1st. I know it’s just one game, but Harden looks like a legitimate superstar to me. Morey must be (fill in the superlative) tonight. He has an all around game: 37 pts; 12 ast; 6 reb; 4 steals; 4 TO. That’s as good of a debut as any I’ve seen. Granted, it’s against a not very good defensive team.
2nd. Linharden looks like I thought and hoped it would look like. Sure, Lin’s stat line isn’t so impressive: 12 pts; 8 ast; 4 reb; 4 steals; 4 TO. But Lin actually had a great game if you watched the game. Again, I think people miss all the little things that Lin does to help a team win. When Lin was on the bench, the Detroit Pistons went on a huge run and Rockets ended up with their biggest deficit of the game (or close to it), I believe. The synergy that is Linharden looked good tonight. At least it was a good start. I expect more in the future, but tonight is what I expected to happen. Harden is not a ball hog, despite scoring 37 points. He actually passed to Lin quite a bit and seemed to be the only Rockets player to pass to Lin. Parsons, noticeably didn’t pass to Lin. I’m not sure what that’s about. I noticed at least three instances when Parsons should have passed to Lin to avoid committing a turnover himself or to give the Rockets an easy basket. I think Parsons may have felt a little left out and was trying too hard to be a play maker and create for himself. Parsons played very uncharacteristically tonight. He’s usually a very smart player and doesn’t force things. I’m sure he wasn’t happy with his game. Anyway, back to the Linharden. Man, I can’t wait to see these guys develop together. I’m envisioning an unconventional duo in which both guys handle the ball equally and create for each other. That would be awesome! The only downside to this is that the other players on the team may feel left out, causing a break down in team chemistry. I noticed a little bit of that tonight.
3rd. Asik still so solid. This guy just brings it day in and day out and tonight he looked the best I’ve seen him on the offensive end. Linharden making it happen for Asik time and time again on the offensive end. Asik’s gotta be pretty thrilled–even though you can never tell from looking at him.
4th. I don’t really understand McHale’s decision to play and not to play certain players. Didn’t make any sense tonight. I’m hoping that it’s just because he’s trying out new things. He didn’t play our best rookie: Terrence Jones tonight. That was a blatantly horrible decision, unless something happened to Jones that no one knows about. He also didn’t play any of the other rookies, living up to his reputation (warranted or not) that he prefers veterans. Delfino is definitely his 6th man. So far, that’s been proven to be a good decision, because Delfino has been remarkably consistent. I keep thinking that he’ll have an off shooting night, because of that horrible first pre-season game. But it hasn’t happened, yet. McHale decided to start Marcus Morris tonight. A guy who’s been out due to injuring himself in the first game. That was a terrible idea. Again, have no idea what McHale is thinking. Anyway, I have a feeling I’ll be continually frustrated with McHale’s decision to play certain players and not play certain players this entire season. I just don’t want him to shun our rookies–especially D-Mo and T-Jones. These two guys are way better than the guys he ended up going with.
5th. Cutting Livingston was a terrible mistake. Should have let Douglas go. I praised Livingston in my summation of the preseason. I also said that I have no idea where Douglas fits into the rotation in that post. He’s not a Point Guard. I don’t know why teams keep trying to make him play that position. He’s just a guy who loves to put up shots. He’s just a very inefficient scorer: A guy who loves to jack up shots, but is very inconsistent at making them. That’s all Douglas is. He’ll be on some nights, but off most nights. He can’t run an offense. One adjustment they MUST make is that if Douglas is in the game with Harden, let Harden take up the damn ball! Or at least make Douglas give up the ball to Harden the moment Douglas passes the half court line. I don’t know why you have Harden out there expending all his energy if you’re just going to let Douglas handle the ball. That’s a waste of Harden’s energy. This is exactly what happened tonight when Lin sat down with 4 fouls and Douglas came in with Harden. Douglas played the point and was very inefficient at it. Harden didn’t touch the ball enough during this time and that’s when Detroit went on a huge run. Hope they’ll make this adjustment in the future. If they had kept Livingston, they wouldn’t have had to make this adjustment. I’d rather Machado play point than Douglas. Again, Douglas is not a Point Guard. Stop forcing him to be one! When are coaches going to get this?
6th. What is going on with Lin NOT getting any calls? I saw this nonsense last season and it looks like it’s continuing. If this keeps on happening I might have to really get into it in one of my posts. We’ll see. Hopefully, they’re just isolated instances. But in this game, it was blatant, because it happened quite a bit. I would think that it would be the opposite, that Lin should be getting all the calls, because he’s big for the NBA. I would think that David Stern would be hinting to all the refs to take care of Lin a little, like they take care of NBA superstars. But no. Hope this changes, because if Lin goes into the paint and doesn’t get the calls, then what’s the point? I suspect this is another reason why Lin’s turnover numbers are so high. He’ll get in the paint get surrounded by guys and sometimes draw contact and they don’t call it. So it turns into a turnover for Lin, because Lin gets knocked down and his opponents are running away with the ball. Talk about being robbed!
7th. Even though we won tonight, I’m concerned about the team chemistry. Granted it’s the first regular season game, but I thought we had very good team chemistry during the preseason on both ends of the floor. But tonight we lacked the cohesiveness. It was more like the Asiklinharden show in terms of chemistry. Of course, this is to be expected with the addition of OKC players. But I think this is something we’ll have to work even harder on now that we have a number 1 option. Many times during this game, it became more of an iso situation, where Linharden were trying to beat their man one-on-one. Felt like the other guys felt left out–especially Parsons. The ball wasn’t being whipped around like it was in the preseason. The ball stopped. I’m kind of okay with this, because I felt like before, the ball was being passed around a little too much and it felt like Lin didn’t feel comfortable having the ball in his hands for a longer period of time to try and create something. But it seemed like we went a little extreme in the other direction and weren’t whipping the ball around the perimeter enough. I only saw us doing this rarely in tonight’s game, whereas during the preseason, this was happening with regularity. I think this fed into the defensive end and they felt less like a cohesive unit defensively. But this might have to do with all the new players. Again, it’s only their first preseason game, so I’ll take this win. They sure gave us a scare there by being down by 9 or so to begin the 4th. At least this shows that they maintained their composure to stay in the game. Delfino was huge in the 4th for us, tonight. That’s the veteran leadership we need from him.