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Rockets look pathetic in Philly

December 11th, 2007
by John
Yao Ming misses a dunk against Philadelphia in a game that was a disaster for the Rockets.  Yao only made 3-of-11 shots and scored 12 points in 33 minutes before all the starters were pulled after having fallen behind by 20+ points in the second half.Yao Ming misses a dunk against Philadelphia in a game that was a disaster for the Rockets. Yao only made 3-of-11 shots and scored 12 points in 33 minutes before all the starters were pulled after having fallen behind by 20+ points in the second half.

I was going to write a long post about all the things the Rockets did wrong as they fell behind by double-digits in Philadelphia Monday night. But then it just kept getting worse and worse, and I couldn’t keep up with documenting their poor play as the Rockets fell behind by 31 points.

When it became garbage time, Rick “Idle-man” (as aptly named by reader “Shawn”) finally put his subs in the game for good because he had no choice since his starters sucked so bad.

And lo and behold, the unit of Luis Scola, Luther Head, Bonzi Wells, Kirk Snyder and Mike James actually made it interesting by pulling to within 12 points with a few minutes left, but they couldn’t get a miracle win. But at least they showed they have some players who can score in a 100-88 loss.

I am not going to cite any statistics for any player because those numbers don’t mean anything in a game like this one. The starters don’t deserve to have their numbers mentioned, and the subs got moist of their points in garbage time when the game was out-of-hand and there was really nothing to lose.

If there is anything to be learned from this game, it’s that Rick Idle-man needs to show some balls and START this same bench unit against Detroit on Wednesday night — at least for that game — and sit Tracy McGrady, Yao, Chuck Hayes, Shane Battier and Steve Francis. That will send a signal that their poor play is not going to cut it. The reserve unit deserves a chance to show what they can do when they start a game. If they implode, so be it. At least Idle-man would have rewarded “giving a damn” with playing time.

Let me just sum it up this way. The Rockets suck, and so does Rick Idleman as a coach. Where the hell is the “system?” He has all this talent and gets blown out by the Raptors and the Sixers? And there are really no injuries to this team, other than an inconsequential one to Rafer Alston.

After the Rockets went on that six-game losing streak last month, I started to understand why the Maloof brothers didn’t bring him back to Sacramento, and I’m being reminded of that again now. While the Rockets are getting blown out, he just sits there on the bench with no fire. He seems like a nice guy, but being a nice guy isn’t going to cut it around here.

It’s obvious this team has no respect for him. If Idle-man doesn’t make drastic changes for their next game (like starting the bench guys who showed some heart by getting them back into the game), it’s really time to consider getting rid of him.

It’s ironic that Larry Brown was watching the game as part of the 76er organization. Right now I would take anyone with a track record like Larry’s, with baggage and all. It’s better than what we’ve got for now.

It’s also time to consider putting several players on the trading block, except Yao, and see what kind of takers we can get. “It’s time” to rebuild and find a leader. This experiment isn’t working.

While we’re at it, I’ve talked about Aaron Brooks and Steve Novak deserving a shot at playing. They are in the D-League right now, but it would be very easy to bring them up considering Brooks scored 24 points on 9-of-19 shooting (3-of-6 from three) in the Rio Grande Valley Vipers win Sunday night. Novak scored 20 on 6-of-11 shooting and had 9 rebounds.

And while they’re at it, bring up former Texas Longhorn Gabe Muoneke at power forward. Gabe scored 30 points Sunday night, and is averaging 25.4 points this season. I saw him play Texas, and let me tell you, Gabe can play and gives a strong effort.

Even when the Rockets were still in this game against Philly in the second quarter before it got out of hand, they still had lots of problems, covered up for a short time by McGrady hitting 4-of-4 shots to start the game.

Steve Francis started at the point, and he played poorly, shooting a jump shot that was an airball (but was bailed out by a phantom call by the ref) as well as missing a three-pointer, and throwing a bad pass out of bounds for a turnover.

Here are a few plays where the Rockets showed no defensive intensity, before the game really got out of control:

1st quarter:

3:49 – McGrady didn’t block out Willie Green after Green missed a jump shot. Green gets his own rebound and scores. LAZY DEFENSE BY McBRADY. 19-14, Philly.

1:51 – Mike James played the worst defense, double-teaming a player in the corner who didn’t need to be double-teamed, which left Jason Smith wide open to go through an open lane to the hole for a layup

The Rockets trailed 30-24 at the end of the first quarter. They had 6 turnovers to Philly’s zero (or 1).

2nd quarter:

11:25 – Luis Scola doesn’t block out after Jason Smith misses a jump shot. Smith grabs the rebound and lays it in! TERRIBLE. NO BLOCKING OUT BY SCOLA! 32-24, Philly.

9:15 – Bonzi Wells throws a stupid pass to Yao when Bonzi was wide open for a shot, but then he makes up for it after doing a spin move on the baseline for a layup. 34-28, Sixers.

8:06 – Mike James bites on a fake by Andre Miller, jumps into the air and fouls him, and Miller scores on a jump shot. That’s James’ 3rd foul. Battier comes in for James. 36-30.

7:35 – Thaddeus Young outruns Battier down the court for an open layup attempt, which he blows. But then Young scores a few seconds later on an offensive rebound right in front of the hoop. 39-30, Philly.

6:39 – McBrady lets his man Andre Iguodala blow right by him for alley-oop dunk, which he luckily misses. That was the worst defense!

5:05 – They leave Willie Green open for a three-pointer. No one was around him! 44-37, Philly.

4:07 – Yao throws up a half-hearted shot near the rim to miss after great ball movement by the Rockets. CONCENTRATE YAO, AND FINISH!

2:58 – McBrady decides to shoot a three that’s an airball rather than pass it around. 44-39, Philly.

2:14 – Bonzi throws another low-percentage shot to Yao when he isn’t ready for it! WHY DOES HE KEEP TRYING TO PASS TO YAO WHEN EVERYONE KNOWS HE CAN’T CATCH THOSE! Turnover! 46-39, Philly.

1:11 – McBrady falls asleep. He took 6 steps with the ball after turning it over before he gave the ball up to the ref, and that’s the 2nd delay of game for the Rockets, which results in a technical. 49-39, Philly.

:45 – Yao gets stripped, resulting in a wide open three by Kyle Korver. 54-39. This was a big turnaround.

:14.4 – Turnover by Bonzi by trying to do too much with the ball dribbling. Andre Miller goes the other way for a fast break. Goaltending by McGrady. 56-39.

Philly finishes the quarter on a 12-3 run. For the half, the 76ers outscored the Rockets 28-12 in the paint, and 11-2 on fast break points. The Rockets had 12 turnovers to Philly’s five.

3rd quarter

10:11 – Chuck Hayes blows a defensive assignment, resulting in a layup by Reggie Evans. 62-44, Philly.

9:48 – McBrady blows an assignment, resulting in a layup for Willie Green. 64-46

8:39 – McGrady blows another assignment. Iguodala scores. 68-46, Philly.

After the Sixers go on an 18-4 run to start the third quarter, Houston announcer Bill Worrell – who has been announcing games for at least 20 years — says, “I’m embarrassed for the Houston Rockets. I have never seen this poor of a performance in all of my years.” That’s as tough words you’ll hear from the optimistic Worrell you’ll ever hear.

That’s enough describing of the carnage. Let’s see if Idle-man does anything on Wednesday night that shows some balls, and that he’s not going to take it any more. If he doesn’t, it’s time to find a replacement.

11 Responses to “Rockets look pathetic in Philly”

  1. jeff Says:

    I repeat, the GM has to act now. Most, if not all, of us believe that the Rockets have a group of talented players. So talented that Brooks and Novak have to be sent to the D-League. When a talented team is not performing over quite a period of time, it is unacceptable. There must be a problem. And the problem is obviously the lack of a competent coach. If the GM does not act now to replace him, then the GM himself has a problem, a serious one, I would say.

    Act now. Enough is enough.

  2. Jim Says:

    This Rocket team is a complete waste for fans. The main blame should go to idle-man. Even Jeff V could do much better with current players. At least he wont let the team beaten that badly. My worst fear is that somehow they will get a close win next game, then buying sometime to work on the “system”, then lose another 2 games. Then win 1 or 2. It will go on like this for a while. Then Management realizes the season is wasted. It’s so pathetic. A team with that much talent could be blow out by a team like a Sixer. At this point. EVEN A BLIND PEOPLE CAN TELL IDLE-MAN IS NOT THE SOLUTION!!!!

    Bye bye rocket until drastic changes happens!!

  3. James Ma Says:

    Wow, how incredibly disappointing this season is turning out to be.

    Did you read Fran Blinebury’s entry today? I’m beginning to wonder whether he’s right in saying that the Rockets are fatally flawed because their franchise is built around two non-leaders, Yao and McGrady. I also thought he was rather bold in bringing out the cultural issues, but he may be right about them. It’s also very interesting what he said about Van Gundy being the real leader in the past several seasons. Hmmm….

    As big a fan as I am of Yao, I can’t help but notice that he isn’t an inspiring leader. He just doesn’t have the kind of demeanor and personality that gets others to follow him. John, you see these games live and up close, what do you think?

    James, I haven’t read Fran’s blog yet, but I will. I will say this, though. I think when the Rockets drafted Yao, they didn’t expect him to be a leader coming from China and all. They just wanted a big man who could be a force and would be hard to defend. I think they have that. But it was imperative to have a leader, and I think they thought they had that with Francis. But he really wasn’t, so they traded him for McGrady. But McGrady was never a leader at Orlando, just a scorer, but they hoped he turn into one. He obviously isn’t.

    I think the problem is that the Rockets never really tried to acquire a leader, and now they see how important it is to have one. They don’t always need to be your best player (remember Mario Elie, and Avery Johnson with the Spurs)? I thought that maybe Shane Battier, Mike James, or even Dikembe Mutombo could have been those guys, but they aren’t. So now it’s time to go find one. — John

  4. JT in MD Says:

    I was at the game in philly last night…a few observations for you …
    Tracy played like a baby. He seemed disgusted with the other players, was very lazy throughout the first half, walked up the court, let guys go right by him, etc. He needed to be benched early for complete lack of effort.
    Yao struggled a lot with his shot, but got to the line enough. He was fouled a good bit with no calls from the refs and he seemed to stop trying to be aggressive after that. I was hoping he would just level somebody and get another T, show some fire instead of whining to the refs. He does spend a lot of time directing traffic on the court and communicates loudly on defense. I think the team will follow him when he develops the proper mindset, he just got frustrated and seemed to give up.

    Bonzi was very good and showed a lot of energy. Scola also showed lots of hustle and heart. At the end of the game, when the rockets started full court pressure and fouling immediately, the crowd booed a little – the game was lost already. Scola was clapping his hands, pumping up the other players and yelling “COME ON! FIGHT!”

    “Idle-man” doesn’t talk to the players much if at all during timeouts. He and his staff walk onto the court and talk amongst themselves. The players just sit and mope on the bench. I think he needs to be managing their egos and motivating but is totally focused on other things.

    The rox should have begun full court pressure in the 3rd quarter.

    Is the season over? nah…

    Do they suck now? yeah…

    Trade t-mac? yes..but for who? Kobe? ewwwwww…

    Good report, JT. — John

  5. Ben, NY Says:

    I agree, what they need is someone like Chris Paul, Deron Williams, not Rafer, Steve F…. To have a leadership type of player at guard is so pivotal… if they can somehow either trade or draft someone (although not easy, but that’s what GM is for), then Rockets will be so much better with McGrady and Yao. Right now, no matter what they do with other positions, without a capable guard, they are not going anywhere. Hey, who knows, maybe Aaron Brooks is The One… Try him, how much worse can it get with the way they are playing right now.

    Yao is really not playing well at all… I think it had to be fatigue again due to back to back games. But if he demanded the energy from the entire team, then he has to step up as well…

    I had to change the channel before I would start cursing in front my baby…

    Thanks for the blog!

  6. AirChina23 Says:

    The Rockets need Derek Fisher.

    That’s what I was thinking, too, but he’s in LA because the medical facilities there for his little girl. He’s not leaving. — John

  7. kaolin Says:

    Just read Fran Blinebury and Jonathan Feigen’s blogs, and I agreed with what both of them said: Fran Blinebury said Rockets has no leader, and Van Gundy was their leader, that is strange but true. On the other hand, like Jonathan Feigen said, there is no dreaming of a savior. Rockets need to either fight their way out of this or just rot.

  8. The Private Says:

    John, I don’t believe RA is the problem. Thats weak to blame the coach. If I remember correctly, this same team started 6 – 1. Like Red said, they beat the Jazz, Spurs, and Suns. Red said this team always have problems with taking bad team to lightly, even with Van Gundy as coach. I don’t know to many posters here, but maybe you can have the better posters do your homepage blog for fresher opinion sometimes. Maybe Red, Pruyen or your Raymond, but Pruyen posts more on Clutch now, so I don’t know about him. I really trying to think who else but this bbs does not have to many good posters, not me for sure. Just my opinion.

  9. Allen Says:

    Don’t listen to ThePrivate. We like YOU and want YOU to do the posting. I understand if it is too much of a burden and you need help, but if you are going to bring in help do it for that reason, not because ThePrivate inappropriately assumes that we need a fresh opinion. You and I don’t agree on everything – see Rafer – but I like the way you present this blog and you have good insight. Just my two cents. Thanks as always!!!

  10. James Ma Says:

    Agreed with Allen. I come to this site because I want to know what John thinks. I don’t always agree with him, but at least I know that whatever he says is going to be intelligent and articulate.

  11. Jim Says:


    What do you mean RA is not the problem? The team under him completely fell apart against inferior team again and again. It will get much worse if nothing happens soon!!! Every single player except Bonzi performed much worse than under JVG. I am not a fan of JVG. But IDLE-MAN is far worse than him. He may be a good coach but NOT the coach for current Rocket players. Even he completely change the players to suite his system. The best we can achieve is the later stage King. And even this could take a few years. The trend and speed of deteriation speaks loudly. Bring back JVG if that is the best we can get. I am a Yao fan. But I never been that disappointed to him as now. His unusual vocal and pathetic performence sends the clearest signal to the Management RA is killing this team!!

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