Harden plays like an old, wise Kung Fu Master

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.


8 thoughts on “Harden plays like an old, wise Kung Fu Master

  1. I didn’t like this game as much as the Detroit game. I could tell they intentionally made sure the offense ran through Harden 100%. It almost felt like guys purposely didn’t shoot when they were open and they just threw the ball back to Harden to have him make the play. I don’t want the rest of the players, especially Jeremy to start playing that way and relying on Harden so much. Yes, Harden is the number one option but I want the players to play up to their individual potential too. This isn’t a one man sport.

    Also, I don’t like that Jeremy has to defer the ball so much in the 4th quarter to Harden. As soon as J brings the ball up to half court, he passes it to Harden, and he scans the field, and then throws it back to J if he can’t get anything. If Lin is the floor general, why can’t he survey the floor before dumping it off to Harden? I have this feeling that all the other guys are going to be extreme role players and depend on Harden too much for playmaking. Yes, Harden is an elite, superstar and playmaker but J and the rest of the guys have a lot to offer too.

    I can already tell Mchale/coaching staff are doing everything they can to run every play through Harden. The problem is, it’ll be at the detriment of the rest of the players. Harden confirmed that he’s adjusting to having everything run through him. Mchale literally said, “Harden was going to take a lot of playmaking responsibility out of Jeremy’s plate.” Uhm, that’s not necessarily good…WTF is Jeremy supposed to do then? Pass the ball and wait? What’s the point of having a PG then? They might as well let Harden be the PG and trade for a defensive stud SG to compliment him.

    Also, what’s up Parsons need to be PG #2/playmaker #2? Yes, i know he’s a good passer but his turnovers are even worse than Lin’s. We already have a PG, we don’t need Chandler to attempt that role.

  2. I was there at the Rockets’ home opener last night. First of all, congrats to the Blazers and Lillard in particular. The Blazers played team basketball while the Rockets played Harden ball. It must be tough for our Philosopher to watch the game, rooting for his home team and Jeremy Lin at the same time.

    Are you seeing what I am seeing? Lin dribbles up court and passes the ball to Harden… I have the same opinion as CW about the Rockets’ playbook: everything goes through Harden. This is not team basketball. This is not the type of basketball the Gods of Basketball have intended for Jeremy Lin.

    Having said all that, I think Harden was fouled on his last shot attempt during regulation time:

    Harden took it well though. He just moved on. That’s the mindset of a “Kungfu master”. I like that a lot. As a longtime student of martial art, I like the “Kungfu master” analogy a lot.

    And speaking of the mind of a Kungfu master, I think Lin’s mind was still somewhere in MSG. The “almost cocky” self-confidence in his shots is not there. Who knows what could have been, if Lin made one more of his missed 3-pointers? Lin admitted that his mis-lob to Parsons was a mistake.


    No matter what the sports is: you only gamble and go for the low percentage play when you are behind and desperate. The law of statistics rules!

    Anyway, 3 down, 79 more to go!

    • Thanks for the video MrPingPong! Actually, I’m a full on Rockets fan, so wasn’t tough for me to cheer for the Rockets at all. Haven’t been a Blazers fan since Clyde Drexler era. Then I was a Rockets fan when Drexler went to the Rockets. I cheer for players, not uniforms, although this Blazers team seem like a pretty good group. Aldridge seems like someone worthy of cheering for.

      I’ll have a few brief things to say about last night’s game in a post, so will address some of your concerns there.

      • Like you, Philosopher, I cheer for players too. I cheered for Bill Walton and the Blazers. I cheered for Phi Slamma Jamma and was almost heart-broken when they lost to the Wolfpack on the last dunk in the NCAA final. But at the same time I admired those underdog Wolfpackers who fought tooth and nail against Olajuwon and Drexler and never give in.

        Then I lost interest in basketball and the NBA in particular, for a long while, until Jeremy Lin came along. My children and my friends think I’ve gone nuts!

        Anyway, here is something in French for the readers of this blog.


  3. Thanks for the video mrpingpong. There was very little ball movement in the portland game. There were a lot of iso plays for Harden though. This is not good for the long term health of the team.

    When you take the playmaking out of Lin’s hands, he becomes very average bc he hasn’t gotten his shot back, and doesn’t play off the ball as well as Harden. Yes, I know Lin can play off the ball, but not as well as Harden. This is why we need to let Harden be the scorer and Lin the PG/distributor. Play to their strengths.

    I have very little faith in Mchale/coaching staff. I don’t see Lin staying with the Rockets past his contract. They’re going to develop Harden into a combo guard and if they do that, they won’t need someone like Lin.

    • I think you and I are seeing the same thing here, CW: little ball movement in the Portland game. As the matter of fact, little ball movement in all the three games so far. I think our Philosopher said something along this line in one of his earlier posts. That last pre-season game in Orlando looked so good. Then came Harden, the Unshaven…

      But have faith, CW! Give coach KM a chance. Give the Unshaven Kungfu Master a chance. I want Lin to stay in Houston and play until he is 41. Where else can Lin go? The only coach who had total confidence in Lin is D’Antoni, but he is not coaching at this point in time.

      In case you don’t know it already, The Wall Street Journal predicted the following:


      I believe Lin is a very intelligent player. A characteristic of intelligence is the ability to adapt. There will never be a perfect environment for Lin to thrive and excel to the max. That is basketball utopia. I believe Lin will study the games and continually adapt and improve himself no matter what basketball environment he is in.

      I believe in Lin; the question is how much he believes in himself. Another question I have for Lin is whether or not he will leave New York behind for good and give all his heart and mind to his fans here in Houston.

      Can’t wait until the Knicks game here in Houston.

      • love your optimism. The only positive thing in all of this is that Lin is smart and determined. I agree that he will adapt to his environment and that for him, he’ll never be put in an ideal situation. So adapting and believing in oneself is key…I know that’s who he is.

  4. Pingback: Rockets Put Away Sixers: Great Team Win–Especially for the Money Boys + Smith, Douglas, Morris « Jeremy Lintelligence

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