Well, my first game back covering the Rockets again on Yao Ming Mania was a complete disaster. The Rockets’ play was ridiculous in the first game of their road trip, getting their clock cleaned 94-73 by a 12-20 Toronto team. A team that also happened to lose their starting point guard Jose Calderon to a hamstring injury in the second quarter.
Click here for more photos from the game.
The Rockets have now lost 4 of their last 6 games, most against poor teams. If they keep playing like this, something major HAS to happen – like a big trade or a firing. This sort of play is completely unacceptable.
Tracy McGrady started the game with a plan to play only one game in each of their 3 upcoming back-to-backs. He was terrible again, hitting only 2-of-9 for 4 points in 28 minutes of play. He also had only 2 rebounds and 2 assists. In his past 5 games, he has only made 15 of his last 54 shots for an average of 10 ppg.
Yao Ming started the game scoring 6 of the Rockets’ first 10 points, but after that, the Raptors swarmed him and forced others to make shots. That strategy worked for Toronto because he got no help from the guards, who shot 3-of-15 in the half. That gave them a 39.5% shooting percentage as the Rockets trailed 38-28 at the half. They also scored a season-low 14 points for a quarter in the first.
Hitting close to 40% in the first half would look pretty good compared to how they would finish the 2nd half, hitting only 13 of 44 shots (29.5%) for 34.1% shooting overall – their worst shooting game of the season. Yao – who was decent in the first half with 12 points on 4-of-8 shooting and 4 rebounds — would make 1-of-4 shots the rest of the game to finish with 14 points, 8 rebounds and 5 turnovers.
It would get much worse in the second half, as they broke the record they set in the first quarter by scoring a season-low 11 points in the third. That left them trailing by 20+ points most of the fourth quarter.
The only bright spot was Von Wafer, who entered the game at the start of the fourth quarter and played the rest of the way, hitting 7-of-9 shots and scoring 18 points TO LEAD THE TEAM IN SCORING. Look for him to start in Atlanta on Saturday night in place of McGrady.
Check out the shooting for these cats: Luther Head: 0-for-6; Carl Landry: 1-for-7; Aaron Brooks: 1-for-7; Brent Barry: 1-for-6. They made Rafer Alston’s 3-for-7 shooting look like the second coming of Jerry West.
It’s hard to believe this Rockets team is supposed to be better – on paper – than the team that won 22 games in a row last season.