Houston Rockets 117, Dallas Mavericks 115: Rockets win second in a row with Harden on the bench

With 2:44 left in the game, the Rockets were leading 116 to 104. I blinked and the Rockets were winning by only 2, and the Mavs had the ball with 19 seconds left.  Their best three point shooter, Jose Calderon, had a good look at a 3 and missed.  He got his own rebound and took another 3 and missed as D Mo got the rebound and time expired.  The Rockets were lucky it wasn’t Nowitzki or Carter with the last shot.  Wow, no lead is safe with this team.

The inability to hold leads late continues to haunt the Rockets and seemingly will all year.  Lin admitted it was a deep concern in the post game interview.  Late in the game, they looked like deer caught in the headlights.  With 22 seconds left and inbounding the ball, Parsons had to call the last time out.  After the time out he passed in the ball to Brooks, but it was tipped which led to a turnover.  Our youth and inexperience was very visible and nearly taken advantage of by the experienced and veteran Mavs team.

This makes the Rockets 7 and 2 with Harden on the bench, and  was a really big win.  Smith, Asik and Garcia were also out due to injury and the rotation has shrunk to a tight 8 players.  It was an away game and the second half of a back to back against two good teams.  Everyone stepped up tonight and played some passionate ball.

D Mo has been building his time in the rotation and had a breakthrough night.  He earned a career best 13 boards in 26 minutes and played some great defense on Nowitzki.  He’s getting so much more time due to the Rockets other injuries, that he’s starting to get comfortable on the court.  McHale as well is getting more comfortable playing D Mo in crunch time.

The Mavs went to Hack-a-Howard with about 4:20 left in the game, and he shot 5 for 6 from the line in the next 30 seconds before they went away from that strategy.  Howard shot 9 of 11 from the line tonight!

The Rockets shot an impressive 55% from the field and all the starters, plus D Mo and Brooks, ended up in double figures.  Houston shot 42% from behind the arc.  Brooks hit some big shots, Lin and Parsons played great games, T Jones continued his impressive offensive run and the Rockets played great team ball tonight.

Nowitzki scored an impressive 38 points, had 17 boards and got every close call at home.  He was 11 for 11 from the line. Carter went for 22 and was called for a flagrant foul from an elbow to D Mo.  I haven’t seen a game in a while where there was so much jawing about the calls.  It was pretty rough, but the Rockets found a way to win a tough fight tonight.  This is the Rockets maturing into a winning physical team.  Even though they nearly lost a double digit lead late, they held on and got it done when it counted.

Without Harden in the lineup at the end of the game, the whole team is more active and they share the ball.  That’s a formula that should be encouraged when Harden gets back.  Without Harden, the Rockets look more balanced and Lin looks more confident.  Hopefully the Rockets can integrate Harden into the style the Rockets played tonight.  A balanced attack offensively gives the Rockets more ways to win than waiting on Harden to bail them out time after time.  Of course with Harden in the lineup, and the Rockets clicking like they did tonight, they will win a lot of games.

 

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  • rocketrick says 7 months ago Although Asik has chosen, perhaps been forced (debateable), to not contribute to this point in this Rockets "rookie" tean (my definition based on D12 signing, etc.), Coach McHale has more than proven in my mind his leadership skills. The Rockets players are clearly listening to him (well, maybe sometimes Harden decides at the last millisecond to do otherwise) as is proven by the undisputeable improvement of Terrance Jones and Motiejunas play recently.

    Only those that actually attend Rockets games understand the concentration and intensity level D12 has clearly and undisputedly shown these past few weeks. Those watching the game from TV don't see D12's reactions off the camera. He is extremely focused and in the moment. No doubt whatsoever in my mind that D12 wants that ring. His desire in my mind improves even more his leadership skills and his teammates are going to listen to him. "Damn it, listen to the Coach, let's win this f'g game!" And when the ball bounces the wrong way there is D12 battling with all his might in his way to try and correct the team mistake. All the time Coach McHale exhorting D12 to step above and beyond no matter what.

    One of these days the Rockets fans at the home games will finally begin to show their intensity and desire with the much needed boost of energy that the team will surely thrive from in those precious moments when one or two plays decide the ultimate victor of any particular (sometimes pedestrian) regular season games.

    I see many signs pointing to a special team going forward. Go Rockets!!!
  • John P says 7 months ago

    Part of the answer about McHale comes from looking at Morey. If people who don't like McHale do they also not like Morey? From what little I know about Morey and from being a co-MBA, he is a process oriented guy. If you build a sound process then, more than not, you end up with good, consistent results. My guess is that Morey developed a bunch of objective metrics and that led him to pick McHale from the available coaches out there when Adelman left/was asked to leave.

    Lots of people signs Morey's praises (though thankfully less blanketly than on other Rockets sites), but you also have to hold him accountable for picking McHale. I think McHale gets a pass for this season to see what he can put together for H and H and Parsons running together and if it underperforms then next year he is on the hot seat.

    On Harden, I tend to agree that he lacks trust of his teammates, or leadership, or something...if not all of the above, that will or should make him a better player over time. Granted, before the last couple of months the only consistent player Harden knew of was Parsons. But Howard has largely been a rock this past month or three, as has Jones. If he can begin to trust the rest of the team....or Morey trades for other role players, then that trust should build over time.

    As being such a young player, in Harden, and an overall young team, they do need time. But come this time next year...if the core largely stays together, there should be little issues on chemistry and trust...otherwise someone is getting the axe.

  • rocketrick says 7 months ago

    "Anyone who thinks that Coach McHale is a poor leader just doesn't understand all that he and his coaching staff have accomplished to this point with such a young team and a team that has been together for such a short period of time."
    Congratulating oneself and patting each other on the back for a mediocre mid-term score achieved by an abundance of talent is no different than celebrating a third place finish in a local go cart race while driving a Formula 1. Putting McHale in charge is no better than putting a Sunday driver behind the steering wheel. Michael Schumacher he is not.


    So if you consider the Rockets results thus far "mediocre", how would you characterize the 75-80% of the NBA teams currently below the Rockets in the standings? I guess in your world it doesn't matter that the Rockets have had to battle more than their share of injuries this season. Much less the fact this Rockets team has been together a very short period of time in comparison to, you know, teams like the Thunder and the Spurs and Pacers and the Heat, pretty much everybody that is currently ahead of the Rockets in the standings!

    Comparing Coach McHale's leadership and coaching qualities to a formula 1 race car driver is laughable and truly not worth commenting upon. My little sister could come up with something better than that! And she doesn't even watch sports!
  • miketheodio says 7 months ago

    To know what is going on with our favorite team, to get insight into a player or coach's character or to try to make sense of front office plans a fan cannot just check online for information "that everybody" can "look up easily" and have a truly informed opinion into the truth. Let's not kid ourselves we are all fans with opinions and not much else.

    i really do wonder what it's like to be on the "inside". it's hard to know what truly is happening without that sort of info.

  • Cooper says 7 months ago Who is the Michael Schumacher of nba coaching and is there any even mildly realistic way to acquire this "wonder" coach?
    While in not the biggest mchale fan he's done a good job so far this year. Dwight has been great and team chemistry overall is steadily improving. Jones and parsons have developed into key players and even with having to play guys like brooks motijunas and Garcia heavy minutes through a myriad of injuries from the starters the rockets are in contention for a top four seed in the loaded western conference.
  • knibb says 7 months ago

    "Anyone who thinks that Coach McHale is a poor leader just doesn't understand all that he and his coaching staff have accomplished to this point with such a young team and a team that has been together for such a short period of time."
    Congratulating oneself and patting each other on the back for a mediocre mid-term score achieved by an abundance of talent is no different than celebrating a third place finish in a local go cart race while driving a Formula 1. Putting McHale in charge is no better than putting a Sunday driver behind the steering wheel. Michael Schumacher he is not.

  • rocketrick says 7 months ago

    Leaders are to lead by example yetMcHaleand Harden had demonstrated little.

    The on court examples set by Harden often promotes nothing but individual heroism as opposed to cohesiveness in a team sport. Harden may be the star when it comes to his own scoring touch, but he can be a liability on many other fronts.

    McHale was hands down an elite player, unfortunately, he is still a long way from mastering the craft of coaching and being an effectivestrategist during games, as his records, past and present,indicates.

    Being two vital pieces in the quest of championship, both McHale and Harden need to set examples that can convince the rest of the teamto support andwillingly follow.


    And yet the Rockets have managed the 6th/7th best record in the NBA this season and are only a couple games back of moving further up in the standings.

    Harden is a young player still learning the game and the concept of teamwork. It took great players like LeBron James and Michael Jordan a number of seasons to figure it out. I don't think Harden will ever quite make it to that level of greatness, but he certainly is more than capable of coming close. In the meantime, every game, every play Harden learns more and more and he will eventually figure things out.

    Anyone who thinks that Coach McHale is a poor leader just doesn't understand all that he and his coaching staff have accomplished to this point with such a young team and a team that has been together for such a short period of time.

    There will always be anti-McHale and anti-Harden fans out there, just like there were anti-Hakeem the Dream fans out there just prior to the Rockets winning their back to back championships. Life goes on.

    I prefer living life seeing the glass as half full, not half empty.

    I look forward to watching this team continue to grow and succeed in the months ahead. Go Rockets!!!!!
  • knibb says 7 months ago

    Leaders are to lead by example yetMcHaleand Harden had demonstrated little.

    The on court examples set by Harden often promotes nothing but individual heroism as opposed to cohesiveness in a team sport. Harden may be the star when it comes to his own scoring touch, but he can be a liability on many other fronts.

    McHale was hands down an elite player, unfortunately, he is still a long way from mastering the craft of coaching and being an effectivestrategist during games, as his records, past and present,indicates.

    Being two vital pieces in the quest of championship, both McHale and Harden need to set examples that can convince the rest of the teamto support andwillingly follow.

  • Richards says 7 months ago

    Richards, perhaps you should place your resume with Leslie Alexander and Morey.

    I wish I could. Me not smart enough. :)

  • John P says 7 months ago

    on Howard, I have totally come around on him as a dedicated player and teammate. He has swallowed his words over and over when asked about this or that intra-team controversy this year. he is always positive and clearly delivering night in and night out. I don't know if i would call him a great leader, but he is a net positive for sure. The young, pouting, give me what I want cause I am great attitude seems to be gone.

    Count me now as a full fan.

    On McHale, no one has any idea what kind of leader he is to the players...we aren't at practice, huddles, meetings, etc... all of this is just arm chair quarterbacking. ...but his players, except Lowry I guess, love him...or at least Parsons does. My only issue is that he hasn't been able to stop meltdowns when they occur...he can't build consistency of play. Howard is consistent cause he is older...and maybe that is all this team needs, time....but for me McHale gets a pass for now.

  • feelingsupersonic says 7 months ago

    To know what is going on with our favorite team, to get insight into a player or coach's character or to try to make sense of front office plans a fan cannot just check online for information "that everybody" can "look up easily" and have a truly informed opinion into the truth. Let's not kid ourselves we are all fans with opinions and not much else.

  • rocketrick says 7 months ago

    I gave interview as an example that everybody and look it up easily. I am not trying to change anybody's opinion and neither can change mine. Like I said many many time before coach McHale was a great player and great person. That doesn't make anybody a good leader or a good coach.


    Richards, perhaps you should place your resume with Leslie Alexander and Morey.
  • Richards says 7 months ago

    Right, that's a great way to judge a coaches leadership skills, listen to interviews. Wow, not sure I can even respond with anything that could bring it back to reality...

    I gave interview as an example that everybody and look it up easily. I am not trying to change anybody's opinion and neither can change mine. Like I said many many time before coach McHale was a great player and great person. That doesn't make anybody a good leader or a good coach.

  • feelingsupersonic says 7 months ago

    Motiejunas is beginning to look more and more like a legitimate rotation player in the NBA. Not yet ready to start, but he is becoming more consistent on the court in the time allotted him. It doesn't hurt to have one of the greatest bigs to ever play the game as your Coach! It's apparent Motiejunas is listening and learning and putting in the necessary work to succeed in this league. In my opinion, it's beginning to become more and more difficult to see the Rockets move either Terrance Jones or D-Mo going forward as they continue to improve their games. Best of all, they are cap friendly players that are producing and making a real difference to the success of the Rockets this season!

    I agree that he was at least due to show flashes at this point but I wouldn't expect him to be a consistent rotation player till next year, he seems on schedule. This new Rockets roster has some growing up to do in this final stretch and playoffs. I foresee the Rockets paying their dues this postseason.

  • thejohnnygold says 7 months ago

    I think I found why Vince Carter flipped out last night and tried to bust up poor D-Mo...he was mad at Dwight for this...

    iAeT1Iy.jpg

    ...the dreaded titty twister...the purple nurple. :lol:

  • feelingsupersonic says 7 months ago

    Right, that's a great way to judge a coaches leadership skills, listen to interviews. Wow, not sure I can even respond with anything that could bring it back to reality...

  • Richards says 7 months ago

    Ummm, ok. So, where do Popovich and Belichick rank as leaders? They are probably two of the most notoriously bad media communicators. Must be terrible leaders. :blink:

    Popovich interviews are must see TV. I don't think he is bad at all. He always give short and sweet answers. Everybody love (proud) to do interview with him.

    Yes. I don't like BeliCHEAT. He is disgraceful toward others who he disagree with. There are always bad apple or black sheep in every business. you know. :)

  • Dayak says 7 months ago Dwight is the leader of this team, not Harden...not yet.
  • thejohnnygold says 7 months ago

    Dwight has his own problems in the past but I see his improvements. I think he is a good leader.

    For coach McHale, I don't think he is a good leader. He was a great player and great person. Leader must have a good communication skill and should be able to convey their message clearly and precisely. I have said this before, go and watch McHale and Beard interviews, they mumble a lot and show no interest in it. They may not like the press but media is a way to communicate with fans and followers. Great leaders treat fairly and respectfully to everyone including those they didn't like.

    Ummm, ok. So, where do Popovich and Belichick rank as leaders? They are probably two of the most notoriously bad media communicators. Must be terrible leaders. :blink:

  • rocketrick says 7 months ago I've heard a number of McHale interviews and pregame/postgame press conferences and I don't ever recall a single time that McHale was mumbling his way through. I've always thought his responses were thoughtful and pretty much spot on.

    I wholeheartedly disagree with your premise that McHale is not a good leader. More important, he has the respect of the players on his team.

    The Rockets have the 6th/7th best record in the NBA this season consistently throughout this season and are only a couple of games away from moving up in the standings.

    The Rockets have one of the youngest teams in the NBA, several roster changes to begin the season and multiple and continuous injuries throughout the entire season yet they have been more successful than 80% of the NBA teams this season thus far.

    I just don't understand the apprehension of some on this board.
  • Richards says 7 months ago

    Dwight has his own problems in the past but I see his improvements. I think he is a good leader.

    For coach McHale, I don't think he is a good leader. He was a great player and great person. Leader must have a good communication skill and should be able to convey their message clearly and precisely. I have said this before, go and watch McHale and Beard interviews, they mumble a lot and show no interest in it. They may not like the press but media is a way to communicate with fans and followers. Great leaders treat fairly and respectfully to everyone including those they didn't like.

  • rocketrick says 7 months ago Harden is still a work in progress. I don't mean to compare Harden with LeBron, but LeBron was older and more experienced in the NBA than Harden currently is before he started figuring it out in terms of the mental aspect of the game. That seems to pretty much always be the case. Even with MJ, it took him several seasons to figure out that individual play wasn't going to trump being a team player in the long run.

    Patience!

    In the meantime the Rockets have 2 gifted leaders in Coach McHale and D12.

    More importantly, the Rockets have a talented player in D12 who is willing to fight for a chance for a ring. D12 is playing with a lot of passion these days and he has fit right in with this Rockets team in my opinion.
  • John P says 7 months ago

    also, I totally agree with the Leadership issue.

    Howard and Harden are great individual players, and Howard has shown that he knows what it means to share the ball, get teammates involved and just be plugged into the team. maybe it is personality driven but generally it seems like Harden is a little aloof of the team...or at least doesn't seem to be that great of a leader.

    The biggest fault I see in this team is no experienced guy who controls the locker room. We need a Battier or someone who is older, respected, and can pull everyone together. Maybe Harden is just too young yet to do it but it is missing from this team. You can see it when the other teams make runs and then we totally collapse. Part of that is on McHale for not being able to keep the team together but that would also really help if there was less individualism on the team. I think that starts with Harden.

    Great player ...freaking amazing player, but he has missing parts still

  • John P says 7 months ago

    the last play was totally wierd
    ...first of all trusting DMo on Dirk was on thing, then not having Dwight in was another and then Dirk's defender switched with the pick to Lin and all he had to do was one of his usual fading jumpers from about 15 and the game would have been tied. But he instead passed back to Calderon who was shooting terrible......just wierd sequence

  • areteejay789 says 7 months ago

    Anyone else think it was strange that Dwight wasn't on the court for the final defensive possession? up 2, 19 seconds on the clock, and mavs ball. I know dwight had 5 fouls, and if he had fouled inside the arc he would have missed overtime, but is it really worth that risk? Granted it worked out this time, because they didn't go inside anyway, but I think I would have liked to see dwight out on the court and go for the win in regulation...

  • Richards says 7 months ago

    Last two game, Lin was aggressive whenever he had the ball and produced good numbers.

    He also did cutting running defending well when he didn't had the ball. No hesitation to run up to corner when other PGs handling the ball.

    I hope Lin can play well with Harden the same way as Lin-Bev and Lin-AB backcourt.

    Please please don't start calling me a LOF and Beard Basher.

    Harden is much better player and more important than Lin. But Harden need to improve his LEADERSHIP. I said it before Harden must LEAD the team and I believe he can and he is doing it. A player can LEAD the team in play, points, rebound, etc but only good LEADERSHIP will make the others on the team better. Buckko rightly pointed out to me in other post that Dwight has better leadership skill that I totally agree.

    So I hope, when Harden come back, he not only LEAD the team but also use his LEADERSHIP to make others better.

  • SDrake says 7 months ago

    "Without Harden in the lineup at the end of the game, the whole team is more active and they share the ball. That’s a formula that should be encouraged when Harden gets back. Without Harden, the Rockets look more balanced and Lin looks more confident. Hopefully the Rockets can integrate Harden into the style the Rockets played tonight."

    Don't count on it. Harden doesn't play "team ball."

    Strange stat of the night... Lin had more rebounds than Howard.

  • redfaithful says 7 months ago

    Agreed rocketrick, now we need a fourth big man to complement Howard, TJones and D-Mo. Hopefully it's Asik or Greg Smith...

  • rocketrick says 7 months ago Just to clarify, I do not mean to imply that TJones or D-Mo are untouchables when it comes to potential trades. Of course they are not at that level at this time.

    It is enjoyable to see both come as far as they have in a relatively short period of time. It seems evident to me that both still are working on their games and have the potential to become even better NBA players with time.

    This Rockets team is really starting to grow on me! Shorthanded for basically 90% of the regular season and yet the Rockets find ways to overcome and continue to win. Go Rockets!!!
  • rocketrick says 7 months ago Motiejunas is beginning to look more and more like a legitimate rotation player in the NBA. Not yet ready to start, but he is becoming more consistent on the court in the time allotted him. It doesn't hurt to have one of the greatest bigs to ever play the game as your Coach! It's apparent Motiejunas is listening and learning and putting in the necessary work to succeed in this league. In my opinion, it's beginning to become more and more difficult to see the Rockets move either Terrance Jones or D-Mo going forward as they continue to improve their games. Best of all, they are cap friendly players that are producing and making a real difference to the success of the Rockets this season!
  • Red94 says 7 months ago New post: Houston Rockets 117, Dallas Mavericks 115: Rockets win second in a row with Harden on the bench
    By: Eric Nielsen

    With 2:44 left in the game, the Rockets were leading 116 to 104. I blinked and the Rockets were winning by only 2, and the Mavs had the ball with 19 seconds left.  Their best three point shooter, Jose Calderon, had a good look at a 3 and missed.  He got his own rebound and took another 3 and missed as D Mo got the rebound and time expired.  The Rockets were lucky it wasn’t Nowitzki or Carter with the last shot.  Wow, no lead is safe with this team.

    The inability to hold leads late continues to haunt the Rockets and seemingly will all year.  Lin admitted it was a deep concern in the post game interview.  Late in the game, they looked like deer caught in the headlights.  With 22 seconds left and inbounding the ball, Parsons had to call the last time out.  After the time out he passed in the ball to Brooks, but it was tipped which led to a turnover.  Our youth and inexperience was very visible and nearly taken advantage of by the experienced and veteran Mavs team.

    This makes the Rockets 7 and 2 with Harden on the bench, and  was a really big win.  Smith, Asik and Garcia were also out due to injury and the rotation has shrunk to a tight 8 players.  It was an away game and the second half of a back to back against two good teams.  Everyone stepped up tonight and played some passionate ball.

    D Mo has been building his time in the rotation and had a breakthrough night.  He earned a career best 13 boards in 26 minutes and played some great defense on Nowitzki.  He’s getting so much more time due to the Rockets other injuries, that he’s starting to get comfortable on the court.  McHale as well is getting more comfortable playing D Mo in crunch time.

    The Mavs went to Hack-a-Howard with about 4:20 left in the game, and he shot 5 for 6 from the line in the next 30 seconds before they went away from that strategy.  Howard shot 9 of 11 from the line tonight!

    The Rockets shot an impressive 55% from the field and all the starters, plus D Mo and Brooks, ended up in double figures.  Houston shot 42% from behind the arc.  Brooks hit some big shots, Lin and Parsons played great games, T Jones continued his impressive offensive run and the Rockets played great team ball tonight.

    Nowitzki scored an impressive 38 points, had 17 boards and got every close call at home.  He was 11 for 11 from the line. Carter went for 22 and was called for a flagrant foul from an elbow to D Mo.  I haven’t seen a game in a while where there was so much jawing about the calls.  It was pretty rough, but the Rockets found a way to win a tough fight tonight.  This is the Rockets maturing into a winning physical team.  Even though they nearly lost a double digit lead late, they held on and got it done when it counted.

    Without Harden in the lineup at the end of the game, the whole team is more active and they share the ball.  That’s a formula that should be encouraged when Harden gets back.  Without Harden, the Rockets look more balanced and Lin looks more confident.  Hopefully the Rockets can integrate Harden into the style the Rockets played tonight.  A balanced attack offensively gives the Rockets more ways to win than waiting on Harden to bail them out time after time.  Of course with Harden in the lineup, and the Rockets clicking like they did tonight, they will win a lot of games.