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Let's Talk About Kevin McHale


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#41 bluemars

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    Posted 16 March 2014 - 05:15 PM

    Bringing the discussion back to McHale in general (sorry for the Lin digression), I personally find it really difficult to judge McHale.  It's easy to sit back and call him idiot saying he should have done this or he should have done that, but it's impossible to know what would have happened in the alternative.  My gut feeling is that he was pretty bad last year but has made some strides this year.  I was impressed with the Portland win.  Now, I am trying to think of some advanced stats by which we might be able to get some sense of a coach's effectiveness and I can't think of anything worthwhile.  Does anyone have any thoughts?  Maybe Richard can do some more quantitative analysis for us :).


    Edited by bluemars, 16 March 2014 - 05:16 PM.

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    #42 bluemars

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      Posted 16 March 2014 - 05:22 PM

      I did a google search looking for statistics to measure a coach's effectiveness and found an old article by Bill Simmons: http://proxy.espn.go...=simmons/060112.  Ignoring the fact that the point of the article is to say Doc Rivers is a terrible coach here are the 8 metrics that Simmons came up with, which he calls the Bad Coaching Index:

       

      1. Lousy record in close games
      "Close games" means "any game with a final margin of five points or less." In those games, the Celtics are currently 5-11 ... although that record doesn't possibly convey how many dreadful games the Celtics have blown in the last 3-4 minutes. Somebody on this planet (where are you, 82games.com???) needs to come up with stats to determine things like "double-digit leads blown in the fourth quarter," "crunch-time field goal percentage," "24-second violations in the fourth quarter," "botched two-for-one possessions at the end of a quarter," "number of games in which your coach accidentally ran out of timeouts" and "number of times your final play of the quarter caused your fans to scream obscenities and throw a remote control." If these stats existed, the 2005-06 Boston Celtics would be seen in an entirely different light. I promise you.
       
      2. Too many turnovers
      The Celtics average 16.6 turnovers a game ... only the Knicks (17.0) are worse. Well coached teams take care of the basketball.
       
      3. Too many offensive rebounds allowed
      The Celts grab 10.0 offensive rebounds a game (26th in the league) and give up 12.2 (24th) for a differential of minus-2.2 (only Phoenix is worse). Well-coached teams don't give up second chance points.
       
      4. Not enough winning streaks
      Given the rhythms of a six-month season, even decent teams should peak two or three times per year, when players start clicking together, everyone's healthy and you strike the right scheduling quirk. Statistically, it's almost impossible for this NOT to happen, like if you kept flipping a coin and it showed tails one time, heads the next, then tails, and that just kept happening. If it's not happening, there's absolutely no rhythm to the season. Of course, the Celtics are 14-21 ... with a high winning streak of exactly two games, which happened just once. Keep in mind, Pierce and Davis (the best players on the team) have played every game. And according to ESPN.com's strength of schedule index, through their first 35 games, the Celtics played the second-easiest schedule in the entire league, facing opponents with a collective winning percentage of .485. What happens when the schedule gets tougher or Pierce suffers an injury? Take a guess.
       
      5. Opposing 3-point percentage 
      This category shows whether you're giving up too many wide-open 3s -- well coached defenses like the Spurs and Pistons rotate well and contest open 3-point shooters. Of course, the Celts rank 23rd in this category. To be fair to Doc, some Boston players (Jefferson in particular) rotate about as fluidly as Kenny Mayne on "Dancing with the Stars" last week. But it's still on his watch.
       
      6. Lousy record on the road
      Poorly coached teams usually get eaten alive away from home. In a related story, the Celts are 4-13 on the road. Only the 3-15 Hawks are worse -- yup, the same Hawks who won handily in Boston on Friday night. I will now stab myself in the neck with Salim Stoudamire's afro pick.
       
      7. Lack of a consistent rotation
      The single biggest sign of a bad coach: Someone who can't settle on an eight-man or nine-man rotation. NBA players need consistency. They need to play together for prolonged periods. They don't like looking over their shoulder every time the horn blasts. They don't need a coach whisking guys on and off the court for four quarters, especially a young player battling to maintain his confidence. Of course, Doc can't stop tinkering with his lineups -- in the Dallas game on Monday night, Doc played all 12 guys on the roster in the first half. Who does this? Seriously, when have you ever seen that work? Poor Al Jefferson played 28 minutes against the Hawks on Friday night ... five days later, he played six. Hey, he's only the future of the team. Let's keep yanking him around.
       
      (Note: In that second Hawks game, Scalabrine played a whopping 28 minutes because he was doing a good defensive job on Harrington, including all but 83 seconds of the second half. In the previous 11 games, Scalabrine played 37 minutes total. I should also mention that he has a crew cut and a beer gut. Really, you don't want to give Scales a longer breather in the second half when he's more maroon than a college kid in Cancun who fell asleep on a pool chair? Thanks to Doc Rivers, these are the nagging questions I deal with three times a week.)
       
      8. Downright stupidity
      It's the little things that makes the 2005-06 Celtics so frustrating to follow. Like Rip Hamilton getting a wide-open look with 0.8 seconds remaining to sink a buzzer-beater. Like nobody calling a timeout with six seconds to play in Golden State, trailing by two, leading to an out-of-control Pierce turnover to end the game. Like my buddy House calling me after attending the Wiz-Celtics game on Saturday night just to ask me, "Why didn't Doc go offense-defense with Delonte West and Marcus Banks down the stretch when Delonte had five fouls and you needed to foul?" ... followed by me answering, "Um, Doc doesn't understand the concept of offense-defense." Like the fact that the Celtics are so consistently atrocious at defending pick-and-rolls, opposing teams don't even bother running other plays anymore. Like a set offense revolving around uncoordinated big men (Blount, LaFrentz, Kendrick Perkins) perched on the high post and looking to find cutters near the basket. Like all of the botched two-for-one possessions at the end of quarters, or the predictable offense down the stretch that basically consists of "Post Paul up 20 feet from the basket and let him create." Like my Dad calling me just to say, "Yup, that was another Doc Rivers Special."
       
      ---------------
       
      Personally, I still don't feel like we have any convincing statistics.  The only category I feel a little comfortable with is the first one: Record in close games.  Thoughts?

      Edited by bluemars, 16 March 2014 - 05:32 PM.

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      #43 bluemars

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        Posted 16 March 2014 - 10:09 PM

        Yea I take back that part about record in close games.  As was evident in the Heat game, close games can be determined just as easily by refs.


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        #44 datruth

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          Posted 16 March 2014 - 10:55 PM

          Again we can agree or disagree and just because you claim that something is the truth doesn't make it truthful.

          Mchale has made improvements from the past, but again this team has talent.

           I  think that a first round loss is underachieving. .

          Therefore i hold my view till the end of the season.

          If you would like to make your decision on the season right now when we still have 16 games go ahead.

          But don't try to make anyone else seem small, because they think different than you.

          I thought this was a discussion, therefore why do we continue to make it personal.

          This team has talent and enough talent to get out of the first round.  

          Like always Go rockets.


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          #45 thejohnnygold

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          Posted 17 March 2014 - 01:43 PM

          Again we can agree or disagree and just because you claim that something is the truth doesn't make it truthful.

          Mchale has made improvements from the past, but again this team has talent.

           I  think that a first round loss is underachieving. .

          Therefore i hold my view till the end of the season.

          If you would like to make your decision on the season right now when we still have 16 games go ahead.

          But don't try to make anyone else seem small, because they think different than you.

          I thought this was a discussion, therefore why do we continue to make it personal.

          This team has talent and enough talent to get out of the first round.  

          Like always Go rockets.

           

          I'm guessing this is in relation to my post (by the way everyone, try to use the quote feature or reference the poster you are responding to so that it is clear to all of us reading what's going on)

           

          I'm not making my decision on the entire season right now.  I am making a completely meaningless assertion based on a contrived scale of 1-10 about our coach that is based on Game 1 through Game 65--that's all.  All I was saying was that all the posters coming in here and saying we shouldn't be grading him yet since the season hasn't ended, while correct, were raining on our parade.  If that makes me a tyrant who stomps people's feelings and makes them feel small then so be it.  I don't think I was out of line or making any personal attacks.

           

          This was all I said on the matter:

           

          "The calls to wait until the end of the season are correct, but that's not what we're doing.  We're grading him now so either participate or don't--no need to rain on our lovely parade. :PPOST #39

           

          Truly, I am a monster :lol:.  You are correct (again) that this is a discussion.  Which is why I am as entitled as anyone to voice an opinion.  People came in repeatedly saying we shouldn't grade him yet.  I said the above in response.  I don't see any problems here.  It was directed at everyone who said that--not anyone in particular.  Why am I spending so much time defending myself?.....

           

          Baaaaaack on topic....I like the idea of finding some kind of way to qualify and quantify coaches--it would still be pretty crude given the large number of external variables and our general lack of insider knowledge.  Still, it would be interesting to see what we can find...

           

          My first thought is to point out that Simmons' rant is very telling of how things can work.  This was pre-big 3 for the Celts.  Rivers has gone on to be considered one of the better coaches in the league.  I'm not implying McHale will fare the same--just saying that just because you are learning on the job (and making plenty of mistakes along the way) doesn't mean you won't figure it out and become good at it in time.


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          #46 datruth

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            Posted 17 March 2014 - 11:54 PM

            johnny gold is all about love and I appreciate you.

            We might not always agree, but i still appreciate your view.

            As al davis said  winning solves all problems.

            Just win baby.

            Go Rockets


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            #47 QNoir

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              Posted 18 March 2014 - 10:33 PM

              In the Lin/McHale conversation, I do find the benching of Lin frustrating in some situations. For example the Miami game. I don't think Lin has ever had a good individual performance against Miami, but in the first five minutes of the fourth quarter, something special was happening with the team. Lin was a big part of that. On every possession where the team scored, which was all but about 2, Lin touched the ball, drove to the basket and created openings, and the team took advantage. The 2 times they didn't score, he didn't touch the ball. They took their biggest lead during that stretch. Then Lin fouled DWade and immediately got benched. Really? He was only out for about a minute. My only guess is that one of the coaches said, "What the heck are you doing?" and they put him back in. Miami took the game from that point, though, after which he didn't play well.


              Edited by QNoir, 18 March 2014 - 10:42 PM.

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              #48 bluemars

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                Posted 18 March 2014 - 11:31 PM

                 

                 

                In the Lin/McHale conversation, I do find the benching of Lin frustrating in some situations. For example the Miami game. I don't think Lin has ever had a good individual performance against Miami, but in the first five minutes of the fourth quarter, something special was happening with the team. Lin was a big part of that. On every possession where the team scored, which was all but about 2, Lin touched the ball, drove to the basket and created openings, and the team took advantage. The 2 times they didn't score, he didn't touch the ball. They took their biggest lead during that stretch. Then Lin fouled DWade and immediately got benched. Really? He was only out for about a minute. My only guess is that one of the coaches said, "What the heck are you doing?" and they put him back in. Miami took the game from that point, though, after which he didn't play well.

                 

                I'm a little confused.  You are complaining about him being benched for 1 minute?  


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                #49 QNoir

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                  Posted 19 March 2014 - 07:07 AM

                  I'm a little confused.  You are complaining about him being benched for 1 minute?  

                   

                  It's ok. I'll unconfuse you. See, in coaching, sometimes an opposing team's coach will call a timeout to disrupt your offense. When your own coach does it ...


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                  #50 Steven

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                    Posted 19 March 2014 - 08:17 AM

                    The game changed when Joey "it's all about me" Crawford called the "letter of the law" technical for Dwight touching the ball after a made basket. He wasn't slowing the game down, so therefore a Delay of Game technical was ill warranted. But the man who once called a technical on Tim Duncan (yes Tim Duncan) for looking at him, gave Miami a free point making them even to the rockets odds or vice versa. Without the technical Miami has to tie the Rockets first before taking the lead, not jumping from 1 point down to 1 point above. They never did take give up the lead once they gained it in the fourth.

                    I honestly would not watch game 7 of the NBA Finals if the Rockets were in it, if Joey Crawford is on the officials crew. He completely kills the game for me.
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                    #51 NorEastern

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                      Posted 19 March 2014 - 10:08 AM

                      I believe that people tend to over rate the importance of a head coach. What makes a great coach? Great players. Did Phil ever coach without Pippen, Jordan, Kobe or Shaq? Did Pop not fall into Timmy D and then Parker and Manu? The NBA game today is to fast for a coach to have a big effect on the game. R&R, modern NBA defenses. We have little other than rotations to grade a coach and his staff. And even rotations suffer from incomplete information. Who is suffering from nagging injuries? Who is gassed? Who has a hangover (looking at you Harden)? Those issues make it impossible to judge a coach on a game by game basis.

                       

                      Some people attempt to judge a coach by X's and O's. It has been shown that timeouts significantly hurt the offense and helps the defense. Calling timeouts impedes the offense, so I would say that the first coach to run out of timeouts may be the poorer coach.

                       

                      So if we fans cannot judge a coach by game performance how can we judge him? Perhaps I am dense, but I see little other than game preparation, roster attitude, team cohesiveness, player improvement, and system buy in along with its execution. Meta data so to speak. McHale seems to be succeeding in all of those areas.

                       

                      Perhaps we should look at the one metric that means anything. Morey. McHale still has a job. I take that to mean that McHale is doing a good job.

                       

                      And the answer is - 8.


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                      #52 NorEastern

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                        Posted 19 March 2014 - 10:15 AM

                        It's ok. I'll unconfuse you. See, in coaching, sometimes an opposing team's coach will call a timeout to disrupt your offense. When your own coach does it ...

                        What is a defensive time out? Doesn't a team have to have possession of the ball to call a timeout, unless of course the clock is not running?


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                        #53 Willk

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                          Posted 19 March 2014 - 12:16 PM

                          In the Lin/McHale conversation, I do find the benching of Lin frustrating in some situations. For example the Miami game. I don't think Lin has ever had a good individual performance against Miami, but in the first five minutes of the fourth quarter, something special was happening with the team. Lin was a big part of that. On every possession where the team scored, which was all but about 2, Lin touched the ball, drove to the basket and created openings, and the team took advantage. The 2 times they didn't score, he didn't touch the ball. They took their biggest lead during that stretch. Then Lin fouled DWade and immediately got benched. Really? He was only out for about a minute. My only guess is that one of the coaches said, "What the heck are you doing?" and they put him back in. Miami took the game from that point, though, after which he didn't play well.

                          The biggest lead happened when Lin was on the bench. As soon as Lin was subbed out, Parsons hit a layup and that was followed by a Harden three to give Houston a 97-92 lead. Miami then called a timeout. LBJ was subbed in for Birdman. Miami's lineup was then Bosh, James, Wade, Allen, and Chalmers. Houston had Bev, Harden, Parsons, Howard, and D-Mo on the floor. As soon as the LBJ sub was made, Lin was subbed in. I am one of McHale's biggest supporters, but putting Lin back in was a game losing move. Lin looked over-matched all game. He was not doing anything "special."  Lin had a +/- of -13 when he was subbed out. The right move would have been to either bring in Hamilton (if McHale wanted to go small) or bring TJones back in the game and force Miami to match up. There is no truth in "McHale is trying to ruin Lin theories."


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                          #54 Sir Thursday

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                          Posted 19 March 2014 - 01:27 PM

                          The game changed when Joey "it's all about me" Crawford called the "letter of the law" technical for Dwight touching the ball after a made basket. He wasn't slowing the game down, so therefore a Delay of Game technical was ill warranted. But the man who once called a technical on Tim Duncan (yes Tim Duncan) for looking at him, gave Miami a free point making them even to the rockets odds or vice versa. Without the technical Miami has to tie the Rockets first before taking the lead, not jumping from 1 point down to 1 point above. They never did take give up the lead once they gained it in the fourth.

                          I honestly would not watch game 7 of the NBA Finals if the Rockets were in it, if Joey Crawford is on the officials crew. He completely kills the game for me.

                           

                          The first delay of game warning on Beverley was for the same thing too - Beverley passed the ball back to the official and he called it a DoG.

                           

                          ST


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                          #55 lawprofsr

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                            Posted 19 March 2014 - 01:49 PM

                            There is no truth in "McHale is trying to ruin Lin theories."

                             

                            I don't think QNoir said anything about McHale trying to ruin Lin, just questioning a rotation decision. I haven't looked to see if he has done so on other threads, but not on this one. Let's not look for trouble when it's not there.

                             

                            I agree with you that putting in Lin at that point in that particular game was not a good decision. But it's not just about Lin. It feels to me like McHale sometimes thinks "smallball worked well before, let's try it again," without tailoring his decision-making to the particular situation.


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                            #56 lawprofsr

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                              Posted 19 March 2014 - 01:59 PM

                              I believe that people tend to over rate the importance of a head coach. What makes a great coach? Great players. Did Phil ever coach without Pippen, Jordan, Kobe or Shaq? 

                               

                              It's true that Phil had great players, but I think we forget how often great players fail to win championships. Check out this article about Phil Jackson over at the new fivethirtyeight. 

                              Of course, if he had taken over last year’s Lakers squad — with Kobe, Gasol, Dwight Howard and Steve Nash — and trounced everyone on his way to a 12th trophy, he would have faced the same criticism. It’s ridiculous: Take any player who Jackson won a championship with, and he has won at least five more without them. The reverse isn’t even close. Among Jackson’s regular starters, Rodman had two championships without him, and Shaq had one. That’s it. 

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                              #57 Mario Peña

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                              Posted 19 March 2014 - 04:34 PM

                              When Rockets fans start criticizing McHale on play calling this Phil Jackson quote always comes to mind. It also reinforces my opinions on NBA coaches like that it's not just about a moment in a game but also about 1000 moments that occurred in video study, team practices, individual player reps on shooting and skills and maybe even something like a private conversation between McHale and a player about on court decision making. I see McHale getting the most out of the stars on this team and that might be one of the most important things. McHale is a leader of men and that much is clear to me.

                               

                               

                              SI: A final obvious question: What do you miss about coaching?

                              Jackson: What you might expect. Being around the other coaches, being around the guys. It's what I talked about in my book [Eleven Rings]. Coaching is about, "How do I get these people to play at their peak level?" Yeah, the X's and O's mean something, but you can get people to do that. And a lot of those guys have been hired. The Lawrence Franks and the Frank Vogels. Mike Brown was one of those guys. That's not a knock. Those guys know how to coach the game.

                              But coaching is much more than that. It is a spiritual quest. And if it's not that, you don't have a challenge, you don't have a mission. Forming a brotherhood and trying to move it forward, that's the part that I miss.


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                              How sweet it is!

                              #58 Willk

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                                Posted 19 March 2014 - 05:09 PM

                                I don't think QNoir said anything about McHale trying to ruin Lin, just questioning a rotation decision. I haven't looked to see if he has done so on other threads, but not on this one. Let's not look for trouble when it's not there.

                                 

                                I agree with you that putting in Lin at that point in that particular game was not a good decision. But it's not just about Lin. It feels to me like McHale sometimes thinks "smallball worked well before, let's try it again," without tailoring his decision-making to the particular situation.

                                Lawprofsr - please look at the thread QNOIR started "Kevin McHale - Whats the Verdict."

                                He clearly states in the thread that he thinks McHale is out to destroy Lin.

                                QNOIR stated in this thread he was frustated about Lin getting pulled after starting to do something "special." I responded that Lin was not playing that well. If he would have said he was frustrated with playing small ball versus probably the best small ball team in the league, I would have agreed. If he would have said that the small lineup is a -11.5 per 100 posessions and should not be used, I would have agreed. Since his post was about one guy, my response was about one guy


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                                #59 Willk

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                                  Posted 19 March 2014 - 05:15 PM

                                   

                                  When Rockets fans start criticizing McHale on play calling this Phil Jackson quote always comes to mind. It also reinforces my opinions on NBA coaches like that it's not just about a moment in a game but also about 1000 moments that occurred in video study, team practices, individual player reps on shooting and skills and maybe even something like a private conversation between McHale and a player about on court decision making. I see McHale getting the most out of the stars on this team and that might be one of the most important things. McHale is a leader of men and that much is clear to me.

                                   

                                   

                                  SI: A final obvious question: What do you miss about coaching?

                                  Jackson: What you might expect. Being around the other coaches, being around the guys. It's what I talked about in my book [Eleven Rings]. Coaching is about, "How do I get these people to play at their peak level?" Yeah, the X's and O's mean something, but you can get people to do that. And a lot of those guys have been hired. The Lawrence Franks and the Frank Vogels. Mike Brown was one of those guys. That's not a knock. Those guys know how to coach the game.

                                  But coaching is much more than that. It is a spiritual quest. And if it's not that, you don't have a challenge, you don't have a mission. Forming a brotherhood and trying to move it forward, that's the part that I miss.

                                   

                                  FSS - I agree completely. I think coaching is much more than X's and O's on gameday. I do see this team responding to McHale.

                                  I also like this interview with Gregg Popovich where he says sometimes he walks out of huddles.

                                  http://espn.go.com/n...lay-coach-court

                                  Coaching is much more than what play you call, it is how players respond to you.


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                                  #60 QNoir

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                                    Posted 20 March 2014 - 04:38 AM

                                    Lawprofsr - please look at the thread QNOIR started "Kevin McHale - Whats the Verdict."

                                    He clearly states in the thread that he thinks McHale is out to destroy Lin.

                                    QNOIR stated in this thread he was frustated about Lin getting pulled after starting to do something "special." I responded that Lin was not playing that well. If he would have said he was frustrated with playing small ball versus probably the best small ball team in the league, I would have agreed. If he would have said that the small lineup is a -11.5 per 100 posessions and should not be used, I would have agreed. Since his post was about one guy, my response was about one guy

                                    I didn't say Lin did something special. I said something special was happening with the TEAM during the first 5 minutes of the 4th quarter, and that Lin was a part of that. You can quote me on that. Go ahead. My point was that the offense was flowing, and the coaching change disrupted that. However, someone did point out that a couple of players made big shots immediately after Lin was subbed. My point is that the immediacy of subbing Lin at the DWade foul was frustrating, because ball movement stopped and they looked to rely on big shots instead of easy ones from that point forward. Let's just argue what is said. I'm a fan of Lin and a whole lot of other players, but I'm not unreasonable. And I won't mischaracterize your post.


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