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Bonzi busts Rockets for crucial victory

March 20th, 2008
by John

One of the most questionable trades in Rockets’ recent history came back to haunt them Wednesday night when Bonzi Wells torched his former team for 20 points in the fourth quarter and 25 points overall to lead New Orleans to a 90-69 win over the Rockets. The win propelled New Orleans to a 1/2 game lead over Houston, pushing the Rockets from 1st to the 3rd spot in the Western Conference playoff standings.

As much as Rocket fans may be gloating they got one over on a division rival like San Antonio by stealing Luis Scola from them, Hornet fans may be doing the same thing toward the Rockets. Houston hasn’t been that charitable to New Orleans since providing help after Katrina.

I knew that trade was questionable at best when it happened, even if it got rid of Mike James‘ contract, because you just don’t want to help a team you’re trying to beat in your own division with a player who can play very well when motivated. By the look of things Wednesday night, they are at risk of Bonzi creating even more damage against Western Conference foes.

In addition, the Rockets all of a sudden can’t score when it counts, and they sure could use Bonzi’s low-post presence about now. I’m so irritated by the Rockets sudden inability to score (and the bench only scoring 4 points Wednesday night), I really can’t write much after their loss to the Hornets to lose first place in the West.

I’m also getting tired of no Carl Landry in the line-up because of the swelling in his right knee. As a result, they’re having to play offensively-challenged Chuck Hayes and Dikembe Mutombo way too much. And without Landry to help out, David West killed them with 23 points.

After the game, the Rockets’ announcers said the NBA had to take some of the blame for the loss since the Rockets had to play a ‘late’ game that started at 8:30pm Tuesday night (one hour later than normal), then had to fly to New Orleans and play an ‘early’ game that started at 7:00pm (30 minutes earlier). So does losing 1 1/2 hours really make that much of a difference?

The Rockets had their chances after taking a 14-point lead in the first quarter, but they didn’t have the killer instinct and let the Hornets back in the game.

Still, the Rockets had a chance to win the game entering the fourth quarter tied 59-59, but they only scored 10 points in the fourth quarter and shot 27% in the second half, and 31% overall. The ball isn’t moving, the Rockets are blowing layups, and they’re turning the ball over way too often (18 on Wednesday)

Tracy McGrady was a terrible 6-of-21 from the floor, and it appears he’s lost all the good karma he built up during the 22-game winning streak. My, how things change so quickly. Just a few days ago, Houston fans were chanting “MVP, MVP!” when McGrady stepped to the line late against the Lakers on Sunday. Now they must all be wanting to yell, “M.I.A., M.I.A!”

Rafer Alston was 4-of-13 from the field for 10 points, and Bobby Jackson (who they got in exchange for Bonzi) was 1-of-5 for 2 points. As a team, they made 2-of-19 three-pointers for a 10.5% average. WHY DIDN’T LUTHER HEAD PLAY? They also only made 11-of-17 free throws.

Now the Rockets head to Golden State for a game Friday night. I actually think the Warriors’ up-tempo offense could work in their favor since the Rockets need to get more up-tempo themselves. And the Warriors’ defense is nowhere near as good as New Orleans’ defense. But I’m thinking the Rockets have lost so much confidence in just two games, they could be on the brink of a multi-game losing streak.

17 Responses to “Bonzi busts Rockets for crucial victory”

  1. Wendy Says:

    I couldn´t believe my eyes last night, in the 2nd quarter I was already so confident for the win, and then, you know the rest.

    Well, I guess Richard Justice described it best with his article on the Chronicle today: mental and physical exhaustion after the long effort to sustain it at a high level during the streak.

    The silver line: It´s an opportunity to show character, huh? We know we had a leader in Scola all along, now it´s time for Skip and T-Mac to show their heart.

    We´ve worked so hard to be in our position (right at the top of the WC), would be a pity if we throw it away just because of ´after-streak hangover´… In fact, the real season has just started, and we are in a very good starting position! 🙂

    I´m just not in the mood to read the national media right now, must be full of told-you-so sayers:p

    Do you still believe? I do! Go Rockets!

  2. Joseph Says:

    Tonight’s game would’ve been a Rockets win if Yao played.

    Friday night against the Warriors?! Rockets have no chance! Yao torched the Warriors last time. Too bad he’s out. Rockets lose again.

  3. BOBBYNYC Says:

    John, I hate to say this but this just goes to show that the team can’t go far without Yao and now with a talented power foward such as a Landry to back up Yao. I’m not saying that this 22 game winning streak was just a puff of smoke but realisticly speaking, they are gonna need a big down low in the blocks come playoff time to make a splash.

  4. Jim From Hollywood! Says:

    jOHN, let me ask you one question: WHY DOES T-MAC LOOK SO LATHARGIC AND NON-INTERESTED??If he feels like he does not want to play anymore then he should go play baseball like he said he always wanted to do. I know he has done well ober the streak and especially sicne Yao went out(by the way im still not over it), but the last two games were as if he was throwing in the towel. Am i the only one that sees that???? thanks: jim

    Jim, just when I thought McGrady had put all the doubts behind him, he disappears again! I can’t figure that cat out. — John

  5. Wilson Says:

    Yao haters…heres’s another example why the Rockets won’t be???championship??????????????????????????

  6. Luckyme Says:

    Gosh! That was so painful to watch! It was a game they could have won had they put in a consistent and sustained effort. It was a game that while the winning streak was on, if the big gun – Tmac didn’t show up, someone else did; but, yesterday nobody did. What a let down!

  7. AirChina23 Says:

    Wilson, I can be 100% positive that there are not any Yao-haters here. So I’m not sure to whom are you directing your comments.

    Without Yao, the Rockets would have problems against teams like Boston because of their star players as well as an equally hustling bench. We shouldn’t have lost to New Orleans last night but as I said before, this team is not up to it mentally at this moment. And I agree with John that the Wells trade is backfiring even though Bobby Jackson had been providing some offense during the streak. When Carl Landry gets back, I think he’ll help out with the spark off the bench. As of right now, starters cannot score, neither is there someone on the bench that is able to help.

    John, do you know what’s going on with Dale Davis? I was for sure that he would end up with the Rockets but then I saw him today playing some pick-up ball at a college gym in Indianapolis.

    I haven’t heard anything about Davis yet, but I have been traveling today so I haven’t been connected today. Good scoop on how you saw him today playing pick-up ball, though.

  8. Joseph Says:

    Hey “AirChina23”, I believe “Wilson” said those certain Yao haters is “Nig1” and “tharock220.” Both of them are notorious posters in the forum for flaming Yao at every single chance they get.

  9. David Says:

    Davis worked out for the Rockets on Monday, but the management supposedly decided to sign Loren Woods instead. He is suppose to sign by Friday.

  10. jeff Says:

    The Rockets are back to normal. When they gave up Bonzi for Jackson, they knew they would go nowhere; and therefore just tried to get rid of the contract of Mike James. Ambition? No such word in their dictionary.

    Look at the Nuggets. Yes, they are out of the play-off picture right now. But they still want to add at least one more piece on top of Melo and A.I. This is ambition.

  11. Ree Says:

    I haven’t posted for a long time, but I really need to let off some steam. TRADE T-MAC!!! For all McGrady’s talent, he has the single worst flaw possible for a superstar: HE’S MENTALLY SOFT!!! I think before the celtic or the laker game he was interviewed and asked about his team not getting out of the first round, you heard what he said??? He said “it’s a team game, just because I’m considered the star, so everyone talks to me about it, but it’s a team effort…”

    That short, short interview reveals everything about T-mac! Sure, everyone wants to win, but the superstar has to expect A BIT MORE than the average player! T-mac ONLY performs well when he’s FEELING WELL! Here’s the thing about T-mac, he has the ability and he can explode once in a while, but if the weather’s not to his liking, he may disappear!!! It doesn’t take much to throw him off the track, HE’S MENTALLY SOFT!!!

    I can’t stand him any more. He did well during the streak, but everyone was playing well, the shots, the three pointers were all falling, he was enjoying himself, but when things got tough, what did he do??

    How about the 4th quarter during the Celtic game? I can understand he was trying to distribute the ball at the beginning of the game, but when that didn’t work, did he try to take the ball himself? Did he try to attack the rim and get fouled? Did he try anything??? I don’t care if he tried and lost, but the way he played drove me NUTS! He simply felt the defense was tight and decided to let other players shoulder the load!

    And where is he in the New Orlean game???? GIVE ME A BREAK! How about some foul shots attempts! How about some field goal attempts! I can take it if a superstar’s having an off night, but I can’t take it if they don’t even bother to try!

    I had my doubts before, but now my mind’s made up about this guy. YOU CAN’T EXPECT THE BEST EFFORT FROM HIM NIGHT IN AND NIGHT OUT! If he’s an average player, that’s okay, but if he’s your superstar, you have a major problem!

    I want to go on and on, but I’d better stop before I get so emotional that I get a stroke. (Last season I screamed about firing JVG, that finally happened and got the team going in the right direction, if T-mac is traded and get some good value in return, the team’s one step closer… but there’s one fatal flaw with the team I can’t address… what if Yao’s not durable and he just has the misfortune to live in the same era with Kobe and Lebron..)

  12. Wendy Says:

    Can you imagine a Rockets Team with Kobe and Yao? *dreaming*

    Instead we have TMac. What we really need is someone who can constantly kick his butt when he disappears like in the last two games. If TMac has Kobes heart, or at least half of it, he would be MVP. Better than Kobe, because he is actually more complete, talent-wise. Oh well… I hope he gets a divine inspiration or something, for the rest of his career.

  13. Daniel Says:

    Joesph is so angry that the Rockets have a better record when they have T-Mac but no Yao than when they have Yao but no T-Mac. LMAO!!! He want the Rockets to lose because Yao isn’t playing and he wants the world to know Yao’s the best.

  14. Daniel Says:

    John they’re playing with no energy. Scola can’t finish any of T-Mac’s passes because he stops and holds the ball before going up with it. Landry’s athleticism allows him to go straight to the rim. That’s what they’re really lacking right now. Against the Hawks and Bobcats they got away with not having that, but against Boston and NO a jumpshooting team has no chance.

  15. Wesley Says:

    I cringe watching Tracy shoots free throws.

  16. Ree Says:

    Something not really related, what in the world is that +/- in the box score? I mean, I know what it is, but it’s sooooooooooooooo inacurate!!!

    It’s worse than useless, it’s misleading! I just read the box score for the Warrior game, Mike Harris, one rebound, no score for 7 some minutes get +8 and Scola, Mr. Does All Dirty Work (I love him and Landry), who has 9 points and 10 boards in 35 gets a MINUS 8!!!

    And Landry, who has 6-9 shooting for 17 points off the bench in 18 minutes only has a +3!! I mean… who came up with the fomula for this stat?? This has to be the most off the base stat ever invented!!

    And to think, does the +/- reflect anything of the real value of a player in a particular game??? POOR SCOLAR! Imagine him not getting a good contract if his +/- is way too low, that’s just wrong! Who can I write to to get this stupid stupid stat taken off the box score… geez…

  17. Ree Says:

    I’m having a bit too much free time and I’m just really mad because I feel hopeless..

    “We just had energy,” McGrady said. “We had a lot more energy than we did the last two games. We did a better job executing and moving the ball. This was a big win.” (quote from the Warrior game recap)

    If any of you watched the last two games where they lost, everyone BESIDES McGrady had plenty of energy!! T-mac on the other hand, looked like he just really wanted the streak to be over with so he didn’t have to face more expectations!

    I’m sorry if I sound like a broken record now, it’s just he pissed me off so much in the Celtic game and I didn’t have an outlet to vent and now I’m steaming like a freight train! This guy.. I’m telling ya, he cannot ever be counted on! And the worst thing is, that’s the way he likes it! He wants people to not count on him so that when he performs badly, noboday blames him and when he performs great, he can impress people!

    GRRRRRRRRRRRRR I’m frustrated because after what I’ve witness, I feel the Rockets have little hope to go deep in the playoff with him at the core. Now if Yao’s back and can stay healthy, I think he’s mentally tough enough to give the team some consistency (that’s how the streak started, remember), but now..

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