MONDAY, 3/20/06 – Don’t you love how ex-Rockets keep haunting their old team during a season they really could have used their experience and scoring punch? On Saturday it was Robert Horry with 12 points and two treys in a big Spurs win over the Rockets.
Then you’ve got Toronto’s Mike James who has been making Houston’s front office look bad after trading him away last October for Rafer Alston (4-of-14 shooting Monday night). Fortunately, James plays in the Eastern Conference, so he can only haunt them twice a year.
On Monday night, it was Western Conference players Sam Cassell’s (24 points) and Cuttino Mobley’s (14 points) turn, leading the Clippers to a 99-91 victory over the Rockets — Houston’s fifth loss in a row.
Yao had a solid game with 25 points (7-of-16 shooting) and grabbed an incredible 17 boards. That makes for a 30-point and 12-rebound average over his past eight games.
However, he did shoot 0-for-3 in the fourth quarter. The rest of his teammates didn’t do much better, making only 4-of-18 shots in the fourth. But Yao did make all five of his free throw attempts in the final quarter, and 11-of-11 overall. Nice.
Over the past month, Yao has shot 87% from the line, and is now 84.5% overall for the season As Rick Kamla said Monday night on NBA Fantasy Hoops on NBA TV, “87% over the last month is hovering around the neighborhood of the elite – the best free throw shooters in the NBA….Yao is a marvel. Please marvel him.”
Juwan Howard has been winning some brownie points in my book, having another good shooting game Monday night, scoring 16 points and hitting 8-of-12 shots for the second game in a row.
Probably the most encouraging sign is that one of the key players to Houston’s future – Luther Head – has been getting lots of playing time recently, playing his fourth game in a row with 40+ minutes Monday. In 46 minutes, Luther scored 20 points on 8-of-17 shooting, dished six assists, and had three steals. Not bad, Luther. Just keep it up, even after T-Mac returns to the lineup.
Meanwhile, the Rockets made a major move by picking up a guy named Richie Frahm off waivers from Minnesota. What a great move for the Rockets that shows they are starting to think about their future…NOT! Frahm has played a grand total of 3 minutes and 28 seconds since January 10th! Add Frahm to the pile of other “no future” players the Rockets have picked up recently, like Rick Brunson, who admits he would rather be a coach than an NBA player.
The Rockets now have 15 games remaining in a season we all can’t wait to end. Unfortunately, Houston has to play Dallas Tuesday night on national TV.
Have mercy on them, Mavericks.
To see the boxscore from the game, click here.
To read the Houston Chronicle’s article about the game, click here.