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Houston extinguishes Heat for 10th win in a row

February 22nd, 2008
by John
After a sub-par performance (3-of-17 shooting) against Cleveland two nights before, Yao Ming came back strong against Miami to score 21 points on incredible 10-of-11 shooting while also grabbing 9 boards in a 112-100 win that gave the Rockets their 10th win in a row.After a sub-par performance (3-of-17 shooting) against Cleveland two nights before, Yao Ming came back strong against Miami to score 21 points on incredible 10-of-11 shooting while also grabbing 9 boards in a 112-100 win that gave the Rockets their 10th win in a row. Click here for more photos from the game.

With the trade of Bonzi Wells, Mike James and Kirk Snyder within the past 24 hours, you wondered if the Rockets would have a lapse and not take care of business against a Miami team Thursday night that had lost 24 of its last 25 games.

Or perhaps the Rockets would look ahead to their huge match-up Friday night against their toughest opponent, New Orleans, since Houston’s 9-game winning streak began – coincidentally against the same team to whom they traded Bonzi and James late Wednesday night.

To the contrary, the Rockets came out on fire in the first quarter, making a statement to score the most number of points they have scored in a quarter this season, 41, and lead by 15 at the end of the first quarter.

In that first quarter, the Rockets hit 17-of-21 shots and 4-of-5 from 3-point land. And get a load of these other first quarter numbers: Tracy McGrady hit 6-of-8 shots for 14 points. Yao Ming was 4-of-4 for 8 points. Rafer Alston was 4-of-5, including 3-of-3 from three-point land. And Luis Scola was 3-of-4 for 6 points. Amazing.


The only flaws were when McGrady blew an easy alley-oop dunk in the quarter, and the Rockets had at least 4 turnovers.

The Rockets would open up a 20-point lead in the second quarter after a Steve Novak 3-pointer and go on to hold a 62-48 lead at halftime after shooting 61% in the first half, including 7-of-14 from three-point land.

As I expected he would, Yao bounced back strong after shooting 3-of-17 on Tuesday against Cleveland by hitting 6-of-6 shots for 12 points in the first half against a Shaq-less Miami team.

In the first half, the Rockets also showed the national TV audience on TNT how well they have been sharing the ball during their winning streak: 19 assists on 26 field goals. The more they do that, the more I’m willing to compare them to great teams in the past like the Spurs of recent years.

But it hasn’t been unusual for the Rockets to let teams back into games, and even against the 9-42 Heat, that’s what happened in the third quarter as Miami went on an 8-0 run to cut their deficit to only 8 points, which would happen a couple of times in the second half.

Each time, though, Houston would respond. Not necessarily with big shots, although Yao’s hook shot with 3 defenders around him with 4:24 remaining in the third quarter making it 76-66 was huge. But just a few seconds after that play, the refs robbed Yao with a terrible call when they called him for blocking when he clearly hadn’t moved when Earl Barron barreled into him. That was Yao’s fourth foul, sending him to the bench as both Yao and Rick Adelman let the idiotic ref have it.

Without Yao in the lineup, I felt the Rockets fell too much in love with long jumpers since those shots fell so easily in the first quarter…but not so much in the second half. However, it seemed each time they needed an offensive rebound or steal, they got one to get another crack at scoring. That seemed to be the story all night long and the key to the Rockets 112-100 victory.

Yao would finish with an impressive 10-of-11 shooting night for 21 points and grab 9 boards. Tracy McGrady had 23 points on 8-of-19 shots, but more importantly 10 assists with only 1 turnover. Rafer Alston had 16 points on 6-of-14 shots for 16 points and 11 assists.

Luis Scola would finish with 11 points on 4-of-10 shooting, many buckets coming from his typical strong shifty moves taking it to the rack. But his hustling for rebounds was even more impressive, leading all Houston rebounders with 10.

But the guy who really came through for the Rockets in the fourth quarter when the Rockets were trying to fend off Miami was rookie Carl Landry. Landry finished with 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting in the fourth quarter (19 overall), most of them coming from acrobatic dunks. Man, the dude can fly! He also hustled for 5 rebounds, 4 of them coming on the offensive boards. At this rate, Landry is making Daryl Morey look like a genius regardless of what you think of the Bonzi Wells trade.

So when you combine the Rockets’ sharing the ball (32 assists leading to 42 field goals), hustling for rebounds (42-34 advantage), and opening a big first quarter lead, the Rockets are pretty hard to beat – especially if the team is lukewarm like the Heat.

Now the Rockets head to New Orleans to play their biggest game of the season thus far IMHO since the Rockets’ schedule has been very kind to them during their 10-game winning streak. Of course, it’s not a must-win game. But it will be a really good indicator to let us all know if the Rockets have had some luck go their way to win their last 10 games in a row.

What will make it even more difficult for the Rockets is the fact they will be playing against two guys — Bonzi and Mike James — who were on their bench just a couple of days ago who want to show how wrong they were in trading them and/or not giving them enough minutes in Houston.

7 Responses to “Houston extinguishes Heat for 10th win in a row”

  1. john Says:

    Yao Ming was amazing, so was T-Mac & my fav Rockets player, Luis Scola.

    Would like to hear some comments from you…

    http://mundoalbiceleste.blogspot.com/2008/02/nba-news-its-super-manu-ginobili.html

  2. john Says:

    Yao was awesome and so was T-Mac and my fav Rockets player, Luis Scola.

    Would like to hear some comments from you…

    http://mundoalbiceleste.blogspot.com/2008/02/nba-news-its-super-manu-ginobili.html

  3. johnl Says:

    its good to see him shares the ball with his teammates alot more than before.. maybe he finally realized thats what he needs to do to help the team get in the playoff.. or maybe the second round of the playoff…

  4. Jay Says:

    By far one of my fave games this season. First off I only saw the 2nd half to this. Something happens when McGrady drives and goes ofr a layup or kicks out or to someone close by. i saw him start to settle of jumpers, and those assists came when he passed the ball. I remembered he drove in and everyone collapsed on him leaving Landry to drive fro a mosnter dunk and to me that was the dagger on Miami’s throat.

    By far this game was physical and with tempers flying. Luis Scola and Carl Landry should have a duo name, while i was watching here in Beijing, Sat Night Live kept popping thru my head. so I thought why not SNL for Scola ‘N’ Landry. Duo. Both are hustlers and have the offensive threat that sadly Hayes just does not have.

    On another note, the refs were just turning their heads away to how Yao Ming was being banged up down low. I dont mind physical games in fact i love to watch physical games; however when you arent getting any calls(Yao Ming that is) and his defender are plain eyed shoving pushing with 2 arms..the refs have to say something about it. I personally thought Yao had a quiet night, he could have gone out for more but with people swarming him and pushing him I could see why not. Again at times it pissed me off no call was called on his defenders…and yes some of the pushing was enough to get a call I personally thought it was that bad(and that’s coming from a person who likes physical games)

    Overall one of the best games so far this season, absolutely loved it!! So much my neighbors at 10 am were yelling from the wall fro me to shut up, becaus ei was yelling at my laptop! haha

  5. Allan Says:

    FYI – BJ’s physical and results will not be completed in time for him to play tonight. Therefore, under NBA rules, Bonzi Wells nor Mike James can play tonight either until all players have officially passed their physicals.

  6. calyp Says:

    the ref’s no calls for yao and phamtom calls against yao just makes me so sure i will boycott all NBA merchandise like NBA TV for another year. this game is a sham

  7. Michael Says:

    Did you hear the MVP chants when Yao was at the line? Awesome.

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