Harden Hero Balling Kills Rockets’s Chances of Advancing in the Playoffs

I don’t feel like writing much after this game. Basically everything I was hoping would happen tonight didn’t. Every team I wanted to win lost. Actually, after Denver won, I was rooting for Golden State to win, because I wanted Rockets to go against Spurs.

For tonight’s game, I either expected the Rockets to blow out the Lakers or I expected the Lakers to win. So when Lakers kept hanging around, I was concerned. Down the stretch, Rockets still have no plan. And I can tell Harden really wanted to win the game single-handedly so he wouldn’t have to face his former teammates in the first round. Harden jacked up missed three after missed three (4 of 13 from three) as well as pressing and hanging onto the ball for too long. We had no offense in the fourth quarter and especially down the stretch and in overtime. It was one iso after another–nearly all by Harden. Zero ball movement. Harden hangs onto the ball too long and it forces everyone to just stand around and watch, waiting to see what he wants to do, because they don’t want to move around and clog the lane in case he’s looking to drive. Since McHale has no set plays, guys don’t really know where to move to. So that’s why you’re getting the zero ball movement. I also hate how Harden lets the clock run down much lower than he should before making a move. I’ve complained about this since early in the season about Harden. This leaves very little room for error. He did a lot of that tonight and would give the ball to Lin or someone last minute, causing Lin to jack up prayers. Several of Lin’s missed threes were because of this. That’s why Lin went 2 for 7 from three. As opposed to Harden’s missed threes which were shots that Harden willingly took.

I felt this game being lost in the fourth quarter, when McHale went with a small line up that included Delfino going against Gasol. Good thing McHale didn’t stick with that crazy lineup. Then McHale sat Lin for too long and I felt that killed Lin’s momentum. Lin did well in the third quarter (actually he did well in the first half, as well as, distributing the ball), but McHale sat him with 4:24 to play in the third and didn’t bring Lin back again until 6:19 to go in the fourth and by the time Lin got back, I think he lost a lot of his momentum in the third quarter and barely touched the ball. Harden played the entire 3rd quarter, which is common, but why wouldn’t McHale put Lin back in before putting Harden back in? Instead, McHale puts Harden back in with 8:55 to go. Why not put Lin back in before Harden? Of course, McHale doesn’t do this. A little decision like that could have been the difference between winning and losing last night. McHale makes a lot of these little in-game mistakes. Lin was doing a pretty good job, up until the 4th quarter, of running the floor. And I think having Lin sit for so long messed up his rhythm, as well as the rhythm of the team, because Rockets offense looked horrendous from the fourth quarter on.

I couldn’t believe Parsons nailed that three at the end to put the game into overtime on a smart feed from Lin. Rockets should have rewarded Parsons for hitting such a clutch shot. I thought for sure the game was over when guys were scrambling for loose balls. But Parsons comes up with the clutch shot and Rockets just pissed it away by doing one iso after another. It was painful to watch and I was not at all surprised that Rockets ended up losing the game. Parsons hitting that clutch shot should make McHale realize that he has more than just Harden as a clutch player on the team. McHale’s Harden Hero Ball strategy is killing the Rockets in end of game situations. Sometimes it works. But most of the time, it fails. This is why Rockets are not good in end of game situations. It’s an issue that McHale can’t resolve and this is one of the reasons Morey and Les need to seriously look to see if there are any coaches available who can take the Rockets to the next level.

I hate how McHale just seems to throw out the playbook and just give the ball to Harden, hoping that Harden delivers in end of game situations. Why not continue to play Rockets basketball? Instead, the ball just goes to Harden for the last few minutes of the game and that’s McHale’s entire game plan. I’m sort of okay with giving the ball to Harden for the VERY LAST possession, but when you give the ball to Harden with minutes left to go in the game on like every possession, it sends a message to the other Rockets players that they need to stop playing the way they have been playing and just stand around and ball-watch. Anyway, tonight, it cost Rockets the chance to advance in the playoffs and get some much needed playoff experience. Boy, don’t we wish we had that Suns game back!

Oh well, if Rockets do end up beating OKC and then the Knicks for the championship, then I think they need to just end the NBA, because it really doesn’t get any better than that. That is BIG!


44 thoughts on “Harden Hero Balling Kills Rockets’s Chances of Advancing in the Playoffs

  1. Lakers really need to thank McHale for tonight haha the offense really was abysmal.
    That being said, I’m not really as upset tonight as i was after the suns game. i really think rockets would have had no chance against the spurs, even with most of their players injured/half injured and their 4 game losing streak or whatever it is. rockets just produce so much TO down the stretch it’s kinda ridiculous and spurs really play smart basketball and capitalize on mistakes. and hopefully this game taught mchale the importnat lesson that having no plan on offense will not win games.

    linsanity happened, so anything can happen. i mean, they did lose to the bucks tonight (haha wishful thinking). in all seriousness, i think lin will have at least one really big game this series. hopefully the rockets can take advantage of any momentum they manage to get in this series and shock the NBA!

    but yeah fun game to watch with my friends (i was the only one cheering for the rockets). having sports to relax to once in a while is always such a blessing, especially considering how rough this past week has been for America as a whole.

    • Yeah, lets hope we see some Linsanity in the playoffs. It’s all up to McHale if he’ll allow Linsanity to happen. McHale needs to go back to the game plan he had for the team back in December, when they were destroying teams. Lin was the primary play-maker, he staggered Lin’s and Harden’s minutes, Rockets ran back after made baskets (as well as missed baskets) and the ball zipped around from side to side (Rockets need to do a better job of getting the ball in-and-out. They’ve never really done that all season, so I don’t expect that to all of a sudden happen, but at least move it from side-to-side.)

  2. I even thought the Rockets will lose it in regulation Mr.Philosopher.
    But you know what you are absolutely right about this one

    “Oh well, if Rockets do end up beating OKC and then the Knicks for the championship, then I think they need to just end the NBA, because it really doesn’t get any better than that. That is BIG!”

    Cheering for the Rockets.
    I don’t know but I always like the underdogs when it comes to NBA.
    One of the many reasons why I like JLin so much ( we know his story).
    I wish Jlin all the best, always. 😉

    • If Rockets beat OKC, it will probably go down as one of the best underdog stories (team-wise) and it would be no coincidence that Lin will have been involved in two of the biggest underdog sports stories.

    • I have been tweeting Morey a few of my latest articles, but I doubt he reads them. Will tweet this one, as well. 🙂

      • hey…it’s my first time to visit ur website, and I love ur articles.
        I really appreciate that you tweet Morey your articles.

        It’s so meaningful and imperative to voice out the whole thing for us fans.
        Unfortunately, I keep having this feeling that somehow Morey has already kew all this, and it’s something under-the-table that keeps him from taking moves.

        I mean, obviously, McFail’s stubborness and insanity is not something that you could easily ignore as a normal human being, not to mention Morey is a shrewd manager.

        Anyway, I just hope the Rox will at least have 1 good winning game in the series, and also a team ball win.

  3. Yeah, you’ve said it all, Philosopher. One small typo though: Lin was taken out with 4:24 in the third and not the fourth. It was painful to watch the fourth quarter and the OT. Kevin McHale is the Bum Phillips of the NBA. I did not even bother to watch KM’s postgame interview because it would always be the same old stuffs.

    Anyway, let’s celebrate Lin’s first full NBA season as a starter with perfect attendance! YAY! 🙂

    Now to the playoffs. I am always upbeat about Lin, but I am realistic about the odds against OKC. I think every NBA team now knows how to defend Harden and play the Rockets. Unless Lin goes Linsane and starts taking matters into his own hands, it will be a quick exit for the Rockets in the first round. Unfortunately, Lin will do just what the coach tells him to do: dribble the ball upcourt and give the ball to Harden. Sigh!

    Still, I look forward to watching games 3 and 4 live at Toyota Center next weekend! Let’s go Jeremy Lin! 🙂

      • Thanks Rubielyn!
        Lin and the Rockets beating OKC in the first round would one small step towards the BIG showdown with the Knicks! 🙂

    • Thanks for pointing out the typo, MrPingPong. It’s fixed now.

      Lin’s perfect attendance was something I didn’t expect this season, so that’s definitely something to celebrate. Hope we see some Linsanity in the playoffs. McHale has to remind his players to play team basketball. Unfortunately, team basketball means putting the ball in Lin’s hands–something McHale is still unwilling to do, because of his blind doubt in Lin. As a coach, McHale can preach team basketball until he collapses, but it won’t matter if he keeps emphasizing Harden Hero Ball down the stretch.

      • Just some random tidbits here…

        According to UltimateRockets, Lin “and Cleveland’s Alonzo Gee are the only undrafted players to have started every one of their team’s games this season.”

        Jeremy Lin’s Facebook wall:
        “I gotta be much better…time to move on and get ready for the playoffs. Much love to all the fans who supported us faithfully throughout the season!! Thank you!”

        Marc J. Spears ‏@SpearsNBAYahoo:
        “Do the Rockets run anything besides Iso?”

        MrPingPong’s random thought:
        “Steve Blake is D’Antoni’s Jeremy Lin of the Los Angeles Lakers…” 🙂

  4. I’m going to keep this short and sweet. McHale has successfully convinced me he is a terrible, terrible coach. Harden started this season really well, but now it is getting to the point where I am wondering if he is detracting more than he is contributing to the team.

    • Agree with you, BC. I was a big Harden fan and still am, but he has been a detriment to the team in the past few games, because as the playoffs approaches, Harden is wanting to become THE hero more and more and McHale is encouraging it, rather than keeping Harden in check and getting the Rockets to play team basketball. McHale is definitely a below average coach. Morey and Les should look long and hard at what McHale has actually accomplished for the team and consider bringing in another coach. They shouldn’t just listen to all the analysts who really don’t know any better, because they just see things on the surface. They see the Rockets making it to the playoffs and they automatically give credit to the coach, when in reality, they severely underestimated the Rockets players due to their preconceptions. I fully expected the Rockets to make the playoffs, because of the players on the team. I said they were a lock to make the playoffs from the very beginning of the season. And now that the Rockets have done what the players are fully capable of, all the credit is going to a coach who has no business of coaching an NBA team. McHale should be an assistant coach or give him some other position as a player motivator. He’s good at that, but the actual coaching, he’s terrible at.

      Van Gundy had a lot of good things to say about Lin and about the Rockets last night in his commentary. Why doesn’t Morey and Les make him an offer he can’t refuse?

      • I read somewhere (forget where) that McHale was probably hired because, at the time, Morey was primarily concerned with building a championship team rather than winning games. I don’t think many legit NBA coaches would be willing to put up with the kind of crazy roster shifts that have been going on in Houston. Now that the Rockets are getting close to being a championship contender, I don’t expect that they will keep McHale.

        This writer on the ESPN Rockets blog asks whether it is on Harden or McHale that the offense is sh** in clutch scenarios: http://www.red94.net/day-days-reflecting-houstons-complete-collapse/

        Even if it is Harden ignoring orders and taking control of the team, which I highly doubt because they are literally coming out of time outs and going straight into ISO offense, McHale still has to take some of the responsibility as coach of the team. This is not something that just appeared in last night’s game. This problem has been systemic and it’s the coach’s job to fix it.

      • Great article. Thanks for the link, BC. Finally, someone else pointing out McHale’s horrendous in-game coaching! it’s laughable that he’s on the ballot for coach of the year. Like I said, it’s just symptomatic of Analysts only having a surface understanding of teams.

        Great insights about how Morey needed McHale has a whipping boy. I remember reading something that sort of talked about that in an ESPN article, but they talked about it in a very positive light and made me concern that Morey would stick with McHale, because McHale is willing to coach in whatever way Morey wants him to coach. But I hope you’re right about Morey dropping McHale (next season?). Morey is one of the most intelligent GMs, he’s gotta see that McHale has been a terrible coach. I don’t know how he could not. Or at least he’s gotta recognize that McHale is not championship-contender coaching material. I think Rockets are wasting their valuable talent if they keep McHale on as a coach beyond this season. I just hope there are actually some good coaches available to choose from.

        As for the article, I think in this game in particular, Harden gets a little bit of the blame for the hero balling, because I think he really didn’t want to face OKC in the first round and I could tell that he felt that he had to take it upon himself to make that not happen. I think he was thinking that if they were going to lose, he didn’t want to blame anyone else. So I think in last night’s game Harden did do more hero balling than McHale wanted–especially when he just wasted a bunch of possessions by just jacking up threes–not even waiting for his teammates to get set. But overall, I would give McHale 85% if the blame for the hero balling. 1) because McHale actually draws up hero balling plays for Harden in timeouts and 2) because he worships Harden too much to reign Harden in when Harden does get out of control.

        Also, I did notice Harden has been blaming Asik a lot for not catching passes that Harden has no business of giving to Asik. It was especially apparent in last night’s game, but I’ve noticed it a lot more as the season wears on and I hope that stops, because it’s not good for team chemistry. It’s very unfair what Harden is doing and guys like Parsons and Lin need to step in and keep that in check.

      • What I read was that part of MK’s contract was to help train Finch, the assistant coach, who eventually will be the head coach. MK will bow out as the operational manager or something. If you dig into Finch’s background, he is pretty competent as a coach in his coaching career, but lacking NBA experience. And that’s why Morey wanted MK to train him, according to what I read. But MK himself is an imcompetent coach, how could Morey depended on him to do such an important job???

  5. Here is a comparison of FG% on Harden and Lin over the year. Data taken from: http://espn.go.com/nba/team/stats/_/name/hou/houston-rockets

    FG% comparison
       Harden  Lin
    11  41.2  37.3
    12  46.3  48.9
     1  52.9  43.8
     2  42.9  42.2
     3  38.9  48.2
     4  39.0  44.0

    The trend can best be seen in a plot (hope it shows up correctly):

          FG% [o:Lin, x:Harden]
      55|        x
      50|     o
    %   |     x        o
      45|        o        o
        |           xo     
      40|   x          x  x
        |  o
       10 11 12  1  2  3  4

    The trend shows that Lin is more consistent and has higher FG%, especially in the last two months. Harden went down hard from January and never came back.

    But let’s not dwell into the debate of who is better. Instead, just look at the trend and see what we have into the playoffs and what problems we will be facing.

    The most serious concern is: Harden is now consistently low at FG%. In the past two months (before the playoffs!!), he maintained at 39%.

    When I did the same stat last time in late March, I spotted that Harden was following a hard fall consistently, falling from 52% to 42% to 38.9%.

    I asked: How long will it take to get him back up? Is that possible that he will never get better again ?

    So I was waiting for him to come back. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen. He kept at 39% consistently into April.

    Since he took a lot of shots, his low FG% means Rox has to waste a lot of shooting chances on him. The more he shoots the less chance Rox will win. It’s a deadly poison for the team.

    This happened again and again and again and again. I spotted this, most Rox fans spotted this.

    But obviously McHale doesn’t. It seems to me that McHale wants Harden to shoot until his FG% goes back up, no matter how many losses Rox has to suffer.

    It’s amazing to see how McHale kept crashing his heads against the wall so many times without the realization that his head is softer than the wall.

    So this is the reality when we march into the playoffs: Harden has no sign of coming back and McHale is ignorant to that facts. That is, McHale will keep overusing a player whose recent performance is consistently at 39% as the main scoring player and uses him at all time in the game.

    • Thanks for the analysis, teko! Great stuff, as always.

      The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result. McHale is, indeed, an insane coach. I hope Les and Morey realize this and make a concerted effort to find a coach that is more deserving of the talented, smart, hardworking and high-character players that they have assembled.

    • Hah teko, good stuffs as usual! I saw that you posted these numbers at Ultimate Rockets and got some rather lively debates there. 🙂

      Seeing that Harden’s FG% has dropped off and stayed low, one question comes to mind: what is the cause for such a drop off? To fix a problem, one must diagnose the symptoms to find the causes and treat them. I am guessing Morey is pouring over the numbers and finding all the symptoms but does not know how to get to the root causes. May be he (and his “brain trust” if there is one) will figure out over the summer!

  6. Some joke found on the net:

    Q: Is it true that Laker’s defense is so strong that makes Harden unable to pass the ball ?

    A: No. When Harden hogs the ball, the rest of the team go hiding, fearing that Harden will throw the ball to them at the last second of shot clock …

  7. I’d say it’d be the same drama story we’re getting used to. Last year, Lin outbreak in Knicks and playoffs trajectory while Knicks fans wondered if Lin and Melo will work out each other finally. Lin’s knee injury ended everybody expectations.

    What’s the result? Melo is Melo. Of course with Knicks fan expectation that when Melo came back, would Lin be able to play as PG and such. Melo kind of gave in to Knicks fan expectation and he did share the ball a few times. But it’s for a fleeting moment.

    Now Knicks winning streak and playoff contenders, with Melo overloaded shooting a game with 45 points. That’s outstanding from the perspective of total points a player can score per game. But his FG%, his ball-hogging activity will remain the same. That’s called “Recidivism”.

    Since the beginning of Lin full season starting in Rockets, I’ve been following almost every Rockets game and enjoy watching Lin playing as starting PG. Here’s my short answer to Rockets current players. With current rotation McHale’s utilizing, and his trust on Lin, Rockets will rock your boat of dreams to and fro as long as McHale is a head Coach.

    I used to write a long post on my blog about Jeremy Lin when he’s in Knicks. But since I’m not a type of person who enjoy writing every day, I only comment sometimes when I feel like I need to vent my frustration.
    Here’s my last year prediction

    Let’s get started with Lin.
    Short answer: Lin is a great PG. Lin is still improving his repertoire of PG skills. I’m a Lin fan actually. Some may call it “Lin bandwagon” or “LOF = Lin Only Fan”. A part of the reason why I become Lin’s fan, some of your may agree on, is because of his humble approach towards shining lights, his unwavering attitude to achieve his dreams, his perseverance to break all of those stereotypes. Maybe somewhere down the line, if NBA become occupied with several Asian players, we might get to choose who’s our player and which player we like the most. Now in the time of breaking all stereotypes and jumping through all struggles and difficulties he had, we couldn’t ignore but admit that he set an inspirational story for all of us. Perhaps if he’s gotten a sport scholarship from PAC-10, we wouldn’t be so amazed and he wouldn’t get as much lights as he’s getting right now. Anyway to come back to our expectation of Lin as PG in Rockets;

    There were times when Lin was really struggling and couldn’t get the basket. His jumpers were short, his 3 pointers were out of sync and his limited repertoire of PG skills makes opponents teams to get the easy memo and they were able to completely shut down Lin. Those happened even before Harden joined Rockets. As I said, Lin is still improving his skills which I admired and respect for his attitude.

    The point I wanted to make here is “In almost every profession, you need a great mentor” to be able to show your worth and the mentor who have a complete trust on you and shape you grow. Jordan is an elite basketball player. Some may agree, and some may argue with Pippen being the most supporter of Jordan. Whatever the case is, Jordan played on the court only if the Coach allowed him to do. He did have an awful shooting slumps. But the Coach believed in him. He came back and fought off those trenches. If give credits where credit is due, look at Melo now. He’s shooting like there’s no tomorrow. Of course we know that he did have a shooting slump when Lin came into the Madison Square Garden scene. What’s the key towards Melo coming back to his form as small forward. It’s the Coach Woodson, (James Dolan and such) who made sure that Melo is a franchise player for the Knicks and he will be the one who holds the ball.

    Every student needs a great teacher who will correct them if they’re wrong, who will patiently wait for the students to improve. The same goes for every academic students. Almost every great scientist have had a wonderful interaction with previous great scientists who had sometimes achieved Nobel prizes in their life times.

    Now with McHale waiting for time to bench Lin once Lin made a single mistake on the court, Lin is nowhere near to get the full trust from the current head Coach. I’ve been noticing lately that Harden makes a mistake, he’s just rolling on the court. He doesn’t care. Lin made a TO? got a foul call? Lin is surreptitiously looking at the direction of Rockets bench if McHale is calling up Beverley to replace him or call Timeout.

    The bottom line is Harden can improve under McHale will full support. I don’t care if Harden FG% is lower than Lin’s or Harden shooting slump. As long as he’s got green lights from the head coach, he’ll be shining some nights with 45 points, and some nights with 30 points even if the team loses. That’s how it is. Whereas Lin will become allergic to 3rd Quarter, not only 4th quarter, like he said in his post-interview. Or maybe in the future, he’ll be allergic to almost every quarter. That’s how McHale has a trust on Lin.

    The fact that McHale has certain trust on Beverley is something to do with his (McHale) personal journey in NBA. He himself had strived from the 6th man rotation to Hall of Famer, he’s now giving an opportunity to those bench warmers while he detests the idea of Lin becomes an overnight 25 million player from Knicks. That’s what makes him unable to compliment Lin’s contribution in every post game interview.

    So I decided to lower my expectations from Rockets as long as McHale and Harden is playing tango together.

    • Wow, this blog is attracting more and more knowledgeable and thoughtful posters!

      Thanks, Reo (The Disillusion Explorer), for your insightful comments. Hah, this is the first time I see the word “recidivism” applied to basketball “bad behavior”. I couldn’t agree with you more about the need for a mentor in “almost every profession”. Actually, I would say one needs a mentor in all professions. Dunno whether or not you have finished your PhD, but after you do, be sure to find a good mentor yourself.

      I also appreciate your “Linsanity as a pleasant dream” article. That ending sentence, “If coach Mike D’Antoni continues to try building up the chemistry between these three, he would be the foremost and only one in NBA who tries to become an alchemist in history.”, really makes me smile. I’d say though at this stage of their very young careers, the core players of the current Rockets can jell well together and become real contenders, provided they have a good mentor as a coach. KM ain’t it, I am convinced. I can only hope Morey and Les Alexander see the same thing as we do here and take corrective actions.

    • Thanks for the thoughtful comments, Reo. Look forward to more of your comments in the future. Yeah, McHale has definitely hurt Lin’s game then helped it. One of the things that McHale has done to help Lin’s game is to get Lin to make the easy plays. During Linsanity, Lin had a lot of plays where he’d leave his feet without a plan. So in a lot of ways, Lin is actually a more polished player this year than during Linsanity. That being said, McHale’s lack of trust in Lin caused Lin to play not to lose, rather than playing to win. And that’s probably the worst thing in sports. That was a big reason for Lin’s struggles early in the season. Lin would be so afraid to make a mistake and that is all on McHale. I’m not a big fan of D’Antoni, as some of you who follow my blog during Linsanity know, but one thing I loved about D’Antoni’s coaching is he allowed his players to make mistakes and even encouraged Lin to make mistakes. That’s a sign of a mature coach. You have to let your players make mistakes, so they play relaxed and they’re not clogged up by a bunch of thoughts and anxiety that prevents the flow state of play. The only players that McHale lets play through mistakes is Harden and Delfino (and maybe Parsons).

      If you recall during Linsanity, Lin would have plenty of games where he’d play terribly in the first quarter or something or in the first half and then would come back in the fourth quarter with a vengeance. That happened in that Raptors game, where he hit the iconic game winner. McHale seems to be obstinately oblivious to the fact that Jeremy Lin and Linsanity are one and the same.

  8. Many people started calling for McHale’s head. I am not sure this is the solution now.I only started following NBA since Linsanity last year so I am not even any knowledgeable in bball. Ignore me if I am not right.

    Lin once said something like “We are random, but there is a theme, structure in the randomness. How do you defend randomness ? that’s why we are dangerous …” or something to that effect. (I can’t find the quote/url now) It took me sometime to understand what he mean.

    The team experienced lot of freedom in that structure and therefore the joy of playing together. The coaching staffs always try to identify the strong in each player and then integrate them into that structure to produce more randomness. When T-Rob and Garcia and Anderson first join, the coaching staff don’t know what they are good at, so they say “Just play your way, and we will find a way to bring you in”.

    We are a top offence in the league, a lot of McHale’s work is in there. He is at least good to this point, or else we don’t even have a chance to talk about 6 seed or 8 seed.

    McHale is new, like Lin, both need time and opportunity to make mistakes.

    I want to see McHale at least start acknowledging his weaknesses.

    I am new to NBA, in fact B-ball, is there another coach who can continue to build that structure ?

    • Hey, fire9flyer. Thanks for your perspective. Yeah, credit should definitely be given to McHale for putting together an uncomplicated, free-flowing offense that provides randomness within a general structure. That’s one of the reasons why I was a supporter of McHale early in the season. Also, I wasn’t familiar with McHale as a coach, and I believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt. I think McHale had a good general game plan for this team and he didn’t try to enforce his ideas as a player onto this team that doesn’t really fit his style as a player. He let the players dictate the type of offensive game plan he put together. That’s something that certain coaches aren’t very good at, because they try to force players to fit their scheme. That being said, McHale definitely didn’t allow Lin to play Lin’s game. But I think that had more to do with McHale not respecting Lin’s game and being a Lin doubter through and through, so that’s why he figured he could just use Lin as a role player, rather than a floor general.

      Anyway, kudos to McHale for putting together an uncomplicated, free-flowing offense. But the ESSENTIAL question that needs to be answered when evaluating McHale is: could any average coach have come up with the same uncomplicated, free-flowing offense? I would say, UNDOUBTEDLY yes. So at the end of the day, what McHale brings to the table, any old coach can bring to the table, from an X’s and O’s perspective (in other words, game strategy capabilities). But McHale has failed miserably in nearly every category as a coach, from player evaluation to in-game strategy, as well as managing player minutes and player rotations, etc. As the season wore on, I accumulated more and more evidence that he’s a terrible coach and that’s why I went from being a McHale defender in the beginning of the season (when all I knew of McHale was his general free-flowing offensive scheme) to calling for his head now at the end of the season. I’m not just calling for his head, because I’m a LOF and don’t like the way he’s misused Lin, I’m calling for his head as a basketball fan who has been shocked by the number of mistakes McHale has made as a coach. He has no business of coaching in the NBA at this stage. He should be an assistant and continue to learn what’s involved in the job, before he takes the clip board.

      One thing McHale is great at is his ability to communicate with his players and he has gained the player’s trust. At least this was true for most of the season. That maybe changing at the moment as players are getting more and more impatient with his simple-minded end of game strategy of depending on Harden Hero Balling. Since McHale is good at motivating the players, I’d be fine with keeping him on as some sort of a motivational coach or something. I have nothing against McHale, the person. He seems like a great guy. He’s just a way below average coach and this Rockets team deserves better than that–especially since they’re trying to build a championship-caliber team.

  9. i agree 1000% i was so frustrated watching this “thriller”.. it would’ve been a blow out by the ROX if they kept moving the ball, but instead Harden kept dribbling down to 3-4 seconds and then doing a last minute ditch to Lin (at least 3 times) with NO game plan. WTH!??? If they keep doing this down the stretch they will indefinitely get swept by OKC.

    • Yeah, Jeff. McHale can’t keep doing the same thing and expecting a different result. We’ll see if McHale has learned anything from his mistakes.

    • Yeah, I’m sure they wish they could take back one of the games they’ve lost through the season and they’ve lost a lot of games they should have won. Oh well.

      Thanks for the link. I did see that article.

    • Cool. Thanks for the link, CH! It all started with a near turnover by Harden. It’s interesting how the guys who ended up rescuing the Rockets were (Smith), Lin and Parsons. Again, McHale is oblivious to the fact that he has not one, but three clutch players on the team. So frustrating why he would so stubbornly stick with just ONE player, weakening the Rockets severely down the stretch. It’s hard to prove a “what if” but I do believe that Rockets would have had a much better record and maybe a 50+ team if McHale wasn’t the coach. I think you can blame a lot of the close games that Rockets lost to McHale’s poor in-game coaching. Get at least ONE of those games back and Rockets are playing the Spurs with a very good chance of advancing to the second round. This is why McHale should be fired.

      For those who say that this is not fair, because I’m not looking at all the games that McHale made good decisions. I say, the games that McHale made good decisions, any old coach would have made those same decisions. In fact, I can only think of ONE decision McHale made that can be called somewhat unique that won the game and that was going with Beverly in the Magics game and benching Lin. But even I (a LOF) would have done that in that game, so I think any old coach would have done that. So McHale has really made NO positive in-game decisions that any old coach wouldn’t have made and he has made PLENTY of poor in-game decisions that any old coach wouldn’t have made. To be, this is the definition of a way below average coach.

    • Thanks CH! That play took my breath away. It was the number 1 play in the NBA Top 10 plays of the night.
      On a separate note, you do not have to worry about Lin playing against the Spurs in the playoffs now, do you? 🙂
      Good luck to your Spurs!

    • Thanks, MrPingPong, for the link.

      Yeah, Lin has no hate, because he has us LOFs to do all the hating for him. haha.

      • Thanks for the link, Mr.PP. You guys are hilarious. Love these “LOFs” & “LOHs”. Lin is such a classy guy. The way he has been carrying himself on and off court shows his noble character. Character counts. Dunno and don’t understand why there are still so many Lin haters/doubters. Sigh…

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