TUESDAY, 1/10/06 – Man, these summaries are getting hard to write, folks. I thought I was going to have a great story to write tonight, with heroic three-pointers from John Lucas III (his first NBA 3-pointer), Luther Head and Rafer Alston that either kept the game close or tied in a game that went two overtimes.
But with only 9 players active, it was going to be tough to win a game that went this long especially considering the pitiful way the refs were calling this game. By the time the game ended, Juwan Howard and Lonny Baxter had fouled out, leaving the Rockets with only 7 players. In addition, it had to be one of the worst officiated games I have seen in a long time.
Stromile Swift was held out because of a scratched eyeball. Of course, T-Mac is out because of back spasms, and Yao is still a few weeks from returning to action. If they had just one of those players in action, they probably would have won this game considering how scrappy the remaining players performed to keep them in this game. You have to give them credit for not giving up, and it’s nice to see young players like Lucas and Head show what they can do.
The key to losing this game for the Rockets is their failure to come up with rebounds, giving the Hornets many second chances after missed shots. They also failed to cover Primoz Brezec on two consecutive possessions in the second overtime, and he hit wide-open jumpers to stick daggers in Houston’s heart.
Other than that, I’m not going to go into the details of this game. It sucks losing and being 12-21. But I will give props to Juwan Howard for scoring 28 points (20 points in the first half) on 13-of-26 shooting, and grabbing 12 rebounds – although it was Howard who left Brezec open on both of those aforementioned jumpers.
David Wesley had a fine game, scoring 26 points on 8-of-13 shooting. Even Alston’s line in the boxscore looked good: 20 points and 10 assists, although he threw up some bricks late that could have given the Rockets some breathing room.
It’s good that Alston had the line he had tonight since Mike James was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week.
Can we just end this season and start over?
To see the boxscore from the game, click here.