Rockets Have a Great Bench that is Largely Ignored by McHale

The trade “deadline” came and went. Morey couldn’t find a fair trade for Asik so I guess Asik will have to wait for the February trade deadline and if Morey can find good value for Lin, then Lin will be out of Houston by that trade deadline, as well. Morey made the right move by keeping Asik, because there really wasn’t much out there. I, of course, think the best thing for the Rockets is to keep the team as is. But keeping the team as is is not good for Asik or Lin. So it’s a tough situation all around.

Anyway, I came across a very interesting article, which puts stats to something I’ve been complaining about ad nauseam since probably early last season: McHale’s poor rotation. This season, McHale’s lack of usage of the Rockets bench is, perhaps, even more glaring, given that the Rockets have a very deep bench. Here’s the article if you want to check it out for yourself.

The article looks at bench playing time and Net Points per 100 Possessions (NPPP). Here’s a chart which plots out all the NBA teams along these stats:

Bench Playing Time and Net Points

As you can see in the chart, average bench playing time is 36 percent. The Rockets, despite having a great bench, plays its bench below the average at 32 percent. Just how good is the Rockets bench? Here are some stats from the article:

  • 3rd in Points per Possessions
  • 4th in True Shooting Percentage
  • 5th in Net Points per 100 Possessions
  • 8th in +/- per game

Only five other teams play their benches less than the Houston Rockets: Pacers, Timberwolves, Blazers, Wizards and Warriors. What these teams have in common is an unproductive bench. Their benches have negative Net Points per Possessions with the Wizards being an atrocious minus 13.10. The Rockets, on the other hand are 5th in NPPP (+6.10), yet they are 6th from last when it comes to playing time. Something does not make sense and that something is called McHale. McHale’s lack of trust in any players not named Harden, Howard, Parsons and Beverley is really killing this team.

No surprise, the Spurs lead the league in terms of bench playing time 46% and are second in terms of NPPP (11.10). If the Rockets played their bench the way it should be played, the Rockets would have a NPPP somewhere in this vicinity and Harden and Parsons wouldn’t be so banged up so early in the season. The Heat and Thunder also play their bench a healthy amount, despite having a lot of superstars in their starting lineup. If McHale were to coach the Heat and Thunder, their bench wouldn’t see the light of day and their record also wouldn’t be as good. This is how damaging McHale’s player rotation is to the Rockets. And it’s why I’ve been complaining about it ad nauseum since early last season.

In the chart above, all the teams on the right side of the chart have positive NPPP numbers, meaning they have productive benches. As you can see, The Clippers is the only other team that has a very productive bench that is well below average in terms of minutes played. Harden, Parsons, and Howard rank 1st in the league in minutes per game (mpg) for all 3-man lineups. In terms of minutes played, they are the big three, not Lebron, Wade and Bosh. Harden and Parsons ranks 4th in mpg for all 2-man lineups and Harden ranks 3rd in the league in mpg. The other interesting stat from the article that highlights how devastating McHale’s over use of Parsons is that Parsons ranks 4th in the league in distance traveled per game–meaning Parsons runs the floor a heavy amount. But McHale has a very cavalier and dismissive attitude towards player fatigue so I’m sure he doesn’t pay attention to any of these stats or when Howard was humble enough to speak up and say that players should speak up when they’re tired and need a breather.

With Harden, Parsons, and Howard playing heavy minutes, there’s really not that much time left for the rest of the bench. The entire second unit is basically fighting for Jones and Beverley’s time, although Beverley also has started playing heavy minutes. Of curse, the excuse that McHale can give is that Asik really hasn’t been in the lineup and Lin has been injured, etc., but he played his favorite guys heavy minutes even when everyone was healthy. So I don’t buy that excuse. This is just the way McHale is. That being said, I think he will make a concerted effort to play Asik more, since he appeared to not want to give up Asik. So we’ll see. Hopefully, all of these injuries to the team will wake McHale up to the devastating effects of his lopsided player rotation.


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  • dr.b

    hi,i saw the same article……that being said….we need a new coach..part of the problem is his young staff,,,bird surrounded himself with experience….that being said as a fan of j lin….would like to see him traded…

  • pistolpete

    Bench players Garcia, Casspi and Brooks came up big with the absence of Harden, Lin and Asik. Last night with Harden the whole team had only 10 assists but against the Pistons they had 33. I guess when the ball doesn’t stop with Harden other players get involved. LOL. Bev fractured his hand so we’ll see who starts now – Brooks or Lin. Knowing McHale though he might go to the “D” league for a starter.

    • dr.b

      lin will start…McHale probably likes dislikes brooks more then lin….in the last few nights a lot of love showered on lin…first jvg said lin is incredibly undervalued,and is having a really fine season…then hubie showed him some love—talking about how he adapted to the 6 th man role and has improved every aspect of his game…then took some shots at McHale and staff…saying the twin towers experiment needed more then 95 minutes,with coaching and teaching spacing..add pop,karl,and all the rest….lin is in a good spot….this team will win nothing,so he’s gaining more experience…morey should have given harden the wunderlich test….plays like melo….hard to watch…..

      • dr.b

        forgot—-frazier and Monroe love lin—also bird…..a big problem for McHale is he listens to Sampson and his best buddy bill Walton.would like to see him traded..even the pistons would be nice,,,,let him grow

  • pistolpete

    McHale will NEVER give up trying to minimize Lin’s role so don’t expect too much. If Jeremy comes in and shoots > 50% McHale will be forced to play him but if he makes a few turnovers and misses some shots he’ll be yanked.

  • ashley

    What a brilliant thorough discussion on McHale’s player rotation! Totally agree with everything you wrote, Mr. Philosopher. I feel that McHale is a huge stubborn guy. I suspect he knows such criticism about him, and certainly has heard what Howard said, but he doesn’t seem to have changed much. (Right?) I feel sorry for bench players like DMo–without Lin’s impact–both basketball-and marketing-wise, he’s had it worse, wasting his time on the bench. Hopefully Morey, as well as the assistant coaches, reads your post and will talk some sense into McHale.

    • Thanks, Ashley! Really appreciate the kind words.

      I highly doubt Morey reads my posts, though, and I don’t think they’re able to talk much sense into McHale. I also think McHale’s assistant coaches aren’t very good, either. I have read that McHale is pretty open to listening to his assistant coaches. For example, from the stints that Sampson has had coaching the Rockets, it does appear that Sampson is just as awful with player rotations as McHale is.

  • pistolpete

    Looks like Jeremy is playing tonight – I’m psyched!

    Happy Holidays to all!

    • MrPingPong

      From todays’ post practice interview, Lin doesn’t sound convincing to me about his readiness for the game. But I am sure no matter what, Lin will give it all on the court, provided he is given free rein.

      It’s just an opinion. I don’t think Lin will start just because he is rusty and not 100%. I’m OK with that. For the same reason, I am also OK with Lin playing limited minutes in the next few games. I am in for the long run! It’s a marathon!

      Anyway, I will miss tonight’s game. I hope our Philosopher and the participants of this blog will give “lintelligent” game recaps. The Mavs are healthy, but strangely have been loosing games they were supposed to win. In contrast, among the key Rockets players, D12 seems to be the only healthy one. Up one, down one, up again, down again, that’s what the Rockets are like lately.

      Good luck tonight, JL7!

      Enjoy the game with JL7 back, Lin fans! 🙂

      Have a great afternoon/evening/night/morning wherever you are on this WEB!

      • I wanted to see tonight’s game, but ended up catching only the fourth quarter and a little bit of the third quarter, so didn’t get to see Lin in action too much.

        Yeah, I’m sure Lin is rushing back, because of the injury to Beverley and that’s understandable. Lin ended with 20 points, but I didn’t see him do too much for most of the time I watched him. It wasn’t until towards the end that Lin started getting aggressive. It also seemed like his teammates were very reluctant to pass to him, so I was surprised when I checked the box score in the 4th that he had 15 points and was 5 of 8 from the field. I thought he was having a really bad game and that’s why his teammates kept avoiding passing it to Lin. Since I didn’t get to see Lin in action very much tonight, I can’t tell if he did well or not.

        • dr.b

          he played a nice game all things considered…..a little sloppy in the first half…very efficient…..he really isn’t the point guard…… thing I have to say….the rocket announcers are like the 3 stooges….amazing stupidity…..they talk about harden like he’s a superstar…….lin and brooks outscored him and bev….but they were whing about the points we were missing….we could have used asik to bang dirk around…no adjustments on him tonight..match-set -point—carlisle

          • ashley

            Despite the team’s loss, I’m just glad for Lin scoring 20 points. Last time coming back from injury, he didn’t score as efficiently and was given less than 17 minutes’ playing time, as I recall. This game, since both Harden and Beverley couldn’t play, Lin got to play 37 minutes. McHale was outcoached, again, but it seems McHale is still better for Lin than Sampson is. Lin had 5 TOs. He said he didn’t pass the ball well. He probably needs to have more chemistry with his teammates on the court. This game, he only took 10 shots. Hopefully, next game, he’ll take more shot attempts and the team wins.

    • Thanks, pistolpete. Happy Holidays to you, as well!

  • MrPingPong

    Happy Holidays to all Lin fans/non-fans!

    Game day for Lin and the Rockets. Two years ago today, Lin was cut from the Rockets. The pundits did not believe Lin could play in the NBA then and most of them still do not think Lin belongs now. Nobody gives Lin and the Rockets a chance tonight against the Spurs.

    Well, nobody except this LOF: Lin will boss tonight. Sorry CH, but the Rockets will pull out an upset tonight! 🙂

    Have a great day/afternoon/evening/night wherever you are on this WEB!

    PS: In case you are new to this blog, CH is a LOF but also a Spurs fan! 🙂

    • MrPingPong

      I called it!


      Merry Christmas!


    • I don’t have the time to write a post about this game, unfortunately. I did have a chance to see the game and really focus on it for the first time in a little while. It was one of the best wins of the season for the team. Total team effort by the starting unit. Lin is still just standing in the corner and coughing up the ball as soon as he crosses the half court line, but he did an excellent job of containing Parker last night. Had a couple of great blocks–especially of that athletic one against Parker. He also had a critical steal against Parker that really sealed the game. Lin also ended with 8 assists, which I was pretty surprised to see in the box score, since it was more than I expected from watching the game. Overall, this is the game that McHale wants out of Lin. Just play it safe. But we know that Lin is capable of a lot more than that. Harden’s Hero Balling in the 4th quarter worked last night, but lets hope he doesn’t think this is a recipe for success in every game.

      • Jeff

        He did have the highest +/-

      • MrPingPong

        I missed the first half and watched only the second half. But, I am sure that if we have chance to review the game, we will see Lin giving up the ball and trotting to the corner the majority of the time. This seems to be the way McHale wants Lin to play and Lin has come to accept it and adapt to this ingenious strategy of McHale. I have given up hope that this will change any time soon. As a result, I have lost my motivation to go watch the Rockets live at Toyota Center.

        Speaking Toyota Center, Rockets will play Griz tonight at TC. The writers at DreamShake still do not think much of Lin because this time they are rating Conley ahead of Lin in the match up. Sigh…

        Anyway, I hope y’all have as much faith in Lin as I have. Lin will boss again tonight, back to back or not.

        Letz go JL7!

  • Jeff
    • MrPingPong

      These guys are FEP pretending to write in support of Lin. They just want to get clicks on their articles. Any article mentioning Lin in the title will get clicks.

      I stopped reading Bleacher Reports articles on Lin, though I know Howard Beck, a well respected NY Times sports writer, also write for Bleacher Reports.

    • That is either a LOT of bullshit or utter cluelessness, Jeff. Yeah, I also don’t read much Bleacher Reports. The readers of Bleacher Reports know more than the writers. The writers mainly just try to pump out articles to meet deadlines or quotas or whatever, so the quality is definitely lacking as a result. I also feel like articles on Lin tend to be purposefully controversial to generate comments. I’m glad to see that there are plenty of comments on the article to make it clear that the writer of that piece has no idea what he’s talking about.

  • MrPingPong

    I called it, didn’t I?
    Lin bossed!
    Mr. 4th quarter as always!

    • MrPingPong

      The almost sad ending was had AB not got injured, McHale being McHale would sit Lin in the 4th and the Rockets fan would live unhappily ever after…


      • I missed the Grizzlies game. AB got injured?

        Once, again, McHale does the right thing for the Rockets when he’s forced to go completely against his natural inclinations. You’re completely right, Lin would have been benched in the fourth if McHale had his way and Rockets would have lost.

        • MrPingPong

          AB fell down and rolled his ankle in the 4th and had to sit out the rest of the game. He said he would try to play if needed. So it was a minor injury, I think.

  • MrPingPong
  • ashley

    I watched the 4th quarter and saw Lin and the Rockets put on an exciting show–all five players played really hard and McHale let them play to the end. It would have been even better hadn’t there been so many foul calls, which disrupted the flow of the game.

    Harden set an NBA record of getting the most points (27) while making no more than 2 field goals–he was 2-9 this game. Our Lin, got his 14 points in the 4th quarter. Other than a 3-pointer, he made a Linsanity-type layup, and like Harden, got to the free-throw line a few times. When I saw Harden got the ball and charged, I felt he was playing hero ball again, but he made it anyway–only this time by getting foul calls.

    There was a sensational team play leading to a dunk by D-Mo after getting Lin’s pass.
    ( That play got Howard and everyone excited. Howard only got 2 points this game, but he didn’t seem to feel too bad and was genuinely happy that D-Mo got to shine.

    It’s a bit funny that again, McHale couldn’t start Beverley and was forced to give Lin back his starter role. Let’s hope Lin keep it up and stay healthy the rest of the season!

    • MrPingPong

      I missed the first half but was able to watch the second half. And yes, that pass from Lin to D-Mo was sensational! The crowd erupted and the Grizz fell apart from there.

      D-Mo found a way to stop Z-Bo, something that D12 was unable to do in this game. And Lin gave credits to D-Mo afterwards.

      Harden played smart. His long range shots did not fall, so he started to share the ball more (for example, passing to Lin who was open and Lin made the trey) and attacked the baskets instead. The Grizz could not stop Harden’s drives to the basket and just fouled him over and over again. Parsons and TJ also played extremely well.

      Down 76-66 with 11 min to play in the 4th, the team mounted a come back with Lin playing defense, grabbing rebounds, creating plays, making his shots, Harden attacking the baskets, D-Mo playing defense… It was a total team effort. Great game! 🙂

      The Pels are next! Lin will boss! Rockets will win. Unfortunately, I will miss that game.

      • Thanks for the recap, Ashley and MrPingPong!

        Aside from AB getting injured, D12 was also humble enough (unlike Harden) to tell McHale to keep D-Mo in the game, because D-Mo was doing well. Had D12 not been humble enough to do the right thing, McHale would have gone with his coaching instincts and pulled D-Mo in favor of his superstar and who knows if the Rockets would have still pulled out the win. So, again, McHale does good things for this team when he goes completely against his natural instincts as a coach.

        • MrPingPong

          Yeah, D12 was jumping up and down on the sideline cheering for the team. Also, McHale said in the post game interview that D12 had been playing with a stiff back.

          As to AB’s injury, check out the video replay at this site at around the 1:40 min mark.

          There was about 20 sec left in the 3rd quarter. Lin came in and played the rest of the game.

          Speaking of injuries, Westbrook just had arthroscopic surgery on the same right knee again. Out for two months at least. I think this is a case of rushing back too quickly, not giving the body enough time to heal. Sad story!

          • ashley

            Checked out the video, looked the article, and found the author outrageous–he mentioned every player’s contribution except Lin’s! Was he blind? Did he not see the game or not read anything about it? This shows an intentional downplaying of Lin that I don’t get why! Lin’s been unfairly treated not only by his coach but also by the media.

          • MrPingPong

            Here’s the original report and the video from CSN Houston:


            As you can see, ashley, the reporter did mention Lin as the one who put the final nail in the coffin with his defensive rebound and his two FTs. Also Lin got the postgame interview by TNT whose reporter clearly acknowledged Lin’s key contribution to the win.


            So Lin did get a little bit of recognition. And that’s about all we can hope for. As I’ve mentioned in many of my posts, Rockets fans do not embrace Lin as the New York fans did. May be one of these days… Let’s be optimistic! 🙂

        • ashley

          Thanks for bearing with my unprofessional report. Since Mr. Philosopher said he missed the game, I thought I might as well tell a little bit what I saw and felt, but couldn’t put it as well or accurately as Mr. Philosopher or Mr. Pingpong (Wow, Mr. P & P!) since I’m still quite new to basketball and probably even writing in English–the previous post was the first time I wrote the term “field goal.” (Ha!)

          One thing I forgot to mention is after the game, the commentators (on the Fox channel) said that though DH was out, the team tried hard to grab the rebounds–Yes,that was exactly what I saw–they did that like mad! During a Rockets’ timeout, I clearly heard McHale told them to get rebounds, but that’s what they had already been doing, nothing fresh. The commentator even said that with DH out, the Rockets played like the Rockets–instead of always trying to feed the ball to DH, they became more versatile and the the “small ball” strategy worked.

  • MrPingPong

    A Clutchfans die-hard just reminded everybody that Dec. 27, 2011 was the day the Knicks picked Lin off waiver:

    As Lin often says, ‘things happen for a reason’! 🙂

    Again, Happy Jeremy Lin Day! (as posted by the die-hard clutchfan):

    • ashley

      Mr. Pingpong, you posted two links and the first one lead to a brief article on the Dreamshake the author of which (Patrick Harrel) made no mention of Lin. Here it is:

      As the second half of last night’s Rockets game got underway, things were not looking good for the Rockets. Just four minutes into the 3rd quarter, Dwight Howard picked up his fifth foul and Donatas Motiejunas was forced to enter. Instead of the somewhat uninspired, lackluster basketball Motiejunas has treated us to this season, D-Mo played excellent in his most action of the season, making key defensive plays and running the floor as the Rockets came back against the Grizzlies.

      As Chandler Parsons said after the game, “it wasn’t pretty, but a win’s a win.” James Harden made 22 free throws, Chandler Parsons had a double-double, and Terrence Jones went 10 for 14 from the floor and the Rockets somehow pulled out the win.

      It feels weird, doesn’t it?

      • MrPingPong

        That’s right, ashley. The article by the Dreamshake folks makes no mention of Lin. And as I’ve said many times before, Rockets fans do not appreciate Lin the way Knicks fans did.
        For one thing, Knicks fans witnessed first hand Linsanity and experienced with their own eyes how Lin saved the Knicks’ season.

        So I posted other links that do show a little bit of appreciation of Lin, to show that there do exist a handful of fans and media people who do recognize Lin as a key player.

        I do not want to wish injuries on any player, but McHale is so lucky to be forced into playing Lin because his favorite guards are injured just like D’Antoni was forced to play Lin in New York. The big difference is after the Nets game, D’Antoni recognized Lin right away and immediately made Lin the starting PG while McHale remains a doubter after 82 games last season and more than 20 games this season.

        Let Lin Be, McHale! 🙂

        • ashley

          Thanks for the response, Mr. Pingpong, and sorry for not truly getting your message. Indeed, lots of New Yorkers embrace Lin, and I think the Knicks would remain a good choice for him–if Dolan would come around some day, though he appears to be a stubborn guy who never admits mistakes. Just a while ago, when asked about Amare, he said he didn’t regret signing him. No one asked him about letting Jeremy go, though. That would be too sensitive a question to ask.

  • ashley

    Rumor has it that the Rockets Lin may be traded to the Bulls. ( If this pulls off , it will be the biggest news next year for Lin fans. I think te rumor can’t come out of nowhere, and Morey must have been working on trading Lin; it’s just that he hasn’t been able to get a good deal yet.

    If trading Lin is what the Rockets’ front office has been having in mind, they’d certainly not care much about his career development, and thus the demotion. We could say McHale is a Lin doubter, but in the end, the reality may be M & M just think they already have a PG/SG in Harden (and also Beverley and AB) so they can do without Lin. On the other hand, today they gave out Jeremy Lin keychains to the first 5000 Lin fans to the Pelicans game, so they’re still using Lin as a marketing tool. (

    In the Pelicans game, Jeremy couldn’t find the basket (0-6) in the first three quarters; therefore, became Mr. 4th Q again to deliver 10 points, helping the team nail the win. After the game, he said he was thankful to be able to stay on the court, and I’m thankful as well that this game didn’t become the one with zero points. For two games, his shooting in the first three quarters didn’t look good. Hopefully, he can regain his good shooting touch earlier this season. By the way, before this game, he needed 8 more points to reach 2000 points in his NBA career, and he made it.

    • Pistolpete

      If the Rockets trade Lin to Chicago it will leave them without a true playmaker and they will be screwed. They will deserve it for the way they have jerked around Lin. On the other hand, It will be great for Jeremy and the Bulls.

    • Thanks for the info, Ashley. I think this trade would hurt the Rockets. But Rockets definitely deserve it for the way they’ve mishandled Lin in every way. As long as Rose is injured, this trade would be great for Lin, because the Bulls are full of unselfish players and they have a premiere coach. My concern is once Rose is healthy, what happens to Lin? Maybe they’ll have Lin start as a shooting guard. In that case, it might not be too bad, but then he’ll still face the issue of not having the ball in his hands, etc. He’ll likely play shooting guard and point guard, which might not be so bad. The thing I really love about this trade is that Lin will finally have a high caliber coach. A coach that is all about winning, rather than playing favoritism.

      • ashley

        Currently, it’s a rumor or a leak of secret info. It may not become truth, but the bottom line is it’s sending a message that Morey is still working on the trade, which is somewhat depressing to hear.

        As to whether the Rockets will suffer due to the loss of Lin, I’m not so sure. We know Harden assumes the PG role most of the time. Sometimes he moves the ball, and sometimes he goes ISO. And it has become a norm for the Rox. After the Pelican game, perhaps when asked about making a comeback in the fourth quarter, Harden said that’s why he came here–to be a playmaker. So while we fans fancy the ideal situation for Lin–being the PG running the team, Harden is learning to be the PG, and his ISO play worked in the 4th in both the Grizziles and Pelican games.

        Actually, Lin’s other teammates like Parsons or TJ go ISO too, and they stood out, getting good stats. For now, I kind of hope Lin will focus more on scoring instead of trying too hard to be a PG who always looks to pass–he may be passing to get assists or passing his scoring opportunities.

  • pistolpete

    The Rockets will feel the loss of Lin if they trade him and don’t get a playmaker in return. It’s true they won’t feel the loss nearly as much as if they actually used him the way that they should. Just look at the 2 games where he had 14 and 10 points in the 4th Q and was a big factor in their victories. Watching the Thunder game though I became even more convinced that he needs to be traded. He looked very tenative and afraid to shoot after missing a few. The environment is definitely stifling his growth. If he gets traded to Chicago he’ll have half a year under an excellent coach to grow as a player and lead a team. It should do wonders for his confidence. When Rose comes back they’ll probably play a lot together especially if Jeremy establishes himself there.

  • ashley

    Then let’s hope Morey gets the deal done! Also, let’s hope Lin toughens up–that he’ll always be aggressive, not to be affected by anything, including his own shooting.

  • MrPingPong

    I missed the first half of the Thunder game and watched the whole second half.

    Lin tried to attack but the Thunder’s defense was tight and Lin seemed to have little energy left. The usual burst of speed was not there. The shots and the FTs were falling. Sign of some serious fatigue. This goes with the rest of the team as well. AB seemed to be the only one with any legs at all.

    Anyway, it’s the Kings game at home tonight for the Rockets. The folks at DreamShake gave Isiah the edge over Lin. They are wrong. Lin will boss tonight!

    Have morning/afternoon/evening wherever you are on this WEB!

  • pistolpete

    I think Lin is pretty tough but he has been getting jerked around for a year and a half. I imagine everyone has their limit. Some players like Brooks never saw a shot they don’t like and who will keep shooting no matter what. Others (even LeBron) back off outside shots if they miss a few. However I would like to see Jeremy have more confidence in his shot and less conscience in taking it.

    • MrPingPong

      Yeah, PistolPete, if you don’t shoot, you don’t score! What I saw in the Thunder game was AB taking the initiative and shoot! Lin needs to do the same: shoot!

  • ashley

    Happy New Year, everyone! It’s been another year communicating our Lin thoughts and feelings on this site of Mr. Philosopher. I’ve enjoyed reading your posts a lot and am thankful for it. I feel that Lin, in his third (or second) full NBA season, still has lots of ups and downs, perhaps due to the unstable status–his role & the playing time–on the team. For the new year, I’ll try to stay positive and expect his basketball career to get better and better.

    • Thanks, Ashley, for the very kind words. Happy New Year to you, as well as everyone else! Sorry I haven’t had a chance to write much, recently. I also haven’t had a chance to watch many Rockets games, due to the busy Holidays. I have no doubt Lin’s career will get better and better.

      • ashley

        Actually, you don’t need to watch every game to know what’s going on, thanks to many passionate Lin fans. And it’s good to be less “linsane” and focus more on one’s own real life, thinks an obsessed LOF.

  • MrPingPong

    Happy New Year!

    I watched the Kings game last night. What can I say? Sigh… McHale waited too long in the 4th quarter to put Lin back in. Harden’s hero ball failed again.

    Anyway, it’s a brand new year, and perhaps a new beginning for the Knicks? Oops, I mean McHale, Lin and the Rockets.

    Letz go JL7! Beat the crap out the Knicks!

    • I missed the Kings game. I was afraid that Harden would rely too heavily on his Hero Balling, since it worked for a couple of games and it looks like that happened. I just read a quick update on Ultimate Rockets about the Rockets having a team meeting. There’s a lot wrong with this team and it all begins with the way McHale has misused Lin. But, I’m sure that subject wasn’t raised at all in their team meeting, so I doubt the team meeting will have much of a long term impact. Rockets will continue to be up and down as long as they continue to misuse Lin.

      My biggest concern for Lin is that the longer he plays under McHale’s mismanagement, the more bad habits he will develop (i.e., playing scared) and the more he’ll go away from playing his game. He’ll have to relearn to getting back to playing the way he knows how if and when he manages to get away from McHale and McHale’s cronies.

      • MrPingPong

        Yeah, Philosopher! I agree with you that Lin is not improving if not regressing under McHale’s strategy of bringing the ball past mid court, handing it to H13 and go standing in the corner. This has become a real source of frustration and concern for me as well.

        But, I still believe Lin, being a cerebral player, will figure out a way to adapt and polish up some parts of his game. It’s tough to play in the NBA when you don’t have the right look.

        On a separate note, I received the Bluray version of Linsanity the Movie. I was somewhat disappointed of the complete lack of “bonus” materials. I am hearing that the DVD version, which is to come out later in January, will have more bonus materials. Oh well, I guess I’ll rent it from NetFlix then.

        And about these Harden, Lin, Asik trade rumors, I really don’t pay a whole lot of attention to them.

      • webattorney

        Lin now rarely makes good passes, and his entry passes to Dwight is not all that better than other players.

        • MrPingPong

          I wonder what McHale have Lin do during practice with the A team, now that Bev is out for a while. What is it that the Dream saw in the Lin/Howard combination that McHale has failed to see?

          Lin is not playing his game. He does not look like he is having fun. The smile is gone. Rockets basketball is not so exciting these days…

          May be when Bev comes back, Lin will get to play with the B team again and do his things. Now that’s basketball! 🙂

          • webattorney

            The very potency of Lin as a BB player lies in the fact that he’s can pass or score in a given situation. This is why Lin deserves a chance to make those decisions.

  • dr.b

    some interesting articles on espn site…they have a section called 5 on 5….one well known writer said in 2014 harden could be traded,,,,they don’t like his defense and other things Houston quantifies….these are real writers ,not children on b/r….in another 5 on 5….for 6th man of the year award…2 writers picked lin….one said his not starting is a huge protracted organizational mistake….another said -how do u not start your best player////check this out……love to see harden gone

    • ashley

      Nice to know Harden could be traded, though I find it hard to believe–it’ll just be too good to be true! Harden’s selfish play at the end of the Kings game caused some reactions. In the post-game interview, Parson said it’s not that they don’t like each other, but they sometimes play selfish…and they should play more unselfishly. On the other hand, from the news report I read, Jeremy defended Harden saying something like things don’t always go your way and that Harden played well, carrying the team. What a nice teammate Jeremy is! Oh, by the way, the Jeremy keychains were provided by Kenda Tires, a Taiwanese sponsor.

    • MrPingPong

      Hello dr.b, I found the 5-on-5 article on Lin the 6th man, but could not find anything on Harden’s tradability. Perhaps you could give us a link here.

      Here is the link to the 5-on-5 discussion of the 6th man award, for the folks who could not find it on ESPN.

      • Dr.b

        Dec.31….5 on5…its in there last question

        • MrPingPong

          I see.
          Thanks, dr.b.
          It sure will be a big surprise. I would settle for something less surprising such as McHale being “traded” away. 🙂

      • Here’s the link on 5 on 5 that Dr.b referred to:

        It’s the last question “one surprise that will happen in 2014…”

        This would be shocking, indeed, although I think the Rockets would be the better for it. Unfortunately, I doubt anyone within the Rockets organization thinks this. Harden is their guy and he and Howard will be with the team for a long time.

    • Thanks for the info, dr.b.

      The part about “his not starting is a huge protracted organizational mistake, etc.” is not a reference about Lin. They were talking about Isaiah Thomas. Just thought I’d clarify that.

  • ashley

    In this Knicks game, Lin was benched for the entire 4th Q, and I seemed to have felt that coming when he got subbed out early in the 3rd quarter. Though having not watched many Rockets’ games, I feel this is the most outrageous benching ever simply because Lin played well in the first half (he was 5-9, getting 14 points) and AB played poorly (1-8) throughout the game, except for making the two FTs, which happened to secure the Rockets’ win at the end.

    What was McHale’s reason for benching Lin? According to a source on twitter, MH thought that group with AB got them back in the game, hence he let them play through the 4th Q. While it may not be such a horrible decision in hindsight, with the Rockets’ lucky win, it’s still not a reasonable move for an NBA coach, and most of all, it clearly shows a total disrespect and insensitivity of Lin and his fans, who I believe constituted a good proportion of the audience. Yeah, I saw parents and kids in Lin’s jersey cheering for the team win on the stands, and I couldn’t help feeling sorry for them.

    With the high scoring these two games, Harden’s hero-ball play has been further established–the ball-hog is getting the best chance to develop as a playmaker. So I think there’s probably no point in complaining Harden hero balling anymore. According to Morey’s recent talk, he’s not keen on a trade; he’d like the team to gel. Thus if there’s no trade going, I could only hope Lin gets more playing time. And if there is, it’ll be something to look forward to–some serious hope for a better team for Lin.

    • ashley

      Correction:..disrespect and insensitivity “for Lin and his fans….

    • MrPingPong

      I was at the game last night. The Rockets were lucky to pull off a win. The Knicks played really well, except for the botched bone-headed 3 pt attempt with 24 sec left and the game tied at 100. McHale was just lucky. There would be so many people calling for his head had the Rockets lost.

      Anyway, I listened to the post-game presser on the radio on my drive back from the game. McHale was asked why he played AB the whole 4th quarter, and his answer was what ashley said in the above.

      Lin was asked by a reporter about the condition of his shoulder and his answer was it was OK. There’s some rumor about the team doctor kept Lin from playing, but I cannot verify any of that.

      The positive from Lin not playing in the 4th quarter is that he did not get exposed to potential injuries. I was sitting in the lower bowl, and boy it was a very physical game with a lot damaging contacts..

      OK, here is my video for the first quarter.

      More later! Enjoy!

      • Thanks for the great game recaps, Ashley and MrPingPong, as well as the game clips. I didn’t watch this game, but from what I’ve read, as well as from your game recaps, I have a feeling I would have been really pissed if I had watched this game. Rockets won by a fluke and McHale mismanaged minutes to the extreme. He also benched Lin for no good reason, giving his patented, “I just kept the unit that got us back in the game.” And Rockets accidentally won, so McHale won’t be criticized for his decision to bench Lin. Looks like Harden is continuing to play Hero Ball and McHale is, of course, not doing anything about it. A very frustrating game across the board vs. Lin’s old team.

        I think Morey saying that he’s not looking for a trade is likely a ploy so that he can still get good value for Asik/Lin. If teams know that Morey is “desperate” to find trades for Asik/Lin, then they know he’s willing to accept low value trades, so Morey needs to put it out there that he’s not looking to trade. So I think that’s what that was mostly about. If Morey can get fair value for Asik/Lin, I have no doubt Asik/Lin will be gone in a heartbeat.

      • ashley

        Indeed, the Knicks played well. They had fewer turnovers and made their 3 pointers–Iman Shumpert was amazing, hitting 6 threes–so a lot of times the Knicks were in the lead.

        Though it appeared that LIn didn’t do as well in the 3rd and got subbed out, a reasonable move at the time so he could get some rest, the Knicks still got their 34 points in the third and entered the 4th with an 8-point lead (81-73). Yes, in the 4th, the Rockets caught up, but that had nothing to do with AB.

        So now we know another of McHale’s rotation rule–keep them if they play well. This shows his conservative mindset and laziness, and his disregard of Lin, who had been Mr. 4th Q for consecutive games and was playing against his former team, which should somewhat be the focus of the game.

        At the 1:54 mark of the video, Lin was fouled before making the basket, so the shot was discounted. I’m not sure how this is different from the 2+1 play where there was a foul but the shot was counted.

        Last, I feel the Rockets has regressed against the Knicks–they barely won the two games this season while last season, they blew them out with a lot of fast breaks, which were so exciting to watch ‘cuz the old Knicks just couldn’t catch up.

      • MrPingPong

        Back to rumors of Lin’s shoulder injury.

        The following highlight video shows Lin grabbing his right shoulder after being fouled at around the 1:55 mark.

        My video shows a different angle at around the 3:17 mark.

        The replay there does not seem to show that Lin was hit on the shoulder. However, Lin was grabbing his shoulder and seemed really bothered by that.

        Later on in the post-game interview, Lin was asked about it and his answer was it was an old injury and he was OK. Check out this interview at around the 1:55 min mark:

        I may be overly preoccupied with injuries, but as you all know serious injuries are sidelining quite a few NBA stars lately. Lin needs to stay healthy all the way to the playoffs in order to prove his worth again (and again).

    • webattorney

      It’s hard for Lin to improve as a player if he cannot play through his mistakes. However, more I watch Lin over-help in his D, the more I start shaking my head. It’s Lincredible that he has not yet learned that over-helping on D makes him look foolish in the Rockets system. Also, when he tries to help on D, he’s not really effective. I cracked up when he started moving his feet like a base-runner trying to fake out a pitcher.

      • MrPingPong

        We are in agreement with you here, webattorney, about learning and improving by playing through mistakes. Lin does not have such luxury under McHale. We have discussed this issue many times over in this blog.

        As to the Rockets system, I think I pretty much understand what their offense system is: give the ball to Harden and watch him iso. But I am not sure what their defense system is: watch Harden watch the ball? 🙂

        One thing I notice is Lin’s steal average is now sitting at 1, as opposed to last season’s 1.6. Perhaps this drop is a consequence of Lin’s trying to over-help too much? I dunno…

      • Yep, Lin’s biggest weakness on defense is that he over-helps on D. I think this has something to do with his unselfishness as a person, not just as a basketball player. I’ve discussed Lin’s defense on a couple of YouTube videos, including this one:

        • ashley

          Whether Lin over helps in defense or not, he is always chasing around his guy, which must be very energy-consuming. No other Rockets do that, and I doubt if any other players/PGs on the other teams do that. This makes me wonder if it’s really necessary–perhaps he could cut down the chasing and still fulfill his defensive duty? That way, he could certainly save some energy for offense and better preserve himself.

    • webattorney

      Because Rockets will in all likelihood make playoffs, Mac should do everything to sharpen the strengths and confidence of his players. To that end, he should be playing D Mo every game and set up a consistent PT. I really think he’s making a big mistake playing Harden and Parson too much, and will suffer big time during playoffs.

      • Yes, McHale probably the worst managing players minutes and it has been hurting this team and will continue to hurt this team. This is a topic I’ve discussed at length on this blog, as well as on the corresponding YouTube Channel (

  • dr.b

    harden and parsons played 45 minutes….howard 38,,,,too many…….there are going to be consequences to these minutes…..against the knicks……

    • Yeah, dr.b. Once again, atrocious management of minutes by McHale. No surprise.

      • dr.b

        Jeremy played 28 minutes against the knicks….considering his knee and back issues,,,that’s fine considering the rockets are about to implode….see d howard,,,,he must be pissed off

  • MrPingPong

    OK folks, here is Q3 of the Knicks game.


  • MrPingPong

    No Lin in the 4th quarter, just Harden’s hero balling…
    Harden was hot, no doubt about it. But the Knicks panicked in the last minute and made bone-headed mistakes and lost.
    At the beginning of the season, I was so optimistic about the Rockets. But now, with McHale at the helm and the way he has been “coaching”, I just don’t see how the Rockets can get past the first round in the playoffs.

    I saw Lin went to the Knicks and talked to Chandler and Amare after the game. I was only able to video a little of the tail end when they parted. Have fun!

  • webattorney

    Good blog. I like this site better than other Lin forums because it’s more of a discussion site rather than a fan site. Nothing wrong with other sites though. Good stuff.

    • Thanks very much, webattorney! Yeah, I really enjoy more in-depth discussions and am grateful that I can have them here with the readers of this blog.

      • fire9flyer

        Yes, so in-depth that I enjoy more reading than writing here. Whatever I write here will appear foolish after a while. I am sure people here will encourage each other to contribute, but I am just not there yet. Catching up ….

        This is such a high quality discussion blog. Thanks !

        • standupphilosopher

          Wow! Thanks, fire9flyer. I’ve seen plenty of great comments by you in the past. Hope you continue to comment.

  • ashley

    On Red94, there’s a post titled ” What happens during crunch time” analyzing the Rockets’ crunch time performance. Basically, it says “All teams seem to do worse during crunch time…The Houston Rockets are even worse during crunch time compared to NBA average..”

    There is also a discussion by six Red94 writers titled “How much of the Houston Rockets’ problem is James Harden?” and I like this statement: “If he scores in these circumstances, that’s the exception, not the rule.”

    They concluded that although Harden is the weakest link in the Rockets’ defense, he’s too offensively gifted to be traded, unless Morey gets star players like Durant, Lebron, or Kevin Love in return. One mentioned a possible reason for a Harden trade, which is if “a young player develops on the Houston roster who provides a similar calibre of play to Harden but with better defensive potential, rendering Harden obsolete.” The guy obviously didn’t think of LIn, but I did. Didn’t they know Lin scored 38 in the Spurs game last season and 34 points in the Sixers game this season? Our LIn has already proved he could have as amazing stats as Harden; it’s just that he hasn’t been given much chance.

    • Thanks for the link, Ashley. I’ve discussed the reason why NBA teams and the Rockets are so poor during crunch time in a post last season which can also be found in the Side Bar under “Featured Posts”:

      The essential reason why NBA teams as a whole do poorly during crunch time is because the conventional wisdom in basketball is that you want the ball in the hands of your superstar. And, as a result, you end up doing things completely differently during crunch time than during the rest of the game, often with negative results. And this is magnified a hundred fold under McHale. I think teams would have much more success if they just continue to play their game despite what the clock says. Continue to run plays that gave them success up until that point. Don’t suddenly scrap everything and depend on your superstar to win the game. There’s a lot of these examples of counterintuitive thinking both in the NBA and outside that very few people are capable of, because they’re so steeped into their way of thinking and can’t see things from a different perspective.

      As for the writer not seeing Lin’s star potential. This is to be expected, because McHale has played to Lin’s weakness at every turn and “Rockets Fans” aren’t very familiar with Lin’s game. If this writer is capable of seeing Lin’s potential, then he would conclude that the Rockets are better off without Harden, now that they have Howard. I do believe that if Lin is allowed to play his game and Harden is traded for a non-ball dominant superstar, then the Rockets would win the championship. Maybe not immediately but very soon after.

  • Drew

    The same writer from Red94 just looked at all teams crunch time performance. Looks like the Rockets aren’t alone in crapping the bed when it matters most.

    • The NBA needs to get away from the conventional way of thinking of relying heavily on your superstar to win the game during crunch time. They need to keep doing what has given them success throughout that particular game. Unfortunately, this way of thinking is so ingrained that it is difficult to very difficult to break away from. It takes a disruptive thinker to do this and there are very few disruptive thinkers in any field, let alone the NBA.

  • ashley

    The Bulls just got a deal done with the Cavaliers and sent away Luol Deng, who was rumored to be traded to the Rockets for Lin. So the previous news turned out to be just a rumor.

    • Thanks for the news update, Ashley.

  • Lin said this of D’Antoni in this article:

    “I think he lets guards play through their mistakes,” Lin said. “I think he gives them a lot of freedom and creativity and I think he’s really good at finding ways to get mismatches on the floor and he’s really innovative when it comes to that type of stuff. So, he does a great job and he makes you feel like (you’re important). He empowers you, basically.”

    I think this is Lin’s way of rebuking McHale’s coaching style and treatment of him. Of course, Lin would never go out express his displeasure with McHale to the press. But by complimenting specific aspects of D’Antoni’s coaching approach, Lin expresses the type of coach he wishes McHale would be.

    • MrPingPong

      As I mentioned in an earlier post, Tanenbaum, a famous Computer Scientist, once said, “If you are not making mistakes, you are not being creative enough.” Smart people will always recognize their mistakes, try to understand them and learn from them.

      Lin is smart person. He is the first to admit his mistakes and will always try to find ways to correct or at least minimize them. He is quite subtle at making critiques without hurting anyone’s feelings. I really like this man.

  • ashley

    I had a great healthy laugh watching this video clip.

    • Howard’s reaction was the most hilarious. Garcia was completely stone cold. I wonder if he already knew about it. If not, then I would want Garcia on my team if a Zombie apocalypse happens.

  • MrPingPong

    OK, folks here are the first quarter (or what’s left of it) and the second quarter of Rockets vs Lakers last night.

    I was late to the game and missed the first 9:30 minutes of it. From the box score and various game commentaries, Lin seemed to have changed from Mr. 4th quarter to Mr. 1st quarter! You’ve changed… bro…

    Lin missed a few wide-open treys and seemed to have become gun shy afterwards. His defense looked good though.

    Enjoy your day/afternoon/evening/night wherever you are on this WEB!


    • Thanks for the clips, MrPingPong. I missed the first half, so didn’t get to see Lin do his thing much on the offensive end. I’ve missed a lot of Rockets games, but Lin’s three point is not looking like it did early in the season. I don’t think it’s been the same since his 9 three outburst against the Sixers.

      • MrPingPong

        OK Lin fans, in case you are interested, here is a little bit of Lin warming up shooting treys before the second half.

        And here is the 3rd quarter. Lin was looking to pass more than to shoot. Too passive in my opinion. Not a good.sign.

  • MrPingPong

    Hello Lin fans/non-fans!

    In case you are interested, here is the 4th quarter of the Rockets vs Lakers game.

    Game day today for Lin and the Rockets.
    The Hawks are hurting with key injuries, but somehow they managed to beat the Pacers the other night!
    Lin’s counterpart is Jeff Teague, a solid PG.
    The pundits at Dreamshake give the edge to Teague.
    As to me, I always predict: Lin will boss!

    Have a great day/afternoon/evening/night wherever you are on this WEB!

  • dr.b

    lin did a fine fine defenseive job on Teague,,i think 2-10….but lins attitude is poor…body language….brooks comes in in and says what the fuck and plays and shoots…like whats the worst thing that can happen….lin needs to be more bad ass…..stop passing to harden…might be easiest way to get traded…he’s not playing loose…or happy….of course McHale is not a good coach…doesn’t matter……he was brought up to well

    • MrPingPong

      I missed the first half and a little bit of the 3rd quarter of the Atlanta game. From what I saw, Lin was hesitant, unsure of himself, and not trying to score.

      Last season, he was remembered and crucified for the air ball he made in the Heat game. This season he will be forever ridiculed by the made faux 3 ptr that would have tied the game with 5 sec left on the clock.

      Let’s see how Lin handles himself after this debacle!

      Letz go Lin! Play will abandonment tonight and beat John Wall and Co!

  • MrPingPong

    Hello Lin fans/non-fans! Just making conversation here….

    I was only able to watch the first 9 min of the first quarter of the Wiz game last night. I listened to the game on the radio a little bit while driving. Anyway, from the highlights and the box score, Lin seemed to play well (except for the dismal 3 pt shooting, what happened to you, Lin?).

    Lin played 43 min last night, more than Rockets on the floor. McHale has changed, bro…? Anyway, with two long rain delays, I think that was OK for Lin and any other player.

    Any thoughts on the game last night, anybody?

    Have a great day/afternoon/evening/night wherever you are on the WEB!


  • pistolpete

    In case you haven’t seen this:

    It shows that Lin leads the NBA point guards in points per shot.

    • MrPingPong

      Thanks, pistol, for the link. My sense is that there are more FEP (flat earth people) out there that we would like to believe. Even though the stats how good Lin is, they only focus on the negatives and try to dismiss Lin at every chance they have.

      Anyway, my belief is Lin will meet all the challenges and will develop into a formidable NBA player. My impression is that most Lin fans are impatient and want to see Lin play like Linsanity over and over again. But reality is Lin is only one of the 400+ best basketball players in the world and will have to find his own way to adapt in order to survive and excel.

      As a LOF, I believe Lin will triumph in the end! 🙂

  • pistolpete

    I think the reason Lin got to play so much was because with 2 minutes left in the 1st Q and the Rockets leading by 6 Brooks replaced Lin and Wall scored 6 straight points on him tying the score. I think McHale was petrified after that (what an idiot replacing Lin with Brooks when Wall was still in the game). Anyhow they started the 2nd Q with Harden and Howard on the bench and the game was reminiscent of LINSANITY in New York! It was truly uplifting – Jeremy was leading the fast break, the ball was moving on offense and the Rockets took a ten point lead! They were playing so well Harden and Howard didn’t get back in until 6 minutes left in the quarter but the momentum continued and they led by 17 at the half. From what I remember they continued to run for a while in thee 3rd Q and built the lead to 25. In the 4th Q they kept passing the ball to Howard and he kept losing the ball or missing the shot. The strategy worked well in the 1st Q but the Wizards adjusted and were double-teaming. Of course it took a while for McHale to adjust. Anyhow I thought pretty much everyone played well and Jeremy at least played Wall to a stand-off. The last 6 games he has outplayed many point guards ranked ahead of him.

    • MrPingPong

      Thanks for your recap on the game, pistol!
      It’s good that Lin got to do his “things” for a while there.
      It’s also good that he gets a day off today before playing the Celts in Boston.
      Lin will boss!


    • Thanks for the great recap, pistolpete! I missed the Wizards game, but glad to see Lin do his thing. Hopefully, that game serves as a little turning point for Lin offensively. Lin’s been great defensively all season, containing his counterpart nearly every game. Hopefully, the Wizards game will get Lin back to playing more loose and free, like he did in the beginning of the season, before getting “brainwashed” by McHale.

      I’ve lost interest in Rockets games for a little while, because I don’t see the value in devoting so much time to seeing the same old frustrating thing over and over again. But I’m trying to get back to watching more games. Will catch the one against the Celtics tonight. It should be an easy win. Hopefully, Lin continues to play aggressively and push the pace.

  • ashley

    Glad to know that Lin finally got some trust from McHale and played the longest time ever–while both CP and PB were sidelined. I only watched the 2nd quarter, but learned from some fan’s report that Harden going ISO in the 4th Q cost them the lead, but then at the end it obviously worked. Before I wrote that I found McHale’s new rotation rule is to let the group or whoever he thinks plays well continues to play, and I guess that’s why LIn got to play 43 minutes, which is too long and likely not good for his body. (As pistol pointed out, McHale probably was “petrified,” hence decided to stick with Lin till the end.) Therefore, even though Lin got plenty playing time, McHale’s time managing is still questionable.

    It is said that PB is returning ahead of schedule, and a post on the Bleacher report suggests that Lin should return to the bench. So hopefully, McHale finally realized the team is at its best when Lin runs the offence and we get to see more Linsanity–before PB returns. We’ll see.