About Last Night – The Houston Rockets laid a steaming turd against the Phoenix Suns. Due to the relative drought of other Rockets news on the web, let’s talk about that some more.The Rockets played without Chandler Parsons, Jeremy Lin, Omer Asik or Greg Smith. As much deserved guff as James Harden will get for his defense, defense in general isn’t what lost Houston the game. Houston still held them to 45 percent shooting, and below 100 points despite a pretty fast pace. Offense was the problem, and it has a lot to do with who wasn’t on the court. Over the summer, I had advocated (in some comment threads) for Jeremy Lin keeping his starting point guard spot. My reasoning was that Houston needed a second ball-handler/creator when opposing teams inevitably trapped Harden on pick-and-rolls. I later changed my tune when I saw how much he flourished with the second unit. However, Chandler Parsons’ absence has revealed the initial premise about the needs of the starting unit to be correct. Parsons assumed the secondary ball-handling duties that Lin was responsible for last year, and his ability to attack after the initial pick-and-roll action kept Houston’s offense humming. Lin has also always had that ability, but it was diminished last season by his shooting woes. The loss of one of those two guys is manageable, but the loss of both gives the defense the ability to zone in on Harden, shut him down and destroy the offense.The bad news is that the coaching staff hasn’t been able to institute an offense that keeps working without a good deal of offensive talent on the floor. The good news is that as long as at least two of the trio of Harden, Parsons and Lin are healthy, the offense should work. Parsons can’t get back on the court soon enough.Tweet That – Hey, maybe we should have all been worried when Daryl Morey tweeted this before the game:
Playoffs! Playoffs?! – Hollinger’s Playoff Odds are out. As of the time of this writing, Houston has a 92 percent chance of making the playoffs and an 8 percent chance of winning it all.Contributor Needed – I’m still taking applications for someone to replace me as news editor, which mostly involves writing the Daily. I’ll be writing less starting around Christmas. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested.