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Yao scores 30, Artest 29 in big win over Big D

October 31st, 2008
by John

In my mind…Thursday night against the Dallas Mavericks, Yao Ming scored some of the ‘quietest’ 30 points I’ve ever seen in a 112-102 victory at American Airlines Center for the Rockets to go 2-0 on the season.

(Click here for more photos from the game, thanks to Raymond in the forum)

Maybe it was because I had to watch a game in a sports bar and didn’t have access to my statistics over the Internet during the game, thus surprising me when I saw the final boxscore.

But I think a big reason had to be the incredible display that Ron Artest put on. We all knew he was good, but I don’t think many people expected he would be this valuable to the Rockets this fast. Having an injured Shane Battier out of the lineup is requiring Artest to get more playing time than originally intended, and it hasn’t hurt the Rockets too much.

Yao was his usual solid self, shooting 11-of-15 from the field, making a perfect 8-of-8 from the free throw line (he was 9-of-9 Wednesday night in the season opener), and grabbing 13 boards. Amazingly, we’ve almost come to expect these kind of numbers from Yao, which is a sign of his greatness, and hell, might ultimately win him the league MVP if he keeps this up and doesn’t get hurt like in previous seasons.

But on this night — since we’re still getting used to seeing him in a Rockets jersey — it was Artest who dazzled just as much, scoring 29 points (10-of-22 from the field), making 6-of-6 from the free throw line, and get this: 3-of-4 from the 3-point line.

Whenever I see a guy with a big body like Artest hoisting up 3-pointers, I just think there’s no way a guy with those kind of muscles can consistently hit treys. My brain tells me it just HAS to be a bad, low-percentage shot. But with his picture perfect shooting form, you can see why Artest can make them better than most. Can you ever remember a guy with a frame like Artest’s hitting 3-pointers like this?

It looked like the Rockets were going to run away with it in the second quarter when they went on a 16-0 run to go up 44-33, living up to the expectations that this season could be a dominant one.

But like the night before, their opponent scrapped to get back into the game, and Dallas even led 86-85 heading into the fourth quarter.

That’s when the Rockets exploded with a 16-2 run, with Artest scoring 7 of those points, and led 108-94 with 3:01 remaining, capped by Artest hitting a beautiful 3-pointer from straight on behind the arc. That would launch a celebratory explosion by several Rockets as they bumped chests in mid-air as Dallas called timeout to stop the bleeding.

Dallas would go on a run to make it closer down the stretch, but the Rockets would hold on for the W.

The other star in this game was reserve point guard Aaron Brooks, who came back much quicker than the 1-3 weeks projected to heal his bruised ankle. He lived up to the great preseason he had (14 ppg) by scoring 14 points again on 5-of-12 shooting, including 2-of-4 from three-point land.

In comparison to Yao and Artest, Tracy McGrady had a so-so night, scoring 16 points on only 3-of-10 shooting. But he did make 10-of-11 free throws, an area that was a big disappointment from him last season. With those kind of numbers, he didn’t drag down the team FT shooting percentage like he did so many times last year. Thursday night the Rockets had their second great free throw shooting night in a row: 29-of-31 (93.5%)!

The team also had a very low 10 turnovers. Well done!

Rafer Alston
struggled for the second straight game, hitting only 1-of-6 from the field, but he did dish 5 assists. Just imagine how good the Rockets can be if he gets back on track.

The only real blemish from Yao’s night was missing a wide-open dunk. Other than that, he met expectations in the boxscore, and even exceeded them in minutes played.

After playing 38 minutes the night before, I think everyone thought he would get closer to playing the 30 minutes that’s expected he’ll average. Instead, he played almost 41. Oh well. Maybe he can get a lot more rest Saturday night against an opponent they are expected to beat handily – the Oklahoma City Thunder — to make up for it.

One other moment I liked from Yao was when he caught an elbow from Josh Howard. Put off by the way he was fouled, he “accidentally” bumped into Howard to subtly retaliate. I like it when Yao stands up for himself and doesn’t take crap from anyone.

Artest came over and put a light hand on Howard to provide support for his Big Man. He got T’d up for doing it, but you’ve got to respect Artest for doing what he said during the preseason he would do: stand up for Yao.

17 Responses to “Yao scores 30, Artest 29 in big win over Big D”

  1. greg Says:

    John, I’d like to bring this DIRTY play to your attention. Josh Howard INTENTIONALLY trips Yao Ming while he is running full speed down court. This was an EXTREMELY dangerous play that almost everybody missed (me included). You should bring it to everybody’s attention because Josh Howard deserves repercussion


    Greg, good catch. Through your comment, I’ll leave the link up so everyone else can watch it, too. I didn’t even see that during the game, and I didn’t have a DVR to rewind it. Through this Youtube video, I had to play it over like 10 times to see what you’re talking about, but it definitely looked intentional. The league must fine Howard, and Mark Cuban needs to finally get rid of that guy. He’s a cancer. I wonder if he dissed the national anthem again during pregame? — John

  2. No Way Says:

    Josh Howard–how lame. first-too much pot smoking, then dumb comments caught on youtube and now getting punked by Yao and Artest.

  3. Adrian Says:

    Did you happen to see Howard trip yao intentioally? that was messed up..but prior to that yao hit him with a elbow, lol…

    : I like how artest is using battiers hand in the face, literally, technique..
    : Yao did have a quiet 30 but our offense still needs to gel, he still is working too hard to get the ball and the offense is taking to long to develop
    : Yaos defense was impressive, hes keeping his arm up on pick and rolls at all times and contesting shots, so even though his offense was quiet, his presence on defense was loud and clear.
    : Bench mac, and start battier when he comes back, no disrespect to mac, but he can be a spark plug for our bench like odom is..Hes not 100 percent and hes our weak link on defense
    : Lastly, i can already see brooks bein our rondo, like u saw last year rondos quickness and penetration opened up the celtics offense..Brooks dont have quite the D, but his offense is much more productive and hes just as quick..start brooks and battier, bench alston and mac

  4. www Says:

    30 points, not 31:)

    Thanks. I’ve corrected it. I had it right in the body of the text, but wrong in the titie. — John

  5. Shawn Says:

    Artest is a soldier. I loved it when Dirk tried to use his size in the post against Artest but he couldn’t bang with Artest and forced up a fade away. the Rockets are now tough and nasty, I’m crossing my fingers for an injury free season for the Rockets

  6. AirChina23 Says:

    I’m back and welcome back to everyone! I’ve waited long enough for the season to start and for John’s recaps.

    Ron Artest is playing at the same level when he was at Indiana in the year when he won defensive player of the year. I have said it before, RonRon will step up and take over the game. I like how he can stroke the three yet can also take the ball to the hoop while drawing a foul. He’s a great asset for the Rockets!

    Then I had to listen to one of my most favorite sports figures, Reggie Miller, to talk about what could have been in Indy with Ron and Jermaine O’Neal. Just brings pain to me, because he’s so right. But I’ll take the consolation when the Rox wins it this year!

  7. ant0328 Says:

    we need to resign mutumbo quick. yao can’t play this many minutes. he’ll just get hurt again. landry isn’t the answer at center. hate to see chuck get minutes over landry, but chuck does play some great d, esp on the more mobile pf’s like dirk. love the offense from artest, but where does he fit in when Battier comes back? its pointless to bring battier off the bench, since he only really contributes defense. if we bring him off the bench, the other team’s best player might not even be playing. plus battier is better at marking up quick wing players like bryant. interested to see how this all plays out.

  8. BokChoi Says:

    get’em YAO!!!

  9. Ree Says:

    Great game! Artest was above expectation. I’m just worried that he gets into the habit of trying to “carry” the team, he’s just not that type of player and that would only do more harm than good. But if T-mac and Battier can come back healthy, this team has huge potential. Hopefully they learn to share with each other more.

    I still hate Alston, 5 assists is not good enough for a poor shooter like him. To me, he should NEVER have more shot attempts than assists.

  10. GrapplerKe Says:

    I have McGrady, Yao and Alston on my competitive league with friends. I just dropped Alston and am desperately trying to trade McGrady for Artest, haha. Artest will be on his best behavior this season, especially when he’s trying to get a big contract with the Rockets. Aaron Brooks needs to supplant Rafer Alston as the starting PG as soon as he is 100% healthy.

    As for Josh Howard, I can’t access youtube at work, but if what Greg says is true, then we definitely need to file a complaint to the NBA and get his ass fined and suspended. These thug-like actions in the NBA cannot be tolerated. Mark Cuban only cares about money and winning, so we can’t expect him to take these matters into his own hands unless he is pressured to do so by the NBA.

  11. tp Says:

    Josh Howard is a low-life!!!!!!!

  12. AirChina23 Says:

    The tripping explains why Yao gave Howard an intentional shoulder bump after he was fouled hard by him. I think Yao wanted to take out some of the frustrations. But I really rather him just throw a punch or just intentionally shove Howard hard. Sure, he’ll get fined or suspended. But Josh Howard will get the message, and so will the rest of the league.

  13. NYCBOBBY Says:

    Sup Sup John, NYC is back in the house! First off I gotta say the trade of Ron Ron from QueensBridge NYC is definately paying off in a huge way. He will not only be the third scorer the rockets needed, the defensive tenacity that will only add from last years D, but he’s also gonna be nasty and backup my brotha Yao. The only brotha from another motha that’s done that since Stevie Franchise. And that’s why so many ppl that doesn’t like Franchise’s game but they still love him cause he’s a brotha for life when he backs up his man like that. John, two things I gotta bring up with you. I’m a Yao fan, but by no means his quite 30 points will bring him MVP. I’d say half of his points are non critical points. I have not seen him put it in the hole at critical stages of the game. Either when the team desperately needs a score or at the end of the game. So until that changes, I will have to respectfully disagree with you for now. The other thing is John, can you pleaaaase and I beg you, pleaaase tell your group of networking friends in AKA Raymond or whomever to tell Yao to work on his balancing. Especially when he is trying to hold his ground to get the low post ball or block someone out to grab a rebound. If only he can do that, then he can be a legitimate consistant beast. And when he doesn’t get his way he just scrambles to the other end of the block like he is tip toeing. Please tell me I am wrong John, whatcha think?

    If Yao averages 30 points or in the high 20’s and the Rockets have one of the best records in the league, then Yao will be the MVP. He’s made plenty of baskets at critical stages, like in the fourth quarter. Maybe not the game winning shot all the time (it’s hard for centers to do that since the defense packs it in the final seconds), but in the fourth quarter, free throws, etc., Yao has proven he’s got the goods in clutch time.

    Regarding Yao in the low post, even Shaq has to move around so the defenses don’t double-team him, or position himself for a better entry pass from another teammate who has a shorter defender on him.

    — John

  14. Luckyme Says:

    This was definitely a better game, and I am very impressed with Ron Artest’s play, contribution and effort.

    About Josh Howard’s trip on Yao, this was very low and dirty and he had an intention to injure another player. I saw Yao fell and thought he just tripped on himself. The league should do something about this – a dirty play like this should not be tolerated.

  15. jeff Says:

    There are 2 non-scorers in Alston and Hayes in the line-up. When Battier returns, there will be as many as 3.

    The opposing teams will be very comfortable in playing against non-scorers. They will focus in double-teaming the other key players and let the non-scorer shoot, because they know they are going to miss and turn the ball over to them.

    In order to cut down the number of non-scorers in the line-up, Alston should now be the back-up and let Brooks play most of the minutes. Brooks is the A.I or CP3 in the making. He is the ANSWER to the long time problem in the position of point guard in Houston. But who knows what is in the mind of Idleman. For example, because he does not know how exactly to make full use of the talents of Yao and Scola, I think he is still not too comfortable with these two guys whose performances are much better in their respective national teams.

  16. Jebb Says:

    I have just watched the ‘ ill & dirty’ intentional tripping by J. Howard. This is serious matter as it can certainly cause another broken foot to Yao.

    That shoulder bump Yao gave to Howard was too light. Yao should have shove Howard really hard just to send the message to the rest of the NBA that he doesn’t take this S**t no more!!

    All players play Yao hard & rough at the paint even Jason Kid try to stop Yao go for a lay up. I doubt Kid will try to stop O’neil for the same play!

    Yao really need to use his elbow more to protect himself, he should really learn some trick from uncle mutombo. I mean it. . . It can help to prolong to professional career should he learn how to reduce those hard foul on him. Use your elbow….. Yao.

  17. Howard should fly 15ft Says:

    Agree, that YAO should shove Howard hard and make him fly 10 foot like he did it once in a Euro competition to this guy.

    And Howard believe me will fly 15 ft. I noticed that after Yao gave Howard a should bump, then you see dirk, bass, howard himself and kid trying to all gang up on Yao and Yao off course turn around and is like “what”.
    you see something to learn in life is that when you’re a nice guy people take advantage of you they think you’re an easy target to bully, and Yao so far is known a nice guy. I think he should give a little altitude, mean streak, and this I think will help his game too as everyone who comes into the lane will think twice about be banging against a 7’6 310lbs of power, and bones will be broken.

    If it was me over there and someone intentionally trip me, I will push him hard and say that is what you get for intentionally tripping me and give it an altitude that I ain’t taking shit especially since that I know I am the biggest guy there and off course Asian. Intentionally tripping someone is dangerous, what if they fall the wrong way, and Howard could get sue for that shit if something goes wrong. If something does go wrong, the Chinese govt and sports officially will then have to YELL the shit out of NBA and sue them, and get Howard suspended for the season, really this is serious stuff.

    I am just happy and glad that Yao is OK. I watch that part and I was like how Yao fell, did he run and fell. I just noticed he was intentionally trip by Howard after going through some video and blogs.

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