Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Great Way To Start

10/31 (Wed) Rockets 104 Pistons 95
11/02 (Fri) Rockets @ Hawks 4:30 PM (PT)
11/03 (Sat) Rockets vs Trail Blazers 5:00 PM (PT)

12 pts
8 asts
4 rebs
4 stls
4 tov

Wow, what a start for the Rockets and the JLin & JHard dynamic duo! I still cannot believe that the Thunder actually traded James Harden. This is just crazy. Harden practiced with the team for 2 days and JLin is not even at full strength. Wow, just wow!!! This is gonna be so much fun. I already can't wait for Friday's game.

Here is a quick overview of what I saw:

JHard is basically a young Manu, but even better. He can score inside and out and is amazingly efficient and totally unselfish. He was incredible all night in every aspect of the game. What do you think the Thunder and KD are thinking right now?

JLin played well, especially on the defensive end. His court awareness is just so good that he is able to make everyone around him so much better defensively. He looked good offensively as well but his explosiveness near the rim is not all the way back, thus missing on some makable finishes. His jumper looked good to start the 2nd half. I think he is still thinking a bit and needs to shoot more. He should be around 14-15 attempts per game.

Tonight his stat line (besides +-) didn't show his full impact but he is not worried about his numbers. In high school JLin could of easily averaged 25 a game his SR year but only averaged 15 in leading Paly to the State Championship. Lets not get worried about the stats after one game. They'll take care of itself over time.

The rest of the Rockets played hard and played strong defense. Greg Smith continued his great play from preseason. He left with what looked like a sprained ankle in the second half and we'll need him back. I love his dirty work and his play around the basket. My one criticism would be that Marcus Morris is not ready to contribute. Even though he had a few breakaways, I thought he really hurt the team when he was in and the +/- confirm that. I think having Pattrick Patterson back will make a huge difference.

Also, it looks to me that this team is one solid big man away from being serious contenders. I'm sure that Morey is working hard to pull another trade for a big guy.


Also, forgot to add that McHale needs to sit Jeremy and James separately. They both came out at the same time in the first half. You need have one of them on the court at all times.

Game Highlights:

Lin to Asik:


  1. I could not believe how much chemistry Lin and Harden already had, and how much fun the Rockets were to watch. It was like the Linsanity times before Melo ball. And Asik was pretty good too.

    I thought Lin had a very good game. 12 pts, 8 asts, 4 to, 4 stls is pretty good. I don't need Lin to have MVP stats. Lin's about making the team better and winning. (Don't forget that Detroit was a 3 pt favorite, but ended up losing by 9.) If the Rockets make the playoffs with Lin averaging 12/8, I'd prefer that to Lin having a 20/10 losing season.

    I'm pretty sure that teams will start double and triple teaming Harden, and being the unselfish player that he is, he will get the ball to Lin, who will destroy single teams. So the opponents will pick their poison.

    1. you seem pretty satisfied with jlin being a role player then. i want this to be more like the jennings/monta ellis backcourt. you go/i go or both, whoever is feeling it more per night. it was all harden that game and clear out of the way for him. we'll see the season is very young, maybe i'm greedy but 12/8 is not a celebration for me.

    2. There's nothing wrong with Lin's 12/8 in a WIN.

      A "role player" to the media is a guy that scores under 20 points, but to real basketball observers a role player is a guy that produces only when other guys produce for him.

      Even in yesterday's win, it's obvious that it's still Jeremy Lin's team. Guys, including Harden, are looking to Lin to create opportunities for them on both ends of the court. That'll become only more so once opponents start actually guarding James Harden instead of treating him as the bench player that he was with OKC.

      Jeremy Lin got the WIN - again.

    3. Linsanity 2.0:

      Lin had "role player" stats (but not role player impact!) because of foul trouble (which he shouldn't have been in to begin with) and he is not 100% healthy. When Lin doesn't pick up his 4th foul early in the 3rd quarter and when he gets his explosiveness and full quickness back, you will see more 20/10 type performances. Harden needed to carry a bigger role last night in order to get the W and he did, and that is a good thing. But when Lin is 100% and gets better treatment from the refs, both Lin AND Harden will be able to put up big numbers just like LeBron and Dwayne Wade do. The Rockets obviously have their big 2 (I disagree with KHuang by the way on Harden's potential!) they just need a third guy, a frontcourt guy.

    4. ""role player" stats ... not 100% healthy"

      If Lin is not 100% healthy, then I want him to pick his spots and limit his scoring chances, because Lin gets himself extra points (FGAs and FTAs) from head-down drives into the paint and body blows from defensive bigs. If Lin doesn't need to absorb extra punishment for extra points to win the game, especially this early in the season, and Harden is willing to take those hits in Lin's place, then let Harden take the hits.

      12 FGAs in 35 min is fine anyway. It's on the low side for a score-first guard, which Lin was for D'Antoni, but 12/35 is in the normal range for a PG who can score, but is managing the game and setting up his teammates first. For example, Steve Nash's career FGA/36 is 12.3 and Andre Miller's career FGA/36 is 12.0. (Lin's FGA/36 was in that range last season under Woodson.)

      Remember, when Lin had free rein to play as he wanted at Harvard, he only scored as much as he felt he needed for the team to win. Lin could have DESTROYED Ivy League defenders, but didn't. He only tuned up his scoring in games where the opponent outclassed his teammates, such as the UConn game. Lin scored a lot of points during the Linsanity run because of his role in D'Antoni's offense and his star teammates' injuries. Lin then tuned down his scoring to a normal level when Anthony returned.

      Beyond Lin's points scored, which were okay for the role he played, Lin had a very healthy stat line for a PG.

      Critics of Lin have claimed that he can only play one way - by dominating the ball in D'Antoni's system - can't manage a game as demanded of a play-off winning NBA PG (hence, the Felton signing), and can't mesh with a center-of-gravity type star teammate (eg, Anthony). In game 1 of 2012-13, Lin was able to address those criticisms with a solid floor game playing with Harden.

      It was a good 1st-impressions step for Lin, but keep in mind, he (and Harden) only beat the Pistons, a poor defensive team with below-average PGs. Lin already proved last season he can consistently outplay average-and-worse PGs. Lin will be tested by better teams and PGs (Heat on Nov 12!) over the next 2 weeks. The Rockets will get better and I'm looking forward to watching them do it.

  2. Harden played out of his mind!

    Delfino was a key down the stretch with timely 3-pointers. It got scary as he got 3 quick foul calls within the last 3 minutes of the 1st period (2 bogus fouls).

    Parsons also played very well.

    Lin sat on the bench during the 2nd half of the 3rd period with 4 fouls (2 bogus foul calls). When Lin left, Rocket led 65-63. At the end of the 3rd period, Rockets trailed 72-81 (-11 points differential). Lin played the entrire 4th qtr (or almost), during which the Rocket outscored the Pistons 33-15 (+29 points differential from at the end of the 3rd period).

    Lin had the highest +/- with +23.
    JLin 35 minutes: 12 Pts, 8 Ast, 4 Reb, 4 Stl, 4 TO, 4 Fouls (2 BullSh_t) 5 of 12 shooting

    Harden had the 2nd best +/- with +18
    Harden 44 min: 37 Pts, 12 Ast, 6 Reb, 4 Stl, 4 TO, 2 Fouls, 1 Blk......... 14 of 25 shooting

    6 Rockets players scored in double digits.

    At first it was fun to watch; then from late in the 1st period to a half way through the 3rd period, things got tense, as the referees were heavily favoring the Pistons. After the 3rd period, I thought the Rockets were going to lose, and I almost didn't watch the rest. However, the Rockets played the 4th quarter with vengeance and won comfortably. Wow.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Correction: +27 points (not +29) differential from at the end of the 3rd period.

  3. found a nice Lin highlight video (these are getting really long =)

    Thanks to youtuber Forsythe Drucker. From the best of my searching, this is the original (I hate people who steal highlight videos that someone spent a long time editing)

    1. Thanks for the links! Only way I can watch from my country is via youtube.

    2. Thanks real-dsb.

      I think I got spoiled by Knicks and NYC media. Last year they had so many interviews posted online within an hour or two after each game. There are a lot less of it and much slower in Houston. With the LeaguePass free preview, I was able to watch CSNHouston interview McHale, Morris, and Parsons in the locker room (Got lucky as LeaguePass usually don't carry any post-game stuff). But none of it is available online.

      There's not much to like about the Knicks organization anymore. But I appreciate their willingness to provide the resources to keep going.

    3. Thanks for the clip. This clip includes some commentary snippets on Lin as well. I guess that's why its a bit longer than others which focus on Lin plays.

      Houston media is a bit slow. I usually available reports on Ultimate Rockets blog, and twitter feeds for Houston Rockets and Friedman. CSN Houston posts some highlight videos as well.

  4. thanks for sharing - real dsb - appreciated -_-

  5. It's early in the season and NBA teams will be finding out about each other in the next 10 games.

    It appears to me that teams have already scouted Lin thoroughly and are playing him with the double and triple teams the same way they did last season and in preseason - to NO AVAIL.

    James Harden is new as a Rocket. Teams still are guarding him lightly the way they did in OKC. But with his INCREDIBLE explosion as a new Rocket, teams will scout Harden accordingly and dramatically increase their defensive coverage.

    I predict that opponents will be jamming Lin and Harden outside to take away the three point shot that they can both hit at will. Defenses will push forward more out of the paint to try to rotate side to side over the lane when one of them gets past the perimeter traps. Opponents will cheat on the Rockets' unproven big men and see if guys like Asik and Patterson and Parsons can beat them.

    I remain optimistic that Lin and Harden can find the Rockets bigs for scoring. Lin in particular has dramatically elevated the play of the Rockets bigs, and Harden soon will too.

    Despite the media triumphantly using James Harden as an excuse to bash Lin (i.e. USA Today's RACIST headline yesterday that Harden "overshadowed Lin" when they could've said "overshadowed Asik" or simply "Harden had a reat game), the actual reality on the NBA court is that Lin is the man that opponents are currently focused on stopping and Harden will soon be given the same defensive respect given to Lin.

    1. I am going to make lemons out of lemonade. In order to be overshadowed, you have to already cast a shadow! No one ever talks about Toney Douglas being overshadowed, and there is a reason for that.

    2. I agree with that as Harden draws more attention, Houston will require other players to step up as go-to players.

      I don't know if coach will necessarily make JLin that other go-to guy. Eventually though, McHale will realise he doesn't really have a choice.

      I cannot imagine the Houston post players to be go-to guys on offense. Go-to guys usually are able to create their own offense. Houston big men aren't at that skill level yet to consistently create their own shots. Parsons may be an option for McHale as well. But Parsons so far also hasn't shown me he has that ability to create shots.

      Once the season goes on, and actually even as a game goes on, set plays will only be effective to a certain extent as teams adjust. JLin should eventually be the other go-to guy as teams focus on stopping Harden. JLin is the only other guy who can create his own shots, especially if guarded one on one. That's why he demands those double teams even when the Houston offence relies on Harden.

    3. I'm going to keep a Flamewatch going on racist articles like USA Today's that use other players to trash Jeremy Lin.

      Every NBA game that Lin plays and gets a racist article bashing him, I'm going to add 1 to my counter.

      I'll start my count at one. I won't even account for this summer's Lin bashing which is more than any player of any other color endures in an ENTIRE CAREER.

      1 so far. 81 more regular season games to go.

    4. The Pistons defense is bad. Even when they shifted their defense to Harden, leaving the weak side and the outlet shooter (Delfino) unguarded, Harden kept breaking it down. I don't expect that to happen against good defenses.

      A good start for sure, moreso with teammates who were just thrown together, but it was against a bad team.

    5. I agree, during pick-n-roll situations, the guy in the weakside usually gets TOO MUCH space. Their defense is too predictable.

    6. On several Harden-highlight plays in the 4Q, Lin was waiting wide open on the weak side. On a normal swing, Lin would have had the space to do just about anything he wanted with the ball.

      Harden and the Rockets got away with Harden forcing the issue against the poor Pistons defense, and it was impressive, but I hope for and expect better team ball movement in similar situations against good defenses. Breaking down the hapless Pistons D is one thing; if Harden tries forcing it against the Heat like that, it will be a long night for the Rockets.

    7. @Eric, I agree the Pistons poor transition defense made it possible for Lin and Harden to create so much spacing.
      Unfortunately they won't be strong in half-court offense yet.

      I wonder who will step up to hit midrange jumpers consistently so they can't crowd the three-point lines as you said, @KHuang. I hope Patterson and Terrence Jones will step up.

      I really like how Asik and Greg Smith were able to finish easy passes from JLin and Harden. Parsons had trouble finishing and got a few TOs when trying to make plays to the baskets but he reminds me of Landry who never gives up.

      The biggest puzzle would be finding a solid backup PG who can give Harden and Lin some rest without blowing a huge lead like Douglas. I like Machado more than Douglas or even Royce White who's not ready yet.

    8. McHale's solution against the Pistons was to play his smartest, most veteran, most versatile players, G Lin, G Harden, G/F Delfino, and G/F Parsons together for extended minutes. I don't know how much more that line-up can cover up for lack of frontcourt and over-all depth.

      It's not too early to note the deficiency, but it is too early to sound the emergency bell over the frontcourt because we haven't seen the Rockets empty out the cupboard yet with Patterson, Jones, and/or Montejunas (sp?). They are supposed to be offensively skilled. So we'll see.

      The guard depth? That's different. The Rockets need to find backcourt bench help now. Toney Douglas is supposed to be a Tony Allen, Willie Green type combo who can D up hard, make an open shot, and fill in a few minutes at PG if necessary with vanilla point play. It hasn't worked out that way. I expect the Rockets will activate Machado sooner rather than later. I haven't checked to see what veteran guards are available on the market, though. I doubt a young team like the Rockets would risk signing Delonte West.

    9. yes, that was a good strategy to go with veteran/versatile players. It's interesting that he put Marcus Morris to start in place of Patterson. Apparently, he had strong practices so hopefully his plays will improve with time.

      Perhaps they will try using Delfino as the backup PG and Douglas as the SG. Douglas is just not a PG proven by his stint in NYK.

      And my goodness, I hope not Delonte West. It will ruin the fun-loving chemistry that this young team has. Even the veteran team like Dallas couldn't make it work.

    10. I interpreted McHale's rotation choices as opting for relative NBA experience over rookie talent due to the lack of practice time with Harden.

      On short notice, McHale had to rely on improv by his players in a basic framework. Pulling that off requires smart players who can quickly adapt and work off each other by intuitive feel. That's a lot of mental game to ask of rookies who are fullied occupied hust getting used to NBA game speed.

      In essence, it was dressed up street ball. It'll be interesting to see what the Rockets offense will look like when the coach can implement his full gameplan, or whether McHale will continue to send out his smartest, most versatile players and let them work by feel.

    11. * 'fullied occupied hust' should be 'fully occupied just'

    12. I was looking at one of Jeremy's TOs yesterday -- one that I chalked up to his sub-par handle for an elite PG. Instead I saw that he was being legitimately TRIPLE-TEAMED 18-20 feet away from the basket.

      Even so, if Jeremy had his leg strength back, he probably would have put up and made a bank-shot floater like he often does (instead of over-dribbling and losing the ball).

      I also checked the replay of Jeremy's "blocked" fastbreak layup where Jerebko CLEARLY smacked his forearm in full view of everyone...but Jeremy got no whistle. Total BS. I just hope this game isn't representative of future reffing.

  6. Harden/Lin are Lebron/Wade. Even their personalities are similar. In three years when Wade has slowed down a little, it will be their time to shine.

  7. My thoughts exactly after watching parts of the first game. There were steals, assists galore. The three key areas this season would be steals, assists, and free throw shooting. pus throw in more fullcourt presses.

  8. @Linsanity 2.0 starts at halloween

    You seem to be too worried about Lin taking a back seat a little bit. Yes, he may not receive the same praise as Linsanity and may not be portrayed as a "Savior". However, at the end of the day, the most important thing is winning. Lin together with Harden was the catalyst for that destruction of the Pistons.

    Bottomline, there will be nights where Harden is the best performer and there will be nights that Lin will be the best performer; and some other nights that other players will be the best player of the game. By the way, Lin did not just play like a role player as you stated/implied. He impacted the game more than what his statistics show.

    James Harden played an InSANE game and Lin himself played terrific basketball. Both were important for the WIN.

    1. You are worried too much on Lin's personal stats

      I'm going to be the first one to tell you that Lin will not have Linsanity numbers. He's going to produce efficiently without producing insane numbers. But his impact will still be very big.

    2. Lin might have to emulate Deron Williams if he'll get the numbers you want. Williams average 21 and 9. You can argue that his number proves he is the best pg in the league. But if you analyze his IMPACT to winning, the nets were 22-44 last season.

      My advice to you: Don't get too caught up with who has the best stats. This is not fantasy basketball.

  9. Delfino was crucial also, as well as Greg Smith. I really think they should have kept Livingston. I feel bad for Douglas, but he is not effective. Lin played in line with how I thought he would do (he at least hit some good open jumpers, although he missed some makable "take it to the rim" shots), and I think he will get more open looks for jumpers. Lin is still in an improvement mode compared to Harden who, despite being only 23 years old, has a lot more experience. Rockets beating Pistons, a young, energetic team with some talented players in Detroit, is a positive sign.

    1. Douglas beat out the other guys for the immediate backup position for a reason; he did well during the preseason. I wouldn't judge him too soon. Douglas should do better with the Rockets. Those exhibition games don't mean a lot, but they do mean something. Look at the Rockets and Lakers: They were at the opposite ends of the spectrum in the preseason, and it spilled over to the beginning of the regular season.

      By the way.... The Lakers' starters are merely good, not spectacular to match their salaries (sounds somewhat like the Nits, but this year their bench have improved - on paper - for short term). Therefore, they need to upgrade the bench a little more, using a good portion of their TV revenue to pay the additional luxury tax - even then, I don't think they will make it to the WCF.

  10. Twice Jeremy shot from 3-point line but landed inside, hence only 2 points scored... what a waste.

    Happy with the win but somehow have the hunch that Jeremy is preserving his Linsane stats towards the end of the regular season and the playoffs. ;>

    1. Jeremy hops forward into his 3-point shot, so to the untrained official (most of them) it looks like he is inside the arc when he shoots, even if he begins with his feet well out of the circle.

    2. No, the refs were right - Lin toed the line. He had the same problem with the Knicks last season. Lots of 3s turned into 2s. Lin's right foot slides forward when he sets himself to shoot and, at times, it slides onto the arc

  11. Regarding the Rockets' Fs, my observations from game 1:

    Parsons is a solid glue guy when he can pick his spots with his shots and swing the ball, but he's out of his depth as a featured scorer. Parsons reminds me of a more mobile Luke Walton. I like Greg Smith and Omer Asik as physical athletic big men, but they're limited scorers. Morris didn't look good.

    For you long-time Rockets fans, what can we expect of Patrick Patterson as a skilled frontcourt complement for Lin and Harden?

    Big-picture observation:

    When Lin left the Knicks, the biggest loss for Lin was losing Carmelo Anthony as a frontcourt partner. Lin and Anthony had the complementary G/F skillsets and G/F floor balance that Lin and Anthony could have molded into an elite NBA G/F dynamic duo. Anthony has made loud and clear he does not want to be a ball-handling point forward and does want a point guard to run the offense. The Lin/Anthony G/F dynamic duo would have fallen into place naturally.

    In comparison, James Harden offers different, yet still valuable, strengths for a G/G combo with Lin. As we already saw against the Pistons, however, there are G/G redundancies in the Lin/Harden combination. Now, as we've already discussed in previous threads, Lin and Harden's redundancies should mean greater depth and stretching opposing defenses with the flexibility to shift/split/share guard duties on the floor. Lin and Harden shared the ball well early in the game, but in the 4Q, Harden possessed the ball in Linsanity-run fashion. The risk of the G/G redundancy is McHale will be tempted to always have Harden control the ball full-time or closing games, a la MJ or Lebron, and always play Lin off the ball full-time or when closing games, a la Armstrong/Paxson or Chalmers.

    As contrast, if last night's Pistons game had played out the same way with the Knicks, Lin - not Harden - would have controlled the ball in the 4Q, or at least remained the primary perimeter scorer (if Kidd was running the point) to off-set Anthony as the frontcourt mid-range scorer.

    So, we saw signs of both the risk and reward paths for the Lin/Harden G/G combo in game 1. It's up to McHale to make the most out of Lin and Harden's G/G redundancies and continue going down the right path rather than the wrong path of cancelling out Lin in favor of Harden.

    Patrick Patterson or another Rockets F also will need to step up and provide the G/F floor balance for Harden and Lin that Lin lost when he left the Knicks and Anthony.

    1. great post regarding redundancies.

      this is why, as much fun as we're having seeing lin and harden together, i believe it's inevitable that lin gets traded in two years for an all star PF after machado develops into a serviceable starting pg.

      i believe mchale prefers a more traditional route in assembling a team, focusing on bigs that than play post with a dynamic SG, and PG that distributes.

    2. No, none of that stuff Eric wrote is going to happen.

      Redundancies would be an issue were the NBA being played 20 years ago in the days of illegal defense when isolation basketball was the best way to score. Then it was a matter of one scorer dominating over the rest, just like on Eric's NY team with Carmelo Anthony hogging the shots. But in today's NBA, sophisticated defensive schemes go after the really dangerous team offensive players (i.e. Duncan, Lin, Durant, Wade, Lebron, Bryant, Paul) while letting ballhoggy stars like Melo and Dwill shoot their hapless teams into selfish oblivion.

      The NBA game today is not a league where guards get in each other's way. If you have two guards like Harden and Lin who each have a full skill set on both ends of the court, they coexist beautifully. What Harden and Lin have is very similar to Wade-Lebron or Westbrook-Durant.

      Also, there's absolutely no way Scott Machado develops into a starting PG in the NBA. He just doesn't have the athleticism to make basic plays, which overrides his overrated court sense. I wrote before the draft that Machado would struggle even as a NBA backup, and that's exactly what happened in Rockets preseason when games got away from the Rockets with Machado running the point.

      McHale indeed does prefer a traditional post play route, but he doesn't have those post players. Not only that, but McHale has proven to be a fabulous coach for guards. He's doing a great job with Jeremy Lin.

      McHale has a lot less power on the Rockets than people realize. The Rockets are controlled by owner Les Alexander who's easily the biggest and most important Lin fan on the Rockets. McHale is surrounded by assistant coaches not of his own choosing, but of Alexander's. Similarly GM Daryl Morey has no power of his own to do anything other than to advise Les Alexander and make Les Alexander's basketball decisions functionally happen.

    3. KHuang: "none of that stuff Eric wrote is going to happen."

      The fact that it already happened in the 4Q of the Pistons game is the basis of my comment.

      I agree McHale would be wise to take advantage of Harden and Lin's G/G redundancies by multiplying their skills in his game strategy rather than subtracting one guard in favor of the other guard.

      1 game, Harden's 1st game with the team and the 1st game of the season, is not a pattern. I'm not passing judgement on McHale yet. Way too early. I'm fine with the Iso-Harden option in McHale's playbook as long as it's not his reflexive closing strategy. Iso-Lin should have an equal position in McHale's playbook.

      His comparitive use of Harden and Lin in the 4Q of the Pistons game did open the door, though, as something to track. So we'll see.

    4. Add: Starting from the assumption of the worst fear-mongering about Iso-Harden vs Iso-Melo, Lin actually is better protected with Iso-Melo because Anthony is not a point forward.

      Anthony, by his own admission and demand, needs a point guard to run the offense and set up his shots. If Lin was a Knick, playing with Anthony meant the guarantee Lin would have the ball in his hands as the PG. Ultimately, if Lin called his own number (which happened when Lin and Anthony played together last season), Anthony would have to go along with Lin because Lin controlled the ball. If Kidd ran the point to close out games, and Lin played off the ball instead, then Lin could still rely on the Hall-of-Fame decision-making and passing of Kidd to find Lin off the ball.

      In contrast, unlike Anthony, Harden is able and willing to control the ball at the point, like he did in the 4Q of the Pistons game. That means if Harden chooses to 'pull rank' on Lin, play Iso-Harden, and dominate the ball to close out games like he did against the Pistons, Lin will be helpless.

      In short, Anthony could not take the ball out of Lin's hands at PG, even if Anthony wanted to do so. Harden can.

      That's not the same as saying Harden will take the ball out of Lin's hands as a regular strategy. If Harden will share with Lin, he'll make Lin better.

  12. What a great start! Today Jame Harden and Delfino, next game Parson C, Asik, etc. This is going to be a fun season. The Jeremy Lin we know and support is all about winning and not about stat. He will get his points if that is what it takes to win.

    Godspeed to Jeremy, Harden, Asik, etc.

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  16. Sorry, my bad. I meant to remove Jimmy the spammers comment.

    1. You NEVER have to apologize to me for removing my comments, JLinfan#1!

      You are in charge here. Whatever you do, I am good with.

  17. On another issue:

    The newly resigned Eric Gordon (60 million in 4 years) is indefinitely sidelined because of knee and has no timetable for return. Already looking bad for Hornets' rebuilding process. I doubt they can trade Gordon now as he becomes such a risky investment.

    1. Lin acquisition sure looks good compared to this acquisition.

    2. Definitely much much better!

      $15mil/year not playing now vs $8mil/year contributing in big ways. I don't hear "Double-ridiculous" argument :)

  18. I re-watched the whole game one more time to see why Lin got +23 and Harden got +18 because I missed watching the 3rd quarter and the beginning of the 4th quarter

    My biggest question was "Did Lin deserve this astounding +23?"

    Did Lin play a major role in the 4th quarter comeback? Or he was just simply a passive bystander while Harden got the hot hands?

    In order to answer this main question, we need to
    1. know how Harden did in his +/- while Lin was out.
    2. Also, understand how Lin and Harden contributed together in the 4th quarter.

    It turns out the answer is a BIG YES!
    Check out these two facts:

    FACT 1: Harden was -5 with Lin sitting down with 4 fouls in the last 4:44 of the 3rd Quarter
    Houston got outscored 7-12 (-5) during this timeframe.
    This -5 differential is where Jlin's +23 and +18 came from.

    FACT 2: In the 33-15 run in the fourth quarter, Jlin played major role in defense and Harden played the major role in creating offense

    After trailing by 9 points (72-81), Houston made 15-6 run to tie it at 87-87.
    Lin simply played suffocating defense on Brandon Knight (missed 2 shots) , 1 steal on Monroe and played great team defense . Harden also saved Lin with a nice steal when Jlin had a TO going to the basket. All of these led to easy points in transition when Pistons were not ready.

    On the offense, Harden found open man (2 Delfino 3 -pointers, 2 Smith dunks, 1 Asik layup) so easily and selflessly distributed the ball to others. He had 6 points and 5 assists in this quarter. He can easily get 40-45 points if he wanted to look for his own shots!
    Lin also did his part to attack with 2 free throws and 2 assists

    I can honestly say that Jlin dominated in defense (~75%) and Harden dominated on offense (~75%).
    But remember that defense enabled them to score easy transition points.

    These two best playmakers have off-the-charts basketball IQ and they complement each other so perfectly. They just need stronger bench players. Asik and Greg Smith were really good.

    If I have time, I'll create some visual charts and pictures to make this analysis more interesting and easier to understand.

    1. very helpful, thanks a lot man!

    2. Yes psalm. Lin is the man in charge and even harden needs him a lot. They can help each other cause when one is penetrating the other one is free. But Lin is the one who can take control of the game. Harden is a scoring machine made 3 points like free throws but as i said before having a good pg like jeremy can improve his game. Westbrook he's far from being a proper pg and when jlin and harden will have good chemistry we will have so much fun !!!

      Look at the play when harden cut and dunks: jeremy for 2 times made a sign on harden to cut... The secondo time harden runs, receive a great bounce pass and dunks. It was thanks to jeremy's courtvision.

      Anyway psalm.... Keep prayin' before the match :D

    3. @Psalm

      Nice work. Refresh my memory, was there a time when JLin was on the floor but Harden was not?

      To answer your question if JLin deserved the +23... hell yeah! I don't see how anyone could discount that (maybe argue it was against the Pistons, but hey they are an NBA team and actually like the Rox will probably do better this year than expected).

      I think the more interesting point is that Harden's +/- would be much higher if he didn't have to play with JLin's backup (*cough* TD *cough*). I don't know where some of you guys are getting this McHale is anti JLin sentiment, but it's a moot point, he has no other choice, JLin is Houston's best point guard.

      So I'll wrap this up but would like to address one of JLinfan#1's points above (btw JLinfan#1 have been to this site for a couple of years now, best place for JLin links thanks a lot). I disagree that McHale needs to separate them. Yes, the Rockets don't really have, uhm, anything? when they both sit, but look at the magic (+/-) when they are both on together! Chemistry, sweet music, choose whatever subject you want, I don't want this messed with. I'd rather McHale develop a competent (at this point, that's all I can hope for) second unit.

    4. Amen, spotless!

      Currently, JLin is the best defensive playmaker and Harden is the best offensive playmaker. Like JLinFan1 said, he's only 85%-90% ready so he can't make his famous and-1s yet to finish because his explosiveness is not back yet. But both can see plays unfolding before they actually happen. That's court vision that Bob Cousy talked about.

      I didn't see JLin signaling to Harden two times to make the cut but you're right! Perhaps next time a wink-wink will do :)

    5. Thanks, @Nom! I want to try to make a compelling case with visual charts and pictures and share at clutchfans so it will open up some Rox fans' blind eyes.
      @Cara, I know the crowd would still be hostile but it's worth trying :)

      About the time when JLin sat on the bench while Harden was on the floor, it was in the 3rd quarter at 6:44

      6:42 HOU 65-63 Lin and Harden got subbed out after HOU outscored 10-7 (+3)
      4:44 DET 69-65 Harden back in. Without both, HOU got outscored 0-6 (-6)
      0:00 DET 81-72 With Harden in, HOU got outscored 7-12 (-5) ===============> Lin on the bench, Harden on the floor for 4:44

    6. What you all say is true, but sadly Defense is a thankless skill at times. It's like being an offensive lineman in football. It makes all the difference but the QB, receivers, and running back get the glory.

      Lin's D won't be appreciated except by us, his team, and Rocket's fans.

      Don't overreact though. Lin will get decent overall stats and the better Harden plays, the more opportunities for Lin on offense. If they both kick butt, which I believe is what will happen, they will decimate weaker teams and both will be appreciated as stars.

      The NBA is a scorer's league so if you Lin fans want him to shine, he will need to average 20&10. It is the only way in the NBA to get taken seriously. I am ok if he doesn't get stats like that as long as he makes winning plays like he is already doing. ESPN actually ran a "Lin" package and shows the positives Lin was doing on the court so they are recognizing what he brings, albeit it was all on the offensive end.

  19. I didn't watch the game, but I saw that JLin had 4 turnovers.

    How did his turnovers come about, and how did his handles and passing look?

    I believe he lost 1 TO dribbling in traffic and another one with a charge.

    1. The charge was BS; should have been a block

    2. Ixy, I wrote a long description on his TO story based on what I can see so I put them below.

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  20. In the post that got deleted, I simply said that Linsanity never died for me.

    Jeremy Lin is 22-11 as an NBA starter!

  21. I'm glad Jlin has cut down on some of his TOs resulting from telegraphed passes by employing the NO-LOOK PASS. He did this 3 times in this game with success.

    One thing he still does and does a lot is dribbling into traffic and getting the ball stripped from him or not having anyone to pass to. I'm quite disappointed in his handles as well. I thought he'd improved this by now with a whole summer of working on his left hand. He's still right-hand heavy.

    Overall, he had a decent game. It's not Linsanity but it's respectable. Hopefully, he can build on this.

    1. Same here. He improved in avoiding "lazy" passes, but he made some hasty moves in trying to force things in a relatively short amount of time which led to I think 2 quick TOs.

    2. Lin's TOs tend to come in bundles.

      I liked the no-look wrinkle, too, but I'll withhold judgement until Lin goes up against a good defense. Lin was able to have his way passing against lesser defenses last year, too.

    3. Harden turned it over 4 times as well.

    4. Yep, Harden did have 4 TOs.

      Lin's turnovers never bothered me as an isolated stat. The important thing is how well Lin manages a game from the PG position. Some of his best games last season came with high turnovers. He also had games with low turnovers in which Lin struggled handling the ball and running the offense.

  22. I thought jlin had a decent game. I could easily have seen another 4-5 points from (2 terribly blown calls on drives) and the two open jump shots from 3 point line (toe on the line). 1 turnover from that totally terrible blocking call that should not have been. I mean they just got done calling a charge on jlin on the previous play so those refs had zero consistency.

    Overall he looked good for first season game and I'm expecting he will bump the ppg up as more game are played.


    1. That was more than a decent game. Look at the difference between Lin playing and Lin not playing. It wasn't all just Toney Douglas being terrible (and Douglas is terrible). Lin does so many things to help his team win.

  23. Eric:

    The G/G overlap thing isn't that big of a deal. Remember Pippen and Jordan with the Bulls ... it was basically two swingmen, especially later in Jordan's career. And when it was Jordan, Pippen, Ron Harper and Dennis Rodman, that was 4 guys who had a lot of overlap. If you go back to those old Celtics teams, there was a bunch of overlap with their three frontcourt players: Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parrish. I would argue that there is also a lot of overlap with the Miami Heat. Not so much with Dwayne Wade, a combo guard, but definitely with LeBron James and Chris Bosh, though Bosh did alter his game to coexist with James. I suspect that Harden would similarly alter his game to coexist with Lin. It shouldn't be the other way around because Harden can't match Lin's athleticism, and it would be a shame for Lin to have to sacrifice his athleticism to coexist with Harden.

    Ultimately, having 2 combo guards is better than having 2 PGs and no SG, or two SGs and no PG. In today's NBA, it might be better than having a "true" PG and "true" SG.

    1. Unknown,

      We're pretty much saying the same thing, though perhaps with different emphases.

      I used a risk or reward framing. I agree Harden and Lin's G/G redundancies can and should be a multiplier for the Rockets in line with the positive examples you cited. Moreover, I like that Lin, who apparently is still building up his repaired knee, can rest on Harden to pace himself for the long season. It's already obvious that without Harden next to him, Lin would be forced to play the punishing Linsanity style full time in order for the Rockets to win.

      But at the same time, their similar skillsets open the possibility of McHale choosing one guard over the other rather than combining both creatively. I don't want to see Lin's role reduced to a Chalmers. I don't think that will happen on the Rockets because structurally there's no Wade or Pippen on the Rockets to squeeze the nominal PG off the point. But the possibility is there. When teammates are more distinct, like G Lin and F Anthony, with less redundancy or overlap, the decision is taken out of the coach's hands.

      What inspired this comment is last night's 4Q. Lin is a game closer, like Eli Manning, and I was set and ready to watch him work his magic against the Pistons. It was a bit jarring to watch Harden possess the ball so much in the 4Q with so few touches going to Lin. For 1 game, I can chalk it up to Harden being hot against a bad defense, and Lin the PG wisely riding the hot hand. But, if a pattern does develop where we see Harden dominating the ball and forcing the issue in the clutch against good defenses without the ball swinging to Lin, then we'll have a controversy. For now, it's certainly much too early to claim I see a pattern of misuse by McHale.

      I agree that having more versatile players is better than having fewer of them, which is why I shook my head at fans who claimed Lin and Anthony couldn't co-exist. My point with comparing Lin/Harden to Lin/Anthony is that the G/F relationship falls into place naturally, while a G/G combo that's redundant or overlaps a lot can, depending on the coach, go more than one way. Good or bad for Lin.

    2. @Eric:

      1. Lin is better than Chalmers.
      2. Chalmers' reduced role is not due to redundant skills, but his not being in "the big 3." With those guys doing so much offensively, there just isn't a whole lot left over for other guys to do much. In Houston, there is no "big 3" and Lin is part of their "big 2." Harden IS NOT going to average 37 points per game :-) So there will be plenty of shots for Harden and Lin to share. If anything, the problem is not enough guys who can score and handle the ball consistently, not too many.

      3. "It was a bit jarring to watch Harden possess the ball so much in the 4Q with so few touches going to Lin." Well, I remember Cara's comment that McHale seemed unhappy with Lin. My response: Lin's 28% shooting in the preseason. And let's face it ... Lin's shooting wasn't great last season under Woodson with the Knicks either. Once Lin proves to McHale that he can be a dominant player offensively outside of D'Antoni's system, he will get more chances. And on this Rockets team, he will have plenty of opportunities to get those chances.

      Again, go back to Jordan and Pippen. Their offensive games were very similar, especially when you consider that Pippen really didn't do much in the low post for a forward, and at times in their career neither guy relied much on their outside shot either.

      Perhaps a better example: Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars. Both were scorers, both had point guard or at least combo guard skills, both are in the Hall of Fame. In the 1989 season, they both averaged 18 ppg. As Kevin McHale certainly remembers that Pistons team, that would be a good model for the Rockets with Lin and Harden. Another thing about that team ... they didn't have a "star" big man, just a bunch of good to great players like Lambeer, Mahorn, Salley etc. (Rodman was more of a perimeter player back then).

    3. The problem was that Carmelo did not respect Lin or his skills. He would keep the ball for himself and take bad shots even if Lin was wide open. It would take a long time for him to learn to respect Lin's game, but until that happened he would treat Lin like a D-League call up, only good for bringing the ball up court and feeding it inside to Melo in the post.

    4. Lin is better than Chalmers. I'm not comparing the two. My point is that Chalmers is taken off the ball by Spoelstra because Spoelstra prefers Wade and James with the ball, not because Chalmers is a worse/better PG than Lin or he's outside the Heat's big three (Bosh isn't a ball handler anyway).

      Will McHale value Harden at the point over Lin?

      I agree the dearth of guard talent behind Harden and Lin fairly guarantees Lin will be the point at least half to most of the time. Indeed, versus the Pistons, Lin controlled the ball most of the time. But in the 4Q, Lin didn't. Harden did. The point is less who took the shots than who controlled the ball. In the 4Q, Harden held onto the ball rather than have Lin initiate the plays. When Harden passed in the 4Q, it wasn't to swing the ball, it was to notch an assist. The change in Lin's role from the 1st 3 Qs to the 4Q caught my attention.

      That said, I support Lin switching off roles with Harden so that Lin can, at times, play off the ball. It follows from my old fantasy of Kidd swinging the ball surgically from Anthony to Lin and Lin dissecting defenses from the weak side. Even with Anthony focused on scoring, we could trust Kidd would take charge and make the right play in that situation. But on the Rockets, Harden is both the other scorer and the swing passer. We have to trust Harden will skip his own number and swing the ball. A few times in the 4Q, though, Lin was open on the weak side, but Harden opted to attack a Pistons double/triple team rather than fulfill my fantasy and swing the ball to Lin. It worked out fine against the poor Pistons defense, but if Harden tries to Linsanity his way through a good NBA defense rather than swing the ball to a waiting open Lin, it'll be the wrong play.

      Again, one game - the 1st game no less - is not a pattern. If next time, Harden makes the crisp swing pass or Lin is controlling the ball to close the game, then McHale and his two star guards will be doing what I want. So we'll see.

    5. There is NO WAY McHale would ever value Harden at the point over Lin.

      Jeremy Lin is the guy that makes the Rockets go. Everybody on the team, including James Harden, relies on Lin to create opportunities for them.

      If McHale made Harden the point guard, guess who'd get most of the shots anyway? JEREMY LIN. That's because Lin is all over the court and is usually right where the main action is.

      The game of basketball dictates what guys do on a court, not coaches.

    6. KHuang,

      Never say never (or 'no way'). It happened in the 4Q of the 1st game of the season already. As I said, my observation is less about who took the shots than who controlled the ball in the 4Q. Nash's FGA-per with the Suns was always modest, but he controlled the ball. Instead, Lin was Chalmered. The ball was taken out of his hands as the nominal PG and Harden controlled the ball.

      I'm not dogmatic about restoring the conditions of the Linsanity run. It would be just as dumb for McHale to waste Harden's versatility as it would be to waste Lin's versatility. I agree: conceptually, Harden with the ball should mean good shots for Lin, just as Lin with the ball should mean good shots for Harden. It's a concept I endorse.

      In that light, what stood out in the 4Q of the Pistons game, in addition to Harden controlling the ball, was that the ball didn't swing back to Lin. Harden's domination of the offense in the 4Q of the Pistons taught us one thing: 'Iso-Harden' is an option for the Rockets.

      And 'Iso-Harden' is fine as an option. 'Iso-Lin' should be an option, too. Riding the hot hand is the right play. I just don't want 'Iso-Harden' to become McHale's reflexive strategy in close games or when closing out close games. A standard strategy for many coaches is to reflexively give the ball to their main star. Barkley repeated one of his favorite basketball aphorisms last night on TNT (talking about Westbrook): the danger of a bad shot going in that the player will take another bad shot. Well, Iso-Harden worked against the Pistons.

      It's early. Like I said, 1 game, especially the 1st game of the season and Harden's 1st game with the Rockets, is not a pattern. So we'll see.

  24. The TO story

    In summary, 4 TOs were not bad but there is definitely an area of improvement for Jeremy.
    The 3rd TO was so costly for Houston because he picked up the 4th foul and sat on the bench, allowing Pistons to make 18-7 run to close the 3rd quarter.

    There are 2 main areas that he can improve:
    1. Don't attack the basket too much risking a foul when he has 3 fouls. His team needs him on the floor. Do 50%-50% floaters and hard layup when attacking the basket
    2. Keep under control when trying to create plays. If it's not there, bring it out. He will learn from Harden over time to play more under control.

    Here is the detailed TO story:

    1st TO: Good intention but BAD decision
    With 3:24 left in 2Q, he tried to force a pass to Harden but it was too tight and got stolen. He should have kept the dribble until there was a good passing lane. This was after the announcer said, "Look, he has not had any turnover yet :-)" He tried to increase the 53-46 lead after 1 steal but it led to a string of bad defensive possession. He can work on not trying to create too much after making good plays on defense.

    2nd TO: Good intention but BAD decision
    He overdribbled trying to go one-on-one on Knight and got stolen. He can work on his handle more. This was after he drew a charge on Monroe and gave the bounce-pass to Harden's dunk. He was trying to create but he should bring the ball back out. He tried to increase the 65-60 lead.

    3rd TO: Good intention but VERY BAD decision causing his 4th foul and allowing DET 18-7 run
    HOU 65-63 after grabbing a monster rebound, he got offensive foul trying to attack the basket. A bit out of control, he can do a floater and a quick jumpshot.
    Again, this is a positive trying to increase the lead but he needs to be more in control after making good defensive plays. Good intention but VERY BAD decision because this caused the 4th foul to force him to the bench with 6.5 min left allowing Pistons to make 18-7 run.

    4th TO: GOOD decision with calculated risk
    Trailing 75-83 and after setting up Harden's 3PT, Lin tried to attack the basket but got stolen by Bynum. Fortunately, Harden stole it back. Again, his speed or handle might not be 100% but he tried to make something happen so GOOD decision.

    If he can focus on being more under control when trying to make plays after good defensive plays, it will only increase his +/- stats.

    Again, let's not focus on his 'failure' with Asian-Fail mentality when discussing his TOs but see it as an area of improvement. He only had 26 NBA starts for goodness sake. Even Harden had 4 TOs with a lot more experience.

    1. @Psalm

      Hmm. Developing a habit of responding to your posts, but that's what you get for being well thought out.

      The only 2 TO's I had problems with were the overdribbling (#2 and #4 on your list). I'm a critic of JLin's TO's too, but the ones I can't stand are the ones when he drives the lane, jumps up and has nothing and then just tosses it away; he seems so frazzled when he does this. He didn't do that at all last night. The overdribbling I thought was unnecessary both times, and he got burned for it.

      The offensive foul... eh. With replay, I don't disagree with the call, but then I didn't think JLin should have been called for the blocking foul (was this foul #3?).

      During Linsanity, JLin lived off of driving the lane, bouncing off bodies, getting the and1. Lately, he bounces into bodies, but doesn't get the call, or the points for that matter. I agree he needs to develop a floater to avoid this (in Tuesday's Rox practice interviews, did anyone else catch JLin working on his floater in the background?) if for no other reason than to protect his body over 82+ games.

    2. @Nom,

      Thanks, I love intelligent discussions from our fellow fans that we have on this site! And thanks to our faithful @JLinFan1.

      For me, the most costly TO is the 3rd TO which was also the 4th personal foul. The blocking foul was his 3rd personal foul that happened 30 seconds earlier. He just needs to have an awareness that he cannot afford to make risky plays to earn him the 4th foul because coaches will be forced to sit him down. The 18-7 Detroit run after he sat was almost the story of the game. My son stopped watching the score because he thought Rox will surely lose :)

      I think the secret is to make his strength of frenetic attack to be more under control so he can assess the situation to do floaters or reset the offense. It will come with time and learning from Harden. I'm impressed that Harden's offensive game which looks very easy and he looks to be always under control. He'll rub off on Jeremy.

      Our JLin had more court awareness on the defensive end than Harden because he's more willing to disrupt the other players even if it means leaving his man after another player makes the move. Only one time he was burned from leaving his man too early. In 4th quarter, he was the ball hawk!

    3. Lin had a nice floater with the Knicks last season. Did he abandon it, like some pitchers stop throwing specific kinds of breaking balls?

    4. @Eric

      You know, you're right, he did have a nice floater. I have no idea why he abandoned it. I really wish he would use it instead of taking the first hit and shooting off the bounce. I want this body to last. Heaven forbid he goes to a eurostep, I'm not sure I want that kind of stress on his knees; unless anyone else has any better ideas, I think the floater is the way to go.

    5. I thought I saw one high-arc floater but missed to the right.

      I think he does not have the 100% explosiveness in his leg yet to have the confidence to make this type of floaters consistently. They require perfect timing between the jump and the release.

    6. @Psalm234:

      You do realise that Harden had a great advantage when he was freestyling last night? Some of his offensive moves totally reminded me of Linsanity. At times he marched right through, went to the hoop and scored. Thats what JLin used to do before they double and tripple teamed him.

      Harden is great and Lin and Harden will learn from another and improve each others game but keep in mind that JLin cannot be the socrer he used to be. He will get better at this when hes 100% but hes no longer in Dantonis system. Therefor - Linsanity 2.0 will look quite a bit different from Linsanity 1.0

    7. @willydilly

      "keep in mind that JLin cannot be the socrer he used to be."

      I disagree. I'd like to think he has some 40 pt games left in him. Where do you think Harden's double team will come from?

    8. This comment has been removed by the author.

    9. @willydilly,

      JLin can definitely score 25pts-40pts (if necessary) when he regains his full conditioning but that is not his main goal. He and Harden has the same mentality, "Do whatever it takes to win the game".

      JLin will do what Harden did in the 4th quarter ("only" scored 6 points and 5 assists because Detroit sent more defenders to Harden) anytime if it helps to win the game.

      Fans and some players (*cough* .. Melo) might be enamored by the fame and recognition that come from scoring 40-50 pts and filling up the stats on the boxscore but not play as hard on defense since they are not recorded. Harden and Lin are the "play the right way" players. The objective is to win the game. JLin is willing to "look" bad one time of leaving their man to help if he can help his teammates 3 times to prevent a shooter to get a clean look at the basket.

      The +/- stat is relatively new but NBA should make it even more popular because great offensive players like Melo and Amare will pay attention more to their defensive skills.

      I think LeBron had the highest +/- per game during 2011-2012 regular season at +7.65/game followed by DRose at +7.44/game

      Harden is #1 at OKC with +5.92/game
      JLin is #1 at NYK at +4.06/game.

      We should hope that JLin and Harden can get to LeBron level at over +7/game :D

    10. Lin doesn't have a floater this season because teams won't let him shoot it.

      Last season, opponents met Lin at the rim. Lin would either shoot the floater or score anyway and draw the foul.

      This year, big men are meeting Lin before he gets to the rim. Consequently he has to duck under them and shoot in for layups. The majority of uncalled hard fouls on Lin come because of big men trying unsuccessfully to block Lin's shot from behind.

      Lin can shoot that floater better this year than last year. But he can't get it off because that's the one shot opponents don't want Lin taking!

  25. I won't overanalyze Lin's game.

    With the massive defensive attention given him, I just expect him to create what openings he can and find guys thar are left unguarded.

    On defense, I expect Lin to get burned on a regular basis like every player in the NBA does. Most of the time he's so dominant defensively that he usually draws a doubleteam while guarding people!

    When Lin regains his explosiveness, all it means is that games like this that went to the 4th quarter will be won in the 3rd quarter. Lin is Lin and will make winning plays whether he's healthy or not.

    I'm just enjoying the Linsanity as it continues for me. Lin just keeps on WINNING.

    1. Word. Reading yesterdays posts during the game I was wondering whether some people here are real JLin fans. When JLin got foul calls and the Rockets fell behind -> lots of critics as if the game was already lost. When JLin came back in the game and the Rockets came back -> critics stopped all of a sudden.

      We really shoudlnt be overanalyzing his game. Hes human. He makes mistakes but he is awesome. There wont be a perfect game though and I dont expect JLin to score like he scored before. We got to get used to the thought that Linsanity 2.0 will look very different from Linsanity 1.0

    2. Overanalyzing Lin is sort of the point of this forum, no?

    3. Over-analyzing Lin with positive feedback to help him succeed should be encouraged, especially if it helps fellow fans to enjoy cheering for him.

      Overanalyzing with overly critical spirit should be discouraged.

  26. what do you guys think are the keys to victory for Fri in ATL. What should we be watching of for in terms of ATL players?


      Judging from the Hawks' revamped roster with their added veteran small guards (Harris, Williams) and shooters (Korver, Morrow), I guess the Hawks will try to pressure Lin into TOs so they can run and gun. So Lin will have to take care of the ball. He should be fine. Lin matched up with Teague, Harris, and Williams last year, and I don't recall Lin having any particular problems handling the ball against any of them. They'll be a greater on-the-ball defensive challenge for Lin than Brandon Knight, but again, no more than Lin already showed he could handle last season against them.

      Harden should have a good game. If they defend him with a small guard or a slow shooter, he'll have the advantage. If he can force the Hawks to play Deshawn Stevenson on him, that'll take a key cog out of the Hawks offense. I expect Harden will swing the ball more against the Hawks defense than he had to against the Pistons, which will mean more scoring chances for Lin.

      The Hawks have depth at guard. Toney Douglas will need to step up.

      The frontcourt match-ups will be a lot tougher for the Rockets. If Lin is forced to help too much on the bigs, he can be burned by his man.

      The Hawks aren't a top team, but they should contend for a mid-low play-off spot. Right now, the Hawks are figuring out how to play with new teammates and a new style, too, so they're more vulnerable now than they will be later in the season. Still, they are veterans with better track records than the Pistons. (I feel bad for Tayshaun Prince.) For the Rockets, the Hawks will be a good next step up in competition level from the Pistons.

    2. Good analysis. Hawks will definitely present a tougher challenge.

    3. Great preview, Eric.

      Horford, Josh Smith are the main threat inside and Teague and Lou Williams are the main playmakers.

      I hope Patterson can help Asik to contain the bigs and Douglas can focus on his defense to help Lin contain Teague and Williams.

  27. Patrick Patterson outplays Josh Smith is the key

  28. Contains Josh Smith and get back on transition defense.

    On half court defense, we would kill them with Asik and Patrick Patterson.

    Let Linsainity and BeardSanity have free reign on the court to do whatever they want.

    Because both are unselfish players that can pass.

  29. There is one thing I do want coach McHale to recognize.

    Carlos Delfino + James Harden + Jeremy Lin = highest synergy = best +/- ratings.

    Carlos Defino + James Harden + Jeremy Lin = points for Patrick Patterson and Omer Asik.

    Those TRIO are great passers and high basketball IQ

    They should closed the 4th quarter with those TRIO.

    In Toronto, they use Carlos Delfino as a point small forward.

    1. 100% agreed!

      NBA +/- Stat for 3-player combination for Houston Rockets

      Carlos Delfino + James Harden + Jeremy Lin is ranked #1 at +22

      It's only 1 game but let's monitor this for the best Houston lineup.

  30. Isiah Thomas (Lin) and Joe Dumars (Harden). I think that is the comparison that I will make moving forward. (Does Asik make a good Laimbeer?)

    1. Another comparison: Jason Kidd and Penny Hardaway with the Suns.

      That duo would've been superb if Penny had not had his injuries.

    2. the funny thing is the Deadspin article makes a weak reference to ... Jordan and Pippen lol

      Way too early even for us :)

    3. I'd say Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.

    4. Here's the BEST conparison:

      Sam Cassell and Ray Allen with the Milwaukee Bucks.

    5. On that Milwaukee team with Cassell and Allen, Asik would've been like Ervin Johnson.

      Carlos Delfino would've been like a young Michael Redd who was not the dynamic scorer he would eventually become.

      The departed Jeremy Lamb could've been Flip Murray, a guy who got no chance under George Karl.

      Kevin Martin could even have been thought of as Glenn "Big Dog" Robinson who was totally unstoppable in Milwaukee!

    6. In the future they should be better than Parker and Ginobili. They need a big man like Duncan to elevate them to the next level. I can't think anyone that even come close to Duncan. I really like Al Horford though, he's smart, has a similar game and mindset with Duncan but has been playing out of position as a center. I don't like Josh Smith though, he's undersized and his ego is too big. Who do you think best fit that role? Anyone?

    7. 777am, there's a guy that fits that role BETTER than Al Horford and Josh Smith while being super cheap.

      This guy is currently nursing a torn ACL injury that he sustained in international basketball, but he was scoring 20+ and grabbing 10+ rebounds a game over there just like he did his entire senior year and in the NCAA tournament where he averaged 30+ points!

      Actually, this guy has a GREAT track record playing with Jeremy Lin. He's the tall whitish guy setting those beautiful picks for Jeremy Lin against Javale McGee and John Wall in Summer League 2010. That player scored double figures against McGee that game too and DESTROYED DeMarcus Cousins in a subsequent summer league game. And in Houston's training camp last year, Jeremy Lin had that player as his center.

      I'd sign that player to a 3 year nonguaranteed NBA contract and stash him in the D-league to get him into NBA shape. I'd watch that player score 20 ppg and grab 10 rebound and block 3 shots a game, just like he did in college and in international basketball.

      I'd keep that player in the D-league for one entire season and then bring him into training camp where he'd totally pummel Royce White and Terrence Jones and Patrick Patterson and Omer Asik and Donatas Motiejeunas. None of those guys could even come close to stopping this guy, as this player has Kevin McHale level moves and actually had a Kevin McHale impact as a NCAA superstar. I'd start this player at power forward alongside Omer Asik and watch him easily play NBA caliber defense since this player was the Defensive Player of the Year in his college conference.

      Yeah, I'd get this guy. He'd be another Jeremy Lin that came out of "nowhere", though he actually had a BETTER college career than Jeremy Lin did!

    8. Cool.

      I know people think Samhan can't play. Right now, he can't because of his ACL.

      But even you have to agree that Samhan, like Lin, PRODUCES.

      That's more than can be said for Royce "Winnebago" White who people here were calling a future All Star despite me saying "He's too slow!"

    9. Royce White is psycho!! He's going to be a bust. What a waste of pick.

    10. I'm more concerned about Royce White's lack of foot speed than I am his mental health.

      I compared Royce White to Juwan Howard this summer. Mind you, I'm talking about old 40 year old Howard and not young fleet footed $100 million contract Howard with the Washington Bullets!

      Omar Samhan may have had issues with weight in college and even as an international pro, but he has no trouble with footspeed. He tested out as being a surprisingly fast runner and got up and down the court no matter what his weight was.

      Gimme Samhan over White any day of the week.

  31. Please don't put Isiah Thomas with Lin.

    They have "different" style. On top of that... Isiah is a LEGEND.
    The greatest little guy ever play the game and dominate the game.
    The greatest top 50 player in the NBA "history" according to

    1. Lin's well on his way toward having Isiah Thomas Hall of Fame stature.

  32. My thoughts are generally the same as everyone on here who understands basketball and has seen enough to know where the Rockets are going. They will be a legit serious contender once the bench is established, rookies have about 2 yrs experience under them, and they get another max player to round out the starting 5, hopefully at PF. I actually really like Parsons as SF for this team because Parsons is a smart unselfish player who can hit open shots and finish plays and keeps the ball moving consistently and he even has some athleticism.

    So in yr 3, look out for this Rockets team to do serious damage in the last year of Jlin's contract. Many teams will have surpassed the rebuilding Lakers by then. OKC, Houston, Portland, Clippers will be the new wave in the West.

    I think one thing I was on point about is identifying that Lin is a steals master and defensive ball deflector. Many saw this ability too, but most disagreed with me that he was THAT good especially when I said he would probably average 3-4 steals per game this year. I think many are just starting to see this about him for the first time on a team where his teammates actually try on defense with him too unlike in NY.

    Trust me, Lin will average closer to 4 steals than 3. When he stops averaging that many in the following years, it will be because the other teams will finally respect him for what he does and they will all be taking less chances and play more carefully with the ball reducing their own scoring opportunities so Lin doesn't get as many balls from them.

    To me Lin's biggest strength as a player as I've said all along is being a havoc maker on defense - it leads to easy transition buckets and/or puts the opposing team in foul trouble. He is not the best man to man defender and has obvious trouble with screens, but nobody can steal the ball like Lin or knock as many loose balls around the way he does. Other teams just don't expect him to be able to do it like he does time and time again. Sometimes I am shocked at how adept he is at it. It's a skill that won't disappear and a skill few possess. It's impressive because to play like that requires heart and a high motor. It's also why he plays out of control on offense at times. Lin is a smart gambler and cheater on defense - that's why he gets steals with his ability to feel and anticipate - that's why he also gets burned too buy his own man at times.

    I think Lin is making the classic mistake right now of trying to play overly athletic on offense rather than with smarts with respect to his own attempts at trying to score the ball. His poorly timed drives into the lane are no different than what Russell Westbrook does when Westbrook is out of control. Lin is also trying to get to the lip of the rim every time and that does not always work. You need floaters and mid range jumpers at times. It's not pretty to watch and frustrates his teammates I'm sure. With Lin, I'm hoping though it's more about not feeling quite 100% rather than being an out of control hothead. But both RW and Jlin probably believe they can outclass their opponents with their athleticism in playing that way.

    Lastly, Morris is sub par. Morris needs to show some dominance coming off the bench first.

    1. Among point guards, I definitely consider Lin the best man-to-man defender.

      I consider him the best defensive guard in basketball, PERIOD.

      There aren't any guards who're truly able to stop people in the NBA. Lin does a better job of defending than any other NBA guard does.

    2. Yes, I have to say Lin is one of the better PG's at man to man defense, though he does has some issues doing it at time. Rondo is good too. Chalmers is ok too. Aside from that, I can't think of many others. Rubio? I don't see it, and he did not slow down Lin last year except for a block from behind or 2. Lin had more trouble with Chalmers.

      However Lin is not Iman Shumpert who I consider a SG. Shumpert is fantastic at on the ball defense. I think I read a comment by you that Shumpert is not good at defense, but I must respectfully disagree. I believe Shumpert is one of the top 5 guard defenders in the entire NBA and he and Tony Allen are the best 2 on ball defenders on guards who dribble about. Battier is decent but his D is better in iso situations against Kobe and Carmelo types on an island. Shumpert and Allen are good at terrorizing the PG up the court, imho and chasing around screens etc.

      When I saw Lin struggles in man to man, I am comparing in my mind to the best, like Shumpert, Allen, Bradley etc...I feel Lin has average lateral movement which is why he struggles to me. Has to do with the knees...Allen lost a step in his D too when he screwed up his knee on that dunk years ago. Iman will probably be slower too...

    3. Very good insight, @swingline!
      I see a lot of things the same way about his main strength in defense.

      His defense is among the elite in the NBA powered by his speed and athleticism. He's very adept at reading what the offensive player tries to do and make them into making bad decisions and tough shots.

      Yes, Patterson is much much better than Morris. I have more faith that he can contain Josh Smith than Morris does.

    4. My understanding is that Shumpert doesn't have the dominating statistical effect that Jeremy Lin had on ooponent offenses.

      Guarding a single player is one thing, playing team defense is another. Without looking at the stats, it seems to me that Shumpert has little beneficial effect on team defensive stats.

      Jeremy Lin is as good a team defender there is in the NBA. To me he's a top 5 team defender, across all positions.

  33. This is too early to tell.

    But it looks like if Houston can hold opponent to less than 100 points. They would win the game.

    So the goal on defense is to make opposing team scores under 100 pts.

    I believe with James Harden and Jeremy on the floor, their would plenty of points to get over 100 pts.

    So the strategy is to hold opponent to under 100

  34. I agreed with someone saying that the way Harden played last game is not sustainable. It's very much like how Lin played during Linsanity. 48 minutes a game non stop pick and roll would wear a person out easily. I like that Lin has already learnt to pick his spot, whether it's by design or not and doesn't need to go full gear for prolonged minutes every game, like he did during Linsanity. That's less exciting for Lin fans for sure but it's for a long and healthy career and a better way if he still want to have energy in May because legend is made in that time, not in November. I just hope that the Rockets can get more talent, especially a legit back up point, so that Lin doesn't need to play 40 minutes every game.

    1. James Harden is going to get a crash course in Linsanity style defense (pun intended).

      Opponents are not going to let him waltz to the rim like he did yesterday. They're going to knock him around with hand checks and hard hits.

      On the perimeter, Lin drew so much attention that Harden was in transition all night. Harden will eventually get Lin style defense with zone defenders clogging his driving angles and aggressive perimeter guys jamming him to his right.

      Lin is far more advanced than Harden in countering the traps. Harden had some catching up to do before he reaches Lin's level, and we'll see that unfold as defenses now start treating Harden like a starter.

      A lot of people here and elsewhere are soon going to be surprised at how much more experienced Lin is than Harden. Trust me, it'll shock people. But I won't be shocked, so I'm calling it first.

    2. Khuang,

      You are too high on Jlin. Harden has play more games and has more NBA experience than Lin. He may not be as smart and went to Harvard but he knows how to beat a trap. Not like he never got trap before.

      Although, the next game at Atlanta, Lin may out score Harden since Harden will command all the attention. I called it first.

    3. You're TOO HIGH on Harden, feltball.

      Harden has a grand total of 9 NBA starts. LESS than Lin.

      Harden has never experienced anything remotely like a double team of the nature Lin experienced all last season. He's been trapped, but even in yesterdays's game his opponents were more concerned about stopping Lin. That's because Harden hasn't proved himself yet as a dangerous primary scoring option and also because Lin is a guy known to feed several other guys on the court.

      It was interesting but expected for me to see the difference in the intensity of defensive coverage afforded Lin as opposed to Harden. The last time I saw that kind of difference was when Michael Jordan was playing with Scottie Pippen. Teams ganged up on Jordan and also covered Pippen, but Jordan was the guy that teams keyed in on. Same with Lin who is going to command primary attention all season long because Lin can beat teams by himself whether he's scoring or not.

      Do not make the mistake of underestimating Jeremy Lin's impact on the court just because his stats appear underwhelming, and do not make the mistake of overestimating James Harden's game just because he played on that loaded OKC team.

    4. Looks like some people here (KayHuang, Cara, etc.) are jealous. No need for that. There's no reason Lin and Harden can't coexist.

    5. Damn, TVN, why can't you stop flaming people?

      Why do you hate me so much? I like you when you're not trying constantly hate me.

      I'm not jealous of anyone at all. I want Harden to succeed, and I expect him to.

      All I'm saying is that Harden is going to find out what it's like to be a TYPICAL starting shooting guard in the NBA. Like everybody else in the league, he's gonna take his hits HARD.

      To be targeted defensively in the NBA is something Harden will experience it just as Lin has. I also expect Harden to overcome it as effectively the way Lin did.

    6. Bottomline:

      There will be nights where Harden will be doubled, then it is an opportunity for Lin to attack the defense. On the other hand, there will be nights wherein Lin will be defended tightly giving Harden a lot of space to operate.

      They are teammates for goodness sakes.

      They aren't two individuals from different teams. Both play better when they play TOGETHER. Let us not be divisive.

    7. @KHuang

      You got a point about the defense but you are too hard on Harden in my opinion

    8. Ain't no one being divisive here other than TVN.

      The bottom line is that Harden is going to be defended in a way that he's never been defended before.

      Harden got a taste of that kind of defense in the Miami playoffs where he got shut down. He'll experience much more of that kind of defense this regular season.

      If anything, Harden will NEED Lin more as the season goes on. Alone they cannot beat teams individually. When those traps come, Harden will turn to Lin for the answers. And Lin will continue to work closely with Harden in order to relieve pressure on the both of them.

    9. I'm not too hard on Harden.

      Watch. The hits and traps WILL come for James Harden, just like they did in Miami.

      I am very confident that James Harden will overcome those hits and traps, though I haven't seen him do it as a focal point playing against starters. I've already seen Lin beat the traps and hits repeatedly, so I'm not concerned about Lin at all.

    10. @TVN:

      You are wrong. Now I disagree with KHuang's assessment of Harden - I believe that Harden is better than KHuang thinks he is - BUT KHuang was one of the few guys to welcome and embrace the Harden acquisition when most other people were criticizing Harden getting a max contract and giving up Jeremy Lamb to get him. (Though KHuang was a big Lamb fan also.)

      Here is an example:

      KHuang is a Harden supporter. He just thinks that Harden is being overpraised right now, and will have to get a lot better to justify it. But he states that Harden will indeed improve.

    11. Thank you Unknown.

      I really do like James Harden, and I think he's worth every penny of that contract.

      The only thing I want you to know is that even when Harden starts getting hit, I don't expect a drop in his production. Jeremy Lin didn't stop producing when the hits came, and I expect Harden to do the same!

  35. Charles Barkley and Shaq were talking about Jlin and Harden in the "Inside the NBA" show:

    Ernie: "Jeremy Lin from Harvard, Ivy League,..."
    Shaq: "I went to Harvard"
    Barkley: "You went to Hardee's"

    LOL. Barkley always made me laugh :)

    1. I heard that too but what is Hardee's ? Strips joint ?

    2. Hardee's is a fast food chain that has been around for decades.

    3. Here in California, Hardee's is called Carl's Jr. And they use the same smiling star logo for their restaurant.