I would like to welcome to YaoMania! a friend of mine who has offered to provide some of his thoughts about Yao and the Rockets. His name is Tim T., and here’s his thoughts about Yao’s game against the Celtics last night.
Timing. It’s all about timing in this league. Yao Ming, in just his second game back from injuring his knee, doesn’t quite have his timing back yet. 11 points and 5 boards in just 19 minutes, Yao had a sub-par game against the lowly Boston Celtics. In every Yao-fan’s mind, there was some hope that Yao would come back with a bang. The Rockets were doing excellent in his absence, 20-12, and any wishful thinker probably believed Yao’s return would only catapult the currently seeded 5th best team in the West ahead into the top echelon of the NBA. But that will have to take time.
Case in point…Amare Stoudemire and the Phoenix Suns. Let’s not forget, it was at the beginning of the season when the Suns were 1-5 and everyone was talking about how Amare and the Suns had lost a step. But Amare knew to be patient and so did the Suns. That is what Yao needs. On the other hand, everyone would have loved to have seen him come back and drop his normal 28 points and snag 15 boards, especially on the Celtics, but that will have to take time.
Watching his movement in last night’s game, you notice he’s moving smoothly and running the court extremely well, but his feel for the flow of the game hasn’t yet arrived. Coach Van Gundy realizes that and senses the need to slowly bring Yao back and build his confidence. There’s a play that the Rockets are continually running where they have Yao standing weak side of the ball and a guard comes over and screens Yao’s man to free Yao to slash right across the lane and receive the ball within 3 feet of the basket. 2 points, count it! Plays designed just like that for Yao coupled with just plain ticks of the clock are what we should expect.
Nonetheless, everyone has got to love Yao’s fire and passion to get up to speed. Early in the game, he corralled a tough rebound and tried to put back a tough lay up, but out of nowhere…Kendrick Perkins of all people swats the ball out of the air. Seemingly a clean block, Yao was quick to fire his arm and holler at the ref. You gotta love it! In due time though, Yao will just have to tomahawk-dunk the ball into Perkins face. Patience Yao…Patience fans…It’s truly a virtue!