MONDAY, 3/13/06 – Behind three games in the standings for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference with only 19 games to play, the Rockets could not afford to lose to the Nets on Monday night. Although the Nets are good, they are beatable since the Rockets had beaten them 3 games in a row. Second, it was a home game for Houston at Toyota Center. Earlier in the season that didn’t mean much, but lately they have won their last 3 games at home.
Yao put his team on his back, scoring 36 points, making 18-of-20 free throws, and grabbing 9 boards. But without T-Mac and David Wesley in the lineup, the Rockets had to rely on Yao’s supporting cast to shoot decently. They didn’t. The Nets ended up with an easy victory, winning 90-77, and IMHO virtually dooming Houston’s chances of making the playoffs. They are now 3.5 games behind with 18 to play, but they still have to play Dallas, San Antonio, the Clippers, and Dallas again over their next four games.
The Rockets shot a season-low 34.2% against the Nets. Here were the culprits:
Stromile Swift: 1-for-5 overall, 2 points
Rafer Alston: 1-for-5 from three-point territory
Keith Bogans: 1-for-12 (ouch), 2 points
Juwan Howard: 3-for-13 (ouch), 9 points
This report is going to be very short because of work deadlines I’m facing this week. In fact, my reports all week will probably be short because of my work duties, and if the Rockets continue to lose as the season winds down. It’s kind of depressing to write much about a game where the Rockets’ role players shoot awful while the season slips away before our eyes.
To see the boxscore from the game, click here.
To read the Houston Chronicle’s article about the game, click here.