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Mavericks stop Rockets 4-game winning streak

Tuesday, January 16th, 2007
by John

I wasn’t able to watch the Rockets lose to the Mavericks 109-06 because I’m out of town right now. Even with the Rockets having won four in a row and 9 of their past 11 games, I knew there was no way the Rockets were going to win against the red hot Mavs. The Rockets have been relying too much on big plays down the stretch to win most of those games against mediocre teams.

Even with a monster game from Tracy McGrady (45 points on 17-of-29 shooting, 7 assists), his teammates provided hardly any help as they mostly watched T-Mac do his thing, including running out of gas late.

Juwan Howard chipped in 16. Rafer Alston (12 points) made 4-of-5 three-pointers, but missed his other 5 shots. And Luther Head was 2-of-10 for 8 points. Shane Battier surprisingly scored only 5. That’s not going to “git ‘r done.”

Meanwhile, Dirk Nowitzki scored 30, Josh Howard poured in 28, and Devean George was the X-factor by hitting 4-of-5 threes for 15 points. I thought Mark Cuban said George’s role was to mainly play defense, and wasn’t being asked to score in the Mavericks’ scheme? When you’ve got a guy like that who can come off your bench and jump-start an offense, it’s tough to beat. Especially when you’ve already got a guy like that in Jerry Stackhouse (13 points, 5-of-10 shooting). Too many weapons.

Also tough to beat will be the 29-8 Phoenix Suns Wednesday night, who aren’t playing a back-to-back like the Rockets are. Looks like it’s going to be another Dallas-Phoenix Western Conference Finals in May.

You gotta love the story line between good friends Dirk and two-time MVP Steve Nash facing off against each other deep in the playoffs for a second straight year.

For more on the loss to the Mavericks, let me refer you to the Houston Chronicle story on the game.

Yao and Rockets rout Mavericks

Sunday, November 5th, 2006
by John

I was able to watch the Rockets beat up on the Mavericks, then I pulled an all-nighter doing some work on another project. Now I have to head to the airport and won’t be online all day Sunday, but I will provide some analysis late Sunday night after the Rockets-Hornets game.

In case you missed it Saturday night, the Rockets looked unbeatable in a 107-76 win over Dallas at Toyota Center. I can’t believe how well everyone (well, almost) played. These guys played like they wanted to make an early statement that they will be a force in the league this season. Yao scored 36 points on 12 of 16 shooting, and made all 12 of his free throws.

I can’t contain my excitement after this one. Good thing I have to shut down my computer and head to the airport, or I would be writing for hours!

Rockets lose 6th straight

Tuesday, March 21st, 2006
by John

TUESDAY, 3/21/06 – I can’t take it any more. There’s only so much you can say after the Rockets were dominated again, losing to the Dallas Mavericks on national TV Tuesday night, 88-72.

I know, I know. T-Mac is out. David Wesley is out. I don’t care. A team shouldn’t be so dependent on one player, no matter how much of a superstar that one player is. Going 0-13 against teams in their own division — worst in the league — is unbelievable. The Rockets also have the worst home record in the league (13-22).

We couldn’t even find solace in a Yao domination. Yao only scored 13 points on 6-of-15 shooting, snapping a streak of 14 games where he scored 20 points or more. He was blanketed by two or three defenders each possession, and his teammates couldn’t capitalize when he kicked it out to them.

The only hope the Rockets have is to hope for as many ping-pong balls in the NBA Draft lottery in a couple of months.

Sorry. No photo tonight. I’ve got too much work to do and I need a break from this depression. The only highlight for me was when Stromile Swift (5-of-8, 10 points, 5 rebounds in 12 minutes) threw down a monster one-handed dunk so powerful over Erick Dampier, even Yao opened his mouth wide in awe and yelled “WHOOOOAAAA!” to Swift.

By the way, did you see how former Rocket Mike James on Tuesday night scored 37 points, grabbed 8 boards and had 5 assists? Nice.

Before signing out, you won’t believe the email I received tonight. It was from the Rockets promoting their “Early Bird Campaign” for next year’s season ticket packages. Can you believe that? They have the brilliance to send marketing emails on the same night they got shellacked for the sixth game in a row! That’s about as smart as some of the players moves I’ve seen this season (e.g., aforementioned Mike James, Derek Anderson, Rick Brunson, Richie Frahm).

Just for kicks, here’s an excerpt from the email:

This season started off with the type of enthusiasm and high expectations that Rockets fans have not experience since our championship years. The results so far have not lived up to our expectations. A rash of injuries has kept us from reaching our potential. While we are disappointed in our current record, we remain confident in this team’s ability, desire and work ethic. Yao and Tracy will continue to form the foundation of our team through the end of the 2009 season and our expectations will remain high going into the 2006-2007 season.

I will probably respond to this email reminding them they were playing terribly even before the injures to T-Mac and Yao hit them, along with a few other comments.

john@YaoMingFanClub.com

To see the boxscore from the game, click here.

To read the Houston Chronicle’s article about the game, click here.

Yao dominates again with 36 points, but Rockets lose to Mavs

Wednesday, March 15th, 2006
by John
Yao shoots over a cluster of Mavericks on his way to 36 points.  But Houston's defense couldn't stop Dallas and the rest of the Rockets shot less than 30% in a 95-81 loss.Yao shoots over a cluster of Mavericks on his way to 36 points. But Houston’s defense couldn’t stop Dallas, while the rest of the Rockets shot less than 30% in a 95-81 loss. Click here for more photos from the game.

by John

WEDNESDAY, 3/15/06 – Very rarely have I seen a player dominate a team in one half, and still be down 12 points at halftime.

That’s what happened Wednesday night in Houston as Yao scored 27 points and grabbed 11 rebounds by halftime (36 points and 12 boards overall), yet the Rockets still trailed Dallas 57-45.

The Rockets got within 6 points in the fourth quarter thanks to three-pointers, but the Mavericks just turned on the jets and pulled away to win 95-81

Yao was 8-of-10 shooting by halftime while the rest of the team shot 7-of-20.

On top of that, they couldn’t stop any of the Mavs, who shot 60% in the first half and 52% for the game. And that’s with four of their top eight players out because of injury.

It looked like Yao was on his way to 60 points the way he was playing. It reminded me a lot of Kobe Bryant’s 81-point game where his numbers just kept going up and up. He just couldn’t be stopped. I was looking forward to buying this game on Google Video so I could save it for my personal collection.

Dallas’ Jason Terry described Yao after the game: “An animal. He is playing like a beast. He is playing real aggressive. This is the best I have seen him play since he’s been in the league.”

Jerry Stackhouse said, “This is the best I have ever seen him play. He’s the best center in the NBA right now on one end (offensive) of the court. Every team has to focus on him more than any other center in the NBA, even Shaq (O’Neal).”

After that monster first half, the Mavericks blanketed Yao down low, and only shot 7 times, making four. So Yao would kick the ball out to his teammates for open shots, but they couldn’t make the Mavs pay.

Some of the same culprits as the last game were the Rockets’ Achilles’ heel. Keith Bogans, playing in place of T-Mac, was 2-of-12 for six points. Juwan Howard was 3-of-11 for 7 points.

Houston’s bench was outscored 20-6 in the first half. Believe it or not, that’s all the bench scored the entire game – six.

Despite Yao’s monster offensive game, coach Jeff Van Gundy still though there was improvement ahead for Yao.

“We can expect much better from (Yao) defensively and on the boards. He had one rebound in the second half, and he was not active defensively. He’s been playing great on offense, really great, and he’s not been as good on the boards or defensively in the last three games.”

This type of criticism toward Yao may be unfounded since he is playing so well while everyone else isn’t. I think the good thing is that these kind of words from JVG doesn’t really faze Yao. I think he takes it and uses it to motivate himself even more. That’s probably why he is as good as he is right now.

Houston is now 4.5 games behind the Lakers with 17 games left to play. It’s over folks. Time to start thinking about next year.

john@YaoMingFanClub.com

To see the boxscore from the game, click here.

To read the Houston Chronicle’s article about the game, click here.

Rockets lose 7th in a row

Wednesday, January 18th, 2006
by John

The Rockets hit rock-bottom Wednesday night against Dallas. They trailed by 35 points at one point — their largest deficit of the season — and lost 103-76.

I can’t write anything about it. It’s too depressing. Instead, you can refer to the Houston Chronicle story on the loss.

You have to really feel for the guys in red who are trying to hold down the fort until Yao, T-Mac and the other injured players come back from injuries.

It looks like T-Mac will be cleared to play in Friday’s game against Chicago.

John
john@YaoMingFanClub.com

To see the boxscore from the game, click here.

Rockets out-gunned in Dallas to lose fourth straight

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2005
by John
Dallas' Jason Terry pushes off on Yao Ming with no offensive foul called.  The Rockets gave the heavily favored Mavericks troubles on Tuesday night, but Dallas prevailed in the fourth quarter to win 102-93 .Dallas’ Jason Terry pushes off on Yao Ming with no offensive foul called. The Rockets gave the heavily favored Mavericks troubles on Tuesday night, but Dallas prevailed in the fourth quarter to win 102-93. For more photos from the game, click here.

by John

TUESDAY, 11/22/05 – Despite a 102-93 loss, both of the Houston TV announcers were beaming about how great of an effort the Rockets put in Tuesday night in Dallas. Sure, they played better, led at halftime, and put up a good effort. But they choked in the latter half of the fourth quarter and lost another one. What else is new? A loss is loss, and there are no moral victories. As Jeff Van Gundy recently said, there is no positive spin to failure.

Let’s see…Yao could have kept it close in the fourth quarter, but he made only 1-of-4 shots in the quarter, missing two easy consecutive shots in the lane, including a blown layup when the Rockets only trailed 94-89 with 2:37 remaining.

I hate to say it, but Yao cannot carry a team through four quarters by himself without a superstar like T-Mac to help him. He either doesn’t have the mental toughness to do it, the stamina, or both. But in the first quarter, he was absolutely dominant, scoring 13 points on 3-of-5 shooting and hitting 7-of-8 free throws.

You can tell Yao has more energy in the first quarter, moving quickly without the ball jockeying for position. But as the game wears on after he has logged lots of minutes, he starts to fade. In the third quarter, he was only 1-for-6, and finished 2-for-10 in the second half altogether scoring only 5 points.

So here’s a thought: how about play Yao about 8-10 minutes in the first half, hope the Rockets can keep it close, then play him about 20 minutes in the second half so he will be fresh and can hopefully be quicker than his defenders? I don’t know if that will work, but it’s worth a shot. After all, we’re dealing with something here that no other NBA coach has ever encountered: playing one of the largest guys on the planet in a very active sport, in a very intense Van Gundy defensive system. Maybe it’s just not feasible for a 7’6” guy to play the same minutes as a 6’11” guy and stay as fresh.

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Season ends on a sour note

Saturday, May 7th, 2005
by John

After Thursday’s Game 6 victory for the Rockets forcing a Game 7 in Dallas, I thought I was fortunate enough to get a ticket to Saturday’s game in Dallas. I knew there was a big risk of being disappointed if the Rockets lost, but I thought it was worth the drive to Dallas to perhaps witness history.

Yao throws one down in Dallas on his way to scoring 33 points, but other than T-Mac, none of the other Rockets showed up. Dallas ended Houston's season with a Game 7 victory, winning 116-76. Click here for more photos from the game.Yao throws one down in Dallas on his way to scoring 33 points, but other than T-Mac, none of the other Rockets showed up. Dallas ended Houston’s season with a Game 7 victory, winning 116-76. Click here for more photos from the game.

I sure witnessed history, alright. The worst Game 7 loss in NBA playoff history.

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Rockets dominate Dallas in Game 6: 101-83

Thursday, May 5th, 2005
by Chia-Chi
Yao celebrates on the bench as Houston takes a big lead in the fourth quarter in Game 6 Thursday night against Dallas.  The Rockets ultimately defeated the Mavericks, 101-83.  Yao only played 27 minutes and scored 8 points on 3-of-8 shooting.  The series goes to Game 7 on Saturday night.Yao celebrates on the bench as Houston takes a big lead in the fourth quarter in Game 6 Thursday night against Dallas. The Rockets ultimately defeated the Mavericks, 101-83. Yao only played 27 minutes and scored 8 points on 3-of-8 shooting. The series goes to Game 7 on Saturday night. Click here for more photos from the game.

by Chia-Chi and John

5/5/05, THURSDAY – We can all breathe a sigh of relief as the Rockets avoided losing four straight games and forced a deciding game 7 in Dallas this Saturday with a 101-83 against the Mavericks on Thursday night. In what has to be the most drama-filled series, with terms like “life suspension” and everyone falling into camps about “who did what” correctly, Thursday’s game was simply about good clean basketball.

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Fans respond to Van Gundy’s $100k fine

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2005
by John

TUESDAY, 5/3/05 – The furor in the media about the $100,000 fine levied on Jeff Van Gundy, and the poor officiating in last night’s Rockets – Mavericks game, continues. Check out these links.

FoxSports.com – Van Gundy isn’t problem … refs are

ESPN.com poll

Stay tuned for more analysis over the next couple of days before Thursday’s Game 6 between the Rockets and Mavericks as I continue to monitor this combustible situation involving the refs and David Stern’s maniacal ego.

Rockets lose late lead

Saturday, April 30th, 2005
by John
Dallas’ Jason Terry elevates over Yao for a big bucket Saturday as no one could stop the Dallas guard on his way to 32 points. The Rockets led by six points in the fourth quarter, but lost the lead once again and the game, 97-93. Yao scored 20 points, blocked 5 shots and grabbed 5 rebounds. The Houston-Dallas playoff series is now tied at 2-2. Click here for more photos from the game.

by John

SATURDAY, 4/30/05 – It’s the day after the Rockets’ gut-wrenching loss to the Mavericks in Game 4, and I’m prepared to file my report after a painful 24 hours. Not only did the Rockets lose to ruin my day, but I realized I left my laptop power cord at home and didn’t have enough battery power to file my report last night. Yesterday was a disaster all the way around.

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