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Boston.com article about Yao

Monday, November 14th, 2005
by John

The day after the debacle in Boston, check out a Boston writer’s perspective about Yao and the Rockets’ 102-82 loss against the Celtics on Sunday night. Even a Boston writer can tell how bad the Rockets were.

Rockets’ offense goes punchless again as defense also implodes

Sunday, November 13th, 2005
by John
Yao tries to stop the Celtics' Mark Blount Sunday night as Boston had a party at Houston's expense, blowing them out 102-82.Yao tries to stop the Celtics’ Mark Blount Sunday night as Boston had a party at Houston’s expense, blowing them out 102-82. For more photos from the game, click here. Photo courtesy of NBAE via Getty Images.

by John

SUNDAY, 11/13/05 – I’ve got a couple of things to say after the Rockets got blown out of Boston Sunday night 102-82.

1) Coach Jeff Van Gundy coached one of his worst games in recent memory
2) The trade of Mike James for Rafer Alston continues to haunt Houston
3) The scoring punch we expected Derek Anderson to deliver is not happening

Regarding point #1 above, it was unbelievable how the Rockets kept leaving Celtic center Raef LaFrentz open for wide open three-pointers. LaFrentz was 7-for-7 from behind the three-point line in the first half alone. You would think after he hit the 3rd or 4th three-pointer, some defense would be put on him.

Alston was absolutely worthless (again), going 0-for-5 through the first three quarters and getting one assist. What were the Rockets thinking when they traded James, who scored 36 points (including 6 three-pointers!) for Toronto Sunday against Seattle? Oh yeah, I forgot. Point guards who play under the Jeff Van Gundy system shouldn’t be scorers. They should be passers first.

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Yao and Barry lead Rockets over Beantown

Monday, January 31st, 2005
by John
Yao defends against scoring wizard Paul Pierce in Boston on Monday.  Yao had a great game, outscoring Pierce 23 points to 22 to lead the Rockets in scoring on the way to a big 97-94 victory.  Yao also grabbed 8 rebounds and blocked 2 shots. Yao defends against scoring wizard Paul Pierce in Boston on Monday. Yao had a great game, outscoring Pierce 23 points to 22 to lead the Rockets in scoring on the way to a big 97-94 victory. Yao also grabbed 8 rebounds and blocked 2 shots. Click here for more photos from the game.

by John

MONDAY, 1/31/05 – They always say if your NBA team is going to win a championship, you’ve got to have your role players step up. They say there’s no way one or two superstars are going to carry you to victory every night. Every once in awhile you need guys who aren’t in the limelight to pick up the slack.

The Rockets have had the good fortune this year to have guys like Bob Sura and Scott Padgett have big scoring nights while the big guns were struggling. On Thursday night in Boston, it was Jon Barry‘s turn.

The game was a see-saw battle between the Celtics and Rockets, but after the Rockets crept back into the game in the fourth quarter, Mr. Barry scored 11 straight points, including a sizzling three treys in a row to put the Rockets up 78-68. [It would have been four three-pointers in a row if he hadn’t had his right foot on the three-point line when he made a long two-pointer.]

After Barry’s outburst, the Rockets held on thanks to some clutch shots, including Barry’s baseline jumper and a beautiful finger roll after willing his way down the lane when the Rockets really needed a bucket. Barry finished with 15 points in the fourth quarter alone (17 overall).

Yao was also clutch in the fourth by making 3-of-4 shots to finish with 7 points (23 points total on 11-of-15 shooting). Yao also got off to one of his best starts of the year, scoring 16 points on 8-of-10 shooting in the first half. He was getting most of his buckets the way I love to see him utilized: passes from other guys while he’s moving to the basket like after pick-and-rolls. Yao was able to break free time-after-time in the first half. Yao also bolstered his scoring by hitting fadeaways in the lane, shots he has been missing frequently this season.

Thanks to Yao’s productive first half, he ended up negating a bad shooting half for T-Mac (3-for-10) and David Wesley (0-for-4) and helped the Rockets gain a 16-point lead. But the Rockets couldn’t blow it out and they let the Celtics back in the game to reach striking distance, 49-40, even though Houston shot 48% from the field, out-rebounded Boston 25-16, and had 7 more assists (16-9).

Before I describe what happened in the second half, major props go to T-Mac for the one basket he made in the first quarter: a coast-to-coast job where he faked a Celtic player out of his jock, shifted direction and threw down a one-handed jam with a strong snap of the wrist. One of the more spectacular throw-downs this season from T-Mac, and that’s saying something with the highlight reel season he has had thus far.

The momentum shifted to the Celtics in the third quarter when they went on a 12-0 run to take a 63-57 lead as the Rockets relied too much on the outside shot, missing 11-of-16 attempts. During that run, Celtic center Mark Blount scored 10 points in the quarter by camping outside away from Houston’s big men and hitting 4-of-4 long jumpers.

But Houston pulled it together to take a 67-65 lead at the end of the third quarter, thanks to Bob Sura scoring six points in a row. Sura finished with an all-around game, scoring 10, dishing 10, and grabbing 6 boards.

While Sura was superb, Barry was a bit better as he launched his onslaught of long bombs to score 11 in a row and give Houston some breathing room at 78-68. It wasn’t over, though. Boston’s Ricky Davis went off and scored 17 of the Celtics next 24 points to help tie the game at 92-92 with 44 seconds remaining.

Down the stretch it turned into a free throw shooting contest, with the Rockets hitting five free throws. They were helped by a rare miss from Davis, whose three-pointer that could have tied it at 95-95 clanged off the iron. The rebound came down to the Rockets, and unlike the wasted performance by super-sub Scott Padgett against Sacramento last week, Jon Barry could enjoy a victory to go along with his clutch performance.

Just a few weeks ago, Barry was toiling away on the Atlanta bench. One Tyronn Lue trade later, Barry is showing he still has some game left in him. So what role player will step up in Philadelphia? I think David Wesley is due.

What do you think?

Before I sign out, I watched the Boston television coverage instead of Houston’s coverage of the game, and when the commentators said it was the third annual Asian-American night at Boston’s Fleet Center, I was disappointed the Celtics so blatantly use Yao’s appearance to make a few more bucks. I know many NBA teams did that while Yao was doing his first or second tour of duty, but c’mon, it’s his third year already. He’s no longer a novelty. Even worse, as they discussed on television the event, the cameras panned the crowd highlighting unsuspecting Asian-Americans sitting in their seats.

I don’t know about you, but I’m a little offended by that. If it were Mexican-American night, would they have so explicitly shown Mexican-Americans in the crowd? Or if it were Martin Luther King night, would they have focused only on African-Americans? How about Greek night? I doubt it.

I just have a feeling that the guys who control what goes on the sports tube in Boston think that Asian-Americans are like cartoon characters who can be put in the spotlight without feeling like they are being exploited. I beg to differ. Why does it seem like there is a lower level of political correctness toward people of Asian descent? What do you think? If you feel like I do (or if you don’t), someone start a thread in the forum under the “Non-Yao Stuff” section and let’s all discuss it.


To read the Houston Chronicle’s post-game analysis, click here.