Rockets were on a three game winning streak after defeating the Bobcats, Jazz and Mavericks. And, last night, they were out gunned, out muscled and out coached by a real contending team, the Clippers led by the premier guard of the league, Chris Paul, who is averaging 26.5 points and 9.8 assists through the first 4 games of the season.
The Rockets got pummeled by allowing the Clippers to score 42 points in the first quarter alone and ending the game with 137 points which both are records of sort. And, Redick had 19 points in the first half alone before Harden is switched to cover Dudley who then added 15 points. Both these players had near career nights because Harden refused to play defense. But, there are blame to go all around.
The Twin Tower of Omer Asik and Dwight Howard was exposed as incapable of stopping alleyoop lobs or box out in the paint. This is in contrast to the March 30th match up between Clippers and Rockets where the then Twin Tower of Omer Asik and Greg Smith held DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin down to 20 points and 8 rebounds combined. Last night, they combined for 28 points and 16 rebounds.
Jeremy Lin performed very well considering the situation where the Twin Towers pretty much were inept at setting up screens and were clogging up the lane thus making it harder for Jeremy to drive to the basket more than twice during the first half. Statistically speaking, this is one of Houston’s biggest weakness which is not setting up plays for Jeremy to break down the defense with is drives early in the game as he leads the league in team points off drives:
And, Jeremy was successful at containing Chris Paul to 11 points through the third quarter before Chris started to attack the basket in the fourth because Jeremy had only two fouls to give at the beginning of the fourth and already got his fifth within a few minutes in the fourth. However, Chris Paul’s assists could not be contained because Houston did a woeful job at guarding the Clipper shooters and their big men were getting dunks off lobs at will.
So, after the game ended, what does Houston Rocket’s Facebook page post on their site? Below are Facebook posts by the Rockets after each of the four games. You tell me which one doesn’t belong.
Granted Houston didn’t win the game, but why are the other players made to look like Spartan warriors in the latter posts and Lin is made to look like the poster boy for the loss in the game four post? There definitely is some media narrative shaping going on by the Houston Rocket’s organization.
Juxtapose Houston’s narrative to this opinion poll:
Why is ESPN using the narrative of using Jeremy Lin as the “sixth man”? Does the Rockets currently have a “sixth man”? No. Have they ever used a “sixth man” under coach McHale? Not that I am aware of as I didn’t follow Houston until last year. The poll is superfluous to ask people whether they want Lin to play a position that does not exist. So, why does the poll exist? My opinion is that the ESPN poll is one of many methods of trying to argue the premise that Jeremy Lin should come off the bench. And, the (presumed fixed) result is to facilitate the bandwagon argument that if the majority believe Lin should be a bench player than he must be a bench player. Is there any reason I believe the poll is fixed? Well, I commented on the poll 5 times since it was published. And, my comments got deleted 4 times before they gave up on the 5th. My comment is as follows:
6th man thing is so superficial. Just make Harden on ball 30% of the time because the ball is too sticky when he controls the ball greater than 30% of the time. Then, you don’t have the issue of “skills overlapping” hence you have no need to “stagger minutes” and force one of the two starting guards to be the “6th” man when we know there’s no such thing as “6th” man when you’re on McHale’s no bench rotation bench.
What happened to giving credit where credit is due? Houston was able to shave off the Clippers’ lead down to single digits late in the third quarter by Greg Smith going into beast mode in the paint and Casspi scoring off the bench to lead the team in points and rebounds. And, instead of posterizing Lin as the scape goat, give some exposure to the real putz of the game, Harden. And, let’s not let McHale off the hook too. Despite Harden’s no effort on defense and going zilch for 7 beyond the arc, McHale stuck him on the floor. And, that is how the game was lost.
Just got new infromation from a fan,JustSayNo2HardensIso, who sat behind the Rocket’s bench during the game last night. He made the following two observations:
There was a play where Coach Mchale was yelling at Jeremy to run a certain play (Index finger and pinky finger raised). Looks like this is a type of “horns” play where they set double screens for Jeremy at the top of the key (one pick on each side). Jeremy calls the play, Harden gets the ball and goes iso and misses.
Mchale then calls time out and yells at Jeremy. Jeremy yells at Mchale back. I heard Jeremy say something like, “I AM trying to run the play.” Mchale then yells at Harden and Harden just walks away from him. Mchale then looks at Jeremy and shrugs his shoulders kind of like, “there’s nothing i can do.”.
This confirms that McHale did try get Jeremy to run set plays for him to drive, but the coach’s orders were shrugged off by Harden. And, JustSayNo2HardensIso claims the “horn” play was instituted many times during the game. So, McHale probably shouldn’t be blamed for not setting up running plays for Jeremy. But, he’s not off the hook for not getting into Harden’s face and punish him by giving him some time to think about his insubordination on the bench because calling for the play but not disciplining players for not running the play is tantamount to not calling for the play at all.
But, there is a ray of hope despite Jeremy is obviously on the wrong team. The “bench warmers” all seem to have Jeremy’s back. And, it is the “bench warmers” who were able to keep the game as close as it were:
At the end of the 4th, AB was set to check in for JEremy during garbage time. Jeremy was playing well. I saw AB walk back to the bench on his own and heard him say to Mchale, “Jeremy’s doing his thing. Just let him play.”
When Jeremy was playing in garbage time, the 2nd unit (Greg Smith, Dmo, etc.) were constantly looking for Jeremy on outlet passes even in the middle of the offense they would still look to get the ball back to Jeremy. Between plays they were giving Jeremy high fives and helping him up. They were getting easy baskets. This would NEVER happen with Harden, Dwight and Parsons.