The Rockets were on the wrong end of brilliant performances from LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard in their Game 1 loss to the Blazers on Sunday, and lost a winnable game by blowing a 10-point lead at home with just four minutes left in regulation.
Sunday was an eternity ago by NBA standards, and with James Harden coming off an 8-for-28 shooting performance over 45 minutes of action, he sounds beyond ready for Wednesday night’s chance at redemption.
“This is a must-win for us,” James Harden said after the morning shoot-around [via CSN Houston]. “Must-win Game 2. Like I said, we had Game 1 under our belt and we let some silly mistakes in the fourth quarter, late in the fourth quarter, which we don’t usually do, slip away. But we’re confident. We’re ready to go for Game 2.”
Rockets head coach Kevin McHale, however, is taking a bit of a lighter approach.
The grind of talking to the media daily can get old for coaches, especially with so many days between games. And McHale in particular isn’t always all that interested in fulfilling this duty — in fact, one time I witnessed him come out for a pregame session at a visiting arena during the regular season, and when he saw only two reporters there (none of whom were regulars that traveled with the team), he turned right around and went back into the locker room, skipping the interview entirely.
McHale has a great sense of humor, however, so in the rare moments when the mood is right, he’ll definitely open up. And when asked some questions about Harden’s subpar Game 1, he explained in very basic terms the difference between good and bad players.
Reporter: “[Harden] has had some of his bigger games in the ones after some of his lesser games …”
McHale: “That’s usually the sign of a good player. The sign of a bad player is that he strings a bunch of bad plays, bad games together and then they become a bad player.”
Thanks for the clarification, coach.