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Huq’s Pen: How the Houston Rockets went down in predictably clueless fashion

  • Any way you want to look at it, the Houston Rockets’ 2013-2014 season was an abject failure.  No amount of revisionist apologetics can change that.  This team’s end game, the litmus test by which it would be judged, was postseason success.  No, a title wasn’t the bar.  But progress could only be defined as achieving newer heights….at least making the second round.  Instead, the Rockets went down last night in Game 6 of the first round, just as they had one year ago, only this time they were the favorite, matched up against the Conference foe who presented the most favorable matchup.
  • I thought about it last night and I realized I’m not really heartbroken about the result.  I’m very sad, yes; disappointed, of course.  But its much different this time than it was back in 1997 when I was 12 and Damian Lillard was white and named John Stockton and got free due to a Karl Malone bearhug on Clyde Drexler rather than overall coaching ineptitude.  It’s much different.  It was socially acceptable to cry at that age, but apart from that, those Rockets were one game away from the Finals and had a legitimate chance to win the whole thing against a Bulls team against whom they historically fared well.  These Rockets?  Even pushing this thing to six games was house money the way they laid eggs in the first two, squandering the home-court advantage.  I’m not heartbroken this time because it quickly became clear early in this series that this team was too glaringly flawed to do anything of significance this season – we were just hoping for the ride to not end.  I, of course, naively predicted Houston in 5, willfully ignoring the problems that plagued this team all year, problems which the Rockets’ superior talent was able to overcome during the regular campaign, and problems which are skillfully exploited in the postseason when attention to detail becomes a premium.  For those who watched the season, really, none of this should come as a surprise.  The way it went down, the only surprise should be the irony that it happened exactly the way it was going to go down all along.

  • The Rockets lost the season on a play, not where they were just beaten by a great individual effort, but where they didn’t even seem to have a coherent strategy, as has been the case all series long.  For Damian Lillard to be that wide open is indefensible.  Here’s the play:

We are going to break this down now frame by frame to see what went wrong.

The first odd thing to note here is that Beverley actually starts out on Lillard with Parsons on Mo Williams.  But James Harden appears to be ordering a switch before the inbound.  Why?

Notice now that upon Harden’s command, the two Rockets defenders have switched.  That whole odd sequence is captured better with this GIF:

Why do they come out of the timeout not knowing their assignments?  More troubling, why is Harden the defensive strategist?  I want to think that seeing the Blazers set up, Harden ordered Parsons onto Lillard anticipating the need for a later switch, eventually pitting Beverley onto Lillard.  But that switch of course never happened.  Just bizarre.

Now with this set up, after Mo Williams turns, with no time on the clock for a pass, it seems to have become clear what’s about to happen.  Unfortunately, the Rockets don’t practice, so they are unprepared.

A better shot above of the Blazers now bunched up as Lillard appears set to come off a double screen.

Now it is already too late.  The second screen, set by Mathews, would have snuffed out Beverley had he tried to switch.  The logical thing here would have been Harden switching to Lillard, especially with just .9 left.  But again, the Rockets don’t practice so they aren’t prepared for in-game situations.  Parsons, as you see, doesn’t even have a chance.

And lastly, you see, Parsons isn’t even in the vicinity of Lillard when he receives the catch.

So many things about that sequence are so troubling.  Many people have noted that there was no purpose in having Jones guard the inbound.  I disagree.  That’s pretty standard and moreover, the pass could have still gone into Aldridge with Lillard as the decoy.  What bothers me most is that Lin wasn’t in the game.  This play was just a continuation of Kevin McHale’s long-held fetish of having Parsons guard point guards when that strategy hasn’t ever seemed to work; Lillard abused the latter earlier in the series as well.  You at least have to have one of Beverley or Lin on Lillard to give yourself a chance.  Parsons gives you no chance and never has against small point guards.

Why did Harden order a switch before the inbound?  Did these guys really come out of the timeout not knowing their assignments?  Did they really come out of a timeout not knowing who was covering the other team’s first option?

Watching that postgame clip of McHale, he seemed pretty satisfied with the execution, saying, “Lillard just took off running and got the first step.  Chandler just never caught up.”  It seems, from McHale’s comments, that the plan all along was to have Chandler on Lillard and to have him fight through the pick.  Why he thought that would work is beyond me.

  • The first order of business for this franchise this offseason will be finding a real coach.  That’s not to say that Kevin McHale is without merit.  He was a good hire for his time, signed when the team was in need of a figurehead to usher it through a painful rebuilding stage.  But now, with the foundation set, the Rockets can ill afford to waste more precious years of Dwight Howard’s prime without a tactician befitting of their players’ superstar talents.
  • You’re usually sad your team loses because, obviously, it means they have been eliminated and won’t be winning the title.  But I’m sad for different reasons this time around and can finally relate to the fans of other teams, notably the Spurs.  For one, this was the first year since maybe 2009 when Houston’s end game was the postseason.  In years past, we were excited to see what talent would be acquired in the offseason and how it would mesh in the regular season; we anticipated the growth of our young players.  But now, the regular year is just a drag.  Nothing else matters except getting back to May.  Not only that, but yet another year of Dwight Howard’s precious prime has been wasted.  Many of you scoff at the notion of Dwight Howard’s demise, but it is a very apparent thing.  To wit, he has shown progress offensively, even statistically speaking.  But close observation, particularly defensively, shows he is no longer the same man he was just three years ago.  The tape from Games 1 and 2 shows Howard laboring to rotate back to LaMarcus Aldridge after showing on the pick and roll.  In ’09 and ’10, Dwight would regularly blow those plays up by himself.  Yeah, you still see the blocks at the rim and the points, but the little things like the pick and roll coverage are no longer there.  That is depressing but is a reality of life.
  • And of course, ‘Melo Watch 2014 becomes effective immediately.  There will be ample time for speculation of such possibility, but to me, the decision over whether this would be a wise idea stems from one concern: can Chandler Parsons and James Harden coexist?  Forrest Walker opined on our latest podcast that with an actual defensive strategy, the two wings indeed could.  I am not so sure.  And if a more natural fit would be replacing Parsons with a defensive small forward, the logical extension would be the acquisition of an offensive oriented power forward.  Enter Anthony who would give new meaning to the term ‘stretch 4.’  I think the team is set with Howard, Harden, and Beverley at three of the five positions.  They will need to sort out the forward slots to gain my confidence.  But a coaching change is the first order of business.

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Total comments: 80
  • timetodienow1234567 says 5 months ago Is Tony Parker the most skilled scorer in the league? He's got all 6 layups down(funny discussion on TNT). He has a floater and is lethal from midrange. He's added a pretty good 3 point shot. He knows how to use screens for maximum effectiveness and can run the PnR better than almost everybody. That's who I want Harden to learn from this summer. If he can add these moves to his existing ones he can get back to being super efficient.
  • thejohnnygold says 5 months ago

    I think Harden spends a lot of time this Summer working on basic defensive techniques and stamina. He's got the scoring part down; although, I also hope he adds a solid spin move. Again, I believe Harden's bad defense was a solution to the problem that he can't defend without fouling and teams would exploit that. The coaches are going to tackle this problem over the Summer.

    I imagine there will be lots of practice sessions with NBA refs paid to sit and watch Harden play defense until he does it right....at least, that's what I would do. They could even film it and splice together an awesome Rocky-Balboa-training montage! :lol:

    ...and I do mean awesome!

  • feelingsupersonic says 5 months ago I think you misspelled his name, it's Coach McHale that you meant to write. He is a NBA coach with a winning record.
  • rockets best fan says 5 months ago

    JAMES HARDEN'S DEFENSE...................WHAT DEFENSE?

    Harden is a star. we are fortunate to have him. he is when motivated the best SG in the league. there is a reason he was 5th in the MVP vote. it's not that Harden is not capable of playing good defense, it's that he won't try. as discussed by JG and myself in a different thread......I am confused how a player could get to this level of professional basketball and not have the necessary stamina to play at both ends of the floor. I love Harden as a player overall, but he pisses me off :lol:watching him half a$$ his way on the defensive end of the floor while his teammates struggle to cover for him is pitiful. if this is any sort of strategy by the team as some have suggested it needs to be STOP immediately. it's very simple. Harden isn't being held accountable. who should be holding Harden accountable? the coach maybe? some of you guys are upset with his defense......I'm upset with his offense too. dribbling for 22 seconds of the shot clock then passing to a guarded teammate is garbage. we are not using Harden correctly. he should not be handling the ball as often as he is if he can't keep the turnovers down

    the Rockets fired Dean Cooper today as tweeted by Fran Blinnberry today because he was responsible for the defense. they fired an assistantcoach for not being able to get this team to play defense.the defensive coordinator since Sampson left :lol:.....that's garbage. excuses to cover up the real problem...........LEADERSHIP FROM OUR HEAD COACH. is he scared to call Harden out? Scott Brooks wasn't. Harden was a better defensive player before coming here. that's why I know he is capable.

    sometimes when I get really upset with our guys I visit other teams forums and read how they evaluate their stars. believe it or not every star in the league takes a pounding. critics are everywhere. seems we are not the only one's who are upset with the imperfections of our star. Durrant doesn't take nearly the beating here that he does in OKC. the grass is always greener in somebody else's yard. in the end I'm glad to have Harden. sometimes you just gotta take what you got and work with it. bring in complimentary players to help cover faults better. I still don't know how we will find someone adequate to hold McFail's hand though

  • sax says 5 months ago

    http://fivethirtyeight.com/datalab/the-trail-blazers-arent-playing-the-rockets-anymore/

    a nice read about the difference in defense..

    As upsetting as this series has been, it is probably the best result we could have hoped for (as was missing the playoffs 2 years ago, in a wonderful late season collapse) .

    Getting kicked put of the playoffs like this will be Harden's best lesson and for the rest of the team too. If we got passed them ... next year we would have been loosing in the first round just the same.. maybe now the learning will sink-in

  • feelingsupersonic says 5 months ago

    I feel lucky that Houston has 2 superstars. I have been watching Rocket basketball since about 1985, I have seen some lean years.

    Now, you throwing the word around foolish is unnecessary and isn't warranted here. You have expressed your opinion so move along to something else please. Thank you.

  • Cooper says 5 months ago

    The team can score on anyone and not stop anyone with Harden and can't stop anyone or score on anyone without him. Thats not idolization thats the way it is, Id rather have Lebron or KD maybe even westbrook but those guys aren't going anywhere the next 2yrs at minimum.

  • bladad says 5 months ago

    why are we not lucky to have a top 7 player in the NBA?

    He's getting paid for it and he seems to be getting everything he wants from the team: carte blanche on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. Don't really get how you think "luck" has anything to do with it. He got excited to join Houston: 1. For the money that OKC wasn't willing to give him 2. The opportunity to start on a young, talented team looking to get better through various acquisitions in a large market. 3. The chance to be a legit superstar in the NBA after leaving the shadow of Durant and Westbrook.

    People on this forum need to stop idolizing individual players and need to start looking at their actual value add to the team. The team can score with anyone. They can't seem to stop anyone from scoring.

    Stop being foolish. Luck has nothing to do with it.

  • majik19 says 5 months ago

    Why do people want Rondo? His inability to shoot the 3 would kill our offense - Lin is a better shooter and his presence at PG is enough to hurt the offense when he doesn't have the ball in his hands.

    I understand that his defense would be really nice, but he would just be left alone on the perimeter on offense while Howard and Harden get double teamed.

  • Willk says 5 months ago

    When do you stop excusing the fact that Harden simply doesn't play defense?

    Durant/Lebron/Westbrook are all amazing offensive talents. You don't see them shying away from playing defense.

    Is he a great player? Yes. Are you fortunate enough to have him in Houston? No. The Rockets paid for it. Is it irresponsible to continue to ignore the lack of constant defensive effort? YOU'RE DAMN RIGHT IT IS.

    qplmgqderrucx7swkk3b.jpg
    In response a commenter wrote:
    "It was a joke, guys. If Parsons had said something really defenseless, Lin would've called him "Harden.""

    why are we not lucky to have a top 7 player in the NBA?
  • feelingsupersonic says 5 months ago You know what? I have a whole life outside of basketball and as a Rockets (everyone has a choice) fan I don't necessarily have time to spend an hour a week looking at montages of Harden's defensive breakdowns. I don't have time to continually criticize him especially because it doesn't matter. Writers, analysts and bloggers all are paid for opinions, I am just a fan. Sure it's fun for some to debate but to believe fans hold players and coaches accountable seems laughable to me. Each unto their own.

    Also, many comparisons don't make complete sense but fans throw them out there as fact. Check LeBron and Durant in year two as starters and then we can have a valid conversation. It still boggles my mind what fans think and expect sometimes, we are fans.

    I respect your right to criticize him and I am glad we disagree. Different opinions are one of the things that drive this forum.
  • bladad says 5 months ago

    Of course I have had the same idea as johnnygold for some time, I have thought this is the case behind the scenes as well. We all know Morey is ruled by numbers and it only makes sense that to me that Harden has been advised to conserve himself on defense. I don't see teammates or coaches criticizing Harden, just fans and most of the time fans just don't understand anything beyond their television screens. Harden is fine and a great player that we are fortunate to have in Houston.

    When do you stop excusing the fact that Harden simply doesn't play defense?

    Durant/Lebron/Westbrook are all amazing offensive talents. You don't see them shying away from playing defense.

    Is he a great player? Yes. Are you fortunate enough to have him in Houston? No. The Rockets paid for it. Is it irresponsible to continue to ignore the lack of constant defensive effort? YOU'RE DAMN RIGHT IT IS.

    qplmgqderrucx7swkk3b.jpg

    In response a commenter wrote:

    "It was a joke, guys. If Parsons had said something really defenseless, Lin would've called him "Harden.""

  • feelingsupersonic says 5 months ago Of course I have had the same idea as johnnygold for some time, I have thought this is the case behind the scenes as well. We all know Morey is ruled by numbers and it only makes sense that to me that Harden has been advised to conserve himself on defense. I don't see teammates or coaches criticizing Harden, just fans and most of the time fans just don't understand anything beyond their television screens. Harden is fine and a great player that we are fortunate to have in Houston.
  • timetodienow1234567 says 5 months ago

    yep, that is what I said in my post.


    Glad we agree
  • timetodienow1234567 says 5 months ago Is anybody arguing that Harden shouldn't be on the floor?
  • Willk says 5 months ago

    You are right. James Harden is an elite defender and should be on the all defensive NBA team.

    yep, that is what I said in my post.

  • Willk says 5 months ago

    Also, regarding the idea that coaches are telling him to rest on D....I don't think that is really it. As much as they talked about conditioning and improving their bodies in their exit interviews maybe it was a bigger issue than I thought it could be.

    My stance has long been that Morey has got some numbers that essentially show a team is better served keeping their star out of foul trouble and on the court than having him go hard at a guy on defense, picking up ticky-tack fouls, and having to sit. I have posted numbers multiple times, from multiple angles about how/why this makes sense. He is not good at defending without fouling (posted evidence of this before)...so what do you do? I think Morey decided it was better to have him play slacker defense and be on the court. Maybe they can work on his techniques in the off season, but I have to agree--it hurts us more having him sit than giving up some shots to role players.

    Further, it has been shown time and again that despite how ugly his defense is, the net production is fine both in total team defense while he is on the court and in net +/- when he plays. So those who claim he gives up as much as he contributes are ignoring the facts.

    Incase anybody wants to see the +/- for everybody on the team for the regular season and the playoffs:

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/teams/HOU/2014/on-off/

    Harden was a +7 in the regular season and +16 in the playoffs. The Rockets need Harden on the floor, period. I wish Harden would look better technique wiseon defense but we need him on the floor.

    McHale did bench Harden in game 1 in the 1st quarter after several bad plays. In game 2 when harden started to get hot, he picked up his 3rd personal foul in the 1st half and had to sit. It took him afew games to get back in the groove after this hot streak.

    Harden was a good defender in OKC. If he got in foul trouble, OKC could lean on Durant and Westbrook. We cannot afford to have Harden in foul trouble.

    Harden is our best passer/ playmaker. It is a good idea to keep this type of player on the floor.

  • timetodienow1234567 says 5 months ago You are right. James Harden is an elite defender and should be on the all defensive NBA team.
  • Willk says 5 months ago

    Clearly time to cut Harden, if he's not won a title by 24 he will never win and has no heart or discipline.

    Durant struggled in his first 5 games against Memphis and game 1 vs the clippers. He also has no heart and discipline. He too must be cut. Harden and Durant on the streets. :D

  • Willk says 5 months ago

    How much of that is Harden placed on the offensively challenged wing and playing in front of Howard?

    Which offensively challenged wing was Harden guarding in the playoffs. Mathews? Batum? Lillard? None of these guys are offensively challenged. The only offensively challenged wing player the Blazers have is Mo Williams and Harden was not guarding him. Below is a link to basketball-reference.com and it shows that Harden was our best wing defender:

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/teams/HOU/2014.html

    Maybe this is why we lost.

  • Willk says 5 months ago

    When you have issues like this, it's the COACH AND the STAR PLAYER.

    5:03 left in G6, Lopez was executing his freethrows.

    Lin was then called by McHale and instructed how the next play should go.
    When the 2nd freethrow was made, Howard inbounded the ball to Lin.
    Lin dribbled for one or two, Harden called for the ball.
    Lin had no choice but passed the ball to Harden.

    McHale saw that, seemed pissed and then just turned his head back.
    Lin shrugged his shoulder to McHale as well.

    As people pointed out many times, this team was not coached by McHale but Harden.
    Harden demanded the ball, run the play and finished the play in his will almost all of the time.
    I think he was spoiled since 13-14. (He's not like that in 12-13)

    Harden really has no D and no discipline.
    Not to mention a champion.

    McHale cannot own his star player.
    Harden has been the real coach. (as we saw from the 0.9 sec play)

    Videos:

    Lin was called by McHale
    http://on.nba.com/Rl8S2P

    Harden demanded the ball. McHale pissed.
    http://on.nba.com/1i6wmmN

    From the links provided it is clear that McHale said something to Lin. We have no idea what that was. We do not know if it was a play being called or if McHale is telling Linwhat to do on defense. In the second video, after the free throw is made, both Harden and Lin are standing near Howard. The ball is inbounded to Lin and McHale is waving his hand in the air in a circular motion. This looks like McHale is calling a play. Harden can clearly see the play called while Lin has his back to the McHale. Harden then calls for the ball because that is the play.Lin then looks at McHaleand McHale most likely calls the play and moves his hand in as saying run up the court.

    Well, my guess is as good as your guess. Neither one of us was sitting there so we do not know. The picture you paint is less likely because Harden brings the ball up and dumps into Howard. If Harden selfishly took the ball away from Lin he would have just dribbled up and shot the ball. It is bit dangerous for us to assume what is said and not said.

  • thejohnnygold says 5 months ago

    @JG
    When did Morey tell Harden to relax on defense? Any links to the post/recording/etc?

    As far as I know he hasn't. This has been something I have speculated on for quite a while as an alternative to the arguments that he is a lazy prima donna. I have no proof. Just a guess. I never said it was fact or presented it as such. I just think it is more likely as I don't think Harden gets the preferential treatment from his teammates, coaches, etc. as many others do.

  • Richards says 5 months ago

    @JG
    When did Morey tell Harden to relax on defense? Any links to the post/recording/etc?

  • thejohnnygold says 5 months ago

    Guys, what.....gah..... :wacko: :lol:

    Surely playing in front of elite defenders helps. I was talking about team net statistics--it's inherent in the statement. You want to continue to diminish Harden just come out and say it. Nobody is claiming he is a good defender here so I don't get what the fight is for. My contention is that he's not a prima donna who thinks he's too good for defense. Somebody has to guard the Tony Allens of the world...why not protect your player from the extra workload and potential fouls? This isn't some new idea that has never existed before.

    Sure, Harden could have made a play that might have shaved two points off the final score....but typically at the end of games he was more willing to do so. He saves his fouls. He has to save at least 2 for offensive charges every game. That leaves him 4 for defense in 35-40 minutes of playing time. If he bodies up every time an opponent attacks him--and they will if they think they can rack up some fouls and get him on the bench...if he does, he will be in foul trouble all the time. He's not good at defense so having him try, and rack up fouls is playing into the opponents' hands. I contend that for every extra game we win with Harden's "good defense" we would lose twice as many not having his very good offense. It's a macro issue being analyzed on a per play basis.....missing the forest for the trees.

    Yup, Harden has 11 minutes worth of Youtube glory....and it was so terrible we ended up with the 4th best record in the league, a +4.6 point differential (very good), and a slew of other good numbers. Think about this--Harden D's up, they draw the foul and go to the line for the most efficient play in basketball (after a dunk)--free throws. Or, Harden funnels his guy to Dwight/Omer, goes for a steal, and lets them try to earn their two points over one of the elite defenders in the league. The longer we debate this issue the more I see it as a positive thing--despite the oddity of it.

    It's a simple equation. Look up the numbers. We are better with him on the floor--by a lot. Thus, the more time he is on the floor the better off we are.

    As far as the conditioning thing goes...I am not a proponent of this--it is something that has been beaten to death around here and I am just now acknowledging it may have some validity after hearing almost every player talk about getting their bodies better over the Summer (not just from injury). Maybe it's just lip service and that's what you say in exit interviews....or maybe they all feel like their conditioning was lacking...only they actually know.

    Until Harden can learn to defend effectively without fouling I think we are stuck watching his matador defense. The good news: that's not why we lost the series against Portland. The bad news: It's awful to watch if you're expecting him to look like Francisco Garcia vs. Kevin Durant.

  • timetodienow1234567 says 5 months ago How much of that is Harden placed on the offensively challenged wing and playing in front of Howard?
  • thenit says 5 months ago

    Maybe the net effect it positive but if he could shave off 1-2 points a game on D that could have been a better seed and round 2. There are small margins in a playoffs series and he was never in foul trouble except for 1 game, so a little more aggression would do wonders and effort.

    I think you might be on to something that maybe its more conditioning rather than not wanting too. He just priorities offense over D because its more fun and you get more credit. Just look at Parsons attitudechange from year 1 to today.

  • thejohnnygold says 5 months ago

    Also, regarding the idea that coaches are telling him to rest on D....I don't think that is really it. As much as they talked about conditioning and improving their bodies in their exit interviews maybe it was a bigger issue than I thought it could be.

    My stance has long been that Morey has got some numbers that essentially show a team is better served keeping their star out of foul trouble and on the court than having him go hard at a guy on defense, picking up ticky-tack fouls, and having to sit. I have posted numbers multiple times, from multiple angles about how/why this makes sense. He is not good at defending without fouling (posted evidence of this before)...so what do you do? I think Morey decided it was better to have him play slacker defense and be on the court. Maybe they can work on his techniques in the off season, but I have to agree--it hurts us more having him sit than giving up some shots to role players.

    Further, it has been shown time and again that despite how ugly his defense is, the net production is fine both in total team defense while he is on the court and in net +/- when he plays. So those who claim he gives up as much as he contributes are ignoring the facts.

  • thejohnnygold says 5 months ago

    @JG

    The blame does fall more on the star players in team sports because they have a bigger impact on the floor than role players. Its the same when we win games, who gets the credit? We would praise the heroics of the star or the coach's play calling etc. That's why people talk about Shaq got X and Kobe got X rings etc. But no one ever mentioned role players like Horry he got 7 more than Jordan, LBJ, Kobe, Wade etc.

    All I'm saying is that when the team wins championships usually most of the credit goes to the star player and the coach. I never thought Phil Jackson was such a great coach, he just had 2 out the 5 greatest players of all time with other stars complimenting them. But somehow Phil is untouchable in regards of his resume. So they do get the most blame but also the most credit so it comes with the territory of fan reviews.

    I agree with this. I was responding to Rockets911's post where he said he wasn't blaming anyone...I say he was. It's fine--I never said anything about that initially--my original point is he doesn't know what was said or what play was called anymore than the rest of us do.

  • Cooper says 5 months ago

    People needs to stop making excuses for our best player. Look at Lillard, who is accountable both offensively and defensively. He is not the best defender, actually he is below average IMO, but you can never argue that he slacks off on plays defensively, he will do his best and he is guarding all these elite PGs in the West. He leads by example, you look at our superstar, he makes poor decisions defensively and doesn't try. I forgot which game it was it was a close game we made a FT and he just slowly backs off not even noticing his man running down the floor for an easy layup.

    http://grantland.com/the-triangle/playoff-power-rankings-a-rundown-from-a-historic-first-round/its in the harden section

    Plays like that irks me, and I can live with missed shots or great plays by the opposing team, but when you do things like that it just deflates the team. Also why would Harden call off Bev on Lillard on last play in game 6?

    I don't think Harden is a dictator, but we need a coach who could call our his players privately and the players would listen. I still don't think coaches are telling him to rest on D especially when we are in the playoffs. What is he saving his energy for? For an adventure summer vacation?

    There is no other player in the league with that much talent who just exert that little energy on D. I don't want to trade Harden but just play to his potential, maybe I just have higher demands that others.

    I think for the most part people would like Harden to play with the passion Lillard or someone like Lebron or Chris Paul but he either isn't that guy or needs someone to bring that guy out of him, whether that be another player or perhaps a coach.

  • thenit says 5 months ago

    @JG

    The blame does fall more on the star players in team sports because they have a bigger impact on the floor than role players. Its the same when we win games, who gets the credit? We would praise the heroics of the star or the coach's play calling etc. That's why people talk about Shaq got X and Kobe got X rings etc. But no one ever mentioned role players like Horry he got 7 more than Jordan, LBJ, Kobe, Wade etc.

    All I'm saying is that when the team wins championships usually most of the credit goes to the star player and the coach. I never thought Phil Jackson was such a great coach, he just had 2 out the 5 greatest players of all time with other stars complimenting them. But somehow Phil is untouchable in regards of his resume. So they do get the most blame but also the most credit so it comes with the territory of fan reviews.

  • thenit says 5 months ago

    Clearly time to cut Harden, if he's not won a title by 24 he will never win and has no heart or discipline.

    People needs to stop making excuses for our best player. Look at Lillard, who is accountable both offensively and defensively. He is not the best defender, actually he is below average IMO, but you can never argue that he slacks off on plays defensively, he will do his best and he is guarding all these elite PGs in the West. He leads by example, you look at our superstar, he makes poor decisions defensively and doesn't try. I forgot which game it was it was a close game we made a FT and he just slowly backs off not even noticing his man running down the floor for an easy layup.

    http://grantland.com/the-triangle/playoff-power-rankings-a-rundown-from-a-historic-first-round/its in the harden section

    Plays like that irks me, and I can live with missed shots or great plays by the opposing team, but when you do things like that it just deflates the team. Also why would Harden call off Bev on Lillard on last play in game 6?

    I don't think Harden is a dictator, but we need a coach who could call our his players privately and the players would listen. I still don't think coaches are telling him to rest on D especially when we are in the playoffs. What is he saving his energy for? For an adventure summer vacation?

    There is no other player in the league with that much talent who just exert that little energy on D. I don't want to trade Harden but just play to his potential, maybe I just have higher demands that others.

  • thejohnnygold says 5 months ago

    The point of the post is not to put blame on anyone. The purpose if it is just pointing out the obvious that there's control issues and lack of discipline regardless who's fault it was. This happened last year when Lin was trying to run a play, Harden did something different and McHale got on Lin for not running the play. Then Lin said something to the likes of "I'm trying to run the F'n play!"

    Things like this happen to bad teams with players that have different agendas. Oh guess what!! Damn wow, they actually said that in the exit interviews today. They mentioned "agendas" I guess that's nothing though right? Something to just brush off your shoulders? Sure McHale just have Lin run another play with your so called "star" players running something different and have this happen continuously. Championship teams do this all the time?

    Keep thinking it's all sunshine and rainbows with this team. We have more problems then what's showing on the surfice right now. A whole lot! Championship team my A**!

    OK, Lin's interview not much said...a few amusing moments, but not much insight.

    Parsons' interview was good and he mentioned "hidden agendas"....playing together...being on the same page...

    Howard's interview went further into that...he didn't mention "agendas", but having everyone on the same page was mentioned a lot. Howard went on to explain that "the same page" meant everyone was there for one reason and that reason was to win. He also made it clear that if anyone wasn't on that page they weren't welcome on the team. He stated he would be taking an active role in enforcing this--"It's on me", he said. I liked it. Parsons is on board. Howard is on board. I have no doubt Beverley and Lin are on board.

    For everyone who wants accountability, I say Damian Lillard just created a monster.

    (I'm listening to them all as I go here...)

    Harden's interview doesn't say much until near the end....he talks about being on the same page...and actually elaborates some. He basically alluded to all the things we have talked about...throughout the season and I think we can infer that Omer's situation, trade rumors, selfishness from multiple players in multiple forms sprang up, getting down due to a shooting slump, and other things as well--he definitely included himself in that group and said he is going to work hard on leading by example and helping Dwight lead the team towards the goal of keeping everyone focused on the big goal.

    Bev was asked point blank about hidden agendas and said he hadn't heard anything about any hidden agendas (the reporter said that Jeremy mentioned it, but I didn't hear that in his recording...)...probably just deflecting the question since others obviously had acknowledged it. I did love how he responded, near the end, when asked about the last play of the Portland game.

    The reporter asks, "what do you think about that final play..."

    "Nuthin", is all Bev says.

    The reporter then asks, "Did you execute what you wanted to coming out of the timeout?"

    "Yes we did. He made a tough fade away shot"

    Bev did not look like he enjoyed his interview at all :lol: I listened to Garcia and Canaan as well....they didn't say much.

    McHale did not have an interview (at least that was posted at NBA.com)

    So now that's out of the way...let's get talking :)

    You claim the point of your original post was not to put blame on anyone. If that's true, you have a strange way of stating it. You began that post with this line:

    "When you have issues like this, it's the COACH AND the STAR PLAYER."

    I interpret that as pretty much putting the blame squarely on them. As for the rest of your post quoted above....I recall that incident from last season...I'm not concerned with that ancient history and if I recall correctly, there was quite a bit of conjecture and supposition surrounding that alleged event. Again, it doesn't matter this far removed.

    I don't think it's sunshine and rainbows. I see that things need improvement. I just take a different view on how things should progress from this point. I think we can win with these players and this coach. I think they will all improve. I think getting our assistant coach position filled will be huge. I think the players, more than anything, will help themselves. I think they should frame a picture of Lillard's winning shot and hang it in the locker room...right next to a dart board with that smug face of his plastered on it :lol:

    I also think the players like McHale and all have his back....everyone said as much in the interviews (when asked)--they also said they like the freedom they have in the offense. Some fans may not like it, but the guys on the court do. I think there is a better chance that we go into next season with the same group of guys (more or less) than trading for Carmelo. (I've made my peace with the Carmelo trade--if it happens I am on board).

    What I don't think is that we have problems that can only be fixed by ousting coaches and players. I don't think we have a toxic locker room. I don't think we have as small of a window as many do. I don't think everything can be blamed on one player, one play, or the coach. If that makes me blissfully ignorant then so be it--sunshine and rainbows it is :D

    vener_20070724-0001-houston-texas-rainbo

  • bladad says 5 months ago

    Honestly, that last shot by Lillard isn't really a single player's fault. It was a breakdown in team defense. No hedging on a shooter. No bump/ hands on him to slow him down. NO ref will call a ticky tack foul on a play with 0.9 seconds left in the game. Just a huge lack of defensive awareness by the Rockets.

    Also, Somebody brought up Chalmers as being a starting PG possibility. I LOVE that idea. He plays good defense in a switch heavy system (meaning he can guard/pester multiple positions), he can dominate the ball and play off the ball equally well, and he's played on a team that's won it all.

    I'm not as sold on Rondo. He doesn't add any outside shooting which means less space for Harden/Howard/TJones to work. He is a gambler on defense. And from what has been said in the past about his ability to play nice with teammates, I don't want him to ruin the good team chemistry that the Rockets have going at the moment.

    Needs in the offseason:

    Parsons needs to re-engage on the defensive end

    Harden needs to learn how to play defense

    Lin needs to learn how to play better on ball defense

    Terence Jones needs to work on his midrange/long range game

    Lin/Harden/D12 need to embrace the pick and roll and use it until the opposition is blue in the face. There will always be a size/quickness/athletic mismatch whenever those three Rockets run PnR.

    McHale gets one last shot. He either improves the defense and adheres to PnR or he's out.

  • Rockets911 says 5 months ago

    I appreciate your post--it is obvious you put thought and effort into it and provided relative links. I am a little dubious of being able to assume what is being said by McHale. That seems to be more of a fill-in-the-blank thing as there is no way to know what was said unless you were there and actually heard them. It is pure speculation presented as fact and that does not meet the standards around here--it's fine to speculate, but call it what it is, please.

    It's not like Harden called a clear-out and went full hero-mode. He passed it in to Dwight, Dwight was immediately double-teamed and Harden got the ball back with an open look at a 3. I am speculating, but I think it is safe to say Harden has a green light to shoot open threes whenever he wants. He shot it, we got the rebound and Harden then passed the ball off to Parsons (clip ends). Personally, I don't see a problem with this--especially since nobody knows what the play call was.

    Besides, does anyone have a problem with Howard and Harden playing a 2-man game, inside-out that gives us either a 1on 1 with Dwight down low (which he was pretty successful with) or an open look from the perimeter from Harden (which is a good thing as well). It was a change from our read and react offense to a set 2-man game...something everyone is clamoring for. It wasn't the pick n roll, but it's something.

    To the point about Lin having no choice but to pass it to Harden...I disagree. If McHale called a play then Lin should run that play. The notion that Harden is some kind of dictator who controls the entire Rockets organization is a difficult idea for me to swallow. If McHale called a play that did not involve Harden then Lin should have run it--plain and simple, and I think he would have if that were the case.

    The point of the post is not to put blame on anyone. The purpose if it is just pointing out the obvious that there's control issues and lack of discipline regardless who's fault it was. This happened last year when Lin was trying to run a play, Harden did something different and McHale got on Lin for not running the play. Then Lin said something to the likes of "I'm trying to run the F'n play!"

    Things like this happen to bad teams with players that have different agendas. Oh guess what!! Damn wow, they actually said that in the exit interviews today. They mentioned "agendas" I guess that's nothing though right? Something to just brush off your shoulders? Sure McHale just have Lin run another play with your so called "star" players running something different and have this happen continuously. Championship teams do this all the time?

    Keep thinking it's all sunshine and rainbows with this team. We have more problems then what's showing on the surfice right now. A whole lot! Championship team my A**!
  • timetodienow1234567 says 5 months ago

    Clearly time to cut Harden, if he's not won a title by 24 he will never win and has no heart or discipline.


    Lol. I don't think anybody is calling for that. Some may not be as high on Harden as you. Using sarcasm doesn't help convince others.
  • Cooper says 5 months ago

    Clearly time to cut Harden, if he's not won a title by 24 he will never win and has no heart or discipline.

  • thejohnnygold says 5 months ago

    When you have issues like this, it's the COACH AND the STAR PLAYER.

    5:03 left in G6, Lopez was executing his freethrows.

    Lin was then called by McHale and instructed how the next play should go.
    When the 2nd freethrow was made, Howard inbounded the ball to Lin.
    Lin dribbled for one or two, Harden called for the ball.
    Lin had no choice but passed the ball to Harden.

    McHale saw that, seemed pissed and then just turned his head back.
    Lin shrugged his shoulder to McHale as well.

    As people pointed out many times, this team was not coached by McHale but Harden.
    Harden demanded the ball, run the play and finished the play in his will almost all of the time.
    I think he was spoiled since 13-14. (He's not like that in 12-13)

    Harden really has no D and no discipline.
    Not to mention a champion.

    McHale cannot own his star player.
    Harden has been the real coach. (as we saw from the 0.9 sec play)

    Videos:

    Lin was called by McHale
    http://on.nba.com/Rl8S2P

    Harden demanded the ball. McHale pissed.
    http://on.nba.com/1i6wmmN

    I appreciate your post--it is obvious you put thought and effort into it and provided relative links. I am a little dubious of being able to assume what is being said by McHale. That seems to be more of a fill-in-the-blank thing as there is no way to know what was said unless you were there and actually heard them. It is pure speculation presented as fact and that does not meet the standards around here--it's fine to speculate, but call it what it is, please.

    It's not like Harden called a clear-out and went full hero-mode. He passed it in to Dwight, Dwight was immediately double-teamed and Harden got the ball back with an open look at a 3. I am speculating, but I think it is safe to say Harden has a green light to shoot open threes whenever he wants. He shot it, we got the rebound and Harden then passed the ball off to Parsons (clip ends). Personally, I don't see a problem with this--especially since nobody knows what the play call was.

    Besides, does anyone have a problem with Howard and Harden playing a 2-man game, inside-out that gives us either a 1on 1 with Dwight down low (which he was pretty successful with) or an open look from the perimeter from Harden (which is a good thing as well). It was a change from our read and react offense to a set 2-man game...something everyone is clamoring for. It wasn't the pick n roll, but it's something.

    To the point about Lin having no choice but to pass it to Harden...I disagree. If McHale called a play then Lin should run that play. The notion that Harden is some kind of dictator who controls the entire Rockets organization is a difficult idea for me to swallow. If McHale called a play that did not involve Harden then Lin should have run it--plain and simple, and I think he would have if that were the case.

  • Richards says 5 months ago

    When you have issues like this, it's the COACH AND the STAR PLAYER.

    5:03 left in G6, Lopez was executing his freethrows.

    Lin was then called by McHale and instructed how the next play should go.
    When the 2nd freethrow was made, Howard inbounded the ball to Lin.
    Lin dribbled for one or two, Harden called for the ball.
    Lin had no choice but passed the ball to Harden.

    McHale saw that, seemed pissed and then just turned his head back.
    Lin shrugged his shoulder to McHale as well.

    As people pointed out many times, this team was not coached by McHale but Harden.
    Harden demanded the ball, run the play and finished the play in his will almost all of the time.
    I think he was spoiled since 13-14. (He's not like that in 12-13)

    Harden really has no D and no discipline.
    Not to mention a champion.

    McHale cannot own his star player.
    Harden has been the real coach. (as we saw from the 0.9 sec play)

    Videos:

    Lin was called by McHale
    http://on.nba.com/Rl8S2P

    Harden demanded the ball. McHale pissed.
    http://on.nba.com/1i6wmmN

    This wasn't the first time, I have seen it a few more time like this.

    I don't mind players changing the plays only after he saw a mismatch. But changing the play from get go mean "I don't f*** care what you want, I will do my f** own way!.

    Again, how McHale can effectively coach this team. Harden didn't listen. Other players will think like "Oh, you can't control Beard, why you pushing me?"

    Some might blame Lin, but he knew very well that Melo won over D'Antoni and Harden vs. McHale won't be any different.

  • Rockets911 says 5 months ago When you have issues like this, it's the COACH AND the STAR PLAYER.

    5:03 left in G6, Lopez was executing his freethrows.

    Lin was then called by McHale and instructed how the next play should go.
    When the 2nd freethrow was made, Howard inbounded the ball to Lin.
    Lin dribbled for one or two, Harden called for the ball.
    Lin had no choice but passed the ball to Harden.

    McHale saw that, seemed pissed and then just turned his head back.
    Lin shrugged his shoulder to McHale as well.

    As people pointed out many times, this team was not coached by McHale but Harden.
    Harden demanded the ball, run the play and finished the play in his will almost all of the time.
    I think he was spoiled since 13-14. (He's not like that in 12-13)

    Harden really has no D and no discipline.
    Not to mention a champion.

    McHale cannot own his star player.
    Harden has been the real coach. (as we saw from the 0.9 sec play)

    Videos:

    Lin was called by McHale
    http://on.nba.com/Rl8S2P

    Harden demanded the ball. McHale pissed.
    http://on.nba.com/1i6wmmN
  • Freebird says 5 months ago

    A few points:

    • I agree that the inbounds play was not very well executed. Did they not practice this? I don't know. But it seems to me that you would want to double up on the only guy in the game shooting 50+ %.
    • I also agree that Harden perhaps was a poor choice to be in the game. Whether he's been told to be lax on defense or not, his effort and understanding of defensive strategies has been left wanting this season.
    • I believe that the largest problem this series was coaching, but for another reason. Sampson left, and with him went McHale's ability to bounce ideas and whatnot off a great coach. No one else on that staff had that ability.

    For the next season, we *really* need to find an adequate staff for McHale, since they seemed to have picked up his contract. Perhaps put a clause in stating that a coach can't leave until the season is complete?

    That, and I would ask for the semblance of a playbook for the even numbered quarters. Our "play it by ear" approach seems adequate at the beginnings of each half, but we look completely confused and lost whenever we try to run clock. Either stop slowing down the game, or have a backup plan - i.e. a small set of plays to run, for efficiency.

    Beverley is an adequate point. An All Star point is not an answer here - just someone competent. Can Bev become that? Guess we'll see.

    I thought a previous post made a lot of sense - we don't have good 3 point shooters for a team that want to live or die by the three. I hope all can improve, but picking up a good 3PT% shooter would seem to be the priority. Not necessarily 'Melo, but someone.

  • NickyK says 5 months ago

    I can not stop watching that shot..... I just can not comprehend from a basketball perspective how on earth he could shoot that wide open.

    The other thing is what about Melo's defense. Do you think he is willing to play both ends of the floor? That would be a very big question no matter his offensive game

    Someone did not play defense, that's why. When there is a screen, you supposed to switch. If you looked at the play, a double screen is set, the obvious person to switch to guard Lillard is Harden. As usual, Harden has no clue how to lay defense.

  • QNoir says 5 months ago

    Could have kept a hand on Lillard with the foul to give. I think Lillard sold the casual look well and had a amazing take off. Woulda Coulda Shoulda. His athleticism was on display all series even winning a high 50/50 ball between 2 Rockets. Its still a awesome shot and he made a lot through the season. Harden needs to watch some of Lillard's tape to see how he uses screens.

    Ultimately this original post is right. "Predictable" is really just referencing the team identity (or lack of) that the Rockets took on during this past regular season. Of course a loss in the WCF would be more educational, but it is year 1 of this team working together.

    In some ways, I have sympathy for how little the team seemed to gel in a consistent manner on defense and offense over the regular season (note the word consistent, there have been flashes). Don't forget there have been huge stretches where key players have not been available, along with a initial spell of trying the twin towers look. We never established when we would go post offense first or PnR. Even Dwight didn't seem to know what his true ability was, one night eviscerating his defender and other nights having the ball bounce out from every angle. I think in many ways, targeting a good seed was a little misguided, as we should have really targeted to develop a certain philosophy of playing. Given where we started in terms of knowing what the team could do, how little the team was consistently together, I think I can accept this season a little better. I do still feel the coaching is lacking but have stated before that maybe a good lead assistant would be important. Also how much did we miss Kelvin Sampson on the bench? Lots it seems. In the end, its clear talent wise we should have got to 2nd rd or WCF at least, but the abundance of talents also mean we never knew with certainty which way to play and in the end it showed.

    BTW Dwight was a complete monster in Q4. I felt like he couldn't miss from the foul line, until he did. The guy is improving make no mistake. Dream will be working hard with him this summer and telling him things like "why do you care that people say you can't shoot the 10-15 footer". I have a feeling everyone will come back a little bit better next year.

    Of course they will listen to offers for Asik/Lin. But make no mistake, those guys are hard to trade and probably have more value in the short run on the team (at least against the offers we will likely hear).

    The most critical things to work on actually belong to our 2 stars. They need to have a better 2 man game, and this isn't just about lobs on the roll. There is the post and repost and screen re screen. Harden individually needs to work on his conditioning and defensive mindset. In the 2012-2013 edition of the Rockets, there really wasn't a talent that Harden needed to bend around. Now there is.

    Lol, Parsons is slow (without a head of steam), not stupid. "Oh, I'm just hanging out with 0.9 seconds left in the game. Never done this before. Ladeedah." -Lillard. Nobody's buying that.

  • linonlyfan says 5 months ago

    Could have kept a hand on Lillard with the foul to give. I think Lillard sold the casual look well and had a amazing take off. Woulda Coulda Shoulda. His athleticism was on display all series even winning a high 50/50 ball between 2 Rockets. Its still a awesome shot and he made a lot through the season. Harden needs to watch some of Lillard's tape to see how he uses screens.

    Ultimately this original post is right. "Predictable" is really just referencing the team identity (or lack of) that the Rockets took on during this past regular season. Of course a loss in the WCF would be more educational, but it is year 1 of this team working together.

    In some ways, I have sympathy for how little the team seemed to gel in a consistent manner on defense and offense over the regular season (note the word consistent, there have been flashes). Don't forget there have been huge stretches where key players have not been available, along with a initial spell of trying the twin towers look. We never established when we would go post offense first or PnR. Even Dwight didn't seem to know what his true ability was, one night eviscerating his defender and other nights having the ball bounce out from every angle. I think in many ways, targeting a good seed was a little misguided, as we should have really targeted to develop a certain philosophy of playing. Given where we started in terms of knowing what the team could do, how little the team was consistently together, I think I can accept this season a little better. I do still feel the coaching is lacking but have stated before that maybe a good lead assistant would be important. Also how much did we miss Kelvin Sampson on the bench? Lots it seems. In the end, its clear talent wise we should have got to 2nd rd or WCF at least, but the abundance of talents also mean we never knew with certainty which way to play and in the end it showed.

    BTW Dwight was a complete monster in Q4. I felt like he couldn't miss from the foul line, until he did. The guy is improving make no mistake. Dream will be working hard with him this summer and telling him things like "why do you care that people say you can't shoot the 10-15 footer". I have a feeling everyone will come back a little bit better next year.

    Of course they will listen to offers for Asik/Lin. But make no mistake, those guys are hard to trade and probably have more value in the short run on the team (at least against the offers we will likely hear).

    The most critical things to work on actually belong to our 2 stars. They need to have a better 2 man game, and this isn't just about lobs on the roll. There is the post and repost and screen re screen. Harden individually needs to work on his conditioning and defensive mindset. In the 2012-2013 edition of the Rockets, there really wasn't a talent that Harden needed to bend around. Now there is.

  • essex says 5 months ago Some observations: initially with bev on lillard, bev's position would have made it difficult for lillard to run as he did to the top of the key. However, nobody was between lillard and the basket and the rockets would have been vulnerable to a 2pt play from lillard cutting straight to the hoop. And d12 is not there for rim protection since he's drawn out to guard LMA. When parsons switched spots with bev, he "correctly" positioned himself on the baseline side but seemed to have been caught flat footed. Either way, harden should have been prepared to switch
  • BrentYen says 5 months ago

    You mean the Popovich who may not get out of the first round either? The Popovich who had a 5 point lead with 30 seconds left in game 6 of last year's finals and allowed a last second three by a lethal 3 point shooter to beat him? That guy? Weird how when it happens to us it's a coaching failure....when it happens to him.... :unsure: Pop is great, but don't discount having 3 clutch, reliable guys in crunch time on the roster...that makes coaching a lot easier. When he runs Parker ISO three times in a row at the end of the game he's a genius....because Parker makes all 3--two of which were just crazy good shots.


    In pop's defense, that lethal shooter has two spurs around him. Lol process is also important, can not always look at the result I guess
  • Jatman20 says 5 months ago Sometimes you just have to tip your hat to the victors. Both teams were equally matched in skills and superstars and experience (Avg age). A couple of things that stood out to me were Beverley's health for a couple of games and the ticky-tac calls on D12......if they called the same touchy calls on Matthews (who was mugging Harden every play) and Batum from the beginning; the outcome of the series may have been different. Parsons provided height to contest without fouling....Lin or Beverley would have gotten too close; with these flopping players now-a-days that would have provided three free throws. Young players have to learn thru actual game play. LeBron/Wade/Bosh were accomplished prior to joining forces......our Rockets lacked that. A chain is only as strong as its weakest links. TJ was abused early in the series and Portland made a point to attack Lin early in the series (whoever he was guarding). To Lins credit his defense did improve as games passed, or help defense improved.
  • datruth says 5 months ago

    johnny Gold I'am painting the picture right not sure what you looking at.
    Lillard was running free and clapping his hands. Anytime a man has the time to clap his hands without someone else in the area that means he is open. Really tired of you trying to change my words. Lillard was open period. Lillard ran from one side of the court to the next and i think he had a least a couple of steps on Parsons and in profession sports that open. that was lazy defense not sure why you think other than that. the whole thing look like it was in slow motion.

  • thenit says 5 months ago http://grantland.com/the-triangle/playoff-power-rankings-a-rundown-from-a-historic-first-round/

    Great read posted by Rahat on twitter
  • chantu says 5 months ago

    After looking at the replay, Lillian made a crazy good play. He "disguised" himself by looking laid back, then wham! Makes a fast break and caught Parson unawares for a split sec. I think the best defender for the moment would have been Richard Sherman, yeah the Seahawks guy :)

  • thejohnnygold says 5 months ago

    to lose on a play that like that is tough.

    The defense was lazy and confusing on that last play. Guys seem to be out of position.

    Parson starts behind Lillard and then just seems like he is coasting.

    The whole thing just looks bad and lazy.

    Lillard was clapping for the ball. I think I counted at least two to threes times

    he clapped for the ball. That type of effort on the last play of the year is hard one to understand.

    I love the rockets and I hope things get better but right I'am sick.

    You've mentioned this twice now. If you are going to paint a picture...paint it right. You make it sound like Lillard was just standing alone clapping his hands waiting for the ball to come. The truth is that as soon as he broke he began to clap, clapped twice while moving, caught the ball, launched it, and Parsons wasn't as far away as people make it seem...

    damian-lillard-chandler-parsons-nba-play

    Obviously, he was too far...and that's all that matters. 1" or 1'...it wasn't enough. Was it a good play for us? Nope.

    On a side note, why does nobody criticize Parsons and Bev for listening to Harden "call the switch"? Doesn't that make them equally stupid for listening to the "NBA's worst defender"? Just a thought...

  • txtdo1411 says 5 months ago

    There are some golden quotes for comedic value in this thread. I'm not going to directly quote any for the sake of not singling people out, but come on guys. Just cause we lost a tough battle to the 5 seed that had the same record as us means we will never when a championship with our core as constructed? Harden will never win a championship? That's a knee jerk reaction if I have ever read one. The negativity is absurd. Harden needs to become more of a leader, and put more of an emphasis on defense, and working on his stamina wouldn't hurt... All very doable things. His defense last night (barring that last play) was actually pretty darn good. He had active hands, and did very well in the post against Matthews, Batum, and even Aldridge for one play. The team grew a lot in this series. I agree changes need to be made, but I don't know what those changes are, and frankly neither do any of you all. It disgusts me to see how quickly people turn on players, coaches, and front office staff. A month ago Harden was our savior. Now he is doing nothing but holding us back and being the worst defender in the league... David Aldridge reports as I type this that McHale will be back next season. This board will be unbearable for the next week or so, but I will be the first to say....

    Can't wait till McHale leads us to the championship! Go Rockets!

  • datruth says 5 months ago

    to lose on a play that like that is tough.

    The defense was lazy and confusing on that last play. Guys seem to be out of position.

    Parson starts behind Lillard and then just seems like he is coasting.

    The whole thing just looks bad and lazy.

    Lillard was clapping for the ball. I think I counted at least two to threes times

    he clapped for the ball. That type of effort on the last play of the year is hard one to understand.

    I love the rockets and I hope things get better but right I'am sick.

  • rottendoubt says 5 months ago

    I'm as disappointed as anyone, but I don't agree with the wave of hand-wringing overreaction, which I'm sure is to follow from Rockets fans. Just about every higher seed has struggled in this year's first round. It's called parity. We were a play or two from winning this series. Sure, we should make a few adjustments to strengthen this team over the offseason (like every year), but the Rockets overall are not broken. Don't rip apart a nucleus that is strong enough to contend for many years to come.

    Agree 100% with Vonsteve. We lost to a team with an identical record to us. It was a 4-5 seeding. There were three overtimes in six games. The Rockets actually outscored Portland by 2 points over the series. The teams were essentially even.

    Of the 8 playoff matches in the first round, FIVE are going to a game 7. This includes teams such as Oklahoma, Spurs, Clippers, and Pacers that are widely considered championship contenders. Imagine how much more of a "failure" any of those teams would be if they didn't get past the first round.

    I don't think we need to change much on the roster side. If there's any fix I would make, it would be to change the coach to someone that will:

    1) Put a lot more emphasis on defense and hold Harden accountable when he takes off plays. The #1 reason we are forced to play Pat Beverly with Harden is because Harden's defense is so poor that we need someone else to make up for it. But Beverly doesn't help much on the offensive end. If the new coach can get Harden's defense to an average level, we could put Jeremy in as the starting PG.

    2) Get rid of all the ISO ball. Have Jeremy even out the number of shots between the starters and have a more balanced attack. Jeremy, Harden, Parson, and Howard are all capable of scoring 20+ on any given night. Jones has that potential too. A more balanced attack forces the opposing defense to pick their poison. Makes it much harder to gameplan against in 4th quarters.

  • timetodienow1234567 says 5 months ago So since others have personally attacked you, you must do the same? I guess I just expect more from you like I do with the other senior members.

    I apologize if you think I personally attacked you at any time. I agree with you sometimes and disagree at other times. I just don't like being called crazy for having an opinion that is shared by quite a few. I think Mchale is going to stay because I can't think of a coach that would be better with Morey running the ship. Another coach would probably want more control than Morey would be willing to give.(opinion)

    I will work on what I say and try not to write anything that could be conceived of as a personal attack.
  • vonsteve says 5 months ago

    I'm as disappointed as anyone, but I don't agree with the wave of hand-wringing overreaction, which I'm sure is to follow from Rockets fans. Just about every higher seed has struggled in this year's first round. It's called parity. We were a play or two from winning this series. Sure, we should make a few adjustments to strengthen this team over the offseason (like every year), but the Rockets overall are not broken. Don't rip apart a nucleus that is strong enough to contend for many years to come.

  • BallSoHarden says 5 months ago

    Why put Harden in for only defense? I'd replace him with Garcia or even Hamilton for .9 seconds. He would've known to switch and had length to contest that shot. And if you deny Lillard the ball and they try to make a pass across the court, all you have to do is get a finger on the ball and the game is over.

  • bluemars says 5 months ago

    One other question: Why is Parsons standing towards the baseline!? Does he think Lillard might cut towards the baseline off the inbounds?

  • feelingsupersonic says 5 months ago

    FSS, I am finding it hard not to curse at you right now. Just because there is a vocal majority who want mchale gone, they are "crazy and irrational types". If this is the standard you as a SENIOR member of this forum are setting, why do you ask others not to post things like this?

    Do what you have to do timetodie, curse me if you have to. This end of the season things have been pretty lax and in case you haven't noticed I have had insults hurled my way if that's what you are looking for when you come to Red94 I can think of a couple I can direct you towards if you will feel better seeing how people have made personal attacks against me.

    So yes I have been insulted lately and I just let it slide. It's a stressful time of the year for fans and also the newer members just don't know any better. I am proud of my track record here as a whole.

    As to your vocal majority opinion of wanting McHale gone, that's your opinion and nothing more and nothing less. I care more about long time members opinions that I do about mobs. What does Sir Thursday think or rocketrick? How about others like Bigtkirk, Alejandro, Phaketrash, bboley, Ostrow and Jeby? Ultimately Alexander and Morey are the only ones that matter and I'm pretty certain they really like McHale, enough to where it's a non issue right now.

  • RocketMansinceStevieFrance says 5 months ago

    I want Rondo, obviously.. lol he is not only one of my favorite players but he brings a defensive attitude to the game and has won a championship! Could he possibly be the missing piece to it all?

  • RocketMansinceStevieFrance says 5 months ago

    On the last play, Dwight would have taken care of LAD getting a good look; therefore, Rockets just had to guard against a 3 from the top, which shot in all likelihood was going to be taken by Lillard. The fact that Rockets could not even guard against this simple defensive play speaks volumes about their coach and the players.

    This is all I have to say about that situation.. I 100% wholeheartedly agree with this. Being up 2 points you clearly want to force that ball into the post which is obviously why LMA was down there as a last second option.

  • RocketMansinceStevieFrance says 5 months ago

    On the last play, Dwight would have taken care of LAD getting a good look; therefore, Rockets just had to guard against a 3 from the top, which shot in all likelihood was going to be taken by Lillard. The fact that Rockets could not even guard against this simple defensive play speaks volumes about their coach and the players.

    This is all I have to say about that situation.. I 100% wholeheartedly agree with this. Being up 2 points you clearly want to force that ball into the post which is obviously why LMA was down there as a last second option.

  • Buckko says 5 months ago Who's up for Rondo?
  • Tgards79 says 5 months ago One other thing. Neither Carmelo Anthony nor James Harden will ever win an NBA championship, except perhaps as role players late in their careers, a la McAdoo. They will join players like Dominique Wilkins and George Gervin as human highlight reels for individual scoring who could not function within the requirements of championship caliber play.
  • webattorney says 5 months ago

    On the last play, Dwight would have taken care of LAD getting a good look; therefore, Rockets just had to guard against a 3 from the top, which shot in all likelihood was going to be taken by Lillard. The fact that Rockets could not even guard against this simple defensive play speaks volumes about their coach and the players.

    Also, whether Lin is with Rockets or not, Bev is not the answer. Bev will be destroyed by any good PG. Bev is at best a 20 minutes back-up player. In addition, Harden's lazy D will be exploited by good opposing teams during playoffs. Therefore, glaring weaknesses of Rockets will still exist next year. This all points to the likelihood that Rockets is not going very far in playoffs during next 3 years or more.

  • miketheodio says 5 months ago

    there's more than enough evidence to support a mchale firing. whether the organization does it, who knows. supporters will be a minority.

  • Tgards79 says 5 months ago It is incredibly obvious that Harden should have switched. With .9 seconds and Lillard doing a long sweep around the picks, if Harden had simply read this and jumped out, that first option would have been thwarted rather easily.

    I, too, think Lin should have been in and either he or Beverly been on Lillard, but even in that instance the Harden switch was a no-brainer.
  • timetodienow1234567 says 5 months ago FSS, I am finding it hard not to curse at you right now. Just because there is a vocal majority who want mchale gone, they are "crazy and irrational types". If this is the standard you as a SENIOR member of this forum are setting, why do you ask others not to post things like this?
  • Baller93 says 5 months ago

    That's weird. Not sure who has more pull here to order a defensive switch. McHale or Harden. The clueless coach or the worst defender in the NBA ordering defensive assignments on the last play of the game? If they get rid of either the McHale or Harden, it would be fine with me. Let Dwight be the dominant force and everybody play a role aka Rockets in the early 90s (Hakeem and the Pips).

    I never really appreciated Dwight till the playoffs. I always thought he was a great player, but hole smokes, he is DOMINANT when he wants to be on both ends. Welcome to Houston, Dwight. I'll buy you a drink if I ever see you around town. :-D

  • feelingsupersonic says 5 months ago

    I can not stop watching that shot..... I just can not comprehend from a basketball perspective how on earth he could shoot that wide open.

    The other thing is what about Melo's defense. Do you think he is willing to play both ends of the floor? That would be a very big question no matter his offensive game

    I have a hunch Morey doesn't care too much about his defensive game except maybe to the extent of how it effects his offensive game and foul trouble.

  • RocketMansinceStevieFrance says 5 months ago

    I can not stop watching that shot..... I just can not comprehend from a basketball perspective how on earth he could shoot that wide open.

    The other thing is what about Melo's defense. Do you think he is willing to play both ends of the floor? That would be a very big question no matter his offensive game

  • feelingsupersonic says 5 months ago

    Welcome Itssagurllie.

    Obviously not the best time to be on Rocket fan forums considering the heartbreaking loss and unexpected end to what was a pretty exciting season.

    As far as johnnygold goes, what you are asking is not the case. johnnygold is just trying to point out that Popovich is not perfect. In fact as I have found before there are probably Spurs fans calling for him to get fired, which is crazy. What it does tell us is that every fan base has crazies and irrational types stuck in the moment that can think of nothing more than to fire coaches. Truth is most ideas presented in blogs aren't far removed from fans' imaginations and 9 times out of ten are still closer to good ideas in a vacuum than in reality.

    Speaking of reality, it chaps my hide to no end when people talk about Popovich as a comparison or replacement. It makes absolutely no sense. If most of us were asked to realistically imagine a perfect coach it would be Pop and comparing McHale to him is laughable.

  • Itssagurllie says 5 months ago First time poster here. Sucks that the Rockets lost. Just curious to JohnnyGold. Are you stating these things about popovich, implying that he would NOT be an upgrade in comparison with McHale?
  • Buckko says 5 months ago

    Trade lin, 1st, parsons, and a second for rondo. The rockets should be able to get rondo without paying as much considering, he's an expiring contract. I don't know if they would have the cap to go after Ariza, maybe try James Johnson from Memphis who would be much cheaper.

  • Cooper says 5 months ago

    Pop drew up a play for Patti mills to win the game, if he was in houston thats like going to Jones for a game winner he'd get raked across the coals.

  • thejohnnygold says 5 months ago

    Coaching change is the first major step

    with this current team under Thibs or Pop we would've won

    You mean the Popovich who may not get out of the first round either? The Popovich who had a 5 point lead with 30 seconds left in game 6 of last year's finals and allowed a last second three by a lethal 3 point shooter to beat him? That guy? Weird how when it happens to us it's a coaching failure....when it happens to him.... :unsure: Pop is great, but don't discount having 3 clutch, reliable guys in crunch time on the roster...that makes coaching a lot easier. When he runs Parker ISO three times in a row at the end of the game he's a genius....because Parker makes all 3--two of which were just crazy good shots.

  • RyanB says 5 months ago

    Coaching change is the first major step

    with this current team under Thibs or Pop we would've won

  • Richards says 5 months ago

    Can't believe you say PG position is set. Bev is a one trick pony. The main job for PG is to manage the game, help and assist his teammates. Other than his excellent defensive quality, Bev's game management was horrible. Even TO prone Lin did assist more with less minutes and less usage.

    Bev can be a good backup. We should try to upgrade PG if we can.

  • FIRST TAKE This says 5 months ago Change the coaching..172 career wins without a playoff series win. Come on man
  • timetodienow1234567 says 5 months ago I disagree wholeheartedly. Beverley is not a starting calibre player. If we don't get Melo, I'd like to see us trade Lin. Sign Bradley(if he's 8 mil or less) or go after Chalmers. In addition we might have money left over to get Diaw.That would upgrade our starting 1 and 4 and we get to keep Asik.
  • txtdo1411 says 5 months ago

    Losing like this makes teams and individuals hungrier. Hopefully they take this loss, and use it to have their best offseason yet. It shall be fun to see what happens with the coaching staff, as well as the expiring contracts. I'd almost like to give the Asik/Howard pairing another shot... almost

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