The Hornets game on January 2nd is the one that ended the Rockets 5-game winning streak. Lets hope that yesterday’s Hornets game is the one that will start a new winning streak. Before that yesterday’s game, the coaching staff showed the Rockets players tape of how they played when they were rolling back ind December and I think that was a very smart move by the coaching staff. I said so in one of my comments before Friday’s Hornets game. When you’ve done everything wrong, as the Rockets have done in January, it doesn’t make much of an impact to keep focusing on all the mistakes. It gets to be too overwhelming and focusing on the negatives will only tear down an already beaten up group of guys. It’s better to change their state and give them a much needed confidence boost by letting the players see with their own eyes what they’re capable of. So far, that has carried into tonight’s game, where the Rockets looked just as sharp as they did during December. The ball movement and player movement was fantastic today, and I don’t think it’s because the Nets are a horrible defensive team. When the Rockets move the ball and move without the ball, they are a very difficult team to stop, because they have a lot of different offensive weapons.
I didn’t think D-Williams would go for 30 tonight, but he already had 20 in the first quarter, where he went and implausible 9 for 9. By some miracle, he only ended up with 27 points, but that’s basically 30. So I was wrong about D-Williams. He definitely came out for blood. I’m sure revenge on Lin was on his mind, but I think he also wanted to bounce back from their dismal performance against the Grizzlies last night. Fortunately for the Rockets, they didn’t. Even though Lopez ended up with 21, I think he got bailed out a number of times by the refs. Before the refs started bailing him out, Lopez was pretty dismal and completely got owned by Asik, who had a great game after a slump. Asik finally realized that he’s 7 feet and started dunking the ball tonight, rather than laying it up like a 6-footer. Asik even caught a few bounce passes down low tonight. He ended with 20 points and 16 rebounds in one of his best games of the season–especially since he was against a star Center. Smith also had great minutes and had several powerful dunks that I think got Asik going, because it was only after Smith got all those dunks that Asik got going. The team also ended with 50 rebounds, which has to be one of the best rebounding games of the season.
Parsons had a career high 11 assists (he tied his career high 8 assists in the first half). Morris had a career high 10 rebounds. So a couple of career nights for the guys. Harden scored 29 points and is looking like his range is back, as well as his free throw shooting. Harden also committed zero turnovers.
Lin is still being treated unfairly by the refs. It’s very disturbing. He had 6 turnovers, and for sure one of them was because he was called for an offensive foul, even though his man was so not set it wasn’t even funny. The guy just ran right in front of Lin and they call the charge on Lin. So ridiculous. And these refs just get away with it. Lin also didn’t get a foul called when he was hammered in the fourth quarter on a transition reverse lay up. He came out of it with a bunch of scratches on his arm and no whistles from the refs. There needs to be recourse for bad ref calls. It makes no sense why when the league came up with the flop rule, they didn’t come up with a counterpart to keep refs in line. It can’t just be the players that need to be held accountable. If you’re going to hold players accountable, you need to do the same for the refs. It’s very frustrating to watch games where the refs end up deciding. Refs should be a non-factor, yet, for the Houston Rockets–especially–they become a big factor almost every night. The reason is that the Rockets have the the most amount of no-names and young players on their roster, who often get shafted by the refs. This open acceptance of discrimination in a work place is a disgrace.
Anyway, I can go on and on about that stuff. As a Jeremy Lin fan, it’s very frustrating to watch. I don’t know of the Rockets have done anything about it. I don’t know that there’s much they can do.
Lin ended up with a solid game. Once again, he played better in the second half than in the first half. I thought he was pretty ineffective in the first half. So he still needs to work on getting going at tip off. I heard he got off to a good start last night. I really liked the way he kept his dribble alive in the second half. This allows him to wait and find the optimal play. He also had a great move to the basket where he picked up his dribble and was trapped by two players, but pivoted his way to the basket for a lay-in. These are the types of moves Lin needs to do more. There are a lot of other things that I want to see Lin doing, like when he’s down low, rather than just go hard to the basket all the time, he should stop short and fake a shot to get his defender in the air and then jump into the defender to draw a foul. I think Lin can pretty much do this every time, because no one expects this out of Lin, but it seems like such an easy way for him to get himself to the free throw line for easy baskets. Don’t know why he doesn’t do this and don’t know why the coaching staff isn’t all over him about doing this. He can pretty much get a few of these every single game. That’s like 6 easy points right there in my eyes. Overall, Lin needs to learn to draw fouls and he’s got a great teacher in Harden. Knowing Lin, I’m surprised he hasn’t picked this up from Harden quicker. Lin needs to stop avoiding contact. He needs to welcome contact and keep his hand up so the refs can see. I don’t think it’s that hard, but it does take good arm strength and hand strength to hang onto the ball. But too often, Lin avoids contact and puts up a very difficult shot. And because he avoids contact, the refs assume that he didn’t get hit, even though he often still gets hit. But if he goes right as the defender and doesn’t make adjustments and keep his hands up, it makes it easier on the refs. But knowing the discrimination towards Lin, he’ll probably try it in a few games and get called for offensive fouls and then he’ll stop.
Anyway, great team win. Rockets look like they did back in December when they were rolling. Hope this is the start of another winning streak. They just need to keep visualizing how they play when they play their game so they can get it into their being and not forget. Because the problem with these young guys is that they keep forgetting how to play. The need constant reminding, but instead of relying on the refs, they should do some visualization exercises themselves. Rockets also did a great job of taking care of the ball tonight. Only 11 turnovers (Lin had 6 of them, justly or unjustly).