James Harden: 21 Pts, 6 Asts, 8 Rebs,
DeAndre Jordan: 26 Pts, 2 Asts, 17 Rebs, 2 Stls, 1 Blk
A game so ugly, only a mother could love it… at least, that was the story for the Houston Rockets. Words can’t explain how atrocious this game was. The first half boiled down to a record-breaking 28 free throw attempts by DeAndre Jordan. The third quarter left Rockets’ fans scratching their head while wondering where the second seeded Rockets were because they haven’t showed up much in this series. Instead, they were presented with a Houston team that looked like they were ready for vacation. The refs should have came to a mutual agreement to install an accelerated clock in the fourth quarter because I’m sure not even the devil himself wanted to watch 12 more minutes of the Rockets slow death.
This loss was a complete team defeat. It’s not just James Harden’s fault or only Dwight Howard‘s but the entire Rockets’ team. That even includes coach Kevin McHale. The only facet of this game that was executed was sending Jordan to the line as many times as they did. But, in reality that was not the initial plan. Howard’s imbecilic fouls (including his early technical foul) forced McHale to devised another strategy.
The Good (If There Is Any):
- There is absolutely no good side to Game 4. There’s no needle in this haystack. Houston played horrendous for the majority of the game. Everything they practiced seemed to be abandoned. If you would like to squeeze any positive aspects from this game (other than Houston not being eliminated), they would probably be hypothetical scenarios such as:
– At least Howard wasn’t issued a suspension (yet) along with his ejection.
– At least the Rockets’ didn’t lose by 40 points.
– Maybe Matt Barnes (shoulder) will sit next game and the Rockets’ will have an edge.
Either way you look at it, last night was ALL BAD for the Rockets. So yes, Houston we have a problem.
- I’ve been searching for Houston’s defense but I’m pretty sure if I ever find it, it’ll have a toe-tag attached to it. They’ve allowed 119.5 points per game! The slogan, “Defense wins championships” must not be etched in the Rockets’ locker room. Everything from their transition defense to their pick and roll defense was gruesome to watch. A huge reason is due to the absence of their starting point guard Patrick Beverley. He was great at pressuring guards (which is demanded versus Chris Paul). Stopping the ball is the most elementary, defensive fastbreak rule known to man but the Rockets’ have yet to digest that understanding. They allowed 22 fast break points that sparked the Clippers crowd to go INSANE in the Staples Center last night.
- Even though this was a collective debacle, their team leaders did not step up to the plate. I’m sure there were milk cartons being passed around Houston with James Harden and Dwight Howard on them. Harden scored 10 points in the first quarter, then evaporated within the crowd buzz and did not score again until around 7:30 remaining in the third quarter. He was completely ineffective but as difficult as it may seem to believe, Howard was even worse. He remained in foul trouble in every quarter, acquired a pair of technical fouls and got ejected out the game, finishing with just seven points and six rebounds. They certainly led by example because the rest of the team played just as terrible.
- The Hack-A-Jordan scheme was arguably worse to watch than the Rockets’ offensive performance. The first half of the game (24 minutes in game time) took 84 minutes to conclude. One hour and 24 minutes for one half of the least exciting, most tedious game of “basketball” I’ve ever seen. And despite them sending Jordan to the line for a record breaking 28 times in one half, the Rockets still found themselves losing by six points.
- McHale played seven guys off the bench. Of those seven, four of them were merely pawns on a chess boards sent to hack Jordan or to rack up some garbage time. The three players (Pablo Prigioni, Corey Brewer and Josh Smith) who typically are rotated in the lineup combined for a TOTAL of NINE POINTS. I wouldn’t be surprised if reports came out saying that they were paid to play for the Clippers because that’s what it looked like.
The only entertainment you could get out of this game was via Twitter. The Rockets’ parody of a game translated into many tweets that probably inherited fans who didn’t want to watch anymore of that catastrophe.
Hack-a-DeAndre sets record for half of 28 attempts. Made only 10 but strategy seemed to disrupt Rockets as much as Clippers – up 6.
— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) May 11, 2015
If you liked what you just saw, you're freaking insane.
— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) May 11, 2015
In the end, the only hacks were the Rockets
— alex (@steven_lebron) May 11, 2015
Going from Clippers/Spurs to Clippers/Rockets is how we felt in the 90s when we went from Tupac to Ja Rule.
— Not Bill Walton (@NotBillWalton) May 11, 2015
I think I'm starting to understand Kevin McHale's strategy: keep hacking DeAndre so people won't focus on how #rockets have been awful
— Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) May 11, 2015
Rockets could make history and just forfeit.
— Myles Brown (@mdotbrown) May 11, 2015
The Clippers will look to close out the Rockets in Houston on Tuesday. If the Rockets play anywhere near like they did last night, expect to hear the Toyota Center boo louder than the Staple Center cheered last night.
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