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Rockets vs Thunder Playoff Game 1 Soundbites

A quick look at the reactions form Kevin McHale, James Harden, and Charles Barkley and what their comments really said.


So, we've had a while to digest the beat-down we received in game one and I'm surprised we hadn't touched on the post game comments. Since we pride ourselves on giving you faithful readers quality news and writing, let's look at what the coach and superstar had to say after Oklahoma City introduced us to basketball. I'll be providing context and, in case it's needed, sarcastic translation.

Kevin McHale

On how the game got out of hand:

"It wasn't any of their actions that hurt us. They had 21 points off of our turnovers and then offensively we got stagnant. We didn't get much pass-pass combination and we didn't have a whole lot of flow tonight offensively."

He's guarding his players a bit here. The Thunder's actions did hurt the Rockets with pressure defense that forced the turnovers. The Rockets offense decided not to really work the way it should have. Houston lead the NBA in turnovers over the course of the season and the Thunder punished them for it. As I mentioned in my write up, the Thunder pressure the Rockets for a LOT of turnovers and that happened.

On his take away from game 1:

"There were a lot of guys out there playing in their first playoff game. I was interested to see how we were going to start. I was happy we were able to gain our footing, but still didn't have a whole lot of flow."

This explains Kevin's lack of certain adjustments until it was too late. Fans were clamoring for something to be done earlier but he makes a point I didn't really think about. Phil Jackson was famous for letting his teams play through tough stretches and, while I'm not comparing McHale to Jackson, I acknowledge this philosophy does have a place. These guys are new here and you have to baptize them in fire. You can't act like you've been there before if you haven't been there before.

James Harden

What he's taking away from the loss:

"Believe it or not, this was good for us. Losing like this was definitely good because now we know how to play. This is a lot of guys' first time here in the playoffs. Now we can watch the film and figure out where we can get better in order to come out and execute next game."

I will opt to not believe that it was a loss that was good for them. Not because I think their spirits are shattered (We're talking about grown men here, come on) but because they played with little to no pride. When they go back and look at the tape (Which they would have done in a blowout, in a win, or in a narrow loss) they'll see a team that made a lot of stupid mistakes, played with no pride, and got scared once they got blocked a few times. This team isn't great defensively if Asik and Parsons are going to tally early foul trouble and they won't be able to score if Jeremy Lin (4 points, 4 TO) didn't target the guys in white jerseys for assists (Bring on the rage).

His feelings about playing his former team:

"It was awkward before the game, but when the ball went in the air I just tried to compete and tried to win."

James... There's competing and then there's hurting your cause. You were 6-19 to score 20 points. You're our franchise guy but you're billed as the efficiency king. Thabo Sefolosha did a great job on you but step back three's aren't the answer. You got to the lines seven times and hit all those shots. Try more of that no matter how bad Ibaka tries to introduce your ball to the patrons in the front row. Hopefully we can remedy this situation and get back to attacking and finding some mid-range flow.

How he tried to amp his teammates up before the game:

"It is our first time here so before the game I tried to rattle my guys up and didn't try to worry about anything else."

There's only so much you can do to inspire your team. The only guys on the team with playoff experience (not wearing a suit) are Omer Asik and James Harden. The team was clearly rattled and you can tell the match up got to them. The gulf in talent also got to them. Hopefully after their first debacle they'll approach the game with the same elasticity we saw them come back with in the regular season.

Charles Barkley (Bonus)

On being a bitter human being:

"The Rockets are a cheap organization, they don't want to pay no extra days at a motel."

Sir Charles is still bitter about an alleged $5 million the organization owes him and he trolled the pre-game by calling the Rockets old. Apparently Mr. Barkley had to find some way to cut at the Rockets being an 8 seed against the best team in the NBA. Thankfully this does show the disparity in quality between guys like Jeff Van Gundy and guys like Charles Barkley. Van Gundy still has even-handedness about his former employers whereas Barkley has vitriol. Really I just wanted to use this comment to find a reason to say "Sir Charles, The Rockets don't have to finance your gambling debts with your alleged $5 million."