Young teams need to go through growing pains, and losing in the first round of a postseason series qualifies as just that. Jeremy Lin shouldn’t have played but did, becoming possibly the least valuable player of the series, while James Harden refused to learn from the lessons of a previous game, trying to shoot his way out of trouble instead of slow down, stop and think, which might have led to better results.
Because James Harden is the best player on the team doesn’t mean he always needs to put up more than 20 shots per game. He did score 26 points in game 6, but only 7-22 from the field made it painful to watch at times, even when Derek Fisher was guarding him. Harden took tough shot after tough shots instead of being part of a great passing game that worked quite well during the first two and a half quarters, picking up 7 assists.
So Chandler Parsons was hitting almost everything he got his hands on, and Omer Asik should have gotten more touches, even if he did take 7 shots and reach the line 12 times. The Rockets had the Thunder on the ropes more than once in this series, but Harden, by way of Kevin McHale, refusing to make the unselfish choices, helped the more talented team come and step out of a tough jam more than once.
Lin’s ending was just sad, and became more fuel for the fire that loves to burn among those who think he’s nothing more than a mediocre NBA point guard who isn’t headed towards a very bright future in the league. Try to explain them he wanted to play so badly, even if his chest injury is limiting his every more and ability to make a play. Lin spent only 12 minutes on the floor, but the Rockets looked awful in those moments, losing by 18 points.
Lin had a good season, not more. He played in a position that’s not for him, never will be. He’s a point guard, who needs the ball in his hands. During certain moments, his relationship with James Harden on the court seemed to be flourishing. Feeding off each other, and perfectly understanding when to give up possession in favor of the other. But as the season grew longer, someone kept feeding the Harden ego to a point when it became damaging for the team. No sharing the ball, no spacing, no ball movement.
It’s funny to hear Harden say after losses – We were just stagnant and from there on out we couldn’t get any movement and really couldn’t get any shots off , when his own elaborated dribbling sessions are a main cause for this.
Maybe you can’t blame young players for his when their coach has no idea on how to run a basketball team except to tell players to give the ball to James. The Houston Rockets might not be the most talented team in the NBA, yet, but they had more to offer, especially against a vulnerable Thunder team missing its second best player. Instead of doing what was right – benching Lin till he was fine and making Harden share the ball a little more with Asik and Parsons, which worked wonderfully in Game 5, the Rockets simply fell to the same old routine of one vs five, and unless you’re Michael Jordan, that never ends well.