The Houston Rockets were without their head coach Kevin McHale during last weeks road trip and it was obvious. Of course many of the players hearts and minds were with McHale as he and his family attended to the lost in the family. The Rockets lost two of three games in McHale’s absence since the death last Tuesday of his mother, Josephine Patricia Starcevich McHale.
On Monday Rockets assistant coach Kelvin Sampson said he expects McHale to be on the bench Wednesday for the Rockets’ game against the Bulls at Toyota Center. Sampson took the coaching reigns while McHale was away, and would have gotten a passing grade, had the team beaten the Sacramento Kings.
“He should be good to go Wednesday,” Sampson said. “There’s been a lot of sadness in his life. But he’s also very concerned about the team. He had a text before I talked to him (Sunday), and I’ll just say his observation was spot on.”
Injuries ran rampant over the last week, Chandler Parsons (back), James Harden (sprained left ankle), Omer Asik (bruised right thigh), Jeremy Lin (back) and Terrence Jones (flu-like symptoms).
McHale returns just in time as the Rockets schedule will become very intense heading towards the end of the year. Wednesday the Rockets host the Chicago Bulls, then head to Indiana (Nap Town), where they get a day off followed by a back-to-back against the Indiana Pacers, and the Detroit Pistons. The Pistons handed the Pacers their first home loss of the season, and let’s hope the Rockets are the second team to do so. The Pacers game will also be a reunion with Luis Scola, who is now playing in a climate unfit for a person if Argentinean ancestry.
On Wednesday make sure and give McHale an extra minute of claps when his name is announced at the Toyota Center, I’m sure he will appreciate it.