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Huq’s Pen: On Hero-ball, Jeremy Lin, and Chris Paul

via CSN:

“We drew stuff up to get movement and motion, a double screen… Stuff that’s worked for us the entire series,” Rockets coach Kevin McHale said. “We just held the ball. We’ve got to attack. We hold it too much at the end of the game. We’ve got to attack with enough time that we let our offense do what it has to do which is pass and move. Believe me, we discussed that a lot.”

Harden, on the matter:

“They were good shots. I stepped back, created space. I was just cold, not having rhythm,” Harden said. “I sat out the entire fourth quarter so if have those opportunities again, same play.”

Harden, on whether he’d do it again:

“For sure, do the same thing,” Harden said. “Do the same thing.”

That’s the latest on the dilemma which has plagued the Rockets’ season all year long.  Yesterday, on the basis of McHale’s Monday comments, I had surmised that the call for ISO was coming from McHale.  These comments appear definitive.  There is a clear rift between player and coach regarding strategy.

  • The situation won’t be resolved, if at all, until the offseason.  That’s fine, but it’s just unfortunate knowing that if there’s a close game tonight, we likely won’t win.  Houston’s only chance is to have enough of a cushion (like on Monday) to where they can absorb the inevitable meltdown.
  • I don’t think this is necessarily some fatal flaw of Harden’s.  It’s frustrating, yes, but I think it would be far more worrisome if he were afraid to accept accountability and shied away from the last shots.  This is a 23-year-old guy playing as the first option for the first time in his career – the Hero-ball was predictable.  The question becomes, however, how the team will rectify the problem in the future.  Do they hope he’ll just naturally mature and buy into the system?  Will it take a different coach to get him to buy in?  Or maybe Hero-ball is just an unavoidable consequence of today’s star-centric league?  The Geeks can point at the numbers all they want, but teams have been doing this since the dawn of time.  As Daryl Morey once said, “great teams avoid close games.”  Maybe that’s just what will have to happen?
  • My heart wants to think the Rockets will win, but my head tells me tonight’s game will be a Thunder blowout.  That team is going to come out amped in ways unimaginable in hopes of putting Houston away.  But if the Rockets can somehow pull it off and force a Game 6…the roof of Toyota Center will come off on Friday.
  • If Jeremy Lin is experiencing pain, he just simply shouldn’t play.  In his current state, he’s a detriment to the team, especially when there are very capable alternatives such as Garcia.  In fact, Garcia needs to be in there on Durant from the opening tip.
  • Those of you who have been following me for the past four years know I seldom mention officiating.  But that game on Monday night was one of the worst officiated games I can remember seeing in a long time.  Just pitiful.  If you are seriously telling me that James Harden sauntering at 1/4 speed and running into Derek Fisher is enough force to send the latter flying to the ground….then I don’t know what to say.  The league has a serious, serious problem and I don’t know how it will ever be addressed.  But some of those calls were simply pathetic.
  • Finally, while things may have not worked out on the court as the Rockets would have liked, other developments elsewhere have gone very favorably for Daryl Morey with the Lakers being swept in humiliating fashion and the Clippers on the verge of blowing a 2-0 series lead and also being eliminated.  Had you asked me a month ago if either Chris Paul or Dwight Howard would leave their respective teams, I would have said “no chance.”  But now?  I don’t know which of the two is a greater flight risk.  The topic of Howard has been beaten to death, but Paul is a man whose clear motivation is winning.  One wonders if he feels Blake Griffin can ever help him win a title.  If the pair of superstars are willing to make some small sacrifices, they can create a trio that would rival Miami’s by joining James Harden in Houston.  But how much does money really matter over winning?

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Total comments: 19
  • 2016Champions says 1 YEAR ago

    I would never pass on Dwight if given the opportunity, but I will say this much: Asik for 8m is a BARGAIN.

  • pharmag says 1 YEAR ago

    I was actually thinking Garnett and Asik. Maybe not quite as scary as Garnett-Howard, but intimidating none the less. However, he is on contract with Celtics until 2014-2015 (TO).

  • thejohnnygold says 1 YEAR ago

    We'd have to trade Lin/Asiik + someone else to get Garnett....I think we should pass on that.

  • Steven says 1 YEAR ago Garnett just signed a three year deal last summer.
  • 2016Champions says 1 YEAR ago

    lol

    I can see Garnett taking a huge paycut to win two rings before he retires, and form what could arguably be the best defensive front court of all-time.

    Dwight--Smith--Jones

    Garnett--Jones--D-Mo

    Parsons--Harden--Anderson

    Harden--Lin--Anderson

    Beverley--Lin--Brooks

    cc752c70-d479-4965-9d1c-3144ec945ec9Medi

    "ya dig?"

  • thejohnnygold says 1 YEAR ago

    I want whatever you guys are smokin' :P

    Paul, howard, and garnett all take huge pay cuts?

    Snoop-Dogg-197052-1-402.jpg

    "ya'll cut off..."

  • 2016Champions says 1 YEAR ago

    If we can get Dwight and Garnett, even though Garnett probably only has two good years left in him, omg we would be insane defensively.

  • pharmag says 1 YEAR ago

    If only he was younger...I actually think that would be a perfect PF fit with this team. He can't shoot the 3 but he has the long jumper to spread the floor. Plus that defensive front would just be nasty good. Throw in Bev harrying the PG and good grief...

  • 2016Champions says 1 YEAR ago

    I would love to see Garnett in Houston.

  • Rahat Huq says 1 YEAR ago

    I wonder if Garnett would sign for the vet minimum if you reeled in Paul and Howard.

  • thejohnnygold says 1 YEAR ago

    Mufasa-vs-Scar-the-lion-king-2801551-640

    Which is which?????

  • Richards says 1 YEAR ago

    Who get ball on last minute? Harden won't give it to CP3. CP3 wouldn't do it either.

    LeBron and Wade are different. LBJ is clearly better and Wade in on decline.

    CP3 and Harden are top of their game and they won't yield. It is like two lions in a cave. Especially they roam in the back.

  • thejohnnygold says 1 YEAR ago

    The odds of this happening are slightly higher than Royce White's chances of playing in the NBA...

  • pharmag says 1 YEAR ago

    I actually think CP3 and Harden could play well together. Harden has been playing off the ball more recently and I think he is much more effective that way. If you can get all 3 together and keep Parsons, that would be a nasty team for a couple of years...

  • thenit says 1 YEAR ago

    Love the video those were the days we actually played defence, and which was basically residual effects from JVG.

  • John P says 1 YEAR ago

    Hero ball: this takes trust on Harden's part to believe that his teammates are as competent as he is in the final minutes. It takes time to get there and at this point the only really clutch player has been Parsons that I see.

    CP3 and Howard: I really don't see CP3 being a Rocket. Howard just can't see why he can't be an automatic contender and when he isn't he looks elsewhere....like Houston. I really don't like his attitude and can't be sure that he wouldn't cause the same chemistry problems that he has in Orlando and LA when things don't go his way easily. But I do think he would be a good compliment to Harden, pick and roll to death of everyone.

    One CP3. They have the best complimentary team out there and still can't get it done...maybe he should move on...but he and Harden will not work well together. Both need the ball to be really productive...and we are not going to put one on the second team like Harden was at OKC. No one doubts CP3's
  • 2016Champions says 1 YEAR ago

    I agree that we need AB to attack Fisher more, he has historically done pretty well against Fisher:

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/h2h_finder.cgi?request=1&p1=brookaa01&p2=fishede01

    And remember this?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b6VN3mrlam0

    If we have another late-game situation, I want the ball in Brooks hands against Fisher or Jackson.

  • SnoopysOwner says 1 YEAR ago

    On late game situations: I agree. It's like in football when it's 4th and Goal from the 1...teams like to just handoff and run straight ahead. A little misdirection goes a long way. It's been explained that this is done b/c coaches like to take the easy road, and not take the blame afterwards, the safe approach. But McHale shouldn't see things this way, and take more risks. They should some kind of action...

    Listened to Colin Cowherd's pod yesteday, and he said these 2 playoff series prove that Harden is NOT an A player. Playoffs allow an opposing team to get strategically and defensively set, and there are no surprises. What do you think of this? I guess it does make sense, at least in recent memory, Harden either initiates contact and doesn't get a foul call, or misses a jumper. Also, he's been bottled up by above average wing defenders in the last month: Allen and Iggy. Is Harden really an elite player?

    I think HOU should attack the weak links much more: Perk and Fisher. Why don't AB and Bev attack more against Fisher? His +/- should be super (-), but it's not.

  • Freebird says 1 YEAR ago

    Well stated. I remember Harden playing more than a little hero ball in college, too. I think we need to find a way for him to buy into the offense. Once that happens, great things can occur.

    I know this is a little odd, but maybe Lin should sit another game, regardless. Not saying he's the cause, but the only win we have is without him. We have enough trouble with turnovers with Harden - the two of them seem to feed each other ideas for how to lose the ball, though.

    The officiating in the NBA in general has been terrible for a number of years. Did Stern and company not see what happened to the Packers once they had "discount" refs? Same here - they need to develop a system to feed refs into the league on a more permanent basis, coupled with a system to send guys down to the D League if they aren't doing so well.

    Griffin has the second best PER after Duncan. So I don't think he's keeping CP3 from the title. They just don't have quality depth up front, coupled with some pretty bad SGs and SFs. They need help - just like us. We'll see.

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