surprised about Lin’s shooting performance tonight, although the first couple of games in the season, Lin’s shooting looked a lot like it did last season. So I’m happy to see that the stroke is still nice and smooth.

There are lots to say about how differently the Rockets played–especially on offense tonight. But first, I want to address Garcia’s rushed three-point with 12 seconds left in the game. I have no idea what the hell he was thinking! He might have been fouled on the play, but it was still a highly contested shot and we still had 12 seconds left in the game. Once again, McHale has no ability to run plays and this is THE reason why Rockets continue to lose close games. Also, Rockets opponents have a tendency to hit clutch shots no matter how highly contested the shot is. Tonight, it was James Anderson, who nailed the dagger, even with Lin right up in his grill. And don’t even get me started on James Anderson. If you were a reader of this blog last season, you would know how often and how vehemently I would scream at McHale to play James Anderson. Kevin McHale is perhaps one of the worst judges of talents in the NBA! He played Toney Douglas over Patrick Beverley. He played Delfino over Garcia. And he rarely played James Anderson, even though Anderson is more than capable of relieving James Harden. Anyway, I won’t beat that dead horse in this post.

Tonight, the Rockets, led by Lin, played the way they’re supposed to. They had a season high 34 assists as a team and the ball actually moved around like it did in the pre-season. The scoring was evenly distributed and a big reason for this is that you didn’t have Harden, who tends to stop the ball, as a lot of superstars do. So I guess it just comes with the territory. But I hope that Harden can gain some insight from sitting on the bench about how he can do a better job of moving the ball. We’ll see. I’m not so confident that much will change–especially since the Rockets ended up losing. Every single Rockets who played more than 5 minutes, except Garcia, ended up with double-digit points, with three players scoring over 20.

I think a big reason for the loss was, of course, Rockets lack of end of game strategies. But also, Lin sort of took himself out of the game in the fourth quarter, when the Rockets needed him to step up. I also didn’t like that Beverley kept bringing up the ball in the fourth quarter, when Lin is much better when he brings up the ball. It gets him into rhythm, so I think Lin should have taken the ball up at least half of the time. Don’t know why McHale uses Beverley as the point guard most of the time. That makes no sense. It’s fine to mix it up every now and then, but Lin should be the one bringing up the ball maybe half of the time. Sure, it’s a good idea to give Lin some rest and not have him bring up the ball every time, but I think it was a mistake to keep having Lin play off the ball in the fourth quarter. That definitely contributed to him getting off rhythm.

I do blame Lin the most, tonight, for taking himself out of the game. Here’s what I think happened. Of course, this is pure speculation on my part, but I feel like Lin does get self-conscientious when he feels like he’s scoring too much and he lets up, trying to get his teammates involved more or he stays away from the ball altogether, so he doesn’t seem like he’s trying to hog the spotlight. I think this is what happened to Lin early in the fourth quarter. He already had 28 points and didn’t want to keep scoring. He didn’t look to score at all, until much later in the fourth quarter and by that time he completely lost his rhythm. This is something that is a part of Lin until he does become the number one option on a team and doesn’t feel self-conscious about scoring the ball. When it is Lin’s job to score the ball, then he won’t feel self-conscious about it. On this team, he doesn’t feel like it’s his role to score the ball a lot, so I think part of him starts feeling a little self-conscious when he does start putting up a lot of points. When it happens in the second half, then he has no time to feel self-conscious. But in this Phillies game, he was hot from the start, so he had a lot of time to start feeling self-conscious and make a concerted effort to not score. This actually happened in the Spurs game, in which he scored 38 last year, as well. He let up early in the fourth quarter and lost his rhythm. And I could see him letting up in this game trying to not be a ball hog. I’m sure he’s not conscientious of this. It’s something that happens subconsciously and affects his killer instinct. This is something that Lin needs to work on, but he won’t have many chances to work on it in Houston. So this is something that will be a part of Lin until he goes to a team where he’s the number one option and is asked to be a “ball hog”.

It really sucks that Rockets lost tonight, because it takes a lot away from what Lin did and all the positives that occurred in this game. The Rockets definitely let one get away from them. Again, they should have fouled in the fourth quarter to prevent a game-tying three, looking back. But that’s hindsight. I still have no idea what happened with that play by Garcia. It made no sense. Why would you EVER think to put up a shot like that with 12 seconds left? The play should have been to give the ball to Lin and let him dribble out the clock and make a play as the clock winds down to zero. That’s a no-brainer in that situation. Instead, McHale seemed to have drawn up a play that is meant for when you have less than 10 seconds on the clock. But that’s being generous to McHale, because it really didn’t look like any play was drawn up.

This Rockets team has the worst in-bounding “plays” I’ve seen. Where are the screens or double screens or mis-direction to free up your shooter? This is a big issue for McHale and another reason among a laundry list of reasons why he’s not ready to be head coach of ANY team, let alone a contending team. Every other coach seems to be able to draw up the perfect play to beat the Rockets at the end of games. McHale had 18 seconds and ended up using only six seconds to have Garcia put up a highly contested shot. That’s insane! Of course, Garcia is to blame for that one, as well. But maybe if McHale had just done what he should have done, which was to let Lin have the ball at the top and make a play with the clock winding down, then that Garcia catastrophe wouldn’t have happened.

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  • tooangrytothinkofone

    Hi,

    I’m a lurker here and have enjoyed reading your posts for a while now. (sorry for not commenting earlier, hehe). However, this game got me so riled up, I felt like I really need to vent!!!!

    First of all, I totally agree with you that Lin took him out of his own game by not looking to score despite his great shooting. But I think a lot of it had to do with his turnovers every time he looked to penetrate and got the ball stolen. Either way, it was very disappointing how docile he looked in the fourth quarter when I fully expected him to take over since Harden wasn’t playing.

    That Garcia ball was such a knuckleheaded play, but I think Garcia was totally out of it this game, so I wasn’t even surprised.

    What I was surprised about was how CHANDLER played. Did you not think that he was acting like a James Harden out there in the last three minutes? Since when was he given the reins of the game? Jeremy just kept passing him the ball like he was the star. Now, I like Chandler very much but I have not known him to be our go-to guy down the stretch. And that shot that he threw up to win but ended up hitting the board instead? When Casspi was wide open?? Ugh. He had SO MUCH TIME. Instead, he went all Harden and ignored what the defense gave, deciding to just run in traffic and hope that he’d get fouled or whatever. I really hope that I’m reading too much into this and not the fact that Chandler has a hugely inflated ego thinking that this is his team now. Over Jeremy.

    Gosh. I am so mad. At Chandler. At McHale. And especially at Jeremy for not demanding that he get the last shot. What a waste of a 34pt 12ast game. Sheesh!

    • Great to see a comment from you, tooangrytothinkofone! I was VERY angry watching this game, but probably not for the same reason as you. I was angry, thinking about how LOFs get so much flack for making a big deal out of Lin and the whole time, I’m thinking THIS is why we make a big deal of out Lin and why I made that video about McHale being a Lin doubter and why I wrote that crazy long post deconstructing why Jeremy Lin Haters/Doubters are Wrong. I was angry about how right I have been about pretty much everything that is wrong with the Rockets. But by the end of the game, I lost all of my anger. Mainly because I thought, at least Lin got to show his teammates and McHale what he’s capable of if they only trust him and at least it’s happening just as the season is starting. And this season, Lin is ready to be “Linsanity”, whereas last season, Lin was still recovering, so I felt better knowing that Lin still has a lot of time to show what he’s capable of. At least these two back-to-back 30+ points will shut up those inane commentators who think Lin actually lost his starting spot. So these things calmed me down. And by the time I wrote the post, I was very calm.

      Before the season started, I said that I was concerned Parsons is letting all of his new found fame get to his head and it appears that is so. Of course, “Rockets fans” are going to say that I’m delusional. But this Parsons is very different than the Parsons last season. He’s not content to just help out, he wants to have some of the attention and he feels like with Harden and Howard, he has to fight for more attention. That being said, last season, Parsons was very clutch and hit a few clutch shots. This season, though, I have less confidence in Parsons. His shot doesn’t look right this season.

      Good points about Lin’s turnovers also contributing to taking Lin out of the game. I think that was definitely a factor. Although I think those turnovers occurred late in the fourth when he started feeling like he needed to score. It occurred after he took himself out of the game, after he felt self-conscious for scoring too much. I think he spent half-way through the third quarter and half way into the fourth quarter feeling self-conscious about scoring too much.. So by that time towards the end of the fourth when he was trying to score, he was already completely out of rhythm.

      Lots of end of game strategic mistakes by McHale lost us the game. Again, should have had LIn control the ball more to start out with and especially when we had 18 seconds to score. There’s no excuse for what happened on that play. That was very poor coaching.

  • Garcia was fouled when he was going up for the shot. Defender grabbed his bicep.

    • Yeah, I did mention this in my post, that Garcia “might have been fouled”. The reason I put it that way is that whether or not Garcia is fouled is not the point. Garcia had no business of putting a shot up like that. It’s probably the DUMBEST thing I’ve seen and this is saying a lot, because Rockets have done a lot of dumb things under McHale. The fact that he was fouled is all hindsight, post-rationalization stuff that I don’t go for. You can argue that Garcia felt the foul, so that’s why he heaved up that low-percentage shot, but I also don’t buy that because 1) I doubt that’s what Garcia did and 2) if that was Garcia’s plan, then it was a terrible idea, because the foul wasn’t obvious enough to depend on the refs calling a foul and if he knew he was fouled then he knew that shot was not going in. So that’s a really really stupid risk to take to throw up that shot. So anyway you look at it, that was the dumbest move.

      The ONLY play that should have been called with 18 seconds left is to have your primary ball handler (Lin) dribble the ball at the top of the arc and run down the clock until there’s like 7 seconds or so left and then you run maybe a PnR or something to make something happen. Or you just iso Lin and see if he can make something happen. But McHale seemed to have run a play that you run when you have like 6 seconds left on the clock and your team is down by three. That made absolutely no sense. I’m a very open-minded person and am able to generally see where people are coming from and can accept a lot of views that don’t comport with my own, but I have no idea what McHale or Garcia were thinking last night. That made ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE!

      • MrPingPong

        I did not watch the game, but review the play-by-play and watched the highlights of Garcia’s botched 3-ptr attempt.

        I agree with you, Philosopher, that it was a dumb call. Even if Garcia made the trey, it would still be a dumb call. Garcia was stone cold and ineffective all night while Lin was beasting all night. With almost 19 seconds left, down by 3, panicking, McHale put Garcia in to shoot a trey! This is another indication that McHale does not get Lin! Sad story!

  • MrPingPong

    I missed the whole game.
    Driving home, I listened to the post game radio sports talk and the fans who called in were livid about McHale’s bad coaching.

    Did Lin take himself out in the 4th or was he simply gassed?
    He’s been playing a lot of minutes and with a cold and a sore elbow, you know.
    Anyway, I hope Lin gets some much needed rest tonight, because tomorrow is Lin vs NYK!
    Unfortunately, I will not be able to watch tomorrow’s game! 🙁

    JL7 OWNS NY!
    Let’s go!

    • Read my other comments and you have my answers to your questions here. Yep, if Harden is out, then Linsanity is likely to show up in NYC. I haven’t paid attention to the Knicks at all this season, but it sounds like they’re pretty awful this season. Rockets better get a win.

    • Unlike the Raptors game, this one was worth checking out. So if you can find a replay of the game, you might want to check it out, MrPingPong.

      • MrPingPong

        I will, Philosopher!

  • I disagree about Lin taking himself out. When he’s on fire, he can keep it rolling. I saw McHale pull him aside during a FT and after that, all I saw was Lin trying to get the ball to DHO.. and we know what happened there.. it was extremely frustrating seeing DHO time and time again get offensive fouls trying to force his way into the paint or doing the same damn spin move so much that his pocket was picked a few times.. It’s typical of NBA coaches. Give the ball to the “best” player in the fourth quarter. But what McHale fails to see is that DHO is NOT a closer. Nor is he a scorer. He’s not Shaq or Hakeem or Duncan. He can’t be depended on for points late in the game.

    • Lin took himself out psychologically LONG before that. Of course, I’m just speculating, so I could totally be wrong. But just knowing Lin’s personality and how he really doesn’t like ball hoggers, I think Lin does start getting self-conscious when he starts scoring a lot. Lin used to be a ball-hogger early in his Highs School years, but his coach pulled him aside and told him that it’s more important to be a distributor than a scorer. More important to make others better than make yourself better. And I think this really stuck with Lin ever since.

      Again, this does not affect him when he does his scoring in the second half. But when Lin starts out hot, he tends to let up–especially when he doesn’t feel like he is the number one option. Even though, without Harden, Lin was the number 1 option last night. But psychologically, his mindset is not that he’s THE number one option. This stuff all happens subconsciously. I’m sure Lin is not, himself, aware of these things. Again, the same thing happened last season in the Spurs game in which he scored 38 points. But Lin was also gassed in that game, as well. He was also gassed in this game, so that had some to do with it. Although, Lin had no problem hitting two threes late in the game when they really needed him to.

      Yeah, McHale likely told Lin to feed DHO, but that happened well after Lin already let up due to not wanting to seem like he was trying to score and be THE MAN. This is how Lin differs from Harden and how when Lin is THE floor general, the scoring is very evenly distributed, because his teammates feed off his unselfishness.

      • yeah you may be right, he was very different emotionally in the 3rd although still playing very efficiently. It could also be his turnovers.. He had like 7-8? So he was giving up the ball as soon as he got it. I think he’s self conscious of his turnovers too. Its a stigma and widely reported “weakness” of his that he is a turnover machine. He likely didn’t want to pick up to many TOs. He was probably trying harder to defend as well. He called this game his “worse defensive game” of the season. So he might have be cognizant of his defensive deficiencies allowing the two guards on the sixers both have career nights. But Beverly or Casspi/Parsons couldn’t do much either. In any case, it was the first enjoyable Rocket game I’ve watched since the start of the season. Hopefully, they can continue to distribute the ball even with Harden back. And hopefully DHO can learn how to better change-up his post game so as to not be so predictable! Can’t wait for tonights game!

        • Yeah, turnovers were also a factor, Jeff.
          DHO has a lot of work to do on his post game. Hopefully, he’ll get there. He did a better job of passing inside out in last night’s game, though. He did this well when he was with the Magics, but I think the Twin Towers lineup kind of messed this up for him. So I’m hoping we’ll see more inside-out from DHO this season–especially to their best shooter, Lin. Ha ha.

      • MrPingPong

        I dunno anything about psychology and certainly do not want to be an armchair psychologist. I dunno what’s going on in Lin’s mind during that game, and it is very possible that Lin dunno what’s going in his subconsciousness either.

        I had questions about Lin’s physical condition by the 4th quarter because Lin has been playing Linsane minutes, putting up Lincredible stats to match his “ridiculous” salary (for give the old worn out puns, I just couldn’t help it). However, Lin is quoted as saying,

        “I wasn’t tired, I was fine,” he said. “I’ve got to find a way to be more effective out there on the floor, especially with the game on the line. Normally I relish the fourth quarter, I love the fourth quarter. I didn’t find a way tonight.”

        http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/basketball/lawrence-ex-knicks-star-finds-life-linsanity-article-1.1515684#ixzz2kemIuorW

        So somehow, he found himself in a mental/physical struggle in that 4th quarter. That’s another thing I love about this man. He is just like any mere mortal with all the ups and downs and internal struggles. What is so special about him is, in spite of all the lickings, he never gives up and just keeps on ticking!

        JL7 is a perfect spoke person for Timex, don’t y’all think? 🙂

        Bring down MSG and beat the Knicks tonight, Brother J-Lin!

  • Forthelin

    I only saw the the last quarter, and when I saw how passive Jeremy seemed to be, I assumed he was having a bad game until I checked the ongoing stats and saw him with 28 points/11 assists!! Then, I checked his minutes and I thought it was clear he was tired. His shots were hitting the front of the rim. I was very confused about his +/-, because Lin had a -11, when it is usually the other way around. What happened there? Shots were well-distributed and it looked like the Rockets were pretty firmly in control, then they just lost it. Very disappointing!

  • MrPingPong

    Why did Asik only play for 4 min?

    • Because Toronto has a small lineup and we know McHale is even more fond of benching Asik than Lin. Lin fans think they have a tough time–it’s nothing compared to Asik fans. Ha ha.

      • MrPingPong

        Toronto?
        🙂
        I love Asik!
        The man is an underdog, all heart, just like Lin.

        • Oops, I meant Sixers. Ha ha.
          Yeah, I like Asik, too and feel bad for how he’s been handled by McHale. He definitely deserves better.

          • MrPingPong

            Dunno how ashley feel about Asik, but perhaps she can write a song for him!
            What do ya think, ashley?
            🙂

  • ashley

    Well, I like Asik and think he’s a handsome guy.
    He seems nice and quiet. I wish he had been interviewed more so we could get to know him more. As a LOF, I feel for our Lin exclusively (so no songs for Asik). I’m all for Asik demanding a trade and kind of hope Lin can do the same. However, like Philosopher said, Lin’s situation is better than Asik’s–I also believe there aren’t many passionate Asik fans to be hurt. (Oh, that’s a bit cruel to say.) With the breakout games and his hot performance so far this season, Lin’s status on the team seems to be more secure. So, even he’s not starting(due to the biased insensitive coach), he’s overcome the adversity again and shall continue to thrive–I’m more optimistic now.