Tonight’s game is just one of the reasons why I’ve stayed away from watching Rockets games. So much wasted emotional energy on the infinite stupidity and lack of perception of people like Kevin McHale, as well as the general fan base. Rockets fans will blame this loss on Lin and this is so unjust. Very few things irritate me. But this type of injustice (which Lin is symbolic of) is one thing that really pisses me off.
Lin gets taken out with plenty of time left in the fourth quarter, even though Lin started to get it going and started to turn it up like he’s done in EVERY SINGLE GAME OF THIS SERIES. Then McHale, in his blindness takes Lin out and the Blazers go on a big run. To me, that was the game and I fully expected the Rockets to lose. Then McHale yanks Lin back in with under a minute left, disrupting Lin’s rhythm and treating Lin like a role player (which is a role that Beverley is born for, who McHale irrationally treats like a star). Lin hustles for the rebound, then gets the ball stolen by Mo Williams who sneaks up behind Lin to take the ball away from Lin. Then Mo hits an open three and the Game goes into overtime. Fans are going to blame Lin for the loss, but this shows tremendous lack of depth of understanding of any kind. Lin losing the ball in that situation is just one of those things that can’t be helped. Unless you have eyes in the back of your head, YOU’RE GOING TO LOSE THE BALL IN THAT SITUATION. That’s just the way it goes. NO ONE could have prevented that turnover in Lin’s situation. I don’t care if you’re a superstar making hundreds of millions of dollars or whatever. No amount of money can make you see Mo Williams sneaking up on your blindside and stealing the ball from you. To me, those types of turnovers are just part of the game. It is what it is. You don’t blame any player for losing the ball in that situation, just because you have the perspective of God, watching the game on your TV, enabling you to see every player on the court at once. Yet, that’s EXACTLY what McHale did when he benched Lin in overtime.
And for those fans blaming Lin for the loss, the irony is that the real reason the Rockets lost is that Lin got benched by McHale. McHale lucked out in Game 3, when he was forced to go with Lin for all of overtime and all of the 4th quarter, because Parsons fouled out. and because Lin got to play consistent minutes, Lin was able to get into as much of a rhythm as he can, being misused on this team, and play the game that he knows how to play to win games. When McHale is forced to coach against his will, good things happen for the Rockets. This game was already lost when McHale took Lin out earlier in the 4th and the Blazers went on a big run. Had Lin been in that whole time, the Rockets could have taken care of business.
If anyone has been watching this series, the one consistent thing is that Lin turns things up very late in the 4th quarter and starts going Linsane (when Lin feels the game is on the line and the H&H boys aren’t getting it done). Well, McHale took Lin out right at the moment Lin would have gone Linsane tonight. It’s crazy how clueless McHale is about his players and their tendencies. In EVERY GAME so far in this series, Lin hasn’t done hardly anything until very late in the fourth quarter and in overtime. It would have been no different tonight, but of course, thanks to McHale’s lack of perception of any kind, we didn’t get to see Lin do his thing and save the Rockets from themselves.
The only game the Rockets have won in this series, McHale was FORCED to play Lin consistently late in the fourth and in overtime. All the other games, Lin has been yanked in and out, disrupting Lin’s rhythm. Lin is great on defense, but he’s also excellent on offense and is an all-around type of player. You DO NOT yank a player like Lin in and out of the lineup. Lin is the type of player that needs to have consistent minutes so he can get into a rhythm. Again, Lin can only be successful if he’s treated like “the man” on a team. Not like a role player. This is what a lot of fans don’t get. McHale continues to mistreat Lin and it is sickening and pisses me off to watch!
Again, THE ONLY GAME the Rockets have won in this series with the Blazers is the one in which Lin actually got to be the floor general a little. Imagine of Lin got to be the floor general the entire game?!
Overall, I’m happy that the Blazers won, even though unperceptive Rockets fans will blame Lin for the loss. The reason I’m happy that the Blazers won is because they got royally screwed by the refs. And, being someone who hates injustices of any kind, I felt the Blazers really deserved to win. I feel like the refs must have had money on this game or something, because the calls were definitely one-sided. If I was a Blazers fan, I’d be pissed at the refs.
If Rockets fans want to do stupid things like blaming one play for a loss, how about blaming Beverley for the turnover in the end, because that was a real turnover. Whereas Lin losing the ball is something that could not have been helped. Those who blame Lin for losing the game on that one play (a play in which Lin hustled for the rebound–mind you–if Lin hadn’t gotten the rebound, Blazers would have gotten possession anyway) must live in a planet in which people have eyes in the back of their heads. That’s all that needs to be said about that. Beverley’s turnover, on the other hand, could have easily been helped. But it’s stupid to blame Beverley for losing the game on that one play, as well. Tonight’s game was not lost on either of those two plays. It was lost when McHale took Lin out and it was lost again when McHale irrationally, idiotically, punishing Lin for not having eyes in the back of his head and benched Lin in OT–the exact time in which Lin has gone Linsane during this series and throughout Lin’s career.
ADDENDUM: Just saw McHale’s press conference in which he faulted out Lin for not calling timeout. This is despicable on McHale’s part, but aside from that, it is unjust, hindsight thinking. And I deplore hindsight thinking. McHale says that the plan was to call a timeout if there wasn’t a clear path, because they wanted to get the ball to Howard after the timeout. I’m not sure if I totally believe that. But lets say that I did, then why didn’t he call timeout? I might not be very clear on NBA rules, but I think McHale can call a timeout in that situation. So if McHale felt so strongly about that, then why didn’t he call timeout? Or at least why didn’t he rush over to where Lin was and scream at Lin to call timeout, if Lin is the only person that can call timeout in that situation? Instead, McHale was all the way at mid court, showing no sense of urgency whatsoever. You can’t even see McHale on the replays until Lin gets the ball stolen. Then McHale uselessly rushes toward where the action is. So, McHale, himself, saw no reason to call timeout in that situation. Furthermore, why not blame all the other Rockets players who are just standing around and who could have called timeout (again, I may be wrong about whether or not any Rockets players can call timeout in this situation). None of the players, except Parsons, showed a sense of urgency. The problem is, Parsons is the player farthest from Lin.
When I was watching the game on TV, I KNEW Mo Willams would steal the ball from Lin with 31.3 seconds left in the game. I saw this steal coming a mile away. But, of course, Lin had no idea Mo Williams was right on his tail. Williams was in Lin’s blindspot the entire time from when Lin grabbed the rebound to when Lin got the ball stolen. The player who could clearly see what was happening and who was closest to Lin at the time was Harden. But from the replay, I don’t see any sense of urgency from Harden from his body language. I would have been screaming at Lin about Mo Williams if I was Harden. And, again, why didn’t Harden go crazy signalling a timeout?! I would have in that situation. If ANY player on the Rockets can call timeout in this situation, then EVERY PLAYER BUT LIN is to blame on the Rockets for not calling a timeout in this situation. And I’m not saying this, because I’m a Lin fan, I’m saying it because it’s logical and rational.
Lin was the ONLY Rockets on the court to have no reason to call timeout and on top of that, he was the ONLY Rockets to be in the worst position physically to call a timeout. From the time Lin rebounded the ball to the time he got the ball stolen, Lin was going at full speed. If Lin had tried to stop to signal a timeout, he would have been called for a travel, because he wouldn’t have been able to stop on a dime. Lin was still trying to maintain clear possession of the ball up until he got the ball stolen from Mo Williams. The only time Lin wasn’t running full out is when he came down with the rebound. But with over 30 seconds left in the game, this is not one of those no-brainer situations where you get the rebound and immediately call timeout. Again, people who said Lin should have called timeout then is talking hindsight. If what McHale is saying is true (call timeout if you don’t have a clear path to the basket), then Lin is in no position to determine whether or not he had a clear path to the basket right when he got the rebound. So couldn’t make and immediate decision to call timeout. And right before Lin got the ball stolen, the path looked clear enough for Lin to dribble the ball past half court at least. Again, from Lin’s perspective there is no way he could have sensed any immediate danger so no reason for him to try to stop on a dime, risk being called for a travel, to just call an unnecessary timeout. The timeout is unnecessary if you’re not looking hindsight.
For McHale to blame Lin for that one play shows you just how much character he has. Remember when I’ve said in the past about how I’ve never heard McHale take blame for anything? A leader takes blame even when it’s not his fault. A leader defers credit even when he’s the real hero. These are things Lin does time and time again. And Lin is going to blame himself for this loss, even though he is EXACTLY THE ONLY PERSON TO NOT BE BLAMED for this loss. McHale is not only a bad coach, he has no character to be in a position to lead a group of men. And he’ll never evolve as a coach, because in order to evolve, you have to admit your mistakes.
Anyway, if I have time, I want to make a video in which I point all of this out with some visual aids. But just wanted to add this for now. You can watch the replay on your own and judge for yourself.