I was going to write a long post about all the things the Rockets did wrong as they fell behind by double-digits in Philadelphia Monday night. But then it just kept getting worse and worse, and I couldn’t keep up with documenting their poor play as the Rockets fell behind by 31 points.
When it became garbage time, Rick “Idle-man” (as aptly named by reader “Shawn”) finally put his subs in the game for good because he had no choice since his starters sucked so bad.
And lo and behold, the unit of Luis Scola, Luther Head, Bonzi Wells, Kirk Snyder and Mike James actually made it interesting by pulling to within 12 points with a few minutes left, but they couldn’t get a miracle win. But at least they showed they have some players who can score in a 100-88 loss.
I am not going to cite any statistics for any player because those numbers don’t mean anything in a game like this one. The starters don’t deserve to have their numbers mentioned, and the subs got moist of their points in garbage time when the game was out-of-hand and there was really nothing to lose.
If there is anything to be learned from this game, it’s that Rick Idle-man needs to show some balls and START this same bench unit against Detroit on Wednesday night — at least for that game — and sit Tracy McGrady, Yao, Chuck Hayes, Shane Battier and Steve Francis. That will send a signal that their poor play is not going to cut it. The reserve unit deserves a chance to show what they can do when they start a game. If they implode, so be it. At least Idle-man would have rewarded “giving a damn” with playing time.
Let me just sum it up this way. The Rockets suck, and so does Rick Idleman as a coach. Where the hell is the “system?” He has all this talent and gets blown out by the Raptors and the Sixers? And there are really no injuries to this team, other than an inconsequential one to Rafer Alston.
After the Rockets went on that six-game losing streak last month, I started to understand why the Maloof brothers didn’t bring him back to Sacramento, and I’m being reminded of that again now. While the Rockets are getting blown out, he just sits there on the bench with no fire. He seems like a nice guy, but being a nice guy isn’t going to cut it around here.
It’s obvious this team has no respect for him. If Idle-man doesn’t make drastic changes for their next game (like starting the bench guys who showed some heart by getting them back into the game), it’s really time to consider getting rid of him.
It’s ironic that Larry Brown was watching the game as part of the 76er organization. Right now I would take anyone with a track record like Larry’s, with baggage and all. It’s better than what we’ve got for now.
It’s also time to consider putting several players on the trading block, except Yao, and see what kind of takers we can get. “It’s time” to rebuild and find a leader. This experiment isn’t working.
While we’re at it, I’ve talked about Aaron Brooks and Steve Novak deserving a shot at playing. They are in the D-League right now, but it would be very easy to bring them up considering Brooks scored 24 points on 9-of-19 shooting (3-of-6 from three) in the Rio Grande Valley Vipers win Sunday night. Novak scored 20 on 6-of-11 shooting and had 9 rebounds.
And while they’re at it, bring up former Texas Longhorn Gabe Muoneke at power forward. Gabe scored 30 points Sunday night, and is averaging 25.4 points this season. I saw him play Texas, and let me tell you, Gabe can play and gives a strong effort.
Even when the Rockets were still in this game against Philly in the second quarter before it got out of hand, they still had lots of problems, covered up for a short time by McGrady hitting 4-of-4 shots to start the game.
Steve Francis started at the point, and he played poorly, shooting a jump shot that was an airball (but was bailed out by a phantom call by the ref) as well as missing a three-pointer, and throwing a bad pass out of bounds for a turnover.
Here are a few plays where the Rockets showed no defensive intensity, before the game really got out of control:
3:49 – McGrady didn’t block out Willie Green after Green missed a jump shot. Green gets his own rebound and scores. LAZY DEFENSE BY McBRADY. 19-14, Philly.
1:51 – Mike James played the worst defense, double-teaming a player in the corner who didn’t need to be double-teamed, which left Jason Smith wide open to go through an open lane to the hole for a layup
The Rockets trailed 30-24 at the end of the first quarter. They had 6 turnovers to Philly’s zero (or 1).
11:25 – Luis Scola doesn’t block out after Jason Smith misses a jump shot. Smith grabs the rebound and lays it in! TERRIBLE. NO BLOCKING OUT BY SCOLA! 32-24, Philly.
9:15 – Bonzi Wells throws a stupid pass to Yao when Bonzi was wide open for a shot, but then he makes up for it after doing a spin move on the baseline for a layup. 34-28, Sixers.
8:06 – Mike James bites on a fake by Andre Miller, jumps into the air and fouls him, and Miller scores on a jump shot. That’s James’ 3rd foul. Battier comes in for James. 36-30.
7:35 – Thaddeus Young outruns Battier down the court for an open layup attempt, which he blows. But then Young scores a few seconds later on an offensive rebound right in front of the hoop. 39-30, Philly.
6:39 – McBrady lets his man Andre Iguodala blow right by him for alley-oop dunk, which he luckily misses. That was the worst defense!
5:05 – They leave Willie Green open for a three-pointer. No one was around him! 44-37, Philly.
4:07 – Yao throws up a half-hearted shot near the rim to miss after great ball movement by the Rockets. CONCENTRATE YAO, AND FINISH!
2:58 – McBrady decides to shoot a three that’s an airball rather than pass it around. 44-39, Philly.
2:14 – Bonzi throws another low-percentage shot to Yao when he isn’t ready for it! WHY DOES HE KEEP TRYING TO PASS TO YAO WHEN EVERYONE KNOWS HE CAN’T CATCH THOSE! Turnover! 46-39, Philly.
1:11 – McBrady falls asleep. He took 6 steps with the ball after turning it over before he gave the ball up to the ref, and that’s the 2nd delay of game for the Rockets, which results in a technical. 49-39, Philly.
:45 – Yao gets stripped, resulting in a wide open three by Kyle Korver. 54-39. This was a big turnaround.
:14.4 – Turnover by Bonzi by trying to do too much with the ball dribbling. Andre Miller goes the other way for a fast break. Goaltending by McGrady. 56-39.
Philly finishes the quarter on a 12-3 run. For the half, the 76ers outscored the Rockets 28-12 in the paint, and 11-2 on fast break points. The Rockets had 12 turnovers to Philly’s five.
10:11 – Chuck Hayes blows a defensive assignment, resulting in a layup by Reggie Evans. 62-44, Philly.
9:48 – McBrady blows an assignment, resulting in a layup for Willie Green. 64-46
8:39 – McGrady blows another assignment. Iguodala scores. 68-46, Philly.
After the Sixers go on an 18-4 run to start the third quarter, Houston announcer Bill Worrell – who has been announcing games for at least 20 years — says, “I’m embarrassed for the Houston Rockets. I have never seen this poor of a performance in all of my years.” That’s as tough words you’ll hear from the optimistic Worrell you’ll ever hear.
That’s enough describing of the carnage. Let’s see if Idle-man does anything on Wednesday night that shows some balls, and that he’s not going to take it any more. If he doesn’t, it’s time to find a replacement.