McFale Thinks Lin is a Selfish Player–McFale Really Doesn’t Get Lin

In the comments section of my post about the McFale/Lin Dynamics, I mentioned that I think McHale is actually irritated by Lin, because he thinks Lin is a young player who is more interested in padding his stats then helping the team win. I said this at the time with the caveat that I know it’s crazy that I would think this, but then this article in The Daily News came out after the Nets game and it confirms my suspicions about McHale. I made this comment before the article came out and I made this comment without any factual data. It was just from pure speculation and my usual “reading between the lines” and just my understanding of people. But in this article, McHale said it right out:

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

The Houston coach calls his playmaker “a home run hitter,” and doesn’t mean that in a good way.

“Sometimes he’d rather have 29 points and nine turnovers and I tell him, ‘Jeremy, we’re trying to win,’ ” McHale said.

 

WOW! Pretty unbelievable. But I guess, not really, since I had suspected as much. Here’s an excerpt from my comments that I made from the McFale/Lin Dynamics post before this article came out:

“My thoughts on McHale’s attitudes towards Lin has evolved to the point now that I think Keven actually doesn’t like Lin very much. I speculate that it’s because McHale thinks Lin is more concerned with how Lin does than playing the right way. I know it’s crazy that McHale would think that, because Lin is like the biggest team player there is. But one of the reasons I think this is because whenever McHale talks about Delfino, he always feels the need to say that Delfino just plays the right way. He’s not concerned about his stats, etc. And he says that a lot of young players are still worried about their stats and such. And I think when McHale says this, it’s a little dig at Lin. I think the reason why McHale thinks Lin is more concerned with Lin’s performance than helping the team is that McHale is playing Lin in a way that doesn’t capitalize on Lin’s strengths and so whenever Lin plays the way Lin feels comfortable playing, McHale thinks Lin is purposefully ignoring McHale’s orders to pad Lin’s stats. Not sure if that makes any sense. As a result, McHale thinks Lin is overly concerned about matching his Linsanity performance and that irritates McHale about Lin. When, in reality, Lin is just playing the way Lin knows how to play. Of course, this is all pure speculation on my part.”

 

Just wanted to draw your attention to this, since many of you probably didn’t see the Comments I made.

 

 

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Linharden Willed Win Against Thunder and Refs (122 – 119)

Rockets had surprising trade news, so they were playing very short-handed without 2Pat or Morris. I won’t go into the trade deal, because I’m sure you’re all aware of the news. I think in the short-term, we’ll miss 2Pat, but hopefully, D-Mo and Jones can develop into something good. And we also got Sacramento’s 5th pick Thomas Robinson, who also has great potential at the Power Forward spot. But I think 2Pat has been playing well, lately, and we’ll miss both Morris’s and 2Pat’s ability to spread the floor at the Power Forward position. What I do like about the move is getting rid of Aldrich and I also don’t mind getting rid of Douglas, since he’s a player that I really don’t know what to do with. He’s a shooting guard, but he’s too short to be a shooting guard. Now that they’ve moved Douglas, it secures Beverly’s role as Lin’s primary backup, which is the right move. I really feel bad for Douglas, though, because he’s a great guy and keeps getting moved around. But there are lots of guys like that in the NBA. Journeymen. I saw a brief interview of him during the game and he looked totally depressed. I think he really felt that he finally found a coach who likes his game and felt a sense of security in Houston. At the end of the day, though, the NBA is a business and moving players around (often against their will) is just part of it. I’m sure it’s sad for the players who are leaving, as well as those who are still in the team, because they’ve created bonds fighting together through the season. I felt like 2Pat and Morris developed a strong bond with Harden, so that’s gonna be tough on those guys. It’s also going to be tough on McHale, who has to now incorporate new pieces into his game plan and get new players up to speed. I think in the short-term, the Rockets are back to having some growing pains, again. So I’m less optimistic about them getting the 5th or 6th spot with this move. We’ll see. It all depends on how quickly Robinson can fit into his new role and McHale’s ability to adjust his game plan to fit Robinson in the starting lineup. I suspect that Robinson is thrilled to be playing with two great play makers who will certainly make him look good. I don’t know much about Robinson, but I assume that he’s a better screener and PnR player than 2Pat and Morris. If that’s the case, then maybe the adjustment won’t take anytime and Robinson can fit right in and can actually complement Linharden much better than 2Pat and Morris. Lin has been sorely lacking a player to throw ally-oops to in Houston. Remember how many ally-oops Lin had during Linsanity? It was lob city every night!

Anyway, playing short-handed, the Rockets were even more of an underdog against a hungry Thunder team, but they somehow willed out a win against highly biased officiating. I had predicted the Rockets would win this game in the previous post, because in the first two meetings,  the Rockets came off of back-to-back games and were playing very tired. They also didn’t have Parsons for the first of those meetings. So Rockets have only faced the Thunder in situations that are very far from ideal. And then tonight, there was that surprise trade that left the Rockets short-handed. So, once again, it wasn’t ideal. Despite difficult circumstances, Harden finally got revenge on his old team. And he did it having a career night. I’m sure that felt damn good.

The Rockets started off very strong, shooting 8 of 10 from three point or something like that. But they cooled off significantly after the first quarter. Rockets started out how I expected them to, so I was feeling pretty good about my prediction. But then they cooled off significantly after the first quarter. However, this game stayed pretty close throughout, up until early in the fourth quarter when the Thunder had their biggest lead of the game (14 points) with a little over seven minutes to go in the game. That’s when Harden, Lin and the Rockets took over and went on a huge run out of nowhere to will a win when it looked like the game was out of reach. It’s notable that the Rockets run came right when Lin checked back into the game with a little over 6:29 to go with the Thunder up by 10 points.

McHale didn’t do such a good job of managing minutes tonight, but I guess we can’t blame him too much, since his line up got messed up with the trades. So I think he was scrambling a little to figure things out on the fly tonight. Harden played 44:14 minutes, Delfino played 42:26 minutes and Lin played 41:51 minutes. He didn’t rest Lin enough in the first half and then rested him too much in the fourth quarter. I waiting for him to bring Lin back in in the fourth quarter, because Lin was feeling this game. McHale should have had Lin on the court earlier in the fourth quarter. If Rockets had lost this game, that’s one of the things I would have blamed it on. Another thing I would have blamed it on is McHale’s blind trust in Delfino. Delfino’s been struggling in a gigantic way ever since he hurt his elbow. McHale needs to take a wait-and-see approach on Delfino. He’s taking away minutes from Anderson, who I think is a better player at the moment, because Anderson can also defend. But I guess McHale was having Delfino play the Power Forward position tonight, which is absurd. Why not let D-Mo play that position tonight. But, of course, McHale is not going to trust D-Mo to start. Oh well. What can you do? Delfino did rack up 4 steals tonight and chipped in 5 assists. So I guess he did do some things, but he also missed horribly, shooting 3 of 12 from the field (3 of 10 from three point). It just bothers me that McHale has blind trust in Delfino,because Delfino is a veteran. Anyway, lets not dwell on this tonight. Tonight, we celebrate a great win.

Linharden, against odds and some turmoil willed a win against the best team in the NBA (regardless of who has the best record, OKC is the best team in the NBA). Linharden had 75 points, 14 assists and 14 rebounds. Harden finally got revenge on his former team in a big way with a career night. Despite what he says, Harden wanted this win badly and he finally got it. Harden put up video game stats tonight. He was unbelievable. It looks like his ankle is fine. He scored a career high 46 points on an unbelievable 14 of 19 from the field (including a career high 7 of 8 three-pointers) and 11 of 12 from the free throw line. He also did this (beat the third quarter buzzer from half-court like he was spotting up for a regular jump shot):

It’s incredible how Harden can score 46 points on 19 field goal attempts. The reason is that he got 12 free throw attempts. This is how Harden is able to be so efficient with his scoring. It takes guys like Kobe and Melo like twice as many attempts to score that many points. He also chipped 6 assists and 8 boards. Lin had a great shooting night. He scored 29 points on 12 of 22 shooting (3 of 5 from three-point) and 2 of 3 from the free throw line. Lin also had 8 assists and 6 boards, as well as 2 steals. Lin played Westbrook to a tie tonight. Parsons also had great night before he went out with a turned ankle. It was good to see Parsons come back into the game, but after the turned ankle, Parsons didn’t do too much. This was fine, because in the fourth quarter, it was the Linharden show. Harden scored 16 in the fourth and Lin had a couple of key three-pointers and short jumpers that helped Rockets take control of the game and solidify the win down the stretch. When Lin wasn’t on the court early in the fourth quarter, the Rockets, once again, looked lost. Beverly had a good debut, but hasn’t shown much, lately. I’m not sure what’s going on there. He did have a couple of great hustle steals in the fourth quarter, though. D-Mo got his pocket picked and then took a bad shot after Lin dished him a great no look pass and that was the last we saw of D-Mo. Anderson, also only played 5:36 minutes. I would have rather had Anderson or D-Mo out there than Delfino. But I guess it doesn’t matter, because we won the game. Still, it’s inexplicable why Delfino played over 40 minutes when it’s clear that his elbow has been hurting his game in a big way. But lets not end this post on a negative note. The Rockets get a huge win on a great night for Linharden. What a way to start the second “half’ of the season. Lets keep it going. Hope the team turmoil won’t affect things too much, but I’m worried that it will hurt us for the remainder of this season. This trade does make us a better team in the future, though. I don’t know much about Robinson, but I hope he is a Power Forward who can set screens and play PnR. If he is, then it might just be an upgrade and we might be better off. We’ll see.

Jeremy Lin had “the look” after this key three pointer (Lin actually called for the ball at the beginning of this play, but Harden didn’t give it up. Good thing Delfino, of all people, gave Lin the ball and Lin didn’t hesitate to put up the shot. He was feeling it.):

Revisiting the McFale/Lin Dynamics and Other Ruminations

I’m not such a big fan of the All-Star festivities. I was when I was a kid, but it’s meaningless to me now. The dunk contest is pretty cool still, but that’s about it. I think the actual All-Star game itself would be cool if the guys really tried hard, but they’re basically just goofing around, which is completely understandable. But not anything I care to watch, although I guess some of the fancy plays are fun to watch. I guess what makes it uninteresting for me is that there’s really nothing at stake. It would be different if it was about proving how good you are against the best, but the players don’t take it seriously, so it just becomes a goofing-off session.

What is good about the All-Star break is that it allows the players to recharge their batteries. And I think for Lin, it couldn’t have come at a better time. I think McHale’s frustration for Lin reached its height in the Clippers game (I hope it was the height), so it’s good to have this break to calm things down. Also, Lin got really banged up in the Clippers game, so it’s nice to have the break to recover.

From what I’ve gathered from some of the recent comments here, talk has picked up within the Linosphere about the McFale/Lin dynamics and I can understand why. So I thought I’d re-visit this topic some during this All-Star break.

It’s pretty clear to me that McHale is not a big fan of Lin and there are several reasons for this, in my subjective opinion (of course, since I can only guess what goes through McHale’s head). McHale is a very no nonsense-type of person. And you know what irritates no nonsense types the most? Hype. So I think he really gets annoyed by all the Lin hype. At first, when McHale would downplay all the Linsanity questions from interviewers, I thought he was trying to protect Lin from all the overblown expectations from the media for how Lin will do in Houston. And I still think that’s a part of it. But I’ve also come to realize that it’s because McHale is really annoyed with the media for continuing to talk about Linsanity. And I think this annoyances sometimes carries over to when interviewers ask him any questions about Lin–even if it has nothing to do with Linsanity. I think whatever attention that Lin gets from the media annoys McHale. This is why McHale doesn’t really mention Lin in his interviews unless he really feels the need to. For example, in McHale’s post game interview for the Warriors game (in Houston), a reporter asked McHale about Lin’s performance specifically and McHale flat out didn’t answer the question and went on to talk about the team and didn’t say anything about Lin. This is the game that Lin scored 28 points or so and had, perhaps, his best offensive game of the season! I thought that was pretty telling that McHale wouldn’t give Lin props. McHale just sees Lin as a player who was over-hyped in a big market. McHale is clearly a Lin Doubter, as I characterize in my post about Lin Haters and Doubters. So, no matter what Lin does, McHale will continue to see Lin through preconceptions that Doubters have about Lin. This is why McHale continues to not show much confidence in Lin and doesn’t give Lin the benefit of the doubt and continues to bench Lin for every little mistake. Although McHale’s benching of Lin had gotten better. As a Lin Doubter, it will take McHale a lot of time before he will give Lin respect and the benefit of the doubt.

A second major reason for McHale’s annoyance at Lin is that he was really pissed that the Rockets let Dragic walk, so Lin subconsciously reminds McHale of the fact that he no longer has Dragic–the point guard he really wanted. Instead, the owner and GM stuck him with this inexperienced, over-hyped marketing machine. This is not something McHale actually thinks, but it is something in the back of McHale’s mind that he can’t shake. If you want to go the conspiracy theory route, you would say that McHale is not putting Lin in positions to succeed so that he can prove to the GM and owner that Lin just doesn’t work in Houston and prompt them to bring back Dragic. I think that’s pretty far fetched, so I wouldn’t go there. But just thought I’d throw  it out there for people who want to go there. It would kind of explain how McHale has misused Lin and how McHale’s management of Lin’s minutes is somewhat erratic. Although, I would say that McHale’s management of Patterson’s and Asik’s minutes is even more erratic. And, as of late, I’ve also seen McHale surprisingly bench Parsons in the fourth, which is something that would have been unthinkable earlier in the season. On a side note, one guy that I think McHale needs to stop relying on, until he gets his elbow back in shape is Delfino. Delfino’s been terrible, lately, and McHale continues to give Delfino the benefit of the doubt, because he loves veterans. McHale has a lot of confidence in Delfino’s game, even though Delfino is a turnover machine. McHale did finally bench Delfino in the Clippers game. I hope he starts favoring Anderson over Delfino–at least until Delfino is fully recovered from his injuries. I really like Anderson’s game. I think he deserves more minutes going forward. As long as I’m on this side note, how good was D-Mo in the Clippers game? He played exactly how I expected him to play, when given significant minutes. D-Mo is a potential star to me. He just needs to bulk up if he wants to play Power Forward in the NBA.  But his offensive game is as impressive as I expected it to be. He’s got post up moves and he’s got range. He can also roll to the basket off of screens and he can catch the ball. I’ve always wanted to see Lin play with him, because I think he has the quickness and speed to get open and is always looking for the ball. It was nice to see a little of that in the Clippers game. I hope to see more of it.

Anyway, getting back to McHale and Lin. McHale basically sees Lin as a young player who still has a lot to learn. And this is basically the way McHale treats Lin. This is why McHale doesn’t give Lin the benefit of the doubt and won’t hesitate to bench Lin. McHale is also very hard on Lin, because McHale feels like Lin is new to the game and has a lot to learn. He doesn’t see Lin has having a high basketball IQ like most of us Lin fans. Because McHale is a doubter, he fixates on Lin’s flaws and overlooks some of Lin’s strengths. In an interview with Ultimate Rockets before the Warriors rematch, McHale revealed perhaps the most he’s ever about Lin. How McHale talks about Lin in this interview conveys some of these things that I’ve pointed out about his attitudes towards Lin:

“I think there is a misconception just because there is a movie about his life and everything else,” Rockets coach Kevin McHale said. “He’s started less than 80 games. He is a rookie player in a lot of senses. Is he going to (be) up and down? Of course he’s going to be up and down. All young guys are. That’s the thing a lot of people forget. I think it’s frustrating for him at times, too. They expect him to be a finished product. He’s not. He’s learning the NBA game.

“He just happened to catch an unbelievable run in a major market, in New York, and it actually became a story that was bigger than he was. That’s hard. It’s a lot easier to go out and play this game when the expectation level for you is realistic, not Linsanity.”

McHale said he has seen signs of improvement in a variety of areas but did not hesitate to produce a list of ways in which he believes Lin needs to grow.

“Decision making, moving the ball, playing with the ball, cutting without the ball, playing without the ball,” McHale said. “He’s got a lot of room to grow. Defensively, just being disciplined. There’s a lot of stuff. But you know what? They are all the stuff I would tell you all the young guys are doing. There’s no difference. He’s a young guy.

“He’s very typical of a young player. All the things you would think (would happen) are happening.”

One of the things that bother me about how McHale treats Lin and how he talks about Lin is that he disregards everything Lin did during Linsanity. To McHale, it’s as if Lin has no relation to Linsanity. And McHale doesn’t really make a point of saying that Lin is being asked to play a new role for Houston and doesn’t give Lin credit for the fact that Lin is being asked to make a lot of adjustments to his game. Almost everything that comes out of McHale’s mouth is to criticize Lin and to talk about Lin as if Lin is a little kid that has so much to learn. Notice how in the above interview McHale didn’t hesitate to roll off a laundry list of things that Lin needs to improve on. There’s not an ounce of respect when he talks about Lin. He’s always talking down and treats Lin like every other young player–not giving Lin any credit for Lin’s Linsanity run. Like most doubters, McHale just dimisses Linsanity as some sort of a fluke that was overhyped by a big market team.

All this being said, I CAN understand McHale’s attitude towards Lin and I don’t necessarily think it’s all that detrimental towards Lin. The harder McHale is on Lin, the more Lin will learn. And Lin has the type of attitude that will allow him to learn and grow from criticisms. So I don’t think McHale’s criticisms hurt Lin for the most part. Although, I think McHale does go overboard and it does cause Lin to play on egg shells sometimes. I think that was definitely the case early in the season. But as Lin gained more confidence, it became less of an issue. I did see it come back again, however, during the Clippers game. I think McHale’s over-the-top reaction to Lin’s turnover late in the game really made Lin feel like he has to play on egg shells again. So that’s why I’m grateful for the All-Star break so Lin (and McHale) can leave it all behind him and play without worrying about making mistakes again.

What is MOST concerning about McHale as it relates to Lin is that McHale really doesn’t like point guards who dribble too much. I couldn’t figure out why McHale took Lin out so early in the Denver game, which I still feel is Lin’s best ball-handling game. But I realize now that what I saw as Lin’s incredible ball-handling skills, McHale saw as Lin over-dribbling. In that Denver game, Lin kept penetrating the lane on every possession and kept his dribble alive if he wasn’t successful on the first attempt to penetrate the lane and had the patience to wait for the play to develop. I thought that demonstrated mature Point Guard skills, but McHale doesn’t like his Point Guards to dribble too much. He prefers his Point Guards to just keep the ball moving, mostly by passing. He wants his Point Guard (and everyone on the team for that matter) to get rid of the ball quickly and keep it moving side-to-side and in-and-out. Now, I don’t have a problem with this philosophy. In fact, it’s one of the things that I do like about McHale’s coaching. He really emphasizes ball movement and player moment. I think that’s all great and I do think it helps Lin’s game to learn this skill to make quick decisions and move the ball. But I think McHale should allow Lin the freedom to hang onto the ball a little more than he would allow other players, because Lin is, after all, the floor general. I’d hate for Lin’s ball-handling to suffer because of a coach that would bench him every time he keeps his dribble alive by penetrating the lane and coming back out to reset and find another play. That would hurt Lin’s game as a Point Guard. I’m not saying Lin should hang onto the ball all the time or even of the time, I’m just saying that McHale needs to allow Lin the freedom to do it every now and then, because Lin has the skills to keep his dribble alive and wait for the right play to develop. I’d rather have my Point Guard hang onto the ball, even if the ball gets “sticky” at times, than for him to pass it to some other guy who then has to find the right play. But McHale has ABSOLUTELY no patience for this and I think that’s a HUGE mistake. He’d rather Lin immediately give up the ball right when Lin crosses the half court, just so the ball is moved than for Lin to hang onto the ball a little bit and see what play develops, before Lin gives up the ball. McHale just wants his Point Guard to either play downhill and attempt to score right away or immediately give up the ball. He has no patience for Lin to penetrate the defense and then keep his dribble alive and try and find the right play after an unsuccessful attempt to penetrate the defense. This is what concerns me most about McHale’s relationship with Lin, because I think it will hurt Lin’s development. So I’m fine with pretty much everything about the McFale/Lin dynamic, except this one. The way I see it, it’s only a matter of time until McHale gains more confidence in Lin and starts respecting Lin and Lin’s game. So I’m not that worried about how McHale treats Lin like a little kid now. It’s annoying, sure, but it’ll just take time. McHale’s intolerance for a Point Guard to hang onto the ball, on the other hand, is something that will never change. And so that’s why I’m most concerned about it. It’s just what McHale believes is the right way to play. And the thing is, McHale is very valid in feeling this way, because I also think it’s the right way to play. But where I differ from McHale is that I think a Point Guard should have some free reign to hang onto the ball in certain instances to wait for the play to develop. But McHale is absolute in his belief that the ball should NEVER be “sticky” and that’s where I think McHale is wrong and it’s where he’s really hurting Lin’s game.

So those are my thoughts about the McFale/Lin dynamics. I’m not sure if it’s what Lin fans are talking about int he linosphere. As for the Rockets, they’ve looked good ever since the January slump and they have a considerably easier schedule in March and April. I know it may sound like I’m  just being a delusional fan, but I really do believe that the Rockets have a great chance of losing no more than 7 games the rest of the season. This puts them just short of the 50 wins mark and should give them either 5th or 6th place in the west, which is a bold prediction that I made for them back in December. The difference between 5th and 6th is the difference between them making it past the first round of the playoffs. But in order for them to make it to 5th, they’ll need to win teams that they’re not expected to win. The Rockets, during December and recently have been remarkably predictable in terms of winning games they’re supposed to win and losing games that they’re supposed to lose (with the exception of the Kings game, of course). If they remain doing what they’re supposed to do, then they will very likely lose no more than 7 games the rest of the season.

One game I think they’ll win that they’re not supposed to win is the OKC game after the All-Star break. I think Harden will finally get revenge on his former team. The first two times that Rockets faced OKC, the circumstances were far from ideal for the Rockets. I think this third time, they will finally triumph, because it’s not on a back-to-back and the superstars always seem to have a bit of a let down after the All-Star break. The one concern I have is that OKC have already lost two in a row and will be very hungry for a win. However, I think with the All-Star break, that dampens a lot of the hunger. I would have been a lot more concerned and probably wouldn’t predict a Rockets win (due to OKC’s two game losing streak) if it weren’t for the All-Star break that serves as a psychological re-set.

Anyway, hope you’re all enjoying the All-Star festivities. Feel free to post them here. Hope Lin wins his skills challenge.

Related Post:

https://jeremylintelligence.wordpress.com/2012/05/20/jeremy-lin-hatersdoubters-are-like-the-flat-earth-people/

Rockets Take Care of Business in Much Needed Win Against Portland (118 – 103)

Rockets and Blazers are pretty much tied in the standings, so tonight was a much needed win. And Rockets got an easy 15 -point victory. They lead the entire time. That’s a great confidence booster after dropping two heartbreaking overtime games to the Blazers earlier in the season. Games that they should have won. One of the two games, they lost because of Sampson’s big mistake of taking Lin out of the game down the stretch. The other, they lost after Lin essentially won the game with a heroic three-point play, but Harden inexplicably doubled Aldridge down low, leaving a wide open Mathews for a three-pointer that tied the game and brought it to overtime. I still haven’t forgotten both of those games. I was at the one in Portland.

Today had none of the excitement, which is actually great news for Rockets fans. It was good to win the game so easily, showing that the Rockets are clearly the better team and should have won both games earlier in the season. The Rockets are a much different team since those losses to the Blazers. A crisper team with more chemistry and trust in one another.

The guys knew how important tonight’s game was and they played that way. Harden, in particular, was unconscious all night long. Definitely one of his best games of the season. He couldn’t miss and he also managed to dish out 11 assists–just one short of his career high, which he had recently. In the first half he already had 20 points, 8 assists and hadn’t missed a shot. Harden’s really been taking it to another level lately. He’s become quite a play maker. Many people talked about his play making skills before, but I think it’s only recently that he’s really shown he can make plays like a floor general. Tonight, he played the role of the floor general. Before the game, he told the coaches that he wanted to go for a triple double, so he went out there and make an effort to pass the ball. He played phenomenally tonight. Scored 35 points (13 of 16 and 4 of 5 from three point), 11 assists, 7 rebounds, 1 steal, 3 turnovers in 37:47 minutes. He didn’t miss a shot until the third quarter. Lin had a good shooting game. He’s been shooting well, lately. But Lin was relegated to the shooting guard role tonight. He ended up with 16 points (6 of 10 and 2 of 3 from three point), 4 assists, 2 turnovers on only 26:04 minutes. Lin had an efficient game tonight and his shot is looking good these days. Hope that continues. See, when Lin has his shot, he should be able to get 15+ points every night no problem. McHale benched Lin quite a bit tonight, even though Lin did pretty well from the beginning, because I think McHale felt that Beverley was a better defensive match up against Lillard. And I can’t disagree with that. It’s not that Lin did a poor job on Lillard, but I thought Beverley really made Lillard uncomfortable. Lin started the game off well, again tonight. He’s been doing a much better job of being aggressive right at tip off, lately. So that’s great to see. As a Lin fan, of course I’m concerned if McHale is going to take more of the floor general duties away from Lin after tonight’s game, since Harden did such a great job of distributing the ball and Lin is doing a better job of playing off the ball. We’ll see.

Parsons had another solid game with 20 points (8 of 14 4 of 8 from three point), 2 steals. Asik had 13 rebounds/4 blocked shots and Patterson had a great third quarter scoring 12 points in that quarter and was a big factor in helping the Rockets put away the game. He ended with 16 points on 8 of 11 shooting and pulled down 6 boards. 2Pat is definitely playing more aggressively as of late. We’ll see if this continues. So pretty much all things were clicking with the starters  in tonight’s game. It’s a great thing to see as the Rockets have a very tough stretch of games ahead against Golden State, Clippers, OKC, Nets, and Wizards (they’re a different team with John Wall back). I think against all odds, Harden will finally get revenge on his former team. This easy win against Portland is critical to boosting the squads confidence as it faces some tough competition ahead. Had we lost the Portland game, it would have been a huge set back psychologically. So I’m really glad they won–especially in the dominant manner in which they won.

Rockets Tie NBA Record for Threes in Blowout of Warriors (140 – 109)

Man, this was a fun game to watch. One of the most enjoyable games of the season for sure.  Probably the most enjoyable game I’ve seen this season (I missed the game in New York). Rockets played a perfect offensive game and shot so well throughout the game (except for one stretch in the third quarter when Jeremy was out of the game and Rockets couldn’t make a field goal for over 4 minutes). This game was definitely Lin’s best shooting game. Not just because he had a high field goal percentage, but it was the first game this season when I didn’t cringe when he shot the ball. His shooting stroke looked really good tonight. Hopefully, he can keep shooting with the same stroke. He has improved his shooting quite a bit in the past several games. So maybe he’s starting to get more comfortable with his stroke. We’ll see.

Rockets tied an NBA record for threes going 23 of 40 from three point (57.5%). They could have had a much better shooting percentage if it wasn’t for garbage time (they were 18 of 27 or 66.7% from 3-point range through three quarters and tied an NBA record for threes in a half going 14 of 18 or 77.8% in the first half from long distance. ). Speaking of garbage time, that was the most bizarre/eventful garbage time I’ve ever seen. There were flagrant fouls and guys getting thrown out of the game. Pretty crazy stuff. All because the Warriors didn’t want the Rockets to beat the NBA record for threes on their watch. The most ridiculous example is when Draymond Green wrapped his arm around Beverley’s neck, committing a flagrant foul to prevent Beverly from potentially hitting a record-setting three. I blame the fan’s. I think their chanting of “one more three” made getting another three a huge thing and it motivated the Warriors to prevent Houston from attempting a three at all costs. Had the fans just stayed quiet, I think the players might not have made it such a big deal. But, of course, can’t really blame the fans. It’s fun to chant things. That’s one of the reasons you go to the games. At least D-Mo can tell his grand kids that he hit the NBA record-tying three.

This is starting to look a lot like December, again. We’re starting to blow out teams, again. Man, I still want that Denver game. If we had that Denver game, this would have been a really great stretch of wins–especially since it’s against tough opponents. Warriors came off of a 4-game winning streak or something like that and they’ve been playing very well. We scored the most points this season against a great defense. Very improbable stuff. No one could have predicted we’d blow out the Warriors by 31 points!

Even going into half time, I didn’t think this game was in the bag, even though we were leading 77 to 62 (having made 14 threes). I thought we were just so hot from the field that we’d cool off in the second half, but it didn’t happen. I was worried that Rockets would fall in love with the three, but I thought the coaches did a good job of reminding them to no fall in love with the three. The ball movement tonight was as spectacular as it has been after the January slump. There was one possession in the second quarter when the ball was passed around so rapidly that I almost couldn’t keep up with my eyes. I don’t remember exactly the scenario, but it did involve Lin, Harden, Parsons and then it ended with a corner three from Patterson. Lin penetrated then dished out and then it ended up in the hands of Parsons, who penetrated and passed it to a corner three. That’s probably the fastest I’ve seen the ball move all season.

This Rockets team has been breaking a lot of records this season. That’s gotta count for something. When they’re gelling, they play out of their minds and are capable of blowing out most teams. They really need the practice time, though, because it seems like they always do so much better after they’ve had a few off days. I think they need to constantly be reminded of how to play their brand of basketball.

It goes without saying, but Lin was impressive tonight, both stat-wise and also how he played the game. He also shot the ball well. That’s the thing, if Lin can improve his shooting, he’ll put up impressive numbers consistently. It is one day after the Anniversary of Linsanity, so maybe that had something to do with it. Also, Lin was playing against the first team that cut him and against his good friend Lee, so I think those were also motivating factors. But probably the biggest motivating factor is that we needed this win badly and Lin likes to step up against good teams. Lin, for sure dominated the PG battle against Curry: Lin 28 points (10 of 16; 5 of 8 from three point, which is a career best for Lin), 9 assists, +37; Curry 7 points (3 of 12; 1 of 5 from three point), 9 assists.

Linharden dominated the back court battle: 46 points vs. 13 points and 16 assists vs. 10 assists.

Rockets as a team had 35 assists, which I imagine is the most this season. I wonder if it’s a franchise record. And they only committed 8 turnovers.

Rockets scored the most points of any team in Toyota Center (so many records were broken tonight). They also had a season high 77 points by half time. We had 8 players in double figures, but Lin was the only player of the game that scored more than 20 points. Asik ended with 15 boards, continuing his streak of board-domination. Patterson also had another high rebounding game with 10 boards. Parsons had another high assist game: 8. Both Parsons and Harden had 4 three pointers each. I thought Harden did a good job of not forcing shots too much today. He trusted his teammates and was more willing to pass, rather than score. So that was nice to see. I was very happy to see Anderson getting some minutes. I guess with Delfino out, McHale had no choice. And also they’ve had more practices to get Anderson up to speed. Anderson looked solid and was a very positive contributor. He didn’t just jack up threes, he also tried to make plays and even got four assists (he had two in non-garbage time). I’m hoping this is enough for McHale to give Anderson some minutes so Harden can rest. I think it was. We’ll see.

Anyway, it was one of the best wins of the season. Lets enjoy it and hope we continue our domination of the East with a revenge game against Miami. They stole the game from us the last time we met. We’re a much better team now. Lets see if Miami can run with us. I don’t know why, but I’m actually less fearful of Miami than I was of the Warriors. Of course, David Stern had to set it up so that the Rockets would be traveling to Miami on a back-to-back road trip against a Miami team that will have two days of rest for the game. It’s crazy how NBA schedules favor the big name teams. This and the refs favoritism of star players is blatant cheating that is just allowed in broad daylight.