Don’t have much time to write and don’t have much to say about last night’s game. But did want to get a few things off my chest so that’s why I’m posting.
Although they lost, the Rockets showed that they can compete with the best of them last night. Spurs were shooting the lights out in the first quarter and somehow the Rockets managed to keep pace and remained within striking distance for all three quarters.
Does anyone know what happened to Delfino last night? Is he injured? I haven’t read anything about Delfino being out, but he didn’t play last night. I can sort of understand why McHale played Parsons and Harden over 40 minutes last night, because we lacked a lot of depth, but I still thought he did a poor job of managing minutes and the players were just gassed by the fourth quarter. I’m not sure if we would have won the game if our players weren’t gassed, but I think McHale’s poor management of minutes was the cause for the loss. That and uncharacteristically poor free throw shooting by the Rockets. Also, Asik was ineffective against Duncan, because Duncan has the mid-range game that’s very difficult for Asik to defend. It also opens things up for the Spurs, rendering Asik ineffective. I suspect this is why McHale favored Aldrich over Smith, but not sure if that was the right call by McHale. I’d still probably prefer Smith over Aldrich. But I’m fine with that decision.
What I didn’t like was when McHale took Lin out with 5:50 minutes left to go in the first quarter right after Lin got the ball stolen by a very sneaky Leonard. Leonard came from Lin’s blindside and stole the ball, so I don’t really blame Lin for the turnover. It’s just one of those turnovers that just happen. Just have to chalk it up to a good steal by Leonard. This was right after Lin hit a three point and made a layup on consecutive possessions. Lin just started getting going. I guess it would have been around the time that McHale generally subs Lin out anyway, but I just didn’t like the timing of it. Lin was just starting to heat up and McHale takes Lin out immediately after he got the ball stolen. This is what I mean about McHale’s actions not backing up him saying that he keeps telling Lin to play aggressively. It’s just sending the wrong message. McHale could have waited for a few more minutes to sub Lin out, so it wouldn’t seem like he took Lin out because Lin got the ball stolen. I really didn’t like that move by McHale.
The biggest mistake McHale made last night–in my mind it’s one of those mistakes that should NEVER be made by a coach–was to leave Harden in after he picked up his fourth foul with less than a minute left to go in the third quarter. Then in the next possession, Harden committed his fifth foul and as a result McHale had to sit Harden for a much longer stretch than he prepared for in the critical fourth quarter. Not taking Harden out after his fourth foul was so boneheaded and also emphasizes McHale’s overconfidence in Harden and lack of confidence in Lin. When Lin picked up his third foul in the third quarter, McHale immediately took Lin out. It seems to me that McHale still finds every reason to take Lin out and every reason to keep Harden in. In my view McHale’s mistake came before even Harden’s fourth foul. I was screaming at the screen for McHale to rest Harden and for him to bring Lin back well before Harden’s 4th foul. I would have preferred him to take Harden out with 2 minutes left to go in the third or something–specifically, after a time out was called with under two minutes to go in the third quarter. I have no idea why McHale kept Harden in their. He had played since the beginning of the third quarter. It was time to give Harden some rest so he could come back and play the majority of the critical fourth quarter. In my view McHale’s poor management of Harden’s minutes caused us the game. Those fouls by Harden disrupted any momentum that the Rockets had going into the fourth quarter and when Harden came back he was no longer the same player. McHale should have rested Harden a little earlier in the third quarter and play Harden the majority of the fourth quarter. What I think may work out in general is to have Harden play up until like the three minute mark in the third quarter. Put Lin in and then give Lin like a 2 minute or so rest in the fourth quarter when they bring Harden back at the 10 minute mark or something in the fourth quarter and then Let Harden and Lin finish the game at the 8 minute mark. This isn’t going to make sense every game, but it’s what McHale should do in most games and last night was one of those games that McHale should have done that. Also, McHale needs to do a better job of resting Parsons. I see Parsons consistently play entire quarters without any rest. Now, Parson’s job isn’t as tiring as Lin’s or Harden’s, since he’s not handling the ball a lot, so it’s understandable that McHale would play Parsons without much rest. But still. It all comes down to McHale not giving guys like D-Mo and Jones a chance. But can’t really go into this now. Just wanted to point out reasons why I think the fourth quarter wasn’t as competitive as it should have been. I think McHale should take the blame for the loss, but I know he’s not going to.