Rockets

MCHale Determined To Correct Rockets Post Defense Flaws

By TERRANCE HARRIS, SportsRadio 610
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 HOUSTON (CBS Houston) — Not even a nights rest and three hours of intense film study and practice Saturday were able to take the sting out of the Rockets disappointing loss to Minnesota on Friday night.

Rockets coach Kevin McHale was in a rather surly mood immediately following the 111-98 loss at Toyota Center and he wasn’t in a much better mood Saturday night after grilling his players in film session and on the practice floor.

“We had a lot of self-inflicted knife wounds to ourselves last night’s knife fight,” McHale said. “We cut ourselves quite a bit. They beat us up and we can’t have that.”

McHale could be heard getting on his players in the tunnels at Toyota Center on Saturday while in the film session. He didn’t let up in what was a much longer than expected practice day considering the Rockets played Friday night and have to play back-to-back home games Sunday against Utah and then Memphis on Monday.

“He’s a ticked off coach,” point guard Kyle Lowry said of McHale. “After we lost like that and he watched the film for hours on end so he is definitely going to be ticked off. So he had that mentality today which is fine.”

McHale issue remained the defense in the post where Timberwolves big men Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic had a field day. They combined for 63 points and 29 rebounds against the Rockets.

The biggest problem is the Rockets never came close to figuring out how to defend the big men in the pick roll offense. They will be tested again Sunday night when the Utah Jazz comes with a couple post players who play the pick-and-roll well, too, in 6-foot-10 Al Jefferson and 6-foot-8 power forward Paul Millsap.

If there is a saving a grace, it’s that neither Jefferson nor Millsap are capable of stepping out and shooting the 3-pointer like Love. But the Jazz duo is capable of putting up big points with Jefferson averaging 19 points per game and Millsap adding 15.6 points.

Sam Dalembert, who got into early foul trouble trying to guard Pekovic, knows the Jazz will attack the Rockets big man in many of the same ways.  And even worse, the Rockets are down a big man after reserve Jordan Hill injured his right knee in practice Saturday and will be out at least two more weeks which could make things even easier for the Jazz.

“They are a physical team,” Dalembert said. “Utah Jazz has always been that type of team. They are hardnosed team. We are going to have to do a better job.”

The hope is that Saturday’s three-hour session will go long way in ensuring that. But Dalembert admitted that watching the film was difficult.

“It was horrible. It was like watching a scary movie,” said Dalembert, who contributed just six points and four rebounds in 19:40 minutes. “But it wasn’t us out there. It didn’t look like us out there.

“I feel like we embarrassed ourselves as a team. We should have done a better job. It’s not like they did nothing special.”

Contact Terrance Harris at terrancefharris@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @Terranceharris

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