Huq’s Pen: The five stages of grief

  • I don’t really know what to tell you guys.  I don’t really have the energy to break down a play or anything, right now.  Maybe that will change in the next 48 hours.  But right now I’m just straight up depressed.  In the Kubler-Ross model, I’m somewhere between depression and acceptance.  Before the series began, I was in stage 1: denial.  I predicted Houston in 5 because I decided to turn a blind eye to some of the glaring warning signs coming from this team.  After the losses in Game 1 and Game 2, I felt anger.  I reached the bargaining phase right before and then after Game 3: “we can’t expect major adjustments like the team making crisp defensive rotations or running anything resembling a coherent offense down the stretch, but maybe they can make some basic tweaks and we’ll be fine.”  The miraculous win actually made this worse, leading to delusions of grandeur.  And now here we are, depression and acceptance.  It is what it is.  I’ll watch, I’ll cheer, I’ll be here the whole way.  But I’m human too.  I don’t have it in me to hold out hope on the team pulling this out.  If it happens, it happens.  But I just don’t have the energy to keep hoping – not with the way the team has lost these three games.
  • I think for me, what hurts the most, is seeing Dwight Howard and knowing there aren’t many more years left in the tank and one of them is about to potentially be completely wasted.  That block late in the game when he dialed the clock back to 2010 and completely erased Nicolas Batum was one of the most awe-inspiring sequences I’ve ever seen in the twenty years I’ve been a fan of this team.  There’s just something about a superstar big man that gives you chills.  And it’s going to be wasted.

  • Jeremy Lin: nothing left to say on this point.  Depression/acceptance.  It’s gotten to the point now where, each time he kicks the ball off his leg in a critical situation, I can only just smile and laugh.  Depression/acceptance.  If Houston does go on to lose this series, I don’t know how Lin is back next year.  For a guy whose game is entirely based upon confidence, he’s completely damaged goods.  The only thing keeping him here is the fact that it might take multiple picks just to get someone to take his contract.  Unless they pull off Carmelo or Kevin Love, the decision to choose Jeremy Lin over Goran Dragic, while fundamentally sound in theory, will be one Daryl Morey will regret for some time.
  • As is normally the case, Houston completely sputtered down the stretch, coughing up a ten point fourth quarter lead.  I tweeted that we needed to maintain a cushion because I didn’t like our chances fighting a close game.  The problem there is that it’s pretty much impossible to maintain a cushion against a high octane team like the Blazers.  You simply have to execute down the stretch.
  • Again, just some bizarre, bizarre playcalling down the stretch.  There were multiple plays where the team used Chandler Parsons as the primary ballhandler/initiator, in one instance in a pick and roll with Dwight Howard.  In retrospect, this actually made perfect sense: Harden/Howard, when used, had proved to be a pretty much unstoppable play, so the natural thing to do would be to just not run it and use Parsons in Harden’s stead.
  • But seriously.  You’ll notice a change in my tone from the first two games.  Not much anger.  I’m deflated.  I don’t really know what they were doing there.  Anyone with a modicum of basketball acumen knows that Chandler Parsons doesn’t have the quickness/ballhandling ability to attack an offense as the primary initiator.  His drives are off of the rotation of the pass when the defense is not set.  McHale made this same blunder at the end of one of the Grizzlies games this year when, after Parsons hit like ten threes, the hamster running on the wheel in McHale’s head said, “hmmm.  He just hit ten spot up threes.  The natural thing to do here would be to just hand him the ball and let him create.”  Just baffling, baffling stuff.  If Harden was gassed, why not just run pick and roll with Lin then?  He atleast has the ability to attack the rim and make something happen.  Why would you ever run a play for Chandler Parsons?
  • Perhaps almost as egregious was that the team then spent the next few possessions attempting to forcefeed Dwight Howard in the post, an exercise which is always an adventure it itself.  To his credit, Howard converted a few times, but he predictably turned it over on one play, and nearly did another time.  Going by the numbers, even the eye test from this series, posting up Howard against Aldridge is not a smart move.  It was to the point last night where I was screaming for them to run the Harden ISO because of how bad their other choices were.
  • Speaking of Harden, what the hell happened?  There was an almost eerie stretch late in the game, before he revved it up again, where the entire situation had a Scottie Pippen feel to it.  (reference: After Phil Jackson drew up a play for Toni Kukoc to take the final shot in a ’94 Bulls playoff game, Pippen refused to enter the game.)  By the time Red94 goes to press, I’m sure more will come to light regarding this, and I don’t want to speculate…but that was just really, really odd.  I’m hoping Harden was just gassed, and that is definitely a likely possibility given his lack of conditioning.
  • I don’t understand how the team went multiple possessions without giving the ball to Harden.  When I rail against the 1-4 flat, I’m not saying he shouldn’t be involved at all!  Harden should be the focal point of EVERY SINGLE PLAY down the stretch.  It should just be in different looks – off the pick and roll with Howard, pick and roll with Lin, off the catch at the elbow.  Sigh.  It’s almost like McHale was thinking, “oh.  we shouldn’t ISO Harden?  Okay, I get it.  You must mean not give him the ball at all for a four minute stretch.”  Hashtag logical conclusions?
  • I’m really actually hoping Harden just quit/was gassed, because it is downright chilling to think that McHale drew up for Harden to not touch the ball for the majority of overtime.
  • Before Troy Daniels hit one of the most miraculous shots I’ve ever seen, from the corner, the Rockets hadn’t scored a basket in over five minutes.  To say Houston has late game execution problems would be a gross understatement.
  • I ignored this throughout the year, but I’m starting to become of the opinion that Chandler Parsons and James Harden may not be able to coexist at the wings on a team with championship aspirations.  That’s not a knock on Parsons, who played great last night, but it’s just far too big a strain defensively to have two bad defenders at those critical spots.  But anyways, there will be plenty of time to revisit this over the offseason.
  • Game 5 is on Wednesday.  We’ll see what happens.  I don’t have the energy right now to look ahead.  Maybe I will tomorrow – we’ll see.  That’s all from me for this morning.

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Total comments: 71
  • miketheodio says 2 months ago

    yes. post up success isn't all based on howard. some of it also depends on how the team plays around him on the post up.

  • Willk says 2 months ago

    I have yet to understand why Dwight never hands the ball off to the guard who just dumped in the entry pass and is running through using Dwight as a screen. I'd say 9 out of 10 times there is a pretty clear path to the hoop from there. Plus, once you run that a couple times you can fake the handoff and Dwight's defender should bite just that little bit and move baseline allowing Dwight an easy quick-spin to the middle for a dunk.

    Am I crazy for thinking this play should happen 4-6 times a game? It's there for the taking...

    (bracing myself for an avalanche of McFail comments :lol: )

    I thought early in the season they did that a few times. If I remember correctly Bev would pass the ball to Howard and run straight a Howard. Howard then wouldslightly pivot making the guy guarding Bev change his route slightly creating space for Bev and then Howard would pass the ball back to Bev for a layup.

    It does not seem like the rockets cut as hard as they used to after they pass the ball to Howard.

  • Steven says 2 months ago @JG

    You said it so we don't have too.
  • rocketrick says 2 months ago

    I just don't think Howard strength lies in fluidity in offence. Host post moves are pretty robotic and he doesn't have the quick moves and decision making to outlet to shooters or runners most of the times. He is more often more successful when he can bully the other C and get a close up hook shot, layup or dunk. When it's a few more feet away he is not effective. He is just not effective as Richard li posted. 0.77 PPP is poor and he is pretty turnover prone for a big man. Hence the trouble against LMA. We should only use the post if it's 1on1 and someone he can bully other than that I rather he be the roll man where he is a lot more efficient.


    However, D12 was very efficient in crunchtime of Game 4 (4th quarter and overtime). D12 scored 13 points on just 7 shots. He was 4/7 from the field and 5/6 from the free throw line. He did have those 2 turnovers early in overtime.

    I don't know, as much as the Rockets are struggling from 3 point territory, I can kind of understand why D12 takes it upon himself to try and do something positive with the ball. The Rockets only shot 2/9 from the 3 point line in the 4th quarter and overtime of Game 4. Parsons, Beverley and Lin shot a combined 1/6 including 0/2 from the 3 point line with 0 free throws and 3 turnovers between them (Lin had 2).

    I would like to see Troy Daniels get more shot opportunities. He scored 17 points in Game 4. However, he only took 4 shots in the 4th quarter and overtime, primarily due to being on the bench for a lot of that time. He managed to score 8 points on only 4 shot attempts during the 4th quarter and overtime.
  • thenit says 2 months ago I just don't think Howard strength lies in fluidity in offence. Host post moves are pretty robotic and he doesn't have the quick moves and decision making to outlet to shooters or runners most of the times. He is more often more successful when he can bully the other C and get a close up hook shot, layup or dunk. When it's a few more feet away he is not effective. He is just not effective as Richard li posted. 0.77 PPP is poor and he is pretty turnover prone for a big man. Hence the trouble against LMA. We should only use the post if it's 1on1 and someone he can bully other than that I rather he be the roll man where he is a lot more efficient.
  • thejohnnygold says 2 months ago

    I have yet to understand why Dwight never hands the ball off to the guard who just dumped in the entry pass and is running through using Dwight as a screen. I'd say 9 out of 10 times there is a pretty clear path to the hoop from there. Plus, once you run that a couple times you can fake the handoff and Dwight's defender should bite just that little bit and move baseline allowing Dwight an easy quick-spin to the middle for a dunk.

    Am I crazy for thinking this play should happen 4-6 times a game? It's there for the taking...

    (bracing myself for an avalanche of McFail comments :lol: )

  • rocketrick says 2 months ago

    d12 posts ups are essentially isolation situations when players around him are standing around. some of the reason the shots aren't falling is the lack of proper set up.


    there are some silver linings. howard showing a lot of effort and heart. asik proving the rockets right and valued him correctly. troy daniels being a specialist with a lot of poise.


    Yeah, I think that is purposeful though. If you recall when Dream was running the show, our 3 point shooters would pretty much stand around or make just a slight move. The reason is because when D12 is making a post move and if he gets doubled or gets stuck with his move, he knows where his outlets are without having to struggle with locating who to pass the ball to. Especially if he's in the lane and wanting to avoid the 3 second call. Plus Portland is putting extra attention on guarding the 3-point line by keeping their defenders close enough by our other players on the opposite side of the court to prevent too many wide open looks at the 3.

    I think it's usually best to have just D12 and the guy who passes the ball into him (typically Beverley or Harden) on that one side of the court making it that much more difficult for Portland to send a double team. I remember they had one illegal defense called on them in Game 4. What would be good if the Rockets could figure out how to get Troy Daniels on that side of the court as that would really put a lot of pressure on the defense. But also D12 has to be willing to pass the ball. That one play where Matthews swiped the ball from D12 as he was making his post move and Harden was like 2 feet outside the 3-point line and completely uncovered is one play that comes to mind. Harden had just fed the ball to D12 then moved back outside the 3-point line to make it tougher for Portland (Matthews) to double. If D12 had read that properly and reacted quicker, Harden would have had a wide open uncontested 3 point shot there instead of the Rockets and D12 turning the ball over in that situation. I believe that was in the 4th quarter, the play where Matthews swiped the ball from D12.
  • miketheodio says 2 months ago

    d12 posts ups are essentially isolation situations when players around him are standing around. some of the reason the shots aren't falling is the lack of proper set up.

    there are some silver linings. howard showing a lot of effort and heart. asik proving the rockets right and valued him correctly. troy daniels being a specialist with a lot of poise.

  • rocketrick says 2 months ago

    im not saying the offense should be perfect now. im saying it should have developed a bit beyond iso harden and iso dwight by now. other players need to get involved. they fail to set up good 3s in crunch time more often than not.
    [/quote

    D12 post ups are iso Dwight? I also remember seeing Harden passing the ball and not always taking the shot.

    I understand your frustration, though. If the shots were dropping, I think there would be less complaining about the Rockets offense. And it would help to execute those fastbreak opportunities. I distinctly remember 3 straight fastbreak opportunities in the 3rd quarter completely wasted with turnovers and missed shots. Parsons had his best game of the series but was basically shut out in the 4th quarter. That Troy Daniels kid can shoot! 17 points in 21 minutes of action! Remember, Troy Daniels needs the offense to create those open shots. He isn't creating any of those shots on his own.

  • miketheodio says 2 months ago

    It's a total shame the 3rd youngest team in the NBA with a major player, D12, on the team for the first season, don't have perfect clockwork offense. Even veteran teams have their dry spells. No doubt the Rockets are getting enough quality shots, in my opinion they're just not dropping at a high enough rate. I have been impressed how the Rockets have been changing things up offensively in the playoffs. They're not running the same play time after time after time. I remember Hakeem struggled for awhile with figuring when to pass out of a double team. He figured it out. I think with more time D12 will be an effective passer from the post when a double is coming. Then the offense will be even that much smoother. Harden is already a very effective creator when the ball is in his hands. He not only usually leads the team in scoring, but also in assists.

    im not saying the offense should be perfect now. im saying it should have developed a bit beyond iso harden and iso dwight by now. other players need to get involved. they fail to set up good 3s in crunch time more often than not.

  • miketheodio says 2 months ago

    OKC, the bulls, and pacers have all been horrible in the 4th quarter this playoffs.
    The rockets only had one threat last year. I do not know what your expectations were for last year or this year. The team is young and these playoff 4th quarters are the experience this team needs.

    my expectations were to address the problems in some way and show improvement. are the teams you mentioned known for 4th quarter collapses or have they been isolated to the playoffs? i havent watched a good amount of games from those teams to make a judgement about that question.

    if these problems were largely isolated to this playoff series, you simply give portland the credit, but they are not. the ball has been sticky since last year and so has player movement off of the ball. instead of iso harden, it's iso-dwight and iso-harden. they habitually throw out what has worked the entire game and forget what got them there and/or teams force them into the half court and they havent developed a half court offense. not to mention fundamental lapses in defense.

    do i expect the rockets to magically turn a corner right now? no. my concern is about the future due to the lack of improvement shown in the past.

  • rocketrick says 2 months ago

    how many times has it happened consecutively for other teams?

    has half court offense/4th quarter execution been a problem for 2 years for other teams?


    It's a total shame the 3rd youngest team in the NBA with a major player, D12, on the team for the first season, don't have perfect clockwork offense. Even veteran teams have their dry spells. No doubt the Rockets are getting enough quality shots, in my opinion they're just not dropping at a high enough rate. I have been impressed how the Rockets have been changing things up offensively in the playoffs. They're not running the same play time after time after time. I remember Hakeem struggled for awhile with figuring when to pass out of a double team. He figured it out. I think with more time D12 will be an effective passer from the post when a double is coming. Then the offense will be even that much smoother. Harden is already a very effective creator when the ball is in his hands. He not only usually leads the team in scoring, but also in assists.
  • Willk says 2 months ago

    how many times has it happened consecutively for other teams?

    has half court offense/4th quarter execution been a problem for 2 years for other teams?

    OKC, the bulls, and pacers have all been horrible in the 4th quarter this playoffs.
    The rockets only had one threat last year. I do not know what your expectations were for last year or this year. The team is young and these playoff 4th quarters are the experience this team needs.
  • miketheodio says 2 months ago

    blown big leads are happening everywhere in the playoffs. OKC blew 20 point lead. Memphis blew a 10 point lead. Miami blew a 20 point lead. These teams ended up winning like the Rox did in game 3, but this is not a 1 team problem. Teams are going to fight you to the end in the playoffs

    how many times has it happened consecutively for other teams?

    has half court offense/4th quarter execution been a problem for 2 years for other teams?

  • Willk says 2 months ago

    still doesn't explain the team being in the driver seat around the 4th quarter for at least 3 games this series. these guys are beating themselves much more than the blazers are beating them.

    the rockets havent had to mount a big comeback for the most part. it's not neck and neck the whole game. it's a bunch of blown leads caused by stagnant play.

    blown big leads are happening everywhere in the playoffs. OKC blew 20 point lead. Memphis blew a 10 point lead. Miami blew a 20 point lead. These teams ended up winning like the Rox did in game 3, but this is not a 1 team problem. Teams are going to fight you to the end in the playoffs
  • miketheodio says 2 months ago

    Greatest series loss? Not even sure what that means. If its meant as greatest first round upset then absolutely not. If its meant as Rocket fans confidence going into the series and what is actually happening, then maybe. But that is based more upon either Rocket fans lack of knowledge about the Blazers and assuming the playoffs would emulate the regular season (which never happens). This is a 4 vs 5 matchup between teams with identical records whose regular season head to head record would be split had the Rockets not had their best comeback win of the season.

    still doesn't explain the team being in the driver seat around the 4th quarter for at least 3 games this series. these guys are beating themselves much more than the blazers are beating them.

    the rockets havent had to mount a big comeback for the most part. it's not neck and neck the whole game. it's a bunch of blown leads caused by stagnant play.

  • uojoe82 says 2 months ago

    I'm not sure I would agree that this would be "the greatest series loss". What if Atlanta ends up defeating Indiana, that to me would have to rank as the #1 all-time shocker in NBA Playoffs history. Golden State as the #8 seed taking down #1 seed Dallas a few years ago is up there, too.

    I think the Game 7 loss to (#4 seed) Utah in the first round in 2007 after the (#5 seed) Rockets started out with a 2-0 series lead, JVG's final coached game, stands out in my mind as the biggest Rockets disappointment to date. Especially since we lost Game 7 at Toyota Center (since the Rockets ended up winning 1 more game than Utah in the regular season to grab home court advantage). Then (#4 seed) Utah proceeded to knock us (#5 seed) out of the playoffs in the first round the following year (Adelman's first year as Rockets Coach). The Rockets had a better regular season record than Utah and ended up with home court advantage in both playoff series although officially seeded below Utah as Utah won their division.

    Or how about when the (#5 seed) Rockets won the first 2 games in 2005 on (#4 seed) Dallas' home court then turned around and lost the next 2 games to Dallas at Toyota Center and eventually lost the series?

    Tracy McGrady could just never get us out of the first round as an active player. He was on the bench in a suit when the (#5 seed) Rockets defeated (#4 seed) Portland in the 2009 playoffs.

    Greatest series loss? Not even sure what that means. If its meant as greatest first round upset then absolutely not. If its meant as Rocket fans confidence going into the series and what is actually happening, then maybe. But that is based more upon either Rocket fans lack of knowledge about the Blazers and assuming the playoffs would emulate the regular season (which never happens). This is a 4 vs 5 matchup between teams with identical records whose regular season head to head record would be split had the Rockets not had their best comeback win of the season.

  • uojoe82 says 2 months ago

    I am surprised no one has harped on the bad call by the ref on the strip by Aldridge on Dwight that clearly was last touched by Aldridge but was called out "off Dwight's leg"...which it never came near...not even a little. We were down 2 at that time and then Batum comes down and hits a three...even Reggie Miller saw it and commented on it during the game. That was HUGE....but let's blame McHale for that too. He should be holding the refs accountable for actually making the right calls. :lol:

    That was obviously a bad call on the ref's part but I think the reason their isn't an outcry is that the refs made bad calls on both sides. The play where Harden throws Matthews to the ground (replay shows Harden grabbing Matthews jersey and pushing him back) and then has like 3 seconds to line up a three pointer (which was made) was just as bad (but in the Rockets favor). The refereeing has been very questionable this series however I think the match-ups make this series very hard to officiate in general.

    The out of bounds call was big because of when it happened and what happened next. I don't expect the ref's to be perfect, I just wish for a little more consistency out of them (when it comes to the illegal screens and offensive fouls).

  • feelingsupersonic says 2 months ago

    I'm not sure I would agree that this would be "the greatest series loss". What if Atlanta ends up defeating Indiana, that to me would have to rank as the #1 all-time shocker in NBA Playoffs history. Golden State as the #8 seed taking down #1 seed Dallas a few years ago is up there, too.I think the Game 7 loss to (#4 seed) Utah in the first round in 2007 after the (#5 seed) Rockets started out with a 2-0 series lead, JVG's final coached game, stands out in my mind as the biggest Rockets disappointment to date. Especially since we lost Game 7 at Toyota Center (since the Rockets ended up winning 1 more game than Utah in the regular season to grab home court advantage). Then (#4 seed) Utah proceeded to knock us (#5 seed) out of the playoffs in the first round the following year (Adelman's first year as Rockets Coach). The Rockets had a better regular season record than Utah and ended up with home court advantage in both playoff series although officially seeded below Utah as Utah won their division.Or how about when the (#5 seed) Rockets won the first 2 games in 2005 on (#4 seed) Dallas' home court then turned around and lost the next 2 games to Dallas at Toyota Center and eventually lost the series?Tracy McGrady could just never get us out of the first round as an active player. He was on the bench in a suit when the (#5 seed) Rockets defeated (#4 seed) Portland in the 2009 playoffs.


    That's right that Utah series is up there. And sorry I was talking only about Rockets playoffs though that Pacers collapse is no doubt historic. To me this series is some of the greatest basketball competition (as in close games) that could result in a Rockets loss. This has been a great series.
  • Dusty says 2 months ago

    Come on guys. The series isn't over yet! Let's have some faith until the end! We can talk about trades and firing after, but none of that will influence the outcome of the next game.

  • rocketrick says 2 months ago

    New post: Huq's Pen: The five stages of grief
    By: rahat huq


    As is normally the case, Houston completely sputtered down the stretch, coughing up a ten point fourth quarter lead. I tweeted that we needed to maintain a cushion because I didn't like our chances fighting a close game. The problem there is that it's pretty much impossible to maintain a cushion against a high octane team like the Blazers. You simply have to execute down the stretch


    The #1 seed San Antonio Spurs, coached by the maestro of Head Coaches, Popovich, and down 1-2 in the Series to Dallas, still managed to give up all but a couple of points of a 20-point lead in the 2nd Half.

    Should this reflect badly on Popovich? Keep in mind the Spurs are already down 1-2 in the Series to Dallas.

    If that fact on its own isn't enough to motivate the Spurs to prevent a 20-point meltdown of their lead, what does it take? Keep in mind this is the most veteran team in the NBA coached by absolutely the best coach in the NBA right now.

    Just wondering out loud, not sure why. Just wondering. Is it because of the coaching or perhaps because this is the greatest league in the universe aka The NBA??
  • rocketrick says 2 months ago

    If the Rockets lose this will go down as the greatest series loss I have ever seen. Maybe that Sonic series around 1992 comes to mind for Akeem's Herculean efforts and the one game with multiple overtimes but this whole series has been great aside from the losing. I underestimated the Blazers and specifically how much Lillard and Aldridge would elevate their games which can happen after a couple years that they have been together now.


    I'm not sure I would agree that this would be "the greatest series loss". What if Atlanta ends up defeating Indiana, that to me would have to rank as the #1 all-time shocker in NBA Playoffs history. Golden State as the #8 seed taking down #1 seed Dallas a few years ago is up there, too.

    I think the Game 7 loss to (#4 seed) Utah in the first round in 2007 after the (#5 seed) Rockets started out with a 2-0 series lead, JVG's final coached game, stands out in my mind as the biggest Rockets disappointment to date. Especially since we lost Game 7 at Toyota Center (since the Rockets ended up winning 1 more game than Utah in the regular season to grab home court advantage). Then (#4 seed) Utah proceeded to knock us (#5 seed) out of the playoffs in the first round the following year (Adelman's first year as Rockets Coach). The Rockets had a better regular season record than Utah and ended up with home court advantage in both playoff series although officially seeded below Utah as Utah won their division.

    Or how about when the (#5 seed) Rockets won the first 2 games in 2005 on (#4 seed) Dallas' home court then turned around and lost the next 2 games to Dallas at Toyota Center and eventually lost the series?

    Tracy McGrady could just never get us out of the first round as an active player. He was on the bench in a suit when the (#5 seed) Rockets defeated (#4 seed) Portland in the 2009 playoffs.
  • rocketrick says 2 months ago

    I have seen some harp on the Ref's, but this game should have never fell in a position where the Ref's mattered. we should have won this game in regulation, however we can't seem to stop tripping over ourselves. we are the most talent laden team in this series, however we have the worse coach. our troops are under prepared. we are reactive instead of proactive. McFail couldn't coach his way out of a paper bag with one end open and a stick of dynamite


    I agree about some wanting to place some blame on the Ref's as an excuse. No doubt they've blown some calls, but I have always believed the calls "tend" to even out over time. Just like the Back to Back Championship Teams of the 1990's, at some point the team just has to focus on overcoming inadvertent whistles and work to having a large enough lead so as to not force the referees to determine the outcome of any game.

    Also, if our players would start hitting some of their shots in crunch time, that would be a positive development. I think the Rockets are getting a good number of quality shots, they just ain't dropping for us at a high enough rate!
  • Willk says 2 months ago

    His intensity is still there, his body isn't. The Torn meniscus is causing Beverly problems.

    And the fever he had in the last game
  • rockets best fan says 2 months ago

    I have seen some harp on the Ref's, but this game should have never fell in a position where the Ref's mattered. we should have won this game in regulation, however we can't seem to stop tripping over ourselves. we are the most talent laden team in this series, however we have the worse coach. our troops are under prepared. we are reactive instead of proactive. McFail couldn't coach his way out of a paper bag with one end open and a stick of dynamite

  • Steven says 2 months ago

    If the Rockets lose this will go down as the greatest series loss I have ever seen. Maybe that Sonic series around 1992 comes to mind for Akeem's Herculean efforts and the one game with multiple overtimes but this whole series has been great aside from the losing. I underestimated the Blazers and specifically how much Lillard and Aldridge would elevate their games which can happen after a couple years that they have been together now.

    Rahat was right during the seaso when he questioned whether Beverley could maintain his intensity, the answer is no. Now Beverley as a back up would seem appealing at his point but that's more for discussion in the off season methinks.

    His intensity is still there, his body isn't. The Torn meniscus is causing Beverly problems.
  • feelingsupersonic says 2 months ago If the Rockets lose this will go down as the greatest series loss I have ever seen. Maybe that Sonic series around 1992 comes to mind for Akeem's Herculean efforts and the one game with multiple overtimes but this whole series has been great aside from the losing. I underestimated the Blazers and specifically how much Lillard and Aldridge would elevate their games which can happen after a couple years that they have been together now.

    Rahat was right during the seaso when he questioned whether Beverley could maintain his intensity, the answer is no. Now Beverley as a back up would seem appealing at his point but that's more for discussion in the off season methinks.
  • Steven says 2 months ago

    I heard some people consider pain as entertainment too.

    Thank you may I have another.
  • gaiusmariusj says 2 months ago

    I heard some people consider pain as entertainment too.

  • Johnny33 says 2 months ago

    I really don't understand how a role player can be so polarizing for Rockets fans.

    I wasn't a big fan of Rafer Alston (and his 2/11 shooting nights) or Bob Sura (inability to just get Yao the damn ball), but I never went on a message board to dissect their every mistake with a "TOLD U SO" attitude. I was never a fan of JVG playing Ryan Bowen and David Wesley so many minutes, but it is what it is. You play the hand you're dealt.

    I want Jeremy to play well and not turn the ball over, just like I want Harden to play defense, Dwight to hit free throws, etc... If they don't, well we already know their flaws by now.

    Yeah he should have called the TO. The other 4 players and McHale himself could have called it too. Did I scream "YOU GOTTA BE FKING KIDDING ME!!?!?" when it happened? You better believe it. But it's done, we can't turn back the clock. We've just got to move on and hope for the best for game 5.

    At the end of the day, it's just basketball. If we lose the series, life goes on. Don't forget the reason we watch games is for entertainment, and I'd challenge anyone to say that any of the 4 games have lacked in the entertainment department.

  • RocketMansinceStevieFrance says 2 months ago The refs are awful I think that's already been established... lol if Mchale would have said something he would have been paying up already to the league. I'm honestly excited for Wednesday, still not over yet another heart breaking loss but I'm also curious to see what the Rockets do when their backs are completely against the wall. Should be interesting! I'll take the Rockets to win the series, bold call but I have faith!
  • thejohnnygold says 2 months ago

    Kevingan,

    McHale was responding to a reporter's question about that particular play. That is why Lin was "named". It is obvious you don't like McHale and there is nothing that can be said. OK, he's not a great communicator now and that's why Lin didn't call a timeout. Sure. McHale needs to hold players accountable, but if he says anything he is throwing them under the bus. Sure. The same applies to him "not taking blame for losses" by saying they are not doing the things they go over in practice and meetings (holding his team accountable to do what they are told to do!) Double standards exist all over apparently...

    I am surprised no one has harped on the bad call by the ref on the strip by Aldridge on Dwight that clearly was last touched by Aldridge but was called out "off Dwight's leg"...which it never came near...not even a little. We were down 2 at that time and then Batum comes down and hits a three...even Reggie Miller saw it and commented on it during the game. That was HUGE....but let's blame McHale for that too. He should be holding the refs accountable for actually making the right calls. :lol:

  • smeggysmeg says 2 months ago

    coaching, attention to detail, defensive schemes and strategy (we have none) and offensive sets

    the beverly comment about not watching tape or scouting liilard...... is such a terrible insight

    the talent is there, the application and mental commitment is not, the player mistakes have been there all year and nothing has been done to address/cover them up or wow improve them

  • kevingan says 2 months ago

    Willk: obviously I meant Kendall Marshall--shows you how long I've been around, and that I used to live in CT. Go Huskies!

    The players who don't like D'Antoni are mainly the post-up players: Melo, Kobe, Pau, Kaman. Teams with a team concept like him just fine--that's how it's seemed since Phoenix. I watched him long before Lin--and he did pretty well in NYC with Stoudamire and Felton and decent role-players--they had a top ten defense, actually, as well as playing fun ball before Dolan broke up the team to get Melo. I'm not saying hire him--I'm saying you could learn something from him (as most teams in the league have, actually, and as he learned from Riley's Showtime teams).

    Johnnygold:
    I watched the entire clip--I only saw an excerpt before. But it doesn't really change my view. Admittedly, what constitutes "throw him under the bus" is highly subjective, but I still think that fits the way he recurred to Lin in particular when discussing the team's failure to execute; he didn't have to do that. Nobody else is used to exemplify the dozens of failures of execution we've been seeing: he could have said "Chandler and James both botched those fast breaks, we could have been up 17," but he kept it general that and all other times.

    Considering the way Lin is a fan punching bag for so many, you'd think he could avoid giving them more ammunition. Maybe he can't help but think of what if he still had Dragic, but you still owe your players your protection in public (not the same as keeping them accountable in private).

    The most important point for me is that when the team fails, the coach ought to take responsibility. (I happen to be a teacher, and that's how I feel about my students' failures: I have to take responsibility for those, because even if kids have problems, it's my job to anticipate those and make adjustments that will give them a chance to succeed.)

    If the players aren't executing fundamentals, whose fault is that? If Dwight and Harden are sniping at each other, whose fault is that? In that video, I saw many subtle signs of a star player's mentality: "we just need to be more aggressive," he says, which he was as a player; but when Lin aggressively tries to get the ball out of traffic, he should have been more cautious, with a belated caveat about "a basketball play," whatever that means. Can't win! And was there an explicit command to call time unless there was a break? No doubt, but if you're not a great communicator, the message can get lost more often than not. Lin was schooled by a veteran (who also stepped out of bounds, but too late for that), and that's the nature of the game.

    Bottom line: I'd love to hear McHale say just once, "This loss was on me--I didn't make the right adjustments, and I didn't put my young team in a position to win. My bad." I've heard other coaches say it, plenty of times--maybe he has, but I haven't heard it. The coaches I have heard say that were all role-players when they played, not stars, or else not even NBA players: Phil Jackson, Mike Woodson, Mike D'Antoni, Pop. Maybe that's not a coincidence.

    Still hoping for a miracle comeback--but "hope is an old deceiver, and his cheat never grows stale." But the hell with that: good luck Rockets!

  • John P says 2 months ago

    OK. Enough bitching and hand ringing...by myself included. Lets go kick their ass in Houston! You never know, we may just flip the switch to make the team get into gear or knock Portland out of their's. go Rockets.

  • Willk says 2 months ago

    I live in LA, so I see plenty of Lakers games--I have no rooting interest, they're just entertainment (not like the highs and lows of rooting for the Rockets!). It has been very interesting to see Mike D'Antoni coaching a team that is a mix of vets past their prime, NBA rejects, and upper level D-League players: whatever he's got, he sure gets the most out of them, and their morale (apart from one or two vets who don't play much) is sky high, despite all the losses, and they always play hard.

    It seems to me that if you really don't believe in defense, you might consider learning from a coach who is a) a certified offensive genius; and b>someone who excels at building players' confidence. As the guys on TNT say repeatedly, confidence is one key difference between winning and losing. D'Antoni's system made Lin a star, just as it made Steve Nash a star; this year, it turned Donyell Marshall, who has average talent at best, into an assist leader.

    Compare McHale, who was a post-play genius on the Celtics, and has done poorly everywhere else. Echoing Rockets911 and UOJoe, the moment last night when McHale threw Lin under the bus suggested an enormous amount about his deepest flaw as a coach: his Xs and Os are pathetic, but his understanding of the notion of *team* is even worse. And the only way we're going to get a team that lives up to the promise of so much talent will be if we have a coach who understands and enforces the notion of "team before star," and who also has the patience and tough love to teach his players the right way to play.

    You want D' Antoni??? You claim McHale has failed everywhere. Who has the higher winning percentage? McHale.

    It is funny how many players have disliked playing for D' Antoni.The team's best player (Pau Gasol) hated playing for him so much that he made up an injury (vertigo) to stay away from D' Antoni.

    It would be quite something if MDA made Donyell Marshall into an assist leader since Donyell has not been in the league for years.

    Steve Nash was a quality player before MDA.

    Lin did have his best weeks under MDA so I am guessing Lin is the reason you want MDA as coach. You feel MDA will enhance Lin's stats even though wins will not follow. However, remember, who was the PG for the Lakers last year for most of theseason.

  • Willk says 2 months ago

    If I were McHale I'd call out anybody star or not if they weren't doing what they were suppose to do. Ala Popovich. I've seen Parker, Manu, and Tim all screamed at. It's a sense of leadership. It's why all 3 of them love the guy. Accountable meaning owning up to your mistakes. If I'm Harden, and McHale yelled at me for doing something I shouldn't, I'd be fine with it because if it's going to make me better.

    There have been many coaches who have coached as you wish McHale would coach. Ask Doug Collins how yelling at MJ ended up. I imagine he would have loved to be a coach of a championship team. Scott Skiles is as good of a Xs and Os coach there is, but the constant berating of players has been his downfall. Rick Carlisle lost two locker rooms (Pistons & Pacers) because he would yell at players. He has been a tamer version of himself in Dallas. Jerry Sloan got fired because Deron Williams got sick of his constant berating. Calling out players rarely works in the NBA.

  • Buckko says 2 months ago So... When do the offseason, draft, and FA topics open up?
  • RocketMansinceStevieFrance says 2 months ago I am also in between on the players and the coach being held accountable for the things that happen. The players should be able to talk to each other and guide one another whenever they feel it is necessary. I also feel like Mchale is the coach he should have almost free rein on telling people what to do, especially if someone is forcing their shot too much and not moving the ball or not playing a team game.
  • RocketMansinceStevieFrance says 2 months ago It is just a sucky feeling knowing your team has literally lost 3 games by a combined 12 points.... Just think about all the things that you feel should have been done differently it is crazy to think that 12 points separates you from 3 wins. I really hope the players realize that and maybe, just maybe they can rise up and prevail to win the series.

    Don't forget the red sox coming back on the Yankees down what 3-0? Anything can happen..
  • thejohnnygold says 2 months ago

    What does holding accountable even mean? Bench him? sweet then we get swept and he still gets fired. Call him out in public? Then he quits. Do you call out Howard next? Is chandler next? alienating the team is a great way to win... If woodson gets in a fist fight with melo does that make the knicks better? Mchale is in a lose lose situation

    It's true. Ultimately, the players have to hold each other accountable....that is going to take time. They are going to have to recognize that, for better or worse, they all want to win and have to work together to do it. Then the really good stuff will begin...

    By the way, if you listen to his interviews he does call people out...it's just more subtle than some would like. As always, nobody knows what is being said behind closed doors.

  • Rockets911 says 2 months ago

    What does holding accountable even mean? Bench him? sweet then we get swept and he still gets fired. Call him out in public? Then he quits. Do you call out Howard next? Is chandler next? alienating the team is a great way to win... If woodson gets in a fist fight with melo does that make the knicks better? Mchale is in a lose lose situation


    If I were McHale I'd call out anybody star or not if they weren't doing what they were suppose to do. Ala Popovich. I've seen Parker, Manu, and Tim all screamed at. It's a sense of leadership. It's why all 3 of them love the guy. Accountable meaning owning up to your mistakes. If I'm Harden, and McHale yelled at me for doing something I shouldn't, I'd be fine with it because if it's going to make me better.
  • Cooper says 2 months ago

    I compare Kevin McHale and James Harden to Mike Woodson and Carmelo Anthony
    McHale: Will never hold his "star" players accountable. Let's them do what ever they want, and always differ to something other then"star" who is actually accountable. How many times do we complain about Hardens D? The shots he takes that are incomprehensible? The lack of effort to play within the "team structure"? Blaming teammates when he should blame himself? You will never hear a peep from McHale when it pertains to that when it comes to James Harden. McHale was a good player, he's not a good coach or leader of men. Just like Mike Woodson and Carmelo Anthony. The mindset of, "I can't blame the star player because I can lose my job".

    What does holding accountable even mean? Bench him? sweet then we get swept and he still gets fired. Call him out in public? Then he quits. Do you call out Howard next? Is chandler next? alienating the team is a great way to win... If woodson gets in a fist fight with melo does that make the knicks better? Mchale is in a lose lose situation

  • uojoe82 says 2 months ago

    What a load....Here is the interview for anyone who cares what McHale actually has to say....For those who ignore reality, I will mention that McHale specifically says that the entire team was told to take a time out on that play if they got the rebound (barring a clear path--which there was not)....He goes on to absolve Jeremy of any wrong-doing....Yes, truly "thrown under the bus". Amazing..... :unsure:

    [media>http://www.nba.com/video/channels/playoffs/2014/04/28/20140427-postgame-hou-por-01.nba[/media>

    In case the video doesn't post, here is the link to NBA.com----they have all the good interviews.

    I think the only reason McHale specifically mentioned the Lin turnover was that he was asked about Lin's play from the reporter. McHale used that as an example of the team not executing. He also said it wasn't Lin's fault and that he made "basketball plays".

    I almost have sympathy for McHale watching him in the post game news conference. He looks so miserable, sad and dejected. Its as if someone told him his dog died right after the game.

  • feelingsupersonic says 2 months ago The level of conversation here is getting really pathetic guys. Let's keep with the facts and try not to make stuff up. That's right, if you're posting here you will be held accountable.
  • thejohnnygold says 2 months ago

    Compare McHale, who was a post-play genius on the Celtics, and has done poorly everywhere else. Echoing Rockets911 and UOJoe, the moment last night when McHale threw Lin under the bus suggested an enormous amount about his deepest flaw as a coach: his Xs and Os are pathetic, but his understanding of the notion of *team* is even worse. And the only way we're going to get a team that lives up to the promise of so much talent will be if we have a coach who understands and enforces the notion of "team before star," and who also has the patience and tough love to teach his players the right way to play.

    What a load....Here is the interview for anyone who cares what McHale actually has to say....For those who ignore reality, I will mention that McHale specifically says that the entire team was told to take a time out on that play if they got the rebound (barring a clear path--which there was not)....He goes on to absolve Jeremy of any wrong-doing....Yes, truly "thrown under the bus". Amazing..... :unsure:

    [media>http://www.nba.com/video/channels/playoffs/2014/04/28/20140427-postgame-hou-por-01.nba[/media>

    In case the video doesn't post, here is the link to NBA.com----they have all the good interviews.

  • Rockets911 says 2 months ago

    Compare McHale, who was a post-play genius on the Celtics, and has done poorly everywhere else. Echoing Rockets911 and UOJoe, the moment last night when McHale threw Lin under the bus suggested an enormous amount about his deepest flaw as a coach: his Xs and Os are pathetic, but his understanding of the notion of *team* is even worse. And the only way we're going to get a team that lives up to the promise of so much talent will be if we have a coach who understands and enforces the notion of "team before star," and who also has the patience and tough love to teach his players the right way to play.


    I compare Kevin McHale and James Harden to Mike Woodson and Carmelo Anthony
    McHale: Will never hold his "star" players accountable. Let's them do what ever they want, and always differ to something other then"star" who is actually accountable. How many times do we complain about Hardens D? The shots he takes that are incomprehensible? The lack of effort to play within the "team structure"? Blaming teammates when he should blame himself? You will never hear a peep from McHale when it pertains to that when it comes to James Harden. McHale was a good player, he's not a good coach or leader of men. Just like Mike Woodson and Carmelo Anthony. The mindset of, "I can't blame the star player because I can lose my job".
  • dream34 says 2 months ago

    A really frustrating loss. A couple of quick points pertaining to how McHale is getting outcoached by Stotts.

    1) in the 4th quarter, Stotts started going to the high pick and roll with Lilliard and Aldridge which caused mismatches. Our offense consists of isolating Howard on Aldridge and Harden on MAtthews who are both tough matchups.

    2) Stotts is going at Harden constantly. I watched the BAd Boys documentary and they said their key strategy on offense was going at Magic everytime. That's exactly what Stotts does. And it doesn't matter whether it's Batum or Matthews - they both score at a high rate. Why can't we isolate Lilliard like this? Why don't we get a switch on Howard?

  • kevingan says 2 months ago

    I live in LA, so I see plenty of Lakers games--I have no rooting interest, they're just entertainment (not like the highs and lows of rooting for the Rockets!). It has been very interesting to see Mike D'Antoni coaching a team that is a mix of vets past their prime, NBA rejects, and upper level D-League players: whatever he's got, he sure gets the most out of them, and their morale (apart from one or two vets who don't play much) is sky high, despite all the losses, and they always play hard.

    It seems to me that if you really don't believe in defense, you might consider learning from a coach who is a) a certified offensive genius; and b>someone who excels at building players' confidence. As the guys on TNT say repeatedly, confidence is one key difference between winning and losing. D'Antoni's system made Lin a star, just as it made Steve Nash a star; this year, it turned Donyell Marshall, who has average talent at best, into an assist leader.

    Compare McHale, who was a post-play genius on the Celtics, and has done poorly everywhere else. Echoing Rockets911 and UOJoe, the moment last night when McHale threw Lin under the bus suggested an enormous amount about his deepest flaw as a coach: his Xs and Os are pathetic, but his understanding of the notion of *team* is even worse. And the only way we're going to get a team that lives up to the promise of so much talent will be if we have a coach who understands and enforces the notion of "team before star," and who also has the patience and tough love to teach his players the right way to play.

  • uojoe82 says 2 months ago

    Lin made a bad, costly turnover. It cost them a chance to win in regulation. He also made plays to give them a chance to win game 1 and game 3. I don't think you throw out a player over 1 play where he showed max effort (seriously, he was the only guy able to pull down that rebound in traffic). He should've slowed it down and taken the timeout, or kept his dribble closer to his body to force a reach-in foul, but he didn't. If the Rockets think just blaming Lin will help fix their issues before game 5, that won't work. The Blazers starting 5 is better than the Rockets' starting 5. In 4 games they have scored more points, grabbed more rebounds, made more assists, and hustle plays. Perhaps the thing to do is to play Lin more minutes earlier in the game to get him into rhythm. It would save Beverley (who truly looked exhausted) and might present a different look for Lillard.

    With Batum playing so well the Rockets might need to consider bringing in Garcia, D-Mo or Casspi instead of Daniels (despite his hot shooting).

    What gets lost on that Lin TO is that after he gets the ball picked from behind (did no one tell him "BEHIND"), is that he almost got the rebound again after the missed attempt by Matthews and that he was the only defender to run out to contest the Mo Williams three pointer. Watch the replay, he's the only players flying around the ball.

  • Cooper says 2 months ago

    Hopefully Harden, Howard and Parsons use this to grow and take a serious look at their deficiencies individually and as a core group similar to the 2011 heat. Add a guy or two in FA and or Trade and be ready to go to work next year. Kind of a shame though with the west begin so wide open this year to not be able to capitalize.

  • rm90025 says 2 months ago

    Lin made a bad, costly turnover. It cost them a chance to win in regulation. He also made plays to give them a chance to win game 1 and game 3. I don't think you throw out a player over 1 play where he showed max effort (seriously, he was the only guy able to pull down that rebound in traffic). He should've slowed it down and taken the timeout, or kept his dribble closer to his body to force a reach-in foul, but he didn't. If the Rockets think just blaming Lin will help fix their issues before game 5, that won't work. The Blazers starting 5 is better than the Rockets' starting 5. In 4 games they have scored more points, grabbed more rebounds, made more assists, and hustle plays. Perhaps the thing to do is to play Lin more minutes earlier in the game to get him into rhythm. It would save Beverley (who truly looked exhausted) and might present a different look for Lillard.

    With Batum playing so well the Rockets might need to consider bringing in Garcia, D-Mo or Casspi instead of Daniels (despite his hot shooting).

  • RocketMansinceStevieFrance says 2 months ago Another note is I really feel like another big key is in every game the Blazers have controlled the flow of the game in every stand point. The Rockets have tried setting the pace but the blazers always seem too bounce back with a fast break 3 or a big dunk. If the Rockets can control the 2nd half pace for just 1 game I truly feel like we will see a different outcome.

    BUT, I am also not sure if Harden is truly ever going to scale back and play the team game if he does than the Rockets will only get better and harder to beat. Like parsons says this team will not win unless they play the team game.
  • miketheodio says 2 months ago

    this is highly disappointing in the way this is happening.

    whatever happens, whoever is enforcing the notion of a unstructured offense (undisciplined defense as well), needs to take a real honest look at this idea.

  • uojoe82 says 2 months ago

    We need Lin as a scapegoat. If he doesn't play, than people need to find another player to take the attention off HOU real problem; which is teamwork. Just compare the 4th quarter defense between POR and HOU. See the difference?

    Thank You.

    Lin took the ball from Williams in game 3 and passed it to Daniels for the game clinching 3. WIlliams took the ball from Lin in game 4 that led to an eventual blazers win. However in game 4 the Rockets also had 5 addtional minutes to lose the game.

  • uojoe82 says 2 months ago

    The Rockets didn't lose this game on one play or for one particular reason, they lost because the Blazers are a really good team with really good players and a coach making all the right moves.

    As the Blazers have shown in the playoffs they look like the better team. Darryl Morey has tried to compare this matchup to a coin flip each game with the outcome being 3 to 1. I disagree. From what I've seen the Blazers have been the better (coached) team and each game hasn't been a 50/50 proposition.

    A lot of Rocket fans will point to the Jeremy Lin turnover with 28 seconds left (while the Rockets were up 2) that cost the Rockets the game. This didn't cost the Rockets the game. Suspect play calling, iso ball, and horrible perimeter defense cost the Rockets the game.

    The Lin turnover will stand out to many because one would assume had Lin held the ball or passed the ball the rockets would've held on and won. Well no one will ever know what would've happened. Maybe the Rockets would've held on and won. But as this series has shown no lead is safe. After watching the replay what Lin should've done was pass the ball ahead to Parsons who was open and right in front of him. However Parsons was 0-2 from the line last night. Would he have made the free throws had the Blazers chosen to foul? We dont know and and to blame the loss on Lin for his one play is unfair.

    Lin made some bad plays last night. The Lin and Harden PnR where Lin's pass was deflected and stolen which led to a transition bucket also sticks out as a bad play. But Lin wasn't the reason the Rockets lost, for most of the series he's been bad from a shooting stand point but he's also the only rocket that has been penetrating the defense and he's also the only rocket that has been passing the ball. He played only 21 minutes last night but he still managed 4 assists. Harden led the team with 6 assists (in twice as many minutes). The starting PG Beverley had 6 point and 1 assist in 37 minutes. Its obvious by now that Beverleys defense on Lillard is superficial and looks good on TV but has had little impact on the game or Lillards production. Lillard has been able to do whatever he wants this series. In the 4 games so far Lillard has been fantastic. Hes averaging 26 a game and he's been shooting 48% from behind the arc (averaging 3,5 makes a game). He's also increased his assists and rebound per game to 7.5 assists and 6 rebounds per games. In addition he's getting to the line a lot (8.5 made FT's a game) and only turning the ball over 2 times a game while playing 45.5 minutes a game.

    Not only are the blazers dominating the PG matchup but they are also winning the All Star guard matchup. Harden might be scoring more per game but Hardens shot volume and turnovers in addition to his defense are killing the Rockets.

    Harden was good and bad last night. He's scoring but its taking a lot of shots for him to get his points. For the series hes shot the ball 103 times. That would be OK but hes making less than 35% of his shots. Behind the arc he's been even worse. After 4 games he's shot 41 three pointers making a paltry 27% (thats rounding up). He's never been a great three point shooter but these percentages are getting to the point where he needs to stop shooting threes unless he's open. I won't even start on his defense because whats left to say?

    The blazers have figured out how to contain Harden and James has done little to adapt. Matthews has done an admirable job of defending Harden and Harden continues to force the ball to the rim leading to heavily contested shots or turnovers. He's not getting calls and this isn't surprising. I would love to see Harden try to be more selective about shooting and try to be more of a playmaker. I doubt this will happen.

    Dwight on offense was great and his rim protection was great (and needed considering the number of blazers taking turns going to the rim). But the rockets offense of your turn my turn is killing the flow of the game. The ball doesnt move once it gets to either Howard and Harden. In the first half Parsons was great because he was being aggressive when he got the ball. In the second half its as if every rocket player was instructed to give the ball to Harden or Howard and then wait. This offense is baffling.

    Troy Daniels has been spectacular shooting the ball but like the rest of the Rocket perimeter players he too is bad at defense. This might be attributed to his inexperience but he could also be learning D from Harden.

    I didn't expect the Rockets to contend this year but I thought they would get out of the first round for sure. When the playoff matchups were up I wasn't as confident as many Rocket fans about easily beating the blazers but I still thought the Rockets were the better team and in a 7 game series the better team usually wins. Well i had the wrong team as the better team.

    One other thing, to blame the PG play is easy and understandable but having James Harden means that the PG will always be option B when it comes to running the offense. Even if the Rockets had a more established and experience PG like a Rondo or Dragic it would still be the Harden show. Do you really think Harden would ever relinquish control of the offense to another guard? We see how Harden reacts when the Rockets choose to play D12 in the post. If Mchale ever to Harden that the offense was moving to a more tradition PG central offense Harden might never leave the bench in protest.

  • Charles B says 2 months ago

    Lin : "damaged goods"

    For anyone trying to pin this on one particular player or one particular play is a complete joke. You shouldn't even write blogs unless it's to stir up controversy which is obvious in this statement. It kind of reminds me of ClutchFans which is ultimately retarded.

    You know what's the dumbest thing and this doesn't even take a genius to figure this out so I'm pretty sure anyone here can figure this out.

    Lin gets rebound, doesn't call timeout gets it stolen, they shoot a 3 and game ultimately goes into OT

    What if ...
    Lin gets rebound, dribbles and gets fouled, hits 2 ft's and win the game?

    He still damaged goods? How many mentions were there that no one grabbed a rebound to "secure" the game in the first overtime game and LMA got that putback? Not many mentions. Anyone blame Dwight? Parsons? For not blocking out? It's just unbelievable the critism he gets. You even have McHale calling out Lin in the postgame:

    "Jeremy gets the defensive rebound and dribbles it out and we lose the ball," McHale huffs. "We couldn't be any clearer, than 'Clear break or timeout."

    Then, almost as if catching himself and realizing Larry Bird would have slapped him across the head if he threw a Celtic teammate like that under the bus back in the day, McHale suddenly adds: "That's not (Lin's) fault, he made a basketball play."

    Have you ever seen a coach flagrantly call out one specific player as if the lose was totally his fault? Anyone?

    My point is not everything is decided on one play. You had a good 8 minute span in the final minutes of the 4th where we only had 2 fg's made. Lin was taken out at about the 6:30 mark, we were up by 5. And he didn't even play overtime really but I guess he can be blamed for that too.

    Anyone want to go tit for tat on boneheaded things that happen in a game I can do that but it's a waiste of time. It's a team game, there were multiple plays that could have turned out different. WE lost this game, coaches lost this game, player(s) lost this game.

    I joined this board to debate reasonable gameplay and topics. Not to point fingers, if I wanted to do that I'd be on clutchfans which is horrendous. But when I read that garbage statement "damaged goods" as if he's totally useless and doesn't perform it kind of ticks me off. And I'm not even a huge individual supporter. I support the Houston Rockets. Not an individual.

    We need Lin as a scapegoat. If he doesn't play, than people need to find another player to take the attention off HOU real problem; which is teamwork. Just compare the 4th quarter defense between POR and HOU. See the difference?

  • Rockets911 says 2 months ago Lin : "damaged goods"

    For anyone trying to pin this on one particular player or one particular play is a complete joke. You shouldn't even write blogs unless it's to stir up controversy which is obvious in this statement. It kind of reminds me of ClutchFans which is ultimately retarded.

    You know what's the dumbest thing and this doesn't even take a genius to figure this out so I'm pretty sure anyone here can figure this out.

    Lin gets rebound, doesn't call timeout gets it stolen, they shoot a 3 and game ultimately goes into OT

    What if ...
    Lin gets rebound, dribbles and gets fouled, hits 2 ft's and win the game?

    He still damaged goods? How many mentions were there that no one grabbed a rebound to "secure" the game in the first overtime game and LMA got that putback? Not many mentions. Anyone blame Dwight? Parsons? For not blocking out? It's just unbelievable the critism he gets. You even have McHale calling out Lin in the postgame:

    "Jeremy gets the defensive rebound and dribbles it out and we lose the ball," McHale huffs. "We couldn't be any clearer, than 'Clear break or timeout."

    Then, almost as if catching himself and realizing Larry Bird would have slapped him across the head if he threw a Celtic teammate like that under the bus back in the day, McHale suddenly adds: "That's not (Lin's) fault, he made a basketball play."

    Have you ever seen a coach flagrantly call out one specific player as if the lose was totally his fault? Anyone?

    My point is not everything is decided on one play. You had a good 8 minute span in the final minutes of the 4th where we only had 2 fg's made. Lin was taken out at about the 6:30 mark, we were up by 5. And he didn't even play overtime really but I guess he can be blamed for that too.

    Anyone want to go tit for tat on boneheaded things that happen in a game I can do that but it's a waiste of time. It's a team game, there were multiple plays that could have turned out different. WE lost this game, coaches lost this game, player(s) lost this game.

    I joined this board to debate reasonable gameplay and topics. Not to point fingers, if I wanted to do that I'd be on clutchfans which is horrendous. But when I read that garbage statement "damaged goods" as if he's totally useless and doesn't perform it kind of ticks me off. And I'm not even a huge individual supporter. I support the Houston Rockets. Not an individual.
  • CT for Three says 2 months ago

    As frustrating as it has been to watch the Rockets this series, I think we have to acknowledge one crucial thing: The Portland TrailBlazers, as an aggregate, are playing the best basketball of their lives right now. And yet they are still only winning these games by one possession each game.

    LMA had the two biggest games of this postseason (and his career) in Games 1 and 2. And the Blazers still only won by the slimmest of margins. Last night, Nic Batum, who I acknowledge has been a Rocket-killer in the past, hit contested three after contested 3. Lillard is hitting 3s from 3 feet beyond the 3 point line. With Bev chasing after him like a rottweiler chases a mailman.

    Sure, the Rockets have had chances to win each of these games, but the Blazers have stepped up their individual games. As the Jet might say, they are playing over their heads right now. Even with their flaws, the Rockets, with their efforts, may have won every game of this series if they were playing the "regular season version" of the Blazers, but alas. I would wager that no team in the postseason right now would be beating them in a series, maybe with the exception of Miami, but that is iffy in my opinion. I won't make excuses for the poor execution, especially down the stretch, but at some point we have to acknowledge the greatness of the Blazers in this postseason.

    They might not make it past the second round because hot shooting inevitably goes cold at some point, but right now, the Blazers are playing at their best. The Rox are not. In order to beat the Blazers, our role players will need to play over their heads as well. They are capable of doing this, if McHale will open up the rotation a little bit, but we all know he won't. Right now, Blazers at their best will beat Rox (or anyone else in this postseason at that) not at their best.

  • Charles B says 2 months ago

    So I guess this is what happens when throughout the entire season McFail runs the offense thru one player seemingly without set plays. I wonder what Popovich could have done with this group...PnRs, drive and kick (Lin's forte vs being misutilized as a spotup shooter). This improv offense has crumbled under pressure.Theres a great video on YouTube by BBallbreakdown with analysis showing widespread fault in this team.

    So true. For some reason everyone seem to be fixed on the fact HOU lost the game because of one player or one play in the game. How sad.

  • txtdo1411 says 2 months ago

    You can not get out scored in every 4th quarter and almost every 3rd quarter and honestly expect to win a game in the playoffs... I am keeping my faith because I truly feel if this team would just take it play by play for 48 minutes and get the proper stops on defense and proper movement and shots in the offense they can win any game.

    Like I said on a previous post the movement away from the ball during the PnR really concerns me. People always have to be moving with or without the ball to help set themselves up in case the ball handler can not get to the rim which happened a lot than Harden ends up taking an awful shot late in the shot clock.

    I have to agree with this. We have absolutely no movement outside of the two players involved in the PnR. I understand having Daniels or Bev or whoever in the corner for the 3, but there has to be other off ball cuts or screens.

  • essex says 2 months ago So I guess this is what happens when throughout the entire season McFail runs the offense thru one player seemingly without set plays. I wonder what Popovich could have done with this group...PnRs, drive and kick (Lin's forte vs being misutilized as a spotup shooter). This improv offense has crumbled under pressure.Theres a great video on YouTube by BBallbreakdown with analysis showing widespread fault in this team.
  • RocketMansinceStevieFrance says 2 months ago You can not get out scored in every 4th quarter and almost every 3rd quarter and honestly expect to win a game in the playoffs... I am keeping my faith because I truly feel if this team would just take it play by play for 48 minutes and get the proper stops on defense and proper movement and shots in the offense they can win any game.

    Like I said on a previous post the movement away from the ball during the PnR really concerns me. People always have to be moving with or without the ball to help set themselves up in case the ball handler can not get to the rim which happened a lot than Harden ends up taking an awful shot late in the shot clock.
  • Charles B says 2 months ago

    It is funny how people like to point finger on individual player. A play in a game is just a ONE play!!! We lost because there were many bonehead plays by many bonehead players. The major problem is HOU don't play like a team or understand the concept. Just look at the team stats and you will see what I mean. Other than REB, HOU was terrible in every other categories when compare to POR.

    Howard slow ISO post up give too much time for POR to double and triple team him. Harden ISO and slow reaction is so predictable it isn't even funny anymore. Parson no show in the late quarter because of his over usage by McHale so call playing "the Hot Hand" strategy. PBev not so effective so call great defense. Scapegoat Lin bad performance, and the invisible bench, etc., and many more.

    When will people going to held the team players and coaches accountable for the TEAM failure instead as a whole? If Lillard understand it, why can't everyone else (Houston fans included) see it?

  • Johnny Rocket says 2 months ago

    My take:

    --We still have a decent chance (35%) of winning the series.

    --You can focus on Lin, but really, Beverly deserves a lot of the blame. Lillard has had a great series, and Rahat's prediction of the Rockets winning in five was predicated on Beverly shutting down Lillard. Lillard is a perhaps a lot better than we thought.

    --One of the things you lose with the Asik/Howard pairing is the running game. The Rocket's transition offense looked terrible last night, and the major reason was not having Jones on the floor. That doesn't mean we should not play the two big men together, but it will have its costs.

    --One of things I notice watching playoff games is that everybody's offense schemes seem to break down late in games. Portland hit some big contested threes at the end of the game. Great shots, but not signs of a well oiled machine.

    --I don't find myself depressed or angry. It has been a great series. If Portland wins the series--and I'm not giving up yet!--they will be a handful for the next team.

    --There is a real possibility that all four of the top seeds in the West will lose. Not saying it will happen, but the fact it is at all possible is stunning. It puts this series--which has been historically great in terms of excitement--in context.

  • rocketrick says 2 months ago

    Both Lin and Howard were painful beyond belief to watch.
    The post ups with Howard were just cringe worthy. I get working to get Lopez fouled out of the game...it worked. But for a guy who is very clumsy with the ball, and the O that we have known all year works best when passing around/flowing, then stopping everything so that Howard can puts around and bounce the ball of his whatever, it just dumbfounds me.


    I would encourage people to go back and watch the game again if you DVR'd the game, particularly the 4th quarter and overtime.

    D12 is an important part of our offense and if the Rockets just ignore him, they do so at the peril of their team. It is much easier for Portland to defend the Rockets when D12 isn't getting his touches.

    By the way, D12 ended up shooting 7-14 FG's, 11-17 FT's, 14 Rebounds, 2 Blocks, 2 Steals, 2 Assists 25 total points with only 3 turnovers.

    So I just don't get why it's such a bad thing for the Rockets to feed our big guy?
  • John P says 2 months ago

    Both Lin and Howard were painful beyond belief to watch.
    The post ups with Howard were just cringe worthy. I get working to get Lopez fouled out of the game...it worked. But for a guy who is very clumsy with the ball, and the O that we have known all year works best when passing around/flowing, then stopping everything so that Howard can puts around and bounce the ball of his whatever, it just dumbfounds me.

    Lin also, did some bonehead moves where he drives and makes no or terrible decisions. I am not even counting when Williams swiped the ball from behind him. That is a legit mistake..he couldn't see him behind him, but just on so many occasions Lin just screwed up.

    Bev at least knows his limitations and readily passes off on O to a more capable leader. ...but we need a PG who can lead and pass....not just a D and maybe a occasional 3 player.

    So sad. You could see McHale so exhausted at the end of the game talking to the press. I don't know if it is that he is stressed about losing his job or just losing period, probably both, but with the O so stagnant in key stretches, with a normally great O in non-clutch time, he takes the blame.

    Is there a team that made it back from being down 3 to 1? Can we play perfect ball for 3 games?

  • rocketrick says 2 months ago

    New post: Huq's Pen: The five stages of grief
    By: rahat huq


    Anyone with a modicum of basketball acumen knows that Chandler Parsons doesn't have the quickness/ballhandling ability to attack an offense as the primary initiator. His drives are off of the rotation of the pass when the defense is not set. McHale made this same blunder at the end of one of the Grizzlies games this year when, after Parsons hit like ten threes, the hamster running on the wheel in McHale's head said, "hmmm. He just hit ten spot up threes. The natural thing to do here would be to just hand him the ball and let him create." Just baffling, baffling stuff. If Harden was gassed, why not just run pick and roll with Lin then? He atleast has the ability to attack the rim and make something happen. Why would you ever run a play for Chandler Parsons?


        • Perhaps almost as egregious was that the team then spent the next few possessions attempting to forcefeed Dwight Howard in the post, an exercise which is always an adventure it itself. To his credit, Howard converted a few times, but he predictably turned it over on one play, and nearly did another time. Going by the numbers, even the eye test from this series, posting up Howard against Aldridge is not a smart move. It was to the point last night where I was screamingfor them to run the Harden ISO because of how bad their other choices were.
        • Speaking of Harden, what the hell happened? There was an almost eerie stretch late in the game, before he revved it up again, where the entire situation had a Scottie Pippen feel to it. (reference: After Phil Jackson drew up a play for Toni Kukoc to take the final shot in a '94 Bulls playoff game, Pippen refused to enter the game.) By the time Red94 goes to press, I'm sure more will come to light regarding this, and I don't want to speculate...but that was just really, really odd. I'm hoping Harden was just gassed, and that is definitely a likely possibility given his lack of conditioning.
        • I don't understand how the team went multiple possessions without giving the ball to Harden. When I rail against the 1-4 flat, I'm not sayinghe shouldn't be involved at all! Harden should be the focal point of EVERY SINGLE PLAY down the stretch. It should just be in different looks - off the pick and roll with Howard, pick and roll with Lin, off the catch at the elbow. Sigh. It's almost like McHale was thinking, "oh. we shouldn't ISO Harden? Okay, I get it. You must mean not give him the ball at all for a four minute stretch." Hashtag logical conclusions?





        • RocketRick's Response:

          I just rewatched the last 8 minutes of the 4th quarter and Chandler Parsons was given a grand total of 2 (two) opportunities with the ball on the offensive end of the court. Both times Parsons was passed the ball during the sequence of the play and not given the ball from the very beginning of the play. Parsons did miss both of his shots, both drives to the basket. The first one was when Portland had the lead 99-97 with 4:30 to go in the game and Harden passed the ball to Parsons I assume because Harden felt that Parsons had a better angle to the basket than he did at that moment. The second time Parsons touched the ball was with 3:20 left in the game and the score now 100-97 in favor of Portland. Parsons missed his shot and the ball went out of bounds on Portland. A few seconds later harden shot and missed a 3 point shot.

          So I just don't get why you thought it was a terrible thing to give the Parsons the ball twice at this stage of the game considering Parsons had a really nice game, etc.? Hindsight is 20-20 and Parsons missed both shots so yes, I too wished the Rockets had run something differently there. Still, I don't get the gist of your frustration.

          Harden pretty much touched the ball all but 4 plays in the final 8 minutes of the game. 2 plays Beverley brought the ball up the court and passed directly to D12 into the lane. One play was a foul on Portland, ball out of bounce to Houston who immediately passed the ball into Harden who then took a step back 2 and missed. The other play from Beverley to D12 ended up with a good shot for D12 in the lane that just missed. The other 2 plays that Harden was not involved with was when Beverley brought the ball up the court, passed to Parsons who drove to the basket and missed. The 4th time was also a play where Beverley brought the ball up the court and passed to Parsons on the other side of the court who then drove into the lane, missed but the ball went out of bounds last touched by Portland. Harden receives the inbound pass and misses a 3 point shot (3:12 left on clock, 100-97 in favor of Portland).

          I don't understand your frustration that (1) Parsons was given the ball to create even though it appears to me he had a good lane to the basket and just wasn't able to finish, one play still ended up with a Harden opportunity to score so really just 1 play involving Parsons that ended up with nothing for Houston.

          In regards to your take that Harden didn't touch the ball for a period of 4 minutes, sorry, I just don't see that. Harden was involved in all but really 3 plays in the last 8 minutes.

          I'll review the overtime period and comment on that separate.

          I think it's just frustration and overreaction that the Rockets couldn't quite get over the hump.

          These are the guys the Rockets want to see touch the ball in the final 8 minutes and other than Parsons, I would say Harden and D12 had plenty of opportunities that didn't quite pan out.

          It's just not possible or realistic to expect any team to score on each and every possession in a tightly contested Game 4 of a Playoff series



  • feelingsupersonic says 2 months ago Seems like I always agree with you Bigtkirk. Both Beverly and Lin seem unworthy of starting and closing though I do see them as good backups. I'm not going to complain about the past moves with regards to point guards but I do hope the point guard situation gets a shakeup during the off season at minimum. Trading one of the two would be the right move in my opinion.
  • rocketrick says 2 months ago

    New post: Huq's Pen: The five stages of grief
    By: rahat huq


    I think for me, what hurts the most, is seeing Dwight Howard and knowing there aren't many more years left in the tank and one of them is about to potentially be completely wasted. That block late in the game when he dialed the clock back to 2010 and completelyerased Nicolas Batum was one of the most awe-inspiring sequences I'veever seen in the twenty years I've been a fan of this team. There's just something about a superstar big man that gives you chills. And it's going to be wasted



    I doubt D12 is looking for your or anybody else's sympathy in terms of X numbers of years left in his tank going forward and the supposed "completely wasted" opportunity and season this year.

    Don't forget the missed dunk in the 1st half that lead to a Portland fastbreak.

    Don't forget the blocked shots at the rim by Lopez and Aldridge.

    Don't forget the swipe by Matthews in the waning minutes of the 4th quarter when Harden was a couple of feet OUTSIDE the 3 point line and Matthews was the only only defender on that side of the court and still managed to swipe the ball.

    I am one of D12's biggest fans and will continue to be a big fan of his the rest of his career no matter what happens going forward.

    But to feign how sorry you feel for D12 because you think the Rockets are wasting this season, well.............to me, that's unacceptable. NBA Basketball is clearly a team game that sometimes comes down to one errant whistle or bounce of the ball or inconceivable shot. Nobody on the Rockets is immune from not making any mistakes or flubs during any of the games which becomes magnified when those mistakes/flubs occur late in the 4th quarter, and in this series, in overtime.

    Why can't some just not accept the fact Portland has a good, no, a really good, team? I for one never expected this series to be a 4-1 or 4-2 type of series although many on this board were expecting a 4-1 series with apparently some easy blowout games along the way. That in my opinion was and is more inconceivable than a young team (our Rockets) still learning the ropes during the heat of the playoffs.
  • Bigtkirk says 2 months ago

    The inconsistency of adequate production at the PG position is the team's biggest flaw.