Rockets Better Destroy the Jazz (and other Short-Term Expectations)

I missed most of the first half of the Warriors game, but did get to see the interview with Sampson before half-time. He said that they got good looks, but the shots just didn’t fall. If that’s the case, then I guess it was just one of those days when your shots don’t fall. The only player who was reliable was Lin. It’s really tough to beat a team four times in a row, so Β it’s not so surprising that the Warriors won. If they were playing in Golden State, then I would have expected the Warriors to win that game. But I thought the home court advantage would give Rockets the edge, although I have to say the Rockets crowd is one of the worst I’ve seen. It really takes a lot for them to stand up and cheer for the home team, it seems. Or at least that’s what it looks like on TV. They’re a very quiet bunch, from what I can tell. But I don’t live in Houston and haven’t been to Toyota Center, so I’m just basing my read from the broadcast.

I was shocked that the Rockets managed to put together a run to get within 5 points early in the third quarter. That really got the crowd going, then McHale goes and calls a time out. I think he was trying to calm his guys down a little, since he was worried that they would get a little out of control from all the adrenaline, I suppose. But I thought that was a bad time to call timeout. Those are times when the other team would call timeout to stop the momentum. In any case, the timeout wasn’t a game changer or anything, because Marc Jackson would have called a timeout if McHale didn’t. But, still, I thought that was a very odd move by McHale. When the guys came back from the timeout, they looked like a different team. They didn’t have the same level of intensity and then Clay Thompson shot the lights out kept killing the Rockets momentum with every drained trey. He and Curry were the Rockets killer. But I guess that was pay back. Bad loss, but not completely surprising.

In the beginning of this month, I said that these games will be a test to see where the Rockets are at in terms of the growing pains that come with a mini shakeup in the rotation. I said that if they lose no more than 2 games during this stretch before they face the Spurs, then the Rockets are back. Well, Rockets have already lost 3 games. I do expect theme to demolish the Jazz tomorrow and take care of business against the Cavs. So they should end the stretch with three losses. If they do, then they’re borderline in terms of being back in form. I expect them to destroy the Jazz, because the Jazz have been on some sort of crazy spiral as of late. The other night they lost to a very weak Knicks team that basically didn’t have any of their regular starters in the lineup. And Jazz lost on their home court. So if Rockets don’t blow out the Jazz tomorrow, then I’d be very disappointed and concerned about the short-term state of this team. I haven’t payed attention to the Cavs, so have no idea what they’re about, but if Rockets are “back”, then they should be able to take care of business against the Cavs of the league. If Rockets destroy the Jazz and take care of business against the Cavs, then I expect them to beat the Spurs, as well. That is, if the Spurs are still without Tony Parker on Sunday. Spurs are a well-coached team, but I think Rockets are a better team than a Spurs sans Parker. So if things go as I expect them to (Rockets blow out Jazz, take care of business against Cavs and beat the Spurs (possibly even blowing out the Spurs)), then the Warriors loss will essentially be canceled out by the Spurs win. At least that’s how it works out in my crazy mind. After the Spurs, we got three very tough games in a row: Pacers, Grizzlies and Clippers. If we don’t put together a three game winning streak (by beating the Jazz, Cavs and Spurs), then I think we’ll end up losing all three of these games. However, if we do put together a three game winning streak, then I think we’ll win at least one of these three tough match ups. The one I think we have the best shot of winning is the Pacers. I also think we have a shot at beating the Clippers. The game I’m putting down as a loss is the one against the Grizzlies. Grizzlies seem to be a much better team without Rudy Gay. This is the game I’m most looking forward to, because Rockets blew them out back in December and it looks as if Rockets are a match up problem for the Grizzlies, because of our up-tempo style. So I’m curious to see if that’s still the case. Grizzlies seem to be on a roll after dealing Rudy Gay, so I’m curious to see how we match up against them now, because they could be the team Rockets face in the first round if Rockets make it to the sixth seed. But the sixth seed is looking less and less likely with the loss against the Warriors. Warriors look like they may be out of the funk they’ve been in and they have a pretty favorable schedule the rest of the way, so they’ll probably end up securing that sixth spot.

Anyway, just wanted to share some of my very short-term expectations. Of course, you never know what will happen–that’s why they play the games.

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23 thoughts on “Rockets Better Destroy the Jazz (and other Short-Term Expectations)

  1. I do think the 6th spot is quite comfortably own by the Warriors Mr. Philosopher, as of today.
    But then again not until the regular season is over, we are still hoping for that seed.
    15 remaining games, anything can still happen.
    By the way, i heard that they are adding 2 more games in April for the Rockets Mr. Philosopher, how true is this?

    • Yeah, I’m still not counting the Rockets out by any means. But I did say after the mini shakeup that I was less confident they’d get the 6th seed than I was before and it’s sort of playing out that way. But we’ll see. Rockets still have a good chance of getting the 6th seed. Depends a lot on how the Warriors play going forward.

      In terms of adding more games, I think I heard something about ESPN adding Rockets to their schedule, meaning Rockets will have a couple more games that will be televised via ESPN. I think that’s what you’re referring to. So they’re not new games. It’s just that ESPN is realizing that the Rockets have a big fan base and are a fun team to watch, so they’ve decided to add some more Rockets broadcasts to their schedule.

  2. So the team lost their edge after the time out? I didn’t read about that on the Net. What an unfortunate coincidence! Wonder what McHale said exactly to the players? Reasonably speaking, the time-out shouldn’t have cost them their momentum; they were just outplayed by the Warriors. However, if it’s considered odd by Mr. Philosopher, then it must have been truly odd and untimely. Speaking of untimely time-out calls by McHale, I’ve seen it twice In the limited number of Rockets’ games I’ve watched. Both appeared in the final minute in the 4th quarter. I can’t recall in which game the first one appeared, but fans called it out, saying it was no use at all in the scant time remaining. The recent one I remember was against the Timberwolves–When there were about only twenty-five seconds left and they were winning, McHale called a time out, and I was completely lost–there was absolutely no need for it. Had they been losing, I would have got it. Of course those two time-out calls wouldn’t have made any difference anyway and hence didn’t matter, but this one in the Warriors’ game might. Well, my new tiny discovery about McHale is that on top of questionable rotations and the lack of offensive schemes, he can make untimely (or unnecessary) time-out calls, which can be spotted by even an amateurish viewer.

    • My bad. i just looked at the Play By Play of the game and my memory serves me wrong. McHale called timeout when Rockets cut the lead to 12. Then after the timeout is when Lin made back to back buckets that cut the lead to within 5. So I was wrong. Sorry, McHale for the unjust criticism. Haha. That being said, McHale has had some questionable non-timeout calls, as you’ve mentioned.

  3. Yes, it’s not easy to beat a playoff bound team like the Dubs four times in a row, but the way we missed shots was simply ridiculous. It wasn’t like they played great defense. Anyway, I did not know McHale called timeout after Lin closed the gap to only 5 pts. One tried and true principle in sports is to never break your own momentum. Keep doing what you are doing (because it’s working) leaving it up to the opponent to figure out how to solve the problem. McHale seems to have done that more than once this season, if my memory serves right. Now just to add fuel to the fire, could it be because it was Lin who was leading the charge? πŸ™‚ Sigh… 😦

    OK, I’m trying to get a cheap ticket to watch Lin and the Rox beat the Jazzy tonight. ‘Will let y’all know. Wish me luck!

    • Good luck, Mr. PP. We don’t live in Houston, and so don’t have the luxury of going to the game anytime we want. Envying. Have fun and enjoy the game!

    • Thank y’all for wishing me luck in getting a cheap ticket to the Jazzy game. I was too cheap and was outbid by $2 for a good seat. So I missed the game. I was able to listen to the last three minutes of the game on the radio that’s all.

      From what I heard, Lin played really well, which does not surprise me a bit. Lin can smell the playoff and he wants to taste it! He is not gonna let the opportunity slip by.

      Have a good night/day wherever y’all are on this WEB!

  4. @jeffyam: @HoustonRockets how come everytime Jeremy gets going, McHale pulls him out? 18pts 7 for 8, 5 assists in only 21mins. But he keeps Harden in.

      • Thanks for the link, MrPingPong! This guy makes a lot of great points about McHale’s negativity, perhaps doing some psychological damage to the team’s confidence. This could be why they’ve been losing to easy teams. But I think the bigger reason is the mini shakeup in the lineup. It just takes a little time to figure things out. It’s a good thing we had an easy schedule with lots of practices to figure it out. But McHale’s still not there, yet.

        In the first quarter, I saw a concerted effort by Harden and the team to get Lin the ball. I hadn’t seen that before with the Rockets. Then Lin sat out way too long in the second quarter, but came back still maintaining his aggressiveness. Lin also got a lot of screens tonight. McHale should try resting Harden some–especially against easy opponents. He also needs to go back to having Lin in without Harden. Not sure why he went away from that–probably because he can’t seem to rest Harden at all. Harden is playing hurt, McHale should be using Harden more judiciously–especially in games against weak opponents.

      • Yeah, I agree with you, Philosopher, that the unexpected mini shakeup in the lineup is making it all the more difficult for McHale. He has a really tough job. I hope he welcomes the challenge.

        There 14 games left for the Rockets in an 82-game season. This is roughly the equivalent of 8 minutes left in a 48-minute game. It’s the 4th quarter of the 2012-2013 NBA season. McHale must trust Mr. 4th quarter and let him direct the floor and finish the season with a victory! That’s my Lin-biased view!

        Have a great day/night wherever y’all are on this WEB!

    • I don’t get it either, Jeff. I only watched the first half of this game. McHale took too long to put Jeremy back in in the second quarter. Jeremy was on tonight and McHale kept Jeremy out too long int he second quarter. I’m not sure what happened in the second half, but Jeremy ended with only 30 minutes of playing time, when he was probably the best player of the game in terms of being efficient. So McHale’s still got issues. Hope that article and pressure from Morey and Les will straighten McHale out as we approach the playoffs. We’ll see.

      • It seems McHale’s skimpy use of Lin has been mind-boggling to not just Lin fans but also basketball experts. No matter how hot Lin is or how cold Harden and Parsons are, their playing time remains almost unchanged. Also, Lin has been improving but his playing time has been reduced, compared to the beginning or first half of the season. This definitely would hurt his stats. So when talking about Lin’s points per game, people do need to factor in the average minutes he plays. Looking on the bright side though, we can at least be assured that he gets to rest his knee and should be less prone to injuries.

        I wonder why reporters don’t question McHale about this. One can only guess a) McHale still doesn’t trust Lin as he does Harden or Parsons; b) Lin still has a lot to prove, e.g., to show more consistency; or c) McHale is just being surprisingly obstinate, which probably has done more harm than good to the team and his profession as a coach. Well, we’ll see–just hope everything turns out the best for JLin.

    • Hah, Spurs-Lin fans are gonna have a tough time tonight rooting both for the Spurs and Lin at the same time! πŸ™‚

      On a separate note, I found a video showing Lin wearing an earring at Harvard (at about 2:04).

      He looked much more NBA-like with the earring then! πŸ™‚

      You are probably bored with my game prediction by now! So, to surprise y’all a little, I predict the Spurs win a close one tonight! Why? Lin is not happy with Harvard’s loss to the Wildcats last night! πŸ™‚

      Have a great day/night wherever you are on this WEB!

      PS: I hope the anti-jinx works!

      • Hey, seeing Lin with earrings is fun, and so is making predictions! Thanks, Mr. PingPong!

      • Haha, MrPingPong. I just updated my prediction for tonight’s game. I’m predicting a Rockets win.

      • MrPingPong, your anti-jinx worked! Looks like you were right about Lin being bothered by Harvard’s loss. Haha.

      • In my opinion, it looked good on him.
        I remember he still have it during the NBA lockout.
        Since the birth of Linsanity, it suddenly disappeared.
        But with or without an earring, for me he is still cute and handsome (of course, i am fan) ahaahahahaha πŸ˜‰

  5. Regarding McHale’s use of Lin, I think I forgot to include the reality factor–which everyone here knows–Lin has a backup in Beverley, who could replace him whenever he plays well. Yesterday’s game gave the fans one of the least desired scenarios: the team has a blow-out game but Lin has a low single-digit and less than half of the playing time. How I wish Lin had scored 3 or 4 more pts! In the previous game at half time, when I learned that the Rockets lead by 19 and Lin only got 8 pts, I was worried that he would not go back to play. Thankfully (and ironically), the Jazz caught up to give him the show time. And yesterday’s game went in an opposite direction. I could only say this is bound to happen since Lin isn’t guaranteed starter minutes. It’s good that Thomas Robinson and the second unit played well; it’s just a shame that things didn’t turn out well for Lin.

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