McHale has been fired by the Houston Rockets, which returned nearly all the players from an excellent squad that made it to the Western Conference Finals last summer. They opened this season just 4-7.
This decision seems late in coming. Essentially, the old school McHale, a former all-star player for the 1980s-vintage Boston Celtics, was not a good match for the advanced-metric-inspired Rockets. He once told an interviewer: “You know, I think all that analytics says is, ‘If you score in the paint, it’s good.’ Well, I could have told you that. ‘If you block shots and rebound, it’s good.’ Well, I kind of knew that. ‘If you make a bunch of threes, that’s good.’”
But the real news here, for someone like me, who grew up watching the Celtics kick the living crap out of the Knicks, year after year, is this: The Celtics didn’t just win; they won white, with condescension, with slow fast breaks, with the worship of Larry Bird, with Red Auerbach and his stupid cigar, with many, many things that New Yorkers can and will never forgive.
Patrick Ewing is smiling, somewhere, right now, even if it’s only on the inside.