It’s been a bad December so far for the Houston Rockets, who have lost four of their last seven, including 106-91 to the Sacramento Kings. Jeremy Lin not being part of the game due to sudden back spasms, contrary to those who think trading him might be good for the team, didn’t help one bit, as things got worse later on with James Harden tweaking his ankle.
Not that things with him were that great. The Rockets looked like the inferior team right from the start, as the Kings decided they’ll send Howard to the line as much as possible, getting a 5-of-13 night and only 13 points from the big man. Harden finished with 25 points on that bad ankle which was getting better once he returned from the locker room, but once again his tendency to stick to bad shots for some reason while playing next to Patrick Beverley didn’t help at all.
Lin isn’t a good defender like Beverley that’s true. He was also unavailable to use, so the coaching staff gets off with this one, but in the long term, thinking that the Rockets are better off with Beverley playing as the starting point guard makes no sense. He finished with 2-of-7 from the field, scoring 6 points. He might be a better defender than both Harden and Lin, but he’s not that good to change the general ability of this team on defense. That comes from coaching and attitude. Harden, the “leader” of this team, just doesn’t do enough or try enough to rally the troops into higher intensity when they don’t have the ball.
The 15-point loss was a great lesson in why Lin is so important. It’s quite easy with Harden: He brings points, and being the most individually gifted player on this team. But the problems always come when he gets away with doing too much. One or two games it might result in a fantastic performance, but most of the time it comes at the cost of the team game and the ability of guys like Parsons or Howard on the offensive end Lin is better than Beverley or Harden in finding open players and leading the fast break, and without him, these two very important factors in their game, relying so much on three point shots, simply disappear, shooting only 7-of-27 on the night
Kelvin Sampson – I didn’t think we were ready to play. I didn’t think it was a good effort. We are letting too many of these type of games slip away.
The Rockets are in an interesting point, one they didn’t expect to get to, though they should have. The trade rumors around Jeremy Lin aren’t hurting him, but they have cost them Omer Asik, who is out with an invented right thigh bruise. This team is deep, but at some point, with Lin out and Harden doing whatever he wants and injured, the blanket can’t cover up everything. The Rockets didn’t have Dwight Howard due to foul trouble in key moments, and now the talk is about Asik traded very soon. If it wasn’t for bad choices by the coaching staff and the GM, handling the Lin and Asik situations very badly, this whole midseason flux could have been avoided.