Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Rockets vs. Thunder Game #56 Pre Game Thread

With 27 games left in the season, the Rockets will be hard pressed to reach the 50 wins we predicted at the beginning of the season. Sometimes we're just a little too optimistic here. However, they are certainly in the playoff hunt and Jeremy has stepped up his play of late.

The playoff push starts now, versus OKC. Lets get on a roll and lets do this!


  1. Houston will either go on a run and cruise into 6th while GSW drops to 8th (Klay's own dad, former Laker Michael, thinks that could very well happen) or they will maintain their 8th spot Jekyll/Hyde thing and go into an elimination game showdown against the Lakers to determine who gets in with the win...

    Either way don't expect Linsanity or even a Jeremy Lin who is given the green light playing PG for the Rockets anytime soon. Having said that, it could still be exciting to watch as things unfold.

    Knowing the Rockets, they will take the 7th seed and get stuck playing OKC who will likely be 4-0 against the Rox entering the playoffs. However, with Lin on the team, an 0-4 Rox team would be the perfect upstart to give the superior and overconfident OKC team a run for their money in the playoffs.

    1. As a life long GSW fan, I've experienced many heart aches where GSW does well to start the season but only to end up in the cellar by season's end....

    2. Etane, blame M Jax. He is a sham of a decent head coach. Also, GSW is worse off with Bogut, go figure.

      GSW has a pretty tough schedule to end the season, a bit tougher than Houston's in my opinion. I will not be surprised to see GSW slide and play less than .500 ball the remainder of the season.

    3. Anybody but the Thunder or Clippers. Even the Spurs and Nuggets, who have owned the Rockets this season, are beatable with Jeremy doing his thing.

      Finishing 8th might be best...play the super-talented but aging Spurs after an 82-game season. Finish 6th or 7th and you'll get OKC or LAC. Nooooo....

    4. Swing it's not just the last few years. GSW tend to fold early during the last 2 decades. But, they were still fun to watch haha.

    5. I think Spurs is still a worse matchup than OKC for the Rockets. They are deep, experienced and they know how to exploit TOs for quick points. I still remember how quickly the game got away from the Rockets in the span of 3 min to trail by 15-20 pts.

      At least with OKC, you can force Westbrook to take too many shots and take a chance with hot 3-PT shooting. Without looking at the numbers, I remember Spurs' defense against 3PT shooting is better than OKC's.

    6. What about last year's OKC-Spurs series? Spurs looked good at first...but then they looked old and ran out of gas. OKC just get pushing the pace and SAS couldn't keep up.

      I don't know...Rockets have played the Spurs close for the past two games (and Jeremy played great in both). But OKC blew them out easily.

    7. OKC definitely was much more athletic than Spurs and shut down Parker.

      Spurs bench might be even better this season.

      But in a 7-game series, I don't see the Rockets has any chance to beat either OKC or the Spurs so it might be a moot point :( Stealing one or two games might be an accomplishment.

    8. Etane, at least you had the Dallas-GSW playoff series. That made up for a few bad years.

      zxcbv - I actually think Lin can eat up the Clipper's defense and if the Rox actually let Lin loose completely, they'd beat the Clips in a series. CP3 cannot guard Lin one on one AT ALL even when all Lin does is go hard right on him because Lin is too big strong and fast for him. And DJ and Blake are not the trapping big men that Miami has when J Anthony, Haslem, and Lebron/Wade come flying at Lin when Lin's already dealing with Chalmers and/or Cole to a lesser degree.
      In essence, Lin can do to the Clips what he did to the Mavs back in NY when they tried to trap him.

      Even last weeks' game, you could see the Clips' transition and overall defense wasn't that great and that Lin was getting past them for the most part.
      It was the Clip's great Offense and Rox's horrible defense that caused the route.

      Clips would have to use Barnes or Bledsoe to guard Lin to slow Lin down. Crawford has never been accused of being a defensive guard so it's Barnes or Bledsoe. Harden cannot be guarded by CP3 so Bledsoe/Barnes/Butler would also have to guard Harden. So who does CP3 guard? MMorris or Parsons? I also don't see Billups being able to really guard Harden or Lin except in 2 minute spurts. Bledsoe is great but not the 3 point spacer the Clips want on the floor all the time, so that reduces the Clip's offensive power having him play aside CP3.

      Basically, this Clipper team could be owned by a Lin led team if Lin were given free reign because Harden would just eat the Clips alive as an afterthought and everyone else would fall in line. Just like we all know Lin will generally dominate Steph Curry's teams (Curry is just too physically small/weak for Lin despite his awesome shot/skills).

      Now OKC, I just don't know if a Lin led Rox team would have the same effect. OKC is much more athletic and I don't think a free wheeling Lin would cause the same havoc as he would against the Clips, Knicks, Lakers, Spurs etc. Against OKC, the Rox almost need a balanced unpredictable effort where Harden/Lin take turns and where the team shifts its attack constantly to keep OKC guessing. I don't think shoving Lin down OKC's throat will work like it would against the Knicks etc..

      For me, OKC is the biggest challenge for the Rox. But knowing how the Rox play and how the coaches do things, I agree that I don't think they could beat even the Clips since they won't properly use Lin and force feed Harden the ball creating loss after loss against the Clips.

    9. Swing - I thoroughly enjoyed the GSW-MAV series.

      I question your proposition regarding the Clipz only because you have too many players on the Clipz that get super star calls. For Lin to be effective against Clipz, he will have to get really physical. And, refs will continue to give Lin phantom fouls when he's guarding CP3.

      OTOH, with ROX will lose against OKC only because of McHell's mishandling of Lin's minutes and under utlizing of the bench. That's how Rox lost to OKC during the 2nd and 1st game respectively. Plus, as I said in previous thread, Rox still lack that crucial second player that can play killer D. Shump on Rox will make a 10pt difference against OKC.

    10. Lin and the Rockets are going to score their 110 points, no matter who the opponent is.

      But on defense, the Rockets are abysmally bad because they have poor defenders AND no defensive plan.

      Lin does a good job in singlehandedly breaking up plays, but the Rockets other than Asik are D league bad on defense. The Rockets don't even pretend to contest people.

      All Lin can do is keep playing his way. No single player can solve the Rockets' defensive problems.

    11. Etane - I was assuming a fairly reffed game. I am assuming a Lin led offensive onslaught causes both havoc and the other team to press offensively so their game plan falls apart. I feel that's what Lin, at his best, can do to an opponent.

      Khuang, it sounds like you are putting this on Sampson and to a lesser extent the coaching staff. Does Morey get the blame for not getting enough rugged defenders on the roster? Or does he get a free pass for how well a low payroll team is overachieving?

      The Rockets don't have the personnel to trap effectively like the Heat, few do. With the Rockets so young, it is not an age thing, they just lack athletic talent.

      I think the Rockets should play one on one and trap very sporadically. Their soft doubles using PG's like Lin to drop down on post players to force a kick out 3 must be the saddest defensive scheme I have ever seen. Maybe if Lebron was the PG dropping down,he could get back out on the shooter, but otherwise it's a coaching fail against the top 5-6 teams.

      It's a coaching fail when I see Mchale or Sampson use Morris to guard Blake Griffin and then require the entire team to double and triple him in the 4th Quarter. They can't even select the right player on the team to guard the right guys much less employ a sound defensive strategy.

      The Rockets demoralize people on offense causing the opponent's game plan to fall completely apart. So the only way the Rockets beat elite teams is to kill on offense. And the only way the Rockets can beat the Clippers is for Lin to kill them leading the offensive charge.

      I feel Lin can do it on everyone except for Miami, OKC, and maybe 1 or 2 other teams.

    12. Swinger, I think that the Rockets staff has been correctly focused on offense up to this point in the season.

      Now it's time for defense. The Rockets have one of the best all time defensive players as a coach in Kevin McHale.

      I've been critical of McHale for having no defensive plan other than "two 7 foot shotblockers in the post", and even such a strategy does not work in today's NBA. I want to see some traps, some zones, some double and triple coverage, some COACHING.

      I'll give McHale the benefit of the doubt on defense till this point, as the youngest and cheapest team in the NBA has learned how to be offensively potent. But they need to tighten up defensively if they're to improve. Even with their minimum wage players, there is never an excuse for zero defense at the NBA level.

  2. HoChen: Harden says previous 2 blowout OKC losses just a matter of "bad timing" for Rockets, w/both games the 2nd of back2backs. Team not @ best.

    [Also keep in mind that on the day of that first game w OKC, the Rockets flew from Houston to Minnesota for Sasha McHale's funeral.]

    "It's like a playoff game. Esp 4us. Evry game's gonna count. We cant afford 2slip up&lose a couple in a row&think everythings good" - Harden.

      Rockets ready to put best foot forward against Oklahoma City in possible playoff preview

  3. The Rockets would be flirting with 50 wins this season if Jeremy were allowed to play his role. Harden's efficiency would be way up and he'd have more energy on defense.

    Anyway, I'm glad to see Jeremy progressing as an all-around player this season, even though McHale doesn't believe in him. It's only a matter of time before Jeremy makes him a believer -- thank you Les for a great contract to ensure that they start him when healthy.

    Among the Rockets' braintrust, only Les has praised Jeremy in a major way this season. When discussing Morey's performance, Les said, "He's made THREE terrific moves." Not just Harden. Not Harden and "two solid ones." But THREE terrific moves.

    1. Here's the Les quote I'm talking about:


      "The general manager is the one person in your organization you can really judge. He can make good moves or bad moves. This year, I think he’s made three terrific moves.”

    2. The three terrific moves are acquiring Lin, acquiring Asik and acquiring Harden. I would believe those are the moves instead of acquiring Anderson and Beverly.

  4. Trade Ideas Anyone?

    The Rockets seem like they're going to be pretty quiet this deadline and prepare for a major off-season move (Kevin Love? Aldridge? Josh Smith? Millsap/Jefferson?). And I agree with that approach. Still, I'd like to see a MINOR move at PF...

    I'm thinking Gustavo Ayon from Orlando -- he's a much better rebounder and finisher than Patterson and Morris but the Rockets could get him for cheap because Nicholson took his PF spot. Patterson for Ayon straight-up. Orlando could use a stretch 4.

    1. I actually like PPAT's role right now and his shooting is ok. He just stinks at setting screens for Lin because he wants to score himself so badly. Either he slips them or avoids absorbing contact/sets the screen at bad angles so Lin's defender isn't shielded off to create a mismatch. Seriously, Harden's screens are 100 times better than anything i see PPAT set on average.

      Asik sets solid screens for Lin creating the mismatch, but Asik does not roll well like Tyson Chandler and does not catch well or finish well like Chandler so oftentimes Lin/Asik cannot abuse the solid screen Asik sets. Asik doesn't make himself enough of a viable target for Lin/Asik to pick the defense apart.

      So even if they get Lamarcus Aldridge let's say, Asik is just going to clog up the paint or be a weak decoy standing near the 3 pt line...hence why the Suns use to play small ball with no true center on the court...Asik cannot shoot like Mark Gasol to stretch the floor...

      What the Rox could use is a high quality big man PF backup if not a quality PF starter. A Reggie Evans type, or those old school bench guys who come into the game and seem to always have a more positive effect on the game than the starter. Morris is really more of a SF who has been screwed into playing PF on this team.

    2. Those are good points. Aldridge has a great mid-range J though. And I think Jeremy would be more than happy to stay out of the paint and dump it into LMA for easy buckets/assists. Save his body, too!

      P-Pat is playing better offensively of late, but his rebounding is still painful (10% rate; Ayon = 14%)). So many close games are lost when the other teams gets a second-chance bucket on an offensive board. Jeremy plays elite D for 22 seconds and then P-Pat or Morris doesn't box out!

      Love is probably the ideal PF for the Rockets -- elite rebounding and outside shooting. He seems like a total punk, though, which worries me.

    3. no - morris is the exact same size as patterson, both 6-9 and 235.

    4. LMA would be a definite upgrade over PPat. And he expressed interest to join Houston along with Dwight.

      Isn't Love terrible at defense plus "me-first" attitude?

      I think Rockets will sit out this trade deadline for major trade and pursue Howard/JSmith after the season based on some NBA rumors.

    5. you may argue that morris can play sf like chandler, but he's not as quick as chandler. traditionally, at a height of 6-9, a player is typically a pf. nowadays, even lebron (6-8 250), durant (6-9 235), plays sf. so it depends what players you have on the team.

    6. I am just using my own subjective eye test. Morris looks and plays like a SF to me...he's more Carmelo than Lebron...

      PPAT has to be one of the softest rebounders in the NBA as a starting POWER forward. If PPAT was more willing to do the dirty work, the Rockets would be a lot better off. I'd trade Udonis Haslem for PPAT & Morris and a 1st round pick in a heartbeat and I know Haslem is already over the hill.

    7. I am in favor of Rockets either getting Aldridge because he has length and he can shoot. I know the Rockets certainly don't need any more offense, but they can sure use rebounds and block shots. Morris to me play too soft and PPat hardly goes inside to post up. His only one post up move is the hook shot close to the basket. Don't know what they have to give up to acquire an Aldridge or a Milsap. Morey seems to stand pat and says the Rockets are fine right now and they will go after bigger players during free agency.

  5. On a lighter note, I blogged on why Coach McHale treats Lin like "a young kid" and how to fix it.

    "Searching for Jeremy Lin's F E A R S O M E look"

    Enjoy :D
    And if you have a better way to make Jeremy instill fear, just share!

    1. Haha! That was pretty good. Especially the "dragon blood."

      Maybe Jeremy should get a Harvard tattoo...a temporary rub-on one.

    2. Lin can inadvertently "pass" the ball into McHell's face in a real game.

    3. thx :)

      the "dragon blood" also reminds me of Mushu the dragon from Mulan

      yeah, add some math equation on the Harvard tattoo to strike some fear

    4. Psalm, I am impressed!you make it?

    5. well, I "borrowed" the pictures so I provided the links.

      But yeah, even if it's somewhat for fun, I do think there is some truth that Asian male/females are "underestimated" in the US because they look too youthful!

      I heard and read many stories about this in the US workplace.

    6. one time, when I was shopping at whole food market, a weird American dude came over and ask me, "excuse me, can I just ask you how old are you? not offense, just curious." then I told him my age and he reply " no way! I am guessing you like 19, but anyway, thanks, have a good day" and walk away! and left me there with a wonder!

    7. Nicely done psalm :)

      Im wondering - have you seen Harden as a teenager yet? How about Harden with several days of beard growth?

      Here are the pictures from your blog:

      Can you squeeze in these two pics as http://www.allmystery.de/i/t04b8c9_Jaleel-White2540www252Ctfanews.blogspot..jpg

    8. This comment has been removed by the author.

    9. Psalm, that was quite cool. You need to work in the goggles

    10. ok, I worked in pics by via, willydilly and jlinfan4ever

      Mr. "Beat the Punk", Mr. Goggle and Urkel-Jaleel White-Harden look

      The more the merrier :D

    11. lydia, that's so funny and good at the same time :D

      My wife got the same experience being stopped by stranger , plus getting asked to show her ID to buy cocktails and wine.

    12. This comment has been removed by the author.

    13. @psalm~

      :D The piece was lovely in the original. [LOVE the "What, No Hair?" pic haha]
      Now you have an audience-participation thing goin on!

      Here another pic you might like [for future post] :)

    14. Will Harden ever shave his beard?

    15. thanks @via .. that picture with McHale is priceless :} haha

      @willy, here is a pretty good 6-yr timeline of Harden's beard from college to NBA.

    16. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. anyone posted this before (posted by jeremylinohgodsohot on Tumblr)

    Lin’s foundation coverage & some behind the scene clips

    1. it looks cool to be a warrior fan! they celebrate your Asians heritage with you together! that's impressed to me!

    2. Hands-on [and sincere] with his foundation...

    3. Gee, thought there was a rockets game tonight..got fooled by this thread..oh well, i can use extra hours of sleep..

      Thanks for this post.i felt like i attended the foundation launch.

    4. Hehe I think this was used as a spillover thread for the previous thread, which was a spillover for the previous which...You get the idea :D

  7. I've been banned from clutchfans because I posted below on topic where have all the players Houston loves McFail

    Lin does not any love for Mcfail.
    Lin not invited Mcfail to your party
    Mcfail removed Lin from All-Star Game, Always hurting Lin.
    Mcfail is a big shit

  8. I want to see D-Mo with more PT

      NBA: ROOKIE BACKPACK - English translation [fydonatasmotiejunas]

      DMo: Jeremy Lin is incredibly positive, a good friend of him. It has a little bit hard, because wherever we go, we all recognize it is now the only Asian man in the NBA. When I came back from the D-League, JLin showed me a lot of support, came into the room, when I was training, even if it was free. He talked about his stint in the NBDL and helped not to lose faith in yourself.

  9. Replies
    1. If Lin could maintain a 40% or higher percentage for 3's in the second half of the season that would be amazing.

    2. I think 35% - 38% is more realistic and still really good.

    3. according to Insider Hoops:

      InsideHoops.com ‏@InsideHoops
      Jeremy Lin has stepped up these past 10 games: 15.4 ppg, 6.8 apg on 48 percent shooting. #Rockets

      hopefully he'll continue this and improve more

    4. jlinfan4ever, yes, you're right. But you never know. Maybe he can pull it off. Who knows!

    5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. Chris Broussard ‏@Chris_Broussard
    Sources: Knicks showing strong interest in Phx's Jermaine O'Neal...Phx also talking w/Toronto about moving Sebastian Telfair

    Chris Broussard ‏@Chris_Broussard
    Sources say Boston willing to trade injured PG Rajon Rondo in right deal. Wizards looking to move Jordan Crawford.

    Chris Broussard ‏@Chris_Broussard
    Phoenix has talked with ATL about Josh Smith, but deal is very inlikely, sources say.

    Chris Broussard ‏@Chris_Broussard
    Other players who are on trade market, sources say: Brooklyn's Humphries, Philly's E Turner, Charlotte's Ben Gordon & Gerald Henderson.....

    Chris Broussard ‏@Chris_Broussard
    (con't) Bulls' Hamilton, Dallas' Kaman, Denver's Mozgov, Indy's Gerald Green, Bucks' Mbah a Moute, Monte Ellis, OKC's Eric Maynor.......

    Chris Broussard ‏@Chris_Broussard
    (con't) Spurs' DeJuan Blair, Toronto's Bargnani, Utah's Jefferson & Millsap...

    1. Only if KG would waive his no-trade clause and come to Houston that will be awesome.

    2. wow indeed about Rondo. Now I definitely feel NBA is just a business (hey, didn't they just promote "NBA cares" during ASG?)

    3. I think the NBA cares is the global outreach initiative.

    4. I can see it now:

      JLin + TD for Rondo

      JLin wearing Celtic green?!

    5. Lin won't EVER go to Boston....the corporations, sponsors, and people/fans who pay money to sit in the TD Garden Center or whatever that thing is called now don't want to watch an Asian looking kid man their team.

      Kenoshi, I take it you have never been to Boston before, and if you have, never been much outside of Cambridge. The Boston area at large has learned to slowly accept black players nowadays otherwise they'd be the worst team in the league. But Lin? They'd rather give Chris Herren a shot at redemption pushing 40 years of age today than give Lin the reigns.

    6. Perhaps the Rockets can make a play for Mr. Kardashian. I seen him play against the Knicks last year and he was able to get alot of rebounds and play above the rim as well. He could be a cheaper option than an Aldridge or a Milsap.

  11. more...

    Chris Broussard ‏@Chris_Broussard
    Bucks willing to move Ellis bc he turned down Milwaukee's 2-yr contract extension. Ellis wanted to play out the season.

    Chris Broussard ‏@Chris_Broussard
    And of course, Orlando's Redick, along with Minny's Derrick Williams are available

    1. You know Monta would pair up with Harden just great...

    2. Monta is 41/177 (23%) on 3s. [No one has ever shot worse with at least that many attempts in NBA history.] Can dribble penetrate, collapse defenses, and consistently create his own shot. But loves taking shots he can't hit with any consistency.

  12. I go into second half of the season with tempered expectation for Lin. I don't see McHale going anywhere - so many people have the blinders on because of his reputation as a player and he will continue to Lin sparingly.
    So I expect Lin to sit inexplicably for long stretches if the game even when he is playing well and get singled out for going with his natural tendency as a homerun hitter, etc.
    On a positive note, Lin will have to improve his game and price himself to be a better shooter. I will chuck this year as his rookie season and expect more playing time and much importantly, respect next season.

    1. Solidz, sadly it's only because we have paid money to sit at the games in person and seen things on that bench that they do not show on tv or wish to talk about that we are in agreement while many others are oblivious.

      However, I believe Lin is the real deal and he will overcome and I think you do too. Probably not this year but eventually. Also, I think we will still get glimpses of brilliance here and there from Lin even this year. I think he will really come back next year with an improved shot and from next year on he will be an even tougher cover.

      Lin will get the last laugh, don't worry. Either he walks 2 seasons from now to a new team, or Mchale is gone or Lin's role will have greatly changed. He will be fine.

    2. Yeah, good point. But my concern is Lin wasting important early years under a coach who places his ceiling low and really goes out of his way to subdue his play. There is no question in anyone's mind that Lin can play in the NBA. His challenge is can he be an everyday allstar player? I think McHale envisions him to be a serviceable pg who limits his mistakes, not a floor general who runs plays.
      I guess some of us can be impatient. I hope the second half of season brings us less frustration.

    3. The problem is that Mchale cannot subdue Lin's play :) That's why Lin is being chewed out so badly. Lin is forcing his way down Mchale's throat about as much as Mchale is doing to Lin.

      The real problem if you want to call it that is that you have Harden. Each team only really needs and can utilize 1 star guard. You hardly ever have 2 guards shine in today's NBA at the same time because most teams don't score enough points like in the 80's. There's are enough possessions per game to get stats and the Rockets actually lead in PPG as a team.

      Lin will just be like Nash was in Dallas, ordinary for the most part but show a few glimpses. It's the system, not the player.

      Look at Dwill, he hates being in Brooklyn now that he isn't the man and that he can't dominate the ball 100% of the time. Lopez is the man and the coaches give Johnson the ball in the clutch, not Dwill. Dwill complains about his ankles, no doubt it's true, but he is being Jlin'd in Brooklyn just as Nash is Jlin'd in Lakertown.

    4. Good stuff swinglinezigzag:
      "The real problem if you want to call it that is that you have Harden. Each team only really needs and can utilize 1 star guard. You hardly ever have 2 guards shine in today's NBA at the same time."

    5. Lin just needs to be like Asik and curse at him in Chinese, but knowing Lin and how good of a Christian he is, he won't do it. He just needs to play his game, ignore McHale's theatrics and assert himself with authority instead of playing 2nd fiddle. Lin still thinks he isn't deserving of being in the ASG and thus his mentality is that he isn't deserving of PG minutes. In order to change that thinking he needs to make up his mind and say to himself that he belongs out there and he is important to the Rocket's success and not defer to Harden and thinking he is the main reason for the Rocket's success thus far.

    6. In one of the posts above, it states that Lin is having a stellar 10 game stretch where he's averaging 15ppg. Well, that's the good news. The bad news is that he's averaging 10pts in the first quarter then 5 pts during the final 3 quarters. His assist stats are similar.

      What's different between 1st quarter and the rest of the game? Well, I don't want to beat a dead horse with further speculations. At least not right now. I need my coffee.

  13. Volvo Cars US ‏@volvocarsus
    Help support the @jlinfoundation & youth development by bidding on a 2013 #Volvo XC60: http://bit.ly/W2yjYs #MakingADifference @JLin7
    6:05 p.m. - Feb 19, 2013

  14. Seems kind of unwarranted the criticism of McHale when Jeremy has lost some of his offensive rhythm this season. I think McHale's substitution tactics have been spot-on, the Rockets b-team generally do very well and score important points down stretches of the game when the starters look flagging and need rest.

    Where was Jeremy in the last game against the Clippers? There was no Harden, and McHale took the opportunity to experiment and take stock of how his players were performing. With that much freedom you would think Jeremy had every license to run buck wild.

    That being said I totally expect even better things from JLin and the team for the rest of the season, and imo they should aim to top the Grizzlies, Warriors, and Jazz for fifth seed, just below the Nuggets.

    1. This is either a fake post from someone who is not Korean or even Asian, or you failed to watch the Clipper game from beginning to end for yourself.

      I have a feeling the op has a way of finding these things out :P

    2. @Swing similar thought like you!

    3. I didn't know McHale is Korean.

      Top Grizzlies for 5th seed...Hahahaha...

      Obvious flamebait y'all, skip this one :)

    4. ???

      I saw nothing at all inflammatory about this post. I've voiced several of these opinions of my own. I thought this was a GOOD post!

      From a strictly scoring standpoint, McHale indeed has done well with substitutions. Where I disagree with McHale's usage of Lin is that McHale strangely doesn't have a feel for Lin's overwhelming impact on team defense. McHale often pulls Lin right before Lin is going to deliver a defensive deathblow to the opponent, and games would be won much easier if McHale simply rode Lin a little more in the first and 3rd quarters.

      In the Clippers game, McHale's motion system was shut down by a top NBA team. That's when a guy like Lin should be allowed to be "Kobe Lin" and freelance creatively against packed in defenses. McHale, like Phil Jackson and other motion offense coaches, will learn the hard way that the NBA is an isolation league where individual talent of Lin's caliber always rules in the end.

      The Rockets will try to win as many games as they can. As far as I'm concerned, the season has already been a grand success. If McHale suddenly starts coaching defense and letting Lin freelance when the motion system gets shut down by tough NBA defensive rotations, then the Rockets would have a chance to win close to 50 games!

    5. I wouldn't call subbing Delfino out with Beverley then moving Lin to the 2 good substitution. Oh here's the best part: Playing Morris, known defensive liability with no post moves for 28 minutes as Patterson's sub instead of DMo...Brilliant substitution.

      Of course, if Korean McHale would have watched the game instead of spouting off boxscores he'd understand this. Obvious troll is obvious.

      Clippers didn't even take Rox serious, they were toying with Rox for 4 quarters. Minus primary scoring option and McHale misusing Lin after Delfino gone cold they knew this game was a cakewalk.

      But then again Korean McHale would tell us using Harden/Parsons for 40+ minutes per game, and driving high pace using 8-9 people on their rotation until recently, is just a brilliant idea on McHale's part too. Don't even get me started about playing half the roster in wrong roles.

      No, criticism of McHale is warranted.

    6. man you guys say that about anyone that disagrees with you or see things differently then you.

      i do see some issues with mchale's substitutions but those are in-game decisions and hindsight is always 20/20. but, what i find troubling is his insistence on capping jeremy's potential (or at least it seems in his public statements). i'll give him the benefit of doubt and say that his public statements are meant to protect jeremy by keeping expectations at a manageable level rather than at linsanity level.

      i don't see anything wrong with him wanting jeremy to play a different way. it's his team and his system. if he wants jeremy to be less linsanity so be it. jeremy can always use the next three years to work on his game even more and go somewhere else if he doesn't like being in this system.

      regarding clippers game - jeremy was hurt after that big fall in the first half and wasn't the same afterwards. not a fair game to judge lin's game one way or another.

    7. Say what? Troll?

      Saying criticism for McHale is and I quote, UNWARRANTED...When countless threads have already beat this subject to death, that's not someone trolling for response?

      I guess he's accomplished what he set out to do, this thread is already way longer than it should be, I'm just gunna stop here and let it die, argue away all you guys want.

    8. oh and i don't see anything wrong with playing lin at the two. in this system, the 2 is the primary scoring option (like harden) and lin, for all intent and purposes, is a combo guard that played the 2 in college and played it quite well. so it's a way of getting scoring contributions from lin while harden sits and keep the scoring going.

      however, it didn't quite work out that way in the clippers game since his shooting hand was injured.

    9. and.. if you watched the clips game, you would've also noticed that whoever was playing the 1 wasn't playing it well from a spacing standpoint. after passing the ball off to lin, bev was just standing there rather than move away from the ball to give lin space to operate - kinda like what we like to call moving lin to the corner when harden has the ball. spacing was just horrible when someone else plays the 1.

    10. @Kenoshi +1111111111

      "Where was Jeremy in the last game against the Clippers?"

      in the refrigerator, I guess!

    11. fighton, I think McHale's idea of multi-PG system is great in concept but very flawed in implementation because they don't have the right personnels for it resulting in many TOs.

      The idea is great because it's a very free-flowing system where opposing teams don't know what plays HOU will run. Parsons admitted that he doesn't even know what they're doing.

      Everything is precedented by 3PT shooting. If it works, great. There will be so much spacing that Parsons, Harden, Delfino and Lin can attack the basket.

      But if it doesn't work, it is within the coaches' responsibility to have a backup plan and not let Parsons/Delfino/Harden make consecutive TOs. (i.e. I count 3 consecutive possessions with 3 TOs from Parsons, Delfino, another guy ) which killed any offensive flow.

      Coaches can't be too rigid with the system if they want to win the game.

      My 2 points of contention are:
      1. Don't be stubborn to stick with multi-PG system/3-ball if it doesn't work. Let Lin try to dribble longer to get any PnR going.
      2. Don't play Harden and Parsons for 38-40min/game risking injuries. Let Lin play more minutes as the traditional PG in the beginning of 2Q to develop the backup plan.

      Like I said, this is a "flawed system" with the current personnel. It can work but it needs some backup plan when 3PT shooting doesn't work and there are too many TOs (i.e. Clippers game had 5-24 3PT shooting)

      So I cannot say the coaches had done a wonderful job to utilize the personnel. The coaching grade is only B- from me. If Harden gets run down with injury from playing too many minutes, I'll change it to F.

    12. Forget Houston's #1 ranked offense that has no trouble scoring especially when Lin takes the game into his own hands.

      Defensively, Houston is the worst team in the NBA!

      Jeremy Lin has played stellar defense all season, being a one man wrecking crew who actually has about the same defensive impact as a healthy Dwight Howard. But not even Lin can play defense on all 5 opponents on an NBA court by himself.

      Omer Asik is the only semiwilling defender, and his defensive reputation is inflated by playing next to Lin. Without Lin, Asik would be called a "bust" on defense.

      Maybe McHale screams at Lin for bad defense, but McHale's gotta start telling his guys to at least PRETEND to play defense. I'm so sick of SCRUBS like Patrick Beverley getting piroutted around the instant an opposing pick comes onto his side of the court!

    13. Psalm - i agree with what you're saying and i see it too. i agree with mchale does have issues and it's frustrating to watch the team self destruct at times when everyone tries to create for themselves.

      my post was mainly to address those of us here that are quick to pull the "troll/not lin fan" card whenever a different opinion comes up. it gets annoying and just grates on me, that's all.

      but yeah, some of the things that mchale does leave much to be desired.

      you know, i wish someone has the december utah game taped somewhere because after that game, kelvin sampson said it was one of the lin's best games in terms of decision making. he made all the right decisions in that game. i'd like to go back to that game and see what he did differently. i think it would give us a clue as to what is expected of him in this offense.

    14. I got your point, fighton.

      It's better to address the issue raised by the OP about 'where Lin was in the Clippers game' rather than focusing on the troll. The main issue was that Lin was not given free reign to make plays like he did in the 38-pt Spurs game (in which his 3PT shooting was on). Plus his wrist injury in 1st half.

      But I also sense the 'tiredness' of others here of addressing the same issue. Perhaps it's better not to respond when we're tired of rehashing the same issue :)

    15. fighton1999, the Houston coaches expect Lin to play a very simple fast paced drive and dish game within the freeflow motion offense.

      In theory, this sounds great. Lin is to dribble the ball upcourt, find the open man, or make a quick move to score. THAT'S ALL.

      However, Lin cannot play that simple game. Opponents are playing Lin with the "Jordan Rules" that dictate that any defender within Lin's vicinity is to abandon their man and shut Lin down. Lin is actually defended HARDER than Michael Jordan was because Jordan played in the illegal defense era.

      So due to the intensity and sophistication of NBA help defenses, Lin cannot make those simple moves. He often has to stall, probe, fake, feint, explode, and do other moves that the Houston coaches think are SELFISH BALLHOGGING moves that Lin's pulling. In reality, Lin is the most unselfish player in the NBA and pulls those moves simply to get into position to make those simple plays!

      Nobody else on the Rockets, not even James Harden, is defended as hard as Lin is. That's because Lin not only will beat people with shots and passes, he'll also siphon defenses away from other players. At all times opponents are trying to keep the ball away from Lin while playing token defense on the other Rockets.

      Against teams like Utah that cannot stop Lin off the dribble, Lin looks good to the coaches because he can play the motion game to their satisfaction. What the coaches don't realize is that in the NBA, the best defenses can EASILY stop any motion scheme. Opponents key in on Lin because he's the only Rockets player (not even Harden) who can go one on three and BREAK a tight antimotion zone.

      So there you have it. When Lin can make the simple plays, the coaches love him. When Lin's trying to bust a triple team because all the passing and driving lanes are completely closed, that's when coaches get mad at Lin. That's POOR coaching, though.

    16. You explained it very well, KHuang.

      I see the same thing that Lin tries to do but coaches hate because they perceive it as 'sticky' ball movement.

      How many times we saw Lin passing to other Rockets players for easy dunks and wide-open shots after Lin probed the defense who committed to him? Too many times. He sees the court so well and makes the right decision on when to pass or to score. If nothing is there, he'll bring the ball out and reset or give to Harden.

      But this 'dribble penetration' by Lin takes time and is perceived by the coaches as 'sticky' ball movement so he gets berated.

      Coaches want the ball to zip around and shoot at the 1st available open shot but that's not necessarily the best shot. I'm hoping coaches will learn to trust Lin to make decisions when losses mount against good teams.

      Only time will tell if coaches will adjust or be stubborn with the system until it's proven ineffective against good teams.

    17. Lin has become the exact kind of SUPERSTAH that his coaches and he himself feared becoming!

      By virtue of collapsing defenses, Lin has been inadvertently forced to become a BALLHOGGING ME FIRST ISO SCORER that drives coaches crazy with his ball holding and rock pounding!

      As frustrated as we are with Houston's motion mania coaches, they are even more frustrated with Lin than we are! They perceive Lin as wilfully disobeying their coaching, yet Lin makes great plays on offense and especially DEFENSE where Lin is the only Rocket who even cares about defense. So the coaches can't even bench Lin because leads shrivel up, so they resort to yelling and banging around with Lin's 30 mpg!

      I wish I could sit down with the Houston coaches and point out on video where Lin is forced to be ISO HOG just because the traps are too strong. I think I could even convince them that in the purest basketball sense, Lin is not actually breaking their offense but RUNNING IT TO NBA PERFECTION!!!

    18. I don't get it. Lin holds onto the ball because he's double and tripled team more often than Jordan?

    19. My understanding of what KH said is Lin holds the ball longer to try to use his quickness to get by his man to force the help defense (double-team/triple-team) to come. Then he can easily find Asik or open 3PT shooters.

      If the help defense doesn't come or too late, he can easily score with layups.

      This is very similar with Harden's penetration in which Harden is better in finishing or drawing fouls.

      But Lin is better in Harden in other playmaking with his no-look passes because he can use misdirection and the threat to penetrate to get Asik and PPat's defenders out of position. In this sense, Lin is a better playmaker than Harden but this takes more time so coaches don't like this 'sticky' playmaking.

    20. Thanks psalm. Now it makes sense. I kinda got lost with the jordan and motion descriptions. But, Jeremy ball is Jeremy ball. Played the same way last year. Playing the same way this year when he can.

  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

  16. Replies
    1. Good commentary!

      Looks like Lin is winning more people over his comment of wanting to be an All-Star based on his performance.

      And the great thing is it's not a PR move, just Lin being himself.

    2. Not a soul in this planet? Really B/R?

  17. In other news, Portland 84, Suns 94...5 minutes left.

    Here's to hoping one more in the L column for Portland :D

    1. Was hoping GSW beat Jazz...But alas GSW at L6...Rox now 2 games behind.

    2. I meant 98-94...Hoping Suns pull this one off, they've been terrible 4Q :/

    3. when I see the score it was 90-80 with 7:24 minute left. 10pts lead seems possible to catch! Hope PHX get it!

    4. Dragic makes 2 clutch FTs and its 102 - 98 with 13 seconds left. Refs so calling on Blazers favor this quarter tho.

    5. Lillard 3 miss, Batum 3 air ball...Suns take it.

      For some reason Blazers losing makes me happy...They are dead even with Lakers.

      Now we just need to overtake Jazz to get out of the 8th seed drama.

    6. Dragic's boxscore:

      16pts 5/13 FG% 18AST 2STL 5TO 5PF

      Eighteen assists...I don't ever remember Lin with that many assists...Prove me wrong someone...

    7. This comment has been removed by the author.

    8. wow, Dragic had 16pts/18asts/5TOs! Quite impressive winning in POR.

      Looks like someone was allowed to play PG. Go Suns for helping the Rockets!

      GSW is also spiraling out losing to the Jazz.

    9. Dragic's boxscore is gonna be the bullets for his fans to diss Jeremy for his boxscore so far with the Rox barring the fact Jeremy isn't even playing PG half of the time as Dragic does.

    10. @Kenoshi,
      JLin with Knicks, had around 13-14 assists, if I'm not mistaken

    11. Lakers is the bigger threat for the 8th place, not Portland. All it takes is another Houston losing streak which this inexperience team is unfortunately capable off.

    12. Maybe not as impressive as the game against the Mavs... Game against Cavaliers, with all the star players back, on 2/29/12 - 19 pts, 13 assists, 5 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 TO and the team cut a 17 point lead to win the game 120 to 103.

      Somewhat ironically, if I recall correctly, JLin compared Dragic's and his styles of play as being similar, or something like that.

    13. That Cavs game:
      JLin +13, Kyrie, a game worst -19.

      "Somewhat ironically, if I recall correctly, JLin compared Dragic's and his styles of play as being similar..."

    14. Don't give a damn about Dragic (retarded HOU fans comparing him and Lin ad nauseum has left a bitter taste in my mouth), glad PHX be a Portland though.

    15. Exactly one year ago, I was getting flamed here by all sorts of people for daring to claim that Jeremy Lin was not only more athletic than Goran Dragic but was also more impactful on winning and losing.

      Now that actual NBA games have been played, Dragic's stat line is very close to Lin's even though Lin plays less minutes and has far usage. Plus Lin's team is less talented than Dragic's more expensive Suns team.

      Most NBA fans and franchises still insist that Goran Dragic is vastly superior to an Asian like Lin who's "not supposed" to be in the NBA, but gimme Lin over Dragic any day of the week.

      Dragic is OK, but he's no Jeremy Lin by a longshot.

    16. I can see the Rockets overtaking the Warriors in the standings, after a hot streak the Warriors have cooled off considerably.
      However the Utah Jazz are another story, even with a lack of depth at guards, they are deep up front with Milsap, Jefferson, Favors, and Kanter.

    17. Or GSW can pull a Rox and regroup, just as I think Blazers will.

      It ain't over till the fat lady sings, which means Rockets have no room for error here, they don't exactly have a solid hold to the playoffs by hanging on to 8th seed. IMO they're going to need to win at least 70% of their games to make the playoffs, it takes one small winning streak from Lakers or Blazers to bump them off.

      Which means McHale needs to pull his head out of his behind and stop misusing half his lineup, and actually use the rest of his lineup.

  18. Jubilee Project 10-day summer fellowship in Orange County, CA for filmmakers & creatives June 16th-25th.
    Jubilee Project will select between 6-12 young aspiring filmmakers [ages 18+] to live in a community house together, work & create impactful films together. Applications are due March 25th, 2013.

    First Half NBA Regular Season 2012-2013

    1. via, nice video once again showing Lin's #1 strength is his speed to attack the rim. 3PT shooting is coming along nicely too.

      wilc, nice PG-13 bromance video with only two exceptions with the shoulder squeeze during the photoshoot and Lin tucking in (or whatever he's doing to Parsons' pants) :)

      It always cracks me up watching the reaction of guys behind Parsons.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  20. Dwain Price ‏@DwainPrice
    Of the #Rockets' final 27 games, 15 of them are against teams with a losing record. #playoffs
    1:49 a.m. - Feb 20, 2013

    Ho Chen: Also, 15 at home.

  21. Adrian Wojnarowski ‏@WojYahooNBA
    Houston's showing a willingness to move rookie Terrence Jones for a 1st-round pick, sources tell Y! Rockets are deep at forward spot.
    2:02 a.m. - Feb 20, 2013

    1. "Among the other power forwards, Royce White has no value and Marcus Morris and Patrick Patterson are more established commodities, but Motiejunas and Jones' values seem to be pretty similar.

      Given Jones' relative struggles in the D-League, especially of late, the fact that the Rockets would value Motiejunas more highly makes sense."

  22. Replies
    1. JLin :

      "Went from just trying to hold on to my career, not knowing if my next day would be my last in the NBA, to this. A lot has come at once, and I’m thankful for it all. It’s been a crazy and very enjoyable ride."

  23. wow it's kinda quiet now about trades. I have to agree with Hiren Joshi -

    Hiren Joshi ‏@htown747
    So nothing really happens until Josh Smith is moved?

  24. This article is a good read: James Harden Importance With Rockets

    Some interesting notes, Harden considers the Rockets his team and is the leader of the team. McHale thinks Harden is an old school type of bball player who can't be guarded and Rockets want to build team around Harden.

    1. (extracted from @JLy's link)

      Lin on playing with Harden

      "We started off really unsure," Lin says. "We didn't know much about each other's games, but we're starting to grow more now and it's starting to become easier. We're jelling and we're kind of clicking off each other. ... It's been great for us. ... He's a really good person."

      Harden on Linsanity

      "I don't judge people if I haven't met them or been around them," Harden says. "He's just chill; he's just like me. Obviously we love basketball, and we love to have fun and enjoy ourselves. We're real humble, and we're just chill."

      McHale on Harden's game

      "James is a little bit more of an old-school type perimeter guy, a big strong guy who would've been able to play when there was hand-checking and all the holding and grabbing," he said. "He's just strong, just old-school strong — a big 6-4, 6-5, 220-pound guy who can throw his body around."

      Harden on Rox team chemistry

      "When I got drafted to Oklahoma City, we were all young. We hung out, we went to the movies, just did stuff together. It's a similar situation as far as hanging out off the court a lot. That's what makes it more comfortable. That's why we're playing so well, because that chemistry is building so fast."

      Harden's vision for his role with rox

      "I felt kind of hurt and disappointed leaving those guys, leaving something special, especially being around Kevin and Russell all summer after (the) Finals (with the Olympic gold medal-winning Team USA)," Harden says. "Probably a month after the trade, I started getting used to it and started figuring it out that this is my team now, and this is what I have to do. I have to be a leader now. I have a new role."

      "It's all happened so fast, but I'm just humble about it and trying to stay on path and just focus on what I can do and what's got me here," Harden said. "That's my legacy, having my own organization and starting basically from scratch and going from not making the playoffs for a few years to making the playoffs and going from there; just getting better. ... I'm on the right path."


      Now to get that win against his old team: Avenge list

    2. Loved the developing chemistry between Lin and Harden!
      Harden cited chill, love basketball and being humble as their common denominators.

      It might take some time to figure out how to play together but I believe these chill and humble guys can do it. Even LeBron, DWade and Bosh took more than 1 season to jell.

      Now we just need to get the coaches to shape up with their unbalanced usage and rigid 3-ball system...

    3. James Harden is an excellent secondary offensive threat on the Rockets.

      The really deadly guy, though, is Lin.

      Opponents double and triple Lin because he'll shred any single defender while also setting up all other teammates for easy shots.

      Right now, Lin is receiving triple coverage even WITHOUT the ball. We've all seen James Harden stroll by two or three flatfooted defenders for a layup as those defenders are fixated on Jeremy Lin on the other side of the court.

      If Michael Jordan in his prime was turned into a low usage player like Lin, Jordan would STILL BE JORDAN and would still have to be defended like Jordan. Same with Lin camping out in the corner doing his gravitational effect of siphoning defenders away from Harden and the other Rockets teammates.

  25. Howard Chen ‏@ho_chenCSN
    Kendrick Perkins sprained his knee yesterday during practice, is out for tonight's game v Rockets. #OKCThunder #RedNation

    Jonathan Feigen ‏@Jonathan_Feigen
    Perkins has been tied to trade rumors before and since hurting the knee at practice on Tuesday. He was unavailable to the media today.

    Darnell Mayberry ‏@DarnellMayberry
    Hasheem Thabeet will start in place of Perkins tonight.
    12:21 p.m. - Feb 20, 2013

  26. McHale on trades: ‘We’re not doing anything’

    Jonathan Feigen ‏@Jonathan_Feigen
    Rockets want to protect summer cap flexibility, have few expendable long-term contracts to deal to take on contracts past this season.
    11:32 a.m. - Feb 20, 2013

  27. ESPN Insider: Is Josh Smith a max player?
    Trade scenarios abound, but is Smith worth the money he wants?
    By Bradford Doolittle | ESPN Insider

    With the league returning to post-All-Star business, the Josh Smith trade whispers turned into a shout on Monday. Just a month ago, Smith was suspended for one game by theAtlanta Hawks for a practice incident that stemmed from his frustration over a losing streak. Now it seems a near-certainty that Smith will be traded by Thursday's deadline, ending his 8½-year career in Atlanta and bringing to fruition rumors that have hounded him for years.

    Maxed out?
    Cumulative WARP from 2009 to 2013

    1. LeBron James 136
    2. Chris Paul 105
    3. Dwight Howard 95
    4. Dwyane Wade 89
    5. Kevin Durant 76
    6. Kobe Bryant 74
    7. Tim Duncan 72
    8. Deron Williams 64
    9. Jason Kidd 64
    10. Pau Gasol 61
    11. Manu Ginobili 60
    12. Josh Smith 59
    13. Paul Pierce 59
    14. Steve Nash 59
    15. Dirk Nowitzki 56

    Smith has long been one of the NBA's mercurial talents, capable of keeping a team afloat or sinking it -- sometimes in the same game. He once went an entire season without making a 3-point shot, going 0-for-7 in 2009-10. That was a good thing, as he shot better than 50 percent from the field and posted what was then a career-best PER of 21.0. This season, he's on pace to take a career-high 175 3-pointers even though he still shoots less than the league average from deep. What do you do with a guy like that?

    Right now, it feels as if every team in the league is in pursuit of Smith. The Washington Wizardsreportedly are willing to give up anyone but John Wall, Bradley Beal or Nene. The Brooklyn Netsmay be dangling Kris Humphries and MarShon Brooks. The Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericksmay be in play. The Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics have been mentioned frequently as possible destinations in recent days. TheHouston Rockets have been suggested and make a lot of sense, but may wait to pursue Smith this summer. Suffice to say, Smith should not get too specific with his travel plans in the coming days.

    Hawks general manager Danny Ferry has been clearing away salary ever since he took over in Atlanta, beginning with the miraculous trick of unloading Joe Johnson's contract. If Smith is traded, Ferry potentially could add a max player to a team with Al Horford, a legit big-three talent on a playoff roster who has three years and a reasonable $12 million left on his deal. As it stands, if Ferry declined all options, failed to make qualifying offers and renounced his free agents, the only obligations on his books beyond this season would be Horford and Louis Williams. That's some serious flexibility.

    It's an oversimplification to say this, but close to the truth: A team in today's NBA can't win a championship if it gives a max contract to a non-championship player. That doesn't necessarily affect a team trying to acquire Smith this week. If you can work him into your existing pay structure without destroying your rotation or chemistry, a motivated Smith would make a fabulous final piece for a title-worthy roster. Then you can let him go chase his max deal in July, and perhaps keep him around if the market doesn't yield such an arrangement.

    The problem is, a number of the teams attached to Smith in the rumor mill wouldn't be acquiring him as a finishing piece -- they would be viewing him as a franchise cornerstone, around which a championship roster could be constructed. Is Smith that kind of player?

    1. Assuming the deadline market isn't going to yield a franchise talent to take the place of Smith -- a pretty safe assumption -- Ferry will be seeking rookie contracts, draft picks and expiring deals in return. Let's take each of Smith's potential landing spots separately, because even a quick glance seemingly leaves some of these teams out of the running:

      Milwaukee Bucks
      Milwaukee could package the expiring deals of Samuel Dalembert and Beno Udrih to make a trade work cap-wise. As for a sweetener, the Bucks have a surplus of athletic young bigs in John Henson, Larry Sanders and Ekpe Udoh, as well as their full collection of future first-rounders. You have to assume that Milwaukee would prefer to swap Monta Ellis for Smith, but Ferry should be concerned about Ellis' player option for 2013-14. The big question here: Would Smith even consider re-signing with the Bucks during the summer?

      Boston Celtics
      Boston is a tough team to read right now. Danny Ainge has a hard-capped payroll, which will prevent him from augmenting his veteran roster with a contract like Smith's. To make that move would be to blow up the Kevin Garnett-Paul Pierce core because Ferry isn't likely to take back the multiyear deals belonging to Jason Terry, Jeff Green, Courtney Lee or any combination thereof. Even if Ainge wanted to be bold and dangle Rajon Rondo for Smith, he'd probably have to clear a contract from an already-depleted roster to stay under the hard cap. A three-team scenario is always a possibility but again, it would involve blowing up the Garnett-Pierce tandem.

      Dallas Mavericks
      The Mavericks certainly have plenty of expiring contracts to package for Smith. However, their first-round pick is in slot-protection purgatory because of last year's Lamar Odom trade. It's also not clear whether Dallas has the right young players to swing a trade. If it was just a matter of opening up Smith's salary slot, Ferry could just wait till the summer and renounce him.

      Brooklyn Nets
      Forget the Brooks-Humphries scenario. Humphries is on the books for $12 million next season, and his acquisition would put a serious crimp in Ferry's grand plan. That means Brooklyn would have to get a third team involved, and that team would have to be willing to take on Humphries. That won't be easy to find.

      Houston Rockets
      On the court, no team in the league would be a better fit for Smith. Can you imagine his elite athleticism fitting into an offensive lineup alongside James Harden, Jeremy Lin and Chandler Parsons, not to mention a defensive lineup with Smith backed up by Omer Asik's elite rim protection? The Rockets would have to put together a sizable package of young players, but because they are under the cap, it wouldn't have to add up to Smith's $13.2 million salary figure. Still, it might seem hardly worth it now, when they'll have to space to sign Smith outright this summer.

    2. Phoenix Suns
      Um, no. The Suns' roster is clogged by middling, multiyear contracts -- the kind you just don't give out en masse. Marcin Gortat might be interesting to Ferry, and Phoenix does have a surplus of future draft picks, as well as a pair of rookie contracts in Kendall Marshall and Markieff Morris. All of those assets packaged together might work for Ferry, but would it for the Suns?

      Washington Wizards
      No Wall or Beal? No expiring deals of any significant value? No Smith for you.

      So while it seems certain Smith will be moved this week, it's also pretty easy to poke holes in just about any scenario out there. Some team will have to surprise us. That team also will have to make the key decision of whether Smith is a true max player. His starting salary would be about $16.4 million the first year, then increase by 7.5 percent annually for the four subsequent seasons. The final year would be worth about $21.9 million and the total deal about $95.2 million. Ouch.

      Still, you can bet that some team is going to give Smith that money. That fact is driven more by economics than relative on-court value, by which only a handful of players are legitimately worth championship-player, cornerstone-type money.

      Smith is easily one of the 30 best players in the league. Since the time he signed that previous contract with Atlanta 4½ years ago, he's 12th in the league in WARP. Nevertheless, the Hawks have topped out at 53 wins during that time and have not advanced beyond the second round of the postseason. Do you credit Smith for the Hawks' success, or penalize him because they haven't done better? It's a key question to ask.

      An interesting way to frame it is to look at players who have had similar seasons at a similar age to the one Smith is having this season. Among the names that top his list of comps are guys like Chris Webber, Rasheed Wallace and Scottie Pippen. There are also guys like Shareef Abdur-Rahim and Al Harrington high up on the list. The range of possibilities is wide.

      At 27, Smith has the talent and remaining upside to convince an eager team to give him the max deal he's long coveted. And as long as that team has the culture and payroll structure to surround him with the right pieces, it might even work out. In the right situation, Smith could be gold, but it will be up to each of the league's decision-makers to determine if their situation is the right one for Smith. One way or another, it will be a franchise-changing decision.


    3. [ESPN: Marc Stein]

      "The consistent word out of Houston, incidentally, is that the Rockets -- long known to be Smith fans -- are far more likely to pursue J-Smoove in free agency than to try to trade for him this week.

      The Rockets are expected to use their leftover salary-cap space from last summer to extract an extra draft pick from teams looking to shed salary for luxury-tax reasons right before the trade buzzer."

    4. Josh Smith would be a solid pickup next season.

      However, he would not be anywhere as impactful as a properly utilized Tyler Hansbrough.

      Psycho T is bigger, stronger, tougher, and way more skilled than Josh Smith. I'll bet Psycho T would measure out as being a very comparable jumper to Josh Smith who's considered a NBA skywalker.

      Aside from a few All Star battleship PFs like Nowitzki or Aldridge, there isn't a player in the NBA who'd be better for the Rockets than Psycho T. He's a 20-10 player who would be vastly superior than Josh Smith, provided that Psycho T is properly utilized as an big time scoring forward.

    5. Pacers are moving him. [Psycho T]
      They tried to trade him + DJ Augustin for Redick.


    6. Bo Churney ‏@bochurney
      Sources: Josh Smith still in starting lineup.
      4:38 PM - Feb 20, 2013

  28. NBA Fantasy ‏@NBAFantasy
    In 2 games vs. OKC this season, Jeremy Lin's averaging 6.5 ppg 7.5 apg 2.5 rpg and attempting an average of 7 shots per contest.
    1:38 p.m. - Feb 20, 2013

  29. Howard Chen ‏@ho_chenCSN
    #RedNation: All-Star break's done. What's your top Rockets moment so far this season? Xplain! I read the best tweets on TV during the game!
    2:55 p.m. - Feb 20, 2013

  30. This comment has been removed by the author.

  31. Alex Kennedy ‏@AlexKennedyNBA

    Marcus Morris inactive. Kevin McHale told @Jonathan_Feigen, "Talk to Daryl." Here we go.

    1. ESPNSteinLine: Word is Rockets have decided to trade Marcus Morris and deciding between two deals”

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Maybe it's Morris for an early 2nd round pick...

      ...or both T-Jones and Morris for a mid-first round pick.

    4. Jonathan Feigen ‏@Jonathan_Feigen
      Should add that McHale arrived 20 minutes later than usual for pregame media session. Clearly huddling with Morris, Morey or both.

    5. Jonathan Feigen ‏@Jonathan_Feigen
      Can confirm @ESPNSteinLine; person familiar w/ decision said, "Morris is being held out because tm considering 2 possible trade options."

    6. Kevin Pelton ‏@kpelton
      Brainstorming players who fit @ZachLowe_NBA's criteria for a Marcus Morris trade and all I get is J.J. Redick.

      ClutchFans.net ‏@clutchfans
      Terrence Jones, Greg Smith both active tonight. Seems clear to me from reactions here that Morris will be traded. No word yet.

    7. One less liability for Houston.

  32. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. @ via
      Ha sorry about that, I know you are going to post this, just wanna do it one time :P .

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  33. can somebody post this link to clutchfans forums in the topic

    "Wojnarowski: McHale is someone guys like to play for"

    it's about lowry and mchale not getting along, oldies and haters of jlin deny it in that forum even dragic seems don't go along with mchale mention by lowry.... heres the link


  34. @WojYahooNBA: Sacramento has traded forward Thomas Robinson to the Houston Rockets, league source tells Y Sports.”