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@  2016Champions : (09 December 2013 - 04:14 AM) Lol
@  thenit : (09 December 2013 - 12:45 AM) Lol Dolan is so bad that it's plausible
@  2016Champions : (08 December 2013 - 10:11 PM) What if the Knicks are secretly tanking not realizing they don't have a 1st, that's plausible, right?
@  2016Champions : (08 December 2013 - 06:22 PM) I'm reading some hilarious tweets ridiculing the Knicks. Poor Knicks fans lol
@  Dayak : (05 December 2013 - 06:04 AM) J.R. Harden, lol.
@  HazeWinkle : (05 December 2013 - 05:09 AM) @feeling super he had only 15 pts 4-11 shooting which could be put on jh or km he had 5 to and he got blocked about 5 times by guys not known for their defense
@  thenit : (05 December 2013 - 04:35 AM) linsanity, hard yo get that label off, anyone with that king of usage rate has high turnovers including harden, Kobe etc
@  thenit : (05 December 2013 - 04:34 AM) Jeremy got that label in
@  thenit : (05 December 2013 - 04:33 AM) FSS agree to some extent but when hardens shot aren't falling, he has no Impact on the defensive floor and becomes a huge liability, doesn't happen every day when he has a goose egg
@  thenit : (05 December 2013 - 04:32 AM) Fuss
@  RollingWave : (05 December 2013 - 04:32 AM) Remember when folks said our turnover thing was all on Jeremy? yeah I don't either
@  feelingsuper... : (05 December 2013 - 04:24 AM) Dwight did not get stopped, are you joking? They should have ran through him more but hindsight is 20/20. How many more games wil Harden go 0% from three point land?
@  CanSayNOTC : (05 December 2013 - 03:27 AM) when 3 of your best 5.....:D
@  HazeWinkle : (05 December 2013 - 03:20 AM) excuse,excuses 22 to it dont matter who was playing and dwight howard got stopped by pumlee
@  pharmag : (05 December 2013 - 03:16 AM) When 3 of your best 7 players are out its not entirely surprising that the team is struggling....
@  HazeWinkle : (05 December 2013 - 03:13 AM) i see a five game losing streak in store for them rockets.
@  Adi1008 : (05 December 2013 - 03:12 AM) The Rockets could potentially be on an eight game winning streak if they could win the easy games.
@  HazeWinkle : (05 December 2013 - 03:03 AM) omg isthis team great at turning the ball over
@  pharmag : (05 December 2013 - 03:00 AM) He is out with bruised thigh i thinki saw
@  HazeWinkle : (05 December 2013 - 02:59 AM) who knows maybe trade coming

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The Rockets Abandonment of Their Game Plan Falls on the Coach


61 replies to this topic

#1 Red94

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    Posted 03 December 2013 - 09:43 PM

    New post: The Rockets Abandonment of Their Game Plan Falls on the Coach
    By: Brandon Davis

    The Houston Rockets sit at 13-6. Their season has been marked by extreme highs and severe lows. Unfortunately, for the Rockets, an NBA game takes place over the course of four quarters rather than just three. The impetus is on Coach Kevin McHale to instill discipline into his players and avoid lethargy. However, there are simple issues that are currently looming over the Rockets yet to be addressed. What could have been a signature and season defining streak close to November gave way to a frustrating reminder of the roster’s shortcomings in December.

    When the Rockets shots aren’t falling, or the game isn’t coming easily to them, there is one maddening habit that they fail to break. The Rockets are consistently flopping and seeking a whistle to bail them out of poor shot selection. The Rockets consistently fail to establish Dwight Howard throughout the course of a game, let alone the beginning of one, and it results in reversion to old habits. The Rockets, in turn, settle for jump shots, poor drives, and panic-based turnovers. Even more maddeningly, the Rockets consistently attempt three-point shots and shy away from contact. Why, though, is this an issue?

    It’s simple. The Rockets thrive on free throws, layups, and three-pointers. In their hesitance to drive or establish Dwight Howard in the post, the Rockets are abandoning their best chance to put points on the board. It really boils down to the simple fact that the Rockets will not get foul calls on three-point shots and they will not put their opponents in the penalty if they continue to seek to avoid contact. This has gotten even worse in recent games where the three-point shot becomes an obsession. The Rockets fall down on contested three’s. Not figuratively, literally. The shooter hits the deck and begs for a call. Nine times out of ten that call doesn’t come and the other team has a man advantage.

    The Rockets 112-106 victory against the Spurs was the perfect opportunity for Houston to finally put their mark on the season. The Rockets played that game exactly as Daryl Morey had intended this team to play. The Rockets ran when they had the opportunity, kept pounding the ball inside, and didn’t shy away from getting to the basket. Against Utah the Rockets settled for jumpers, begged for calls, and failed to take advantage of Dwight Howard on the block. Injuries are a convenient excuse for the loss but there’s a point where these lapses can’t be forgiven. Chandler Parsons and Jeremy Lin will not solve the failure to use the post. That failure rests solely on McHale’s shoulders.

    That’s not to say McHale’s coaching has been a complete nightmare this season. Jeremy Lin and Chandler Parsons will help to solve one major problem of this offense. The lack of consistent attacking is a problem that those two help to stabilize. James Harden, the most maligned Rocket in social media, is at once a savior and saboteur to the offense. His singular effort often helps propel the Rockets to victory but he also manages to shoot the team out of games when he gets complacent. That’s not even addressing his defensive woes. Ultimately, the Rockets fall victim to complacency that is more indicative of McHale’s “fast and loose” system of last season. Why is this an issue?

    The majority of the roster wasn’t even present last season. NBA Players have a propensity of abandoning cohesive basketball when given the option of playing pick-up basketball. In the long-term that’s not sustainable. The Rockets offensive design lends itself well to rec-league basketball but it requires a structure; one with an offensive design and an endgame. When that endgame is abandoned the Rockets game plan falls apart. The defense goes completely absent and the efficiency the Rockets strive for causes an unmitigated collapse of the team.

    On the back of this article, however, let’s not be alarmist. The Rockets are a brand new team with a brand new identity wholly separable from who they were last year. It’s a matter of time until it’s all put together and consistency gets established. The season is less than a quarter of the way over. The All-Star Break will be a fair appraisal point for the team. If the team fails to play as a cohesive unit and on a consistent basis, the Coach McHale may find himself on the hot seat in Houston. Something worth considering, however, is how much of that hot-seat is on McHale and how much of it is on his player’s free-will in abandoning the game plan?


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    #2 RyanB

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      Posted 03 December 2013 - 10:42 PM

      Too pessimistic?

      I know Mc Hale ain't Rivers or Pop' but a lot has to do with mental issues.

      Perimeter defense along with consistent and persevering attack are both IMHO depending on mental toughness.

      A coach for sure has smg to do with it.

      With all that said i don't see why Mc Hale would be on the hot seat.

      He's proven he can adjust to matchups and showed no problem in benching Howard or Harden when they're not playing well.


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      #3 timetodienow1234567

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      Posted 03 December 2013 - 11:11 PM

      Failure to establish Dwight in the post? LOL. We need to run more PnRs with Dwight. Giving him the ball in the post constantly with his turnover issues and he'll get triple doubles(the bad kind).


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      Why so Serious? :D


      #4 Sir Thursday

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      Posted 04 December 2013 - 12:11 AM

      Sorry, but I have to disagree with the premise of this article. The problem is the defence, not the offence. The last 5 minutes of the game last night showed the problem in a microcosm. The Rockets were within 2 at 91-93 when the Jazz called a timeout with 4:43 left in the game. After that point, the outcome of their possessions was as follows:

       

      - Howard layup

      - Brooks three

      - Brooks freethrows x2

      - Harden turnover (Jazz score)

      - Harden dunk

      - Brooks missed shot (5 foot hook in paint)

      - Harden three

      - Brooks blocked shot

       

      If you're counting, that's 12 points on 8 possessions. The turnover is painful, but apart from that you'd be hard-pressed to look at that and say the offence wasn't clicking down the stretch. Now let's look at the Jazz's last 5 minutes:

       

      - Williams missed jumper [Favors offensive rebound]

      - Favors freethrows x2

      - Burke missed long two [Favors offensive rebound]

      - Haywood missed midrange jumper [Williams offensive rebound]

      - Favors layup

      - Burke layup

      - Burke freethrows x2

      - Williams made basket off turnover

      - Burks 7ft make

      - Williams three

      - Burke missed jumper

      - Burke freethrow (1/2) [Burke offensive rebound]

       

      Speaks for itself, really. 4 offensive rebounds, and only one trip down the floor that didn't end in the Jazz scoring points in nine attempts. You can't win a close game if you let your opposition do that to you, it doesn't matter how well your offence is clicking.

       

      ST


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      #5 rocketrick

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        Posted 04 December 2013 - 12:55 AM

        I think part of it is also the grind of an 82 game regular season that goes on and on for 5 1/2 months, lots of long distance travel, nagging injuries all season long, etc.

        It's just impossible for any team to play at their maximum ability each and every game (well, maybe except the Harlem Globetrotters since they play the same sorry Washington Generals team just in different cities on their tour).

        If some want to blame Coach McHale, well, he understands that comes with the territory. However, he can't shoot the ball or rebound the ball or play defense for his team. The guys on the floor have to perform, and like I said, it's not that easy to be on top of your game each and every night.
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        #6 Buckko

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          Posted 04 December 2013 - 06:16 AM

          Agreed.
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          #7 rockets best fan

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          Posted 04 December 2013 - 07:28 AM

          I think part of it is also the grind of an 82 game regular season that goes on and on for 5 1/2 months, lots of long distance travel, nagging injuries all season long, etc.

          It's just impossible for any team to play at their maximum ability each and every game (well, maybe except the Harlem Globetrotters since they play the same sorry Washington Generals team just in different cities on their tour).

          If some want to blame Coach McHale, well, he understands that comes with the territory. However, he can't shoot the ball or rebound the ball or play defense for his team. The guys on the floor have to perform, and like I said, it's not that easy to be on top of your game each and every night.

          I disagree. it's McHale's job to have this team focused for the task at hand. excuses don't cut it for me. it's games like this game that separate the good from the elite. while I'm not expecting 82-0, effort is something I want to see every night. fact is this team wasn't ready to play. dress it up how ever you want, but that's the bottom line. they were still giddy over the San Antonio win. they didn't have their game faces on. if the coach is unable to keep the team focused and we are less than a quarter of the way on the season, what happens when we play game # 48? 58? 68? the separation between the top seed in the conference and probably the 6th seed will only be a hand full of games. we can't afford to be letting games like this slip through our fingers. that falls on coaching IMO. one reason I use to love VanGundy when he was here is win lose or draw his teams consistently bring effort every night. I haven't seen that under McHale. I could pull out a number of games last year and the year before where McHale coached teams took the night off.

           

          As for establishing Howard. this is a flaw I have been paying attention to. we are not using Howard properly. whether we post him up or use him in P&R isn't so much the issue as the fact we forget we have the best center in the game at crunch time. we get 3 ball happy as this article has pointed out. that's coaching problem. I want to believe in McHale, but the eye test says McFail. I'm seeing flaws in the play of this team. I don't expect any coaches to always make the greatest moves. it's like any other position......there will be mistakes. however McHale doesn't make good moves consistently. could be we have an inconsistent team because we have an inconsistent coach. I say give him more time at this point, but if the results don't improve a change may be in order.


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          you can only warn a man that the bridge is out.....if he keeps driving he's on his own B)


          #8 rocketrick

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            Posted 04 December 2013 - 08:20 AM

            That's what I love about RBF.

             

            It's always Coach McHale's fault when the Rockets lose games they have no business losing.

             

            With only begrudging, at best, compliments from time to time when the Rockets win tough games on the road, etc.

             

            Apparently, the Rockets players can do no wrong when the Rockets are losing by this logic.

             

            I believe Sir Thursday gave an excellent summary of the last 5 minutes of the Rockets-Jazz game and showed the problem was primarily with the Rockets lack of defense. Coach McHale can preach defense all day, everyday, but sometimes the players are not going to listen when they should and because of the 82 game regular season grind, every team is going to have bad losses. Heck, Miami lost by 10 to Detroit tonight. Practically every night in the NBA there is a team that should easily win that ends up losing.

             

            Welcome to the NBA!

             

            Final point being if Coach McHale turns into a drill sergeant, he is going to lose this team as any head coach that turns into a drill sergeant historically always has.


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            #9 rockets best fan

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            Posted 04 December 2013 - 08:40 AM

            players do share fault rocketrick, but effort......not just from one guy......the team? that's coaching........when we were in that San Antonio game and Pop thought the spurs weren't bringing it..........what happened? he chewed on their butts like he was eating prime rib :lol:  you don't have to be a drill sergeant, however being able to get the teams attention is a requirement of the job. I give McHale credit when it's due, but find myself seeing far more negative than positive. this team is stacked at every position. we have the necessary talent. the deployment of that talent is McHale's job. the buck stops on his chair


            Edited by rockets best fan, 04 December 2013 - 08:41 AM.

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            you can only warn a man that the bridge is out.....if he keeps driving he's on his own B)


            #10 Alituro

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              Posted 04 December 2013 - 02:41 PM

              I think this assessment of McHale is a little harsh at this point in the season, and wouldn't mind a revisit of this topic later on, near the break. McHale probably has one of the most desirable and yet challenging tasks of all the coaches in the NBA. He's got two superstar talents who just freshly got joined and a roster replete with outstanding, young, up-and-coming talents. The task is daunting enough to figure out how best to use all of the roster's talents, that, for the time being he needs to defer to his player's personalities until he is able to establish solid credibility as a coach among his roster. That could take the entire season. Pop's has the luxury of being able to deliver a tongue lashing at his players when they are underperforming because his core unit has been together for so long and he has established himself among them as THE premier coach in the league. In the first couple years, Parker didn't respond to Pop's yelling like he does today, Timmy neither. I seriously doubt that either Harden or Howard would be positively receptive of such a lashing from McHale, at this point and we all know Lin hasn't responded well to such things. McHale simply needs to make his statements, for now, by pulling the poor performers from the floor. Case in point: the bench played the entire 4th quarter against Memphis. I think he does a good job with his rotations and game strategies, and as Sir Thursday said, the fault in the ugly loss to Utah lies on the defensive effort at the end of the game. Also largely because we were missing 30+ points from Lin and Parsons, where the loss of one of them is absorb-able but both being gone is hard to make up for. 

               

              As far as giving Howard more post touches, I don't know if you've noticed, but, unless he is dunking, his shots don't stand a very good chance of falling, even easy layups. I also don't know if you've noticed, but teams are fouling him the second he gets the ball in his hands. Posting him up is not a good option considering these factors. His best scoring opportunities come off the roll, the lob, and on rebounds, and that is how he is used, so no complaints here. I wouldn't mind seeing more PnRs with him involved. I would also like to see how he operates on the elbow more because he is a good passer, and with all of the motion swirling around him, he probably won't draw the intentional fouls at the elbow unless he decides to drive, the defenses will dare him to shoot from there as well.


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              #11 rocketrick

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                Posted 04 December 2013 - 02:46 PM

                players do share fault rocketrick, but effort......not just from one guy......the team? that's coaching........when we were in that San Antonio game and Pop thought the spurs weren't bringing it..........what happened? he chewed on their butts like he was eating prime rib :lol:  you don't have to be a drill sergeant, however being able to get the teams attention is a requirement of the job. I give McHale credit when it's due, but find myself seeing far more negative than positive. this team is stacked at every position. we have the necessary talent. the deployment of that talent is McHale's job. the buck stops on his chair

                And Popovich's Drill Sargeant moment as you succinctly desribed resulted in................a Spurs loss to the Rockets in San Antonio.

                 

                I digress.


                Edited by rocketrick, 04 December 2013 - 02:50 PM.

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                #12 rocketrick

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                  Posted 04 December 2013 - 02:51 PM

                  According to RBF, the players are never accountable, it's always on Coach McHale, when the Rockets lose a winnable game.


                  Edited by rocketrick, 04 December 2013 - 02:51 PM.

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                  #13 timetodienow1234567

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                  Posted 04 December 2013 - 02:54 PM

                  According to rocketrick, Mchale is never accountable, only the players.
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                  Why so Serious? :D


                  #14 rocketrick

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                    Posted 04 December 2013 - 02:59 PM

                    And I stated that when in which topic??
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                    #15 timetodienow1234567

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                    Posted 04 December 2013 - 03:57 PM

                    You always bash people for putting any blame on mchales head so. I inferred it. I apologize if I misread the context of your statements.
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                    Why so Serious? :D


                    #16 Chai

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                      Posted 04 December 2013 - 04:45 PM

                      I don't see how this loss is on McHale... You can't blame the coach when the players can't rebound, or when the Jazz just had an excellent shooting night


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                      #17 rockets best fan

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                      Posted 04 December 2013 - 05:06 PM

                      And Popovich's Drill Sargeant moment as you succinctly desribed resulted in................a Spurs loss to the Rockets in San Antonio.

                       

                      I digress.

                      true but they came from 23 down to take a lead in that game

                       

                       

                      According to RBF, the players are never accountable, it's always on Coach McHale, when the Rockets lose a winnable game.

                      it's hard to keep the car moving straight when the man driving keeps falling asleep at the wheel. you may be willing to give McHale a pass....I'm not. when I see a spade I call it a spade. no sugar coating for me. McHale either gets the job done or replace him with someone who can get the job done. this team has too much talent to lose games like the Utah game.


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                      you can only warn a man that the bridge is out.....if he keeps driving he's on his own B)


                      #18 feelingsupersonic

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                      Posted 04 December 2013 - 06:10 PM

                      players do share fault rocketrick, but effort......not just from one guy......the team? that's coaching........when we were in that San Antonio game and Pop thought the spurs weren't bringing it..........what happened? he chewed on their butts like he was eating prime rib :lol:  you don't have to be a drill sergeant, however being able to get the teams attention is a requirement of the job. I give McHale credit when it's due, but find myself seeing far more negative than positive. this team is stacked at every position. we have the necessary talent. the deployment of that talent is McHale's job. the buck stops on his chair



                      You cannot compare McHale and Pop if you are trying to understand the situation. You also cannot compare Pop now to the coach he was three years into his San Antonio tenure. I mean Pop is basically a head coach and general manager, you can't just compare what Pop did last week to what McHale isn't doing.
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                      #19 timetodienow1234567

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                      Posted 04 December 2013 - 06:17 PM

                      You can't compare pop to mchale because he had more authority.

                      You can't compare Phil to mchale because he had Jordan, Shaquille, Kobe,etc...

                      Based on the list of guys that I've decided you can compare him to, he's doing great.
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                      Why so Serious? :D


                      #20 Sir Thursday

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                      Posted 04 December 2013 - 06:45 PM

                      You can't compare pop to mchale because he had more authority.

                      You can't compare Phil to mchale because he had Jordan, Shaquille, Kobe,etc...

                      Based on the list of guys that I've decided you can compare him to, he's doing great.

                       

                      That's a specious line of argument. You can't really compare any two coaches perfectly (or indeed players) unless they have been in exactly the same situation. All comparisons between individuals have to take into account individual circumstances, and failure to do so renders a comparison invalid. So no, you can't compare Phil or Pop or anyone else to McHale unless you take the situational differences into account.

                       

                      ST


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