Yao Ming and Aaron Brooks high-five each other during Houston’s game against Oklahoma City Saturday night at Toyota Center. Yao would go on to score 16 points and 11 rebounds in 39 minutes in an 89-77 victory. Click here for more photos. Click here for the Houston Chronicle’s game story.
This Yao Ming Mania game summary is from guest contributor Ren Hsieh…
Well, the offense still isn’t pretty yet but there’s just enough flashes of brilliance at just the right time to keep even the most critical of fans from losing faith. Three wins, all closed out in the 4th in the convincing fashion the Rockets often struggled with last season.
Granted, two of these wins came at the inexperienced, potential debacles of Memphis and Oklahoma City. While Houston’s team .364 shooting against an actually fairly solid Thunder defense (and their .426 shooting for the season) might raise some concerns, their own defense effort should not.
The Rockets are giving up only .400 FG% to opponents and a league-leading .138 from behind the arc. And they need the defense to bide through the growing pains of the offense; for which they should continue resisting the temptation to veer away — winning helps the cause. The OKC game was a good example of why. On off shooting days, which Rockets fans are more than accustomed to, the offense provides enough open looks to bide the cold streaks. This was evidenced by the Rockets’ balanced scoring, getting 6 players in double figures.
None of the starters are gonna brag about their shooting but good ball movement gave Carl Landry the chance to catch on and carry the Rockets offense in the 2nd half. While it might seem the offense is causing as many problems as its fixing, its been working at just the right times so far. And Artest has been a bit of a revelation.
I think everyone knew he was an impact player — and moreso on the defensive end–but his abilities on offense have been game — changing and more importantly played with conviction.
Houston finally has that second dynamic perimeter player who can create for himself and everyone else when the offense breaks down. Which relieves the pressure on T-Mac right away and should keep him from overreaching as he gets back into game shape. So far, so good but Boston, Portland, both L.A.s, Phoenix, San Antonio and New Orleans in the next 7 games should be a more telling indication of where Houston stands among the West’s elite.
As a side note, Raymond reports the following:
Liu Xiang, China’s 110m Hurdler (Ex-Olympic & World champion) was there watching the game Saturday night. Click here for photos from Raymond in the forum.
He is in the USA for a week seeking medical opinion from orthopedic specialists on if he needs surgery on his Achilles heel. All the orthopedic specialists were recommended and lined up by Yao Ming and Nike. He went to Memorial Hermann Hospital for a checkup with Dr. Tom Clanton and two other specialists on October 31st.
Once Yao Ming returned from Dallas, he hosted a BBQ dinner for Liu Xiang at the Yao Restaurant & Bar that evening. Yao’s whole family (parents and wife) turned up for the occasion. Liu Xiang will go to North Carolina on November 2nd to see another specialist, Dr. Robert B. Anderson, MD of the Miller Orthopedic Clinic in Charlotte. He’s the same doctor from whom Yao Ming got a second opinion when he had that fractured ankle/leg in February 2008.