WEDNESDAY, 2/23/05 – The loss of Bob Sura to the Rockets loomed even larger on Wednesday night as Houston fell apart in the fourth quarter in San Antonio, turning the ball over multiple times and unable to close a 5-point deficit heading into the final quarter. The Rockets got blown out in the fourth, losing 99-81.
Tony Parker absolutely destroyed the Rockets, getting into the lane for his patented teardrop shot and high off-the-glass layups to score 22 points on 10-of-16 shooting. He also picked the Rockets’ pockets for five steals and outshined the Houston Sura-less backcourt of Rod Strickland and Andre Barrett.
It’s ironic, but before and after Sam Cassell played for the Rockets in the mid-90’s, many Rocket fans wanted Rod Strickland as their point guard. It’s too bad that he has arrived in Houston a few years past his prime. Not that Strickland is terrible, but the Rockets cannot afford to rely on him considering how often he turned the ball over: four times in 28 minutes. That’s Steve Francis-like.
Even though Sura is expected to be out 10 to 14 days, the Rockets cannot count on Sura’s back holding up the rest of the season after he returns. They absolutely have to make a deal for another point guard before the trading deadline on Thursday. Without a serviceable point guard, the Rockets offense is starting to stagnate. They need a guy who doesn’t turn the ball over very much, can get the offense in position, can run the break, get into the lane and make some layups, and hit an occasional outside jumper.
The Rockets had their chance to win this game, but they shot only 42% from the field, with T-Mac only hitting 1/3rd of his shots (7-of-21) for 22 points. David Wesley had a great game, scoring 13 points on 5-of-10 shots. And Juwan Howard continued to be very consistent, hitting 7-of-13 for 16 points.
Yao had another great game, scoring 20 points on 9-of-13 shots, but he got into foul trouble again which limited him to only 28 minutes of play. When he was out of the game, the Rockets offense struggled. When he was in the game, he really couldn’t be stopped…except at the free throw line where he only made 2-of-5 when the game was still in the balance.
Other than that, the story of this game was the Spurs toying with the Rockets down the stretch, blowing them out to keep their NBA best won-loss record alive. The story now will be watching the newswire on Thursday, hoping a deal can be made for a point guard. Can anyone say Mo Taylor for Derek Anderson?
To read the Houston Chronicle’s post-game analysis, click here.