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Yao returns to court, but Rockets still lose

January 30th, 2006
by John
Memphis' Mike Miller drives past Yao in the fourth quarter Monday night in Yao's first game back in over 5 weeks.  Despite Yao's return, the Rockets lost 86-77.Memphis’ Mike Miller drives past Yao in the fourth quarter Monday night in Yao’s first game back in over 5 weeks. Despite Yao’s return, the Rockets lost 86-77. To see more photos from the game, click here.

by John

MONDAY, 1/30/06 – You hoped when it happened that it would make a difference.

Of course, I’m talking about Yao‘s return to the basketball court Monday night — his first game back since having toe surgery December 19th, twenty-one games ago. Although Yao played decent minutes (32) and racked up decent stats (15 points on 7-of-14 shooting, 8 rebounds), the Rockets still lost to Memphis 86-77.

I wasn’t able to watch the game until about midway through the fourth quarter, and when I tuned in, they were down by 16 points. Just like they did against Miami the day before, they made a run to make things interesting, but never really threatened down the stretch.

If you look at the boxscore of the game, you see the big problem being 3-point shooting again. The Rockets were 3-of-17 from behind the arc (under-appreciated Scott Padgett looks awfully good right now, doesn’t he Jeff and Carroll?). Over their past two games, they are 6-of-31 from 3-point land, shooting less than 20%. That’s not going to get it done. Neither is 8-of-19 from the free throw line! Stromile Swift and Yao were both 1-of-4 from the charity stripe.

Now with Yao back in the lineup, I hope I will have more interesting things to write about. This losing (15-29 record, worst in the West) is getting so old, there isn’t anything new that can be said that hasn’t already been said. It reminds me of an old friend of mine who did freelance writing for a business publication after the tech bubble burst a few years ago. She ultimately decided to leave the gig, citing the reason, “There are only so many ways you can say the Nasdaq is down again today.” That’s what it feels like covering the Rockets.

John
john@YaoMingFanClub.com

To see the boxscore from the game, click here.

To read the Houston Chronicle’s article about the game, click here.