I don’t have much time to write and haven’t been in front of my computer much due to Holiday festivities, so apologies for not replying to some of the comments. Hope you’re enjoying the holidays. As of late, the Rockets have looked just as good as I expected them to look right about this time in the season, but I’m sure they’re way ahead of schedule as far as Rockets management is concerned and they’re probably shocking a lot of analysts out there who have understandably underestimated the Rockets from day one.
Rockets had an extraordinary game against the Grizzlies. It may have been their best game of the season. I didn’t pay as close attention to the game and I missed all of the first quarter and the beginning of the second quarter. But from what I managed to see, it was pretty much as flawless as I’ve seen the Rockets. They executed well on both sides of the floor and did so for pretty much the entire game. Harden had another amazingly efficient game. 31 points, 9-13 shooting (3 of 3 from 3 point), 10-12 Free Throws, 8 assists, 3 steals, 3 Turnovers. These are video game numbers. These numbers shouldn’t happen in real like. You’re NOT supposed to score 31 points on 13 field goal attempts. To compare, Kobe scored 34 points on 41 field goal attempts against the Golden State Warriors the other night. Harden pulled off these video game stats two games in a row! And for three straights games, Linharden has been what I hoped it could be. Lin scored 15 points, 11 assists, 6 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 Turnovers, 1 block shot. I really liked how McHale managed the minutes between Harden and Lin in the Grizzlies game. He made a concerted effort to stagger their minutes and also let Lin assume the primary floor general duties. McHale is finally playing Lin the way I’ve been reiterating over and over on how they should be playing Lin. McHale is also starting to show confidence in Lin. Hopefully all of this continues. I don’t see why not as the Rockets have overtaken the Thunder as the number one offense. I remember when the Rockets were at number 4 and I said that the Rockets coaching staff is probably reluctant to change anything on the offensive end and are just concerned about defense. But I said that it was a mistake to not change anything on the offensive and and if they only reverse the roles between Lin and Harden and show more confidence in Lin, their offense can look even better. Now after only a short period of time, the Rockets have moved from fourth to first and I have no doubt that it’s due to the Rockets coaching staff waking up and not continuing to marginalize Lin for inexplicable reasons. They shot 53.7% from the field and and incredible 42.9% from three point against the Grizzlies. I’m very happy to see that things are finally starting to gel offensively for the Rockets and it’s no coincidence that this coincides with Lin finally being allowed to play his game for the most part. Lin is still struggling with his shot (1 of 5 from three point against Grizzlies), but it’s notable that this hasn’t stopped Lin from being a huge contributor on the offensive end, because he has confidence in his game and is being allowed to play his game. It’s all just starting to happen for Lin in Houston, so the Rockets coaching staff need to do everything they can to not mess it up. Have you notice that when Lin plays well, the Rockets win? I’m sure the Rockets organization are well aware of this. The reason is that Lin is a team player and when he does well and plays his game, then that also means that his teammates are getting good looks, because Lin creates almost equally for himself and his teammates. In Houston, Linsanity is more about creating for his teammates than for himself. There were some Linsane moments in the third or fourth quarter when Lin had several almost back to back plays in which he fed Smith off the Pick and Roll. Lin made it look too easy. It looked like a practice drill. Lin didn’t just pull it off one time. He did it in succession. The exact same play. (Delfino also had a back to back carbon copy play in which he drove and fed Asik for a dunk. That was pretty awesome, but not something that we can expect from Delfino. In fact, when Delfino drives, he more often turns the ball over. SIDE NOTE: I’ve noticed that Delfino is one of the players that really doesn’t pass to Lin. I think Delfino sees himself as a bit of a play maker, so he thinks he can make plays himself and doesn’t see any reason to pass to Lin. Just something I’ve noticed throughout the season. Not a big deal, though.) Lin was also awesome on the defensive end, wrestling with Randolph for the ball multiple times.
Asik had another great game. 14 points, 12 rebounds in only 23 minutes. So the Money Boys did it once again! They had a lot of help. Morris was exceptional. He not only was huge on the offensive end, contributing 16 points on a very efficient 6 of 8 shooting (3 of 4 from three point). He also had two blocks and did a superb job of containing Randolph. Randolph had just 10 points on just 5 of 8 shooting! All in all, we had 7 players in double figures. This is what’s been most enjoyable watching the Rockets, lately. They’re playing team ball–the way I had expected them to play. This is why I was so high on the Rockets in the beginning of the season–even in the preseason. I saw a team composed of key players who are all about team ball and they’ve shown that. It has come as a result of the coaches finally letting Lin do what Lin does best, which is to play team ball. Of course, a big factor last night was also great defense.
I won’t have a chance to see the Bulls game tonight. I’m confident that they can pull off a win tonight. At this stage, unless Rockets are up against teams like the Spurs or the Thunder, who the Rockets play really shouldn’t matter. (I mean, they BLEW OUT the best defensive team in the NBA!) As long as Rockets continue to play team ball the way they have been playing since the Knicks game, they should be able to beat most teams in the NBA and the Bulls are one of those teams. Lets just see if they have the mental toughness to maintain their level of play on the road. These next few games will be a huge test for the Rockets. I will still be surprised if the beat the Spurs and the Thunder.