This post was written by Ren Hsieh, who attended the Knicks-Rockets game Monday night…
There’s nothing worse than watching a game in a packed house and you’re not rooting for the home team–unless you’re winning. With the unpleasant opportunity to watch this one in the world famous Madison Square Garden, a place I usually love to watch basketball, I was made to endure my New York friends deliberately reaching over me to give each other high-fives as the Knicks handed the Rockets a 104-98 loss. My brother chided me from his seat further to the edge of the row for not breaking up their revelry.
Anyway, there was again no Yao, and on lunar new year. There were the usual Lion Dances and other related, distinctly Chinese festivities that fill the breaks when Yao’s in town; but there was an extra tremor of expectation in the air for this one.
Yao Ming tested out his knee before the Knicks game, but it was decided he play it safe and sit it out. Click here for more photos from Yao’s workout.
The Chinese community came out large to support the Big Red One-One… who didn’t play. And MSG was left with a disappointed but nevertheless large smattering of Rockets red. And, of course, there were the New Yorkers devoted to native legends “Skip to my Lou” and Ron-Ron whom presented the odd juxtaposition of Rockets jerseys cheering for the Knicks and occasionally their hometown heroes. For whom neither was the iron particularly kind. Between them and McGrady, 14-49 FGs and 5-28 3FGs. Which should wholly explain how the Rockets lost.
Simply explained, it was balance for last night’s whirlwind affair with the net. All is right in the world now, the yin has returned for its yang. Offensively, **it happens, and Houston fans should hardly be unfamiliar but it was again the lack of defense that might turn some skeptical heads.
Not having Yao in the paint certainly hurt–Duhon and Robinson’s layups in the 4th might have been tough floaters instead of easy buckets–but match-up to match-up the Rockets D just didn’t look tight. 47% shooting and 100+ pts allowed is not Houston Rockets basketball.
Six Knicks players scored in double-figures so there wasn’t any one Rocket to blame. The team defense was poor. Neither McGrady nor Artest were impact players on the defensive end but they’ll get another chance against the nimble 76ers this Wednesday. Where they’ll try not to get blown out of the frame like last time. It’s a game that, even with Yao in the line-up, they just might have to figure out how to defend without him.