Friday, November 2, 2012

JLin & JHarden Backcourt GOAT?

I know it's early but I'm predicting that the 24 yr. old Jeremy Lin and the 23 yr. old James Harden backcourt will become the greatest of all time! This is just ridiculous. Jeremy is at 90% and they've played together for only 4 days. All of the so called experts predicted this to be a 30 win team. I still can't believe what I'm seeing.

Rockets 109
Hawks 102

JHardn

40 min
45 pts
7 rebs
+17

JLin

40 min
21 pts
10 rebs
7 asts
+9

Update 10:30pm:

Jeremy Lin and James Harden are the NBA’s best backcourt. Do not argue. | Ball Don't Lie - Yahoo! Sports

52 comments:

  1. "I know it's early" - It's been 2 games, and against Pistons and Hawks, they're mediocre teams. Why do you always have to overreact to everything? So far so good, but let's see what happens when Rockets play the Heat, Spurs, Thunder, etc. I'm very happy that Lin is shutting the haters up, Stephen A Smith was embarrassing tonight on Twitter.

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    1. I know right. Stephen A the blabber mouth just had to find a way to jab JLin.

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    2. Lin Bash O Meter = 2 flames for 2 games so far

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    3. hawk is a play-off team and those are two away games. Im on an NBA forum and harden is getting all the love and some hate. The Jlin-harden tandem are the talk of the town. Its so nice to exceed expectations.

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    4. I do not follow Stephen A Smith...do not respect him therefore no point in even knowing what he says.

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  2. JLin is my boy and I'm excited that he's playing well, could be better though. GOAT backcourt? That's stretching a bit. Lets see where they are 20, 40, 60 games from now. Hopefully 60-0.

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  3. I have to agree the rockets have the best young back court in the nba

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    1. I don't need 20 games to say it. Lin is not 100 percent and he is still putting in work. Harden is on beast mode right now. The other players on the rockets need to step up.

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  4. "All of the so called experts predicted this to be a 30 win team."

    That was before the Harden signing, though, right?

    "Jeremy is at 90%"

    Big reason why Harden helps Lin. Without Harden, Lin would be compelled to do a lot of the physical play that Harden is taking on right now. Saving wear and tear on a body that went down with a wear and tear injury last season is a good thing.

    Lin's always been a streaky (though clutch) shooter, so that is what it is. But some of his misses inside are abnormal, and at times he acts surprised when he doesn't beat his man off the dribble. I'm not worried about it. He's got enough athleticism to do his job, he's filling up his stat line, and eventually, either Lin will adjust to his post-surgery body or he's building back to his old explosiveness.

    It was a very good performance against better guards than Lin saw in Detroit. I thought Lin was on his way to a triple-double last season before he got hurt. His first triple-double for the Rockets is on its way (it'll help when 1 or more of the bigs' offense develops to boost the assists).

    Chief on my list of what to watch for in the game was how the ball control would be shared between the 2 guards in a close game against a better team defense than they faced in Detroit. I liked what I saw. Harden still controlled the ball more down the stretch, but the balance was better than it was in the Pistons game.

    For the team, it was an early statement win against a better opponent than the Pistons. The Rockets' team improvement just from game 1 to game 2 in a short period of time was impressive.

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  5. This game showed how much values Harden and Lin individually contributed to the Rockets because their teammates beside Morris just didn't have it today on offense. Along with Marcus Morris' 17 points, they combined for 83 out of 109 points (76%). That is unsustainable.

    Asik was huge with 19 rebounds and 0 points. I've never seen anything like it before. So good and so bad at the same time. But lots of potential for sure!

    Other players need to find their confidence to step it up and score on easy points. Asik and Douglas just missed on point-blank putbacks. Hopefully Parsons found his confidence with that killer 3 pointer in the 4Q. That's a nail in the coffin shot!

    Give the credit to Harden, half-man half-shooting-machine, with back-to-back 37 and 45 points. The guy made it look so easy to shoot and score.

    Our JLin had a near triple-double even with his struggle in his shooting. That inconsistency is still to be expected for another 2-3 weeks as he's finding his rhythm back. Glad to see he was not scared of shooting it. He showed himself to be a true leader who's not afraid to fail!
    His career-high 10 rebounds (previously at 7) really helped to push the pace and limit the Hawks' possessions.

    They have back-to-back game tomorrow with Portland who also played tonight. So hopefully they still have their legs.

    2-0, baby!

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    1. Lillard-Lin is going to be fun. Lillard looks like the real deal and he'll try to make rep against Lin. Behind Lillard, the Blazers have less guard depth than the Rockets.

      What will make the game interesting for Lin, beyond the Lillard match-up, is Nicholas Batum. I imagine the Blazers will start off with Matthews on Harden but at the 1st sign Harden is going off, Batum will take over on Harden. Unlike the Pistons and the Hawks, the Blazers have a wing defender in Batum who has the goods to give Harden a hard time. If Harden has a hard time breaking down his defender, that'll shift the spotlight onto Lin against the rookie.

      As a team, I don't know what to expect from the Blazers. I don't know whether they represent better quality than the Hawks or even the Pistons. 2 years ago, they were an up and coming contender, and last year they were one of my preseason favorites. Then they totally fell apart and looked downright pathetic. I don't know what they are now.

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    2. They've improved from last season but I'm still confident they are no better than Atlanta

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  6. almost a triple double for JLin. Thumbs up for him!

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  7. already way more chemistry than Melo + Lin

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    1. Yes and no.

      G/F is a different chemistry than G/G. Lin was the undisputed PG with the Knicks and controlled the ball playing with Anthony. Harden the guard handles the ball more than Anthony the forward and shares in the point duties with Lin. Anthony depended on Lin to set him up. Harden depends on Lin much less to set him up.

      Lin put up similar stat lines when he played with Anthony. But yes, Anthony did not put up the kind of stat lines playing with Lin that Harden has put up the last 2 games. Mysteriously, Anthony had his best games of the season after Lin was lost for the season.

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    2. doesnt pass the eye test for me. Lin/Harden is >>>>> then Lin/Melo by miles and miles...

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    3. Harden with Lin > Anthony with Lin.

      Lin with Harden = Lin with Anthony.

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    4. @Eric:

      "Lin with Harden = Lin with Anthony"

      You are wrong. You are caught up on the frontcourt/backcourt (Melo/Lin) vs. backcourt/backcourt (Harden/Lin) thing. Another thing: you are focusing only on the mostly positive Lin/Melo pairing under Woodson where Melo (mostly) behaved because he was trying to get the Knicks to hire Woodson. You are not factoring in the disastrous stretch when Melo and Lin were playing together (not really) under D'Antoni.

      The idea that Harden takes the ball out of Lin's hands and limits his opportunities - the Lin = Mario Chalmers thing with Harden around - simply isn't true. If anything, as Lin is a scorer as well as a PG, letting Harden handle gives Lin opportunities to seek scoring opportunities off the ball. Lin had several such opportunities last night when Harden brought the ball up ... some wide open looks and some open lanes to the basket. Lin just didn't knock down the shots. With Melo, sure Lin gets to bring the ball up, but mostly for the purposes of dumping it in to Melo and Stoudemire (and also, Chandler and J.R. Smith would get their opportunities). That wouldn't give Lin anywhere near the opportunities to score off the ball even if Melo did abandon his "black hole" tendencies.

      When Harden is handling, defenses are going to collapse around him and open things up for Lin as a result. Lin has to be able to either hit the jump shots, pull up jumpers or finish in the lane as a result. If Lin can't do that consistently, you can't attribute that to Lin playing with another backcourt player instead of with a frontcourt player. As Melo doesn't want to handle the ball (other than when he is driving to seek his own shot) he won't create the off-the-ball opportunities for Lin.

      When Lin gets better at scoring off the ball, Harden/Lin > Melo/Lin. When that happens, perimeter defenses will drive themselves crazy trying to decide which one of them to defend on any given play, because simply defending the guy who is handling the ball won't work. (This was a problem that teams who had to defend both Jordan and Pippen faced.) You'll have to guard one guy while keeping the ball away from the other guy. With Melo, that isn't going to happen.

      Remember, I was one of the ONLY people who wanted Lin to stay with the Knicks because I felt that Lin, Melo and Woodson could make it work, if only because the pressure on Woodson to keep his job and Melo to erase his loser reputation. But Melo is a SF who doesn't want to handle the ball. If Lin is going to be paired with an all star frontcourt player, it would be far better were it a C, PF or at the very least a SF with a point forward game. Playing with an all star back court mate is much better than playing with a SF with Melo's game.

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    5. Unknown,

      Again, you aren't saying anything about the potential and possibilities of the Lin/Harden combo that I haven't said, too. Reference my reaction to the Harden trade:
      http://www.jeremylin.net/2012/10/jlin-and-jharden.html?showComment=1351624631544#c6254375381749048404

      Note, I didn't say Harden WILL Chalmerize Lin in close games. Or more appropriate to the Pistons game, Pippenize Lin, like Pippen used to run the point for 3 Qs, then Jordan would take over in the 4Q of close games.

      I said that Harden CAN Chalmerize (or Pippenize) Lin in a way that Anthony could not, even if Anthony wanted to.

      The factual basis of my comment is in the 4Q of the Pistons game, Harden DID Chalmerize Lin.

      Again, I also said that 1 game, especially the 1st game of the season and the 1st game Harden played with his new teammates with no practice, does not a pattern make. But the fact is it happened, thus opening the door for Lin fans to keep an eye on the issue. Harden playing hero ball to close out a game is fine as an option, as long as it isn't a rule. Winning games with hero ball is a Lin specialty I do not want mothballed by McHale, like Jackson took the option from Pippen.

      This issue was my chief 'what to watch for' for in the Hawks game. How would Harden and McHale react in a close game against a better defense? Answer: although Harden controlled the ball more than Lin in the 4Q, the balance between Lin and Harden was better than in the Pistons game. I was relieved. The trend went the right way.

      Anthony got a bad rap because he mixed badly with D'Antoni’s system, but it wasn’t all his fault. Anthony as a specialist in the D'Antoni system can work with Team USA, but his Knicks teammates are not like his Team USA teammates. Anthony is a scorer in the same mold as Durant and moreso Nowitzki. If you give a franchise contract to an Anthony, Durant, or Nowitzki, you design the team around them. (Sorry, STAT.)

      The key point that has eluded many Lin fans is that, structurally speaking, Lin at PG fits a system that's custom-designed around Anthony.

      Consider Anthony's desire to play with a superior PG. It’s no whim. In his best days with the Nuggets, he played off of team-leader PGs in Andre Miller and Chauncey Billups. (Playing with Iverson was less successful for Anthony, but I blame that more on Iverson.)

      Consider Woodson's best days with the Hawks and Joe Johnson came after acquiring a pre-washed-up Mike Bibby, and Lin can do more than Bibby. In fact, Woodson used Lin to do more than Hawks Bibby.

      Consider the Knicks game last night. The current Knicks formula emulates the 2011 Mavs: Dirk/Melo featured mid/high-post scorer, the same Chandler, an older Kidd as a stationary big point, and Barea/Felton in the dynamic combo role. Lin would have been in the combo Barea role, which is tailor-made for him. Lin, of course, would have had a bigger PG role than 2011 Mavs Barea because, one, Lin is better than Barea, and two, Kidd can’t carry the already shrinking PG load he carried in 2011.

      Is Melo more selfish than Dirk? Compare their FGA/game career stats, and you tell me. Approx 20 FGA/game is pretty standard for their level. Approx 80 FGA/game is pretty standard for a team. Like Dirk, Melo is a good enough but not a great NBA athlete. When defenses swamp him, Melo can’t jump over them; he'll outlet the ball. Some Knick has to take those other 60 FGA/game and attract defensive pressure away from Melo.

      Look at the current Knicks roster and you tell me: who's a better complementary creative perimeter scorer (ie, the Barea role) than Lin for Melo the mid-range scorer? JR Smith? Maybe? Sometimes?

      The bottom-line is that even if the worst Iso-Melo characterization of Anthony was true, Lin's role as PG would have been protected by the structure of the team. Anthony depends on his PG and someone needs to take the remaining 60 shots.

      (Continued ...)

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    6. With the Knicks, Lin would have retained primary power over the ball as Anthony depended on Lin’s judgement. Lin is not weak with his PG power: last season, there were times that Lin called his own number when Anthony was calling for the ball. Now, Lin depends on Harden’s judgement, and we must trust Harden will do the right thing. But if Harden at any point decides to Chalmerize (or Pippenize) Lin, Lin is powerless.

      I grant that personality differences and relational power imbalances are real things, but structural advantages are real things, too. It's the difference between a 'my word is bond' handshake agreement and a contract.

      My point is not that Harden is or will be bad for Lin. As I've said, Harden can, and I expect will, be very good for Lin, especially health-wise. If Harden does what we want, then the Rockets will be a better situation for Lin than the Knicks.

      Rather, my point is that Lin's role as PG with Anthony (and Kevin Martin, for that matter) was protected by a structural advantage that amounted to a job guarantee. Lin does not have the same structural protection nor guarantee with Harden.

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    7. Add: Lin's stats both during the final losing streak with D'Antoni and the winning streak with Woodson stack up favorably with Lin's 2-game sample with the Rockets.

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    8. Cricket applause -

      there's no such thing as "would've" with the Knicks.

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    9. KHuang,

      True, it's not Lin's fault the Knicks didn't match. Lin did what he was supposed to do, and what the Knicks asked him to do, in free agency. As Lin has often repeated, he expected and wanted to return to the Knicks. Lin is smart - I assume he recognized the golden opportunity he had with Anthony, Woodson, and the Knicks that I've described.

      But the Knicks opted for the cheaper Felton instead. I liked Felton when he played for D'Antoni, so I don't think he's a bad choice. I think Felton will play well this year. The Knicks will make the play-offs this season as a high enough seed to reach the 2nd round, so Felton and the Knicks will have a successful season. But in the 2nd round, the Knicks will suffer the absence of a dynamic clutch creative perimeter scorer/playmaker, which Lin potentially would have provided them. That's not Felton's game.

      So if the Knicks had kept Lin, it would have been good for both sides, but they didn't. Either Rockets or Knicks, Lin would have been the starting PG, but before the Harden signing, the team structure on the Knicks was better for Lin. With Harden now added, Lin potentially has a better situation with the Rockets - as long as Harden keeps doing the right thing by Lin.

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  8. Great game! I know jlin's effeciency with his shot isnt there but like we all said he's still not 100%. I mean almost a triple double..he will always find ways to be great.

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  9. Tonight, I had the Privilege to see Jeremy Lin play against the Hawks at Phillips Arena. One thing I can tell you for certain is that Jeremy Lin looks just like Jeremy Lin we see on TV.

    I'm telling you guys what I saw tonight. Very soon Jeremy is going to be the same Jeremy we saw before the injury. I saw a glimpse of it. He missed easy shots/layups he usually makes under the rim but we all know that's because of his Knees. But the positive is that he is taking shots he normally takes whether they go in or not. Hes taking what the defense gives him, he's penetrating and hes shooting uncontested shots. Hes becoming more and more COMFORTABLE as the season continues. And even at 80% Jeremy is still putting up numbers, doing damage and getting his team the most important thing THE WIN.

    IF Jeremy comes to a town near you, You sure go see him play. It will be worth it and you wont be disappointed I guarantee!!

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  10. Highlight of the game:

    Beginning of the game with Lin at the foul line: Fans chanting "overrated".

    End of the game with Lin at the foul line: Standard boos, but no more "overrated" chant.

    Comment: In the game thread, some commenters were bothered by the "overrated" chant. No need. It was normal. That's what home fans are supposed to do to visiting players - especially visiting star players.

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    1. when jhard signed for $80 mil, i seriously thought he was over-rated. i wasn't sure if he can replicate last season's remarkable stats, after shooting only 28% in preseason. right now he's showing he is worth all that money.

      jlin is slowly improving, game after game, and i know he will eventually get his legs back and finish around the rim as easily as the way jhard makes it look. some of jlin's drives look like he's out of control, but i know from last season, he made a lot of those shots look so easy.

      the rockets bench is actually deeper than i expected. i did not expect morris to be ahead of tjones in the depth chart. before preseason, i thought the rookies would make an impact, and they still can, but now there's smith, morris, aldrich, delfino to make this a very deep bench.

      surprisingly patterson took four 3pt shots tonite. i'm not convince he can shoot from that range, but he must had been working on it all summer.

      for sure, w/out jhard tonite, rockets would have lost. poor shooting nite from parsons, delfino, etc., but jhard carried the team, and jlin had a good game.

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    2. "some of jlin's drives look like he's out of control, but i know from last season, he made a lot of those shots look so easy."

      Agreed. Rockets fans questioning Lin's shot selection ought to be reminded that taking and making those same kinds of shots are why Lin wasn't waived by the Knicks last season.

      The Rockets need to add a PG to the bench. Douglas stunk it up again. That's 2. I wonder how long is Douglas's rope. Machado has to be getting close.

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    3. i like machado's game. if he gets his chance, he may end up playing more than any of the rockets first round rookies this season. machado was definitely a great pickup by morey.

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    4. I keep telling you guys, Scott Machado just doesn't have NBA game.

      His inability to keep up at the NBA level would have you guys pining for Tony Douglas. That's exactly what happened in Rockets training camp.

      Machado would be a fine D league player and 15th man in the NBA. That's his ceiling.

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    5. KHuang:

      Machado can be a serviceable NBA player if he learns how to adapt to not being a great or good athlete. You don't have to be a speedster, jump out of the gym or fast twitch guy to succeed in the NBA. You can also be a very smart skilled player too.

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    6. Machado's profile reminds me of Norris Cole of the Heat. Skilled as a PG, but not an elite NBA athlete. Most likely will be exposed if left on the court too long, but competent enough to rest the starter for a minutes if he maxes himself out and plays on the edge for limited minutes.

      There's a tradition of top teams using rookie PGs, often not highly drafted, as a change of pace.

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    7. The point guard position in the NBA absolutely requires top level athleticism.

      Scott Machado is no Norris Cole in athleticism. Norris Cole was a great all around point guard in college, incomparably better than Machado.

      No amount of point guard skill and savvy can cover up for a basic lack of athleticism, particularly among small sub 6 foot guards like Machado. The lack of arhleticism is why Machado went undrafted, and Jeremy Lin too even though Jeremy Lin had excellent draft combine scores and was highlight reel player every game.

      Go ahead. Put Scott Machado in a game. See if he can compete against guys like Norris Cole.

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    8. I agree: it's worth to see what Machado can do. Hey, if Machado fails, the alternative is putting Douglas back in, which is what the Rockets are doing now.

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  11. i was seated directly across from them, about 7 rows of college students I think. I couldn't make out what they were saying, I thought they were chanting Jeremy Lin Jeremy Lin. Hahaha. I was the only one showing support for Jeremy and the Rocket And I didn't care what anyone else thought, IM 6'0 about 200 LBS and bench press 300+. Nobody has the balls to tell me who they think I should root for.

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    1. haha thats awesome! Well I'm 6'0 and 205 bench 300+ as well... I will be court side for the Knicks/Rockets!!!!! I'll snap some pictures and post them its going to be AWESOME!

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  12. The way the Rockets close out games with around 3.00 minutes left is so unusual. Both the guards are at around half court and consequently there is so much spacing for guys to drive or receive the pass for the spot up three. Must be because there are two amazing clutch guys on the floor!

    Asik was a beast inside, bouncing people off just by his sheer size.

    The back court is becoming a dynamic duo. Combined, they can easily average 40 a game. The question is who else is going to step up to contribute to the remaining points? The other guys must pull their weight on offense! Parsons may be a good candidate for a third scoring option. With a stready stream of inside post plays, such as the inlet and subsequent drop off pass between the big men, the offense can be in good shape. Trading for an offensive big man wouldn't hurt either, but I think teams will demand Parsons.

    Both guards played huge minutes, so lets see if they can bring the energy tomorrow.

    Once JLin starts hitting those mid-range shots, watch out. He was open all day for those shots off drives.

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  13. I really wish the Rockets had kept Shaun Livingston.

    As a 6-7 veteran who looked in shape during preseason (everyone knows about his horrific knee injury a couple years ago), he'd be the perfect backup PG for this team because it would allow Toney Douglas to be what he really is -- a small SG.

    Right now, Rockets fans are hating on Douglas and there's no doubt he's played poorly. But I still feel bad for Toney because he's not being used correctly. When you ask him to handle the ball and run the offense, his shooting struggles as well.

    A 2nd unit with Livingston and Douglas at PG and SG would be pretty solid. They should eat humble pie and re-acquire him if possible. If not, they need a veteran PG to hold down the fort when Jeremy is sitting.

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    1. I think CBA prevents the Rockets signing someone they just cut so soon.

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    2. Aha, that's probably true. I just remember last year that the Warriors said they were considering re-claiming Jeremy even after they cut him (and DeAndre Jordan's contract was matched).

      That was almost certainly BS to make Linsanity less embarrassing for them, but the fact that they mentioned it made me think it was possible to resign a recently waived player.

      Could they get Earl Boykins back? He's just a FA because his contract ran out. He's a seasoned vet who can take care of the ball and hit jumpers. Not to mention he'd be dirt cheap. KHuang suggested him as a viable option months ago.

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    3. Yes, Boykins would step in and solve the backup pg issue.

      He'd also serve as a great silent mentor to the Hardliners.

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  14. Yeah, too early to say, but given the league's preference for guard play via the rules committee, we are watching an explosive offense. You see some nice unselfishness coming from Harden, despite his superstar contract and hoopla. You won't see selfishness from Lin, Parsons, Asik, and not from the younger guys who haven't been in the league long enough to get big heads. I love the new trend of NBA teams trying to emphasize ball movement and teamball and WINNING with it. It's FUN to watch the Rockets, unlike a certain 0-3 team that ought to be even MORE fun to watch (Fakers).

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    1. GOAT labels come with championships, and last I checked, the Heat have the hardware. Need a defensive perimeter guy to shore up that team.

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  15. Jeremy Lin on tonight's game against the Hawks:

    Pros:

    Good one on one defense
    Good help defense
    Good defensive rebounds, especially in the 4th quarter where he grabbed in from Zaza Pachulia.

    Good court vision on fast breaks and some nice highlight passes on set offense like the backdoor pass he made to Harden.

    What he can improve on for tomorrow night's game:

    Ball handling. He needs to stop his bad habit of picking up his dribble. I think he dribbles a little high on his left hand and as a result opponents try to steal the ball from him, thus he stops his dribble. He needs to dribble low when fast and shorter guards are guarding him. I don't know if it's his knee that is preventing him to squat a little further down for him to dribble lower. Watching him I feel like he's one step or one dribble away from turning the ball over. I think it might be the fatigue factor as these tendencies of turning the ball over are happening during the 2nd half. I also think he's used to being able to go through the pick and roll and finding a big man open like he did with Tyson Chandler & Amare Stoudamaire vs. the big guys in Houston. Who are slow at setting themselves up for Jeremy to throw them a pass down low. Which as a result Jeremy gets stuck and stops his dribble. He needs to learn to continue his dribble and at time dribble back out if nothing is there, instead of forcing something to happen.

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    1. I think Jeremy Lin is having a difficult timing deciding when he should shoot or when he should pass. I think he's thinking too much about it and should just let the game flow and come to him. Instead, of trying to read things logically all the time. He should just play with his instincts and if he's open just take the shot.

      On those jumpers and 3 pointers he made, it was free flowing and instinctive, without hesitation. There was a moment where Asik set a screen on Lin on the top of the 3 point line, Lin was open instead of taking the 3 he jumped in the air and then passed it to the cutting Harden. I don't know if the coach is telling him to keep looking for the open man or what, but sometimes I feel like he's trying to look for the open man too much or trying to let set play develop before doing something. Which is good, but there's times where you have to shoot when you're open.

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    2. The shifting tripleteams are causing Lin to intelligently pick his spots and let the game come to him.

      No problems with his decisionmaking.

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  16. I think Lin is playing very well. It's nice to see his 3 ball is going in (missed two close ones in the first game) and could easily be 4-7 from behind the arc. His mid-range game, which was great last year at times is missing - this will easily come back too. Honestly, he is way way ahead of schedule. His passing looks great.

    Also, I am super psyched on Harden. I may have to buy a Lin and Harden jersey. This is more fun than I could ever have imagined. Love how Harden is getting all the attention now.

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  17. Greatest backcourt of today's game? Very possible.

    Greatest backcourt of all time? The Hardliners would have to continue what they're doing if they are to be better than Jerry West and Elgin Baylor!

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  18. And don't forget the ABA either.

    The Hardliners are very comparable to one of the greatest backcourts of all time: James Silas and George Gervin.

    Earlier this year, I compared Jeremy Lin to James Silas. James Silas came out of nowhere (a NAIA school) and was cut by the Rockets in training camp, just like Lin. San Antonio picked him up and it was Silasanity. Silas was a 20 pt 10 ast ABA guy until he blew out his knee.

    George Gervin is a guy everybody knows as an absolutely unstoppable scorer. He was like Kevin Martin but with a far better attitude and much more talent in finishing around the basket. An ABA personnel guy said that Silas and Gervin were the best backcourt in 1970s basketball, better than Walt Frazier and Earl Monroe of the championship Knicks.

    The Hardliners are easily comparable to Silas and Gervin. Nor do I think they'd have any trouble against West and Baylor. But in terms of historic impact, the Hardliners have a lot to do before they match those two legendary duos.

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