Don't worry. This isn't going to be one of those knee-jerk reaction posts about how the season is over and how we are all guilty of overrating this team. No, far from it. If you want to read stuff like that, I think we all know where you can find it.
No, like Xiane, I still believe in this team. We've got 80 of these games left and this isn't the NFL; An 0-2 start isn't reason to start smashing the panic button. But I won't lie...there is plenty of things last night that had me ripping my hair out. It wasn't any one thing either, but a collection of small things.
Said list of small things begins after the jump...
Like I posted in the game thread last night, I am a stout Rick Adelman defender. I think he is a superb Coach who doesn't get nearly the credit that he deserves. There is a reason the guy is one of the winningest coaches to ever hold a clipboard. But last night, I even had plenty to gripe about with Coach A.
First, as much as I love Chuck Hayes, the guy should never play 40 minutes in an NBA game. EVER. Especially not when you have a legitimate big man on the roster in Brad Miller. But to make things even worse, Hayes was on the floor at the same time as Shane Battier (who I will get to in a minute) for a good chunk of the night. That's just playing 3 on 5 on the offensive end. I know Chuck scored some points, but I think even I might have been able to make a few layups on the Golden State defense.
Next, we have the great Jordan Hill mystery. Now I don't know if Coach Adelman thinks that Jordan isn't bringing it enough in practice or if Jordan kicked his dog or something, but there is no reason why he shouldn't have gotten into the game last night. Jordan Hill was acquired for a game like this one. An athletic big man who can rebound and finish around the hoop. Are you telling me that Chuck Hayes defense is enough of a trade off to keep Jordan Hill trapped in his warm ups all night? We all know Jordan isn't all-world or anything, but many believe he could have excelled in a game like this one. To quote Grungedave: Free Jordan Hill!!!
Also, Rick seemed to make no effort at any kind of adjustments in this game. When it appeared that he was conceding to a shootout with the Warriors, why let Battier, Hayes and even Jared Jeffries get so many minutes? Get your shooters out there! Ugh...it was ugly.
Seriously, the defense was so bad last night that even the Houston Texans secondary would have been like "Damn, you guys suck..." It was like last year all over again. Uncontested layup after layup and guys taking wide open three pointers...it was unreal. Sure, Monta Ellis was just lights out. Not much you can do to a guy when you are holding him to tough jump shots and he is still draining them. When a player like that is on, not much you can do besides try to foul him hard a couple of times...which is hard to do when you only let Brad Miller (Let's face it...he's the only guy on this roster I could see delivering a hard foul) get three minutes of playing time.
This led everyone to pile on Shane Battier as the new whipping boy of the Rockets. Yeah, I know...it has to be someone, right? Well, me and a handful of others were the last one's defending him last night. But even that became near impossible when he got absolutely faked out of his jock strap on one play. I seriously thought he was going to fall down. Yes, Shane is known as a defense first guy. And yes, his defense on star players is usually good to great. And when he is holding his man to off balance jump shots, that's all we can really ask. But a night like last night, on tired legs on a back-to-back...this was a bad match up for him. Like I stated earlier, Coach should have played Budinger more if he was just going to try to get into a shootout.
I'm too tried this morning to look up the actual numbers, but I'm willing to bet close to half of the Warriors points came in the paint. When you have a front court of Chuck Hayes and Luis Scola guarding the paint, that's going to happen. And last year, I understood. But you went out and paid a legit Center $5 Million per to protect the paint and you don't play him? You have an athletic big guy who plays physical, can block shots and rebounds in Jordan Hill and you don't play him?
Yeah...I'm as puzzled as you...
Yes, Kevin Martin is something truly special with the way he gets to the free throw line. The crowd may have thought that he was getting unfair calls, but every single one of the 17 free throws he attempted (and made, by the way) was a correct call. He did draw a legitimate foul on each and every one of them. In fact, it's the only thing that kept this game from being a rout. However, he did shoot just 5/14 on the night. Still, hard to scoff at 28 points. Regardless of how many came from the charity stripe.
Then you got Aaron Brooks, who confirmed his status as one of the worst defensive point guards in the league. I shudder to think what the bigger, more physical point guards are going to do to him like Deron Williams. But this isn't anything new. We all knew going into this season (and last) that Aaron's offense is the only reason he is in the game and he flat out shot miserably last night. 4/15 on the night and 2/8 from three point land for only 13 points. It was very obvious that he was tired from the game the night before. When all of a players shots are short, that's usually a good indicator of fatigue. But if anyone is rooting for Kyle Lowry to get healthy really quick, it's Aaron Brooks. Even if it is just to spell him and let him catch his breath once in awhile. A game like last night, Lowry probably would have gotten more minutes than Aaron. We all like Ishmael Smith, but not for a game like this.
Luis Scola further proved my statement that he is the most underrated four in the league. He put up 36 points and pulled down 16 boards. He completely dominated the Warriors in the post all night and if him or Martin hadn't had monster nights, Rockets lose this one by double figures.
So is all hope lost? Certainly not. Catching a run and gun team like Golden State on a back-to-back in their season opener is a piss poor match up. Only thing that would have made it more of a "FML" situation would have been if we had to go play Utah for their home opener Saturday or something. But it isn't like we drew much better in getting the Nuggets for our home opener this Saturday. The same Nuggets that completely bitched around the hated Utah Jazz last night. Which was cool, but not exciting when you realize that we're next.
I'm not going to tell Coach Adelman how to run this team. He obviously knows more about the game than me. But I'd really like for him and Jordan Hill to hug it out over whatever the problem is. On a team that lacks size, there is no excuse not to play what size we do have. I don't care if you're trying to make a point or whatever. That's some Gary Kubiak bullshit right there (benching Arian Foster in Oakland...remember that one?). Fans don't care about practice or attitude adjustments or the moral of the story. They just want to see the best players on the floor and, dammit, they want to win. Especially after they were fed the line last year about suffer through this one reloading year and next year will be the awesomes!
Plenty of time to right the ship, of course. And I have no reason to believe that they won't. But I'd rather not be playing catch up within the division after the first three weeks.
And I'll climb off my soapbox now. Your turn. Need a hand getting up here and venting your frustration? The floor is yours to vent in the comments below.