Antiheroes – Henry Abbott (TrueHoop) seconds Rahat’s motion for the Rockets to abandon James Harden’s fruitless isolation plays at the end of close games:
Hero Ball, or isolating your best player with the ball and letting him create for himself, is one of those things that looks dumber with time. Not long ago there was no way to know if it was the best approach or not. Increasingly, though, the evidence is making clear it’s far better to attack the defense at its weakest. (Hero Ball does the opposite.)
So, why are the Rockets, such a smart team, using this approach?
Most Valuable Asset – Bill Simmons (Grantland) has fired up the first half of his annual trade value column. He acknowledged that Lin dropped out of his top 50 from last year (must be something about the jersey he’s wearing), Omer Asik just barely didn’t make the cut, and Chandler Parsons weighed in at no. 48 with a great idea for a TV show: Read More
I’ve done some thinking in the last 15 or so hours since this morning’s post and I have some new thoughts. But first, some housekeeping: some of you found my prior comments objectionable, intimating that my comments were misguided and that the team should only be addressed with pride. While I respect differing opinions, I find this to be an invalid line of reasoning.
One can be a fan and feel pride for a team while still recognizing flaws and areas in need of improvement. The two events aren’t mutually exclusive. Just like a mother loves her young child unconditionally and views his development, his first words and first steps, as her life’s pride, so do I feel a sense of pride in this team’s success this season in overcoming adversity and coming together as the youngest roster in the league; but just as that mother feels disappointment and concern when the child errs, I too find alarm in spectacles like last night’s. In neither event does the concern diminish the pride and it is because of the pride that the concern is born.
Reunited And It Feels So…Bleh – With the Rockets’
infuriating frustrating heartbreaking inevitable overtime loss to the Lakers last night, Houston will face OKC in the first round, and L.A. will face the Spurs.
James Harden will face his old team in the soap opera that every sports writer has been hoping all year, and one of the most dangerous 7-seeds (L.A.) in recent memory will face one of the most vulnerable 2-seeds (San Antonio) in recent memory.
Lesson: Never bet against TV ratings when you’re predicting playoff match-ups. Never.
Prognostication – The blogosphere has begun breaking down Houston’s playoff future (as we will do here in the coming days), and as Hoopchalk points out, the keys to the Rockets’ offense are all the things they didn’t do at the end of last night’s game:
Ball movement: Lin, Harden, Parsons, even Asik are all above-average to exceptional passers. Though they do look for the open three or to the rim in transition, and while Harden has the ultimate green light, the Rockets prefer move the ball from side to side, whipping it around the perimeter until they get a wide-open shot. Read More
It’s 7:07 A.M. right now at the time of writing. I’ve had a little over six hours now to digest last night’s loss. I’ve calmed down a bit and am glad I stepped away when I did. Had I not, I would have certainly written things I’d later regret – things fueled by pure, unadulterated anger. As I said last night, I was livid. In fact, I don’t think I can even recall the last time I’ve been so upset during and after a Houston Rockets game.
The unfortunate part is that this should be a time for celebration. The team will be playing its first playoff game since 2009, and its first playoff game in Red94′s existence. Instead, all I feel right now is anger: anger over the way the team completely choked at the end, for the second year in a row, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, and bumbling away a golden chance to face a hobbled Spurs team against whom some felt they can beat. Instead, they will now open at Oklahoma City, the expected Western Conference champion.
- 9:35PM CST: Bill Simmons just said “James Harden could have 55 points tonight…that’s how bad this Lakers team defends.” I hope the guys bring it – the whole country is watching…though it would have been much more fun had Utah won (much less actually have shown up to play) making this game a must-win for the Lakers. My prediction: Rockets by 10. Take that with a grain of salt. I predicted Lakers by 40 about an hour ago.
- Great to see that Jeff Van Gundy will be calling this game. And also great to see that he’s still a homer. Called the Rockets “the favorite” in a potential Spurs series. I actually agree. But to say it on national television!
- This is a must win. This is literally a must win for the Rockets. The distinction between playing San Antonio and playing a healthy Oklahoma City team is literally night and day
I’ll be updating this post throughout the night. You can also follow my livecast of the game on @redninetyfour