I didn’t catch all of the first half of this game and then only saw a little of the second half, but didn’t pay very close attention. The Rockets really needed a game like this to build back their confidence. Hopefully, this one does the job and they can go on a long winning streak. With their upcoming schedule, they should be able to string together a 10-game winning streak if they’re back on their game. This will be a test to see if the Rockets are back after the mini shakeup due to the trade. If they lose more than two games before they face San Antonio, then they’re not back yet. I’d be okay with them losing the re-match against Dallas or the game against Utah, since I still don’t know what to make of Utah. The other one I MAYBE okay with them losing is one of the Golden State Games, but if the Rockets are back, I expect them to win both games against Golden State, since Golden state seems to be in a funk. The away game against Golden State is this Friday, so I expect Golden State to still be in their funk and I don’t think Golden State can beat the Rockets at Toyota Center, so that’s why I think Rockets should be able to take both games from Golden state, if the Rockets are back. We’ll see. These string of games before they face San Antonio will be a very good test, because before the trade, I had expected them to string together a lengthy winning streak, which is why I predicted that they’ll end up with the 6th seed.
Looks like Lin had a Linsanit 2.0 game and it was good to see McHale finally say some nice things about Lin. Maybe all this talk about the McHale/Lin dynamic and that quote in the Daily News got to the owners and GM and they had a little talk with McHale. I don’t know. But McHale uncharacteristically talked at length about Lin towards the end of his post-game interview tonight. It was as if he was atoning, a bit, for neglecting to compliment Lin in other games that Lin did well, because he said (and I’m paraphrasing): Lin’s had a LOT of good games for us…his game tonight was a high-end for anyone…it’s a high-end for Chris Paul…he’s had a lot of high-end games for us. And then he went on to basically say that Lin is starting to get his consistency…”I think what Jeremy proved last year is that his high-end ceiling…he can get on a roll and sustain it for a while, and we’re going to need him to.”
It was very nice to see McHale finally respecting Lin’s game. Hopefully, it’s genuine and I think it is, because one thing McHale is is he tells it like it is. But I also think he got some prodding from the owners and GM because of the Daily News quote. I think that angered a lot of Lin fans, and I’m sure Les got wind of it. Or at least I’d like to think us Lin fans wield some power. Probably just delusional on my part. But it was definitely very surprising to hear McHale talk at length about Lin. I think the fact that he stressed that Lin’s had a LOT of nice games for us is his way of acknowledging that he’s neglected to compliment Lin in the past for all the good games Lin has had. Hopefully, this is a new chapter for McHale and Lin. We’ll see. He also finished the lengthy discussion on Lin with: “…that’s the thing I like about Jeremy…he didn’t play the fourth quarter in the last game against Orlando, because Patrick played so well…he was excited on the bench. He’s just a good teammate.”
This last comment really makes me think that he is atoning for his comments that he made on The Daily News. I have no doubt about it now that I think about it. The question is whether or not he did it out of his own accord or if it was prodding from Les. It could be just that McHale felt that quote was taken out of context or something or he didn’t mean to say it like that or something and is just trying to rectify his mistake. Regardless, the proof is in the pudding, so to speak. What I’m more concerned about is whether or not McHale gives Lin the freedom to dribble more than the other players at times when Lin feels the need to do so. That’s what’s critical to me, because Lin needs a coach who will give him the freedom to keep his dribble alive and wait for the play to develop at times, rather than just always moving the ball all the time. Lin is an attacking Point Guard, he’s not a “move the ball” Point Guard. I just want McHale to give Lin the freedom to be the attacking Point Guard at times. I’m all for ball movement, but the Point Guard should be given free reign to determine times when he needs to hold the ball a little bit longer to wait for the play to develop. That’s what’s important to me. So we’ll see if this happens or not. Maybe that happened in this game. I don’t know, because I didn’t watch. But if McHale wants Lin to play at a high level, then he should allow Lin to play the way Lin knows how to play at times, rather than just be a “move the ball” point guard all the time.