Well, the Golden State Warriors certainly made it more interesting than it had to be but for the most part, the Rockets 113-109 win was a restrained yet persistent sleeper hold on my cerebrum. Great idea to sit Yao out for this one–they didn’t need him and he deserves the break.
Some friends and I are going out to watch the season finale against Dallas and we all fully intend to buy rounds when Yao makes it through the regular season injury-free. Knock on wood. Getting a break against the Warriors gives such small but cherished relief.
As for the game, Luis Scola‘s career-high 28 pts on 10-15 FGs shows us that if Houston played Golden State every game, they wouldn’t need Yao. Dikembo Mutombo was huge with season highs 10 pts and 15 rebs along with 4 finger wags of the highlight variety. Ron Artest shot better than last night, finishing with 19 pts on 7-14 FGs and dropping 6 dimes before fouling out late in the 4th. Refs just haven’t gotten used to seeing a man push around professional athletes like he’s shoving small children into the dirt at the playground. I’m getting used to it though. It’s Queensbridge. Park style. You Bogart your way to the rim; no one calls offensive fouls in the park. It’s low down, gritty and grimy. Also, an adequate description of the Rockets’ methodology.
“Blue collar,” that’s what the Golden State Warriors announcers, Bob Fitzgerald and Jim Barnett, kept saying about Houston role players. They just beat opponents to the ball. Sure they have finesse guys like Yao and Aaron Brooks but the rest are working stiffs. Hard-nosed. Scola, Carl Landry, Shane Battier, Ron-Ron, Chuck Hayes, Deke and Kyle Lowry are the real Kings of the Blue Collar Comedy tour… except no one’s laughing when they’re getting out-rebounded by 20 boards. They must have said it 20 times… it’s an apt description.
Barnett, having little to speak of on behalf of the Warriors, is convinced that if Houston doesn’t get saddled with LA early on, they can beat any team that can’t push the tempo on them; and make a legit run to the Western Conference Finals. I don’t know about all that–I’ll believe it when I see it–but I do know the Rockets are already priming those playoff elbows. Which is a good thing. Looking at you, Deke.