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[NYT Marc Stein] In Defense of the Rockets

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by treyk3, May 14, 2019.

  1. treyk3

    treyk3 Contributing Member

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    Steve Nash, the brand-new Hall of Famer, is a rookie soccer pundit with Turner Sports and perhaps the most well-known Tottenham Hotspur fan in North America.Those factors can make Champions League studio work tricky and even emotional at times — as seen last week when Nash was reduced to tears on air while watching Spurs qualify for the biggest championship game in worldwide club soccer for the first time.
    Yet Tottenham’s storybook comeback against the Dutch giants Ajax was by no means Nash’s only challenging viewing of the month. He is also in his second season as a player development consultant for the Golden State Warriors, who just inflicted one of the most painful playoff defeats in a career full them for Nash’s old coach Mike D’Antoni.

    Nash insisted he was “1,000 percent with the Warriors” during the gripping second-round series, which ranks as the first in league history to last at least six games in which all six were decided by six points or fewer. Nash, though, also concedes that he would “love to see Mike win a championship someday” — and not merely because D’Antoni was the coach who helped propel the Canadian point guard to back-to-back Most Valuable Player Award-winning seasons in 2004-05 and 2005-06.It’s because Nash knows as well as anyone what awaits D’Antoni if that championship never comes.Regular-season mirage. Doesn’t care about defense. Can’t win it all. Nash retired with those two M.V.P. trophies but no championship rings and thus gets subjected to no shortage of such jibes. D’Antoni’s skeptics, meanwhile, are generally much harsher about the coach’s legacy, which puts Nash on the offensive.

    “Even though we put our heart and soul into it, it’s just basketball,” Nash said in a phone interview. “It’s not life or death. There’s way more serious things in life. “So if people want to say I can’t win or he can’t win — fine. But I can certainly try to be the best person I can be every day and live the best life that I can. I think Mike has that perspective, too.“By the way: You say he can’t win, but you have to look at things in context sometimes. The Rockets were playing one of the greatest teams ever, with four players that are phenomenal and that have continuity, know-how, experience and a coaching staff that’s been there every step of the way building this up.”

    I went into Friday night’s Game 6, like most basketball pundits, thinking the Rockets would (and should) be blasted if they failed to take advantage of Kevin Durant’s injury absence to at least drag Golden State to a Game 7. Maybe I’m getting softer as I get older, but I find myself siding more with Nash’s nuanced view days later.

    If you want to criticize the Rockets for something, focus on their obsession with the officiating. All the complaints about non-calls after Game 1 and subsequent leaked reports about how Houston was wronged in last season’s conference finals were beneath the Rockets as a franchise — and also highly ill-advised. The whining galvanized the weary Warriors after their first-round struggle with the Los Angeles Clippers and made the toughest assignment in the league — knocking off the two-time defending champions — even tougher.

    The Rockets likewise have to accept that, when they go hunting for fouls and put their fate in the hands of referees, it’s going to backfire sometimes. Especially in the playoffs when whistles tend to get swallowed.But if you want to brand D’Antoni a nonwinner, or too reliant on gimmicks to thrive in the postseason, go ahead. You’re on your own.

    In the face of a reputation for inflexibility, D’Antoni has changed his offense dramatically from what it was in Phoenix with Nash as the orchestrator to suit the one-on-one talents of James Harden and Chris Paul. And he did some of his best coaching this season in steadying the Rockets emotionally after their disastrous 11-14 start, steering the club back to a point where Houston was again regarded as the league’s foremost threat to Golden State entering the postseason.

    Some may argue that the Warriors’ injury situation (Durant and DeMarcus Cousins are still out) and Milwaukee’s impressive playoff form make it harder to claim that Golden State’s semifinal series against Houston should be viewed as the de facto finals. That’s fine. I would still counter by saying that it’s D’Antoni’s template and system which has positioned Harden to take the Rockets, for all their flaws and foibles, as close as they’ve been to the game’s summit since the days of Hakeem Olajuwon.

    Don’t be so sure, then, that this was the Rockets’ last, best chance to unseat the Warriors. As limited as Houston’s options to make roster upgrades look at first glance, given its long-term financial commitments, General Manager Daryl Morey has a habit of manufacturing moves we didn’t see coming.We should also probably wait until we see what happens with the Warriors in the off-season, specifically where they stand after Durant and Klay Thompson hit free agency, before declaring Houston’s run over or start calling for a franchise overhaul.

    “Mike is a brilliant basketball mind,” Nash said. “He’s not averse to mixing it up and playing the cards he’s dealt. I think in his heart he probably loves the game more when the ball moves a lot more, but he realizes what he’s got with James and Chris.“It’s been an adjustment for him, but it just shows that he is always going to put his team in a great position to win and make them very, very difficult to guard. “It’s no small feat what Mike and James have accomplished together — they’ve proven what a great match they are. But you have to remember that this Warriors team they’re playing is historic.” Houston surely won’t forget it any time soon — just like those Seven Seconds Or Less Suns repeatedly denied by Gregg Popovich and Tim Duncan’s San Antonio Spurs.




    This was from his newsletter and really a great read.

    Added link. Thanks @The Cat for posting this link on twitter.

    https://static.nytimes.com/email-content/MSB_13219.html
     
    #1 treyk3, May 14, 2019
    Last edited: May 15, 2019
    fryjol7, ryan_98, Plowman and 11 others like this.
  2. Will

    Will Clutch Crew
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    It's all true, and I'm for keeping both Harden and D'Antoni. It just exasperates me that this window opened in the Warriors dynasty, with KD out for the last 2 games of our series, and the opportunity for glory was right in front of us, and we didn't seize it.
     
    Easy, red5rocket, ryan_98 and 34 others like this.
  3. rcketsfan1

    rcketsfan1 Member

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    Steve Nash is the same kind of loser as MDA. I was not a fan of his when he was a player. I am not a fan of his now. Who cares what he says.
     
    s3ts likes this.
  4. daywalker02

    daywalker02 Easter Egg Hunter - Tell me why? نحن عائلة
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    Y you walk alone and are not a Pool fan, Steve?

    Oh yeah, never said MDA can't win but there are couple of ppl better than him, so winning is very hard for him.
     
  5. Roc Paint

    Roc Paint Contributing Member
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    I’ll be sick for some time
     
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  6. Sajan

    Sajan Member

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    Yup. That's what hurts.

    I don't think DRASTIC measures are needed. Obviously we have holes on our roster that needs to be addressed. Plus let's not overreact before we see what happens to the Warriors. This could be the end of that team as we know it and power might shift again.
     
  7. J.R.

    J.R. Contributing Member

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    And that's just it.

    They didn't lose to the greatest team ever. Maybe the previous 3 times but not this year.

    Game 5, didn't take advantage.

    Game 6, they played Klay Thompson & a bunch of bench players to a tie before Steph took over in the 4th.

    Steph was scoreless at the half(10 points after 3); Steph had four fouls; Draymond had four fouls; no KD; no DeMarcus
     
    #7 J.R., May 14, 2019
    Last edited: May 14, 2019
  8. Andy Sheets

    Andy Sheets Contributing Member

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    Unfortunately the team was just never really right for the entire season. Carmelo and MCW got scapegoated for the slow start, but even after they were gone the team had a way of playing down to competition, turning games that should have been solid wins into losses, and generally not bringing consistent effort. They were in the playoffs as they were in the regular season.
     
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  9. RudyTBag

    RudyTBag Contributing Member

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    He certainly didn’t play like a loser.
     
  10. tochiee22

    tochiee22 Contributing Member

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    Had the warriors not been the dynasty that they’ve become these past 5 years, the rockets would surely have at least 1 ring.
    Just bad luck. Maybe we get lucky and they break up.
     
    s3ts likes this.
  11. Patience

    Patience Contributing Member

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    It takes luck sometimes. The 94 and 95 Rockets got super lucky the Sonics were upset in the first round 2 consecutive years.
     
    plates300 likes this.
  12. smoothie_king

    smoothie_king Member

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    Truth hurts but Nash knew to cut and run when Nash left from suns when he took the free agent deal to retire on the Lakers with Kobe Bryant.

    Man iguodola, Livingston, looney dunked all over the rockets.

    The game six turnovers, stupid fouls, and arguments did not pay off. The technicals ain't help or even motivate. All that stuff did was distract the already difficult task of beating warriors. The melo situation was one domino in this cluster-phuck of a season.

    Man the 2009 22 win streak team was closest to best era of Hakeem olajuwon!
     
  13. napalm06

    napalm06 Fire Bill O'Brien
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    This article turned to poison very quickly on the bolded part.

    The game 1 complaints and the complaints about last series were not beneath them as a franchise. It was not "hunting for fouls". They were legitimate fouls. Hence the rage. This is a false narrative that social media is trying to turn into reality.

    Either causally or incidentally, the officiating in this series was completely fine after game 1. But nevertheless, game 1 happened.
     
  14. napalm06

    napalm06 Fire Bill O'Brien
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    100%. There were a ton of bad meltdown losses throughout the season that are easy to forget now. There was also the OKC game that single-handedly blew up the entire Western Conference playoff picture.
     
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  15. dream2franchise

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    We're an Andy Roddick in a Federer world. Timing is everything.
     
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  16. J.R.

    J.R. Contributing Member

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    28-27 Rockets after one (Klay: 10; Iggy+Green: 9; Looney+Cook 8)
    57-57 at half (Klay: 21; Iggy+Green: 16; Bench: 20)
    87-82 Rockets after three (Klay 24; Iggy 14; Steph 10; Green 8; Bench: 26)
    118-113 Warriors FINAL

    Curry 33 points (0 | 0 | 10 | 23)
    Thompson 27 points (10 | 11 | 3 | 3 )
    Iguodala 17 points (3 | 5 | 6 | 3)
    Green 8 points (6 | 2 | 0 | 0)
    Bogut 0 points
    --------------
    Livingston 11 points (0 | 6 | 0 | 5)
    Cook 2 points (2 | 0 | 0 | 0)
    McKinnie 0 points
    Jerebko 2 points (0 | 2 | 0 | 0)
    Bell 4 points (0 | 2 | 2 | 0)
    Looney 14 points (6 | 2 | 4 | 2)

    1st Q
    Thompson 3
    Green 2
    Green 2
    Iggy 3
    Thompson 2
    Thompson 3
    Green 2
    Looney 2
    Looney 2
    Cook 2
    Thompson 2
    Looney 2
    2nd Q
    Jerebko 2
    Iggy 2
    Looney 2
    Livingston FT
    Livingston FT
    Iggy 3
    Livingston 2
    Livingston 2
    Thompson 3
    Thompson 3
    Bell 2
    Green 2
    Thompson 3
    Thompson 2
    3rd Q
    Iggy 3
    Curry 2
    Iggy 3
    Curry FT
    Bell FT
    Bell FT
    Looney 2
    Thompson 3
    Curry 2
    Looney FT
    Looney FT
    Curry 3
    Curry FT
    Curry FT
    4th Q
    Iggy 3
    Curry 2
    Livingston 2
    Curry 3
    Livingston FT(1/2)
    Livingston 2
    Curry 2
    Looney 2
    Curry 3
    Curry 2
    Curry 3
    Thompson 3
    (110-104 Warriors lead with 30 seconds left)
    Curry FT
    Curry FT
    Curry FT
    Curry FT
    Curry FT
    Curry FT
    Curry FT
    Curry FT
     
    c1utchfan925 and J Sizzle like this.
  17. mikol13

    mikol13 Protector of the Realm
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    Yep. I just didn’t see a team that played like they wanted it badly enough. Say what you will, I love this team, but I didn’t see that fire in games 5 and 6.
     
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  18. Derp McFlopsky

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    This is a fallacy.

    The team he played for, the network that pays him to talk, the team that pays him to coach up players, the write of the article, etc....
     
  19. YaoMing#1

    YaoMing#1 Member

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    Just no.....

    That team had zero chance at a title once Yao went down.

    This team has been the clear second best team in the league 2 years straight and the only team to date that actually pushed the warriors and made them sweat a little, especially last year.

    I don’t recall any team with Tmac getting out of the first round.

    Harden has been to 2 WCF and the second round 2 other times. These rockets with harden have clearly been the closet thing to the Hakeem run.

    Let’s not act like Hakeem before winning his first title wasn’t bounced out in the first round 4 or 5 years straight after having early playoffs success at the beginning of his career.
     
  20. smoothie_king

    smoothie_king Member

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    Man 22 win streak rockets stretched 2009 champion Lakers to seven games in they second round.

    That rockets team faced Kobe in his prime, bynum before the injuries, Ariza, etc.

    22 win streak rocket was loaded and deep.
     
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