There are tests for NBA coaches planted all through the season for them to show their merits, and the ability to learn from mistakes. James Harden had some impressive numbers in the game 3 win over the Blazers, although he did more wrong than right for his team. Jeremy Lin? Without the ball, in the wrong role, he still managed to make the best of a crummy situation, and make a few big plays that saves the season for the Houston Rockets.
The hero of the day was Troy Daniels. He hit 3 times from beyond the arc, including that “big boy” shot with the game tied at 116. If it wasn’t for James Harden turning the ball over with another rash and less than smart decision to simply walk right into a trap, maybe the Rockets don’t win the game. Jeremy Lin came up with the loose ball, scurried to his left and as the Blazers were scrambling to regroup, Lin found a wide open Daniels for the huge basket.
This wasn’t a great game for Jeremy Lin, but for the who knows how many times, he showed his worth in crunch time. Unlike Harden, who does the same thing and his a hit-or-miss, Lin doesn’t just shoot blindly in the face of opposition, hoping it goes in. The ball moves, He thinks. He passes. Harden in the fourth quarter or overtime is something everyone is prepared for. Dribbling and then pulling up for a shot. Sometimes he drives.
Harden has had big moments this season with some huge shots. He is that talented. He can make these things happen, but these playoffs have been rough on him. He keeps going for the pull-up jump shot but is making only 26% of them through the series (10-of-39). He is shooting an awful 32.9% from the field in the playoffs, 26.7% from beyond the arc. It isn’t stopping him from shooting: 27.3 field goal attempts per game, 10 from three.
They say Daryl Morey loves analytics. I’m not sure about McHale. Everything he is doing this season makes it seem like aside from the cliche here and there, his adjustments have nothing to do with numbers or even what he is seeing on court: Instinct, and his own perceived notions he isn’t willing to change. He deserves credit for the team doing a better job on Aldridge. On the other hand, Harden got torched time and time again on the perimeter by Lillard.
So what is the answer for the Rockets? This is going to be another wild game that is won on something that’s between a randomality and some quick thinking from a player who is underused and when he actually plays it’s in all the wrong ways? You never know with McHale. Maybe he fell in love with the lineup that included Harden, Daniels, Jeremy Lin and Patrick Beverley with Howard. What we do know for sure is that no matter how badly Harden plays, the ball won’t leave his hands for the majority of the time, nor will he be benched for his mistakes and awful defense.