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Dallas goes on tear in 4th quarter, now trail 2-1 in series

Thursday, April 28th, 2005
by John
Yao throws one down in the first quarter against Dallas on Thursday night.  The Rockets led by eight points in the fourth quarter, but lost the lead and the game 106-102.  Yao scored 15 points and grabbed 10 boards.  The Rockets hold a 2-1 advantage in ther best-of-7 game playoff series against the Mavericks. Yao throws one down in the first quarter against Dallas on Thursday night. The Rockets led by eight points in the fourth quarter, but lost the lead and the game 106-102. Yao scored 15 points and grabbed 10 boards. The Rockets hold a 2-1 advantage in ther best-of-7 game playoff series against the Mavericks. Click here for more photos from the game.

by John

THURSDAY, 4/28/05 – If you live in the US and you tuned into the beginning of the Rockets – Mavericks game Thursday night, you probably saw that the first quarter wasn’t televised because the Miami – New Jersey game preceding the game went into double-overtime. The OT of that game ended up eating into the TV coverage for the Rockets game. So no one tuning into TNT could see the Rockets.

Funny, but if you watched the fourth quarter of the Rockets game, the same thing happened again: no one could find the Rockets. If you didn’t see it, Dallas went on a 20-0 run in the fourth quarter and eventually won 106-102.

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Yao dominates to help Rockets take 2-0 lead in Dallas series

Monday, April 25th, 2005
by John
Yao celebrates after throwing down a dunk near after a beautiful assist from T-Mac near the end of Game 2 of the Rockets-Mavericks series.  In the game, Yao played one of his most amazing games, scoring 33 points on 13-of-14 shooting, making all 7 of his free throw attempts, and grabbing 8 rebounds in a stunning 113-111 playoff victory against the Mavericks.  The Rockets now lead the series 2-0. Yao celebrates after throwing down a dunk near after a beautiful assist from T-Mac near the end of Game 2 of the Rockets-Mavericks series. In the game, Yao played one of his most amazing games, scoring 33 points on 13-of-14 shooting, making all 7 of his free throw attempts, and grabbing 8 rebounds in a stunning 113-111 playoff victory against the Mavericks. The Rockets now lead the series 2-0. Click here for more photos from the game.

by John

MONDAY, 4/25/05 – When you think about the most important moments in Yao’s NBA career thus far, you think of that rookie season where he shocked the Lakers and scored 20 points that made Charles Barkley kiss Kenny Smith’s donkey after losing a bet. Or you think of those famous “Shaq vs. Yao” matchups from that rookie year. Or maybe the three-pointer at Golden State. Or the no-look behind-the-head passes to Cuttino Mobley or Moochie Norris. Or maybe that behind-the-back dribble and fast break dunk in Portland a few weeks ago.

It’s time to add one more moment to the list. Monday night’s game between Dallas and Houston might go down as the game that gives Yao a reputation as a big-time playoff player we have all looked forward to seeing.

Yao led all scorers with 33 points on an astounding 13-of-14 shooting (the one miss he had shouldn’t have been counted as a shot attempt), made 7-of-7 free throws, grabbed 8 rebounds and had two blocks. In the first quarter alone he made 5-of-5 shots and scored 17 points.

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Rockets shock Mavericks: win Game 1

Saturday, April 23rd, 2005
by John
Dallas' Erick Dampier takes a swipe at the ball Yao was holding in the first quarter Saturday in the first game of the Rockets-Mavericks playoff series.  Dampier was not called for a foul on the play.  In the game, the Rockets surprised the Mavericks, winning 98-86.  Yao was in foul trouble for most of the game, playing only 20 minutes, scoring 11 points and grabbing 8 boards.  T-Mac was the Man, scoring 34 points, dishing 6 assists and grabbing 5 boards after playing 47 minutes.  Dallas’ Erick Dampier takes a swipe at the ball Yao was holding in the first quarter Saturday in the first game of the Rockets-Mavericks playoff series. Dampier was not called for a foul on the play. In the game, the Rockets surprised the Mavericks, winning 98-86. Yao was in foul trouble for most of the game, playing only 20 minutes, scoring 11 points and grabbing 8 boards. T-Mac was the Man, scoring 34 points, dishing 6 assists and grabbing 5 boards after playing 47 minutes. Click here for more photos from the game.

by John

SATURDAY, 4/23/05 – At the end of the regular season with Houston winning 7 games in a row, the Rockets were hoping their hot shooting streak and smothering defense would continue into their first round playoff match-up with Dallas on Saturday.

It did, and they pulled off a big 98-86 victory in Dallas to stop their 9-game winning streak while also taking a 1-0 series lead.

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Rockets dominate injury-plagued Mavericks

Sunday, March 6th, 2005
by Chia-Chi
Yao drives past Dallas center Shawn Bradley on Sunday in Houston.  The Rockets defeated the Mavericks 90-69, who were without Dirk Nowitzki, Michael Finley and Erick Dampier because of injuries.  Yao scored 14 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in 28 minutes of play.Yao drives past Dallas center Shawn Bradley on Sunday in Houston. The Rockets defeated the Mavericks 90-69, who were without Dirk Nowitzki, Michael Finley and Erick Dampier because of injuries. Yao scored 14 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in 28 minutes of play. Click here for more photos from the game.

by Chia-Chi

SUNDAY, 3/6/05 – On Sunday, the Rockets dominated the Dallas Mavericks for a surprising 90-69 victory. But Dallas has been plagued by injuries lately, with leading scorer Dirk Nowitzki a late scratch from the line-up Sunday because of mysterious knee swelling from the Mavericks’ game against the Lakers on Friday. Michael Finley has also been out of the lineup because of a bruised calf, and the Mavs’ main line of defense against Yao, the meaty Erick Dampier, has also been hurt.

But after losing four out of their last five games, any addition to the Rockets’ W column is welcomed by Rocket fans.

One of the areas head coach Jeff Van Gundy emphasized before the game was the team’s offensive rebounding, and the Rockets delivered in the first quarter, collecting 6 in that quarter alone. Yao also came out active in the first, scoring four quick points. His rebounding also improved, collecting 9 boards in the first half. But even without their leading scorers the Mavericks kept the game close, ending the first quarter down only 20-18.

However, the Rockets’ defense glowed in the second, leading to Maverick turnovers and fast break opportunities, holding the Mavs to 37% shooting. By the end of the second quarter the Rockets had amassed a 44-35 lead.

However, Shawn Bradley did a good job defending Yao in the first half, limiting his touches and holding him to 2-of-5 shots. But a pep talk during halftime seemed to invigorate Yao, who came out with six HUGE points in a row to deflate a Mavericks run that put them within 1 point.

The first play was off a nice pass from T-Mac, which lead to a two-handed jam that the Maverick’s offense could only watch in vain. The second was a pass to Yao while triple-teamed. With a quick release, he got the shot off, which was goaltended. The third was a — *gasp* — pass to Yao off a pick-and-roll. Yao’s path to the basket was partially blocked by Shawn Bradley, so he paused and used some nice footwork to get around Bradley to finish with a huge jam.

The majority of the fourth quarter was played by T-Mac, Dikembe Mutombo,
Jon Barry and Mike James. While the Rockets offense was slow in the beginning, they quickly found their offensive and defensive pace and dismantled the Mavericks’ hopes. Mutombo did a great job guarding the basket, and the Houston guards forced multiple turnovers.

The Mavericks offense grinded to a halt, scoring only 14 points in the final quarter. Yao came in for the final few minutes while the Rockets were up by 20 and scored four more points, including an emphatic dunk in the final minutes to seal the victory.

While the victory was expected against a short-handed Mavericks team, the win was still critical in building the Rockets’ confidence, especially heading into a road trip against Seattle and Phoenix. On a
good note, Bob Sura will play on the road trip, and none too late.

In other developments, the team seems to be getting more comfortable passing to Yao off the pick-and-roll, which can only be a good sign. Van Gundy also seems to have cooled off Mike James‘ offensive engines in return for defensive output.

The Rockets play Seattle on Tuesday to start their four game road trip. I personally will be watching live from Key Arena to provide Yao Ming Fan Club coverage. Go Rox!

Chia-Chi
zenithnadir@YaoMingFanClub.com

John’s take of the game

With Dirk Nowitzki, Michael Finley and Erick Dampier out of this game, the Rockets had no excuses if they had lost this game. The Dallas offense clearly struggled in the first half without their big horses in the lineup. Things were looking good for the Rockets with their 44-35 lead and 29-21 rebounding advantage.

But the Rockets were on the verge of having their ego shattered when Dallas came back in the third quarter, going on a 12-0 run in the first four minutes to take a 47-46 lead. The Rockets half-court offense looked as bad as it did in November, missing shots and turning the ball over.

But as Chia-Chi mentioned above, something magical happened. The Rockets went on an 8-0 run, with Yao scoring 6 of those points. Then when Dikembe came into the game for Yao, he made his presence immediately felt, forcing the Mavericks to miss seven of their next 8 shots. By the end of the third quarter, the Rockets had righted the ship and led 61-55 and completed a 23-4 run that stretched from the third and into the fourth to lead 80-59 with 5:35 remaining.

Similar to the Rockets loss against the Spurs on February 23rd when they didn’t have Bob Sura in the lineup, the Mavericks held tight until the loss of a key player caught up with them and the bottom fell out. By scoring only 69 points, the Mavericks scored their least amount of points in 6 years. But give the Rockets credit for some good defense, too, especially Dikembe, who finished with four blocks.

One of the stories of this game was T-Mac getting hit in the chin, requiring him to go to the locker room and get six stitches. Coming out of the locker room, T-Mac wasn’t fazed one bit, finishing with 32 points on 11-of-22 shooting, 10 rebounds and 5 assists. Another amazing stat was the Rockets 17-6 advantage in fast break points against a team known for its run-and-gun offense.

John
john@YaoMingFanClub.com