Los Angeles Clippers 107, Houston Rockets 94: Rockets can’t beat LA

The main story of the game was that Harden played, even though he was questionable, but he just wasn’t himself.  Maybe the bruise on his left foot is worse than he’s sharing.  Harden played 37 minutes, but shot only 4 of 14 from the field.  Without Harden pushing it to the hole or hitting from outside, the Rockets went deep into the shot clock and had to throw up a lot of late prayers. Redick came out hot against Harden (again) and lit the scoreboard up for 22. Beverley had a career high 4 steals, 19 points and played great defense on Chris Paul, but it wasn’t enough to make up for Harden’s “absence”.

The twin towers started the game poorly again, and the Rockets were down 18 to 10 when Asik came out.  The start of the second half was much better for the duo and the Rockets nearly held their halftime advantage. At 3:30 left in the third, up 71 to 63, Asik came out of the game.  Then the Clippers outscored the Rockets 44 to 23 to finish the game. The Rockets didn’t score for almost six minutes at the end of the third and the beginning of the fourth.  They had seven turnovers in the third quarter and finished with 18.

The problem with the twin towers is that there are only three shooters on the court for the Rockets.  If one of them is off their game, like Harden was tonight, that leaves Beverly and Parsons to score from the outside.  Even though they both had great games, it wasn’t enough. Howard and Asik both can’t even hit the midrange jumper.  Morey needs to find another shooter without trading Asik.  We need his defensive presence when Howard leaves the game.

DeAndre Jordan played great and outrebounded Asik and Howard combined. Jordan had 12 points on six of eight shooting and had 18 rebounds compared to the combined 15 that Howard and Asik had.  Howard was super dominant in the first half, scoring 16 on six of nine shooting and then disappeared in the second half, scoring only five points.  The Rockets scored 34 points in the paint in the first half. Harden was dishing well to Howard, but that all disappeared as the Rockets went cold in the second half.

The Rockets rotation has seemingly settled on eight players.  Tonight Casspi, Lin and Garcia shot five for 18 from the field (27%) and one of seven from behind the arc (14%).  Even though the Rockets are young, they play at a relentless pace, and they’re going to have to expand the rotation.  Lin seemed to be in overdrive most of the game, Parsons is running more than anyone else in the league and Harden is averaging over 39 minutes per game.  The Rockets just ran out of gas tonight.  It’s still early in the season and McHale should be experimenting with more player combinations.  When the Rockets are shooting so poorly from behind the three point line, we need to see if we can get Aaron Brooks going. Is it already time to trade some of our younger assets for someone else who can hit the three?

 

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Total comments: 18
  • rockets best fan says 10 months ago

    I think this is really the key. Everyone is still feeling their way forward. I think Parsons is feeling pressure to perform in his contract year, but also lost a little confidence in his outside shot. Asik doesn't want to see his career go backwards. Harden is fluctuating between his chill efficiency and trying to take superstar responsibility, and for a still quite young player that sometimes means reacting a little immaturely or demanding the ball a little too much. Howard is trying to fit in but also to prove everyone wrong--should he demand the ball more or just run with the guys? Beverley is trying (and mostly succeeding) to live up to his new starting job, but we should remember that he made a splash when nobody knew who he was. Like Lin found out last year, he will start to meet up against players who have seen him on film and will know what to expect and how to exploit his tendency to gamble and rely on his quick recovery. Lin is trying to make the best of his 6th man status, but confidence has never been his best thing, and that has to be hard. He is trying to be on the attack all the time, and that gets predictable, which led to turnovers last night. In many ways, Casspi and Garcia have it the easiest, as there are not that many expectations for them.

    So there's a lot of baggage on the floor right now. No one's sure when to shoot and when to pass, when to dig in on D, and when to run. Roles are unclear. I think Lin had it right in the post-game interview when he said the team has to pull together in adversity, not apart (or something like that).

    It's not at all clear to me that McHale is the best person to manage it all. Ultimately it will be up to the players to figure it out.

    I would agree the Rockets are still feeling their way. however the team should not be concerned about individuals goals. some of our problems are being created by coaching. McHale is trying to make a lineup work that is unnatural for the team. I agree we look out of rhythm. that's why our shots are not falling. I am not as forgiving as you. when a coach has the stable of weapons we have assembled excuses simply don't cut it for me

  • Cooper says 10 months ago The clips are a really good team so I'm not super concerned. There seems to be some team chemistry issues but that is to be expected at this point. It's not like they blew a game to the celtics.
  • lawprofsr says 10 months ago

    This team needs time to gel and time to not only learn how to play together but to make mistakes as well. I think they are trying to put 4 quarters together still.

    I think this is really the key. Everyone is still feeling their way forward. I think Parsons is feeling pressure to perform in his contract year, but also lost a little confidence in his outside shot. Asik doesn't want to see his career go backwards. Harden is fluctuating between his chill efficiency and trying to take superstar responsibility, and for a still quite young player that sometimes means reacting a little immaturely or demanding the ball a little too much. Howard is trying to fit in but also to prove everyone wrong--should he demand the ball more or just run with the guys? Beverley is trying (and mostly succeeding) to live up to his new starting job, but we should remember that he made a splash when nobody knew who he was. Like Lin found out last year, he will start to meet up against players who have seen him on film and will know what to expect and how to exploit his tendency to gamble and rely on his quick recovery. Lin is trying to make the best of his 6th man status, but confidence has never been his best thing, and that has to be hard. He is trying to be on the attack all the time, and that gets predictable, which led to turnovers last night. In many ways, Casspi and Garcia have it the easiest, as there are not that many expectations for them.

    So there's a lot of baggage on the floor right now. No one's sure when to shoot and when to pass, when to dig in on D, and when to run. Roles are unclear. I think Lin had it right in the post-game interview when he said the team has to pull together in adversity, not apart (or something like that).

    It's not at all clear to me that McHale is the best person to manage it all. Ultimately it will be up to the players to figure it out.

  • thejohnnygold says 10 months ago

    You're not wrong. Crawford made those three ridiculous shots and we never were able to recover. I give Paul credit for getting Beverley out of the game. He baited him and Beverley took the bait. That is just another facet of his overall game. The path of least resistance. Why keep fighting a superior defender when you can just get them to commit fouls and then go sit down?

    On offense...I just don't know. Parsons looked a little better (as did Beverley), but everyone else seemed to be out of sync. I can tell you, Blake Griffin looked athletically superior to Dwight. That concerns me a little. I was also concerned when I kept catching myself thinking, Asik's post defense is better than Dwight's....

    It's ok. Some teams just have another team's number. Hopefully we don't see these guys in the playoffs because right now it doesn't look like that would end well.

  • thenit says 10 months ago You can always count on mchale being outcoached
  • rockets best fan says 10 months ago

    He woke the dragon :)

    Chris Paul wasn't fully engaged until Bev started making him look bad...suddenly Paul's making shots, breaking down the defense, and we're in trouble. It was a blessing and a curse. :P

    there is no problem waking the dragon as long as the dragon slayer is in the game. Beverly was playing cp3 well. problemwas Beverly sit down and no one else could even slow cp3 down. by the time Beverly got back Crawford had gotten hot. my biggest beef with this game is while the Clippers were on their 18-0 run........not once did Howard touch the ball. WHY? when the bleeding finally stopped it was Howard who scored. why did it take so long for the coaches to see that. Doc clearly out coached McHale on this one

  • thejohnnygold says 10 months ago

    He woke the dragon :)

    Chris Paul wasn't fully engaged until Bev started making him look bad...suddenly Paul's making shots, breaking down the defense, and we're in trouble. It was a blessing and a curse. :P

  • rockets best fan says 10 months ago

    Beverley played great, but was instrumental in giving up the lead. His 3 quick fouls put the team over the limit and made us play less aggressive on defense and gave them lots of free throws. Once he gets out of the habit of picking up fouls like crazy, he'll be more consistent.

    Beverly leaving the game didn't change what we could have done on offense. you have to hit shots and protect the ball. the Clippers went on a 18-0 run when Beverly left the game. while it affected our defense it shouldn't have stopped us from scoring. so explain to me how Beverly made us lose the lead again

  • timetodienow1234567 says 10 months ago

    Beverley played great, but was instrumental in giving up the lead. His 3 quick fouls put the team over the limit and made us play less aggressive on defense and gave them lots of free throws. Once he gets out of the habit of picking up fouls like crazy, he'll be more consistent.

  • rockets best fan says 10 months ago

    perhaps the thinking is that asik can't get his minutes dropped too heavily from last year, hence the need to play him adequately to justify contract. plus, more playing time would get him a better stat line come trade deadline. however, this is obviously not working and his minutes should be staggered with howard's with as little overlap

    I think the only reason the Rockets are playing Asik this many minutes is they are trying to keep him happy.....even to the detriment of the team. how much he plays as it relates to trade value is a moot point. GM's around the league know what Asik is capable of so there will be little effect from playing time this year. A bigger factor is how long we hang on to him before trading him. the closer we get to the deadline the less he will be worth, because we will have used up the cheap part of his contract. I agree the Asik/Howard combo isn't working......the less we play it the more success we will have. it's a lineup that should only be used against certain teams not our everyday lineup

  • rockets best fan says 10 months ago

    why did this thread not go into the regular Rockets basketball forum? it is about the Rockets

  • rockets best fan says 10 months ago

    The Rockets built their largest lead by about midway of the 3rd quarter with the D12/Asik pairing on the floor. Once the Rockets took Asik out of the game at that point, the game was lost with our small ball lineup.

    Players like T-Jones and D-Mo haven't earned the trust of the coaches and currently aren't ready in my opinion to contribute in a positive manner. The best course of action was to stick with the 8-man rotation and it failed this time around. I just wished T-Jones and D-Mo had shown more in pre-season, they really were not good at all against 2nd and 3rd teamers. Not sure why you think throwing them to the wolves would have a more positive result.

    It's always very easy to second guess the coaching and the lineups on the floor at any given time.

    Practically everyone on this board that has been calling for the Rockets to dismantle their big man game got their wish midway through the 3rd quarter. The results are in and here is an example of the small ball lineup not working out.

    Asik/ Howard lineup didn't build the lead.....the small ball lineup did. the Asik/Howard combo maintained it in the third, but were unable to expand upon it......or did you watch the game? the game changed when Beverly picked up his 4th foul and went to the bench. cp3 went to work and dismantled us. the reason I mention T-Jones and D-Mo is in preseason did we not win with them on the court? did the team not look more fluid regardless of their individual stats? surely they can put up the measly numbers Asik is delivering. Casspi shot 1-5 Garcia 1-6.....with shooting like that there is NO argument for keeping our youngsters off the floor

  • MrLobble says 10 months ago

    perhaps the thinking is that asik can't get his minutes dropped too heavily from last year, hence the need to play him adequately to justify contract. plus, more playing time would get him a better stat line come trade deadline. however, this is obviously not working and his minutes should be staggered with howard's with as little overlap

    On another note, if we intend to trade Asik, I worry that we may wait too long. The west should be and competitive this year, and if we experiment too long---we can easily find ourselves looking like 2013 Lakers (a team being forced to play phenomenal down the stretch just to make the playoffs)

  • MrLobble says 10 months ago

    I wish our team would take the time to develop a half-court system that could be utilized down the stretch or when the jump shot isn't falling...

    I can't recount how many times I threw the remote control, picked it up, and threw it again from the quick shot selection in last night's game. Yes, I understand that we play at a high level, and we also like to shoot the 3 ball, but when it's not falling--TRY TO GET TO THE RIM.

    Nothing is more frustrating than watching a long brick early in the shot clock with no chance of an offensive rebound.

  • rocketrick says 10 months ago

    this game left me once again shaking my head. :(once again I have to blame coaching. how long will we spot team double digit leads in the 1st quarter before we realize the starting lineup must be changed? how do the Clippers go on an 18 point run without Howard touching the ball? why isn't the turnover problem being address better? Casspi went 1-5 Garcia 1-6............where are T-Jones and D-Mo? Brooks? right now I got way more questions than answers


    The Rockets built their largest lead by about midway of the 3rd quarter with the D12/Asik pairing on the floor. Once the Rockets took Asik out of the game at that point, the game was lost with our small ball lineup.

    Players like T-Jones and D-Mo haven't earned the trust of the coaches and currently aren't ready in my opinion to contribute in a positive manner. The best course of action was to stick with the 8-man rotation and it failed this time around. I just wished T-Jones and D-Mo had shown more in pre-season, they really were not good at all against 2nd and 3rd teamers. Not sure why you think throwing them to the wolves would have a more positive result.

    It's always very easy to second guess the coaching and the lineups on the floor at any given time.

    Practically everyone on this board that has been calling for the Rockets to dismantle their big man game got their wish midway through the 3rd quarter. The results are in and here is an example of the small ball lineup not working out.
  • essex says 10 months ago

    perhaps the thinking is that asik can't get his minutes dropped too heavily from last year, hence the need to play him adequately to justify contract. plus, more playing time would get him a better stat line come trade deadline. however, this is obviously not working and his minutes should be staggered with howard's with as little overlap

  • feelingsupersonic says 10 months ago This Feigen tweet says it all:

    That was never clearer than Sat. Up 11 w 5 min left in Q3 Rox had shot 55.5 % with 10 turnovers. In remaining 17 min, shot 20.8 % w 8 TOs.
    11:11pm - 9 Nov 13


    This team needs time to gel and time to not only learn how to play together but to make mistakes as well. I think they are trying to put 4 quarters together still.
  • rockets best fan says 10 months ago

    this game left me once again shaking my head. :(once again I have to blame coaching. how long will we spot team double digit leads in the 1st quarter before we realize the starting lineup must be changed? how do the Clippers go on an 18 point run without Howard touching the ball? why isn't the turnover problem being address better? Casspi went 1-5 Garcia 1-6............where are T-Jones and D-Mo? Brooks? right now I got way more questions than answers