Rockets get another win and Harden followed up his amazing debut with an equally amazing, if not better follow up. He had the quietest career high 45-point game I’ve seen. He’s ridiculously efficient! He went 14 of 19 from the field (2 of 4 from 3-point) and 15 of 17 from the free throw line. Harden is so quick, but plays in slow motion–it’s inexplicable. He plays like an old, wise Kung Fu master: patient, decisive, and devastatingly efficient. I mean, just look at his big ass beard. Everyone wonders how he grows it. Now we know: through basketball wisdom. He just picks apart defenses and makes them pay–and barely looks like he’s even trying in the process. A man playing among boys. That was Harden last night. The Hawks did a better job of defending him than the Pistons, but it didn’t matter. He also knows when to go into his drawing-fouls-at-all-costs mode, rather than just settling for jump shots when the game is on the line. Just such a smart player and, in this sense, he’s very similar to Lin. Both have very high basketball IQs. Actually, they have a lot in common, but don’t get in each other’s ways, because both are unselfish players. It’s a beautiful thing to watch, man. The only downside to Harden’s game tonight was 5 TOs. He was pretty sloppy with some passes today, two of which contributed to the big run by the Hawks that allowed them to eventually take the lead.
Lin looks like he’s still getting his rhythm. It’ll come. I did notice him unable to control a big grin on his face when he broke into the high teens in points. Lin may try to be humble and everything, and his humbleness is genuine, but he is very competitive at the same time. He still wants to go Linsane and he will. I think that’s what that big smile on his face was when he went to the free throw line in the fourth. He was thinking, “it’s only a matter of time.” That’s when Linharden will be a thing of beauty.
He brought his B-game tonight and still came away getting nearly a triple double 21 pts/10 reb/7 ast. He would have easily gotten a triple double if our shots had fallen. Also, there’s still not enough chemistry on the pick-and-roll with Asik. After all, it is still only the second game of the season. It’ll improve. And Asik is pretty new to being involved offensively, as well. So it’ll take some time.
One thing that would improve Lin’s game immensely is if he incorporates a short jumper into this game. This way, he doesn’t get caught in the land of giants with no plan. I don’t know why he doesn’t just drive part of the way to the paint an pull up for like a 5-foot jumper or something like that. His getting caught without a plan is also something the team needs to work on, because right now they don’t know where to go to get opened so Lin can make plays when he goes hard to the lane.
Linharden’s stat line: 66 pts/ 17 reb/ 9 ast (damn! still didn’t get a triple double). This is because of Linharden’s teammates’ struggle from the field. We were like 0 for 1000 from three point line, before Harden hit the team’s first three pointer. As impressive as this is, I expect better things to come from Linharden. Hoping they’ll play off of each other more and take advantage of their ability to basically go anywhere they want on the floor. Lin and Harden have very similar approaches to the game, which is why I KNOW they are loving playing with each other. They make each other better. They’ll figure it out soon enough. But at least they’re helping their teams win games along the way.
Today, Asik looked more like the Asik of last year. Good at everything except finishing on the offensive end. He had 19 rebounds, which I would think is a career high for him, since he used to only get 15 minutes a game. Oh, and Lin’s 10 rebounds is a career high for Lin. So career highs for all of Morey’s big gambles in the off-season, which might not be saying much, since these guys (except Lin) are playing significantly more minutes than they had before. But still. Morey must be (insert any number of disturbing things your dirty minds can come up with)…ahem…psyched tonight!
Marcus Morris had a great game tonight. Also a career night for him with 17 points! Records all around tonight. Patterson was big defensively for us and Parsons hit a clutch three (Lin assist) in the fourth that helped secure the lead for us. Once again, the Rockets didn’t destruct in the 4th. They held it together after giving up a big lead (two Harden turnovers were responsible for the Hawks run that got them the lead). But Harden more than made up for it with his clutch performance down the stretch. See, it’s not all about the turnovers, kids. Gotta look at turnovers in context. Turnovers aren’t the end of the world. Players who consistently don’t get any turnovers, just aren’t trying hard enough.