Well, I was almost right. I predicted the Rockets were going to get their first win of the season against the Spurs Saturday night, and they did just about everything they could to almost pull it off.
Jordan Hill, Brad Miller and Yao react during a pretty intense game in San Antonio Saturday night. Click here for photos of Yao working out before the game.
Yao didn’t play Saturday night against the Spurs, and instead will play in the back-to-back against Minnesota on Sunday night in Houston. They could have used him late in the 4th quarter Saturday night when both Aaron Brooks and Kevin Martin were out with injuries. But the bench did a good job making a nice comeback in the 4th to take the lead, but as we’ve grown accustomed to seeing this season, the Rockets found another way to lose.
Courtney Lee missed two free throws that could have given them a 4-point lead with 16.8 seconds in the 4th quarter, which would have put the Spurs away. Instead, Manu Ginobili made him pay by hitting a cold-blooded jumper to tie the game with 9.9 remaining. Ish Smith missed a running jumper for the Rockets that could have won it with 2.8 seconds on the clock, then Manu almost made a desperation three-pointer that could have killed off the Rockets. Instead, both teams headed into overtime tied 113-113.
Then with the Rockets holding a 119-118 lead in OT, Chuck Hayes was inexcusably stripped of the ball by Tony Parker who took it the other way for a layup and a 120-119 lead. You can pretty much predict what was going to happen the rest of the way…the Rockets didn’t have enough horses to overcome the absence of Brooks, Martin, Kyle Lowry (back spasms), and Yao. They even had three 3-point attempts in the final seconds to tie the game (Shane Battier, Lee, Luis Scola), but couldn’t hit any of them.
Here is a photo of Brooks getting carried off the court at halftime.
I saw on video Brooks injure his ankle, and it was terrible looking. He threw up a half court shot by jumping up in the air after running at full speed, and landed on the side of his foot. Awful. I’m not a doctor, but I’m guessing this will take a few weeks to heal. If Chase Budinger‘s ankle took a few weeks to heal before training camp, this has got to be just as long, if not longer.
The Rockets are now 0-and-5 for the season. This is getting ugly, and fast.