Game 1 Houston versus Backcourt Indecision

patrickSuppose the first game of the year sets the tone for things to come, what should we expect to see from the Rockets for the rest of the season?

1) Within the first 30 seconds of the first quarter, James Harden launched his very first iso Harden of the 2013-14 season with a 5 crossover dribble then step back jumper three that clanked.  Harden followed that up with a 2 for 11 shooting through the third quarter and ended the night by going 5 for 5 at the end of the game after the outcome has already been decided to become the game’s scoring leader with 21 points.  At least he didn’t cost the team the win tonight although the opponent IS only the Bobcats.

2) Peverley did get his start but only played 10 minutes because he injured his rib.  Otherwise, he was a non-factor which is too bad as this is his first ever NBA start and would have liked him to play better.  I much rather seeing Jeremy coming into the game replacing Harden rather than for Peverley.  However, he did start the game off with a 3pter but turned the ball over twice during his short time on the court.

3) The big men Asik and Howards grabbed a ton of boards.  However, they do not posses a capable inside out game.  Asik was nonexistant on the offensive end and his butter fingers became contagious as Howard couldn’t catch any of Lin’s passes either.

4) Lin scored very efficiently by going 2 for 2 three pointers and 5 for 7 overall for 16 points.  He did NOT get much assists because Lin mainly played the shooting guard position and teammates mostly didn’t pass the ball to Lin, so he didn’t have much opportunity to dish dimes to teammates.  However, he did give his teammates some wide open looks with deft passes, but his teammates bricked almost every single one of those shots.

5) Garcia is probably the MVP with his three point bombs to help keep the team in the game early on by going 5 for 9 from arc.  OTOH, Casspi made Parsons very happy by only scoring 4 points in 20 minutes which is his worst outing all year if you include the preseason games.  If you read my previous blogs, you’d find that Parsons had plenty to worry about as Casspi was statistically the most effective and most well rounded player during preseason.

So, to answer the question above, what should we expect to see for the rest of the season?  Parsons and Harden goes off with high volume field goal attempts with Asik and Howard cleaning up their bricks.  Don’t expect to see Harden getting a ton of free throws this year because the twin towers are clogging lanes and refs are not giving Harden his rain dance calls this year it seems.  Expect the second team shooters to help keep the team close with a ton of three pointers.  And, occasionally, maybe the team will allow Lin to lead the second team and break down opponents’ defense which will open up Houston’s running game.

On another note, there seem to be only one sports writer in Houston that isn’t directly or indirectly employed by the Rocket’s organization.  Chris Baldwin published his game assessment on Culture Map only hours after the game.  Maybe he’s a biased Jeremy Lin fanboi like the rest of us?  Who cares.  His article is well argued and points out many nuances that made the game interesting in a Melrose Place sort of way.

His indirect jab at Harden is precious:

He doesn’t pour in a bunch of points after the game’s essentially over to pad his stats. He doesn’t fire up a no-need 3-pointer in the closing seconds that has the Bobcats exchanging a few curious looks. He doesn’t get a courtside high five from former Rocket Tracy McGrady, who’s sitting in the front row next to team owner Leslie Alexander.

  • alcsd

    Again PB is not a starter material. PB will be in a rude awaking very soon. I really like Garcia, he strikes me as someone who is very loyal. I am sure Lin knows who is his real friend is.

    • etane

      Think PB realize he’s over matched, but he’s not one to back down from a challenge assuming his injury is really warrants missing the rest of the game. I don’t know whether Garcia can keep up his hot shooting over the course of the season though. But, so far, no one is missing the streaky Delfino who makes all the bombs when it’s not needed a la Harden.

      • alcsd

        Hey Pev!…..Welcome to the Jungle! This is just the beginning…

        I will choose Garcia over Delfino any time any day. Garcia plays team ball and doesn’t try to be something he isn’t (like Delfino who failed miserably playing PG). I think of all the players on the Rockets, only him and Brook know how to empathize with Lin and his situation. Garcia and Brook felt unwanted, unneeded, and forgotten by their old team.

        • etane

          Garcia and Brooks are new to the team but should be team captains. Well, it’s Brooks’ second stint with the team and he was awesome during his first stint. If I remember correctly, he only went to China for a few years because of the lockout. Or else, he might be starting point guard somewhere else now.

          • alcsd

            The problem is they are not the two brightest light bulbs on the team. Melo isn’t either and he is only the captain of the Knicks because he declares himself to be and because he is a superstar.

            Let me just say this objectively Harden isn’t even half the player Melo is. And he is trying to be the next “Kobe.” Kobe is laughing silencing. If only Melo has a brain to go with it, then his star will shine so much brighter. And yet his IQ is much higher than Howard’s.

            Kobe even mentioned that Melo is the hardest to cover.


            “To Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony is the toughest cover in the NBA. Tougher, even, than LeBron James.

            “For me, yeah,” Bryant told Stephen A. Smith in an interview Wednesday.

            “He’s always been a player that I enjoyed guarding the most,” Bryant
            said. “He was the most difficult because of his size and his speed.”

            I think dmo is very very intelligent and hopefully with patient, he will turn into a very good player, but lack confidence. And I hope Morey trade him away.

            Bryant added that Anthony’s shooting range and his ability to drive to
            the rim and score in the post make him one of the most lethal offensive
            weapons in the NBA.

            “Melo does it all and he’s as strong as a bull,” Bryant said. “For me, I
            weigh [180 pounds] soaking wet. Going up against that bull, man, it’s
            fun but it’s extremely challenging.”

          • alcsd

            I think the problem with Melo is that he is not mentally tough and he is not determined enough. I guess he needs the Zen Master or Pop to get through to him mentally.

          • etane

            Same with Howard and Harden.

          • alcsd

            Ditto with Howard.

          • etane

            After the third game, Garcia as captain idea is reinforced. Not so sure about Brooks. And,it’s not just based on performance but on chemistry. Garcia seems to be in harmony with the players so would be a better enforcer.

          • alcsd

            I completely agreed with Garcia being the captain because of his maturity. He is a team first guy. But the ego of max players, Harden and Howard won’t allow it.

          • etane

            Don’t need to be the smartest on the team to be team captain. Just have to be enforcers to keep players in check and lead by example. Both are brave and mentally tough/charismatic enough to do so and are strictly team players even when the rest of the team is chucking threes.

            No question that Melo is one of the most effective and versatile players in NBA but he has the power to get coaches fired and gets lazy playing against average teams while ball hogging against high caliber teams. Like you said, he needs a head coach who is capable and has the owner’s total blessings. Otherwise, his team will forever be first or second round play off teams.