McHale to return as Rockets’ coach

By David Aldridge, TNT

Kevin McHale enjoyed his best season as a head coach in 2013-14.

Kevin McHale enjoyed his best season as a head coach in 2013-14.

A brutal last-second loss to Portland on Friday that gave the Trail Blazers a 4-2 series victory in the first round of the playoffs will not cost Houston coach Kevin McHale his job. According to a source, the Rockets will bring McHale back for the 2014-15 season.

There was speculation that McHale was in trouble if the Rockets lost their series to Portland. Houston finished 54-28 this season and was the fourth seed in the Western Conference playoffs. After a slow start, the Rockets came on strong the second half of the season, as Dwight Howard and James Harden meshed better. But Houston couldn’t stop LaMarcus Aldridge in the first two games of the series, and the Rockets were slowed greatly by an injury to guard Patrick Beverley.

McHale is 172-152 (.531) in three seasons as Houston’s head coach, with a 4-8 playoff record, having lost two first-round series.


  1. lakers says:

    HE CANT COACH…a sign of a good coach is one who makes in game adjustments …and he doesn’t…hire Mark Jackson

  2. keeeleee says:

    Harden shouldn’t be even on the court the last .9 second, since he is not a defender.
    Parsons shouldn’t be guarding D since he is not as fast as D.
    Lin is fast and has limited D very well during the 4th quarter and was not on the last .9 second.

    Whose fault is that?

    Harden has very bad 4th quarter performance throughout the season. Sure he has his own problem, but a rotation of 8 players… even an iron man will be tired.

    Get rid of this coach please!

  3. George Thomas says:

    I don’t think McHale is a good coach. He overplayed the starters and at the fourth quarter they looked tired. Except the 2nd game all other games rockets lost simply because of the stupid mistakes and lack of adjustments. I am still thinking that if DEMO and Garcia in the lineup, there would be different outcome. DEMO could guard LMA at least 10-15 minutes and could give Asik some needed test. Garcia was a good defender and has playoff experience. The series loss is from poor coaching

  4. Dave says:

    This season was not necessarily anyone’s fault. The Rockets, as they stand, need time to gel. Houston has swapped so many players, it’s ridiculous over the years. A team, even the Miami Heat current roster, had to have time to gel… You can’t fire, hire or trade your way into a championship.. You have to give a team and coach a couple of years to get established. Coach McHale has been here for 3 years, but the Rockets have not have traded almost all of their players every year! Look at the Spurs, there have been many changes over the years, but they are always no more than one or two.. They strive to retain the same players each year, which results in a team that really knows their coaches system.. If Houston makes any major changes, other than trading Lin or Asik.. they are screwing themselves, and THAT will be why they never win a championship. Even the great Olajuwan teams had to gel for a couple of years before they became great..

  5. Rocketsfan says:

    As a Rockets fan, I am disappointed to hear this news. I think mcHale is mediocre at best. There is so much talent on his team and IMO he has not brought out their full potential and does not know each player’s strengths and how they can best benefit the team. He also seems to have favorites and that contributes to what seems to be a lack of cohesion and team chemistry issues.

  6. Rick says:

    I can’t believe there was no switching on the last play. Harden watched Parsons try and get through 2 picks. Harden watched the 5-8 feet of separation between Lillard and Parsons….and just stood there.

  7. justsayin says:

    Great year for Houston – lots of wins and only kept from the game 7 home advantage by Lillards miracle shot. They got beat by a team that can get on fire and should stay positive remembering the West is brutal. Plus teams develop players – nothing wrong with giving a HoFer & new coach time to grow too.

    • Blazer Believer Tim says:

      Well said. When everyone is beating up on the coach to keep his job, why don’t you blame the players with the big paychecks to do their job to help the coach? Granted there are some bad coaches that need to go, we’ve had them in the past in Rip City also. This was a well matched playoff team. Both had the same record wins and losses. Both were well coached and both had talented players. On game 3 the clock ran out on the Blazers and on Game 6 clock ran out on the Rockets. I’m sorry for you that I’m a Blazer fan that attended the home playoff games to see this matchup. The refs in this series gave the advantage to the Rockets regardless of what floor they were playing on. Blazers had 3 sports writers for them and Rockets had 16 for them. Brandon Roy did the same winning shot in .8 sec on the Rockets and Lillard did it in .9 sec. on the Rockets. Two bad calls at 28 sec left in the 4th qtr went in favor of the Rockets when it should have been Blazer ball. That was a turning point and Howard should have been called for shove at .9 sec, he got away with it and Houston got 2 points. We in Rip City thought for sure it was going back to Houston unless we could come up with a Brandon Roy replay shot, and Lillard delivered. I plan to be at next seasons slug fest in the repeat event 2014-2015 against Houston. If the Blazers beat the Spurs, Rocket fans should feel good that they gave it their best shot and they may have won also. If we lose, Rockets may have had the same fate because both teams could have advanced to the next round. Rocket fans hang in there, we just ended our 14 year drought to the second round. Be proud of your team and support your coach.

  8. tj says:

    Last 2 play off loses clearly on the fault of the players who aren’t listening to McHale. McHale stated in Game 5 they told all players to call time out after getting the rebound and Lin dribbled out. Game 6 the only thing that could beat you is a 3 and guess what ALL players were lined up inside the 3 pt line, Lillard was too wide open. McHale’s inability to devise a scheme in the 1st 2 home games to stop Aldridge was absurd.. It’s evident that the players aren’t listening to him. When the Rockets began to feed D-12 the ball the offense haulted, James Harden looked like a deer in headlights and his lack of defensive effort was just pathetic at times. Parson’s would have awesome 1st half not to ever be heard of again during the rest of the game.

  9. Joe Morris says:

    The Rockets can’t blame the entire lost series on that one shot. That one shot was just the final nail in the coffin. There are many reasons why they lost. Dwight’s free throw shooting is one. The team should make Dwight practice several hours a day shooting free throws. Hundreds and hundreds of them. His awful free throw shooting is a huge liability for the team. With a lot of practice, he could probably improve at this.

    They also need to start taking less three point shots. They rush up far too many wild three pointers. They need to try to work the ball inside more and take their time try to get it inside to Dwight. Dwight isn’t the player Hakeem was, but he could score more than he does if they got the ball to him more consistently.

    I think Lin and Asik will be gone next year. They will probably have to unload their salaries and put that money towards a new power forward. As for McHale, I would give him one more chance to get out of the first round.

  10. celentano says:

    The question is what happens with Dwightmare if the get out the first round next season?Staying or going away?new topic for the writers lol!

  11. josey says:

    This was Dwight Howard and James hardens first season together! McHale is a good coach! If they dont get past the first round next season then fire him! Goerge karl is a better coach! They NEED to be more defensive minded! I know coach karl has health issues but he is a great coach and does the best he can and gets the most out of his players from the defensive end and offensive end! All these years and teams(bucks, sonics, nuggets, CAVS! Look at his(KARLS) record!

  12. Patty says:




  13. josey says:

    This was Dwight Howard and James hardens first season together! McHale is a good coach! If they dont get past the first round next season then fire him!

  14. njah says:

    Hardens wea defence and Howards incapability hitiing freethrows was the difference inthe series not McHales coaching. Both Houstons superstars are flawed

  15. Rockets Lover says:

    McHale & team need to show some defensive coaching next year. In the flag end of the game, Harden should be in the driving seat and not Howard.

  16. bodjee says:

    Good move by Houston.

  17. Hot Coffee says:

    McHale’s 0.9 seconds timeout coaching was ” no 3 pointer, no Portland win”. We all knew that was the GOAL. Where was the PLAN – how to achieve the goal? Why McHale yanked J Lin, the clutch player, out at the final play? Why McHale did not tell his favorite defense player Beverley to guard Lillard?

    There were more questions than answers from McHale’s coaching.

  18. Ryan says:

    All these people clearly aren’t Rockets fans and didn’t watch the whole series alright it was 4-2 to Portland but it could have easily been 4-1 to Houston if a play here or a play there went differently, or a call went the other way. Like the last game Dwight had 4 free throws that he missed back to back and if they never called that blocking foul on Asik J Lins 3 pointer would have won it. The series was so tight im a Houston fan and even though they lost in Round 1 I was happy with what I saw. With this experience and maybe add an experienced defensive PF to the team the future looks great. Dwight was awesome all series and was our best player we don’t need a third star player,we just needed more playoff experience on how to close in 4th quarters.

  19. Pétrus says:

    I just went crazy when lillard hit the shot, but it’s not Mchale’s fault, Parsons got outrun in the play, maybe Mchale was expecting that a guy taller than Lillard would make that shot more difficult to hit. As i usually like to say, if you win as a team, you loose as a team too…

  20. j says:

    obviously, it’s not mchales’ fault. harden is a dumb*ss defender. he didn’t switch and that could have made lillards shot difficult.. a coach doesn’t need to tell them to switch. its a given

  21. Alvaro says:

    Admit Portland is better then Houston that’s it no question is better

    • JarBox says:

      Are you stupid there evenly matched.(Dwight vs Aldridge,Harden vs Lillard,and Batum vs Parson) that is a perfect match and both teams don’t take advantages

  22. okc2014 says:

    Dwight is still the best center in the NBA. I can’t explain how they lost. Maybe Portland is just that good. Remember, they fell far behind in the standings during the regular season when Aldridge got hurt. They were dangerous then and still are now.

  23. Editor says:

    A telling thing about McHale’s coaching is that so often the Rockets would run a terrible play right after a timeout, but better plays when they were just in the flow of the game. McHale doesn’t know how to call plays, doesn’t know how to get players playing with each other, and doesn’t know how to structure the offense to exploit his player’s strengths. The Rockets are a way better team than their coach allows them to be.

  24. randomguy says:

    Everyone is ragging on the decision to keep McHale, and while it is true he was clearly outcoached and did not do a better job, let me ask, who would they replace him with? Mike Woodson? D’antoni? Jeff Van Gundy obviously isn’t going to come back for round two with Howard, so who do they have left? Lionel Hollins will not want to pick up a team whose strength lies on offense not defense. George Karl? Or would you rather replace McHale, who as a former hall of famer at least commands some form of respect with a rookie coach to try and lead the team to a finals? Really, there’s not much choice for the Rockets, they have to stick with him because there aren’t any star coaches on the market.

  25. DC says:

    Sack McHale, with such so much talent, no excuses. harden needs to learn how to play defence, had a horrible series. Why isn’t Lin getting more court time???

  26. Roby says:

    I don’t think next season will be a whole lot better. It’s really 2015-2016 that the rockets can get a big three. Keep mchale though. And keep in mind it took a minute for kobe and Shaq to start winning championships. Harden and Howard in my opinion can be like kobe and Shaq together.

  27. DemonLizard says:

    They were eaten alive by Aldridge, Demon Lizard,. and even Robin J-Lopez which they can obviously dominate. That last play was coach’s fault, He put Howard first on the inbounder and then changed his mind to put Jones, and also without instruction on rotating defenders, Parsons was too late, Lizard catches & shoot the ball in the easiest way, he was f%*ing wide open. Get a New Coach!!!

  28. Donald Sterling says:

    Great players do not always make great coaches…..or owners for that matter…..

    Also the only guy that could have really led Douche Howard to a ring is PJ

    McHale has a reasonable record, I would say give him one more year and if he still can’t get this team out of the first round then that is not acceptable and he should be FIRED ! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  29. keeeleee says:

    With the talents on his hand, he could have done much more than just getting us to the 1st round!
    This “team” is chaotic in both ends of the court. It has to be the problem of the coach.
    Not to mention his long track record (see how he did in minisota) of lacking right decisions.

  30. mario says:

    im a die hard rockets fan …. I have some free good advice for rockets managements …if they wanna win playoff games ? they spouse to fire all coaches also moved or trade jermy lin . and t jones . . as soon as today

  31. OKC says:

    Har har two years in a row Dwight gets bounced in the first round after everyone saying he would take his team to the finals LOL.

  32. jayfs says:

    Why would you fire McHale, we had a good season – I’m a rockets fan and I thought we would atleast get to the second round maybe even conf. Finals. but the portland series was extremely close and Aldrige just went crazy hitting amazing shots.

    The Rockets will come out a lot better next year!

  33. YL says:

    Kevin McHale is not a good coach. He should be fired. For most part of the series, there were not much ball movement. James Harden is one on one. By the way James Harden is a good player but not a superstar. He does not share the ball. When he is holding the ball, other players are standing and watching. Coach McHale allows Harden to do that. Even if Houston won the game 6, they would have lost the game 7.
    Portland shares the ball, there were a lot of body movement. That is why they won the series.

    • allaroundballer says:

      Agree on this, they mostly played isolation, one on one. Harden or lin. And for the last fourth quarter they gave the ball to howard and let him did his post game. That actually worked well. Which is ANY AMATEUR COACH could do so

  34. Mike says:

    Why Parson defending Damain instead of Pat and not facing him to take away the three point play with .9 sec left. Why Rockets were confused after a time out on the switching between Pat and Parson. Fire the coach!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  35. Knight says:

    who else would make a better coach?

  36. Raúl says:

    I have to say I think coaching left a lot to be desired on this one. Houston had better players in greater numbers, more offensive variables yet found a way to loose. You wonder… they where up during nearly all games in the series and yet found a way to lose them in a devastating manner. The first game was a disgrace. Portland’s negative tactics and lack of offensive players (it was lamarcus aldridge’s show) allowed them to foul howard in the final minutes sending him to the line. And just like that they began crawling back and ultimately won the game. They did this time and again. What is it he can’t see that he allows leads to slip in crucial moments and makes poor defensive choices at crunch time?? Lillard got the ball completely alone to win that buzzer-beater. With 0.9 seconds the opposition finds a way to shoot completely uncontested? It’s almost a joke.. It doesn’t even warrant an answer. That’s entirely the coach’s fault. Tactically he has been found out one time too many.

  37. Mike says:

    Why TJ was defending the base line 3 point where with no offensive player at that position instead of facing Batum straight up at .9 sec left in the game.

  38. GARY says:

    McHale only had one year with a new young team, and Houston knows they have some room to grow if they can make some deals next year around Lin or Asik, Can’t blame McHale for the loss, at some point your best player needs to defend (Harden) and for that matter, score. McHale shouldn’t have to remind Harden to defend.

    PS Lin is definitely not a better defender than Beverley…

  39. Quagmire says:

    Why on earth would he put a 6 ft 9 forward on Damian Lillard? McHale’s stupid late game decision costed the Rockets a game 7. Lin was doggin Lillard all game long and then McHale took him out in the last second of the game? I think that strongly supports the idea that McHale simply does not trust Lin. Every writer praises Beverley for his “outstanding” defense. I think that is complete BS. Lin is as good as a defender as Beverley. I might even admit that Lin is probably faster than Bev too. If Mchale is going to stay in Houston then I want to see Lin go somewhere else. He’s a really good player and he will not suceed under McHale’s coaching.

    • JarBox says:

      Lin suppose to be back up and Kevin mchale trusted parsons it did cost them but mchale is a great coach and I’m happy to see him next year.

  40. j.b says:

    FIRED McHale ASAP find a new coach that is fair to his player Dont invest money to superstar that cant handle the situation in crunch time face the truth your superstar leader cant play defense and accept your KARMA that you mistreated JLIN i hope you see the true colors of your players NOW who is the one that they called clutch player none other than JLIN!

  41. keeeleee says:

    Watching Rockets’ game, I couldn’t find a trace of an orgnized TEAM. Everything is one-on-one.
    That can only lead to one conclusion: this team does not have a coach. So who is McHale?

  42. Nusha says:

    Ray, I am with u this. Coach should get fired.

  43. Mark says:

    The speculation was by people who don’t know why McHale was chosen as coach. It has been Morey’s plan all along to try to get Kevin Love and McHale is the key. He mentored and worked with Love and helped him develop his game.

  44. MJ23 says:

    Get ready for another early playoff exit near year, Houston fans.

  45. TimTheBest says:

    I think the loss is on McHale and his coach fellows. He doesnt have any offensive plays (everything is one-on-one), and his defense is awful (or at least he doesnt emphasize the importance of defense during practices and games). Most importantly, he was so slow at adjusting while his team was in trouble during games.

  46. Jimmy says:

    This loss was on McHale and Parsons. Why in the world would you bench Lin at the last crucial moments when he was giving great defense in this game and game 5. He was better at defense than Parsons. Parsons was struggling in defense in this game. He also fell asleep in those last 0.9 seconds when Lillard bolted to the ball. Parsons barely kept up. I like Parsons as a player but he fall asleep for even a brief second in the Playoffs. Harden had horrible defense. He just stood around and waved his arms.

  47. RAY says:

    Mark my word. As long as Kevin McHale is the coach, Houston will not win anything. He does not coach team play and let James Harden ball hog his team. It is so easy to defend Houston – just shut down James Harden and you can shut down Houston offense. McHale has so many weapons and he does not know how to use them. I blame this one on the coach.