Yes, I know Patrick Patterson was not even close to touching the ball on the rim.
Yes, I know Courtney Lee did not actually foul Hakim Warrick on that "and-1" drive in the 4th Q.
Yes, I know that Chase Budinger was hit on the elbow or forearm every time he tried a jumpshot.
I DO NOT CARE.
(The Suns have an equally just argument about the lack of quality in last night's officiating crew. They were terrible... but they were consistently terrible. It just happens that the good guys got the worst of it at the end of the game -- when the Rockets should have already built an insurmountable 20 point lead.)
Now, if I am not blaming the referees... who am I blaming? For someone is inherently at "fault" for not bringing home a W last night, right? Well.......... where to begin?
1. Was Kevin Martin high last night? The last four games?
Speed Racer has never looked more completely out of it on the court. He looked like he was auditioning to host next year's Academy Awards (hello, James Franco!). Twice Martin fumbled or kicked the ball away when he was leading a one-on-none fast break. He dropped passes left and right. He took ill-advised jump shots all night. Normally this is in the flow of the offense, but last night Kyle Lowry was in the f--kin' ZONE and the Rockets made no attempt to pass him the ball with any regularity. Then again...
2. It's still on Rick Adelman
60% of the Rockets' starting lineup ate ass. I still do not know why Jordan Hill got the start over Patrick Patterson. PatPat has done nothing but prove he deserves as many minutes as he can play. Whereas Hill has only proven that he's prone to toking it up with Speed Racer. Hill played 5 minutes in the first quarter and looked absolutely lost. Then again, so did Robin Lopez. Maybe it was something in the water? Maybe the Phoenix medical staff gets everyone high so that they do not feel their injuries? (Hey! That would explain *so* much!)
But Adelman still must account for why Chuck Hayes continues to play so many minutes... especially when playing games like last night where a 6'5" slow center with limited offense is a bad matchup... why Jordan Hill continues to be put in position to fail (instead of letting Patterson go into beast mode)... and why he did not immediately remove Martin and let Courtney Lee play more. I mean, I am a huge Kevin Martin fan, but even I was demanding that he be removed from the game last night. And when Chuck Hayes tried to emulate Hakeem Olajuwon on a 1st Q post move that resulted in an air-balled jump hook from 5 feet out... well... it was enough to make LeBron James and Dwyane Wade cry.
But that is not even the worst transgression... which leads me to:
3. Why is Brad Miller trying so hard to make me dislike him?
Granted, it's not his fault that he's washed up. It's also not his fault that Adelman continues to run him out there to be exposed. He's a good guy and he's a professional. Brad Miller will bust his butt as much as he can to win a game. I'm not suggesting that he's dogging it by any means...
But at some level, you simply cannot continue to keep playing the Hayes/Miller duo when you might possible have an actual center on your bench. And we'll never know what we have with Hasheem Thabeet until someone gives him a legitimate chance to play meaningful basketball against the big boys.
One thing is for certain: Thabeet wouldn't have thrown an outlet pass to the other team with 20 seconds left in the game and the Rockets within striking distance. That one cut me deep, Mr. Miller. That hurt bad.
Now -- after last night, can we all agree that the Rockets are better off giving extended time to the young guys? The supposed "playoff push" is drifting farther and farther away -- no matter how much kick-ass basketball Kyle Lowry continues to play. Meanwhile, Patrick Patterson is tearing things up. The old joke was that only Dean Smith could stop Michael Jordan. At this point, only Rick Adelman can stop Patrick Patterson.
But do not blame the referees. It's tired and cliche for one. For two, the Rockets should have had such a big lead in the third quarter last night that it would not have been a factor. But coaching and/or a case of the munchies is why the Rockets came up three points short in the end. Not the zebras.