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Supporting cast and Yao take care of Grizzlies

December 6th, 2007
by John
Yao Ming throws down a one-handed tomahawk jam in the first half of the Rockets game against the Memphis Grizzlies.  After 3 days off to rest and prepare, the Rockets' team shooting improved to 51% for the game for the W.Yao Ming throws down a one-handed tomahawk jam in the first half of the Rockets game against the Memphis Grizzlies. After 3 days off to rest and prepare, the Rockets’ team shooting improved to 51% for the game for the W. Click here for more photos from the game.

I had to work late on Wednesday night that overlapped with the Rockets-Grizzlies game. Then when I got home to watch the game on my DVR, I got sick to where I’m not able to write a full report like I normally do. But I’ll try to gut this one out.

After losing to the Grizzlies on November 13th in Memphis, the Rockets got some payback by easily defeating the Grizzlies 105-92 on Wednesday night in Houston. I was a bit concerned the Rockets would come out lethargic, similar to the last time the Rockets had 3 days off and didn’t look like they had done any preparation in a loss to Dallas on November 21st.

The big key to this victory was the re-emergence of Bonzi Wells (24 points on 11-of-14 shooting), who many people, including myself, had written off that perhaps he was going to sprial downward the rest of the season.

Bonzi was phenomenal in the second quarter when he scored 12 points, and looked like the same Bonzi who had destroyed the Spurs in the fifth game of the season. Although he had shorter guards trying to guard him Wednesday night, he still looked like a totally different player from the guy who had been missing so many shots during his slump lately.

I don’t think it’s any coincidence that when Bonzi started his slump, the Rockets started losing after having gone 6-1 to start the season. On Wednesday, he miraculously got his shooting touch back, which included making many layups that he had been missing lately.

Luis Scola was also active in a very short 17 minutes, scoring 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting, and being very active deep down in the paint for layups, but also scoring from nothing-but-net jumpers.

Then you have Yao who scored 24 points on 10-of-17 shooting, grabbing 13 boards, and blocking 4 shots. Two of those rejections were very impressive – blocking Pau Gasol and Rudy Gay at the rim on consecutive possessions.

Offensively, I loved it in the first quarter when he beat Pau Gasol down the court and Tracy McGrady rewarded him with a pass on the dead run that resulted in a tomahawk throw-down! That’s probably the second or third time this season that Yao has beaten his defender down the court for dunks.

Yao also threw down an emphatic two-handed dunk over two Grizzlies in the second half, with a snarl after that aggressive move to show he wasn’t going to be denied! Then later in the 3rd quarter, Yao grabbed an offensive board and threw it down with authority! No Yao fan can complain about Yao’s reluctance to dominate in this game.

Finally, Shane Battier came back from his recent shooting woes by hitting 3-of-5 three-pointers, and scored 13 overall. Every time he hit those threes, it brought the house down. Everyone knows how important it is for him to those shots. It was good to see him back, and he’ll need to keep hitting those for the Rockets to win games.

Luckily with all this help from the other role players, the Rockets overcame a bad shooting night from McGrady, who scored 17 points on 7-of-22 shooting, and missed 1-of-6 three-pointers (why is he shooting so many three?). But he did get his first triple-double in quite some time, grabbing 10 boards and dishing 12 dimes, no doubt helped by Battier and others hitting their open shots. McGrady also had 2 blocks.

The Rockets also overcame a bad shooting night from, who else, Rafer Alston, who missed 3-of-9 shots (including missing 3-of-4 three-pointers). To make up for it, he did have 8 rebounds and 7 assists. But I’m still not happy with the overall numbers.

Surprisingly, even with Alston’s struggles, Steve Francis only played 9 minutes and scored 2 points. And Mike James played only 5 minutes and didn’t score.

You know you’ve got a deep roster when Francis and James combine for 2 points, and you still win fairly easily. That’s the way it should have been for most of the 9 games the Rockets lost in the previous 18 games.

5 Responses to “Supporting cast and Yao take care of Grizzlies”

  1. JT in MD Says:

    Fun game to watch…Good team effort. Yao showed the aggressiveness he needs to show more consistently. Nice job on the offensive glass with 5 of his 13 rebounds on the offensive end.
    Tracy was great even thought his shooting touch was off, he found other ways to contribute by passing, blocking shots, and rebounding as evidenced by the triple double.
    Imagine how good they will be if they can get Yao and Tracy playing great and one other guy stepping up consistently…

    (ps – rick? more time for francis? He seems to fire things up when he gets in)

  2. Allen Says:

    I think Mike James, after a good preseason, is playing himself out of this lineup game by game. His entire game is predicated on his “instant offense,” but this year that has translated into 9 points a game and 37% (exact same as Rafer) shooting from the field. At least Rafer is decent on assists with 4.9 a game to James’ 1.9, and on the boards at 3.3 to James’ 1.8. When Rafer isn’t shooting well, he can still contribute in other ways, and I think that it is obvious that that is why he gets more minutes. When James isn’t shooting well he brings nothing to the table. I think (hope) that eventually Francis will be the primary backup and James will be lost on the bench.

    That all said, Rafer’s shooting is just miserable. I don’t really see him shooting his way out of it either. I’d love to move any of our PG’s, but I don’t see a lot of PG’s out there to go get though. Most of them have good situations or bad contracts (feel free to correct me if I am wrong). I was thinking about Andre Miller, who is a great passer and rebounder but has no outside shot or defense and is getting older (although no older than our other guys). Who knows, but I think we have really got to do something at the point – still don’t think Brooks is the answer.

    Again, as always, thanks for all the hard work. Hope the donation drive is working out well.

    Thanks for the kudos about my hard work. Regarding PGs, I hear Jason Kidd is looking out of New Jersey (see http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news;_ylt=As.AtUznImVuYYoklOxv7Di8vLYF?slug=aw-kidd120507&prov=yhoo&type=lgns). He wants to play with Lebron, but typically teams don’t like to cave in to demands for a specific team. So maybe they will trade him, but to a different team. Why not the Rockets (package deal that includes Rafer, close to his NY roots), although I think Francis would go ballistic that he can’t be the starter if that were to happen. — John

  3. calyp Says:

    don’t understand your infatuation w/ mike james. just because rafer is having a bad shooting night (pretty usual) doesn’t mean more minutes should be given to james.they have totally different mentalities. rafer TRIED to setup his teammates and always has respectable # of assists. mike is just selfish. the rox dont need both james and francis, francis is enough

    I haven’t really said anything about James in weeks, good or bad. Which post are you reading? For the one billionth time, Mike James is not meant to be a traditional point guard. Alot of you guys need to get over your love affair and defense of Rafer, which perplexes me. — John

  4. Jim From Hollywood CA! Says:

    Mike James…..The type of player that at times can make or break a game. I think his shot selection at times is horrible. He looks for his shots more than to pass the ball 1st. Hes been very streaky this 1st half of the season. I really like the 2nd unit of Bonzi, Scola, and Franics. They give you that necessary rough game that sometimes is needed. John, (and anybody else) I feel that Scola has really come out tp play this year. Yesterday Yao chest bumped him after a 3pt play scola made. He reminds me of a faster Elton Brand. Not because scola is a 20/20 player( at least not yet), but because he has a nose for the ball. Go Rockets!

  5. richard Says:

    Good performance last night. But I think Rockets needs to be more consistent. I hope this win will make them realize that they can do a lot of damage if everyone is contributing. When Scola and Bonzi are making their shots then this team can be very dangerous. Not a lot of team can beat us if they’re playing good b-ball. Shane’s 3 was falling, which is always a good sign. I hope they can keep producing and help Yao and Tmac out. It was a group effort….not just Tmac…it really bothers me when T mac takes all the credit for the win. Everytime they interview he’s always like I…I…I…Team basketball was the key to winning. Go Rockets!

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