Recently I’ve been reflecting on how much our opinions of the game are tied up with how well the players are shooting. The margins between a made basket and a missed one are so small that there will always be an element of randomness in the result. The upshot is that it is very difficult to disentangle a player or team’s shooting performance with how good they actually are. If you make them all, you look like champions, if you miss them all, you look like last year’s Bobcats.
In this game, we saw what happens when all the shots go in. The Rockets looked near invincible and racked up an incredible 72 (!!) points by half time, led by supernova-hot Chandler Parsons. Try out this line for size from half time: 22 minutes played, 26 points on 11-13 shooting (3-4 on threes), 4 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 assists 1 block. And they didn’t stop coming after that either.
It’s been a bad week for Linsanity. He’s missed critical shots before, but now he’s missing critical game time. In the past two games, interim head coach Kelvin Sampson has chosen to sit the $25m dollar Lin in favor of another ex-Knick, Toney Douglas. Despite the criticism levied against him by Rockets fans, Douglas has somehow justified himself to the coaching staff through shooting and something that looks like defense. Jeremy’s getting frustrated, and maybe even demoralized, and it only seems to be hurting his shot further.
For once, the Rockets met just the team they needed to. After a disastrous three game slide including two blowouts, the Rockets needed someone to right their ship against. The Bulls, with their crushing defense and spotty offense, provided exactly the trial and opportunity this young Rockets team needed to settle down on both ends of the ball. It wasn’t always a pretty game, but it was a win for the team’s growth and their record.