Huq’s Pen: What a complete embarrassment

  • Before this series began, never in my wildest dreams did I expect to be writing about the team being down 0-2 heading to Portland.  It was conceivable the Rockets could go down 0-2 in the next round against San Antonio, and in the next round, against the Thunder, I thought that prospect was a near certainty.  But against the Blazers?  While I predicted Houston in 5 on ESPN, I knew 1-1 was a distinct possibility.  But down 0-2 heading to Portland?  It looks like I really underestimated (perhaps willfully ignored) the importance of good coaching in professional sports.  Trust me, there will be much more on this point later.
  • I said on Twitter before tipoff, and also in my Game 1 rant-cap, that I wasn’t overly worried/disappointed with Dwight Howard’s play because, as Charles Barkley said, what we saw in Game 1 is essentially who Dwight is.  Howard came out last night on a completely different level, starting the game out scoring 13 of Houston’s first 15 points, seemingly on a mission to destroy the basket support as he finished every play with one of those dunks where he pulls the whole rim down and hangs for aesthetic effect.  It was breathtaking to watch and by halftime, Superman had 25.  But heading into the third quarter, I tweeted that it worried me that while Howard and Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge were both having historic first halves, leading to the tied score, Aldridge’s efforts were more sustainable while Howard’s were likely to taper off.  Lo and behold, Howard scored just 7 more points the rest of the way, while Aldridge continued his tear to the tune of another 40+ performance.  That whole train of analysis is not meant as a knock on Dwight.  32-14-4 is more than enough to expect from one’s superstar center.  My assertion was simply based upon the observation that Howard’s game is more prone to being stopped by adjustments (more on this) than Aldridge’s.  Howard made comments following Game 1 about needing to demand the ball more, but I never thought effort or intensity were really the problem.  Sure, he can flex his muscle and dunk the ball down as hard as possible, but a timely double-team or help defender here or there can completely throw him off.
  • If you’re a fan of the Houston Rockets, you’re wondering what an ‘adjustment’ is.  My apologies.  Allow me to explain as simply as possible.  An ‘adjustment’ is basically when, in a game, something is happening over and over again, perhaps by one of the teams, and then the other team’s coach says, “hey guys, we need to make an adjustment.  let’s stop doing ‘x’ and do ‘y’.”  And then typically, some different result ensues.  I’ve poured over the past two years worth of video from the Houston Rockets to find some tape to better illustrate the concept, but unfortunately, did not find anything.

  • James Harden had another disastrous night, going 6-19 from the floor to the tune of 18 points, and afterward in the postgame, not taking much of the accountability, and instead offering some tripe about ‘team defense’ (the irony.)  Harden’s attitude overall is a concern and a development I’ve kept an eye upon since late last season when the honeymoon first began ending, but there will be ample time for such existential thematics during the hot summer days after the season ends.  At this rate, that date will come much sooner than anyone had ever expected.  I do think there’s something though to helping put great players in a better position to where they can succeed (see: Erik Spoelstra’s adjustments in putting Lebron in the block after the Mavs stymied him up top in the Finals the previous year), but unfortunately, there isn’t time for that sort of thing right now.  If Houston’s season is to survive, Harden is simply going to have to muster up an effort the likes of which he is capable and put them on his back with his jumpshot, as he did to close the regular season.  Harden has looked so horrendous these past two games that it is easy to forget that he is still one of the three or four most brilliant offensive players in basketball.  I won’t talk about Harden’s defense because, had he put forth the offensive numbers one would have expected, Houston would be up 2-0 right now.
  • This is sort of the problem with freelance basketball.  Things change in the playoffs.  When your entire gameplan relies upon one player going rogue and just being brilliant, if the other team somehow stops him, you are f*****.
  • Where was this LaMarcus Aldridge in the 2006 NCAA tournament against Big Baby Davis and the LSU Tigers?  I jest.  Funny thing is, I’m not completely concerned about Aldridge’s play, thus far.  Yes*, I realize his game is built upon mid-range jumpshots, but that’s at a 45%~ accuracy, not a 95% clip, or whatever he’s going at right now.  Aldridge will regress at least slightly to the mean.  It’s just not physically possible to continue hitting 19 foot turnarounds in Omer Asik’s face for another 96 minutes.  The problem, as I stated last night, is that it’s probably already too late.  Even if Aldridge regresses, as expected, can Houston really win 4 out of 5?
  • *I’m going to sound like a complete jerk right now, but one of the more irritating things (especially when I’m already in a highly irritated mood) is when I make an observation on Twitter during a live-tweeting session and someone attempts to enlighten me upon the basis of a premise already implicitly understood.  I noted during a game late in the year that “Houston is really posting up Harden more these days and he’s looked fantastic; I’d like to see them run this play more” and someone replied informing me that it was because the Rockets’ philosophy was to avoid midrange shots.  Gee, thanks, I wasn’t aware of that salient point.  I’ll try to stay better informed in the future.
  • On Aldridge: I don’t know that I particularly have a problem with Houston’s coverage.  I agree that you can’t double because the last thing you want is to free up those Blazers outside shooters.  And to his credit, Asik has done about as much as anyone could possibly expect.  He’s fought Aldridge to his spots, pushed him out, denied driving lanes, and contested.  Aldridge has just killed him.  There is nothing you can do to stop a guy when he is hitting 19 foot fadeaways with a 7 footer draped all over him.  Except….
  • Would it kill Kevin McHale to switch things up every now and then?  I agree with not doubling on every play.  But why not send different looks every now and then the way the Blazers have done with Howard or the way every average to above average coach since the history of professional sports has done in the face of daunting situations…?  Just send a double every now and then, or after he makes his move, to throw off his rhythm.  Would it kill anyone to just try that?
  • It should be properly recognized what Aldridge is doing right now: he has single handedly decimated two of the top five interior defenders in basketball, in concert.  It is pretty much the exact equivalent of taking Dennis Rodman and David Robinson to the woodshed.  That actually puts Dream’s accomplishments in ’95 in perspective as he did it over the course of an entire series, not just two games.  And that’s why I expect Aldridge to regress to the mean.
  • There are higher level philosophical problems with the Rockets right now which will need to be addressed over the summer but which, if inspected, should evoke no surprise as to their current plight.  To begin, I began having slight doubts this year about the “3′s and inside shots only” philosophy as evidence seemed to mount that it was more of a lowest common denominator launchpad to lift a mediocre team to respectability rather than to lift a good team to elite status.  To put this as simply as possible, as the stakes rise, and the competition gets better, those 3′s and paint shots are harder to come by, and open pockets on the court must be sought out.  It’s how Lebron won the title in Game 7 after the Spurs took away his driving lanes.  I don’t think the Rockets can win a title without midrange shots, but, of more immediate relevance, for a team which relies upon the 3 point shot, Houston just doesn’t have good shooters.  Harden struggled all year before his late burst, and Parsons (he of the awkward release where it looks like the ball is coming off the side of his hand) is the epitome of ‘streaky.’  What’s happening probably shouldn’t come as a surprise but again, we have all summer to discuss the philosophical underpinnings.  For now, I’d like to see Troy Daniels get a chance because Houston desperately needs someone who can knock down a shot, on the court.
  • Moreso than the shooting, a greater problem regarding which I’ve been writing for some time is that Houston has no set offense.  Bill Simmons famously said “when I watch Houston play, it almost looks like they don’t even practice…as if they just roll out the ball and play.”  And the remembrance of that quotation is conjured upon every single possession late in the fourth quarter of a close game.  Make no mistake, Houston’s crunch-time offense has been a complete and utter disaster.
  • Houston runs a read-and-react where, rather than running set plays, players are expected to react to circumstances within the defense to make the right play with the ball.  It can be beautiful, in theory, and typically is beautiful early in games when the pressure is off.  But my thesis is, essentially unless you have inherently smart players, or veteran players, they can’t be expected to make volitional decisions during pressure situations because inevitably, said pressure will interfere with their decision-making processes.  That’s why so often, f***, during every single close game, the Rockets offense looks so out of sorts with players holding the ball, unsure of what to do.  It’s not that the players are inherently selfish or that they don’t know what they are supposed to be doing…it’s that the pressure gets to them and when the expectation is to make a decision, they crumble mentally.  That’s why, so often, f***, during every single game, the end result is just James Harden taking it upon himself and trying to bull his way in.  He’s the only one with the fortitude to try something (or maybe the only one not scared to get yelled at if he messes up.)  Late in the year, Harden was so damn brilliant that he was able to just lift the team by doing this.  But in the playoffs, against better competition, it hasn’t been possible.  It won’t be possible in the future in coming years, if the Rockets somehow survive this.  The solution is not to “just move the ball, guys, move the ball” as Kevin McHale offers.  Again, the players are not inherently selfish.  The solution is to have some muscle memory action where players don’t have to think and can just know what to do because they’ve done it a million times.  If you’re a young player, you have to know, “okay, this is what we did in practice every day, this is what I do here,” and just go through that motion and things will run smoothly.  Read-and-react is well and great if you have 5 Magic Johnsons.  But for a young team, I don’t think this philosophy is going to work.  Players have to have something they can turn to which has already been ingrained.  I’ve bolded this entire paragraph because I feel, if you are to take away anything from this piece, I want it to be this.
  • Good grief, it’s depressing that we are here discussing thematic philosophical issues rather than the series itself.  I didn’t think it would come to this, but it has.  This series is likely over.
  • On that above point, it is kind of chilling hearing Chris Webber, a veteran of many wars, articulate essentially the same thing regarding the Rockets’ lack of set plays.  Dude was downright perplexed trying to figure out what the hell Houston was doing.
  • I can’t think of too many examples on par with last night of a team coming out completely unprepared to play basketball.  Some of those late sequences in the fourth were downright embarrassing.  There was a span of plays where, in succession, Houston gave up a fastbreak layup after a made free throw, Jeremy Lin inexplicably fouled when the Rockets were down just ’3′ with 30 seconds remaining, and then Harden got called for an offensive foul after another joke of a play out of a timeout.  Downright embarrassing.  When you look that bad repeatedly late in games, coaching is the only culprit and right now, the Rockets have looked as if they haven’t even been coached.  You can bet Kevin McHale will be gone if/when Houston goes on to lose this series, so perhaps that might be somewhat of a silver lining.  Entering the postseason, one of the unspoken fears among many was that coaching would be Houston’s achilles heel….I just thought it would be in the next round against Poppovich and not so soon.  McHale has his qualities: the players respect him and he’s a leader of men, yada yada yada, but again, like the mid-range commentary, when the stakes are raised, you need a tactician, not a motivational speaker.  The Rockets just can’t win like this right now.  Even Jordan and Kobe needed the triangle.  Even Lebron needed Spoelstra reinventing the Heat offense.  You just can’t roll the ball out, clap, and expect to win.  You just can’t.  This league is too damn hard.
  • To hammer home that point above, when a guy commits a foul in a one possession game with more than 24 seconds left on the game clock, that’s symptomatic of nothing else but poor coaching.  It’s as simple as that.  It is as simple as that.  No communication, no awareness, nothing.
  • Why have we not seen the Howard-Harden pick and roll, the play which was essentially Houston’s selling point to Dwight Howard this summer during their pitch?  Howard is too liable to get fouled, you say?  Then why haven’t we seen the Lin-Harden pick and roll?  That latter play was one which had shockingly efficient results during the year and as recently as…GAME ONE…why didn’t we see it again?
  • I had hoped to break down some film for this piece, but I’m running short on time.  But I’ll leave you all with this: I don’t think this series will end in a sweep.  Houston is too damn talented, individually, despite how poorly they are coached.  Both Harden and Aldridge will revert closer to the mean, shifting Houston’s odds.  The question now, as loath as I am to give in to platitude, becomes one of pride.  Houston has the talent to at least win another game.  But have they given up or will they continue fighting?  While expecting tactical adjustments from McHale might be a bit much to ask for, there is precedent for drastic personnel changes.  See the playoffs last year where he went to the small lineup.  Right now, I think you’ll see them change the lineup up because at this point, they have nothing to lose.  This series is most likely over but Houston has to keep fighting until the very end.  They have the talent to pull this off as daunting as the odds may seem.
  • That’s all for now.  Expect more this afternoon.  The link to the piece, as is the case with all of our coverage, will be tweeted out when it hits the press.  Stay safe, my friends.  And drink responsibly.

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Total comments: 86
  • Johnny33 says 3 months ago

    I wouldn't go so far as to say Lin is a natural leader. He lacks a lot in that regard. Yes, he's mature and handles questions well, and his off-court presence is probably more respectable and likeable. However, he just isn't vocal enough, critical enough, confrontational enough, take enough risks. Not that the team needs him to be that. He's just fine. But he's kind of soft (vocally). You can see it in his interactions with his teammates. He would need to take less blame and more control to be called a natural leader.

    I would agree - Lin is too up/down to be a leader. Just watch his body language when things aren't going well - that's not what you want from a leader. But I also think he understands that this isn't his team. Maybe if the Harden trade never happened you would have seen that Jeremy. But not on this team.

  • Johnny33 says 3 months ago

    Spectacular really? Lin had a lot of help with guarding Damian Lillard you even mentioned Howard's block as an example of this help. Lillard alsoscored on Lin every time Lin guarded him in game 1.Lin has done a good job against Mo Williams. Williams has not really challenged anybody that has been guarding. He has been looking to shoot jump shots. Bev played good defense yesterday whether you chose to see it or not.

    Some fans hear Chris Webber say "Lin's playing great defense" and that will stick with them. I thought both Lin and Bev played great D in game 2. Personally I think the problem is that sometimes Lin tries to do too much on D - he is trying to run all over the court to guard 2-3 guys, and end up guarding no one. He also has trouble recovering around screens. But then again, I think the topic of Lin's defense has been beaten to death. I don't think Lin is the problem in this series.

  • Johnny33 says 3 months ago

    Where to start...... First of all, I agree with pretty much everything Rahat posted. This team relies too much on Harden to make things happen. Too often it's Harden, or Parsons, or Lin, taking turns going 1 on 5 with the rest of the team standing around. The half court execution has been awful all year, but a few lucky shots or brilliant plays can cover up that fact. Compound the problem with the fact this team plays without a floor general type PG - even with Lin on the floor he's usually not running set plays. This is a team lacking leadership. They don't have anyone going "ok guys, let's get into ____ set, let's get a score here" to calm the team down.

    I've been up and down on McHale all season, but one thing really stood out to me - I believe he was being interviewed by NBATV when he said something along the lines of "this is a player's league" and he doesn't take credit for what the players do on the floor. His coaching philosophy really started to make sense to me. You let your best players sink or swim. He will leave Harden, Parsons, Howard out there to struggle. Those are your best players, either they accept the challenge or face the criticism. I obviously don't agree with the philosophy, but I can understand where he's coming from. You don't bench your stars if they're struggling - you let them either win on their brilliance or lose on their mistakes. Personally, I think it's tough for a team when your best player looks disinterested on defense, then talks about a lack of team defense after the game. I will accept that James Harden isn't a leader - but at the same time you won't get far if your team's leader is your defense-first role player point guard. Pat Beverley can only do so much with his talents and role.

    As for the Lin foul, I didn't have an issue with it when I was watching the game. Look, there were 30 seconds left - if the Rockets had managed to get a stop (not likely, based on how awful the defense was) they'd probably have about 6-8 seconds to get a good shot (in a game in which they often couldn't get a decent look within the first 15 seconds of the shot clock). If the Blazers took the clock down under 10 seconds and scored - that's pretty much the ballgame. You foul... if they hit 1/2, you can still hit a 3 and foul again only down 1. If they hit both, you can still hit a 3 and be down 2.

    I'm glad they made the adjustment of NOT playing Chandler on Lillard.

    I don't think you can realistically double LMA on the perimeter. The guards get him the ball and quickly bail to the weak side. Your help defender only has a couple seconds to come double before he can turn and shoot. If LMA is going to shoot contested 19 footers and make them all night, you've just got to pat him on the back. That's a tough shot - if he shoots tough shots all series you just have to accept the results. What you can't do is allow offensive rebounds or let Dorell Wright get hot from 3.

    To me, the most troubling part of game 2 was early in the 4th when the Blazers went on a run with LMA on the bench. The 2nd most troubling was the wide open layup by Wes Matthews with the Rockets not paying any attention to him. 3rd - Harden jogging up and down the court with the game stretching out of reach in the 4th Q. I realize Harden played 44 minutes - but this is the playoffs. Blame McHale for Harden being tired if you want, the optics just didn't look good.

    FWIW, I hope the Pacers are knocked out of the first round. If Vogel is let go, I think he can really help this Rockets team.

  • Willk says 3 months ago

    Mr. wilk
    what is your point in calling people out.
    Not trying to talk about you, but why make personal suggestion about people you don't know. Our best player is james harden and d12. Those two guys set the pace for this team. Not sure why you would ask who our best player is.. Not sure what game you are looking at our perimeter defense is bad. The first thing you learn in playing defense is keep your man in front of you and move your feet. That's is elementary in playing defense, not letting your man get past you then trying to reach in from behind that awful defense. No disrespect toward you, but when you call people out. please have a clue about basketball. i wish you the best on this site, i will not add to the fire until the series is over. i tell my grandchildren to stay in front of the ball and at that the first then you learn while playing defense to move YOUR FEET..

    No disrespect to you.
    You said the rockets need to get the ball out of LMA's hands. I asked how do you do that? Please answer.
    You also said the best players guard the other team's best players I.e. Lebron vs Parker. I asked who should be guarding LMA and then you told me that Howard and Harden are the team's best players. Again you did not answer. Also, who should be guarding Lillard?
    Thanks for the lesson on defense. How many times did Harden swipe at the ball yesterday? Once and he knocked the ball to someone who decided to let the ball roll out of bounds for some reason.
  • Willk says 3 months ago

    the 3 philosophy is a bit a a misnomer. Spurs and heat take a good amount. However, their offense has more structure while the rockets are unstructured. Of course those teams have a more balanced offense as well. Rockets need to fill out their playbook and incorporate more options on offence. Developing midrange options in the playbook while developing players midrange skills. The system needs to become more complete.

    the spurs and heat also have been together longer so their offensive philosophy has evolved over time. This team has been together for 1 year.
  • Willk says 3 months ago

    The guard closest to LMA should double him while the other guard covers his man. LMA would have to make a cross court pass to get to the open man which should allow the guard to rotate back and contest. Same thing that Dwight managed to do with Bev. But not suggesting they do this all the time. Problem is I have never seen Harden ever double someone, nor do I think he will expend the effort to rotate. I can see this happening if we have Bev and Lin on the court without Harden, as those two will give the effort on D.

    The Rox D is pretty sad because of one guy not giving effort affecting the rest of the rotation. Everytime I see Harden on a PF I want to scream, because they don't move around too much as Harden doesn't move around too much, and that is where they try to hide him, With two relatively slow wing defenders that play 40 minutes, no wonder it's tough to get stops against a pick and pop, mid range shooting superstar.

    if you double than the defense has to rotate. If the other team makes a couple of passes they will either find an open player, find a mismatch, or someone will be trying to box out someone who is much taller than them which compromises your defensive rebounding. LMA is a much better passer than Howard so I doubt doubling will rattle LMA. The Blazers are doubling after Howard makes his initial move to the basket. LMA is not attacking the basket so you cannot copy what the Blazers are doing to Howard. He catches and shoots a lot thus making double teaming impossible.
    Harden has been giving a good effort on the defensive side for the last 6 quarters. Harden has been playing bad on Offense but he has been putting in effort on the defensive side. The only time Harden was on a big the last game was when the Rox went small and the blazers had robin Lopez & LMA on the floor. I have no problem w/ Harden guarding a big in this situation.
  • Willk says 3 months ago

    Good points. Welcome to the Western Conference, where the seeding doesn't matter and every team would be a #3 seed in the East! (or better...)

    Edit: Just went to confirm my statement. Did you know Indy (#1 in East) would be the #4 seed in the West? Houston, Portland, and Miami all have the same record? We'd be the freakin' #2 seed in the East. Wow. That is all.

    This is the toughest Western Conference I have ever seen. Memphis is beating OKC. The Mavs have outplayed the Spurs for 7 out of the 8 quarters and should be up 2-0. Record wise the Pacers would be the #4 seed in the West, but don't you think if they were in the west they would be contending for the 8th seed?
  • PeteChilcutt says 3 months ago

    Rahat,

    I am Juan Manfred on Bleacher Report's Rockets section. I am an avid commenter there. I believe you "borrowed" my words verbatim when you said "you need a tactician, not a motivational speaker."

    Of course you'll deny it. But I have screenshots. I can't do anything about it. I just wanna let you know, I'M ON TO YOU.

    Also, your mentioning of the Bill Simmons quote.

  • PhillyCheese says 3 months ago

    Who do you double off when you double LMA? Lillard and Mathews are both 39% three point shooters and Batum is a 36%. I would rather try to make LMA keep making contested jumpers then letting anyone of those guys or even all of them getting hot.

    The guard closest to LMA should double him while the other guard covers his man. LMA would have to make a cross court pass to get to the open man which should allow the guard to rotate back and contest. Same thing that Dwight managed to do with Bev. But not suggesting they do this all the time. Problem is I have never seenHarden everdouble someone, nor do I think he will expend the effortto rotate. I can see this happening if we have Bev and Lin on the court without Harden, as those two will give the effort on D.

    The Rox D is pretty sad because of one guy not giving effort affecting the rest of the rotation. Everytime I see Harden on a PF I want to scream, because they don't move around too much as Harden doesn't move around too much, and that is where they try to hide him, With two relatively slow wing defenders that play 40 minutes, no wonder it's tough to get stops against a pick and pop, mid range shooting superstar.

  • datruth says 3 months ago

    Mr. wilk
    what is your point in calling people out.
    Not trying to talk about you, but why make personal suggestion about people you don't know. Our best player is james harden and d12. Those two guys set the pace for this team. Not sure why you would ask who our best player is.. Not sure what game you are looking at our perimeter defense is bad. The first thing you learn in playing defense is keep your man in front of you and move your feet. That's is elementary in playing defense, not letting your man get past you then trying to reach in from behind that awful defense. No disrespect toward you, but when you call people out. please have a clue about basketball. i wish you the best on this site, i will not add to the fire until the series is over. i tell my grandchildren to stay in front of the ball and at that the first then you learn while playing defense to move YOUR FEET..

  • Willk says 3 months ago

    Plenty of rebounding, they just need to all focus on getting the defensive rebound. Make that the #1 priority. Making Portland miss their shot just to simply see them grab the rebound is not going to get it done.

    More importantly, everyone from Harden down to Beverley (Parsons, Lin, Garcia, too) must hit a higher percentage of their outside shots, especially when they are wide open. If the Rockets outside shooting woes continue, it won't matter what adjustments defensively are made or not. It is really going to come down to the Rockets making a much better percentage of their outside shots.

    agree with this too

  • Willk says 3 months ago

    Some fans just clearly think Lin is a much better player than Harden and since McHale doesn't agree with him, that makes McHale a horrible Head Coach. And that Harden is coddled too much.

    Harden definitely needs to turn it on in Game 3 or this season is going to come to a crashing end much sooner than anyone anticipated.

    I agree 100% with everything you wrote here

  • Willk says 3 months ago

    A few things that I would like to see - by all means play LMA straight up most of the time but they need toshow more doube teams to keep him guessing. The Blazers doubled Dwight early in 1Q and he found Bev all alone in the corner for a three. But that did not stop Stotts from throwing some double teams at Dwight. Yes you might get burned, but I think the benefits outweigh the times you do get burned.

    Jones has no clue on off the ball defense, weak side help D and boxing out. It's too late and he is not going to all of a sudden get it. Therefore, give DMo some burn. He can't be as bad as Jones and he adds a little more length against LMA, and he gives them 6 more fouls. Considering Dwight and Asik were close to fouling out ingame 2, they could use the extra 6 fouls.

    When they play the TT, put Lin in for Bev. You need passing andcourt vision with the TT and not perimeter D so much. And watching the last two games, I would even say that Lin's perimeter D has been better than Bev's, though I know there will be a couple of posters here who will vehemently deny that.

    Who do you double off when you double LMA? Lillard and Mathews are both 39% three point shooters and Batum is a 36%. I would rather try to make LMA keep making contested jumpers then letting anyone of those guys or even all of them getting hot.

    I agree about Jones.

    I disagree about Lin being inserted in for Bev when the TTs are in. The Rockets are significantly more effective team with Bev on the floor. They were a +6 with Bev on the court this year and a -.8 with Lin on the court per basketball-reference.com. Lin does have a decent 2.25 Assist to TO ratio, which during the regular season would have been good for 38th in the league. Bev is averaging 4 assists to every TO. Bev is the steadier player. Lin's perimeter D has definitely not been better, but Lin is your favorite player so I understand why you posted that.

  • Buckko says 3 months ago Welcome to the forum kdo and your annoyance for Mchale is not alone. Let the articulate discussions of the rockets continue.
  • Willk says 3 months ago

    Lin was the best perimeter player yesterday hard to blame him too much for the loss. While he's been awful this year Harden played well last year against okc, I woudlnt label him a choker just yet.

    A couple things about last night:

    1) I think the Blazers are happy with the Rockets offense centered around Howard in the post. Even though Howard was a monster in the first quarter and most of the second if it wasnt for a Beverley jumper at the buzzer the Blazers would've been ahead at half. So despite Howard looking like the Howard of old (pre Lakers) it didn't give the Rockets any advantage (in regards to the score). Robin Lopez looked like a little boy against D12 however Lopez had a +/- of +18 last night, highest of any player. Not sure what to make of this but my opinion is that the blazers are better off with the offense going through Howard.

    2) Lin's foul at the end of the game when down only three did seem a bit stupid. Who knows what he was told or not told in the last huddle. I give Lin the benefit of the doubt on this one because he doesnt seem like the type of player to not know the score and shot clock at any given time. Who knows. In the post game news conference no one asked McHale about it so it probably wasnt as big of a play as some on here make it out to be.

    3) Wesley Matthews getting behind the defense for an easy lay-up at the end of the game wasn't on Harden (surprise). The bigs were supposed to be back and the guards were supposed to trap. I do blame D12 for not fouling Matthews to stop the layup. It looked like Dwight could've stopped the layup rather than try to block it.

    4) Harden's post game comments and body language at the end of the game are worrisome on many levels. Instead of taking accountability for himself he kept emphasizing the team needing to play better defense. Do they need to play better defense to offset your bad defense?

    5) Beverley needs to guard Lillard once Lillard crosses mid-court, not in the back court. We all know that Beverley is tenacious but he's exerting a lot of energy on the wrong side of the court. Lillard wasn't great shooting the ball last night but he was great overall (18 points, 11 assists, 8 rebounds).

    6) Back to Harden. During the regular season he was great at drawing fouls, but in the playoffs you have to get fouled, not draw fouls. I've noticed he's now flailing in order to get whistles. Officials are reviewed after each game and when or if they find out they've been fooled by Harden they're going to be less apt to give him calls.

    7) The Rockets aren't a good 3 point shooting team because they have good shooters, but because they get good looks and shoot them often. Not a single Rocket regular is a good three point shooter (good as in someone who would be invited to the three point contest). Hoping the Rockets make a barrage of threes the next game is silly.

    8) What Aldridge is doing isn't sustainable but the Blazers offensive efficiency thus far is sustainable. You can't really double LMA because he's such a good catch and shoot shooter. He keeps the ball up high so bringing help with guards wont work and he's a pretty good passer. The Blazers were the best team in the NBA early on when teams doubled LMA. I'd rather leave Asik on him and live with Aldridge if he keeps making long contested jumpers. Both Matthews and Batum have had mediocre games so far offensively and you don't want both of them catching fire. Then you have 4 players who can go off.

    I dont feel good about the Rockets chances for this series. I don't think the Rockets have the intestinal fortitude to come back. They also lack the veteran leadership and the coaching. Portland at home is very tough and the Blazers are going to smell blood in the water. If the Rockets get down early the Blazers will pounce. I wouldnt be surprised if this series ends on Sunday.

    1) Lin's foul was definitely of his own doing. Nobody else ran out Lillard to foul him as soon as he caught the ball only Lin. Bev's reaction definitely showed that they did not want to foul there, well unless you are saying McHale gave Lin a separate secret message. Lin has lost track of the game clock multiple times this season ( a couple come to mind are the Atlanta game where Lin threw pass after the game ended instead of shooting and in Minnesota at the end of Q3 when Lin went iso was guarded and threw a pass after the quarter ended). I like how you state that foul was not a big deal. It only took the game from a 1 possession game to a 2 possession game. Yep, not that big of a deal. Who is your favorite player?

    2) you have already been proven wrong about the Mathews lay-up

    3) What was Harden's body language during the post game interview? Was he slumped over? Was should his body language have been?

    4) Why shouldn't Beverley pick-up Lillard. Do you understand that by picking Lillard full court it takes time off of the shot clock? What is your rationale full this.

    5) How is Portland's offense efficient? Lillard was 3-14, Mathews was 4-11. Batum was 3-11. The only other players that were Lopez 3-5 (I will gladly take him taking more shots), Mo Williams 4-8, and Dorell Wright 4-5. Portland really needed that 40 point game from LMA yesterday because their offense was not efficient.

  • PhillyCheese says 3 months ago

    A few things that I would like to see - by all means play LMA straight up most of the time but they need toshow more doube teams to keep him guessing. The Blazers doubled Dwight early in 1Q and he found Bev all alone in the corner for a three. But that did not stop Stotts from throwing some double teams at Dwight. Yes you might get burned, but I think the benefits outweigh the times you do get burned.

    Jones has no clue on off the ball defense, weak side help D and boxing out. It's too late and he is not going to all of a sudden get it. Therefore, give DMo some burn. He can't be as bad as Jones and he adds a little more length against LMA, and he gives them 6 more fouls. Considering Dwight and Asik were close to fouling out ingame 2, they could use the extra 6 fouls.

    When they play the TT, put Lin in for Bev. You need passing andcourt vision with the TT and not perimeter D so much. And watching the last two games, I would even say that Lin's perimeter D has been better than Bev's, though I know there will be a couple of posters here who will vehemently deny that.

  • Willk says 3 months ago

    been a fan of the game for along time
    If a player is going off like LA you must take the ball out of his hands.
    One thing i noticed over the years I have seen the best players check the other team best player all the time when it comes to the playoffs. i have seen Lebron check Parker, Rose, Hibbert, West, Rondo, Pierce, Dirk, if didn't matter their size because the leader of the team sets the attitude that he is going to take it upon himself to win. In the playoffs good coaches will exposed your weakness.. This team is lost on the defense side of the ball. No way a team should be able to do the same thing over and over. i noticed in the second period Blazers sent extra people at Howard and Howard traveled twice and made a bad pass. That is in game adjustments and Mchale must make changes on the run. It's not over till its over. I have seen it all in sports. Go rockets

    How do you take the ball out of LMA's hands? Who is this best player who should checking LMA?

  • Willk says 3 months ago

    What gets me is that ... Beverly really isn't looking like some superior defender to the extent that his lack of playmaking is warranted, while Lin's defense has looked spectacular. He not only stayed in front of Lillard, but looked to block him twice (but there was a foul call and the second was blocked again by Howard). Just run more offense through him. This "no assist" game is just ugly and not worth the trade-off. And beyond that, certainly don't tell Chandler Parsons that when Harden sits, it's "Parsons time." That's just ridiculous.

    I actually thought Bev had a good game, but looking back at Aldridge's big plays, Asik kept having to move toward the lanes left open on Lillard drives, with Bev chasing behind. We can all say Beverly is an elite defender, but so far, Lin has done better. At some point in this series, Beverly has to show us.

    Spectacular really? Lin had a lot of help with guarding Damian Lillard you even mentioned Howard's block as an example of this help. Lillard alsoscored on Lin every time Lin guarded him in game 1.Lin has done a good job against Mo Williams. Williams has not really challenged anybody that has been guarding. He has been looking to shoot jump shots. Bev played good defense yesterday whether you chose to see it or not.

  • Willk says 3 months ago

    Houston's problem isn't Lamarcus Aldridge, or even James Harden, its Coach McHale.

    Everything in Huq's Pen I agree with 100%. I said all year long that McHale would be the weak link come playoffs. Terry Stotts has made all the right moves and Mchale hasn't made any moves (which has been the wrong move).

    McHale coaches this team like a baseball manager,not a basketball coach. It's called late game "execution" because it implies that your'e executing some predetermined play. Everything late in the game was about how do we get Harden the ball so he can save us. Well the entire world knows that play and the Blazers defend that pretty well now which isn't a surprise considering this was the 6th match-up this year between the 2 teams.

    Plan A has failed and Mchale has failed in developing a plan B. Watching D12 go bonkers in quarter 1 was great however the whole time I knew it wasn't sustainable. You need to score about 108 points to beat the blazers and Dwight wasn't going to go all Wilt Chamberlain on them. In the second half he started missing and when the blazers would start doubling and instead of passing out to open shooters which Dwight should do he forced up bad shots.

    However you can't really criticize D12 too much, he gave a performance worthy of a win (had the other "super" star participated).

    Mchale's limitations are being exploited at the worst possible time. He is being outcoached and he doesnt even know it. Listening to the post game news conference he sounded defeated however he never once took accountability, its was only "we need to set better picks for Harden". Really? Your gameplan for the future is how do we get Harden more shots? All his eggs are in Harden's basket but he hasn't given Harden and instructions on what to do. Instead he's relying on Harden to make the right decisions.

    The bright spot in losing in round 1 will be having a new coach. Here is my list of who I'd like to see. The list of coaches who are better than him is much longer so that list can wait.

    -Jeff Van Gundy

    -George Carl

    -Any of Gregg Popovich's assistants

    -Tom Izzo

    -Fred Hoiberg

    -Tom Thibadeau

    -Nate McMillan

    -Mike D'Antoni (at least he knows how to coach and win with players who dont play D)

    -Lawrence Frank

    -Rudy Tomjonavich (so what if he's retired)

    On a side note, wouldn't it be great if the NBA had a player loan program like European soccer. This way for the first month of next season the Rockets could loan Harden to the bulls so Harden could learn how to play defense. Or if McHale is still around the Rockets could loan Mchale to the Spurs so he could see what a play looks like.

    Lets look at this list of coaches

    Jeff van Gundy - both sides have to want to coach. Who knows if he wants to coach again

    Any Spurs assistant - which one? Who are they?

    George Karl - How many times has he lost in the 1st round? He was the same coach who did not the glove on MJ until Seattle was down 3-0 in his only finals appearance which was about 20 years ago.

    Tom Izzo & Fred Hoiberg- really? college coaches who have never coached in the NBA before. This team is built to win within the next couple of years not wait 3 years for a college coach to figure how to coach in the NBA.

    Thibs - heisunder contract with the Bulls next year. The same coach who plays Jimmy Butler 48 minutes whenever he can.

    Nate McMillan - Has a career winning % of 514 (McHales is 531)

    Mike D' Antoni - What has he won? He has a career winning % of 516. Who has had more talent D' Antoni or McHale?

    Why not name Hubie Brown, Phil Jackson, Pop, or even Red Auerbach?

  • rocketrick says 3 months ago Plenty of rebounding, they just need to all focus on getting the defensive rebound. Make that the #1 priority. Making Portland miss their shot just to simply see them grab the rebound is not going to get it done.

    More importantly, everyone from Harden down to Beverley (Parsons, Lin, Garcia, too) must hit a higher percentage of their outside shots, especially when they are wide open. If the Rockets outside shooting woes continue, it won't matter what adjustments defensively are made or not. It is really going to come down to the Rockets making a much better percentage of their outside shots.
  • NickyK says 3 months ago

    Why so serious? <_

    Just one thing to point out, Q4 line-up putting in D12, Parsons, Harden, Bev, & Lin isn't working.....not enough rebounding, giving them too many second chances.

  • rocketrick says 3 months ago Some fans just clearly think Lin is a much better player than Harden and since McHale doesn't agree with him, that makes McHale a horrible Head Coach. And that Harden is coddled too much.

    Harden definitely needs to turn it on in Game 3 or this season is going to come to a crashing end much sooner than anyone anticipated.
  • Willk says 3 months ago

    Stagnant offense, when did we become a post up Dwight offense? What Barkley said was right and Rahat. It wasn't sustainable and it too Harden (he's just flat out horrific right now 14/47 in 2 games?), Chandler (tad but horrible under Harden), and Lin (who just seems to shoot spot up 3's and waits in the corner watching Harden and Parsons miss everything). Can we see a 1_2 pick n roll?

    No adjustments on defense. Was that the adjustment to make? Just play Asik on Aldridge? Can we even call that an adjustment? Can you try a double team? Atleast try? Do something!!

    Series is done without drastic measures. Me personally, I'm throwing Lin in the starting lineup, and running PnR all day 1_2, 1_4, 1_5? I don't care, nothing else is working anyway. Only time we really had energy is when Lin was making plays, assists, breaking down the defense. And when Dwight was going off. Other then that, what was a bright spot for the offense?

    That makes sense. Let's run PnR w/ our 2nd best PnR player. How about playing PnR with our bestPnR player Harden with Howard. Lin should not be starting Bev has been playing better.

  • miketheodio says 3 months ago

    The Rockets only shot 16 3-pointers in Game 2 vs. Portland shooting 23.The Rockets ended up 3/16 while Portland finished 8/23.Whether or not the Rockets should shoot more mid-range shots or not is a subject likely to be debated over the summer. This team is built on the Rockets shooting layups, 3 pointers and free throws to succeed. I don't see the Rockets all of a sudden changing their philosophy this late in the season. Would seem to be more a sign of desperation than anything if they did.

    I should have specified my point. Yes in the off-season. Doing it now would be too desperate.

    While their is an argument that Dwight got 3-5 to many post up possessions, I think Portland's perimeter defense is preventing and stopping 3 pointers pretty well. I put some of that on the unstructured offense.
  • rocketrick says 3 months ago The Rockets only shot 16 3-pointers in Game 2 vs. Portland shooting 23.

    The Rockets ended up 3/16 while Portland finished 8/23.

    Whether or not the Rockets should shoot more mid-range shots or not is a subject likely to be debated over the summer. This team is built on the Rockets shooting layups, 3 pointers and free throws to succeed. I don't see the Rockets all of a sudden changing their philosophy this late in the season. Would seem to be more a sign of desperation than anything if they did.
  • miketheodio says 3 months ago

    LAD relied on 2s to kill Rockets. Why is Rockets relying on 3s so much? Philosophically, I don't believe a system that relies on 3s so much by the teams's main players can go far in playoff. Anyway, LAD's play was fun to watch. His mom looked so young also. Batum, Wes, Lillard, LAD -- they all seem no-nonsense type of guys who respect each other and play as a team.

    the 3 philosophy is a bit a a misnomer. Spurs and heat take a good amount. However, their offense has more structure while the rockets are unstructured. Of course those teams have a more balanced offense as well. Rockets need to fill out their playbook and incorporate more options on offence. Developing midrange options in the playbook while developing players midrange skills. The system needs to become more complete.
  • rocketrick says 3 months ago Rahat,

    1st thanks for your very impassioned and detailed article on the Rockets woes thus far this playoff season.

    I just want to point out how much Harden struggling with his shot is having a detrimental impact in the results of these games. Portland has won by a total of 9 points with LaMarcus Aldridge clearly playing out of his mind. Aldridge is by far the most impressive player this young Playoff season, bar none. I can't even think of a close 2nd impact player at this point in all other NBA playoff series this season combined.

    Harden has been struggling with his shot for some time now. In late March and April regular season games, for instance, Harden shot:
    4/16 (0/4 3PA) against San Antonio
    1/9 (0/4 3PA) against Denver
    9/23 (3/10 3PA) against Denver
    9/22 (4/8 3PA) against OKC
    4/10 (2/6 3PA) against Brooklyn
    9/22 (3/11 3PA) against Clippers

    The only latter season games Harden shot well in were (except for Toronto) against terrible teams:

    10/22 (3/8 3PA) against New Orleans
    7/14 (4/5 3PA) against Minnesota
    10/15 (3/6 3PA) against Lakers
    7/17 (2/6 3PA) against Toronto

    The Rockets really needed that 2nd player to step up and help D12 last night and no one else stepped up. Not even close. And how many high percentage shots did D12 take at the goal that just bounced out? Man, that happened at least 3-4 times that I clearly remember while Aldridge is taking fade-away 19- or 20- foot jump shots at the end of the shot clock with Asik in his face and swishing the nets.

    I understand the intense scrutiny in the media, on this board, on radio talk shows today in Houston, etc. vis-à-vis one Coach Kevin McHale. It brings back those memories of the 1993-94 playoff series against the Suns when the Rockets lost the first 2 home games. Unfortunately, this time around the Rockets are a much younger, inexperienced team that just hasn't had to deal with adversity to this level (the Rockets lost a heart breaking Game 7 against Seattle in 1992-93 Western Conference Finals that in my opinion hardened them for the playoff battles to come the following seasons). The odds are more than stacked against this Rockets team coming back from an 0-2 hole in my opinion. Still, I expect them to fight to the bitter end or I will be even more disappointed.

    It just makes me wonder where the Rockets would stand in this series with better outside shooting by our ace, James Harden, not to mention other usually reliable outside shooters like Parsons, Lin, Beverley, etc. missing in action thus far this playoff series.

    For any team, and I mean any team, to be successful in the NBA in this era, there has to be some semblance of outside shooting. Even the back to back Rockets championship team relied on some timely 3 point shots dropping.

    To this point in this series, shots just aren't dropping for the Rockets while the Blazers seem to be hitting all the shot clock buzzer beaters and toughly contested shots from the outside.

    I just dread that the Rockets sell out and double team Aldridge all, or most of next game and the Blazers 3 point shooters simply scorch us with wide-open, uncontested 3 point shooting.
  • kdo says 3 months ago

    I've been a long time lurker of this forum, and love the level of intelligence brought in much of the discussion.

    After game 2, I just had to sign up and post:

    McHale frustrates me to no end.

    We kept getting hammered by the same play over and over....and over, and any average coach would have called time-out to adjust and/or at least help calm his players mentally and improve morale.

    I was literally screaming at the screen to "call time out jackass!!!". The body language of the Houston players were so obvious.

    /rant

    P.S. looking forward to being more of an active poster. Cheers.

  • uojoe82 says 4 months ago

    A couple things about last night:

    1) I think the Blazers are happy with the Rockets offense centered around Howard in the post. Even though Howard was a monster in the first quarter and most of the second if it wasnt for a Beverley jumper at the buzzer the Blazers would've been ahead at half. So despite Howard looking like the Howard of old (pre Lakers) it didn't give the Rockets any advantage (in regards to the score). Robin Lopez looked like a little boy against D12 however Lopez had a +/- of +18 last night, highest of any player. Not sure what to make of this but my opinion is that the blazers are better off with the offense going through Howard.

    2) Lin's foul at the end of the game when down only three did seem a bit stupid. Who knows what he was told or not told in the last huddle. I give Lin the benefit of the doubt on this one because he doesnt seem like the type of player to not know the score and shot clock at any given time. Who knows. In the post game news conference no one asked McHale about it so it probably wasnt as big of a play as some on here make it out to be.

    3) Wesley Matthews getting behind the defense for an easy lay-up at the end of the game wasn't on Harden (surprise). The bigs were supposed to be back and the guards were supposed to trap. I do blame D12 for not fouling Matthews to stop the layup. It looked like Dwight could've stopped the layup rather than try to block it.

    4) Harden's post game comments and body language at the end of the game are worrisome on many levels. Instead of taking accountability for himself he kept emphasizing the team needing to play better defense. Do they need to play better defense to offset your bad defense?

    5) Beverley needs to guard Lillard once Lillard crosses mid-court, not in the back court. We all know that Beverley is tenacious but he's exerting a lot of energy on the wrong side of the court. Lillard wasn't great shooting the ball last night but he was great overall (18 points, 11 assists, 8 rebounds).

    6) Back to Harden. During the regular season he was great at drawing fouls, but in the playoffs you have to get fouled, not draw fouls. I've noticed he's now flailing in order to get whistles. Officials are reviewed after each game and when or if they find out they've been fooled by Harden they're going to be less apt to give him calls.

    7) The Rockets aren't a good 3 point shooting team because they have good shooters, but because they get good looks and shoot them often. Not a single Rocket regular is a good three point shooter (good as in someone who would be invited to the three point contest). Hoping the Rockets make a barrage of threes the next game is silly.

    8) What Aldridge is doing isn't sustainable but the Blazers offensive efficiency thus far is sustainable. You can't really double LMA because he's such a good catch and shoot shooter. He keeps the ball up high so bringing help with guards wont work and he's a pretty good passer. The Blazers were the best team in the NBA early on when teams doubled LMA. I'd rather leave Asik on him and live with Aldridge if he keeps making long contested jumpers. Both Matthews and Batum have had mediocre games so far offensively and you don't want both of them catching fire. Then you have 4 players who can go off.

    I dont feel good about the Rockets chances for this series. I don't think the Rockets have the intestinal fortitude to come back. They also lack the veteran leadership and the coaching. Portland at home is very tough and the Blazers are going to smell blood in the water. If the Rockets get down early the Blazers will pounce. I wouldnt be surprised if this series ends on Sunday.

  • Freebird says 4 months ago

    Well, I guess it's all been said. We kinda stunk it up.

    I agree that LMA can't sustain this, but at the same time, you don't want Lilliard or Batum to catch fire. If dude's hot, then so be it, but throwing different looks is a reliable way of unsettling a shooter.

    I'm a bit disappointed in James' decision making. He knew he was off, and still settled for a jumper from the stripe, rather than drive it in. I mean, FTs are points too, and he REALLY needed some confidence. Seeing the ball go in the hole helps immensely.

    Has Beverley lost a half step? He hasn't seemed himself since coming back. Or am I imagining things again?

    Do we have a free-form defense, as well? There's no cohesiveness. Helping happens, but not regularly. Why not try a 3-2 zone, with D12 and Asik on each side of the paint, Parsons front and center, and the guards on either side? Why does this not bother me as something to try? I may still be imagining things.

    Oh, and Jimmy V did NOT win that game. Coach Lewis LOST that game. Why the hell did he try to slow it down? Geez.

    I'm not calling for McHale's head, but I'm a realist. Regardless of how I feel about him, I think this is the last we'll see of McHale. Not because of his play style, but because of how Morey will look at him after this series. Win or lose, methinks he's gone. I guess Dolan beat us to the punch?

  • RocketMansinceStevieFrance says 4 months ago

    This series is far from over in my mind.. Excited for Friday's game, HOPEFULLY they come to play and get the job done.

  • thenit says 4 months ago

    The foul was just bad, but the thing with 25 seconds left he was trying to get the ball to Harden and became so indecisive. As to Rahat's post, things like that falls to the coach to not draw up a play in case Harden doesn't get the ball. The inbound play before where we basically needed a 3 we gave the ball to Howard who was fouled immediately, he did hit his 2 FTs but that's not an optimal play if you denied the ball to Harden.

    There is a lack of set plays, where if we can't get it to Harden option 2 is X and option 3 is Y, so the inbounding player knows what to do.

    On the play you mentioned Lin was waiting for Harden to get the ball, because of lack of coaching and muscle memory he was stuck in limbo instead of taking the shot or attacking the rim he just stood there waiting for Harden to get free and when he did get free it was an offensive foul. Its just poor coaching is when the ONLY play is get it to Harden he will do the rest. Several interviews during the season was that McHale didn't draw any 2nd or 3rd options just get the ball in this area for Harden and it will work out but it doesn't work like that. In the playoffs teams adjusts, like the post ups on Howard, they made the adjustment at halftime and we didn't do any on LMA.

  • webattorney says 4 months ago

    LAD relied on 2s to kill Rockets. Why is Rockets relying on 3s so much? Philosophically, I don't believe a system that relies on 3s so much by the teams's main players can go far in playoff. Anyway, LAD's play was fun to watch. His mom looked so young also. Batum, Wes, Lillard, LAD -- they all seem no-nonsense type of guys who respect each other and play as a team.

  • webattorney says 4 months ago

    You are a masochist if you watch that again.... :lol: In my opinion, the only thing worth watching is Aldridge being amazingly good.

    I don't want anyone to think I'm being anti-Lin so I will repeat what I said elsewhere. I thought Lin played well on defense last night (outside of that play) and while his 1-5 shooting looked bad he was one of the only players who looked aggressive against Portland's D.

    Your assessment is fair. I am a Lin fan (an objective one), and I feel the same way. He should not have fouled Lillard unless McHale told him to specifically foul Lillard. Moreover, he should have shot a 3 with less than 25 secs remaining instead of dribbling into the paint and trying to make a pass or look for a 2 points shot. However, Lin is not the reason why Rockets lost, obviously, although any hope of a miraculous come-back faded with Lin's bonehead plays. Now, as you pointed out, Lin played excellent D.

  • thenit says 4 months ago

    That's what I am trying to say though. We don't have to shoot the 3 well to win a series. We just have to shoot it better than awful. Keep in mind league average is somewhere in the mid 30% range. That is average. Shooting it well would be 38%+. We are shooting a hair over 20% for the series. That is nowhere near average, and even further away from being considered well.

    TTDN I do agree with you to an extent. I specifically remember missing 3 open corner threes last night. I also counted 7 threes that didn't fall that I myself would consider good looks. Harden has proven to be pretty good at the dribble up top of the key three, so I don't really consider that a good or bad look.

    2 of those 3s on top of the key, Harden didn't even try to make the shot, off balance flailing trying to get a foul, at least try to make it. One of the guy Matthews got stuck on the pick and it just looked awful Harden doing his slight neckflip hoping for the contact.

  • Steven says 4 months ago The series is over. Fire McHale, sign Melo and lets start next season already.
  • Buckko says 4 months ago

    As soon as I saw a mchale/kubiak comparison I knew that sentiment had changed in regards to mchale. Of course if we come back and win this series we will have mchale for another year.

    There were a few things here and there, over the season that irratated me about Mchale, but this complete failure by the coach in the playoffs is not tolerable. No way is mchale on Kubiack's level of bad but they both suffer the same problem of not making adjustments and now with all the issues piling up, losing the first two at home, and running a 7 man rotation has brought most to the breaking point. He is not championship caliber coach and the only way the 2013-2014 rockets become the fourth team in history from losing the first 2 at home is an absolutely ungodly performance by the individual players and LA having atleast under 30pts a night. Either way, win or lose, Mchale has to go.
  • txtdo1411 says 4 months ago

    i get it the sentiment. but that is the only way the rockets stand a chance which is sad. you cant depend on having to shoot the ball well from 3 to win a 7 game series. look at the games the rockets won in OKC last year. harden's 7-7 from 3 game. im not opposed to 3s. im opposed to the way we get them. it's like going into a boxing match and people saying the boxer has a punchers chance. id rather be a tactical boxer like floyd mayweather.

    That's what I am trying to say though. We don't have to shoot the 3 well to win a series. We just have to shoot it better than awful. Keep in mind league average is somewhere in the mid 30% range. That is average. Shooting it well would be 38%+. We are shooting a hair over 20% for the series. That is nowhere near average, and even further away from being considered well.

    TTDN I do agree with you to an extent. I specifically remember missing 3 open corner threes last night. I also counted 7 threes that didn't fall that I myself would consider good looks. Harden has proven to be pretty good at the dribble up top of the key three, so I don't really consider that a good or bad look.

  • timetodienow1234567 says 4 months ago I want wide open corner threes rather than a step back covered three at the least efficient spot at the court.
  • miketheodio says 4 months ago

    I despise this completely false "reliant on 3s" statement... We have shot a putrid 20% from 3 and lost 2 games by a combined 9 points. If we shot anywhere near just league average, it is a completely different story. If we were truly reliant on 3s, we would've lost both games by 10+ points because of how awfully we have been shooting them. That being said, it would definitely help to make one here and there.

    i get it the sentiment. but that is the only way the rockets stand a chance which is sad. you cant depend on having to shoot the ball well from 3 to win a 7 game series. look at the games the rockets won in OKC last year. harden's 7-7 from 3 game. im not opposed to 3s. im opposed to the way we get them. it's like going into a boxing match and people saying the boxer has a punchers chance. id rather be a tactical boxer like floyd mayweather.

  • txtdo1411 says 4 months ago

    rockets could potentially 3 ball their way out of this series, yet being THAT reliant on 3s doesn't comfort me one bit.

    I despise this completely false "reliant on 3s" statement... We have shot a putrid 20% from 3 and lost 2 games by a combined 9 points. If we shot anywhere near just league average, it is a completely different story. If we were truly reliant on 3s, we would've lost both games by 10+ points because of how awfully we have been shooting them. That being said, it would definitely help to make one here and there.

  • timetodienow1234567 says 4 months ago As soon as I saw a mchale/kubiak comparison I knew that sentiment had changed in regards to mchale. Of course if we come back and win this series we will have mchale for another year.
  • miketheodio says 4 months ago

    rockets could potentially 3 ball their way out of this series, yet being THAT reliant on 3s doesn't comfort me one bit.

  • thejohnnygold says 4 months ago

    Two things...

    1. please format your stats people. It takes 10 seconds to use the space bar and enter key.

    2. head.gif

  • txtdo1411 says 4 months ago

    I'm not a Lin fan but to focus on Lin's bad foul is irrelevant compared to all the Horrid errors james has made. Chucking up contested shots that can't hit the side of a barn, running into several defenders trying to get fouled and just turn it over, ball hogging and killing the offense, and finally defense just like losing Matthews to the point where he is on the other side of the court in CRUNCH time for an easy dunk (I was screaming at my television).We have been far to lenient on mchale and harden. I'm going to have to have a far better mchale rant later. One more thing, should we be worried of the continuing pattern of harden choking in the post season? This has not been the first or second time and Dwight can't carry this team.Might also need to re-analysis that rondo trade in the offseason with parsons growing inconsistency and arrogance (You don't declare yourself the best in a playoff series period).

    On that Matthews play I believe McHale said that James was supposed to be up to trap Portland when they inbounded the ball, and the responsibility to get back was on Dwight. If you watch the replay Bev was waving Lin and Harden to pressure. James' defense hasn't been terrible. It is his offense that has been atrocious. Matthews has been much much quieter than I thought he would be at the beginning of this series. Last night he was 4-11 with 9 points. I am not at all excusing Harden for his horrid performance so far, but I also think all the knee-jerk reaction about him today is quite frustrating. As a team, our shooting has been pathetic. Nobody has been able to hit from outside. Harden was 2-5 from 3 last night. The rest of the team was 1-11! I understand we are all frustrated because things are not going the way we originally expected, and our star is not playing near the level he should be, but I am more disappointed with the reaction of our fan base then the damn team. Be pissed, be angry, be frustrated, but don't lose all logic.

  • Cooper says 4 months ago

    I'm not a Lin fan but to focus on Lin's bad foul is irrelevant compared to all the Horrid errors james has made. Chucking up contested shots that can't hit the side of a barn, running into several defenders trying to get fouled and just turn it over, ball hogging and killing the offense, and finally defense just like losing Matthews to the point where he is on the other side of the court in CRUNCH time for an easy dunk (I was screaming at my television).We have been far to lenient on mchale and harden. I'm going to have to have a far better mchale rant later. One more thing, should we be worried of the continuing pattern of harden choking in the post season? This has not been the first or second time and Dwight can't carry this team.Might also need to re-analysis that rondo trade in the offseason with parsons growing inconsistency and arrogance (You don't declare yourself the best in a playoff series period).

    Lin was the best perimeter player yesterday hard to blame him too much for the loss. While he's been awful this year Harden played well last year against okc, I woudlnt label him a choker just yet.
  • miketheodio says 4 months ago

    Wow, let the bloodbath begin.

    "Off with their heads!" This was Lewis Carroll pointing out the reactionary/irrational nature of humanity. The whole time the "little king" is following behind her quietly suggesting that she stop and think/consider for a moment, but in her rage she hears nothing and continues with her demands for blood. Someone must be held accountable for my displeasure!!!!!!

    I am not looking forward to this being our forums for the coming months. I will understand, but perhaps people will at least consider listening to that other little voice in their heads for a bit.

    Nobody likes what is happening in this series. Yet, to presume change would exercise some kind of control over the situation and produce a different result is as nutty as the idea that repeatedly doing the same thing and expecting a different result is wise. Life happens and we are 2 games into a way-off-script playoff series.

    What is McHale supposed to do? "James, how about you start making some of those shots, huh? You too Chandler!" "Omer, if you could just rip Aldridge's arms off at the shoulder I think we can slow him down a bit." "Guys, you can't let Dorrell Wright pick a pass up off his shoelaces and go directly into a contested, buzzer-beating 3 pointer!" "Yeah, if you guys could make it more obvious who touches the ball last before it goes out of bounds that would be great too...."

    Things are ugly right now and I know people are frustrated. Let's try and wait until the series ends before the executioners come out.

    i respect the attempt to bring things down to earth, but it does feel a little too complacent. After the first game, we were thinking "LMA wont do it again, harden will pick it up". game 2 was the same story. I don't know if I read your statement incorrectly, but I don't get any sense of accountability if current patterns don't change. There has to be SOME accountability if the rockets get bounced in the 1st round. no major changes from the top would be inexcusable. i might not even mind losing if the team showed some heart. some amount of passion and intensity (we love the 2009 rocket story). maybe the lackadaisicalness can be personified in mchales "we need to play harder". a generic statement without any passion. where is the kobe/jordan "refuse to lose" mentality. failure at this level should hit you at the core and light some kind of fire. didn't get a sense of that from the team in the post game generally speaking.

    you are right though. what can mchale do at this point in the season? bust out a playbook and have his old celtic friends come in for motivation a la Little Giants movie? yeah right... but this points to a fundamental problem with the rockets system. the problem with the freelance offense. the lack of structure. mchale hasn't really reigned in the bad habits. blowing double digit leads. periods of time where the defense disappears. the amount of low IQ plays on offense. 4th quarter offensive collapses. no discipline. this existed last year as well.

    i think people overplay the midrange shot argument. it is definitely needed, but i think the freestyle offense is the bigger issue. adding midrange to the free lance offense doesn't feel like it would do much of anything. people will make the argument that we don't have the personnel for it. while true, you can also try to develop players and the system (through a playbook) to improve in that area. i don't think it can be ignored any longer. the mid range is required in the playoffs.

    it's the lack of heart and problems at the core of the rocket's system that cause my hope to leak like fuel in a punctured fuel pump.

    on the bright side. after all the apprehension about dwight prior to this season. questioning his heart. he has really impressed me. he demanded the ball and improved his game due to his will. while i think they overfed him, at least he showed he wanted it. not a big fan of lin either, but it didn't look like he quit last night. he had faults in his game, but at least he was trying. parsons and harden really let me down.

  • RocketMansinceStevieFrance says 4 months ago
    Houston vs. Portland

    LaMarcus Aldridge had another monster game against Portland. The Rockets were much more successful when they covered him with Omer Asik than when Dwight Howard or Terrence Jones covered him.

    Omer Asik Dwight Howard Terrence Jones Matchup Coverage 53% 29% 7% FGM-FGA 6-14 (43%) 6-7 (86%) 5-6 (83%) Points 15 14 10

    Dwight Howard really dominated Robin Lopez down low. He scored 21 points on 9-of-14 shooting in 6:05 of matchup time versus Lopez. Portland was much more successful when LaMarcus Aldridge was covering him, as Howard shot only 1-of-5 in 2:33 of matchup time with Aldridge.

    Patrick Beverley has done a nice job of holding Damian Lillard in check this series. In 23:13 of matchup time, Lillard has shot 6-of-14 for 15 points versus Beverley. Lillard had six drives versus Beverley in Game 2, but he was only able to score two points off of those drives.

    James Harden: Offense

    Wesley Matthews Nicolas Batum Matchup Time 6:53 3:09 FGM-FGA 3-7 1-3 Points 9 2 Drives 6 2

    I am sure most of you seen this but with Asik guarding LMA he has been way more effective than T-Jones and D12.. I really feel like he has done the best he could.

    I just feel that it is Harden and Parsons in these next 2 games that really need to step up and play consistent basketball. I wish Harden would drop the BS and get to work he can do some many things with his skill set but yet he has not played like he normally can. It seems like yesterday against Matthews he played halfway decent unlike when Batum was guarding him.

  • Buckko says 4 months ago I'm not a Lin fan but to focus on Lin's bad foul is irrelevant compared to all the Horrid errors james has made. Chucking up contested shots that can't hit the side of a barn, running into several defenders trying to get fouled and just turn it over, ball hogging and killing the offense, and finally defense just like losing Matthews to the point where he is on the other side of the court in CRUNCH time for an easy dunk (I was screaming at my television).We have been far to lenient on mchale and harden. I'm going to have to have a far better mchale rant later. One more thing, should we be worried of the continuing pattern of harden choking in the post season? This has not been the first or second time and Dwight can't carry this team.Might also need to re-analysis that rondo trade in the offseason with parsons growing inconsistency and arrogance (You don't declare yourself the best in a playoff series period).
  • timetodienow1234567 says 4 months ago I read somewhere that Portland has the best player in the series. I'm beginning to believe that.
  • Buckko says 4 months ago 3 names James Harden, Kevin Mchale, Lamarcus Aldrige has killed us.
  • txtdo1411 says 4 months ago

    People are murdering Harden today. If he doesn't pick it up, this is going to be a long off-season for us as fans having to read the same narrative over and over.

  • datruth says 4 months ago

    been a fan of the game for along time
    If a player is going off like LA you must take the ball out of his hands.
    One thing i noticed over the years I have seen the best players check the other team best player all the time when it comes to the playoffs. i have seen Lebron check Parker, Rose, Hibbert, West, Rondo, Pierce, Dirk, if didn't matter their size because the leader of the team sets the attitude that he is going to take it upon himself to win. In the playoffs good coaches will exposed your weakness.. This team is lost on the defense side of the ball. No way a team should be able to do the same thing over and over. i noticed in the second period Blazers sent extra people at Howard and Howard traveled twice and made a bad pass. That is in game adjustments and Mchale must make changes on the run. It's not over till its over. I have seen it all in sports. Go rockets

  • Guest_Account says 4 months ago

    Sorry to add to this, but as much as I love Beverly's grit, I worry about the long-term ramifications of his decision to play on his knee. Like I've repeated a hundred times already, a championship this season is a long shot and I really hope he can stay healthy for the future. He is a great sidekick for Harden (this is coming from a big Lin fan) and his loss would be a big blow to the team.

  • Guest_Account says 4 months ago

    Hey guys,

    Great forum. I really enjoy lurking here, though this would be my first post. I thought this would be an appropriate time to comment because, as depressing as this series has been, I think a some of these troubles might have been expected and there is still optimism for the future.

    - Houston is still lucky enough to have both a top 3 center and shooting guard (more on this later) with additional cap room coming in the near future. Just because they are on the team, however, doesn't negate the fact that this is their first year playing together, that a large portion of the team is very young, and that they are playing in an incredibly deep conference. My initial long-term thought when Howard signed was that this would be atrue contendingteam in 3 years. Every team has a learning curve, particularly in the playoffs and I genuinely think the Rockets are going through the normal growth of a superstar team where people are still learning their roles. I wouldn't place too much weight in this first round. If this is still happening in the third year, then I'll start worrying.

    - I normally don't like to throw coaches under the bus, but I think Rahat's observations about McHale are completely accurate. He shows an inflexibility and lack of imagination that I find damning in a coach. If I recall correctly, KG once referred to his play-diagrams as something you would see on an Etch-A-Sketch. I always thought a stern hand was better suited for a young team, than a player's coach was. Aspreviously mentioned, in a pressure situation, players, particularly young ones, will freeze a little. I think this would have been alleviated by set plays, where players can default to what they know, rather than having to freelance and risk the coach's wrath (aside from Harden, who seems to have free reign).

    - Howard has been giving us exactly what we thought he would. Some offense, good individual defense, and great help defense.

    - I know I am risking loss of credibility in saying this, but I am not as high on Harden as a lot of people on this forum. My rationale is that I like two-way players far more than I like explosive one way players. An easy example would be Paul George. A more difficult sell would be someone like Klay Thompson, who exerts a lot more defensive energy and was able to contain a player like Tony Parker, whilealso being a solid offensive player. He comes at a smaller cost (enabling you to find a better supporting cast), and drastically improves you on one end of the floor more than you would sacrifice on the other end. I am not sayingsomeone like Thompson is better, but I thinksomeone like him is an easier fit into a championship team, both stylistically and financially.I think offense is one of the easiest things to find in the NBA, and placing a high premium on something that is more easily replaced is a mistake.Put it this way, think about how many shooting guards have had career nights against the Rockets and ask if this is really a characteristic you'd want out of one of your max players.

    Don't worry Houston, you're future is still bright. I think I am going to sit back, enjoy the close games, and hope to see a lot of growth over the next couple of games.

  • BlueJazz29 says 4 months ago

    What a brilliant piece. I wish Daryl Morey will read this. Nails every major problem with the Rockets.

    One suggestion, please stop ackknowledging the crazy Lin fans on Twitter. I am a die hard Lin fan, yet I have nothing but love and respect for Bevereley. He is the heart and soul of this team. Not all Lin fans are crazy/disgusting so please don't say that, and I suggest you add those crazy ones to your block list.

  • QNoir says 4 months ago

    Playoffs are the true test of leadership, not just talent. Dwight and Harden are plenty talented, top 5 at their positions if the not the best. But if you look back at the history of these two very talented players (basketball skills wise), it's pretty evident neither are natural born leader type players (like Kobe, Durant, Lebron, Jordan, etc). Both are chill-out, easy going players who don't step up and become the vocal leader a team needs when it's in trouble. Yes Harden took some blame for his bad shooting in game 1, but as soon as history repeated itself in game 2, he brushed it off with a "haven't you seen someone shoot 29% in 2 games... weirdo" comment. He also did not come out to post-media conference, only talked from locker room, after both games. That is a sign of a player who cannot handle negative spotlight, and for a franchise player, that's troubling. Jeremy Lin is a natural leader, even though he's just a role player and the ball is effectively out of his hands most of the game. So Rockets have basically rendered him irrelevant, even though in my opinion I think Lin handles negative pressure much better than Harden. ( ... etc.)

    I wouldn't go so far as to say Lin is a natural leader. He lacks a lot in that regard. Yes, he's mature and handles questions well, and his off-court presence is probably more respectable and likeable. However, he just isn't vocal enough, critical enough, confrontational enough, take enough risks. Not that the team needs him to be that. He's just fine. But he's kind of soft (vocally). You can see it in his interactions with his teammates. He would need to take less blame and more control to be called a natural leader.

  • amacbrooks12 says 4 months ago New head coach of the Houston Rockets?

    -Chris Webber
  • timetodienow1234567 says 4 months ago That argument with the reporter was "weird". It also made me laugh.
  • goRockets says 4 months ago

    Playoffs are the true test of leadership, not just talent. Dwight and Harden are plenty talented, top 5 at their positions if the not the best. But if you look back at the history of these two very talented players (basketball skills wise), it's pretty evident neither are natural born leader type players (like Kobe, Durant, Lebron, Jordan, etc). Both are chill-out, easy going players who don't step up and become the vocal leader a team needs when it's in trouble. Yes Harden took some blame for his bad shooting in game 1, but as soon as history repeated itself in game 2, he brushed it off with a "haven't you seen someone shoot 29% in 2 games... weirdo" comment. He also did not come out to post-media conference, only talked from locker room, after both games. That is a sign of a player who cannot handle negative spotlight, and for a franchise player, that's troubling. Jeremy Lin is a natural leader, even though he's just a role player and the ball is effectively out of his hands most of the game. So Rockets have basically rendered him irrelevant, even though in my opinion I think Lin handles negative pressure much better than Harden.

    The Rockets team basically go as far as Harden take them, and Dwight too to a lesser extent. Harden is still young player, so maybe he will mature over time into a leader who can handle the positive praises as well as the negative scrutiny when he fails miserably when his team needed him the most. I blame some of this on the coach too, who basically has not held Harden accountable to anything the last 2 years. He lets Harden stay in games when he's played no defense whatsoever, and give the ball to him only at end of games even on nights when clearly he is not the best player on the floor. But McHale is a stubborn coach who will live and die by his star, then so be it. The Rockets will likely die this series because they've long made it clear that Harden is the one to take them there, and if he can't do it, then they are ok the journey ends there.

    But hope is not completely gone yet, Portland still need to beat Rockets 2 more times to advance, so here to hoping the Rockets would at least put up some resistance next two games to extend series as long as they possibly can, if only to get some respect.

  • QNoir says 4 months ago

    What gets me is that ... Beverly really isn't looking like some superior defender to the extent that his lack of playmaking is warranted, while Lin's defense has looked spectacular. He not only stayed in front of Lillard, but looked to block him twice (but there was a foul call and the second was blocked again by Howard). Just run more offense through him. This "no assist" game is just ugly and not worth the trade-off. And beyond that, certainly don't tell Chandler Parsons that when Harden sits, it's "Parsons time." That's just ridiculous.

    I actually thought Bev had a good game, but looking back at Aldridge's big plays, Asik kept having to move toward the lanes left open on Lillard drives, with Bev chasing behind. We can all say Beverly is an elite defender, but so far, Lin has done better. At some point in this series, Beverly has to show us.

  • thejohnnygold says 4 months ago

    How do you know coach didn't tell Lin to foul? Is it possible Bev didn't hear coach telling Lin to do it? You guys have a double standard.

    When I said accountability, you dismissed like I am idiot. When Huq said the same thing, you tongue are tied.

    I don't....but I do. Double standard? Please...I would feel the same if any of our players had done that.

    I just re-read the thread here....you never mentioned accountability or anything like it. You did say we should play Lin and Daniels more if we want to win...so there's that.

    Rahat said a whole lot. I agreed with some and disagreed with some. What part are you referring to?

  • dbd says 4 months ago

    How do you know coach didn't tell Lin to foul? Is it possible Bev didn't hear coach telling Lin to do it? You guys have a double standard.

    When I said accountability, you dismissed like I am idiot. When Huq said the same thing, you tongue are tied.

  • thejohnnygold says 4 months ago

    I blame Lin for that as well. I am with you on that and saw Bev yell at him too. I am going to rewatch it today if I have time.

    You are a masochist if you watch that again.... :lol: In my opinion, the only thing worth watching is Aldridge being amazingly good.

    I don't want anyone to think I'm being anti-Lin so I will repeat what I said elsewhere. I thought Lin played well on defense last night (outside of that play) and while his 1-5 shooting looked bad he was one of the only players who looked aggressive against Portland's D.

  • feelingsupersonic says 4 months ago I blame Lin for that as well. I am with you on that and saw Bev yell at him too. I am going to rewatch it today if I have time.
  • thejohnnygold says 4 months ago

    All the Rockets have to do is play defense.... Obviously easier then it sounds lol but if they would just focus on their defense, than kick it to dwight in the post every once in a while they will be fine. I honestly think if they can run the blazers up and down the court for 3 quarters which they have not done we can get back into this series. Harden is obviously thinking about his shot to much you could see it in the first 5 he took. If he would just use the pick and rolls and play freely he will be fine. The blazers have learned his driving tactics and that is obvious seeing he has not been to the free throw nearly as much as he usually is.

    I also think Mchale is lost, Lin fouling with 28 seconds left was down right embarrassing if I am the coach, during timeouts you have to be letting your players know all the situations that can occur and what to do. Those guys get so caught up playing the game that they forgot about certain stuff that is why it is the coachES jobs to keep every player aware of what is going on.

    I suppose so. Regarding the coaching and that foul....man, sometimes you forget to tell people the stuff you just assume they should know. In the coaching I do (not for basketball) I am constantly flummoxed by things I don't say (because in my head they are inherently understood) and then my player goes and does it :angry: ....I realize it's my fault for not saying it....but I shouldn't have to explain every single minute detail to someone who has been doing this for this long....especially when you only have so much time to talk before they have to get back out there. If that were the case he'd have to start every huddle with a lecture on how to pass, dribble, and shoot. I'm being ridiculous there, but where does it end?

    Am I the only one who saw Beverley run over to Lin immediately afterwards and incredulously look at him with palms up saying, "What are you doing?!?!?!"

    While McHale could be held responsible for not "getting everyone on the same page" I think Lin is equally accountable here. I mean, how many of us at home had the same thought...."Jeremy! What are you doing?!?!?" None of us needed McHale to know not to foul there. In fact, my first thought was, "McHale must have told him to do that because no player would be so stupid"....obviously, with Bev's reaction that was not the case. I blame Lin for this one. Sorry.

  • justwin says 4 months ago

    Well at least you were uncompromising in personifying that the real (Or a great part) culprit is coaching. It's also ironic that in a earlier post you demonstrated that Houston Bench was one of the less used in the NBA. In my opinion, not being able to effectively institute your bench into the mix can be a mistake. Make no doubt about it, Houston has been blessed with good talent not only in the ranks of the NBA but also from the college level. If you can remember the Phi Slama Jama, the talent was there to win the championship but the team was simply outcoached by a coach that had a team with inferior talent. Not saying that Portland has inferior talent because they indeed have excellent talent but they may also have a superior coaching to boot. Hell, if they (Rockets) need a motivational speaker vs. a tactician, I'm the man for the job--and, they probably will lose as well, no matter how much they are motivated to be hyped up. Just saying, it would be interesting to see if the prevailing analysis on coaching prevails or will it be kicked to the curb.

  • RocketMansinceStevieFrance says 4 months ago

    All the Rockets have to do is play defense.... Obviously easier then it sounds lol but if they would just focus on their defense, than kick it to dwight in the post every once in a while they will be fine. I honestly think if they can run the blazers up and down the court for 3 quarters which they have not done we can get back into this series. Harden is obviously thinking about his shot to much you could see it in the first 5 he took. If he would just use the pick and rolls and play freely he will be fine. The blazers have learned his driving tactics and that is obvious seeing he has not been to the free throw nearly as much as he usually is.

    I also think Mchale is lost, Lin fouling with 28 seconds left was down right embarrassing if I am the coach, during timeouts you have to be letting your players know all the situations that can occur and what to do. Those guys get so caught up playing the game that they forgot about certain stuff that is why it is the coachES jobs to keep every player aware of what is going on.

  • MrLobble says 4 months ago

    The next coach for the Houston Rockets: Billy Donovan ;)

  • PKM says 4 months ago

    Really? Your gameplan for the future is how do we get Harden more shots? All his eggs are in Harden's basket but he hasn't given Harden and instructions on what to do. Instead he's relying on Harden to make the right decisions.

    Not more shots, better shots aka. "better screens" like your own post said. And uh, yes, I would expect the Rockets to implement strategies to get Harden more into the game, they're not beating the Blazers otherwise.

  • thejohnnygold says 4 months ago

    This is sound advice but its hard to hear after last nights debacle. This is the team the Rockets wanted to face but as Mark Stein tweeted last night " the Blazers wanted the Rockets as well".

    I will admit that Mchale is a better coach then anyone on this forum and I'm not even sure a good coach couldve beaten the blazers last night. I think we are focusing on what the Rockets did wrong, not what the Blazers did right.

    I was worried when Rockets fans were rejoicing when the blazers locked up the 5th seed. As Ive seen a lot of Blazer games this year this team has the feel of the Mav's championship team. Everyone likes each other and they have great chemistry. This team looks a lot like the team that had the best record in the NBA for the first 2 1/2 months this year.

    The blazers have now won something crazy like 11 out of the last 12 games going back to the reg season. And it wasn't like they were beating up on teams with nothing to play for, (Warriors, Bulls, Grizzlies).

    Lamarcus was a legit #3 MVP candidate had injuries not cost him about 15 games this year. Before the series you could have an interesting debate on what team has the best two players. Its pretty obvious it isnt the Rockets.

    Good points. Welcome to the Western Conference, where the seeding doesn't matter and every team would be a #3 seed in the East! (or better...)

    Edit: Just went to confirm my statement. Did you know Indy (#1 in East) would be the #4 seed in the West? Houston, Portland, and Miami all have the same record? We'd be the freakin' #2 seed in the East. Wow. That is all.

  • uojoe82 says 4 months ago

    Wow, let the bloodbath begin.

    "Off with their heads!" This was Lewis Carroll pointing out the reactionary/irrational nature of humanity. The whole time the "little king" is following behind her quietly suggesting that she stop and think/consider for a moment, but in her rage she hears nothing and continues with her demands for blood. Someone must be held accountable for my displeasure!!!!!!

    I am not looking forward to this being our forums for the coming months. I will understand, but perhaps people will at least consider listening to that other little voice in their heads for a bit.

    Nobody likes what is happening in this series. Yet, to presume change would exercise some kind of control over the situation and produce a different result is as nutty as the idea that repeatedly doing the same thing and expecting a different result is wise. Life happens and we are 2 games into a way-off-script playoff series.

    What is McHale supposed to do? "James, how about you start making some of those shots, huh? You too Chandler!" "Omer, if you could just rip Aldridge's arms off at the shoulder I think we can slow him down a bit." "Guys, you can't let Dorrell Wright pick a pass up off his shoelaces and go directly into a contested, buzzer-beating 3 pointer!" "Yeah, if you guys could make it more obvious who touches the ball last before it goes out of bounds that would be great too...."

    Things are ugly right now and I know people are frustrated. Let's try and wait until the series ends before the executioners come out.

    This is sound advice but its hard to hear after last nights debacle. This is the team the Rockets wanted to face but as Mark Stein tweeted last night " the Blazers wanted the Rockets as well".

    I will admit that Mchale is a better coach then anyone on this forum and I'm not even sure a good coach couldve beaten the blazers last night. I think we are focusing on what the Rockets did wrong, not what the Blazers did right.

    I was worried when Rockets fans were rejoicing when the blazers locked up the 5th seed. As Ive seen a lot of Blazer games this year this team has the feel of the Mav's championship team. Everyone likes each other and they have great chemistry. This team looks a lot like the team that had the best record in the NBA for the first 2 1/2 months this year.

    The blazers have now won something crazy like 11 out of the last 12 games going back to the reg season. And it wasn't like they were beating up on teams with nothing to play for, (Warriors, Bulls, Grizzlies).

    Lamarcus was a legit #3 MVP candidate had injuries not cost him about 15 games this year. Before the series you could have an interesting debate on what team has the best two players. Its pretty obvious it isnt the Rockets.

  • thejohnnygold says 4 months ago

    tumblr_static_tumblr_m8d0kayo3f1rb1baco1

    *This was for uojoe82's comment...not the more rational one above.

  • linonlyfan says 4 months ago

    I actually think its a fit in terms of time issue also, McHale is a good coach for a young exciting team who wants to do well in the regular season and make a bit of noise in the playoffs, which is where Houston has been up till this year. He is a players coach who can create a positive atmosphere, in part running a freelance offense and focusing on developing skills vs a system. Unfortunately with Howard coming on board that whole build phase in terms of roster is done and we need to get to the next level. The bar is very very high on championship coaches and it just feels like this is the direction the team has to go.

    Even if its Morey's idea that run and gun should work, I think this season should be something of a learning experience for him as well.

    Im not sure about overreaction, I think the most damning thing is that everything we saw that we didn't like in the last 2 games has been present throughout the season in spurts. Should McHale be given another summer with the team to be introspective and learn what they didn't do right so we can get another training camp and regular season to get better? Arguably yes. But somehow I feel a first round failure, featuring weaknesses which have been apparent through the year sends us to ending the McHale era.

    I know JG put out a great list of flukey Portland moments. But when Dwight was killing Portland in the 1st Quarter we just couldn't get a stop. Not good.

    Who knows maybe suddenly we will be back in Houston 2-2 in the series. That would be amazing for entertainment and quiet some of the executioners. Despite the negativity of forums, the team needs to come together. The series isn't over and there is a job to do. The mistakes the team is making are clear and they need to find the collective mental fortitude to address those issues consistently. Find a bunker mentality and get that team spirit forged in the adversity of Portland. Come ON ROCKETS!!!

  • uojoe82 says 4 months ago

    Houston's problem isn't Lamarcus Aldridge, or even James Harden, its Coach McHale.

    Everything in Huq's Pen I agree with 100%. I said all year long that McHale would be the weak link come playoffs. Terry Stotts has made all the right moves and Mchale hasn't made any moves (which has been the wrong move).

    McHale coaches this team like a baseball manager,not a basketball coach. It's called late game "execution" because it implies that your'e executing some predetermined play. Everything late in the game was about how do we get Harden the ball so he can save us. Well the entire world knows that play and the Blazers defend that pretty well now which isn't a surprise considering this was the 6th match-up this year between the 2 teams.

    Plan A has failed and Mchale has failed in developing a plan B. Watching D12 go bonkers in quarter 1 was great however the whole time I knew it wasn't sustainable. You need to score about 108 points to beat the blazers and Dwight wasn't going to go all Wilt Chamberlain on them. In the second half he started missing and when the blazers would start doubling and instead of passing out to open shooters which Dwight should do he forced up bad shots.

    However you can't really criticize D12 too much, he gave a performance worthy of a win (had the other "super" star participated).

    Mchale's limitations are being exploited at the worst possible time. He is being outcoached and he doesnt even know it. Listening to the post game news conference he sounded defeated however he never once took accountability, its was only "we need to set better picks for Harden". Really? Your gameplan for the future is how do we get Harden more shots? All his eggs are in Harden's basket but he hasn't given Harden and instructions on what to do. Instead he's relying on Harden to make the right decisions.

    The bright spot in losing in round 1 will be having a new coach. Here is my list of who I'd like to see. The list of coaches who are better than him is much longer so that list can wait.

    -Jeff Van Gundy

    -George Carl

    -Any of Gregg Popovich's assistants

    -Tom Izzo

    -Fred Hoiberg

    -Tom Thibadeau

    -Nate McMillan

    -Mike D'Antoni (at least he knows how to coach and win with players who dont play D)

    -Lawrence Frank

    -Rudy Tomjonavich (so what if he's retired)

    On a side note, wouldn't it be great if the NBA had a player loan program like European soccer. This way for the first month of next season the Rockets could loan Harden to the bulls so Harden could learn how to play defense. Or if McHale is still around the Rockets could loan Mchale to the Spurs so he could see what a play looks like.

  • yyy123 says 4 months ago

    Harden looked like he wanted to draw fouls every time he took a jump shot. When he didn't get the call, he had to shoot out of sync.

  • thejohnnygold says 4 months ago

    Wow, let the bloodbath begin.

    "Off with their heads!" This was Lewis Carroll pointing out the reactionary/irrational nature of humanity. The whole time the "little king" is following behind her quietly suggesting that she stop and think/consider for a moment, but in her rage she hears nothing and continues with her demands for blood. Someone must be held accountable for my displeasure!!!!!!

    I am not looking forward to this being our forums for the coming months. I will understand, but perhaps people will at least consider listening to that other little voice in their heads for a bit.

    Nobody likes what is happening in this series. Yet, to presume change would exercise some kind of control over the situation and produce a different result is as nutty as the idea that repeatedly doing the same thing and expecting a different result is wise. Life happens and we are 2 games into a way-off-script playoff series.

    What is McHale supposed to do? "James, how about you start making some of those shots, huh? You too Chandler!" "Omer, if you could just rip Aldridge's arms off at the shoulder I think we can slow him down a bit." "Guys, you can't let Dorrell Wright pick a pass up off his shoelaces and go directly into a contested, buzzer-beating 3 pointer!" "Yeah, if you guys could make it more obvious who touches the ball last before it goes out of bounds that would be great too...."

    Things are ugly right now and I know people are frustrated. Let's try and wait until the series ends before the executioners come out.

  • feelingsupersonic says 4 months ago

    Good post Drew, I can relate to some of that.

    I agree with most of what you are writing Rahat. I know many are putting this on McHale but I think it's bigger than that though he is closer to his end as a Rockets coach than his beginning, yes I am coming around some on him. I am guessing the root of many of the problems are the philosophies of Morey but it has to be hard to know what is really going on behind the scenes. I know Morey didn't want a coach who was running an organized offense with some set plays as evidenced by his switch from Adelman to McHale. I know Morey must be drilling his stats above all else philosophy into the players and staff and pumping it through every locker room/work out room screen in Toyota center. Even after the game (Tom Haberstroh via Twitter: On postgame notes distributed by the Rockets' staff, one line reads "Rockets are 0-6 in the playoffs when Harden attempts 19 or more FGAs."). I am beginning to think the parts put together and the philosophy worked up to a point but this team is going to need experience, an updated version of the offense and an entirely new approach on defense.

    I think McHale might have been a better fit had there been more veterans on this team. I am still not sure.

  • txtdo1411 says 4 months ago

    What more can be said? This hurts bad. Just gotta have hope, and pray that the team at least shows some fight ending out this series. I agree that McHale is gone if we lose this series. I just don't understand how Harden is so out of it in the playoffs. The team has worked so hard all season to get to this point, and now he just checks out in the playoffs?! We need to throw Daniels out there. We can't shoot better than 20% from the 3, and its not like our D is going to get any worse with him on the court. Also why hasn't D-mo seen a single minute so far? Hamilton? Anyone that can make a darn shot!

  • webattorney says 4 months ago

    http://www.oregonlive.com/blazers/index.ssf/2014/04/quick_the_speech_that_resurrected_the_trail_blazer.html

    Character of the players matter, especially the leaders of the team. Rockets just not ready with Harden at the helm.

  • Texan Ensemble says 4 months ago

    McHale and Kubiak must have gone to the same coaching school.

    I had a long comment a few weeks ago about our lack of mid-range jumpers, with stats. We need to start shooting more mid-range jumpers.

    I was at the game, and all I can say is that Harden did not once look locked in. Not once did he seem energized. Not once did Harden seem like he understood the significance of the game, nor how to make any kind of positive impact.

    I will still be watching game three with all the hope in the world, but this is Houston...

  • linonlyfan says 4 months ago

    Unless the series turns around completely we are heading for a coaching change. (even then the lack of progress on fundamental principle building may make it happen anyway)

    The only real candidates I think are on the table who have the knowledge, pedigree and are available are the van Gundy's. This is messy, Daryl Morey fired Jeff van Gundy for failing to get out of the 1st round in the playoffs and Dwight Howard abused Orlando's lack of spine to get Stan van Gundy fired, which Stan called him on in the most cringeworthy news conference outside reality TV. Stan and Dwight still stay in touch apparently and maybe having seen Stan take him the furthest in his career he will give it a 2nd shot? I can't see the Rockets taking on a newer coach as the stakes are quite high now, this roster is good enough to contend.

    I only hope for now that the Rockets can find some mental fortitude and go execute better in Game 3. Otherwise the level of embarrassment will go up even more.

  • Drew in Abilene says 4 months ago

    The past few days have been the most frustrating I've experienced as a fan of the Rockets. I lay awake for three hours Sunday night, unable to sleep due to replaying moments that could have swung the game. Desperately trying to convince myself it was an aberration. Wishing I could stop seeing Dwight's sixth foul on loop each time I closed my eyes.

    Last night, I drifted to sleep quickly, resigned to the knowledge that Houston is likely going to flame out in the first round. One of my biggest regrets is that, as someone who voraciously reads/listens to hoops news and commentary all year, if we lose I'm staring at twelve months of "The Rockets aren't contenders until they prove it in the playoffs," "Dwight Howard made a mistake by moving to Houston," and "Harden just isn't as good as we thought he was," until we get an opportunity to flip the script next season. That's not a pleasant thought.

    Which brings me to where I am today. I still have hope. I think there's a good chance we pull out a victory in Game 3, which would make Game 4 pivotal. I can still see a way out of this hole. Aldridge can't stay this hot and Harden can't stay this cold, right? Because I'd really like to see a win.

  • John P says 4 months ago

    I am trying to write something about how I feel........................................ Sorry but that pause was me scream obscene things inside my head.

    Barkley was absolutely right...I am glad Dwight came out hammering. Its fine for a play or two....but when the whole system's success depends on ball movement and sharing the love all over the team. Dwight demanding his only gets us so far.

    I think the overall point is correct of the article. It is all about coaching at this point. I do have a feeling that the personalities are not there to have a true, on court general. Lin and Howard have confidence issues and Harden hasn't learned that skill yet. But with no on court general, we need a great coach. McHale looks as if he is not up to the job.

    But if you think about it, who are you going to replace him with? A Van Gundy? Is there any other really great coach out there? With Aldeman retiring...and probably not wanting to come back, is there another great, proven mind that can be gotten to lead the team? Mike Woodson? D'Antoni? Kenny Smith? ...we need a coach ready for prime time. the Van Gundys are the only ones I can think of that fit that bill

  • dbd says 4 months ago

    It is too late to change philosophy, so we must continue doing what worked in regular season.

    - Howard in the post

    - Harden/Howard PNR

    - Harden/LIN PNR

    - Shoot 3 if opportunity present

    At this point, we might have to play like a soccer team which down 0-2 with no time left. Go all out assault, send in drivers like Lin and shooters like Daniels.

  • Rockets911 says 4 months ago Stagnant offense, when did we become a post up Dwight offense? What Barkley said was right and Rahat. It wasn't sustainable and it too Harden (he's just flat out horrific right now 14/47 in 2 games?), Chandler (tad but horrible under Harden), and Lin (who just seems to shoot spot up 3's and waits in the corner watching Harden and Parsons miss everything). Can we see a 1_2 pick n roll?

    No adjustments on defense. Was that the adjustment to make? Just play Asik on Aldridge? Can we even call that an adjustment? Can you try a double team? Atleast try? Do something!!

    Series is done without drastic measures. Me personally, I'm throwing Lin in the starting lineup, and running PnR all day 1_2, 1_4, 1_5? I don't care, nothing else is working anyway. Only time we really had energy is when Lin was making plays, assists, breaking down the defense. And when Dwight was going off. Other then that, what was a bright spot for the offense?