The Lakers and Bucks, along with those other fourteen, non-playoff teams, are gone. Both got swept; both were never even in one of their playoff games. The Nuggets, Rockets, and Celtics could be soon to join them—but we’ll give them their chances to prove us wrong. At least one of those teams (Denver) is experiencing something like an upset, proving that spring often breeds the chaos that disrupts the understandings and assumptions that have colored league-wide perceptions all season. In other words: who knew Steph Curry was this good; that the Warriors, lacking David Lee on their front-line, could simply shoot their way through all of their flaws? And who’s to say that another of these series can’t turn around, on the crux of a similar surprise? We’ll allow for wonder, for those still alive—and only prognosticate on those who are now departed.
- It’s extremely difficult to not get greedy and push from one’s mind the thought that the Rockets could, nay, should, be up 3-1 right now. On the flip side, given their late-game execution, they are extremely lucky to have not gotten swept. They shouldn’t have won last night. Running three consecutive ISOs to close the game, they escaped by the skin of their teeth last night with a victory. What scares me is that I don’t think they, or their coach, realize how lucky they got. As I explained last night, initially after the debacle against the Lakers, I had blamed McHale for this complete breakdown in late game situations, thinking he was calling for the ISOs. Then, after Games 2 and 3, after hearing his comments about needing to move the ball, I speculated that the blame should probably be cast upon Harden and that he was ignoring his coach. But McHale’s postgame comments last night seemed to confirm my initial fears. When asked about the possessions, he expressed dismay that Harden didn’t drive the ball and get into the paint. He didn’t express dismay over the lack of a pick or the lack of any semblance of a play – he expressed dismay over the result of the ISO. This revelation is so, so disturbing that it almost takes away from the enjoyment and relief of winning simply because it’s an explication of the inevitable. Sure, the Rockets will probably get this fixed out in the offseason once Morey gets involved. But for now, you see the writing on the wall: they escaped alive, but this is how it will end; at some point, unless they’re blown out, the Rockets’ season will be over because they’ll revert to Hero-ball at the end of the game. They won’t fix it because it’s by design.
More Games – I was so ecstatic last night! My wife is going to be so bummed…
Cause and Effect – Last night was the first game of the series in which Houston shot at or above their average percentage on threes. They won. Could they do that 3 more times? Could a penny land face up four times in a row?
Who? – Mark Titus at Grantland doesn’t understand why Chandler Parsons is so good:
Parsons has been in the NBA for only two years, but his career scoring average as a pro is higher than any of his individual-season scoring averages at Florida. That sentence alone should give you a good idea of how surprising Parsons’s NBA success has been. But he’s more than just a decent scorer in the NBA — Gerald Henderson and Ramon Sessions are living proof that anybody can put up points for a bad team. Parsons is a major contributor on a playoff team, and he shares the ball with James Harden, one of the most trigger-happy players in the league. Considering all that, with the exception of the lack of a SiriusXM channel that plays nothing but Disney songs, Parsons’s success in the NBA is the biggest mystery in the world to me.
Related note: I’m really glad Titus is not a scout for the Rockets.
Related note number 2: Dear writers, please keep giving Chandler Parsons bulletin board material to motivate him for big games.
Related note number 3: Chandler Parsons doesn’t want your daps.
- First, the bad: those last three plays to close out regulation, where Harden, true to form, ISOed his man before stepping back for a jumper were despicable. At this point, I don’t even know what to say. You know it’s coming. If the game is close, the Rockets are going to ISO Harden. Luckily tonight, they were able to overcome but they won’t, and haven’t been, that lucky. The funny thing is, after hearing Kevin McHale in the postgame presser, it’s become clear that that’s the play they’re calling! I don’t even have any words! He said, paraphrased, when asked about those possessions, that he was hoping Harden would be able to get into the paint. Essentially, Kevin McHale’s objection to those possessions was simply the end result! dljfakj948934oqj3l4jl#$#$!!!! It’s funny because there was a belief that McHale actually wanted the team to move the ball in these possessions, stemming from his statements about the ball “becoming sticky,” and that Harden was going off-cue against his coach’s wishes. But it’s become clear that McHale is actually calling for these ISOs. I don’t know what to say. Okay, enough negativity.
The world has yet to see if the new, improved Houston Rockets can grab a playoff win in their series against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Kevin Durant and his Thunder have twice pulled the rug out from under a Rockets team surging to overcome huge deficits, and the Rockets are learning about playoff basketball in the hardest way possible. The present may be full of pain and heartbreak for Houston, but if we turn back the clock just a few years, we can see another team that was handed the same lessons in their first playoff run. Read More