Rockets Fire Coach, Then Win in Overtime Behind James Harden’s 45 Points
It seems that the Houston Rockets management isn’t the type to just wait out a slow start to the season. Last season, the Rockets lost in the NBA Western Conference Finals to the eventual champion Golden State Warriors, so big things were expected, but Houston was just 4-7 with some double digit losses in the team’s first 11 games. So, to shake things up, the Rockets fired head coach Kevin McHale on November 18th, naming assistant coach J.B. Bickerstaff interim head coach.
Well, that move came out of the blue and got the players’ attention. A few hours after the coaching change, Houston hosted the Portland Trail Blazers. James Harden had a monster of a game, scoring 45 points, grabbing eight rebounds, and had 11 assists and five blocked shots as the Rockets beat the Blazers 108-103.
McHale himself had commented on the lackluster play of his team, and how he didn’t feel the effort needed to win was there. Management may have seen that as a sign that the players weren’t motivated by McHale and wanted to get the talented Rockets going before they dug themselves too deep a hole.
McHale won’t be out of work long, should he so choose. Already expressing interest is Boston Celtics president Danny Ainge. Ainge and McHale were teammates with the Celtics back in the 80’s, and Ainge called McHale about possibly being an assistant with Boston. Word is that other teams have an interest in the NBA Hall of Famer as well.