Rockets Success Against Clippers Should Put McHale’s Usage of Players into Question

I missed both the Grizzlies game and the Clippers game, so don’t have too many specific thoughts on those games. But there is one important thing I wanted to bring up. I just had a chance to read some post game summaries for the Clippers game and McHale was given a lot of credit for being creative with testing out new line ups in the absence of Harden. Well, I think he deserves credit for that, but the Clippers game should also call into question McHale’s usage of his players throughout the season. McHale has a fixation on certain players–either seeing only their faults or only their what they do well. He has an unhealthy over-reliance on Delfino, for example, because from the very beginning of the season, Delfino was the only true veteran that the Rockets had. Because of that, Delfino earned McHale’s unconditional trust and he plays Delfino like a starter. I know all the stats about the Rockets being a high scoring team with the lineup that includes Delfino. I’m not oblivious to that, but I think Delfino should be used more as an offensive spark off the bench. I think McHale’s unhealthy trust in Delfino takes away minutes from other deserving guys. Ever since Garcia came to the Rockets, I’ve been screaming on this blog for McHale to play Garcia more, because I felt that Garcia is a better all-around player than Delfino and isn’t as turnover prone. Delfino tries too much to be a play maker out there and doing things that he has no business of doing. Garcia plays more within himself and is a better defender. Garcia also brings more energy–he even does this when he’s on the bench.

Another guy I’ve been screaming for McHale to play more is Anderson. Because McHale doesn’t trust anyone but Harden in the 2-Guard position, he hasn’t given Anderson a chance. But in the limited minutes that I’ve seen Anderson, I’ve been very impressed. I just have no idea how McHale is unable to see Anderson’s abilities. I think, again, it’s because McHale has the fixation that ONLY Harden can play the 2-guard on the team, so he runs Harden to the ground–even when Harden has been playing hurt for long stretches. I think Anderson is just as capable of spelling Harden as Beverly has been as spelling Lin. But because of McHale’s distrust of Lin and his distrust of anyone but Harden in the 2-guard, he over-plays Beverly and way under-plays Anderson to the point of being ridiculous.

McHale’s crazy fixation is a really dangerous thing, as the team could be without Harden in the post season and that would be devastating. It would be ALL McHale’s fault if that were to happen. A great example of McHale’s crazy fixation is in the Pacers game in which Harden was clearly struggling and playing hurt (he’s been playing hurt for weeks now), yet McHale played Harden the ENTIRE second half. How ridiculous, reckless and irresponsible is that? And now Harden is injured. It’s infuriating for me to watch as McHale’s crazy fixation has hurt the team by his over-usage of a few players and under-usage of the rest. Parsons is another guy that McHale has been running to the ground since the beginning of the season. I get that we don’t have a true Small Forward, so that’s a little more understandable, but how about getting a little creative with the rotation? I know I’m alone in this, but I really think D-Mo is more suitable as a Small Forward than a Power Forward. But even without getting that creative, Delfino and Garcia are more than capable of spelling Parsons. Instead, McHale runs Parsons to the ground and then over-uses the lineup that includes both Parsons and Delfino and completely neglects Garcia (Garcia hadn’t seen any playing time the last four games).

Anyway, I have more to say on this subject, but I’ll leave wit this thought. Rather than praising McHale for completely changing his player usage in this ONE game against the Clippers, because he was more or less FORCED to, I think this game is a great example of how McHale has FAILED in his usage of his players throughout the season, because of his crazy fixations. The biggest way a coach can influence the game is how he uses his players and I see no balance and clear rationality in the way McHale uses his players. And I think this is one of the MAJOR ways McHale has hut this team. It’s really hard to prove a “what if”, but I think Rockets could be an even better team if the players were used more optimally. I just hope Morey/Les recognizes this. Not sure if there’s much they can do about it, except to fire McHale, but I don’t see that happening, since McHale will be given most of the credit for getting the youngest team in the NBA to the playoffs.


54 thoughts on “Rockets Success Against Clippers Should Put McHale’s Usage of Players into Question

  1. If only McHale can think in terms of probability and statistics like BC and teko, readers of this blog.


    I just hope that McHale can truly “guide” this dream team to the playoff. My guess is Lin just wants to make the playoff and does not care who gets the credit.

  2. This is why McHale won’t be the Coach of the Year instead the award will be giving to Golden State’s Mark Jackson.

    The rotation has been the biggest issue in the last 10 games. Houston would have been 4-0 against all four playoff teams last week if it weren’t for these atrocious fixations. -_- Jeremy Lin’s 2 game skid after scoring 20+ points in three previous games had a lot of heat from the haters during this absurdity.

    • It’s a game time decision thing for Harden, Rubielyn.

      In another news, Royce White has been recalled from the D-league to start against the Magic in place of Lin who committed a record high of 17 TOs during practice.

      April Fools!


      Anyway, I am going to the Magic game tonight with some trepidation due to April Fools…

      • AHAHAHAHA, for a second you got me there MrPingPong ๐Ÿ™‚
        Harden is still not playing, maybe they are reserving him for the playoffs?
        Anyway, Rockets leading at halftime.

        Enjoy the game MrPingPong! ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Thanks, Rubielyn. I had fun at the game. Lin was playing so relaxed in my biased view. He was having fun out there, throwing risky “home run” passes and shooting baskets now and then, whenever he felt like it. Sure, he committed a few TOs, but that was to be expected with his Linsane style. The Rockets fans sitting behind me were screaming mad to put Lin back in when the lead was cut down to 11 in the 4th. They went nuts when the lead was down to 5. And no, they were not Asians.

        I’ve lost faith in McHale and the way he gambled with the bench in this game has made me even more skeptical of his coaching skills. The Rockets will make the playoff in spite of McHale. Yet McHale will probably gets COY because of this. Who says life has to be fair? ๐Ÿ™‚

        I’ll post some videos when I have the time.

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

  3. @MrPingPong, glad to know that JLin had fun and so are you ๐Ÿ˜‰
    I hope next time those screaming fans get to sit at the back of the Rox’s coaching staff just so they will be heard…heheheh
    JLin had a double double tonight 19pts and 11 dimes ๐Ÿ˜‰ and to think he was not playing in the 4Q…

    It’s a good afternoon over here on the side of the world MrPingPong ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Have a good day/night to you too and thanks much in advance for the videos? (like you said when you have time =) )

    • Sounds like a fun time, MrPingPong. Another Linsanity 2.0 game by Lin. I like the way you put it MrPingPong: “The Rockets will make the playoffs in spite of McHale.” Unfortunately, analysts, who don’t really pay attention to any one team and only understand teams on a shallow level will give McHale all the credit.

      • Yeah, man, one common theme in Linsanity 1.0 and Linsanity 2.0 is some key player has to be hurt in order for Lin to shine! For Lin, it’s the hands of Providence! For me, it’s just proof that the FEP (Flat Earth People) are still ruling the NBA. Ha ha!

    • OK, Lin fans, here are some videos of the Magic game.
      Pregame warmup:

      First quarter – part 1

      First quarter – part 2

      Second quarter – part 1

      More coming up later…


  4. Been lurking here for months and compared to one self-hating fan forum (rhymes w Dutch Vans) and uber passionate fansite ( :P), your blog is like my valium. Thank you for the balanced POVs. I’m also interested in JLin’s misses and how he can correct them, develop as a player. I love JLin and will fiercely support the team he’s with, even if it’s the Bobcats! For now, Go Rockets!!

    • I’m glad you think I provide a balanced POV, mber. That’s the aim of this blog, but I know I am still a biased Lin fan, so I do my best to be somewhat objective. It’s great to have you here and I look forward to more comments from you.. I will also follow Lin wherever he goes.

    • Hello mber! Every once in a while I found a gem on the Dutch Vans site. Like this Torocan who I think is quite knowledgeable. And DeAleck! Did you catch this guy’s thread? It’s hilarious.

      He preditcs Rockets games based on his own “feelings”. Here is his own blog:

      The world is full of Linsane people, and I love it!

      BTW, I had in my script that Lin will play for the Bobcats one day. After all, Michael Jordan is Lin’s idol! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. The 4th Q will leave a lasting impact on the players mind. They will remember that they can’t let down. This may turn out to be a +ve in long term

    • I hope so, fire9flyer. I actually didn’t mind that much McHale leaving Lin and Asik on the bench in the fourth. I think he should have put Lin back in at the 10 minute mark just to really secure the lead so Lin can rest at the 4 minute mark or so. Or he could have left Lin in until the 8 minute mark or something.

      McHale has made FAR WORSE decisions, though, so can’t really jump down his throat on this one. Even when the Magics caught up to within 5, I still felt we had the game in the bag. I wasn’t very worried. A lot of people felt like McHale was playing only our garbage players, but he really wasn’t. All of the starters for the night were out there, except Lin and Asik. Garcia had to go out, because he got hurt and needed stitches. McHale could have definitely handled it better, but he’s done far worse. For example, benching Lin in the Pacers game was horrific and I believe cost the Rockets the game. Of course, if the Rockets had lost last night, it would have been a disastrous decision my McHale.

      • OK, here are the videos for the fourth quarter of the Magic game. Unlike you, Philosopher, I was feeling rather nervous when the Magic cut the lead to 5 pts with about 2 minutes left. And they had the ball too! 2 minutes with a 5 points lead means nothing in the NBA. It could be anybody’s game. Smith was playing very tentatively with 5 fouls. D-Mo seemed gassed. Berverly was just bouncing around not knowing how to create plays. The Magic starters were out there giving everything they had. No other NBA coach would do what McHale did (or did not do) in this fourth quarter, in my opinion. The Rockets won in spite of their coach.

      • Thanks for the videos, MrPingPong.

        Yep, there were a lot of reasons to be nervous when the lead was cut to 5. Normally, I would be nervous, but I wasn’t in that game for whatever reason. Can’t explain how I feel, sometimes. I probably would have been nervous if I was at the game in person.

        Rockets definitely won, despite McHale. Just like Rockets will make playoffs despite McHale, as you so aptly put it.

  6. In the post-game interview, Lin said it was nice that he was “the” PG, not just “a” PG. Obviously Lin likes it better when he is the floor general, but then he continued with a clever response saying that the team is more dangerous with Harden and that they still want to make it work, learning to play off each other. Actually, these recent two games are similar to Linsanity games last year in that the team won without two key players, so I’d really like to see more of such games. However, Harden might come back soon, and I hope it doesn’t mean that Lin will be frozen or under-used again. By the way, I agree that McHale’s decision in the 4Q to stick with the 2nd unit even though they were losing the lead is truly horrible. For this and his many questionable rotations, I don’t mind people calling him McFail.

    • These games without Harden has FORCED McHale to play Lin the way Lin is supposed to be played: as the primary floor general. The way the ball is moving so fluidly should make people questions the way McHale has been mis-using Lin all season. It’s another big example of how McHale has FAILED this team. Again, it’s hard to prove a “what if” but if McHale has played Lin the way Lin is meant to be played, the Rockets would be an even better team. Hope McHale learns something from this or hope this opens Morey’s and Les’s eyes to how much McHale has hurt this team full of young and hard working talent, because of his CRAZY FIXATIONS. For a guy who’s supposed to be no nonsense, he sure doesn’t see things as they are. He has a lot of strange illusions in his mind about certain players. Very disappointing.

      • While you’re at it, Philosopher, check out McHale’s postgame interview:

        He just sidestepped the whole question about Lin, didn’t he? Something must really bothered him inside. Sad story!

      • I just saw the post game. Yeah, MrPingPong, McHale totally sidestep the Lin question. Very disturbing. I’m beginning to think that McHale MIGHT be a Lin Hater. Or at least he won’t admit that he’s made mistakes in how he has played Lin and it seems as if McHale will NEVER own up to it. If Les really believes in Lin, then Les needs to fire McHale. But I really don’t see that happening, since McHale is going to get unwarranted credit for taking the youngest team to the playoffs. Just when I thought the whole McFale/Lin dynamic reached a turning point to the upside, I feel as if it’s spiraled back down these past few games. We’ll see what happens when Harden returns. I’ll be looking to see if McHale makes any adjustments to determine whether or not McHale is a Lin Hater.

    • Thanks, CH for the link. I didn’t see the post game interview until you brought it to my attention. Lin was very candid and verbalized some of the same things that us fans have been saying all season. Nice little dig at McHale about he 4th quarter thing. Ha ha.

    • Ha ha, Mr 4th Quarter has now transformed himself into Mr. 3rd Quarter! May be in the playoff, he’ll become Mr. 2nd Quarter. Adaptability is the mark of Lintelligence! I love this young man!

      • Just hope he can play as much Linsane as possible while Harden is away. His day of Linsane can be numbered once Harden comes back. Sign…

      • OK, here he is, Mr. 3rd Quarter!

        and part 2

        Lin played the whole third quarter of the Magic game. He was ruling the floor out there!

  7. I thought Sampson’s comments at halftime was hilarious–not in a good way. He said, “Many people don’t realize how good Anderson is.” I was thinking, yeah, they’re one of those people who don’t believe how good Anderson is. Or if I were to give Sampson the benefit of the doubt, then maybe Sampson has been a believer in Anderson, but McHale has not. Otherwise, why would they go out of their way to avoid playing Anderson? I’ve been screaming on this blog that Anderson is capable of spelling Harden and it’s only now that Harden is out that they’re FORCED to play Anderson. And Sampson has the nerve to go on TV and imply that they are one of the few people who think Anderson is a good player, because they’ve seen him at practice. I already determined that he was good in the first few games that he’s played very limited minutes. I’ve made the right call about players in very limited sample size. Like when I didn’t hesitate to call Harden a superstar after his debut Rockets game or call him a top 5 player shortly thereafter. Or when I called Beverly an elite on-ball defender (despite him being a no-name player) after the first game he played in garbage minutes against the Clippers. I know I sound really cocky, here but it’s all out of frustration and anger at how professionals aren’t able to see stuff that I’m able to see. I feel like I’ve been a lot more right than they have been about their own team. How can that be? It just pisses me off that they’re paid to do this stuff and can’t seem to do a good job at it and it’s costing a team that deserves way better than that.

    By the way, Delfino went 1 of 10 from three point last night. I think Garcia is a much more dependable player than Delfino. I’ve been saying this after Garcia’s first game as a Rockets. Delfino was good up until he messed up his elbow a month or so ago. Ever since then, I don’t have much trust in Delfino. Some nights he’ll be good, but most nights he’s pretty unreliable. Not sure why McHale still sticks with him. Just one of McHale’s many CRAZY FIXATIONS.

    Just so furious at the Rockets coaching staff, right now. They just keep getting worse and worse, in my eyes and it sucks that they’ll be back with the Rockets next year, because most people aren’t able to see what I’m able to see.

  8. Let me say a bit more about this post-game interview talk by Linโ€”itโ€™s so impressive. Not only did he candidly express his pleasure in being the PG, he also mentioned the value of the missing players. Most of all, he complimented his teammate Asik, stating specifically where he has improved. Fans have been complaining about Asikโ€™s clumsiness, which has spoiled Linโ€™s assist stats. However, all through the season Lin has been showing nothing but positiveness and support, like an understanding coach. Indeed, Lin sounds more like a coach than MH, as some have pointed out. I believe anyone who watched this interview would definitely be impressed by Linโ€™s sincerity, integrity, and maturity. And on top of those, his eloquence. Ever noticed how often his remarks have been quoted like some wise saying? I donโ€™t know if his biographies so far have recorded everything heโ€™s said in publicโ€”they should have. As a 24-four-year-old young man, he really can deliver messages. I believe Lin, as a basketball player with those great attributes, could also make a good coach, preacher, or even a statesman.

  9. Btw, since we are on the subject, I wanna take this chance to revisit two charts that we didn’t have chance to discuss in more details, regarding McHale’s usage of Lin and Harden. The charts are the relationship between players’ FG% and “how long they play per game.”



    According to these data (out of this season up to 3/28):

    (1) When Harden plays more time in a game, his FG% becomes more erratic — ranging from as high as 70% to as low as 15%;
    (2) The more min Harden plays in a game, his average FG% gradually goes down. His best performance in terms of FG% is when he plays about 30 mins/game (maybe even lower but we don’t have enough data of him playing less than 30 min/game);

    On the other hand, Lin is more consistent in FG%:

    (1) He maintains 25~60% no matter if he plays 20 mins or 40 mins in a game;
    (2) His FG% goes up slightly the more min he plays in a game. His best performance is when he plays > 38 mins. The more he plays in a game the more FG% he has.

    This data suggest that not only Lin is more consistent (in terms of FG%) than Harden (means he is less risky), but also, playing more time in a game improve his shooting efficiency.

    Now, other record shows that, McHale is playing Lin at 31.9 min, Harden 38.3 min. Judging with their performances (Harden is most efficient at 30min/game, and Lin is at >38min/game) , McHale plays both of them in wrong way !! Theoretically, Rox will have more consistent, winning games if McHale reverses their playing time.

    BC suggests (in comments from earlier post in this blog) that playing more time in a game will reduce a player’s average FG%. Without further digging, the first impression from these data indicates that it is player-dependent — Harden does follow that trend, but not Lin.

  10. philosopher;[ But as the role of PG placed upon him, there seems to be something seriously lacking. In the past two games, Rox’s offense stalled and defense broke down when Beverly took over. We saw full of energy but no coordination. Rox players looked aimless and don’t know what to do next (this is my personal feeling). It put Rox in danger no matter it’s against a strong team or a weak team. ]

    Can say it better than you do.

    Beverly is full of energy and very aggressive. That’s what I like about him.

    But as the role of PG placed upon him, there seems to be something seriously lacking. In the past two games, Rox’s offense stalled and defense broke down when Beverly took over. We saw full of energy but no coordination. Rox players looked aimless and don’t know what to do next (this is my personal feeling). It put Rox in danger no matter it’s against a strong team (Clippers) or a weak team (Magic). In both games, I thought Rox is gonna blew it when Beverly took control and the scores are driven closer and closer.

    If Beverly wants to be a reliable PG, I believe this is the first thing he needs to improve.

  11. Waah Sad , now the way I look at it. Maybe Lin is better off in Knicks. LOL maybe they would be in better playoff contention with him. Man I miss those days. Was nice to see a flash of the olde Lin run offence and now new Lin Defence. When Harden and Parsons is out. Now they are back I would expect, it’s back to usual. 3 point Lin.

    Such is life, like leaf blowing in the wind.

  12. I agree that Lin would be better off this season if he were a Knick, at least he’d play for Woodson, a better coach that would let him play PG, and we wouldn’t have been jerked along by MH all this time, and most of all, his NY fans would be so much happier. It was supposed to be a much anticipated happy ending until things took an ugly turn. However, as far as the big environment is concerned, Lin seems to prefer Houston, which is slower-paced and more relaxed. I think you must have all seen this:

    • Thx for the link!
      Tonight’s game was interesting, with Harden and Parsons back. They tried going back to Harden iso during clutch 4th, and guess what? it didn’t work and the rockets fell back on a lin run offense. And the rockets nailed it. Interesting to see Lin control and run an effective slow paced offensive rockets.

      lin and asik had the highest plus/minus +17 each
      Bev -7
      Parsons +15
      Harden +11
      Smith +13

    • Thanks for the link. I actually didn’t see it until now.

      As much as I enjoyed the Linsanity run last year, I still think staying with Knicks would have been toxic for Lin. The players in Houston match Lin’s style, values, etc. perfectly. I also think Les and Morey are great for Lin. The ONLY thing that’s an issue for Lin in Houston is McHale. Granted, it’s a big thing. But it wasn’t like Woodson had much confidence in Lin, either. And Dolan is just a horrible horrible human being.

      • I really like the support Les has shown for Lin, especially at Lin’s press conference. What I don’t get is how come that support didn’t translate into action. I don’t think Les is ignorant of MH’s disturbingly evasive attitude towards Lin, their franchise player, which is what they made Lin out to be at the press conference. Hence, I would expect Les, the owner of the team, to do something about it–he could have advised MH not to dismiss the Lin questions, at least not so blatantly, even if MH really doesn’t appreciate Lin. While the owner or the manager isn’t supposed to interfere with the coach’s game-related business, I believe an attitude problem as such should be something to deal with. After all, it has raised so many eyebrows.

      • I suspect that McHale’s positive comments after that Dallas game and subsequent games was Les’s influence. The thing is, owners can’t really do that much to change a coach’s attitude. All they can really do is threaten the coach with termination. But I doubt Les has done that, so that’s why I don’t think McHale has any real incentive to change his attitude.

      • Thanks CH. ‘Don’t know if I’ll be able to watch the game tonight. All the pundits are saying that Lillard will dominate Lin as usual. No question that Lillard is an amazing NBA player, but Lin will blaze Lillard this time. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Most of the pundits are FEP. Lillard is THE PG of the team and always has the ball in his hand. If JLin is THE PG, he excels no matter which team he is playing. Will see tonight.

  13. Pingback: Rockets, Full of Jeremy Lins, Make Playoffs In Spite of, Not Because of McHale | Jeremy Lintelligence

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