I got a chance to see the Rockets/Grizzlies game tonight and it served as another reminder for me to stay away from Rockets games.
This game went pretty much exactly the way I expected it to from beginning to end. I could have played this all out in my head without having to watch it. For example, when the Rockets went 0 for 9 from three-point or something ridiculous like that in the first half, I KNEW they would start hitting their threes in the second half and end up with a respectable three-point field goal percentage. I figured, if they could start off hot versus OKC only to cool off, the opposite could easily happen. And I was EXPECTING it to happen in tonight’s game. Of course, I had no idea Parsons would end up hitting an NBA record (for threes in one half) 10 threes all in the second half. What annoyed the hell out of me about this is that the moronic Rockets announcers (of which Clyde Drexler is king) CONTINUED to forget that Lin hit 9 threes earlier in the season. I mean, it happened THIS SEASON against the Sixers. How can they forget that?! They kept mentioning Horry’s record over and over again, but completely forgot that Lin tied Horry’s record earlier in the season. I thought for sure they’d come back from commercial and mention that Lin also tied Horrys’ record, since they have a bunch of stat heads talking in their ear or at least they have access to stats in front of their faces. But no. The entire game, they never even mentioned that Lin also has the record for 9 threes. It’s like whatever Lin does doesn’t count to these Rockets peeps. This is, yet, another reason to want Lin out of Houston. He gets no love or respect from the coaches, teammates, fans, or even the announcers. In New York, Lin was beloved by all but one player and coach. Of course, Linsanity had a lot to do with it, but Walt Frazier, I can tell, is a big Lin fan even to this day. But what’s more important is that Frazier actually understands Lin’s game. He said a lot of nice and accurate things about Lin last season, comparing Lin to himself. I miss those days.
Also watching the game tonight reminded me of how goddamn moronic Clyde Drexler is. Actually, I didn’t need any reminding about that, but you know what I mean. And to think I was a HUGE fan of Drexler’s when I was a kid, cheering on the Blazers. When Lin joined the Rockets, I was really excited to see that Drexler is working as an announcer for the Rockets, since I had always wondered what happened to him. As I started watching more Rockets games, though, Drexler has gone from being merely entertaining and harmlessly idiotic to a completely annoying biased moron! Almost every comment he makes is the polar opposite of correct–especially when it comes to Harden and also when it comes to Lin. Drexler worships Harden way too much. And he always gives Beverley the benefit of the doubt and praises Beverley’s defense, while completely ignoring Lin’s defense. It’s funny how when Beverley scores three points in a quarter, the announcers praise him for a great quarter. Everything Beverley does counts 10 times for everything that Lin does and that’s no exaggeration. I’m a fan of Beverley, because I love his attitude as a player, but these announcers make it really hard for Lin fans to also be fans of Beverley when they keep over-exaggerating Beverley’s contribution while ignoring Lin’s. Them forgetting Lin’s record-tying nine threes is symbolic of how they continuously ignore Lin’s contributions.
I excuse other announcers in the league of not recognizing Lin’s defense, but as a Rockets announcer, you have no excuse! If your job is to watch Rockets games, there’s no way you haven’t picked up the fact that Lin is an excellent defender. Lin has a less ostentatious style of defense than Beverley, but is every bit as effective. And it still frustrates the hell out of me when McHale subs Lin in and out in end-of-game situations, favoring Beverley’s defense, furthering perpetuating the myth that Lin is an average to below average defender. With Lin, you get both defense and offense. But McHale finds it necessary to sub Lin out when Rockets are on defense during end-of-game situations. This is completely unnecessary and disrupts Lin’s flow–not that Lin ends up touching the ball in end of game situations anyhow. So why sub Lin in at all for offense when we all know Lin isn’t going to get the ball anyhow?
Watching tonight’s game was also another reminder of how Rockets are complete junk during end-of-game situations because McHale can’t draw up one goddamn play to save his life. Not even ONE! Again, I needed no reminding of this, but you know what I mean. They had two very good chances tonight to win the game with plenty of time on the clock and it was a complete free for all confusing hot mess. The only commonality to McHale’s end-of-game strategies is that Lin isn’t involved and it was no different tonight. Lin wasn’t involved–except as an in-bounder in the first of these two “end-of-game” possessions. Lin was tucked all the way in the far corner, while Parsons got the inbound and couldn’t get anything going (because Parsons has no business of being a floor general), nearly turning the ball over on a pass to Beverley that resulted in a prayer that had no chance of going in. Why not give Lin a high screen, like they did to end the first quarter in which Lin penetrated the lane with ease to give the Rockets an easy bucket?
That is one good thing that made seeing tonight’s game worth it is it provided a perfect example of how the Rockets are more effective with the ball in Lin’s hands during end-of-game/end-of-quarter situations. After scoring easily with a high screen for Lin to end the first quarter, they did the Harden-iso-thing to end the second quarter and it resulted in Harden doing his patented side toss to a teammate in the elbow (in this instance it was Beverley, I think) at the last second after he couldn’t get anything going one-on-one. This side toss move Harden does is so predictable now that I’m sure it’s in all of his scouting reports. This is why he gets picked off so often doing this move.
Of course the moron Clyde Drexler in his moronic “thought process” kept urging the Rockets to give the ball to Harden during the last few possessions (nevermind Harden was completely cold the entire game). Never mind this has failed them miserably time and time again. Never mind there are reams of data on how ineffective Harden’s iso’s are. And, of course, McHale obliged in the first of the two “end-of-game” possessions and it resulted in, of course, another wasted possession.
I haven’t even mentioned the fact that Lin should have been in at the end of the fourth quarter instead of Beverley. Beverley didn’t do much tonight and Rockets really could have used another offensive weapon, since Parsons was the only one that had it going all night. Lin started the game playing aggressively, but then suddenly reverted to playing passively. But at least he played a tad bit more aggressive than he has most recently. He even got like one screen! Whoo hoo! But Lin still needs to be more aggressive. He is still too afraid to turn the ball over. He’d penetrate the lane, but stop short the moment he gets some resistance. He’d also pass up short jumpers and Lin’s teammates are looking him off BIG TIME. The level of disrespect Lin’s teammates has for him as gone back to the level it was early last season. Lin’s teammates only pass to Lin when they can’t get anything else going. That being said, Lin is also too quick to give up the ball. He started off aggressive, but didn’t build on that aggressiveness. He did the “glorified-ball-boy” thing more than he needed to (although he did it a lot less than in the Pelicans game).
There were so many examples in tonight’s game of Lin’s teammates looking him off (not that there are anymore in this game than any old Rockets games), but one those that just happen to come to my mind is a possession in which Casspi waited until the very last second on a fast break to dish it off to Lin, because he couldn’t score, resulting in Lin losing the ball off his foot. Casspi had plenty of chances to give up the ball to Lin who was running on the fast break ahead of him, but kept waiting until the last second when Lin was pretty much under the basket, almost running out of bounds to give up the ball to Lin, because Casspi realized that he couldn’t get a shot off with several defenders on him.
Anyway, watching tonight’s game is confirmation for me that I’m not missing much from staying away from some of these Rockets games. It’s also better for my longevity, since I can feel my stress levels rising whenever I’m watching these games. My stress from watching Rockets game is not from the excitement of witnessing nail biters (stress from that is probably not harmful), but is a result of the frustrations from all the poor decisions being made on the court by the coach and misinformation being spread to the fans by the announcers. I’m still pissed as I finish typing this post.