Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Rockets vs Wiz Game #21 Pre-Game Thread


  1. man i hope shuhow plays tonight, despite the ankle. could really use another monster game to smear all that hate from his critics back on their fat faces.

  2. Arc looked good on his shot against the Spurs.

    Whether Lin's hesitancy before last game has been due to coaching or Lin being overly deferential, he should never play like that ever again. Be aggressive, always. Rather be benched than play passive.

    Jordan had a flexible goal of scoring 8 points a quarter. 8, 8, 8, 8, 32, man, that's easy, he would say. That doesn't mean he would force the issue at all costs, but if he wasn't making 8 points a quarter most of the time, we wasn't being aggressive enough. Lin should have a flexible goal of 4-6 points a quarter. If he's not scoring, he's not opening up the court for easy assists and driving lanes for his teammates. Just track one number in his head as a proxy for his overall production. You can't and shouldn't track all your stats during a game, but points is a very good proxy. Points is a good easy litmus of his overall game. If he's getting points, he's also getting assists because play making feeds on itself. If he's getting 4-6 points a quarter, he's probably very involved in the game, so he's getting blocks and steals and rebounds too. Having a quarter based goal makes sure he doesn't accidentally fall into passivity. Having a steady single benchmark focuses you and makes sure you're not thinking too much, replaying misses in your head, fantasizing about the coach's reactions if you miss your next shot, etc., the kind of mental traps high IQ people are especially prone to when playing sports. It's easy for smart people to lose presence of mind. But getting 4-6 points a quarter is easy. Stringing quarters of such production together makes great games. Stringing those great games together means wins and all-star votes. It's all simple, you just have to broke it down into manageable chunks. Have a touchstone to return to when things aren't going well. 4-6 points a quarter.

    Sport psychology, man. You have to develop mental skills to be consistent. Confidence isn't magic, there are real mental skills you can acquire to get into flow.

    Sadly, I'm speaking to the wind...


    1. shuhow's confident he gonna whoop dat a...

    2. I never thought Lin lacked confidence. He was waiting for his body to get better and his shot to fall in before retaliating. The timing could not have been better and also to play against an elite team. Can you imagine if it was against the Bobcats? He is an extremely intelligent and shrewd young man. Don't mistake his humbleness and selfless for being weak. He has a heart of a lion. His high school coach said that "Jeremy is cutthroat."

    3. WHOOSH, Michael Terry.

      Lin sure had a Jordan-like game against those Spurs. He nearly beat them all by himself!

      Lin creates for others, but others do not create for him. This is not NY where driving lanes were mostly open due to the max contract players. On Houston, Jeremy Lin is ON HIS OWN when it comes to creating his own shot. It's not even like Chicago where Jordan looked for his own shot and didn't have to create points for his teammates.

      Fortunately, Lin is learning that he must attack for himself FIRST.

    4. Great pearl of wisdom from MJ himself, michael!

      8pts/quarter or 4pts/4asts is definitely a great mental goal to keep Lin focused to be aggressive and involved in the game.

      Hopefully, someone with Lin connection can relay some of the great ideas we have on the board to him. Or McHale :)

    5. michael,

      i don't think jeremy disagrees with you regarding being aggressive. his quotes in houston chronicles today shows that he may have turned a corner regarding his mindset going into games. it actually happened in the dallas game but he just didn't play that much in that game. hence at the post game interview, he specifically said he wasn't disappointed in his efforts. which means he was disappointed in the coaches decision to sit him.

      he said that one of coaches actually told him that it's selfish to NOT shoot when he's open, and he needs to have a mindset of being aggressive and shoot the ball regardless of whether the ball goes in or not. he has no control of whether the ball goes in, but he has control over his mindset. anyway, agree or disagree but that's what he said.

      i think his prior mindset was to "let the game come to him" without a hint of forcing the issue. even mchale in preseason told him to "make the easy play" which is a lot more passive then being aggressive. but that also allows the defense to take you out of the game. i really think he's trying to find a balance between being too aggressive and forcing the issue vs. letting the game develop.

      we MAY have seen the last of the ultra passive jlin. but there will still be times when he will defer to james especially when james is having a good night. but i don't think we'll see jlin defer by default. we'll see.

    6. No mater what's JL do, he should make sure take 5 shot each Qtr.

  3. With Lin Shu-How getting a sprained ankle at practice yesterday, don't expect him to play more than 20 minutes tonight. He will be the same corner hiding player we've seen for 99% of the season.

    Since he was so spot on with the 3's last game, I'm guessing "Coach" McHale will just make Lin Shu-How shoot 3's when he's open and bench him when he misses 1.

    Nemo's Game Prediction:
    18 Minutes
    4 Points
    6 Assists
    3 Rebounds

    1. i have a good feeling about tonight. i think coach is going to give shuhow pg duties AND make up for the mistake of sitting shuhow in the 4th quarter and calling a timeout only after they squandered a 8 pt lead

    2. After the other night's performance, he can't go back. That doesn't mean he will average 38 a night but the coaching staff will be forced to let him initiate the offense more.
      My prediction:
      36 minutes
      22 points
      8 assists
      5 rebounds

  4. Lin should sit this one out to rest his sprained ankle. Parsons should rest his shoulder too, he's been shooting poorly and missing layups since injuring it vs. Toronto.

    This team is only as good as it's outside shooting, once the 3's stop going in, they really have trouble scoring.

  5. why not give them all some burn against a hapless wizards team with only 3 wins on their books? it'll give them a chance to work on some things to get some synergy between harden and shuhow, try out some plays. if anything, i think harden should play the 2 and come off screens more. BUT, if the lake show are truly desperate for a PG......(holy crap).

  6. Interesting article about Mcfail's mindset.
    “To be truthful, the other night I didn’t care about San Antonio,” McHale said following this morning’s shootaround. “We play San Antonio four times; we play ourselves 82 times. We’ve got to get ourselves ready. I care so little about the other team. We’ve got to prepare our team to play every single night.”

    I hope he gets the axe soon and leave the NBA for good.

  7. Jeremy Lin is ATTACKING.

    No coach should reward a tentative player who is afraid to shoot.

    Whether they meant it or not, Sampson and McHale HELPED Lin by sticking him in the corner. It was "Shoot your friggin' way out of the corner. Stop being SELFISHLY UNSELFISH"!

    I agree 100% with McHale and Sampson's game plan, even if it IS unfair. They are forcing the development of Lin into a championship level point guard who can have championship level games against championship opponents like thw Spurs!!!

    1. You are giving these two clueless dummies too much credit. They didn't have any plan for him at all. If they had a plan and was consistent with the way they played him, then I will buy your argument. They treated him like dirt. He was able to rose to the top because of his strong mentality and determination. Remember, Asians have a lot of pride. He was not going continue to let these two low IQ dirt bags to embarrass him. I think we might see Lin more vocal now about his minutes or the way he is used. This is the battle I can guarantee you that Lin will win over these two dirt bags.

    2. KHuang, I wish that was the case 100% of the time.

      There were a few games when Lin got into a good roll but got benched. The Dallas and Portland game was the best examples when he got into a good roll and shooting but was benched in the 4th or the OT.

      You can see Lin was taken back in the post-game interview after the Dallas game after playing great with Douglas in the 3rd quarter. He clearly was disappointed that his "efficient" shot selection (2-3 3PT FGM/FGA) was not rewarded with PT in the 4th quarter. He clearly knew McHale preferred Douglas over him in the 4th quarter even after he produced decent numbers. He felt "slighted" and proved them wrong by dominating in the Spurs game.

      Coach McHale and Sampson are good coaches/leaders but they clearly are not good tacticians who know how to leverage the players' strength into their system. They too are still learning to coach. I do hope they learn quickly how to play Harden and Lin correctly.

      You'd have to admit that the coaches were not intentionally "being tough" to Lin to build him up. Although I believe they mean well to Lin, their decision-making was suspect at times.

    3. I wrote before the season that McHale would whip Lin into shape the way McHale whipped Lowry and Dragic into shape last season.

      Well, here we are with Lin whipped into shape!

      Maybe McHale and Sampson are clueless. They've also forced Jeremy Lin to work on his weaknesses and TAKE CONTROL of this team. The results have been EXCELLENT.

      Everything has transpired as I thought it would, though I honestly thought the Rockets would be farther behind in the standings.

    4. KHuang, I actually do not give these coaches that much credit. McHale, in the post game interview, criticized Jeremy for waiving off the "Pick" and wished he can have a "redo".
      From my perspective, McHale has several options at the time. He can call timeout and set up a play. He can scream out a play since the offense was on the same side as Rockets' bench. Or he can ride the "hot hand" which is Jeremy. McHale chose to ride the "hot hand". So as the Head Coach, McHale needed to man-up to his decision, but he decided to blame Jeremy.

      Why PnR was not a good option for Jeremy's last shot? Asik will bring the defensive big guy to double team Jeremy. In that situation, the double team will persist to run out the time. The smart thing to do is to give Jeremy open lane to drive and if Jeremy drive to the basket, he will most definitely draw help defense, so two options becomes available: 1. pass to another teammate who is opened for a easy shot, or 2. shot a shot and another teammate will have the inside track for a rebound and easy put-back.

      If you watch the last play again, TD ran toward Jeremy and drew his defense man toward Jeremy, so Jeremy had to do cross-over of the ball to avoid double team and that was when Green poked the ball away.

    5. I attribute Lin's getting into game shape and finally shooting rhythm mostly to his work ethic and desire to prove the coaches wrong about PT.

      Some coaches did help his shooting confidence. He said today, “One of my coaches told me it’s selfish not to shoot the open shot. That’s a good way to put it.”

      One thing for sure, the cream will rise to the top.

      Once again we see Lin overcame his struggle and coaches' lack of trust. Let's hope he continue to stoke the fire for this aggressive mentality. Noone is going to hand him anything in the NBA.

    6. I bet the coach that encourage him to shoot is Finch.

    7. Have to agree with KHuang here, Jeremy is forced to play with his weakness until there is none.

      I for one DO NOT want to see the Monday game over and over for Lin, that's what got him injured to begin with, anyone with half a brain knows this is NOT sustainable. He NEEDS to grow and develop his mid-range and long range game, off dribble or spot up, it doesn't matter. He needs to develop that confidence, and that drive to overcome his problems. He needs to continue working on his left, all the while making GOOD decisions with his passing.

      Even Jeremy mentions the coaches give him a ton of support, he has never once hinted at being discontent with the coaching, its always about his own performance.

      The more I think about it the more it makes sense...Jeremy is forced to play something he is weak at, in order for him to work hard and develop his weaknesses. Theorize all you want, but none of us know what McHale/Sampson is thinking, and tbh they probably know a lot more about developing talent than we do.

      And think about it: McHale and Sampson probably LIKE working with Jeremy, because Jeremy presents himself as someone that can be molded, rather than some hard headed rook-thug-wannabe that wants to do things their way. Its like drill instructors that always harasses the ones with the most potential, leadership material, because they know underneath that mound of iron, is some hard hitting steel, they tend to not harass people that they consider average.

      In the LONG run, this is MUCH better for JLin. Can you imagine a Lin that is great at penetrating defenses left and right AND is a threat mid range AND behind the arc AND is good at getting past double/triple teams?

      That is championship material, like KHuang said!

      I mean even Tony Parker believes in Jeremy...That's saying a lot...And people think McHale/Sampson has it out for Jeremy, someone with TALENT that accepts anything they'll throw at him without complaint? The harder they are on him, the more it shows they care, coaches LOVE players like JLin!

    8. @Kenoshi,

      I have no doubt that Lin is improving as a better player to be forced to play in the Coach McHale's system to be consisten spot-up 3PT shooters. He managed to overcome his struggle and found his confidence back and Linsanity is back in 1 game when Harden sat down.

      But I don't agree 100% with their "unfair" game plan as KHuang indicated. To give 100% approval means that McHale and Sampson could not have done any better in their game plans to use Lin and Harden. Many NBA analysis experts also questioned how McHale has been misusing Lin and Harden.

      Ric Bucher ‏@RicBucher
      For those who didn't believe my answer to what's wrong with Jeremy Lin - James Harden - I offer you Monday night's OT loss to SA

      As Jeremy learns to be a better player, Coach McHale and Sampson should also learn to be better coaches. Wouldn't you agree?

      Saying Lin is a better player in the McHale system is not synonymous with saying McHale has been using Lin perfectly in the past 20 games. Both are not perfect and they can improve.

  8. I've never seen this Rockets team win because of good coaching, Hack-a-Dwight was copied off the Orlando Magic's game before. A coach should not rely on hot-shooting or overwhelming talent to win games. There is no defensive mindset on this team, they are conditioned to collapse in the paint, while leaving shooters wide open outside. They still can't get stops on the pick and roll.

    1. And yet this Rockets team is only two games under 0.500 despite a BRUTAL opening schedule that looks like the NBA Playoffs

      The coaches get the blame AND the glory for keeping the youngest cheapest team in the NBA firmly in playoff contention!

    2. I gave A+ to Houston coaches for empowering young players and building great chemistry . McHale and Sampson are great leaders for these young players.

      But I give them a generous C for being:
      - bad tacticians,
      - no clearly defined roles,
      - terrible game management,
      - very little in-game adjustment,
      - suspect substitution patterns,
      - no accountability for bad shot selections/TOs by Harden and Parsons only
      - and most of all mishandling PG and SG assignment to Harden and Lin.

      We have to give credit to where credit is due .
      They're great leaders but not great coaches yet. But I do hope they change because I like their personalities for this young team.

    3. From my perspective the NBA offense is about maximize your talents, and the defense is about detail oriented team work. The coaching team is responsible for these two areas, and I have NOT seen either areas done at a consistent level.

    4. It is alway easier to blame others. Not until people realized winning is a team effort, they will alway blame somebody else except their favorite player. Lin has a very good game against the Spur, but the Rocket still lost. It is easy to start blaming other like Delfino for trying to play PG, coach took Lin out early on the 4th Qtr. Parson not making his shoot unit the 4th, and so on. Lin hater can also blame Lin for not being able to get the shot up on time and lost the game on overtime. etc..

      The truth is Rocket has a defensive problem they need solve. This is mainly due to being a young team. TO and transition is the major issue the coaching staff need to solve right now. Second issue the coaching staff also need to fix the player positioning problem. Currently Lin is playing SG when he should be playing PG, and the opposite is true with Harden. The coaching staff need to realize Harden / Lin play their best when they both handle the ball starting at the top center of the 3pts arc where they can both drive. Sending Lin to the right corner actually limit Lin drive to rim because the baseline cut off the right side to the rim. Houston need to try having Harden position at top left and Lin at the top right of the 3pt Arc, and leave the corner to a forward like Parson and Patterson instead.

    5. This is a common fans' comment - do not position Lin in the corner. There may be a few reasons why this is still happening. You need a forward at the top of the arc to set a PNR. They train and practice Lin and Delfino for 3 pointers and feel that taking more 3 pointers is more successful in the long term. You need players cutting, who will generally be the forwards, not the PG or SG which will be Lin in the corner.

      It's also a defensive tactic. Being a young team, they could often end up with the PG/SG dribbling aimlessly/under pressure or trapped by double/even triple teamed defenders. With this system it should reduce the TO's. Houston is one of the better offensive teams, so the current tactic is not all bad. Maybe it needs adjusting eg interchange Harden in the corner more.

    6. I am not sure what you meant. When I played basketball, I was taught basic formation is having PG position at top center, and SG should be left or right of the PG. Forwarder should be at the corner. Of course there is alway exception depend on the tactics. But if you watch the game, both Harden and Lin are playing their best starting from the top center arc. Neither does well at the corner position. It is the Forward job to be able to cut to the middle if needed because of rebounding and inside plays. I am not saying I knew better than the coaching staff, all I am suggesting is if the current formation is not working, they should try other option. The current formation only involve one player instead of both Harden & Lin.........

  9. Let's go Jeremy and rockets! Do you think they will able to get this one? I can't imagine how will it makes me feel if they still fail to get this one. But who knows. Wizard might down in the bottom now but hey they got to beat Miami heat. Don't tell me they beat them because of luck.

  10. You need to listen to Lin's post-practice interview to get his mindset on being benched for the Dallas game:
    12/12 VIDEO: Post-shootaround interviews with Lin

    Reporter: "Does it (the mentality to attack and make plays) sort of evolve the other night where Harden was not there and you needed a spark from someone?"
    Lin (looking determined and thinking of a diplomatic answer): "It's a combination of several things. In the Dallas game, I didn't play that much but in the time that I did, I was being aggressive so it's something that I've been trying to build up some momentum for it

    Translation from Lin's bubble thought: [... "I had some momentum in the Dallas game but too bad I did not have more Playing Time to help win that game" ...]

    1. hahaha.. completely agree. you could tell after the dallas game he was upset about not being in there. it was the first time that i remember him not citing himself as the reason for being on the bench and not agreeing with the decision - "i was NOT disappointed in my effort". and gave pretty canned answers when asked what he could've done to get more playing time.

      i still think that dallas game was more about putting in someone that coaches thought could slow down OJ and less about what jeremy was and was not doing. they didn't think putting jeremy on oj would help (i think it could've) and they can't take out harden, so in goes douglas at the expense of jeremy's contribution on the offensive side. i sensed that the coaches knew they made a mistake.

    2. I thought the Lin/Asik plays weren't working so they took them both out for the Dallas game.

      Except it backfired on them.

    3. yup, I agree :)

      That's why Lin played so hard on defense in the Spurs game. He went up so hard to block Duncan and sacrificed his body falling on his side. He also poked the ball away from Duncan at the end of 4th quarter. He stole the ball from Danny Green and scored at the other end.

      He tried to show the coaches, " ... No other Houston players played defense as hard as me! Not Toney, not Pattersons. You can't afford to bench me in the 4th! This is what you call "energetic defense"!!! ..."

      He simply tried to cure the coaches' blind eyes of "energetic" defense! LOL

    4. kenoshi.. i don't think that was it. mchale himself said they needed to do something about OJ 'cause nothing was working so they put in douglas. they never tried having lin on oj and i think that would've slowed him down without given up that much on offense.

      on the other hand, the way they were using lin was no different than what douglas could bring so in their minds they didn't suffer on offense but gained on defense with toney's lateral quickness. i do think at this point in time toney has better lateral quickness than lin. and since they were running the offense through harden anyway, not having lin on the floor wouldn't hurt.

      all of this, to me, is just idiotic coaching. really, really, stupid. this is what happens when you're so married to a 'system' that you try fitting your players into roles that don't take full advantage of their talent. it's a waste of talent and owner's money. i'd be really pissed if i were morey or les alexander.

      i don't subscribe to the theory that the coaches have it out for lin or whatever. i just think they're stupid and too married to their way of doing things.

  11. quote from jeremy in today's chronicle article:

    “I think it’s big for me to try to keep the same mindset, understand that I can’t always control whether my shot is going in, if I get in a zone,” Lin said. “I can control my mindset and my attitude, the mentality I come out with.

    “It’s not always about getting shots up. It’s about the mentality of being aggressive, trying to make plays. When I just try to make plays, it just naturally comes. I think it was a combination of a few things. The game before (against Dallas) I didn’t get to play that much, but in the time I was I was trying to be really aggressive. It was something I was trying to build some momentum for.”

    let's hope we've seen the last of passive jeremy.

    1. This is exactly what I have said before. It is not about Lin's skills. He already have it. It is his attitude toward how he want to play. This is true about anything in life, if you want something bad enough, you will find ways to get it. The only time you don't get what you want,is because you don't want it bad enough. Good example is weight lost by diet.

    2. I am so glad Jeremy responded to the Dallas game with his outstanding performance on Monday. The key to his game is staying aggressive. You saw that on both ends of the floor the other night. When the coaches see that high energy level they will reward him with more PT. I see Jeremy getting 35-40 minutes tonight unless it is a blowout. Rockets by 15. I hope Jeremy gets good minutes with Smith.

    3. the spurs game wasn't jlin 'responding' to the dallas game. he said himself that he was already being aggressive in the dallas game and was not happy about being taken out of the game.

      jlin is quite stubborn.. and now that he has this mindset and is convince that he needs to have it, look for a more aggressive jlin from now on.

    4. In the first quarter of the Dallas game, Jeremy had an open 10ft straight on shot. Instead of shooting he passed down to Asik who made the layup. However because of Jeremy's hesitation to shoot, Asik was in the key for 3 seconds which resulted in a turnover. Jeremy needs to shoot that open shot without hesitation and trust Asik will get the rebound if he misses. I'm sure the coaches noticed that too. Stay aggressive Jeremy!

  12. Having watched quite a few post-game videos, an often repeated comment by the coaches is to 'make the extra pass'. They want the players to be always looking for another player in a better position to make the shot. Lin, being such a good team player, has followed the instructions to an extreme level. Harden, to whom the directives have been made, follows his own intuition and annoys the coaches by still playing ISO too often sometimes.

    In the end, the players on the court have to deliver and should be given the final responsibility.

    1. The objective is to get high quality shots. If Jeremy is open he needs to shoot it. If his teammate has a better shot, pass it. I'm sure Jeremy knows the difference between 'making the extra pass' and 'over passing'. Jeremy needs to keep shooting the open shot even if they aren't going down. When Harden went 3 for 19 in the game against the Lakers, he didn't stop shooting because he missed 15 shots, he kept believing the next one will go down. As a result he got to the line quite a bit.