Angry McHale just wants an effort

VIDEO: The Starters point out some of the Rockets’ lackadaisical play

HOUSTON — There was no alternate ending on the video. No final scene where the Rockets finally stopped making careless turnovers, forcing up bad shots and using all the bad judgment of teen-agers at an abandoned campground in a horror movie.

“Observations are the same from looking at it on tape as looking at it live,” said coach Kevin McHale, the day after his team laid a 117-101 egg against a Clippers team playing without All-Star point guard Chris Paul. “We didn’t play very well. They played a lot harder than we did. They had second and third effort. They got after the ball. They shot better than we did. The game was there. We turned it over left and right, had I think six offensive rebounds with a million different misses. We didn’t play well enough to win.”

There had been so much talk about a lack of energy in the postgame locker room that one might have thought somebody pulled out a plug at Toyota Center.

But McHale, who spent a long stretch after Tuesday’s practice sitting and talking with team owner Leslie Alexander, was in no mood to speculate why a team that had nearly a full week of rest after eliminating Dallas in the first round would have less energy or less of anything in the opener of the Western Conference semifinals.

Word is that McHale tore into his team following Game 1 more than any other time this season.

“I think our attitude and effort has to change,” he said. “We have to be ready to come out and go to work and be ready to be physical and be ready to play at whatever level it takes to win the game. That also includes taking care of the ball. That includes getting second shots, attacking the offensive board, attacking their defenders, putting them in compromising positions and then making the right play.”

When it came to defending Clippers power forward Blake Griffin, who had his third triple-double of the playoffs with 26 points, 14 rebounds and 13 assists, the dismissive McHale had an idea.

“Try to possibly do the things we asked them to do in our preparation work,” he said. “We did not play Blake the way we practiced at all. We played him in an unknown way for most of them to watch.

“I’m trying to get our guys to play. We did not play well. They did not have a lot of juice. They had vacant eyes. They just looked like they were running in mud. If I knew what (would) get them out of it, you don’t think I would have given them the elixir?

“That surely caught me by surprise after having time off, getting our rest. The rest had nothing to do with our play last night. We’ve had those things off and on. I did not expect it in the opening game of the second round when you worked hard all year long to get home-court advantage.”

What remained in the air was why something as fundamental as effort would ever be lacking in the playoffs.

“You’re asking me these questions,” McHale said. “You got to go out and play. I saw the same game you did. You have to go out and play. If I had all the answers, I’ve said it a million times, I’d go to Wall Street and not have to talk to you chumps.”




  1. Cindy says:

    Very nice, 64 FT??!! NBA games are just so boring now.

  2. harriethehawk says:

    Kevin McHale is a good coach and I’m not understanding the hate. But then again, I was born and raised minutes from the old Boston Garden.

  3. Rockets396 says:

    Krespino you dumb af. Obviously haven’t watch the rockets played all season. Harden kept the Rockets at the 2nd seed, in spite of all the injuries the ROCKETS went through, and he should have won the MVP award. But it’s all about popularity. Everyone hates on the Rockets .

  4. When a coach can’t figure out why his players aren’t playing well, it’s possible the coach isn’t coaching well.

    He has to take more responsibility as a coach than to deflect on team energy.

    Any coach can whip players into shape. But the goal is to motivate, not whip. And great coaches motivate their players to play better and help them with tips and advice not guilt and blame.

  5. Tory Williams says:

    Mchale will whip them into shape

  6. krespino says:

    Watch the fourth quarter, the Rockets seemed disorganised, not knowing what to do, their only play being either Harden driving into the painted area and turning the ball over or getting free throw, or Josh Smith jacking three point shot meaninglessly. Howard jumping around and shooting some free throws. No other way the Rockets can score. In this game the Rockets appeared to be a team clearly weaker than the Spurs. The Clippers can sweep this Rockets team. Harden nowhere close to making an impact of an MVP claimer.

  7. Charles Cohen says:

    Michael is proof, like Flip Saunders or Byron Scott that certain mediocre coaches will always have a job. Great player though.