What’s My Name? – So, after Houston’s win on Wednesday night, a reporter asked Chandler Parsons about a mental lapse from Kevin Durant regarding Omer Asik. Parsons response was classic.
Reporter: After the game, Kevin Durant said ‘We hacked whatever-his-name-is.’ Didn’t know his name. Does that surprise you?
Parsons: He knew his name. That’s ridiculous. The guy’s had two double-doubles in a row. He’s one of the best centers in the NBA. He knows his name. If he didn’t, then he does for sure now.
Excellent. Now we have the biggest setup for an athlete to scream “What’s my name?” since Ali whooped Floyd Patterson. Come on, Omer–float like a butterfly; sting like a bee.
Hack-A-Turk – The Rockets have been the toast of ESPN since the Game 5 victory, and Asik’s resilience at the line has been a popular talking point. For instance, every contributor in a 5-on-5 called the strategy a bad call, with Ethan Sherwood Strauss writing the clincher:
Ethan Sherwood Strauss, ESPN.com: Bad call. As ESPN stats whiz Alok Pattani points out, such a strategy would only make sense if Asik were a 45 percent free throw shooter or worse. The big man shot 56 percent on freebies this season, well above that threshold. There just wasn’t a firm logical basis for what Scott Brooks did. It conveyed a lack of trust in his defense while not helping Oklahoma City in any tangible way. Awful move.
Next up, Tom Haberstroh (Insider) explains exactly how good the strategy was for Houston’s offense:
As ESPN Stats & Information tells us, the Rockets scored just nine points on 17 possessions in the fourth quarter when Omer Asik wasn’t at the line for an average of 0.53 points per possession. When Asik went to the line? The Rockets scored 1.38 points per possession, almost tripling the reward for Houston.
Opposition Research – Not only was Hack-Asik a bad basketball strategy, it also chummed the waters for writers looking for panic from OKC. Let’s start with Marc Stein:
It might not matter even if people are expecting something now, given the withering load Durant is being asked to carry in the wake of the Westbrook injury and how much easier it is to guard the Thunder in this state. The dwindling confidence of those around Durant, OKC’s ever-slowing pace with no Russ to bust out and speed things up, and the fact that the Rockets are increasingly trotting out four good defenders together (Asik, Beverley, Chandler Parsons and Francisco Garcia) have all piled on to completely change the series atmosphere.
And it has Henry Abbott grilling Royce Young of the Daily Thunder about whether it’s panic time in OKC.
Brassy – Fran Blinbury at NBA.com writes about how the same confidence that McHale had as a player is rubbing off on the Rockets:
“We’re fully confident that we’re gonna win tomorrow and that we’re gonna take the series,” Parsons said matter-of-factly on Thursday as he stood outside the locker room at the Toyota Center, his eyes dancing, almost bright enough to light the entire hallway.
It wasn’t a boast. It wasn’t intended to demean anyone in an Oklahoma City uniform.
It’s just the feeling that occurs when it seems that everything has suddenly turned your way. Maybe based on the last two games, it has.
Just in case you missed that, Chandler Parsons’ eyes were dancing. If only the referees were 13-year-old girls…
Great Debaters – Via The Basketball Jones, there’s a video of Harden, Lin, Parsons, Cook and coaches debating what is or isn’t a travel during the Eurostep:
This video is like the Dead Sea Scrolls of the Eurostep. Enjoy it.
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