Started slow and ended slow. Rockets still need to work on doing a better job of closing out games. Parsons, once again, hit some clutch shots (even though he only shot 4 of 14 for the game) to secure the lead for the Rockets. And, once again, the Rockets struggled in the final few minutes of the game.
Looks like Lin still hasn’t recovered from that air ball against Miami, because nothing was falling for him tonight. He took good shots. They just didn’t fall. But it was good to see him take those shots early on. When they didn’t fall, Lin stopped shooting. Can’t blame him for that.
I was surprised that Sampson didn’t bench Lin tonight, because Douglas had his best game of the season and I don’t think Sampson is such a big fan of Lin. Douglas was feeling it tonight, so I don’t think anyone would have blamed Sampson for benching Lin. I thought Sampson did a strange job of managing Lin’s minutes tonight. He would rest him for long stretches, which made sense, but then he ended up leaving Lin in for the entire fourth quarter. At first, I thought he was planning on playing Lin at the beginning of the fourth quarter in order to take Lin out in the final five minutes or so of the game in favor of Douglas or something. But he didn’t. Sampson left Lin out there the entire fourth quarter until the final possession or so. That didn’t make too much sense to me. But I’m glad Sampson didn’t bench Lin in the final five minutes like I expected him to. That would have been a huge blow to Lin’s already vulnerable state of mind.
Overall, Lin probably should have had at least three or four more assists, since he gave his teammates the ball in great places, but his teammates just couldn’t convert. Overall, though, I didn’t think Lin played very well tonight. He’s still struggling and playing too passively. He’s still not doing and PnRs, while Harden did quite a few. His only great stat of the night was 3 steals (which was the entire Rockets total) and 1 block shot.
It was good to see Greg Smith out there and it was great to see Morris maintaining his great shooting. Harden also had another great game and so did Asik. Overall, I thought we moved the ball well tonight, except for during the fourth quarter. Just need to work on closing games and also coming out strong. I’m not sure what it’s going to take to get Lin out of his slump. He’s just not playing his game at all. That’s why he’s struggling. My big question is that I don’t know if he’s not playing his game because of his own doing or the coaching staff want him to take on a roll that does not play to his strengths.