Like the Rockets, it has been a long week for me at work and I’m dog tired, so this is going to be a relatively short report. Watching the Rockets play the Pistons didn’t give me any extra energy since the game was relatively boring and low-scoring. Both teams couldn’t score (39-36 at halftime), the same number of points was scored in the second half, and the Rockets lost 78-70.
The only real excitement in the game was watching Yao take Ben Wallace to school, showing aggressiveness down low and scoring 20 points on 8-of-14 shooting. And although Houston’s offense was sucking again (except for Yao), the Rockets managed to keep it close and had a shot at the end to win it.
With 4:24 remaining, Yao hit a 10-foot jumper to cut the Pistons’ lead to 69-68, but then Rasheed and Ben Wallace took over and went on a 7-0 run to put the game away. When you’re the Eastern Conference champs and you have a 7-0 record (now 8-0), you’re expected to make plays down the stretch and beat 3-5 teams (now 3-6). That they did, which is no surprise.
I am pleasantly surprised the Rockets kept it close and hung in there against a far superior team. But it’s kind of sad that pride comes from just “hanging in there,” not winning.
Some more observations about this game:
T-Mac is obviously hurting, sitting out the fourth quarter when they really could have used him. Before he sat out the rest of the game, he was 3-for-16 and scored only 6 points. It’s amazing he was able to grab 13 rebounds seeing the obvious pain on his face. It looks like he’s going to have to take some games off, which is probably the best thing for the team in the long run. It will be painful in the short run.
Although Yao’s aggressiveness, 37 minutes of play (especially after playing last night against the Spurs ), 20 points and 11 rebounds was great to see, he had an incredible number of turnovers: 9. If I have time, I’m going to try to watch a recording of the game and break down who was at fault for all those TO’s.
David Wesley actually played decent, scoring 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting, grabbing 9 rebounds, and dishing out 6 assists. But he made a poor decision trying to take Rasheed Wallace to the hoop late in the game, and it cost him. Wallace easily rejected the shot to thwart the comeback.
Interestingly, Jeff Van Gundy did not play point guard Rafer Alston because of a bruised right leg. Shoot. I was hoping that it was a permanent decision to bench Alston and start looking for alternatives at the point.
Stromile Swift continues to put up decent numbers, scoring 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting and grabbing 9 rebounds.
Derek Anderson is absolutely awful. He scored 2 points on 0-of-7 shooting, and is now averaging less than 5 points over the past five games. It’s time to find someone else. At minimum, the Rockets should give Dion Glover a chance when he gets healthy. They should absolutely be looking to be make a deal for a shooting guard ASAP, especially with T-Mac hurting. Cuttino Mobley would have entertained coming back to Houston this off-season, but he’s now too busy tearing it up with the Clippers, as is Sam Cassell. Funny how Houston trades away good players, only to replace them with dogs, except for T-Mac.
Speaking of dogs, my dog-tiredness has really kicked in big-time. Time to go to bed.
To see the boxscore from the game, click here.
To read the Houston Chronicle’s story of the game, click here.