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Hornets humble Houston

January 13th, 2008
by John
Yao Ming shoots a long beautiful jump shot over New Orleans' Tyson Chandler.  Yao was geat in scoring 30 points, snagging 16 boards, and rejecting 4 shots, but the Hornets were too much to handle in an 87-82 loss, halting Houston's 5-game winning streak.Yao Ming shoots a long beautiful jump shot over New Orleans’ Tyson Chandler. Yao was geat in scoring 30 points, snagging 16 boards, and rejecting 4 shots, but the Hornets were too much to handle in an 87-82 loss, halting Houston’s 5-game winning streak.

When thinking of providing my comments on the Rockets-Hornets game Sunday afternoon, I was going to try to do another podcast, but the pain in my shoulder is even worse, so I will just type up something brief here using one hand in shorter sentences. It took me longer than I thought to type this, so please forgive any typos.

The Hornets were the better team Sunday in stopping Houston’s 5-game winning streak right when they started feeling good about themselves. They hit shots and the Rockets didn’t. Yao was a monster, scoring 30 points, grabbing 16 boards, and 4 blocks. He did miss some chip shots he would normally make, including a jump hook in the lane with 18 seconds remaining. But without him, it would have been bad.

He also had a chance to tie the game with a 3-pointer, of all things, with 7 seconds remaining, but it fell just short. It would have been something if he had made it. Not only would that shot have been on ESPN Sportscenter, but he could have become a legitimate 3-point shot option for game-winning or game-tying shots in the future. Remember, with him being 7’6” and shooting a high trajectory shot like that, no one can block his shot from way out there. I think it was just as good of a shot as anyone else could have attempted. No one else seemed to be moving around to say “I’m open,” and Yao being the leader he is, he took on the responsibility. It wasn’t meant to be.

He did have two consecutive plays with just under 2 minutes remaining where he turned the ball over. On both plays, I watched the replays on my recording of the game over and over, and despite everyone saying he was fouled by Tyson Chandler, it looked like the ball slipped out of his hand, and that’s because I thought he was trying to rush the shot because he was going to get a 3-second violation (it wasn’t called by the refs) but he knew it must have been coming. The other guys took too long to get him the ball, so it wasn’t his fault he was in the lane that long. And if there hadn’t been a turnover, then it probably would have been a 3-second violation.

On the second turnover right after that, Chandler slapped his hand down on the ball, and I checked the replay again and again and it looked like Chandler got all ball, but on the follow through Chandler hit Yao’s wrist. However, Ithink the rules might say that isn’t a foul. If you hit the ball before the hand, I think the hand contact is considered incidental, kind of like when you block a shot and follow through to make contact with the shooter’s arm.

Aaron Brooks played well with 11 points, including a span in the second quarter where he scored 8 points in 7 minutes. Instant offense. I liked how he was aggressive on one play where he took it to the rack through 3 defenders and was fouled. Fearless. On another play, he led a fast break, then stopped and popped at the free throw line to swish it. What talent to do that. I can’t wait until he is a higher priority option in the offense during crunch time, right after Yao. He’s used to hitting big shots in college, so there’s no reason why he can’t do that in the pros.

Adelman put Brooks into the game late when everyone knew the Hornets would give it to Chris Paul to help them get the lead. So everyone must have thought that Brooks was going to defend CP3, which would have been a smart move, you’d think. That didn’t happen. Instead, it was Rafer Alston ‘defending’ CP3, who burned him and scored easily on a layup. I know that help defense is needed in that situation, but at least put a quicker guy like Brooks who can slow the guy down. Alston plays matatdor defense way too much. Instead, Adelman told Yao that he needed to “back up” in that situation to make the shot more difficult. How about some D on the perimeter? Or maybe a double-team? Make other guys beat you, not CP3, because he WILL beat you.

Rockets offense was very one-dimensional in the 3rd quarter. Yao was doing all the work, basically, with 13 points. Again, Chuck Hayes and Shane Battier offer nothing offensively (they both scored an amazingly low 2 points each!). I was upset they didn’t put Luis Scola in when they were struggling. Even Bill Worrell, Houston’s announcer, couldn’t believe they left Shane and Hayes in there that long. And Bill almost never criticizes.

Carl Landry played again for the second game in a row. He looked good in his brief 6 minute stint. At least Adelman is playing a promising rookie. Who knows, he could be grooming him and Luis Scola to take more of Hayes’ minutes. Landry reminds me a little bit of former Rocket Kenny Thomas. Similar body. Quick around the basket. I think Landry is quicker, though, and I think his outside shot may be better. We’ll see.

Rafer Alston (12 points on 4-for-13) and Luther Head (11 points on 4-for-11) were underwhelming compared to Chris Paul, who had 19 points and hit that big shot down the stretch. That’s when it really counts. Alston started off a poor 2-for-10 until he hit a couple of shots (including an unintended bank shot) and 2 free throws at the end of the third. Luther didn’t seem aggressive like in recent games.

Lesson learned? Guards need to keep moving the ball and attack the basket, and play Scola and Brooks more.

13 Responses to “Hornets humble Houston”

  1. jeff Says:

    Disaster Idleman is playing the two non-scorers together again.

  2. Wendy Says:

    I loved it when Yao told the bench that he will take over the duty of guarding West! He is growing more and more into the leadership role.

    I still think that, on paper, the Rockets are better than NO. If only the others made their shots, and coach RA adjusted properly… before the game I was giddy thinking about a Brooks – CP3 matchup. Didn´t happen :p

    Anyway, babysteps folks… dunno how to think about the Spurs game *sigh*

  3. JVG Says:

    with Alston, Hays, and Battier continue to sabotage rox front and back court, even rox get into playoff this year, there is no way that they could match up any elite teams pg, sf and pf.

    I don’t care what Adelman or coaching staff think they have better chemistry with Yao and Tmac, Alston folds when other team turn up a node, Hays has no talent in scoring, Battier can not hit big shots under pressure, nor does he has mid range jumpers, with these 3 starters, rox has the same problem like last year, less talent on match up with any elite teams.

    Brooks, Scola, and Landry must become starters, even they have less experience, but they have more talent than those 3 sabotagers, playing them more minutes, will only jell their chemistry with Yao and Tmac, rox has given these 3 a chance last year, it is time they step down and become 2nd unit, Alston should be 3rd unit. Let Head be Brooks backup.

    I though Adelman is better than jvg in knowing players talent and used their talent to fit into his scheme, but looks like he is slow on knowing who can do what, and very stubborn/stingy on using young and talent players, Scola, Brooks and Landry all have the talent and ability to match up elite teams top players, all they need is experience, Alston, Hays, battier, simply not a franchise material, wake up, Adelman, use these 3 players or you will get fired like me.

    Jeff VG

  4. ReD Says:

    I think that Rockets despite lossing this one had a big chance to tie it, but did not.

    Yao can hit a three, but a team with lots of shooters just can’t allow guy who is tallest player in the NBA to shoot the three.

    But I’m not worried, Rockets have always been alergic to Hornets no matter how good they are, simple fact.

    I hope we take some wins in other games , Sonics, Spurs etc.

  5. Allen Says:

    Well, disappointed, but on the bright side we took one of the best teams in the West down to the wire without our best scorer and passer.

    Brooks’ new nickname is the “microwave.” He is looking more and more like the next Bobby Jackson. Adelman loves a tiny fast shooting guard with touch. Be interesting to see if he goes with that matchup against some of the bigger two guards in the league are on the floor.

    Yao played well, and you’re right that we wouldn’t have been in it without him, but man his TO’s this year are out of control. He has always been a high turnover guy, but it is starting to get out of hand. 2 or 3 a game is acceptable, anything above that is too much. I have a little more lenience with point guards or wing players because they have ballhandling duties. But to be a center and losing that many plays a game is too much. In theory, that is handing the other team 12 points and however many minutes of play clock. That is how my AAU coach used to explain TO’s to us.

    All that said, Yao could have gotten some more calls than he did, but I won’t complain too much about his game figuring his numbers were very good.

    Final note, like that we are playing Landry some. He reminds me of Paul Milsap more than Kenny Thomas, because he is thicker and stronger than Thomas, but still pretty short. Hopefully he can be that guy we can go to for energy or if Hayes and/or Scola get hurt.

    Good luck with the injury bud.

  6. richard Says:

    I like this game, even though they didn’t get the W. I like the aggressiveness that Yao showed, but the defense on the last play when Paul drove to the lane should have been well defended. I think they should have taken a time out. Am not sure if they have any left. There were too many open shots that they missed. If Yao made that three it would have been awesome !!! I disagree with you John. I think they fouled Yao several times but there were no calls. The last two possession from Yao, I think one of them he got fouled. But close game like that the refs are reluctant to make a call. Battier and chuck no offensive threat at all. How about putting scola and landry together for a change. Just a thought?

    i looked at the video once again on the first one. it’s still hard to say for sure, but yao had no negative reaction to that play like he usually does when he thinks he’s fouled, like he did to the second.

    i think scola & landry could play together when scola is playing backup center to yao.

  7. BOBBYNYC Says:

    John you surprised me with this post. I came here this morning and wasn’t expecting anything, but here you are. The hardest working man in sports besides Jim Nance. I didn’t get to see the game but when I was on nba.com and saw the Rockets leading by 2 with 2 minutes leading I was shocked. I didn’t know their improved offense was THAT good. I should’ve stayed away from watching the score until the game ended, so I take full responsibility for their loss. At least their new offense is keeping them in games they usually get blown out in. And I would agree, too much on Yao at certain integrals of the game. Hopefully they’ll break out of that funk permanently soon. Speaking of soon, ya’ll need to take care of that shoulder and get well real soon brotha! Good luck manana!

    thanks, bobby. i appreciate it. — john

  8. Jay Says:

    i seocnd the whole play Scola more!

  9. Jim From Hollywood CA! Says:

    Hi everybody.
    It had been a long time since i actually looked forward to watching a game. I knew this would be a good matchup game, and it turned out to be so. I knew Yao would dominate Chandler, but i have to say chandler did the best he could against the wall. The one problem I saw was when Paul drove right pass rafer for a layup….a layup. I mean you play sooooo hard the whole game and you give up a layup?? 1st of all, John, why do you think adelman took out Scola during that play? even the announcer seemed surprised. Sure scola was not going to defend cp3, but he was doing a great job of plugging up the middle. Bad descion by adelman.

    Anywayz as I posted in my previous log, I felt that this would be the toughest game for the rockets in this current homestand. They should keep thier heads up, and finish the homestand 3-1.

    Go Rockets.


    adelman doesn’t think much of scola defensively as much as we might. — john

  10. K Chin Says:

    John, take care of that shoulder injury buddy.

    This game was a real test to gauge the Rockets’ progress as their 5 game winning streak was against teams they should have beaten anyway and I thought they did pretty well against the Hornets, except for the last 20 seconds. Trailing by 1 point, Yao’s missed hook shot was a good call but I would have preferred if Rafer had milked the clock a little longer before passing to Yao, who should have passed back and reposted deeper, for a dunk over a smaller forward – game over. Second chance with the Rockets down by 3 with 7 seconds left, I was stunned by Rafer’s drive to the basket instead of looking for or passing to an open player for a 3 point shot.

    The Rockets problem is the same as always – inconsistent shooting. Except for Yao, the team is laden with streak shooters, who seem to get hot or cold at the same. As for Yao, he should really help himself and heed the advice of Matt Bullard by accidentally breaking a few noses with some errant elbows when players reach in and slap at his hands since nobody is scared of attacking him aggressively and more often than not, he is not going to get the calls anyway.


  11. Wilson Says:


  12. TLK2 Says:

    This game should have been won by Rockets, going approx 2 minutes into the 4th quarter, Rockets were leading by 2pts. Rockets were throwing the ball into YAO’s hand two times in a row and allowing him to take over and win the game. But Tyson Chan slaps the ball out of YAO’s hand which was an obvious foul but the ref didn’t call it. The first position, hornet turns it into a 2point on the other end of a fast break. The second time it happen, hornet turn it into a 2point on the other end of a fast break and got a foul (1points). This turns into a 5points run with the hornet leading the Rocket by 3points. If the two apparent foul didn’t happen YAO would have score on those two position and Rockets would have won the game or if YAO received it’s call Rockets streak would be six right now.

    In the third position Tyson chal even gave YAO a hard push which was call for a foul, he then foul again and he was out of the game with 6 fouls. He is so afraid of YAO taking over games in the last few minutes.

    Those DUMB ref doesn’t gave YAO any respect, he gets slap and no calls. Must be some gambling with those ref behind close door or they might be racist.

  13. yung Says:

    I hate the stupid ref in the NBA. They hardly ever favor Yao’s plays. I agreed that Yao should accidentally break a few noses and hard foul once in awhile when his foul is under control. By harding fouling, he can send a message telling other ballplayers to back the hell off a little. I am the big man here. However, Yao would never do that because he’s just not that kind of a player. Yao would not be where he is today as a ballplayer and as a person if he does that.

    Anyway, Yao’s game was good.

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