It’s often hard to say whether gimme games like the Rockets 115-98 win over the Sacramento Kings are helpful or hurtful. On one hand, they build needed confidence but on the other, they can build too much confidence. Nevertheless, Houston will get another confidence booster tonight against the Golden State Warriors before finishing out the season with two tough conference games. Home vs. the New Orleans Hornets and the season finale @ Dallas. Winning those two games is more important than the Kings and Warriors.
Kings notes, as usual they started out scoring the bucket, pushing the tempo, but eventually, talent will always present an opportunity to prevail and the Rockets took advantage. Sacramento even made a little run in the 4th but in the end, they’re the Kings. Rockets finished shooting 54% from the field with solid contributions from, well, everyone. Even Brian Cook got in on the action, dropping 5 pts and 1 reb in 1:02 min. Yao Ming had a solid 20 pts, 9 rebs and two nice baseline spin offs past Spencer Hawes for the rare but always appreciated authoritative dunk. And Ron Artest returned to Sac with 26 pts, 4 rebs and 3 asts. It was nice to see him get a little love pre-game.
This might be interesting to NBA fans circa 1993. My friends and I came across a Sporkle quiz–if you haven’t tried one, be wary, they’re addicting–that asked us to list the two players included on every team on the classic original arcade version of Midway’s NBA Jam. Going through the rosters confirmed for me the far superior level of talent in the NBA right now compared to then. Here are some examples why: The Milwaukee Bucks featured Brad Lohaus and Blue Edwards; the Sacramento Kings featured Wayman Tisdale and Spud Webb (don’t get me wrong, I love Spud but no Mitch Richmond?); but the team that sealed the deal was the Dallas Mavericks starring Derek Harper and Mike Iuzzolino. Who? I remember every other player mentioned above but I had no idea who Iuzzolino was until I Google’d him.
So this was proof positive I thought that today’s NBA simply had far more talent. I was convinced that every team in today’s NBA would have two great and/or highly recognizable players on the team. Except that my buddy Duke argued that there would be just as many teams that would carry players that 16 years from now, the average fan would not know. In 16 years, he said, who’s gonna remember Kevin Martin and Francisco Garcia? And for that matter, who’s gonna remember Monte Ellis and Jamal Crawford (we blindly assume that “Capt. Jack” will not give up his likeness rights)? So herein, we’ve found the true mark of NBA futility. The lack of a decent NBA Jam team.
Kings, Warriors, Rockets fans, let’s not get too carried away with either of these games. Paul-West and Kidd-Nowitzki are upcoming and then it’s biz-nass time.