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Tribute to Yao on his 33rd birthday: Top 10 NBA Moments

Sunday, September 15th, 2013
by John

On Yao’s 33rd birthday three days ago (September 12th), Dime Magazine took us back to the good ol’ days by recapping Yao’s Top 10 NBA Moments.

Although I would have a couple of other games in there, they do a great job describing many of them, as well as including video clips from some of his best games. Watching these videos really helps you remember how dominant Yao was. Enjoy!

HOW SWEET IT IS!!! ROCKETS ADVANCE TO NEXT ROUND!

Thursday, April 30th, 2009
by John

No one really knew what to expect Thursday night before Game 6 between the Rockets and Blazers. Would the Rockets step up and finally show their fans and the world that they are for real? Or would the pressure of potentially blowing another two-game lead in a series be their downfall, and undoubtedly change how this team is constituted during the off-season?


Yao Ming posterizes Joel Przybilla near the end of the second quarter on the way to one of the most inspiring games of Yao’s NBA career.

After all, twelve years for the Rockets to win a playoff series is a long, long time, and the natives were getting restless. Just think, a Houston kid who entered the first grade in 1997 could have gone through all of elementary school, junior high, and graduate as a senior in high school and never have seen the Rockets win a playoff series. That would leave any fan skeptical they could close the deal Thursday.

Well, the Rockets smashed all doubts (at least for a few nights) that they can play their best in a huge playoff game to ultimately win a series. Thursday night they got off to a good start, led by 15 points at halftime, and never relinquished the lead as their defense clamped down, holding the Blazers to 42% shooting and no more than 20 points each quarter. It was a milestone victory that could change how this team is perceived for years, putting a little skip in the step of their fans, and themselves, for the next few days before Game 1 against the Lakers Monday night.

With this win, I was GLADLY proven wrong about my prediction that the Rockets would lose the series. But even the most ardent fans who predicted the Rockets would win it have got to admit that after they lost Game 5 in Portland through yet another late-game collapse, everyone had doubts about the Rockets’ ability to win Thursday’s Game 6. Portland had the momentum, and you had to guess which Houston team was going to show up when they absolutely needed a win to avoid an almost certain loss in a Game 7 in Portland.

Also with this win is the fact that the future of some Rocket players who I thought were “on the bubble” of not returning if they had lost the series most likely WILL be back, assuming they are competitive against the Lakers. Those players who I thought were most at risk were Ron Artest, Aaron Brooks, and Shane Battier. They don’t have to win the Lakers series to solidify their standing, but just have a respectable performance so that the Rockets will really want to bring them back to see how far they can take them next season, that is, if they don’t win the championship this season. ;-)


Yao goes up for a dunk after a great pass from Aaron Brooks, one of the best executed plays between Brooks and Yao during the entire series.

I’m still bitter that the Rockets lost that game against Dallas in the regular season that put them in the Lakers’ playoff bracket. That could have easily been avoided with a win against the Mavericks. HOWEVER, if you look at how well Denver is playing and how athletic they are, I don’t think Denver would have been that much easier of a matchup. So maybe the difficulty of having to play the Lakers is not THAT much different after all….at least that’s what I’m saying to myself to rationalize that somehow maybe that loss to Dallas wasn’t so bad.

I do think that now that the Rockets are only 1 of 8 teams in the playoffs, the spotlight will get more intense as more people start watching their games, and you know the majority of basketball fans will be rooting for them as the loveable underdog they hope can knock off the Goliaths in LA. That will mean a new generation of Rocket fans could be created by those casual fans getting to know more about Yao during this series, beyond what they’ve seen from him in funny American commercials.

Unless you were in Houston at Thursday night’s game or watching on a local TV station, it’s too bad that most of America couldn’t see the first half of the game because of the Bulls-Celtics game that went long because of 3 overtimes. Hey, I have no problem if TNT keeps a good game on, but for God’s sake, NBA TV should have picked up the first half of that game until the Chicago-Boston game was over on TNT.

I flipped over to NBA TV during that first half I was missing, and do you know what they were showing? A friggin’ press conference from the Orlando-Philadelphia game! C’mon NBA, you should have the right to decide on-the-fly to air games on your own channel for a sport that YOU control and own, even if another network has the supposed ‘rights’ to that game. The big losers in this game were Rockets and Blazer fans, some like me who probably saw some of the most inconsequential games of the season being the loyal fans that we are, but when it comes to seeing one of the biggest games of the season, we’re locked out from seeing it! Go figure!

The same people at the NBA who didn’t switch over to the Rockets game on NBA TV must be the same people who fined Rick Adelman FOUR days after he supposedly made a critical remark of the referees, and only deciding to do it after Nate McMillian was critical of the refs and decided to fine both to make it ‘fair.’

I’m sorry, but I don’t need to be seeing Ahmad Rashad telling me that Philadelphia’s interim head coach is coming to the podium while Houston is mounting a surge to put themselves up 10+ points on the Blazers in a pivotal game!

Sorry to vent, but somebody at NBA Entertainment has to get a clue that there are probably hundreds of thousands of people who were just like me wanting to watch an important playoff game that meant the most to THEM. No wonder NBA TV is considered inferior to the NFL Network from a programming and production perspective.

By the time the game came on around the 9 minute mark in the 3rd quarter, the Rockets were up by 17 points and it was just a matter of seeing if they could hold on to the lead. But let me recap what gave them that first-half lead in the first place, just in case you missed it.

Ron Artest finally had the breakout game we’ve been looking for in quite some time in this series, scoring 12 points in the first quarter to help give the Rockets a 21-19 lead, and 19 points in the first half on 7-of-11 shots. Throw in Yao’s 7 points by halftime on 3-of-6 shooting, 14 Houston bench points (Carl Landry – 6, Kyle Lowry – 4; Von Wafer – 4), and a defense that held Portland to 39% shooting in the first half, and Houston held a comfortable 52-37 halftime lead. If it hadn’t been for Brandon Roy scoring 12 points in the last 6 1/2 minutes of the second quarter, the lead could have been much bigger.

In the second half, the Rockets would push the lead to 20 points and it looked like it was going to be party time for fans in the stands and at home. But then like clockwork, the Houston offense started getting stagnant by settling for jump shots. They wouldn’t score for a stretch of 4 1/2 minutes in the 4th quarter, missing 6 jumpers in a row. But then Wafer hit a big jumper, and Artest got back to doing what he does well (but abandons quite frequently): he attacked the basket, missed a shot, but that was perfectly fine since Yao got the offensive board and flipped it in for the score, making it 78-63 with 7:01 left.

Aaron Brooks would then steal a bad pass from Steve Blake, and 17 seconds later he would hit a big 3-pointer to make it 81-68 would with 6:21 remaining. Crisis averted, and everyone in the building knew there would be no late-game collapse this time around.

For this game, Brooks was the stronger of the point guards (5-of-11 for 13 points, 5 rebounds in about 32 minutes) while Kyle Lowry was only 1-for-6 with 5 points. It seems to flip-flop on which point guard has the better game. If for some reason both have a bad game at the same time, I think that would be just too much for the Rockets to overcome to win any game.


Yao confers with Aaron Brooks during a break in the action.

Artest was phenomenal, more aggressive on offense, not taking as many stupid jumpers, and finishing with a game high 27 points on 11-of-21 shots. Hopefully Ron-Ron has all those bad shooting games out of his system for the rest of the playoffs, and he’ll be back to his old self starting Monday.

Yao was a man possessed throughout the game, intent on doing whatever it took to win. He caught Steve Blake from behind in the first half to block one of his layup attempts. He poked the ball away from a hard-charging Rudy Fernandez in the 3rd quarter, and then had that awesome posterization dunk on Joel Przybilla near the end of the 1st half. He even dove to the floor for a loose ball when the game seemed to be well in hand. It was one of the best games you could ever watch Yao play in which he ‘only’ scored 17 points on 8-of-16 shots, grabbed 10 boards, and had 2 blocks.

About that time he dove to the floor, Yao would say post-game:

“At that time, the way I feel, we were so close to the win. We believe that body language right there — sacrificing ourselves, get on the ground — that would just send a message to the rest of our teammates that we were close, really, really close.”

This was a “statement game” that Yao admitted was the biggest win of his NBA career, like I had thought earlier in the day he would admit. It was a game that had him so wired, he couldn’t get a full nap in earlier in the day, having it cut short by 1 1/2 hours because he was thinking of “game plans and technical problems.”

In a way, a triumph in this series is something I thought would be poetic justice if the Rockets could advance for the first time without McGrady around. Ever since McGrady reported to training camp out of shape, was forced to take 2 weeks off during the season to get himself in shape, then pulled the stunt where he decided to get knee surgery and didn’t even tell his employer who pays him $20+ million a year about it first, you had to hope the Rockets could pull though with a dramatic series win in this year’s playoffs after having endured so much drama during the McGrady era.


Yao hit the floor hard after a foul by Greg Oden. Yao was okay, though, and would continue to play on.


Yao was all smiles during the post-game news conference as he and Ron Artest yucked it up with the press. Click here and here to see photos from the game and afterwards.

Speaking of McGrady, his worst nightmare must be coming true. Not only did his team advance to the second round without him, but he is now in an even more awkward position since HE PICKED THE LAKERS LAST WEEK TO WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP, MEANING HE DOESN’T THINK HIS VERY OWN TEAM IS GOOD ENOUGH TO BEAT THEM. Forget that he said he originally qualified it by saying something like “IF the Lakers beat the Rockets, they’ll win the championship,” because of some lousy excuse that his cellphone signal crapped out during the very moment in time he claims he said that. Just another long list of stupid things McGrady has said over the years. Has he been hanging out with Joe Biden?

Before closing this one out and moving on to thinking more about the Lakers in the coming days, I’ve got to say that I have a ton of respect for just about all the Portland players, and I feel bad that any team had to lose this series. They were real sportsmen. If the Rockets had beaten Utah, I could have cared less since just about everyone who is a Houston fan hates those guys. On the other hand, Nate McMillan is an excellent coach and seems like a calm, nice person, Brandon Roy has a ton of class, and I feel bad for Greg Oden who is a good guy, but had a bad game Thursday night by missing a dunk, turning the ball over in the post, scoring only 3 points, and didn’t have a good series overall.

But just like Hakeem got the better of Shaq in the 1995 NBA Finals when Shaq was still new and raw in the league, later in his career Shaq would get payback against Hakeem by dominating him as Dream entered the twilight of his career, and that’s what could happen with Oden and Yao in about 5 years. Until that happens, though, I’m ready to see Yao do some dominating over the next couple of weeks against the Lakers.

Yao leads Rockets to win over Pistons in 2 OTs

Thursday, March 19th, 2009
by John

It wasn’t pretty. It took 2 OTs for Houston to beat a Detroit team without its top scorers (Allen Iverson, Rasheed Wallace, Rip Hamilton). The Rockets were lethargic at first, letting the Pistons out-hustle them for offensive rebounds and second-chance points. Detroit hung around long enough to threaten all the good karma Houston had built since the All-Star break beating most teams they should beat.

But the talent and energy of Houston’s roster finally prevailed in the 2nd overtime of a 3-hour game (ending at 11:41pm), finally pulling away with a 106-101 victory to go 45-25 on the year.


Yao Ming was virtually unstoppable against the Pistons, scoring a
game-high 31 points. Click here and here for more photos from the game.

Like most wins these days in the thick of the playoff race, it was a huge victory. Earlier in the evening, Denver had beaten Memphis to take a half-game lead over Houston at 45-25 to take over 3rd place in the West. By the time Houston closed the deal over Detroit, the Rockets had tied the Nuggets with the same record.

Four Rocket players rose up at different times that made the difference.

First, we’ve got to start off with Yao, who scored 31 points on 13-of-22 shooting in 45 minutes of action. He also racked up 15 boards and had 4 blocks.

He scored 8 of the Rockets’ 24 points in the 2 OTs, with his turnaround jumper as automatic as I’ve ever seen it. He’s been hitting that shot from the right post so regularly with such a sweet touch, it’s the most Hakeem-like play I’ve seen Yao master in my 7 years of watching him. He has such confidence in that shot — like Dream had with his turnaround J — every time it swishes through the net, it has to demoralize the opposing team.

Although it would have been nice to have seen the Rockets milk that shot of Yao’s more often since he was being defended man-to-man most of the time, at least they went to him more times than I’ve seen in the past during crunch time. Just imagine how much more Yao would score if starting small forward Shane Battier was a threat offensively that the defense had to respect. Battier took only 1 shot in 44 minutes of play!

Ron Artest
had a solid game scoring 26 points on a decent 11-of-24 shooting. Many times late in the game he would take it to the hole and score, like he should. He seems to have learned more since the All-Star break that he can’t get rely on the 3-pointer or outside shot all the time, especially when it’s not falling (he only took 4 shots from 3-point land, missing one of them). That’s something he has learned in the course of the season, unlike Tracy McGrady, who seemed to forget all the time.

Aaron Brooks came up big with 14 points on 4-of-8 shots, with no shot being bigger than the 3-pointer to start the second overtime, giving the team some breathing room to play a little looser and take a 10-point lead. The Pistons would cut the lead down to 3 points, but Brooks would come through with 4 straight free throws after being intentionally fouled twice. Those FTs alone are shots I would always be afraid that Rafer Alston couldn’t drain, but AB did what point guards should do — hit their throws with the game on the line.

Luis Scola also became a clutch player in the fourth quarter after the Rockets fell behind. Alot of people probably didn’t notice, but Adelman put him in the game after getting upset about Yao not staying down low in the paint, letting Will Bynum score more easily to give the Pistons a 5-point lead early in the fourth.

Scola would deliver with shifty moves down low in the paint DURING CRUNCH TIME and showed he can be a legitimate scoring option when the Rockets really need a bucket. It’s always good to have more options when the matchups aren’t favoring Yao, Brooks or Artest.

With Landry being out because of the terrible circumstances regarding his gunshot wound, the Rockets really missed his athleticism on the boards. Detroit seemed to be getting the offensive boards all night long, grabbing 21 for the game. As great as Yao’s rebound count was (15), he only had 2 on the offensive glass, obviously because he’s not the best jumper, doesn’t have the quickest reflexes, and his hands aren’t reminiscent of Dennis Rodman’s or Ben Wallace’s.

In comparison, other Rockets’ big men have better offensive rebounding ratios: Scola’s 6 boards included 3 offensive, Chuck Hayes‘ 5 rebounds included 3 ORs, and Artest’s 4 boards included 2 ORs.

Don’t get me wrong, though. I’m not complaining. Similar to how Brooks may not be the best assist man for a point guard (yet), Yao Ming makes up for it in so many ways, being more of a go-to guy in crunch time, a no-brainer of a first option for all his teammates when he’s being single-covered.

That’s what he was late in the fourth quarter, scoring 7 points in a row to get the Rockets’ lead back and help send the game to the OTs where Yao would score 8 more points and the Rockets would take care of business.

Houston handles Hawks; Yao dominates with 28

Saturday, February 9th, 2008
by John
Yao Ming scores two of his 28 points (12-of-17 shooting) Saturday night in Houston against the Atlanta Hawks.  Houston beat the Hawks easily, at one time holding a 33-point lead.  The Rockets have won 6 in a row to get their record to 30-20 and are in the thick of the hunt for a playoff spot.Yao Ming scores two of his 28 points (12-of-17 shooting) Saturday night in Houston against the Atlanta Hawks. Houston beat the Hawks easily, at one time holding a 33-point lead. The Rockets have won 6 in a row to get their record to 30-20 and are in the thick of the hunt for a playoff spot. Click here for more photos from the game.

Coming into Houston on Saturday, the Atlanta Hawks were on the second night of a back-to-back (losing at home to Cleveland the night before), and had lost 9 of their last 10 road games. But the Rockets showed no sympathy by playing one of their most complete games of the season, drilling the Hawks 108-89 to win their 6th game in a row and go 30-20 for the season. After the Rockets were a mediocre 13-15 just 7 weeks ago, it’s getting really interesting in Houston these days.

The Rockets had 29 assists against Cleveland on Thursday, and Saturday night they racked up a season-high 32 dimes while scoring 44 field goals and shooting 54.3% from the field. They shared the ball so well and had guys cutting to the basket for easy shot attempts, it reminded me a lot of the Sacramento Kings during their heyday under Rick Adelman. Or dare I say it, the Spurs during their championship runs.

It’s very rare when a team achieves that level of chemistry where the Rockets get as many assists as they’ve had the past two games. I remember back in 1994 and 1995 when the Rockets won their championships, a lot of it was the result of unselfish basketball like what we’re seeing now. It’s still early yet, but if the Rockets keep this up, it going to start getting really fun in H-town.

While everyone was passing the ball, Yao Ming was being his dominant self by scoring 28 points on 12-of-17 shooting (10 in a row at one point), 4-of-4 from the line, and blocking 2 shots. He also had 3 assists to join the passing party.

The Hawks had no answer to the Big Man, either down low where he scored multiple times with left-handed jump hooks off the glass (he seems to really have perfected that shot). And they could only watch in awe as he hit two long jumpers from the top of the key to finally break his shooting slump from out there.

And did you see that play where Yao got the ball behind the 3-point line, then dribbled it a couple of times toward the basket taking giants steps to get all the way to the basket for a layup attempt? Although he missed the shot, it showed yet another move in his arsenal that has to keep opposing defenses guessing.

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Yao is golden in win over Warriors

Tuesday, January 29th, 2008
by John
Yao Ming had a monster game against Al Harrington and the Golden State Warriors, scoring 36 points and grabbing 19 boards to lead the Rockets to a very surprising 111-107 victory.Yao Ming had a monster game against Al Harrington and the Golden State Warriors, scoring 36 points and grabbing 19 boards to lead the Rockets to a very surprising 111-107 victory. Click here for more phots from the game.

I was absolutely astounded with what I saw Tuesday night as I watched the Rockets upset the Warriors 111-107, in my mind probably the biggest upset of the season for the Rockets, even if it was a home game. Here are the reasons why I am very surprised with this victory.

The Warriors are absolutely loaded offensively, scary to play because you’re never safe no matter how big of a lead you may build, and they have had the Rockets’ number in their first two matchups this season with the Warriors winning both games easily. Every game right now means something to the Warriors, too, as the Rockets and other teams are not too far behind them in the playoff race.

The Rockets started off giving the Warriors a taste of their own medicine, coming out running-and-gunning and opening up a 20-point lead at one time in the first quarter! However, you just knew that kind of lead wasn’t going to last because the Warriors are so explosive. It’s no surprise the Rockets would get away from moving the ball and doing the things that got them their big lead, which let the Warriors back into the game when so they could make their much anticipated run.

Ironically, it wasn’t the Rockets getting back to that faster style of play that won them this game. It was the plodding, old JVG-style of halfcourt basketball where one guy (guess who) posts up and wills his way to get a shot off, or gets fouled to go to the free throw line. Not as beautiful as moving the ball around to find the open man to take a shot, but still very effective.

After only averaging 13 points and taking 20 shots in both games against the Warriors this season, Yao Ming was a beast against the undersized Warriors, scoring 36 points on 11-of-19 shooting and 14-of-15 from the line, while also grabbing 19 boards. The 36 and 19 were both season highs for Yao in those categories. Also remember that this is one game after Yao missed a game with an upper respiratory infection and having to labor through a running team like the Warriors for 40 minutes, including no break from the court in the first quarter and the first couple of minutes of the second.

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Yao dominates in squeaker over Sonics

Monday, January 21st, 2008
by John
Yao Ming throws down a dunk Monday night against Seattle on his way to 30 points and 17 boards to lead Houston to a victory.Yao Ming throws down a dunk Monday night against Seattle on his way to 30 points and 17 boards to lead Houston to a victory. Click here for more photos from the game.

Having lost to the Philadelphia 76ers last week AT HOME to end Philly’s 7-game losing streak, the Rockets were very close to messing up again against a poor team. The Rockets almost let Seattle snap their own 10-game losing streak after letting them shoot 51% in the first half and let them close within 4 points at 89-85 with 1:50 remaining.

But then Houston finally woke up and made the plays they needed to just get by the Sonics. No big field goals were really made by anyone other than Yao taking it strong to the hole on the next possession, getting fouled, and hitting 2 free throws to make it 91-85. The rest of the way the defense stepped up when it had to, and they made 5-of-6 free throws to seal the win.

The effort was so bad on the defensive side of the ball, usually passive Houston announcer Bill Worrell said, “The Rockets defense stinks” early in the third quarter after Chuck Hayes was burned on defense, and Worrell lamented how inconsistent their defense was after putting together such a great effort on Saturday against the Spurs. Amen, Bill.

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Yao scores 36 to deep-six Knicks

Wednesday, January 9th, 2008
by John
Yao Ming elevates to throw down a massive dunk over New York's Malik Rose on his way to scoring 36 points on 14-of-21 shooting, 7-of-8 from the line, and 11 rebounds to lead Houston to a 101-92 victory over the Knicks.Yao Ming elevates to throw down a massive dunk over New York’s Malik Rose on his way to scoring 36 points on 14-of-21 shooting, 7-of-8 from the line, and 11 rebounds to lead Houston to a 101-92 victory over the Knicks. Click here for more photos from the game.

If you’re a Yao Ming fan, it doesn’t get much better than what you saw Wednesday night. Yao had a monstrous game against the Knicks, scoring on some very aggressive dunks and racking up 36 points on 14-of-21 shooting, and grabbed 11 boards to lead the Rockets to a 101-92 victory in the Big Apple, their fourth win in a row.

He had a couple of thunderous throw-downs, including one type I’ve never seen him do. With about 3 minutes left in the third quarter, he got the ball just inside the 3-point line, then he DRIBBLED IT once into the lane, took two huge steps toward the rack, and THREW IT DOWN on Malik Rose. To add insult to injury, Rose was called for blocking because he was inside the restricted circle. An amazing play to witness to see Yao take it to the rack from that far away, especially if you watched in HD like I was lucky to have done.

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Yao and Brooks break Knicks

Saturday, January 5th, 2008
by John
Yao Ming goes up for a dunk over the New York Knicks' David Lee on Saturday night.  Yao was dominant, finishing with 30 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 blocks in a 103-91 win.  Aaron Brooks was also incredible, scoring 22 points on 8-of-10 shooting and amazing everyone with his speed and three-point shooting.Yao Ming goes up for a dunk over the New York Knicks’ David Lee on Saturday night. Yao was dominant, finishing with 30 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 blocks in a 103-91 win. Aaron Brooks was also incredible, scoring 22 points on 8-of-10 shooting and amazing everyone with his speed and three-point shooting. Click here for more photos from the game.

Saturday night’s game between Houston and New York represents the reason why I love NBA basketball. Not just because the Rockets beat a team they were expected to beat — a Knick team that has been trashed in the media because of their 8-23 record, underachieving roster, and embattled head coach.

I loved this game for a variety of reasons other than the 103-91 final score might indicate. I loved this game because a player who many people questioned being worthy of a first round draft pick showed everyone — except for the die-hards that believed in him early on — that he not only deserved to be a first round pick, but that he should be playing significant minutes in this league. Not only that, but he could also be the surprise of the NBA draft, and perhaps (hopefully) become a member of the league’s elite point guard fraternity (Tony Parker, Steve Nash, Chris Paul, Baron Davis, just to name a few) that the Rockets have been seeking for years. Wow.

Of course, we’re talking about Aaron Brooks, drafted 26th in last year’s draft. Brooks has been showing everyone lately, including Rick Adelman, that he is a force who is extremely difficult for anyone to defend. Many of us knew that for weeks as it took Adelman way too long to figure out. But better late than never.

Adelman gave Brooks the most number of minutes (24) he has played all season Saturday night, and AB delivered again. Hopefully it wasn’t just because there happened to be a just-as-small point guard on the Knicks in Nate Robinson who probably made Adelman feel that it was “safe” to put AB in there from a matchup perspective.

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Yao, McGrady lead comeback win in Charlotte

Sunday, November 11th, 2007
by John
Yao Ming blocks a shot by Charlotte's Raymond Felton Sunday night where Yao recorded 3 rejections on the night.  But Yao did even more damage on the offensive end, hitting 13-of-15 shots and making 8-of-8 free throws to score a season-high 34 points.  He also grabbed 8 rebounds and dished 4 assists in the 85-82 victory. Yao Ming blocks a shot by Charlotte’s Raymond Felton Sunday night where Yao recorded 3 rejections on the night. But Yao did even more damage on the offensive end, hitting 13-of-15 shots and making 8-of-8 free throws to score a season-high 34 points. He also grabbed 8 rebounds and dished 4 assists in the 85-82 victory. Click here to see more photos from the game.

The Rockets had no business winning Sunday night in Charlotte. Except for Yao Ming, who was absolutely fantastic, the Rockets shot poorly, had no production from their bench, and turned the ball over way too many times. But thanks to Tracy McGrady finally taking it to the basket in the fourth quarter (rather than settle for jumpers), and Yao’s consistency throughout the game, the Rockets pulled out an impressive 85-82 come-from-behind victory.

Yao put together a game that makes you think, at this rate, that the league MVP could be a real possibility, just like it was last season before he got hurt. Yao made an incredible 13-of-15 shots to score 34 points, making all 8 of his free throws along the way, including two FTs that put the Rockets up 83-82 with 20.4 seconds left. He also had 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 blocks.

It was fun to watch this game because there seemed to be a large contingent of Yao fans in Charlotte, of all places, cheering Yao when he scored, more than most small market arenas that Yao visits.

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Rockets make statement against Spurs to go 4-1

Tuesday, November 6th, 2007
by John
Yao Ming shoots a jump hook in the lane over San Antonio's Fabricio Oberto in a big win Tuesday night against the Spurs.  Yao scored 28 points, grabbed 13 boards, dished 6 assists and blocked 3 shots.Yao Ming shoots a jump hook in the lane over San Antonio’s Fabricio Oberto in a big win Tuesday night against the Spurs. Yao scored 28 points, grabbed 13 boards, dished 6 assists and blocked 3 shots. Click here to see more photos from the game.

I said last night after the loss to the Mavs that it would be a rare night when both Mike James and Bonzi Wells had off nights, and not to worry too much. Did that ever ring true Tuesday night when the Rockets beat the Spurs 89-80.

Although he was 4-of-13 from the field, James hit some very big shots down the stretch and shot for a pretty good percentage from three-point land (3-of-7). He is turning out to be what the Rockets exactly expected from him: an energy guy who has some speed, can penetrate into the lane, and can hit timely jump shots and three-pointers. Sure, it would be great if he was a Steve Nash-like passer who could find Yao no matter where he was, but wouldn’t it be for everybody?

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