After seven straight defeats, any win is a good one. James Harden didn’t really get out of his shooting funk, while Jeremy Lin had one of his weakest and most unproductive games of the season. It still didn’t stop the Houston Rockets from ending their slide, beating the Charlotte Bobcats.
Caution for the Rockets? Losing streaks that end against some of the worst teams in the NBA don’t really mean you’re out of the woods. Not with James Harden making only 25% of his field goal attempts, getting to 29 points thanks to his 19-21 night from the line. Harden misses jump shot after jump shot in recent games, but his aggression and good passing (from time to time, finishing with 7 assists) but mostly the weak defense of the Bobcats, allowing Harden to easily get in the paint and draw the fouls.
Harden has made only 25% of his field goal attempts over the last four games, and his streak of hitting less than 30% of his shots while attempting at least 18 over the last four games is the longest in the NBA in the last 27 years. He still felt pretty good about himself after the game. Wins do that to you.
It felt like winning a championship (said the player who lost in the NBA Finals last season). It feels good. We have had our losing ways and just to get this one off our back, go back home and get that confidence back is big. Maybe we can get our swagger back a little bit.
While Harden is hoping that his streak of incompetence from the field will end once the Rockets pick up consecutive wins, finding out how to bring Jeremy Lin back into form is another problem. Kevin McHale said he felt it was more a matter of bad luck than actual basketball problems, but head coaches will never give the real reasons to their team losing games.
Lin was hardly involved in the game as Harden decided it was all on him to bring his team back from their winning drought. Lin shot only five times (making one field goal) and had three assists, playing only 24 minutes as Patrick Beverley filled in the rest of the time. McHale wanted to make some changes, and the man might be losing his patience with Lin, who hasn’t shot over 50% from the field except for one game since the beginning of the losing streak.
Harden driving to the paint against a bad defense and a team that has now lost 15 consecutive games at home (3rd-longest single-season home losing streak in NBA history) did free up a lot of other players for open shots – Chandler Parsons had a good day with 14 points, Marcus Morris and Carlos Delfino hit a combined six three pointers, finishing with 37 points between them.
McHale hasn’t given up on Harden and his ability to carry his team, for good reason. The only thing that can put the Rockets back on a roll is good Harden form. The problem for Jeremy Lin is that he’s a tad forgotten and pushed aside in this procedure, that might continue if the Rockets actually have found a cure to their losing problems.