Lin Gets to be Floor General: Rockets Take Care of Business in Game 5 to Stay Alive vs. Blazers

Not much to report from tonight’s game. Pretty standard stuff. When you trust Lin to be the leader and the floor general, you win games. It’s pretty much a no-brainer, but McHale still hasn’t figured it out. McHale keeps forcing Lin to be something he’s not, which is some sort of role player who just stands in the corner. But the irony is, if McHale would just go against his coaching instincts and let Lin FINALLY be what Lin is meant to be, McHale may be able to keep his job. McHale is really getting in his own way and, as a result, he’s making life very hard for the Rockets players, Rockets fans (who actually care about winning) and Jeremy Lin fans.

Rockets FINALLY moved the ball tonight. And they FINALLY played some Pick-and-Roll. And a major reason for this is that Lin was allowed to be the floor general the majority of the time he was on the floor. And Lin delivered. Rockets had the most assists, as a team, than they’ve had all series. And, tonight, I cheered for the Rockets, because they FINALLY played Jeremy Lin the right way. In Game three, they played Jeremy Lin the right way only late in the fourth quarter and in overtime, but in this game, Jeremy Lin was allowed to be the floor general throughout the game. It’s so blindingly obvious: when Jeremy Lin has success, the team has success, because Jeremy Lin is all about team basketball. So when Lin does well, he makes all the other guys on his team better. The scoring was very balanced tonight: Howard with 22, Lin with 21 and Parsons with 20. We had five players in double figures in scoring. Lin only ended up with four assists, which seems very low for what I saw him do tonight. But Lin’s been robbed of assists in the past by statisticians, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it happened again tonight. But he did a lot of things that made it easier for his teammates to be successful tonight, such as dribble penetration to break down the defense.

I keep saying this over and over, but the Rockets are a much better team with the ball in Lin’s hands, not Harden’s. With the ball in Harden’s hands, Rockets become a two-man team of Harden and Howard. With the ball in Lin’s hands, Rockets become a full five-man team. You can’t win–especially in the playoffs–with a one-man show. McHale tried to do this in Games 1 and 2 and failed. It’s no coincidence that Games 1 and 2 were the two games in which Lin was undermined the most. If you recall from my previous post, I mentioned that I hadn’t seen a Rockets game for months and the big thing I noticed is that Lin has been diminished even more. Lin just hid in the corner and barely touched the ball in those two games. And there was absolutely no ball movement in those two games. McHale decided to go all-in on Harden in Game 1 and when that didn’t work, he decided to go all-in on Howard in Game 2.

Game 5 is a dramatic contrast to Games 1 and 2 in so many positive ways and the biggest reason for this is that Lin was allowed to be THE Floor General and his teammates seem to trust him to lead, while Harden took a back seat. Rockets fans will probably call me “delusional” for thinking this, but I’m telling you, the Rockets are a lethal team when Lin is trusted to be the leader, not Harden. If the Rockets organization is sincere about winning and doesn’t care about playing favorites and superstar fucking, then they should let Lin lead and be the floor general. When Harden leads, it’s all about Harden. All about Harden being the hero. But when Lin leads, Rockets end up playing team basketball. Rockets players become unselfish, because Lin’s unselfishness is contagious. I keep saying this over and over, but one of the key things that made Linsanity so enjoyable is that the Knicks were playing team basketball at the highest level. It’s such a shame and is such a disservice to Rockets fans, Lin fans and fans of basketball that McHale is blinded to this.

The Blazers commentators kept saying how Lin is doing much better in this game than in all the other games in the series. What these commentators are unaware of is that this has nothing to do with Lin. It’s all about how Lin is being played. In this game, Lin actually was allowed to play his game and that’s why he’s doing well. In all the other games, Lin hasn’t been allowed to play his game (with the exception of late in the fourth and overtime in Game 3, since McHale had no choice but to keep Lin out there, since Parsons fouled out) in any of the other games in this series. In this game, McHale let Lin do his thing, because apparently Beverley is recovering from a flu.So, both times, when McHale is FORCED to go against his natural coaching instincts good things happen for the Rockets. This is why McHale must be fired, because his natural coaching instincts are damaging to ANY basketball team.

Rockets won tonight’s game without too much drama, unlike all the other games in the series. The score: 108 to 98. Rockets took care of business and was in control of the game throughout. This is what happens when you let Lin be Lin! How can McHale/Rockets be so blinded to something so blindingly obvious? I doubt McHale will learn anything from this game (or maybe he’ll learn for one game, but go back to doing the wrong thing later). But if Rockets continue to play Lin the way they played him tonight, I will root for them (not that Rockets organization really cares if I root for them or not). If not, they’ve got a long flight back from Portland.

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  • MrPingPong

    Boy, you write fast and well, Philosopher!

    I doubt McHale will learn anything from this game. He just doesn’t get Lin and will only let Lin “do his things” (as Aaron Brooks once said) when he has no other choice.

    Anyway, the Blazers got to play the real Rockets team tonight, a team led by a real floor general. Of course, Lin did not win by himself. It was a team effort. It was team ball. It was beautiful basketball. From what I’ve read, the Blazers coach gave Lin a lot of props, while the Rockets coach barely mentioned Lin in the post game presser.

    Have fun rooting for Lin in Portland this Friday, Philosopher. My hunch is the Rockets will lose because of McHale. I can only hope that he will prove me wrong.

    • The key to writing fast is to not edit. πŸ™‚

      Your son got to see a good game tonight. and I’m sure he got a lot of LOPs (Lin only Plays) on video. (Just saw your comments in the previous post).

      Yep, McHale is not going to learn. As soon as Beverley is better, Lin goes back to being tucked in the corner and Rockets go back to losing with the H&H boys + Beverley doing a bad impression of a Floor General.

    • ashley

      JLin’s big performance and the Rockets’ win made my day! (Mr. Pingpong, you made a hell of a prediction!) The win of Game 3 felt like a steal, but this one is solid. People have been unreasonably blaming Lin for the loss of Game 4 and depreciating his contribution in Game 3–due to a missed layup, but this game he not only shut down the haters but also had the best playoff game ever!

      I learned that in yesterday’s game, Lin got booed every time he stepped on the court. I can’t help but feel shocked by the hatred towards Lin. I don’t want to call those people racists, but I doubt if there’s a better explanation for such an irrational act.

      • Race is definitely a huge factor when it comes to Lin and is an area that the media should expose more–especially in light of the issues surrounding the LA Clippers owner Sterling.

  • Thank you for this website. It’s amazing the bias. All the news article headlines saying Dwight Howard carried this team in Game 5. No credit for Lin.

    Harden has a terrible series in all the games and people respond that he can’t possibly continue to stink. Lin has good games and people respond that he can’t possibly continue to be good. Haters just waiting to point out one bad shot or one bad turnover as proof that they are right. SMH

    We shall see what McHale decides to do Friday…

    • You’re welcome, Charlie Sun. This is why I take the time to do what I do. There’s lots of mis-information surrounding Lin and I’m doing my best to help people see the truth. For a guy who was the biggest name a couple of years ago, Lin’s game still seems to be a mystery to most people–especially McHale.

  • Thomas

    Jeremy Lin is an unstoppable force and that’s been proven through out his career. It doesn’t matter who he is playing against. That’s Linsanity. Linsanity doesn’t stop when it gets started.

    Give Jeremy Lin 30+ minutes and he will go Linsane and his team will go Linsane too. Even Harden plays better with the ball in Lin’s hands. Proven fact by stats.

    I really wish McHale would allow to Jeremy Lin to played the point guard position and allow him to play 30+ minutes. Beverly isn’t a bad player at all. He’s a great player in fact but his synergy isn’t what the Rockets need. He doesn’t have the court vision that Jeremy Lin has that has proven effective with Troy Daniels. I guarantee you that all other Rockets player would have taken the shot instead of passing to an open Troy Daniels.

    Beverly has developed his 3 pointer throughout the season. They should allow Beverly to play the shooting guard role and if Lin needs a break, allow them to rotate Chandler Parsons to shooting guard and Beverly to point guard until Lin is ready to come back in.

    I wish for Beverly to get better but I want McHale to allow Lin to start and play his minutes. Once Jeremy Lin starts cooking, it doesn’t matter who you are, Lin can do anything All Stars can. Many people overlook Lin and think he’s overrated but in this current league, he is the best rounded player out of all the point guards. He can shoot up 3s. He can pass with his great court vision. He has a great mid range jumper. He can penetrate and draw fouls. He has the qualities of a shooting guard, small forward, and point guard.

    • ashley

      Well said. He can also steal, hustle, and block, doing everything he can on the court. He is such a versatile player!

  • Baws

    Look at the PGs that played for Kevin McHale.

    Goran Dragic- after he leaves McHale’s system, be instantly becomes an all-nba player. He was totally diminished during his time in Houston.

    Kyle Lowry- McHale never trusted Lowry even though he was putting the team on his back when Dragic was out. Now he’s even outplaying D-Will in the Raptors Nets series and he’s definitely snubbed for this years allstars. Lowry even pointed out that Dwane Casey is the only coach that trusted him.

    Even Aaron Brooks LIT the rockets up as a denver nugget. I swear every PG that plays under McHale gets diminished as a player because he just doesn’t trust them.

    • That’s right, Baws. This is something I’ve mentioned about McHale in some of my videos. McHale doesn’t understand the point guard position and doesn’t have any appreciation for true point guards.

  • pistolpete

    I also thank you for this website philosopher! What a breath of fresh air and objective thinking. McHale stubornly and obsessively has spent 2 years trying to prove that Linsanity was a fluke to the detriment of the team, the fans, JLin and ultimately himself. What is glaringly obvious to everyone but haters is that the team is much better with Jeremy running the show. Maybe Howard’s belief in Jeremy will make a difference – but we’ll see. It’s pathetic that is takes an injury, illness or foul trouble to a starter for the team to be successful.
    Linsanity is Dead – McHale
    McHale is dead – Les

    • Thanks, pistolpete. I’m grateful to have you as a reader and value your insightful and thoughtful comments.

  • Forthelin

    Well, here’s to hoping D’Antoni gets a look from the Rockets if McHale’s contract next year isn’t picked up.

    I had a great night yesterday, and it was just so refreshing to see Lin bring it on, bouncing back from a wrongly criticized 4th game. Lin has his flaws, which look like giant warts to McHale, but if he’s allowed to play his game–really the way the game SHOULD be played, basically John Wooden-style–the rockets can be a solid bet for a championship. I’m sure the Blazers will be gunning for Lin Friday–Stotts is a very good coach–so, hoping everyone steps up, especially Harden. And, by that, I mean he does what he did Wednesday–play like a teammate, dish the ball, do the little things, and bring it together at the end.

  • Forthelin

    BTW, Just an interesting observation on Harden yesterday. In the last 20 seconds or so, Harden did his iso dance for about 6 seconds, before launching his final 3pointer. The other Rockets including Lin stood watching, almost amused, like watching a 3rd stringer desperately trying to get a final shot in before the game ended. It was a moment of pathos.

  • Jeff

    maybe i’m just being pessimistic, but i doubt Lin will get additional playing time (and as PG) tonight unless Bev or Harden is seriously ill. Also, don’t forget Harden is gonna try really hard to prove himself and might just “force it” every play. I had originally pegged this a 4-1 series, with Houston only winning 1 game if Harden gets a ton of FTA or 30 shot attempts – which he did. I didn’t expect Bev would get sick, so now we’re looking at a 3-2 series. Although I had a gut feeling Lin would go SUPERSAIYAN in game 5. See my twitter post ( Traditionally these Linsanity outbreaks don’t earn Lin much in terms of playing time. The regular season proved that. Lin broke out this season with i think 7 threes in the early going, but then quickly got put back on the bench. Then he played pretty well for a one month stretch when Bev got injured, but then went back to the bench again.. and then he had a triple double one game (against POR i think) and didn’t see much respect afterwards.. So i seriously doubt things will change in the playoffs, but am hoping for the best i guess. Lets go LIN!!!

    • You’re not being pessimistic, Jeff. You’re just being realistic. Based on Lin’s history with McHale it’s foolish to think otherwise.

      FYI: Lin had 9 threes against the Sixers. Tied Robert Horry’s record. Also, Lins’ triple double was against the Cavs.

  • Jesse Nguyen

    Hi Guys,

    I’ve been following this blog for awhile but have never posted. I saw this video of a media interview with Lin post-practice:

    I found the last question asked in the interview really interesting. Just wondering what you guys thought about it. I was really surprised someone actually brought up the double-standard that Lin faces and actually asks him about it. Can’t believe people actually notice… Seems like it caught Lin off guard.

    • Hey Jesse,

      Thanks for bringing up that clip. That is very interesting that the interviewer raised that question–especially in practice. Teams generally only allow certain interviewers in team practices and these interviewers tend not to ask any provocative questions. There’s this general understanding–at least that’s how I see it. So for an interviewer at practice to raise that question is pretty interesting. Lin, of course, says what he normally says when confronted with these types of questions, which is the right way to handle these questions. There’s not much Lin can say in his situation to a question like that. I’m glad that interviewer raised that question, though. I think more people in the media should raise this question that this interviewer raised–especially in light of the recent situation with the Clippers owner, Sterling.

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