Los Angeles Clippers (16-11) @ Houston Rockets (13-14)
5:00 p.m. PST
December 19, 2015
Fox Prime Ticket
1. True or false: Kevin McHale should have been fired.
Ben Mesirow, (@SemNeb): True. The team had a lot of issues under his watch, and their play at the beginning of the season was so bleak that I don’t think management was wrong to fire him. They still have significant problems and they haven’t looked great even in their recent uptick, but a team with title hopes can’t just sit idly through doldrums like theirs.
Sareen Tavidian (@sarenetavidian): False. He gave the team the mental toughness to compete in the West similarly to that of his playing days with the Celtics. One of the most competitive and upstanding coaches and people in the association, it is a shame for the Houston fans that he had to get fired, but great for the rest of the west.
Roscoe Whalan (@RoscoeWhalan7): False. He was a scapegoat for a massively struggling team that’s in a hurry to win. McHale’s a good coach but things were pretty dire in Rocket Land. The team was 4-7 when he got the axe and are 13-14 now. So, I mean, there’s general record improvement. However, I think there are probably bigger fish to fry in Houston…
2. Is the Dwight era in Houston done?
Mesirow: Was there ever a Dwight Howard era in Houston? I think it might be more like the James Harden Era feat. Dwight Howard. In the last year or so he’s been closer to a guest MC, dropping in for a couple games here and there to spit a bar, block some shots, and throw a few hooks at the backboard as hard as he can. Is MC DH done with the Rockets? I don’t know if I trust anything he says about his own happiness level, but I do know that Daryl Morey is always ready to cut bait on an asset that looks like it’s deteriorating…
Tavidian: Yes. Reports are that he will opt out of his lucrative contract to hit the free agency market once again. It looks like the Dwight and Harden “duo” did not play out like everyone thought it would and unfortunately, Dwight is not the All-Star caliber center we got to see in Orlando.
Whalan: As I was saying, the Rockets have already cut loose coach and has its offseason acquisition point guard on a two-game suspension. Meanwhile, a summer with the Kardashians doesn’t look like it helped James Harden. That said, he’s their guy and there’s not many other places to point the finger, so, maybe Dwight is next to go — y’all know Morey is a trigger happy man.
3. What would you rate Jamal Crawford’s season so far out of 10?
Mesirow: On a scale of 1-10 Jamal Crawford’s season has not been good. He’s declined pretty sharply in this, his age 35 season, and it feels like at this point the Clippers might just be asking too much of him. His free throw shooting and slick handle have stayed strong, thankfully, but he’s shooting much worse and drawing fewer free throws. He can still get hot, and he can still make plays, but he might benefit from spotting up more, and perhaps playing more minutes alongside a true distributor.
Tavidian: Three. I would argue that it is his worst season to date. His shooting percentage has gone down and he does not look comfortable playing aside the second string with Josh Smith and Paul Pierce. Jamal’s best weapon is his scoring and without the ball in his hands he becomes a marginal player at best.
Whalan: Ah, Jamal. The offense isn’t as strong and without fail he makes the defense weak. He’s had a couple of wind-the-clock-back moments but I’d much prefer he was used in 20 minutes or less per game as a pure microwave off the bench. From me, he gets a 4.