I’m a little late in this post since the Rockets finally got their first win of the season Sunday night about 48 hours ago. Even with their 0-5 start, it was a win that should have been expected against the Minnesota Timberwolves, by far the easiest team on the Rockets’ schedule the first six games of this young season. Sorry I didn’t post anything earlier about it. If you’re like me, a guy who has been very busy at work, the Rockets winning a game against a team they should beat — after such a terrible start to the season — isn’t the most urgent thing in the world you have to post.
If the Rockets had lost this game, it would have been a complete disaster, even without Aaron Brooks and Kyle Lowry out. Fortunately Kevin Martin was able to suck it up for the team and play through his slightly sprained ankle, scoring 21 points that they badly needed. Luis Scola led Houston with 24 points in just 27 minutes. And Shane Battier is finally starting to score more, racking up 12 points (but only on 3-of-9 shooting). But at least he’s been putting up more shots lately, having scored 14 points in San Antonio the night before. I think they’ll need more of Shane’s aggressiveness on offense. No more games with just 3 points, please.
The game was a blowout early, with the Rockets holding Minnesota to 13 points in the first quarter and leading 60-37 at halftime. They opened up a 30+ point lead in the second half, and even the Rockets couldn’t blow that kind of lead. Opening up big leads is probably the Rockets’ best chance of winning games until they can figure out a way to execute offensively in tight games.
With the big early lead, Yao only played 16 minutes and scored 13 points on 3-of-5 shooting and 7-for-7 from the line. It’s encouraging that now there are reports circulating that the Rockets are considering increasing Yao’s playing time from the 24-minute guideline and not playing in back-to-backs since his physical progress has been so encouraging. Let’s hope that’s the case, for our sanity and Yao’s.