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[Chron] Van Gundy to Rockets: Stick with it

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by Rockets2K, Mar 30, 2005.

  1. Rockets2K

    Rockets2K Clutch Crew

    Mar 22, 2000
    Likes Received:
    Van Gundy to Rockets: Stick with it
    Coach believes mark of champion is 'play your game'
    Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle


    PORTLAND, ORE. - Rudy Tomjanovich never understood the criticism. His style was called predictable and repetitive, even boring. He ran the same thing over and over. Just beat it to death. It was called obvious and unimaginative.

    Jeff Van Gundy added another word: "beautiful." Or perhaps "great." Or "triumphant."

    "Play your game," Van Gundy said of the 1990s Rockets. "Dribble down, left side, drop it down to (Hakeem) Olajuwon. If they missed 10 straight spot-up 3s when he was doubled, they'd shoot the 11th. They're not going to start cutting. They're not going to try to trick you. They'll play their game."

    That quality of the championship Rockets is missing from the new, inconsistent Rockets, Van Gundy said.

    But it's not Tomjanovich's reliable play-calling, his team's clear roles or even the indomitable presence of Olajuwon that are missing.

    Those Rockets, and for that matter every championship team, knew who they were, and nothing could change that. Shooting touch came and went, but confidence in the way each team won was unshakable. From the Bulls' and Lakers' triangle to the Pistons' suffocating defense, the champions' way has been to do it their way.

    This is what Van Gundy believes the Rockets need. It's not a position, skill or style that must change. The details — from restarting Yao Ming to recapturing the ball movement of the recent winning streak — go back to the ability to simply do what they do.

    "A championship-caliber team stays in the game by defending, rebounding and keeping their turnovers down," Van Gundy said. "But I think what separates teams is not their defense, but their offense. Championship-caliber offensive teams stick to what they do when it's going good and when it's going bad.

    "Through three quarters (Sunday), San Antonio was shooting 34.5 percent and we were shooting 45. And they never wavered in what they did. They pick-and-rolled, pick-and-rolled, drove-and-kicked, drove-and-kicked. There is great freedom within their structure, but they stayed within their structure. When ... we could have executed what we do to the best of our abilities, we tried to make it up.

    "To me, that's the difference right now between us and the better teams. We're not willing to stick with what we do and just do what we do and live with the results. You can't be in those games if you don't defend, rebound and (have) low turnovers. But let's say we do those things. What's going to separate ourselves is our ability to stick with what we do. We have not shown an ability to do that."

    Rockets players said they wanted the San Antonio experience to be a lesson and that they did a better job keeping their poise when Utah made its comeback from a 16-point deficit to within two on Monday. But the short-handed Jazz took 14 points off the Rockets' lead, and Van Gundy was not about to describe the Rockets' recovery as evidence that they have championship mettle.

    Spurs, Jazz are examples
    "I'd say there's a handful of teams in this league — Utah being one of them, San Antonio being one of them — that live and die with their game," Van Gundy said. "They do it, and they live with it, and the results may vary good or bad depending on the opponents and the night as far as making or missing (shots), but they never have their trust broken.

    "What was disturbing (in San Antonio) was that when it got tough, we let go of the rope. That game should have gone down to the very end if we would have stuck in there. We didn't have that resolve. I think that's what San Antonio has conquered, whether it's because of what they have done or because of the nature of their individuals, I don't know, but they stick with it."

    The Rockets' offensive game, when right, is understood. They play inside-out, looking to get the ball to the lane with penetration or post-ups and then move the ball to an open man. Though every play includes many options, Van Gundy insists on faithful execution on each of them.

    Make the commitment
    "You look at every finalist, every year — no matter who plays, they're willing to play their game," Van Gundy said. "You're not winning 82. You're going to have to deal with failure within a game and over the course of the season. Who can stick with what they do when it's not going good? Anybody can play your game when every shot is going in. That's not hard.

    "What bothers me is I like this team so much, so much. And I know, unless they make this change, they're not going to get where they want to go, whether it's the playoffs, to advance in the playoffs or even bigger, to advance deep into the playoffs. It's not going to happen unless they make that change, unless they make that commitment.

    "In the crucible that is the playoffs, there will be bad points in every game and if you at the first sign of trouble run away from who you are and try to reinvent yourself, then you have no chance."


    Rockets Summary
    'Too much like a robot'
    Rockets center Yao Ming said it remains to be seen if his session with Jeff Van Gundy on Monday would help boost Yao's confidence.

    Yao made seven of 11 shots against Utah, but he went to the line just once and had just four rebounds in 29 minutes. He made his most field goals in 10 games, a stretch in which he made 52 of 100 shots.

    "I was playing too much like a robot, like a machine," Yao said. "I just have to do something coach wants to do. I have to know anything can happen on the court. You have to make your choice, make your decision. Play your game.

    "Like a post move, just go to your move. Feel confidence."

    Sloan to sit Snyder
    Having seen the tape of Kirk Snyder's taunting of the Rockets' bench on Monday, Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said he would not play Snyder today against Denver, adding that he would not have played Snyder again on Monday had he seen the episode.

    Snyder said he was actually looking into the crowd and denied a charge by Rockets guard Bob Sura that he made a racist comment to Jon Barry during a previous game between the Rockets and Jazz. Sloan said the tape was clear that Snyder was not looking into the crowd Monday.

    "I'm not going to play him the next game," Sloan told the Salt Lake City Tribune. "I watched it on film. I thought it was ridiculous what he did. It wasn't a casual thing like 'I was looking up in the stands.'
    He went right over to the bench. He wasn't looking up into the stands. You have to be held accountable for some of those things. To me, it really could have been a serious situation.

    "Kirk talks a lot. He should just save his talking for when the game is over. That's what we're hoping to get our guys to do."


    man....Sloan sure is making it hard to hate him....gotta respect the resolve to make a point to the loudmouth kid.
  2. RocketsFan123

    RocketsFan123 Contributing Member

    Mar 27, 2005
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    Nevermind I get it... Yao was confusing me...
    #2 RocketsFan123, Mar 30, 2005
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2005
  3. rockbox

    rockbox Around before clutchcity.com

    Jul 28, 2000
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    He's saying that he was thinking too much and not doing what he does best. JVG is trying to get him to play with confidence, committ and come in with an attitude like t-mac's. The attitude that the opponent is at his mercy and even if they know what he's going to do, you can't stop him.
  4. RocketsFan123

    RocketsFan123 Contributing Member

    Mar 27, 2005
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    Hope it works:)
  5. DeAleck

    DeAleck Contributing Member

    Jun 14, 2003
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    This is one of the things that seperate guys like Sloan and someone who is just another NBA headcoach, such as Doc Rivers. He has the total authority over his team. And he uses it forcefully.

    Rivers knew his Celtics were talking trash, but he couldn't and didn't do anything about it. Cheeks got Darius Miles trashing him in front of his face, and he couldn't and didn't do anything about it, because what Miles was saying was actually right. Cheeks got fired in the end, and Miles stays and keeps making millions.

    With Sloan, he can do whatever he wants as a coach and has the support of their owner, no matter what, because he has Larry Miller's total trust in handling the team. He has Miller's trust, because he is simply good and has the track record to prove that most of his decisions are right. There is a reason that the Jazz hasn't had a losing season under Sloan(this year will break that streak).

    To show you how much power Sloan has, if a player has a power struggle with Sloan, they are doomed to lose. John Amechi, Carlos Arroyo, DeShawn Stevenson... These players weren't buying into Sloan, and they got shipped off in a hurry.

    In this case, he actually studied the case of Snyder, and made the punishment accordingly. This, can't be done by the vast majority of the NBA coaches, and it shows how much power Jerry Sloan has over the Utah Jazz team. I believe it is the way things are supposed to be done in this league. If you give power to the players, you end up with the Portland Trail Blazers and LA Lakers.
  6. arno_ed

    arno_ed Contributing Member

    Jan 14, 2002
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    you just have to respect sloan. To bad he is the coach of the Jazz:(
  7. Chilly_Pete

    Chilly_Pete Contributing Member

    Aug 17, 2001
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    I have to give Sloan credit for this, not many coaches would do something like this.
  8. Deuce

    Deuce Context & Nuance

    Aug 1, 2001
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    This is so true! But really are there any coaches in the league in a position like Sloan is in? He really is an anomoly. Just about every other coach is hired and fired in 3 years or less.
    Nevertheless, it is nice to see the coach able to take command like that.
  9. NIKEstrad

    NIKEstrad Contributing Member
    Supporting Member

    Mar 21, 2000
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    Gee, you think Van Gundy is getting through?
  10. qrui

    qrui Member

    Dec 4, 2002
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    wow, never knew sloan was classy. with players like karla and filpton, i always though he was a cheap-cutting-corners-b**st**d. this is definitely something different.
  11. Davidoff

    Davidoff Contributing Member

    Feb 18, 2004
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    Guys, it's not like Sloan is making a push for the playoffs or this is even one of his star players... why wouldnt he bench him???
  12. Will

    Will Clutch Crew
    Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 1999
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    Right message, wrong venue. If Van Gundy is pouring this out to the Chronicle, it means he hasn't succeeded in getting it across to his players in private.
  13. gucci888

    gucci888 Contributing Member

    May 20, 2002
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    It doesn't matter. Sloan doesn't take that kind of crap from his players, he never has. What Snyder did was completely uncalled for and Sloan is making it clear that he isn't going to stand for that.

    It doesn't matter if its your superstar or whether you're in the playoff hunt, it's just a coach punishing a player for doing some very dumb and childish, which is something we don't see a lot of now a days.
  14. Sishir Chang

    Sishir Chang Contributing Member

    Nov 12, 2000
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    Perhaps Yao needs to do the Robot everytime he gets a dunk like Mutumbo does the finger wag. That would give him some of that NBA attitude people complain he's lacking. ;)

    I really think that this means he just needs to play more fluid and instinctual rather than systematically. He feels out situation and reacts accordingly rather than just trying to do the same things in every situation.

    Sorta of the opposite of what JVG is preaching for the team overall.
  15. macfan

    macfan Contributing Member

    Mar 12, 2005
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    I agree. Van Gundy never discloses any internal information to the media. So what he's saying to the paper is a message that he hasn't been able to get through to the players. Whatever works:)
  16. v3.0

    v3.0 Contributing Member

    Jan 23, 2005
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    I've always been a big Sloan fan, in spite of coaching Flopton and Karla. He was actually known as one of the dirtiest players back in his playing days with th Bulls...tough, blue collar type of player who had a mean streak and would sneak in an elbow ala Flopton. But he wasn't a grandstanding hotdog like Snyder.
  17. ivanyy2000

    ivanyy2000 Contributing Member

    Oct 21, 2002
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    If Yao is a machine, he would be a thinking machine. He obviously thinks too much and worries too much.

    Stop thinking and just play your game.
  18. JumpMan

    JumpMan Contributing Member
    Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Jun 22, 2004
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    In a thread where Jeff Van Gundy drops some serious knowledge we can't stop talking about Yao, it's not like he said anything we don't know already.
  19. tigermission1

    tigermission1 Contributing Member

    Aug 17, 2002
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    I think JVG makes an excellent, and rather overlooked, point: that you are supposed to stick with the system and the way that has brought you success in the past.

    I think in this case, he is preaching individual confidence in what has worked in the past: i.e. for the guards to keep shooting and have confidence in their shots; for Yao to play instinctively and stop thinking too much and lack confidence in himself (I think this makes the point that I have been saying all along: that Yao's problems stem from mental weakness more than anything else, it is all psychological with him; that will determine whether he is great or not).

    I think, more than anything else, he is trying to make this point as the playoff nears to send one message: consistency and belief in the system. I think he is right, what has worked all season long is what the team should keep doing in the playoffs, otherwise if a few shots don't drop, and a few fouls get called that take them out of their game and mental focus, they won't have much success.

    JVG the philosopher strikes again;)
  20. hangxy

    hangxy Member

    Nov 2, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Yao's problems stem from the system of JVG. The system just exposes his weakness instead of taking advantage of his skill.

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