≡ Menu

Houston Rockets 100, Charlotte Bobcats 94: The Streak finally ends.

Anyone who has followed the Rockets this season should be aware of the consistent struggles at the power forward position which have occupied this team and has been a significant factor particularly during this losing streak, all the more painful after several years of dependable production from Mr. Scola. Tonight, however, Marcus Morris had easily his best performance in the last few weeks.  While Patterson played for only eight minutes, Morris played well on both the offensive and defensive ends as he was rewarded with the start at the beginning of the 2nd half. His 3 point shot returned and he finished off of passes to end his game with 21 points on 7-12 shooting.  In addition, he managed 8 rebounds against an athletic if unskilled Bobcats frontcourt.

Of course then when one analyzes Morris’s strong performance, a question must rear its head.  How is it that the Charlotte Bobcats, the third worst team in the league, managed to lead for the entire game until about the halfway point of the 4th quarter?  How is it that they jumped to a double digit lead in the first quarter and possessed a lead of that margin at the end of the first half?  Because while Houston may have finally broken its 7 game losing streak and managed to escape the shame of falling below .500, a narrow victory over Charlotte is hardly something to boast about, especially since Houston managed to get a strong contribution from the power forward position.

We can begin with Jeremy Lin.  Lin attempted an early mid-range jumper with 7 minutes left in the 1st quarter, missed, and struggled for the rest of the game.  He went back to his problems earlier in the season of telegraphing his drives in advance and thus Bismack Biyombo blocked every single one of his attempts in the paint.  For the rest of the game, Lin was passive and tentative with the ball, a problem which was only made worse by his results on the defensive end as Lin continually went under screens set for Kemba Walker.  While Walker was incredibly hot today as he finished with a career high 35 points with 6 of 7 shooting from the 3 point line, Lin did not do much to make his efforts difficult.  Consequently, Lin sat out the entire 4th quarter as Patrick Beverley played well once again (more on that below).

Now Lin cannot be viewed as the sole negative factor in this extremely close win against a weak team.  The first half of this game was a disaster for everyone on the Rockets with the exception of Parsons and Morris.  Harden started 1 for 11, the Bobcats made an unusually high percentage of inefficient shots such as two straight Hakim Warrick fadeaways, and there generally was not a lot of effort.  The second half had a much better effort from the center position by both Asik and Aldrich (Greg Smith was out of today’s game to celebrate the recent birth of his first child).  Asik in particular came out to limit the Charlotte offense to jumpers which finally stopped falling.  On the offensive end in the last quarter, while Harden shot poorly tonight (he has shot 12 3 pointers combined in the Minnesota and Charlotte games and hit none of them), he did manage to get to the line repeatedly against an inexperienced Charlotte defense and took over down the stretch as he drew fouls or passed the ball to open shooters in Beverley or Delfino.  In that sense, this victory could be viewed much more positively as it represented the team’s ability to bounce back after a poor start.

However, when one considers that Houston has now won the first quarter only three times in the month of January, it is clear that simply bouncing back from adversity is not good enough.  The Rockets will need to learn how to start off strong and avoid the need to continually try to catch up.

Still at minimum, the losing streak is over.  An otherwise frustrating victory can be tempered by the knowledge that Houston did manage to avoid disaster.

  • While tonight’s game was not the first time McHale benched Lin late in the game in favor of his backup point guard, it was the first time that he has done so for Patrick Beverley.  Beverley had arguably his best game yet of his young career as he continually hustled for the ball with reckless abandon.  At one point in the third quarter he leaped high in the air past Jeff Taylor for the rebound and slammed hard into the court for his troubles, but managed to secure the rebound and a loose ball foul as a result.  He also has proven himself to be a far superior ball handler compared to Toney Douglas and hit 2 three pointers, one at the very end to give the Rockets a 93-90 lead.  While the sample size is extremely small and there are factors to discuss such as his unsustainable 3 point shooting, this is so far yet another successful application of Moreyball as the Rockets improve their thin bench.
  • While Omer Asik’s boxscore statistics were not particularly impressive tonight, I would argue that this was one of his better games of the season.  Asik’s defense is something that really can’t be appreciated until one watches it repeatedly, as you can see how he almost always is in the right place to contest shots and make things difficult for the opponent in the lane.  Also, while Cole Aldrich was his usual blundering self in the first half, he did have a respectable defensive performance down the stretch simply by avoiding the “bump into the defender coming off the screen” foul that he seemingly draws 7 times a game when he’s on the court.
  • Tonight was the lowest amount of turnovers the Rockets have committed (13) since their January 2nd win over the New Orleans Hornets.  I would largely attribute this to a lack of passes being thrown at Asik and the fact that Carlos Delfino did not attempt to drive as much as he normally tries and contented himself with shooting jumpers.

View this discussion from the forum.

in game coverage

About the author: Write for a living, though not in sports. Been following the Rockets my whole life, with Stockton’s shot being my first memory. Consequently traumatized.

{ 0 comments… add one }

Login to leave a comment.
Total comments: Merged
  • timetodienow1234567 says 1 YEAR ago Who's fault is it that Lin's tentative? It's Mchale's. Harden is sucking it up right now, but has no fear of being benched or even losing his MANDATORY 25 shots a game and I'm fine with that since he's growing. I just want all of the young guys to play without fear of being benched for every little mistake. I'm just saying that he's hurting Lin's growth by threatening to bench him all the time and then actually benching him. I mean Harden has been atrocious recently, being as inefficient as Kobe. I don't care if you get 20 points if it takes you 25 shots to do it. I just wish that Mchale was focused on improving the young guys. Did Scottie Brooks bench Durant/Westbrook/Harden/Ibaka when they sucked it up? No he didn't. He let them play, and then went over the film and explained what they did wrong. Now they are a power in the West. While Harden is no Durant and Lin is no Westbrook, that pattern of letting the guys play and coaching them seems to work. Why can't Mchale do that?
  • Alituro says 1 YEAR ago That's right, feelingsupersonic. Not only that but having Harden in a true iso where he is one-on-one with a defender, is probably the best possible case for our offense. He can take anyone one-on-one (even Kobe) and is efficient at it. Teams are not allowing a true iso though because they can afford to send help because of gross offensive incompetency from the others on the floor. I'd even rather him attack the double sometimes rather than find a tentative Lin, or hesitant Patterson open. The only other bright spots on our offense are Delfino and Parsons and you will see that when their man helps on Harden, he defers almost every time. He trusts them. I'm sure he'd show Asik some trust too, if he could hand the ball to him rather than have to throw it (at his knees).
  • feelingsupersonic says 1 YEAR ago I second what Alituro wrote about James Harden and his isolation tendencies. I don't think the Rockets run too much isolaton for Harden at all. When Asik sets a pick for Harden at the top of the key that is not isolation nor is the series of screens that are set for Harden enabling him to get a pass with a mismatch. The complaints about too much isolation for Harden seem unfounded.
  • thejohnnygold says 1 YEAR ago James harden should watch the movie, Juwanna Mann. It's a perfect lesson...without the cross-dressing.
  • Alituro says 1 YEAR ago I think everyone's perception of Harden over-iso-ing is a little skewed. As you know, with Lin's poor shooting, inconsistency from the PF position, butterfingers at C, and besides Parsons or Delfino, we have absolutely zero real offensive threats. Harden commands a double team every time, and thus, someone is open. Harden generally has no problem finding the open man. You can understand a growing hesitance to do so, though when the open man is a unreliable PF, slippery C or a timid Lin. When they are his open men, I'd rather him just create a shot for himself more often than not. An offensively reliable big man such as Motiejunas, IMO, would go along way towards spreading the floor and allowing Harden to create shots for others and even better shots for himself when a team can't take the risk of sending a double to him out at the arc. We absolutely need another prolific scorer, or these are the pains we will feel for a long time.

    I agree with Jeby about Asik and the passes he gets.
  • Jeby says 1 YEAR ago Scattered observations from the game:
    1. Without some miraculously good pull-up jump shooting from the Bobcats, the game wouldn't have been close.
    2. I'm increasingly feeling that Asik's turnover problems have a lot to do with the guards throwing passes at his feet.
    3. The beauty of Carlos Delfino's jump shot has to be seen in person to be fully appreciated. The amount of concentration as the ball leaves his fingertips is what separates him from Chandler Parsons, who seems to just be going through a motion and hoping the odds are in his favor.
    4. On the other hand, Parsons was extremely decisive off the catch, especially at times in the first quarter when his teammates were struggling.
    5. Patrick Beverly was the hungriest player on the court. His desire to win translates into effort. Jeremy Lin's desire to win tranlates into timidity, as he tries to not mess up.
  • timetodienow1234567 says 1 YEAR ago

    PKM, on 22 January 2013 - 03:21 AM said:

    That's ludicrous. Play Lin less than 20 minutes a game? There's no reason to do that.

    Lin and Harden need to learn to play together. There's no way around it.

    I agree, but the offense is ISO after ISO with Harden running the point and Lin's jumper isn't there yet. I want them to play well together, but it simply isn't happening with the offense that McHale has put together. I'm just giving my observation about what would help the team the most. Since Mchale isn't going to let Lin run the point, the team is better off with a jumpshooter at the 1.
  • PKM says 1 YEAR ago

    timetodienow1234567, on 22 January 2013 - 03:04 AM said:

    I think Lin should come off the bench. He should only play when Harden's out. I like both of them, but the way the offense is being run, Harden's really the point. He's playing ISO after ISO like Melo(but not as bad, yet). If Lin comes off the bench and bolsters the second unit, it's great. Or they could move Harden to the 2 and play them both. But Lin and Harden aren't meshing with the offense that's being run now.

    That's ludicrous. Play Lin less than 20 minutes a game? There's no reason to do that.

    Lin and Harden need to learn to play together. There's no way around it.
  • timetodienow1234567 says 1 YEAR ago I think Lin should come off the bench. He should only play when Harden's out. I like both of them, but the way the offense is being run, Harden's really the point. He's playing ISO after ISO like Melo(but not as bad, yet). If Lin comes off the bench and bolsters the second unit, it's great. Or they could move Harden to the 2 and play them both. But Lin and Harden aren't meshing with the offense that's being run now.
  • SamC says 1 YEAR ago Now that teams are doing a better job preparing for Harden you see a huge drop off in efficiency and yet McHale keeps giving him the green light to jack up shots. We may have won today but if McHale continues with this game plan, I don't see too many more wins in the near future.
  • datruth says 1 YEAR ago A win is a win, but lets look at what's going on. Morris should have not been pulled from the starting line up once the team started winning. All on Mchale and Sampson. Beverly seemed to hit a few shots, but if it was lin that turned the ball over like he did Lin would have pulled from the game. Harden again led the team with turnovers and missed shots. Mchale made sure Harden got at least twenty to twenty five shots in, despite stopping the flow of the team. Lin and Harden will not exist together. It worked for a while, because Harden took a back seat to Lin and allowed him to control the tempo. Harden wants to be the man here in Houston and he wants the numbers. Not the wins. Fans are disappointed. Cole brought toughness tonight, but we have at least four players just standing around the three point line. Parson has been solid so far this year and maybe even a better player in my mind than Harden. He doesn't need 25 to 30 shoots a game and plays better team ball. I think we are going backward and not forward. At times Harden reminds of the a player at playground park that gets the ball and shoots all the time. Plays little defense, slips out for easy shoots, because it all about him. Many people was exicited about this team, but Mchale has made sure any excitement is now frustration. He is the worst x and o's coach in this league. Spoiler alert Sampson there is no blake griffin like you had in oklahoma, he was stronger and more athletic than anyone else he played against in college. You must coach up your player not degrade them.
  • khyberjones says 1 YEAR ago I think McHale is limited as a coach. He has to let his point guard, Lin, run the offense and be aggressive. Harden was 5-20 and has had a bad month. Almost every starter has dropped off due to over-reliance on Harden iso-ball. To move the ball, you need to trust the PG to do it.
  • Red94 says 1 YEAR ago New post: Houston Rockets 100, Charlotte Bobcats 94: The Streak finally ends.
  • feelingsupersonic says 1 YEAR ago If you are a leader of a team like James Harden and you are just learning how to lead a group of guys than this was a good experience for all involved. I like how Harden continued to attack the basket as opposed to settling for jump shots as the game went on. Harden also made some good passes that showed trust in teammates and one pass in particular from above the 3 point line across the court to Delfino in the corner was pretty impressive. Harden even became disruptive in the lane as Bobcat guards penetrated against the Rockets defense. The mark of a great player is what he can do to lead his team when his shots aren't going down and Harden is learning how to impact the game in ways that great players do.
  • Jeby says 1 YEAR ago Sat right in front of the hardcore cheering section. They were screaming at the refs in the 4th every time Harden went to the line. He mocked their pain.
  • Dan G says 1 YEAR ago Only got to box score watch this game and was a little worried but the Rockets pulled it through. Whew is all I can say and I bet McHale is saying the same thing.
  • Kade says 1 YEAR ago Lets hope we can keep playing 10 win teams going forward and gut it out second half.
  • feelingsupersonic says 1 YEAR ago Rockets win! I watched the second half and it definitely wasn't pretty but they grinded out a win. Harden was cold again but made some key assists and continued to attack the basket to get to the line, the defense stepped up in the fourth, Beverly brought some energy and other Rockets stepped up with defense and 3 pointers when it mattered most. McHale's rotations seemed good and I saw Harden come off some back screens and get some good picks from Asik to take Biyambo out of the paint.
  • Jeby says 1 YEAR ago It's halftime. Kemba Walker is teaching the Rockets that contested long 2's may be the worst shot in basketball, but wide open long 2's are still pretty good.

Leave a Comment