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, Β 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.):

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32 thoughts on “Linharden Willed Win Against Thunder and Refs (122 – 119)

  1. One notable thing about this game Mr.Philosopher was that JLin got his first technical for this season as far as I can remember.
    I hope its included in the highlight vids.
    He must be so pumped up.
    I dont mind him slapped with a T as long as they will end up winners after the game.

    • Yeah, I forgot to mention that. it is his first T. I don’t think it was because of what he said, it was because he was on the court. At least that’s what it sounded like from what the commentators were saying. I don’t think Lin’s ever lost if with the refs, but the refs were just so biased for the Thunder tonight. There were so many biased calls. It was unbelievable.

  2. I just saw that Marcus has a twin brother in Phoenix. Didn’t even know he had a twin brother. They played together in college, so they’ll be reunited. So that’s good news for Morris. I still don’t understand what a team does with twin brothers. I mean, don’t they both play the same position? I just don’t understand how that works out, but I guess they played well together when they were in college. So now I don’t feel so bad for Morris. Douglas, though. I’m sure Douglas is depressed. Hopefully, he’ll get minutes in Sacramento, but I doubt it.

  3. I unfortunately missed the game – when I saw on the play-by-play that Lin got a technical I was dying to find out what happened. It appears from the comment above that he stepped on the court – if so, why?

    • I was also not watching it on TV @Funnytoss but like you I have it via play by play and was so shocked reading JLIN called for a technical foul. And reading Mr.Philosopher’s comment above now I understand why. I think he is still on the court when he was supposed to sit down because a substitution was made. But still, it made me think was a T really needed? Does JLIN stayed that long on the court? I want to watch the highlights already.

    • The camera wasn’t on him, so it’s not clear what Lin did to get the technical. Lin was sitting on the bench at the time and Rockets got called for a bogus 24 second violation. So Lin was arguing that call from the bench and I think he might have stepped into the court unwittingly out of excitement. And that’s, apparently, when he got the T. At least that’s what the commentators were saying. The refs were especially biased in tonight’s game. It was as if they had personal bets on the line or something. So many ridiculous calls that favored the Thunder.

      • At the 2:00 minute mark of this video is where the technical foul occurs. You can see Lin inadvertently stepping on the court to argue the 24 second violation call.

  4. Thanks for the postgame analysis, Philosopher. You called it! You seem to know something about sports psychology, while I know nothing about the Rockets trainers. I believe these Rockets trainers are all martial art masters who know how to fix dislocated ankles and wrists in a hurry! Look at Chandler: he came right back after a quick trip to the locker room with a trainer from what I heard.

    I am sad for TD too! It’s fun to watch Lin and TD on the floor together. I think TD is one of Lin’s most loyal supporter. Lin seems to have developed quite a strong bond with TD. Lin said in the postgame interview that he was “emotional” about TD and that he did not feel like playing that night. Lin was not that excited the win because his friend was traded away. It seems like Lin got pissed and went out and played Lisane, culminating with a T! That’s as “emotional” as Lin can get!

    OK, the next two games are too easy to call: Rox win easily!

    • You’re welcome, MrPingPong. Thanks for the props! I have to admit, though, the game didn’t go according how I expected it to early in the fourth quarter. I thought the Rockets would sort of take care of business in this game and when they went down by 14 with over 7 minutes left to go, I chalked this game up to another loss. I definitely didn’t expect them to go on some crazy run against the best team in the NBA and gut out a win on a night when they were so short-handed. Had I known they would have been that short-handed, I would not have predicted a win. So it didn’t go how I had scripted it in my mind, but I’ll take this win. And in a lot of ways, it’s an even better psychological win for this team, to be able to come from behind against an elite team and win short-handed, no less.

      Yeah, these trainers are something. I was very concerned about Parsons and was really surprised that he came back into the game. It looked pretty bad. Hope he’s okay for Friday’s game.

      I have a good feel for this team, but with the trade turmoil, I’m not really sure what’s going to happen for at least the next several games. I think it’s pretty crazy if McHale continues to play Delfino at the Power Forward position in the next game. He should give D-Mo an opportunity, since D-Mo is probably going to play significant back-up minutes once Robinson joins the team. The team is in flux right now. It’s a great trade that Morey made (he essentially stole the Kings lottery pick–I’m a big fan of Morey’s), but it’ll just take some time for everything to settle into place. After all, these athletes are human beings.

      Yeah, Jeremy was pretty broken up about the trades. I just read that he sits next to Douglas on the plane. That surprised me. I thought he would sit next to Parsons or I thought these players all had rows to themselves. I was very surprised at how completely honest Lin was about the trade. He really didn’t hold anything back. Lin’s reaction to the trade shows that Lin really cares for his teammates. Yeah, maybe that was motivation for him to go Linsane, because Lin did look different out in the court.

      • From what I’ve read on the WEB, you and the commentators on this blog are not the only ones who complain about the officiating. What is going on? Are the refs Lin haters and doubters now? I am not into conspiracy theory stuffs, but if the NBA wants to help the Lakers make the playoff, they should have the refs picking on the Jazz or the Warriors instead, because the Rockets are not gonna drop off. πŸ™‚

        And about the T-Rob trade, I have bad vibes about a rookie who was suspended by the NBA for viciously throwing an elbow at another player. Also, I find it rather amusing that people all over the WEB are trying to tell Lin to get over losing his friend TD because the NBA is a business, as if Lin is some high school kid or something. Don’t they know that Lin is a Harvard man with a degree in economics? Lin doubters and haters come in strange forms! πŸ™‚

      • In the OKC game, they weren’t just after Lin, it was against the Rockets team as a whole, with the exception of Harden. I don’t think there’s any new conspiracy apart from the old, well-known conspiracy that refs favor superstars and are always hating on young players and rookies who aren’t big name rookies. Since the Rockets are the youngest team in the NBA and have a bunch of no names on their squad, Rockets almost always get the raw end of calls. And when Rockets go up against an elite team, that effect is magnified. And that’s just what happened in the Thunder game. Thunders were getting all the calls in their favor and Rockets got so many horrible calls or non-calls against them.

        After reading a little of that link on Refs that CH (I think it was CH) shared in a previous post, it made me even more suspicious of NBA refs. I really think there’s some sort of sick contest among them to see who can hold out the longest on blowing the whistle when Lin gets fouled. This is why Lin gets so many late whistles and non-whistles. I have no idea why they target Lin. I would guess that it’s just because he was so hyped and anything that’s hyped becomes a target.

      • Philosopher, I see that you post every now and then on TheDreamShake and other sites. May I suggest that you float your idea of implementing a challenge system in the NBA analogous to that of the NFL on those sites? πŸ™‚

      • Yeah. Every now and then I do post on those sites when I have time, which is not very often. Also, I find that posts get lost–especially on Dreamshake, so I doubt people read what I post on there. I’m not familiar with the NFL challenge rule. The post I wrote on here about the challenge rule was to use rules from tennis. I think the NBA is aware of the officiating issues, but don’t want to do anything about it, because Stern wants the elite teams to have an advantage. That being said, I will find ways of spreading the word. Also, you can feel free to post articles in my blog anywhere you like. That goes to all my readers!

  5. Thanks for this great post. As you said. .. they won against all Odds. And I really will miss toney, PPat, and Morris and it will be strange seeing them play against the rockets. .. but that’s the business of basketball. I’ve been to busy to write so I guess I’ll have to be the reader of others people’s blogs for now!

    • You’re welcome ksoranna. Thanks for the “like”! Yeah, I know what you mean about being too busy to write. Hope you were able to catch the game, though. It was a great one.

      • Ha ha. I wish I knew the secret. I don’t have a nine-to-five type job. I’m in control of my own hours, so that helps.

        I have to admit, though, I’m not very good with keeping up this blog. I don’t write recaps to every game, just the more “significant” ones. I also am not able to catch all the games.

        It’s good to see you, here, though. Hope you come around here more often!

    • Hi, Ksoranna. You’ve been running a fantastic blog, putting a lot of work in it. You do it kind of the harder way, when compared to a perhaps the most popular JLin fan site, where the blogger does it the easier way: he, whom I suppose a guy, opens a first-half, a second-half, and a post-game threads for each game, and lets the posters write to (or verbally kill) each other. That way, it’s always updated, allowing people to comment on the latest Lin situations. (Well, you probably already know it.) I’ve never seen the blogger responds directly to any of the posters (perhaps once), and that definitely saves him a lot of time; I also notice lots of comments being removed, though. I feel that’s a men’s fan site (though female fans post there too) ’cause some posters there are so belligerent that they can easily engage in a nasty fight. As for yours, it’s like a women’s fan site where the ladies are so nice and warm and I always feel great after reading the posts sharing love and good wishes for JLIn and for each other.(Perhaps there have been posts from guys too) Well, I hope you don’t work too hard. And I believe all your readers will still be visiting your blog at times and appreciate your efforts as I do.

      • @Ashley…aww thanks for this reply comment!! I can’t believe I am getting love..even on another blogger’s comment section πŸ™‚ Yea I do it the harder way, but a lot of my reader’s are asleep during the games so it’s hard to get a thread going and then when i finally finish my post and find highlights and pics (which usually takes 1-2 hrs) they can wake up and read/watch all about it. And I love the warm fuzzy and loving feelings that makes my fangirl site different from the usual sports blog!! And I hope you and the other readers will be patient with me and as soon as my schedule affords me more time…I will be back to blogging as usual!!

  6. Regarding bad officiating, I suggested before that other than hoping NBA to have a “ref-challenge” rule, as Mr. Philosopher suggested, perhaps people can call out the unfair refs, posting their names, or compile videos showing bad officiating. (Yes, I could only “suggest”– don’t have the time or know-how to do it.) I think the Rockets should care about this, but they don’t seem to care at all–after all, I haven’t seen their reporters/writers address the issue. I guess it’s only Lin fans that are complaining.

    I find the power of the refs and NBA over players and teams intimidating. We all know that Jeremy got fined $2000 for voicing just a little disagreement. I didn’t see the game but it seems that the call came so abruptly that lots of the audience or viewers didn’t even know what happened or why it was called. I don’t think Jeremy is the type of guy that would yell at refs, so to me, the technical call seems like a quick slap on someone’s–in this case, Jeremy’s face–to keep them/him from speaking out. Is that why coaches or teams rarely protest, knowing that they can’t win? Perhaps I need to be clearer about related NBA rules or precedents to know better how to treat such things.

    • Ashley, I’ve been thinking about compiling a video about bad calls that Lin gets. Just haven’t had the time to do it, yet. But it’s definitely something I’m planning on doing.

      Yeah, I think sports writers are so jaded by unfair officiating that it’s pretty much widely accepted, so that’s why you don’t really see much writing on it. Every now and then there will be articles on it when it really gets bad in a game.

      I think the T on Lin was fair, because when a player is on the bench and goes out onto the court to complain about a call, that’s pretty much an automatic T. It doesn’t really matter what the player says. Just the mere act of stepping on the court and complaining is enough. If you scroll above in the comments, I posted a video which shows what Lin did to get a T.

      Coaches and players and owners can be fined and such if they complain about officiating publicly and the refs would probably make their life miserable. So that’s why you don’t hear much complaining. Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, is notorious for complaining about refs. He has totaled like over $1 million in fines through the years. If you’re a player, coach or owner, complaining about refs is a no win situation. So it’s really up to the fans to do it. Fans probably have nothing to gain, either, but we also have absolutely nothing to lose. I will work on the video. Just not sure if I can find any video clips on bad calls or non calls on Lin, because they usually don’t show up on Lin highlight videos. I just have them stored in my mind. I also thought about posting bad calls on post game write-ups that I do and I think I will do that. Just have a little section where I keep track of this for each game.

      • Mr. Philosopher, thanks a lot for the explanation. I did see the video with barely a glimpse of Lin in the act, so he would have been safe had he not set foot in the court. (And thanks for the video and the work you’re about to do, too! )

        I think Jeremy just got too hyped that night, being too emotional about the trade and playing Linsane. I wish he could have been more diplomatic and controlled in the post-game interview, when asked about the trade. Parsons, on the other hand, did pertty fine by commenting calmly with a telling sad look. As for Harden, he showed no emotions on his dark face while wishing them well–he’s a really cool guy. Jeremy’s reaction and expressions reminded me of a scene in the Linsanity movie trailer where he showed his Lion King blanket, talking about his favorite cartoon characters in an affectionate tone. That oversized kid is so active in him!

        It seems that the NBA officials and refs have established an authoritarian monarchy–they can impose harsh punishment/ hefty fines arbitrarily. I think the owners should unite
        against tyrannical ruling. I suppose they could have a meeting with the officials to address issues like this–just wonder if they ever did. After all, it’s the teams and players that make the NBA, not the officials. I know severe rules help maintain order in a physical sport such as basketball, but I jsut find it hard to agree with the rulings I’ve seen or heard of so far.

    • Ha ha, very interesting analogy, CH! πŸ™‚

      KM is much older than DM and is certainly old school compared to DM. I am sure KM is still stuck in the old mode of thinking, trusting the “eye test” like most NBA coaches do. There is a law of Physics called the law of inertia. In my opinion, this law applies to thoughts as well: it is very difficult to change your way of thinking.

      At the opposite end, DM, 15 years younger, is a math/stats geek with an MBA from one of the most prestigious business schools in the world: completely new school. Had DM had enough stats on Lin when Lin first came to the Rockets, I believe he would have kept Lin. Up until Feb 04, 2012, Lin was basically scrambling to play garbage minutes and as a result, his stats were simply meaningless. I do not know anything about the chemistry between KM and DM. DM is an intellectual who believes in his theory. He needs a basketball coach to turn his theory into reality. DM is the boss, and if KM does not do what DM expects him to do, then KM will have to find employment somewhere else.

      Google for “Dork Elvis” and you should find a few interesting things about DM, like this article:

      http://sports.espn.go.com/espnmag/story?id=4011524

      Dork, because DM is a “geek”.
      Elvis, because DM kinda looks like Elvis.

      πŸ™‚

      • Thanks for the link, Mr. PP.

        “There is a law of Physics called the law of inertia. In my opinion, this law applies to thoughts as well: it is very difficult to change your way of thinking.”

        Perception is part of our thoughts. If perception is embedded in prejudice, then it is really very difficult to change your way of thinking. KM is not only old school, and a doubter, he is also stubbornly holding his prejudice and pride against Lin, IMO.

        He is not a good coach to me, anyway. Not because the way he treats Lin, but the way he rides his players in general.

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