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Rockets fall apart in closing minutes of Game 6

May 4th, 2007
by John
Yao reacts to an offensive foul called against him in the fourth quarter Thursday night in a disappointing 94-82 loss in Utah.  With the loss in Game 6, the Rockets and Jazz will play Game 7 Saturday night in Toyota Center.Yao reacts to an offensive foul called against him in the fourth quarter Thursday night in a disappointing 94-82 loss in Utah. With the loss in Game 6, the Rockets and Jazz will play Game 7 Saturday night in Toyota Center. Click here for more photos from the game.

This is starting to get old and predictable. The Rockets were close to pulling off an improbable victory in Game 6 on Thursday night in Utah, but down the stretch they folded like a cheap suit.

Let’s forget about the first 3 quarters. The most important part of the game started after Shane Battier’s three-pointer pulled the Rockets within one point, 75-74, with 8:15 remaining in the game.

From that point, the Rockets failed to close the deal, making just 2-of-9 shots and turning the ball over an incredible 5 times.

This is not your 1994 or 1995 Houston Rockets.

I was so disgusted, it took me forever to get motivated to write this entry. Instead, right after the game I had to watch the Golden State-Dallas game to get a dose of fun, exciting basketball from the Warriors.


The only thing worse than the Rockets play in the last 8 minutes Thursday night was the Mavericks’ play in the last 24 minutes at Golden State.

After watching Golden State destroy the Mavericks, I don’t think the Rockets can beat them if Houston were to beat the Jazz and advance to the next round.

There’s part of me that doesn’t even want to see Houston go through that embarrassment, and just retool (or rebuild?) for next season.

There is a lot of justified complaining from Rocket fans about the team’s predictable offense — either dump it into Yao where he has a handful of moves he can use, or run McGrady on a pick-and-roll — which makes it very easy for the Jazz to anticipate defensively what they are going to do.

They may have an argument since it’s becoming easier for players like Andrei Kirilenko to block his shot or make him travel, or for Mehmet Okur to hassle Yao and slap the ball away, when he makes his offensive moves.

In my entry before Game 6, that was one of the things I said would be they key to the win – for Yao to be very careful with the ball and not set himself up for getting his shot blocked by Okur. He didn’t pass the first part of that test with 8 turnovers and at least one blocked shot by Kirilenko (I didn’t count).

My other key to the game was for Yao and McGrady to shoot for a good percentage. Yao was good on 9-of-16 shooting for 25 points, but McGrady failed – 8-of-23 shooting for 26. He shot 1-of-8 in the second half and had 5 turnovers.

At least he’s not alone. He joined Dirk Nowitzki in the “disappearing act club” Thursday night.

The other thing I thought the Rockets had to do for a victory was to shoot for a good percentage from the 3-point line. They failed that test, too, making only 28.6% of their threes (6-of-21). McGrady was 1-of-6, and my man Shane Battier was 1-of-5.

There are other things I could write about what went wrong Thursday night, but since I’m getting tired of it, I just want to move on to Game 7 to see which Rockets team is going to show up.

I may not be alone, but for Saturday’s Game 7, I’m a little ambivalent about what’s going to happen. I feel it has been hard to get attached to this Rockets’ team during the playoffs because they have so many things to fix, they are too predictable, and their inability to win a game on the road is going to come back to bite them. So why get emotionally invested only to know you’re eventually going to get hurt? Golden State is a much more attractive team to root for these days.

How do you feel about getting behind the Rockets? Are you getting tired of the same old thing? Let me know by providing a comment below. I’ll try my best to post your comments at least once every hour on Friday.

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