After beating the Spurs without Harden, they've got a decent little first-half lead against the Mavs. Lin and Jones have played great the last game and a half. Hopefully they can keep this up.
They're falling apart now in the third after getting a 12-point lead. That was a horrible 6-point swing when Dirk essentially got four points in one possession thanks to the technical free throw and then Beverley had the horrible backcourt violation on a pass he had no business making. This team has absolutely no answer for Dirk, and they're playing lazy basketball offensively.
Parsons is absolutely keeping them in this game, but the Rockets caught a break on that flagrant call that gave Motiejunas free throws and the ball. Brooks and D-Mo really played well at the end of the third, too. But I'd like to see Dwight take over in the fourth. Blair has matched him step for step in this game, and he really seems to be giving him fits in the post. But the real test will see how they defend Dirk in this final quarter. He has been unstoppable.
I've never seen so many dumb plays in such a short time frame.
Rockets | Texans | Astros
1st series win against spurs since 97 last night. And tonight the rockets snap a seven game loosing streak at Dallas and the first since 89 rockets have beaten spurs and Dallas on back to backs. Huge couple of nights for Houston.
Offence was good, defence was horrible. How many times did Lin end up one on one against dirk?
Wow.... I cannot fathom that the game ended that way, but considering it was in Dallas, I didn't know what to expect. For those who didn't watch, the Rockets had a 116-104 lead with less than 3 minutes left. That's right. A ****ing 12-point lead!!!!! Motiejunas and Beverley stupidly fouled 3-point shooters on back-to-back possessions immediately cutting it to six before D-Mo hit a free throw. Then Carter hits a 3-pointer and it's somehow a 4-point game with a minute left.
After a couple of missed shots, Parsons missed a solid, open look with like 20 seconds left and Dwight commits a ****ing loose ball foul on Dirk on the other side of the ****ing court, giving him two free throws!!!!!!! No problem, because even though it's a two-point game, the Rockets still have the ball, right? WRONG! Parsons can't get it in bounds, so he calls a timeout, then throws a pass to Brooks on the other end of the court on the second in bounds play, and Brooks can't make handle it so the Mavs get the ****ing ball down by two points with ****ing 19 seconds left!!!!
Then, Calderon missed two decent 3-point attempts, which I was totally stunned by and the Rockets somehow get out of Dallas with a win. But it was super, super ugly. That was a 13-1 run they gave up in the final three minutes with three horribly stupid fouls, an awful in bounds turnover which could have closed out the game and no field goals in the final three minutes on four attempts.
Obviously I'm thrilled that this team went 2-0 on a back-to-back against San Antonio and Dallas without James Harden. But this game was almost a monumental collapse that would have made Houston the laughing stock of the NBA for a few weeks. They have got to play better basketball down the stretch, and McHale has got to coach them better than that. You can't play 45 minutes of dominating basketball and then **** the bed down the stretch by sheer stupidity.
Now that I've calmed down a little bit from the gargantuan **** up that was the end of that game, I'm going to throw some praise to Lin, Jones, Parsons and D-Mo. Lin had a second strong night in a row at SG and did a good job running the offense, while Jones had another insanely efficient night of basketball. Motiejunas also had a few really big plays in this one and did an admirable job defensively on Dirk in the final period.
But Parsons is the guy I've really been impressed with lately. I don't give a damn who says this guy isn't a "true scorer," because he absolutely has done everything on the offensive end lately. He's topped 19 points in four of his last six games and its his third time in that same timeframe that he's topped 25. He kept Houston in the game when they were faltering, and he stepped up admirably as the go-to scorer at times in Harden's absence.
I don't want to jinx anything, but does anyone else suddenly think the Rockets are in decent shape in the West right now? Despite some inconsistent play and the Memphis back-to-back fiasco, they've won 8 of 11 and 10 of their last 14. If San Antonio loses tonight (a good chance), the Rockets will be only 3 back of the Spurs and Blazers and probably 2 back of the Clippers.
Their next five games before the All-Star Break are Cleveland, Phoenix, at Milwaukee, at Minnesota and home for Washington. That's not a walk in the park, but they're all winnable games, so there's no reason they couldn't go 4-1. That would put them at 35-18 with (hopefully) all of their starters back and possibly an Asik deal at the trade deadline to buff up the bench. They were 28-24 through 52 games last season, so that's a 7-game improvement relatively quickly. Also, with San Antonio falling off a bit, I could feasibly see Houston catching them and earning the 3rd or 4th seed in the West.
I was at the game tonight and sitting in the lower section (Section 105) so I had a real good look at the game. You can
see how much better of a coach Carlisle is than McHale. The Mavs are great at fighting through the picks. Rarely, do they
get forced to switch where a small is guarding a big on the blocks. I can't tell you how many times I saw the Mavs run a
pick on us and Lin forced to switch and cover Dirk down low. I just wonder how good we could be with someone like
Carlisle coaching our team. I really think RC is one of the most under-rated coaches in the NBA. He never seems to get
recognized as a top coach, but there are very few I would take over him.
Also, that near collapse at the end was despicable. Again, this is a coaching issue, or lackthereof. Stupid fouls allowed
the Mavs to close on a 11-1 run and nearly pulled off the shocking comeback. I think McHale is an average coach, but
we need a top level coach if we have any aspirations of winning a championship. I know it sounds like I am beating a dead
horse, but I don't see any way McHale can coach a team to a championship.
^Omg were you the darn Houston fan in the red longsleeve shirt screaming his *** off at the end of the game? That guy was literally surrounded by Mavs fans + Cuban and was spitting while he was yelling after the buzzer...
Carlisle is a good coach.. Smart, has a few good plays and doesnt lose his cool..but he has his flaws. There's no variation in his gameplan.. It's the same thing ever night. Dirk post up, harris/ellis going out of control to basket. Vince/Calderon playing pick n roll. Few trick lob plays to Wright. That's it. He's not that good if you watch him game-by-game imo becaue it's so predictable of play. His D is pretty good though considering he makes guys with bad Defensive reps become above average on defense + lots of charges.
This game was pretty nuts though. I couldn't believe how many 3 pt trips to the line we got to see in the fourth. If Calderon swung that to VC or back to Dirk..Im almost positive the Rockets wouldn't have got out of there with a W. At same time, Dwight went 9/10 from line? He saved them when the mavs tried Hack-a Dwight.
Well, San Antonio lost (their third loss in a row and both losses were against Eastern conference teams to go along with thier Houston loss, so that's awesome). They are only 3 games ahead of the Rockets and add Ginobilli to their depleted ranks for another three weeks or so. Their upcoming schedule is pretty darn week, though. They have a home game Saturday night against the Kings and then they go on their Rodeo Road Trip but it looks like the NBA cut them some slack. They play at the Pelicans, Wizards, Nets, Bobcats, Pistons and then at the Celtics before the All Star Game. Their two games after the break, though are at the Clippers and then Trailblazers, so that's nice.
And look out for Memphis. They're playing great lately. In fact, I don't feel as bad about those losses as I did the few days after they happened.
Between me being bored and looking up the Spurs schedule, the Rockets almost blowing it and some guy having the brilliant idea of adding a stretch four to the team (in the other thread), this night needs to just be over already.
I just hope Harden is taking note on how the ball moves and on basically every possession there is a wide open shot for someone.
Im confident the Blazers wont keep up the pace and slip a bit. If we find some consistency, we can climb a bit in the rankings. The key is getting to the #3 seed. If we manage to climb there, we could have a winnable first round series and San Antonio afterwards. If the pieces fall into place, we could make it to the conference finals.
Brainfarts. That's all. Game shoulda been won earlier, but oh well. If the players/coaches figure it out, we keep winning these close games, and then people will say we have "experience".
But you asked if we are now in decent shape. I say... maybe. I think that we will continue to be a 0.600 team until we learn to play smarter as a team. Like i said in another thread. Individual scoring is overrated. For us to get the 3-4th seed, we need to do two things:
1. Harden has to lose the hero-ball mentality. He's getting paid. He's gotta think about winning instead of his step-back jumpers.
2. McHale has to teach the players to play the pick and roll defense more correctly more consistently. Lin switching to Dirk has to trigger a double team and rotations. It has to be automatic. Everyone can't just stand there looking at a mismatch and go, "but coach told us to switch...".