I can’t imagine the amount of devastation Randle must be feeling right now. You wait your whole life for your first NBA game and it looks as if he may be out for the entire season due to a fractured tibia in his right leg, I think. Randle has wanted to be a Lakers since he was a kid. Now, that dream is crushed–at least for a very long time. James Worthy did tweet that he had the same injury and he recovered from it. At least it’s not nerve damage. But to likely miss the entire season on your first game in the NBA is devastating. And Lakers will miss a key piece to their team. I saw Randle as a player with raw, yet very unique, offensive talents with high potential to be a superstar–especially under Kobe’s tutelage.
Last night’s game was the worst game ever for me. I can’t imagine a worse game. Losing a promising rookie and getting blown out by my most hated team, players, and coach, with Lin under-performing. I don’t even want to think about last night’s game and would like to just move on.
I know a lot of fans have a lot on their mind, in terms of Scott’s offense (Lakers defense), Lin’s under-performance, etc. I think it’s going to be a long season for the Lakers and it’s best to just be patient and hope for the best. Not overreact too much to each game, because if you do, it’s likely going to be an emotional roller coaster or it’s going to be very depressing.
I’m not saying that there aren’t issues. There are a lot of issues, but it is only the first game of the season. Lets see whether or not this team and coach can work through these issues. They’re also still missing key players. I’m sure they’re aware of all (or at least a lot) of the issues. It’s just a matter of whether or not they’ll be able to come up with the right solutions.
So I won’t talk about the game, much, since I think that’s a futile exercise. Nothing too much to learn from it, because there’s just a lot of things to be concerned about and at the same time it is just the FIRST game of the season.
One thing I want to address is Lin’s performance. I know a lot of Lin fans are concerned and there’s talk that Lin may fit better with the 2nd unit. I think that’s jumping the gun way too much. Lin hasn’t had hardly any practices with the first unit. Lets let Lin have practices and games with the first unit before we overreact and say that Lin fits better with the 2nd unit. Also, Scott should start Davis over Hill. So both Davis and Lin should be in the starting lineup.
Also, there’s been some talk about Kobe ball hogging. I have to say, I didn’t see Kobe ball hogging unnecessarily. I think he did it, because he felt like he had to, not because he was trying to be “the man”. There was a long stretch in the 3rd quarter when Kobe was barely noticed on the court, while Lin was doing his thing. So I don’t have a problem with Kobe at all, from last night’s game.
Now, back to Lin. My theory about Lin’s performance, and I know most won’t buy into this, is that Lin was “McHaled” (to use a term coined by @drbrucehirsch on Twitter) at the beginning of the game. In this case, I mean this sincerely. Not joking around here (although “McHaled” is such a hilarious term). Remember in the first season with the Rockets when Lin struggled and had his worst game vs. the Raptors early on in the season? Then he faced the Knicks in Madison Square Garden on the very next day and suddenly became “Linsanity” after having his worst game and some of his worst weeks?
It was startling how extreme his transformation was. For those who followed Lin’s first season with the Rockets. Lin didn’t look anything close to the way he looked in NYC all the way up until he returned to MSG and then out of the blue, he looked very similar to the way he looked during Linsanity (I’m talking about the way he moved, how he scored, his attitude, etc. EVERYTHING). And then soon after that MSG return game, Lin reverted back to his “Houston Lin self”. And if you recall, that MSG game is a game in which BOTH Lin and Harden did very well. So it wasn’t about Lin being the focus or anything. Again, it was not just the fact that Lin was being hyper-aggressive, he also pulled out the same moves that he did during Linsanity. But then, soon after that game, all those moves went away and Lin reverted back to his old Houston-Lin self.
Psychology is a very powerful thing and explains a lot of human behavior phenomena. Just like Lin sort of had a transformation into “Linsanity” in his first return to MSG, Lin had a similar transformation to the Lin in Houston at the beginning of last night’s game. So, it’s in this sense that I say he was McHaled. But to me, it only lasted for the 1st quarter of the game. Then Lin got over it. I think just seeing his old teammates, his old coach, etc. triggered a lot of awful feelings. It’s sort of like PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Syndrom). (By the way, I want to emphasize here that what Lin faced was not PTSD, because PTSD is a very serious thing. I’m must borrowing a familiar term to describe what Lin was feeling, since I don’t have a better term.) When I wrote the Open Letter to Lin, I mentioned that Lin had been in a two year abusive relationship with McHale. So not unlike other abusive relationships, you go back to your submissive self when you’re back in their presence again.
Admittedly, I am making too much of the whole psychological aspect of it, but I do think it was a significant part of Lin’s performance in the 1st quarter. Of course, it could also be nerves, but Lin had good season debuts back in Houston. So I don’t think nerves was a big part of his performance.
Anyway, after Scott subbed Lin out after Lin picked up 2 fouls in the first quarter, I think Lin was able to calm himself down and get over his “PTSD”. I was watching Lin while he was on the bench and I could see he was in his own world, because he didn’t clap or anything when his teammates on the court scored, etc. He just looked like he was staring off to space (he wasn’t even looking at what was going on on the court–he just mostly was looking straight ahead and slightly down). I think he may have realized he was experiencing a little “PTSD” from seeing McHale/Harden, etc. and was trying to figure out a way to block that out or move past it.
Lin didn’t play much in the second quarter, but he had a very strong stint in the beginning of the 3rd quarter and was the catalyst for the Rockets coming within being only six points down after being down 17 at halftime. So, it’s hard for me to really judge Lin’s performance and how he was played by the coach, due to his “PTSD”. Overall, though, I didn’t have a problem with how Scott played Lin. I thought it was fine. I think last night, it was more that Lin had other things going on in his head that distracted him and also, he’s still not familiar with the 1st unit. But I think it is an overreaction, as well as jumping the gun, to say that Lin needs to be with the 2nd unit.
I know lots of people are going to disagree with my “PTSD” theory. And that’s fine. I can understand how you would disagree. Feel free to say why I’m wrong on this in the comments, but it’s gonna take a lot for me to admit I’m wrong on this one, because It’s something I feel very strongly about.
“PTSD” is just a very extreme form of what’s called “trigger” in psychology. Without going into a long explanation, “triggers” can be used for positive or negative purposes to change behavior. but they can also happen naturally. I think similar to stepping into MSG for the first time since Linsanity triggered Lin’s faculties to behave in a way that he did during Linsanity, being in the presence of McHale, Harden, etc. triggered Lin’s faculties to behave in a way he did back in Houston.
I joke about me having “PTSD” with the Rockets and how I’m unable to look at anything Rockets-related without wanting to vomit. But there’s a lot of truth to it, as well. Looking at anything Rockets-related DOES trigger a feeling of nausea of sorts in me. Nothing serious, of course, but ANYTHING Rockets-related does make me feel “icky” for lack of a better word (I think my female readers may know what I’m talking about here).
I know I may be very unique in experiencing this form of “PTSD”. So I’m sure you guys are all like, what the hell is wrong with this dude? And I hear you on that. I’ve got lots of problems for sure! But I’m just thinking that if I feel that way as just a distant observer of what happened to Lin with the Rockets, I can’t imagine how Lin must feel experiencing it all first-had. So that’s why I strongly believe in the theory that Lin was “McHaled” in the 1st quarter, but got over it after that.