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Yao scores 12 while McGrady carries Rockets

February 3rd, 2008
by John
Yao Ming and Yi Jianlian battle for position Saturday night in a much anticipated match-up.  The game didn't turn out as expected, with Yao and Yi both struggling from the field.Yao Ming and Yi Jianlian battle for position Saturday night in a much anticipated match-up. The game didn’t turn out as expected, with Yao and Yi both struggling from the field. Click here for more photos from the game. Click here for pre-game photos of Yao and Yi. Click here for photos of fans while watching the game.

Although the Rockets beat Milwaukee 91-83 Saturday night, the much anticipated rematch of Yao vs. Yi turned out to be a dud.

Yao had a below average game, getting outplayed by another #1 draft pick, Andrew Bogut. Bogut looked like the All-Star, scoring 20 points on 10-of-20 shooting, most of them made over Yao. I wonder if the Australian continent tuned in for this one?

Yao only scored 12 points on 5-of-11 shooting, was shockingly only 2-of-5 from the free throw line, but did rack up 3 blocks. He had his moments in the fourth quarter as the Rockets finally pulled away after the Bucks had taken a 69-68 lead early in the quarter. He had a huge dunk with 8:02 remaining to make it 72-69, and also had a block with 1:25 remaining to keep the Bucks from making a late charge.

Coach Rick Adelman was still supportive of Yao, saying, “He had a lot of good opportunities and good looks. You’re not going to be good every night…It’s all about winning. It doesn’t have to be about points.”

Yi Jianlian didn’t even do that well, scoring only 6 points on a shocking 1-of-10 shooting after scoring 19 points in their first match on November 9th. It looks like the kid is still settling for too many jump shots, or perhaps he has hit that rookie wall. Either way, 200 million Chinese fans could not be happy with what they saw from either Yao or Yi.

Because there was so much anticipation of Yao vs. Yi that didn’t pan out, it became a relatively boring, and frustrating, game. The Rockets couldn’t put away early an 18-29 Eastern conference team that had lost by 40+ points in their last game to Philadelphia, and who also didn’t have Michael Redd because of an injury.

Another strange thing happened. Tracy McGrady actually bailed out the Rockets by having a great shooting night. He scored 33 points on 14-of-27 shooting, and believe it or not, many of those shots were those jumpers that so often kill his team. But in this game, most of them fell for once.

It’s not the most elegant way to win, but given the Rockets needed a win badly and no one else was really doing anything, the Rockets will take it. McGrady also had 11 rebounds and 6 assists.

Another strange development I’ve never seen before was how Steve Novak got screwed. You probably already heard by now, but Novak was really looking forward to playing in front of his family and friends since he went to college at Milwaukee’s Marquette University, and only comes back to Milwaukee to play once a year since they are an Eastern Conference team. A very big deal for a young NBA player, right?

Well, someone at the Rockets didn’t put Novak’s name on the active list, a formality that’s done before every game. Instead, they reportedly put Mike James‘s name on the list TWICE. That mistake cost all the people from seeing their hometown hero play. Poor Novak. I bet you the odds of that happening are a million to one. The Rockets could have used him since they were terrible from 3-point range (5-of-18 for 28%). The guy who messed up owes Novak and his family a big dinner.

Rafer Alston was 0-for-4 from behind the arc, and even my man Aaron Brooks had one of his worst games from 3-point land, hitting only 1-of-5 shots.

And after playing so well on Friday night, rookie phenom Carl Landry struggled in his hometown, scoring 2 points on 1-of-2 shooting.

That’s why the Rockets will take this win any way they can get it. I just hope it doesn’t become a recurring theme where they have to rely on McGrady to bail them out. We all know how that will turn out over the long run. In the JVG era, that was an acceptable way to win. But we know this year they have got to be better than that.

9 Responses to “Yao scores 12 while McGrady carries Rockets”

  1. JT in MD Says:

    A win is a win. I wouldn’t be too down on the rockets and especially McGrady right now. He has managed to avoid the 7 for 22 shooting nights since his return. As long as he is able to recognize when his shot is working – he should shoot it! Tracy has talent that only a handful of people have, what he has lacked so far in his career is the ability to integrate his individual talents into a team concept. Like allen iverson, he is talented but his teams have not had success. Iverson has fared much better though – going deep into the playoffs with Larry Brown.

    The rockets now have shown signs of having the ultimate championship recipe. They now have two ‘superstars” with Yao playing and rebounding late into games than he ever has. Since tracy’s return he has integrated most games and exploded for the last game.

    Scola has played great. Carl Landry took over a game. They have a ‘stopper’ in Battier. They have ‘shooters’ with Novak and Head. They have speed with Aaron Brooks. They have a guy who can create his own shot in Wells

    They now have multiple guys who can hurt you in different ways on any given night. Now they can complete with anyone with the pieces they have.

    Time will tell, but I think the rockets are poised nicely to continue this second half run into the playoffs.

    JT, I hope you’re right after seeing them struggle against mediocre teams (Memphis, Philadelphia, Seattle, Indiana, Milwaukee, etc.). The talent is there, they have to put it all together. The thing is that sometime talent doesn’t always go very far — remember the Lakers when they had Shaq, Kobe, Horry, then added Karl Malone and Gary Payton? Each one of those players was good at doing a few things, but it takes playing as a team and playing smart. History isn’t too kind to teams that don’t do that. — John

  2. Jay Says:

    “You’re not going to be good every night…It’s all about winning. It doesn’t have to be about points.”-idle man saying this?

    wow he should direct this more to mcbrady. yes credit must be given where credit is due. but seriously as i watched the game here in china..damn so early! mcbrady was brickin those shots where he usually likes to chuck em. the times he scored was because he drove tot he basket or mcbrady was pretty much left by himself or 1v1….and defense was tight on him from what i noticed when he took those jumpers.

  3. Jay Says:

    sorry there isnt an edit button. i wanted to also add…no ball movement same old same of mcbrady taking the ball and everyone watching. what happened to the princeton offense that was being run when mcbrady was out. again a win is a win and mcbrady actually bailed the rockets out.

    gees i feel bad for novak…but isnt he from canada?

    Novak was born right outside of Milwaukee (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Novak) — John

  4. Allen Says:

    Oh come on, Alston didn’t shoot well, but he did have almost 10 assists. We have seen much worse games from him. I will take almost double digit assists from him. Its when he doesn’t hit shots AND doesn’t dish that I get frustrated with him.

  5. AirChina23 Says:

    Steve Novak’s case was indeed one in a million. Poor kid! It was a rather boring game indeed, I had more fun seeing all those fans with the creative Chinese posters and signs.

  6. Wilson Says:



  7. Wilson Says:

    COACH K!


  8. Luckyme Says:

    That was a very lack-lustre and boring game. It sure did not look like two dragons playing against each other. This game and the other before that could have gone either way. The only thing that saved them was they did not falter in the last quarter. Tmac has to play at this calibre ( or close to that ) every game for them to really have a chance at the play-offs.

    I am also very sorry for Steve Novak – I hope it was really a simple honest mistake.

  9. Michael Jordon Says:



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