While James Harden is the heartbeat of the Houston Rockets, and rarely do good games and wins come along without him being the main contributor, but he still needs some sort of help from his teammates, quite often his co-point guard, Jeremy Lin. Sometimes, Lin is awful, which is too much for an ordinary Harden to make up for.
The Rockets, after a very impressive win over the Oklahoma City Thunder and then again vs the Nets on the road, fell against the Washington Wizards, enjoying a great day from Bradley Beal (21 points) in a 105-103 win. The Rockets? Harden had a good day with 27 points, shooting 10-23 from the field, but Jeremy Lin, when he’s burned constantly on defense, usually shows a lack of confidence in his shot on offense as a result. He finished with only 5 points, making only 2-9 from the field, adding 6 assists.
The Rockets are short handed but still, they expect more from their non-Harden players. It doesn’t have to be about points – No one but Harden is forced to score 20 or 25 points per game, but when Lin scores 5, Omer Asik can’t find way to put up points in the paint (5 as well) while Chandler Parsons continues his good for of 24, it seems that the Rockets just needed a little bit more from a couple of other players, not to mention a much better effort from the team on defense.
It looked like the Rockets stopped doing what was working so well for them over the last month. Great ball movement, a bit more effort on defense and using the three pointer after forcing the defense to respect their penetrating abilities, and not give up on scoring from the inside all together, shooting 46 three pointers at 41.6%, but simply making things too complicated at times, taking too many contested shots.
While Harden was the leading scorer, a lot of the loss is on him, because of being relatively lazy in though and body. Harden tried making things happen too often with his jump shot instead of his legs and body by pushing towards the middle. Carlos Delfino followed, and the two combined for a terrible 7-23 from beyond the arc, which could have been much better if they would have chosen their shots a bit more wisely.
We had turnovers. We had empty possessions. … We did not have a good second half. We shoot a lot of 3s as a team, but I think we got a little 3 happy. We didn’t get enough penetration and enough ball movement.
It’s a funny thing with Jeremy Lin – expectations as opposed to actual ability; hype compared with what he’s done so far in his short NBA career. The defense is only there when he doesn’t have to take the best guard of the two in front of him. He does have good timing with his arms, but it has a lot to do with how good Harden is doing to allow Lin the opportunity to steal the ball.
And on offense, it’s been a struggle this season. James Harden handles the ball most of the time, while Lin tries and struggles constantly with being a post up shooter and the times when he does get to orchestrate the attack and show his passing and one on one skills. There’s no doubt that the biggest asset in a bright future is James Harden, but Jeremy Lin continuing to improve and becoming more consistent might be the difference between a title contender and just another playoff team at some point.