Thursday, May 7, 2009

Curse You, Rockets; Curse You

I made a mistake last week: I dared to believe in the Rockets.  I watched the first game of the Lakers series and I saw a team I hadn't seen before.  I saw a team that played with energy, with passion--with toughness.  I saw a team that had at least two genuine scoring threats.  I saw a team whose center did not drop the ball on big plays, and who lived up to his hype.  Most of all I saw the hated trash-talking, sexually harassing egojerk Kobe beaten.  And I rejoiced.

Last night, though, I saw the Rockets I'm used to.  Yes, they sort of hustled; yes, they didn't give up.  But it wasn't enough--nowhere near.  Artest got ejected for no good reason.  Yao scored -3 points, and dropped the ball anytime we needed him to get a basket.  Our point guards looked like they couldn't make it III college ball.  We turned the ball over once a minute.  And Kobe scored at will.  

Which is the real Rockets?  Sadly, I think it's the latter team.  When we acquired Yao Ming, I predicted that he would never win a championship.  I wish I could go back on that prediction, but I don't think I can.  Yao is an impressive person: hard-working, generous, respectful.  He's the model of  how you want a pro athlete to act--off the court.  (His eponymous Chinese restaurant is also one of the best in Houston).  Unfortunately, his on-court play is more smoke than heat.   He's the antithesis of clutch.  He's the Derek Bell of basketball players; he'll score 35 in a game at home against the Raptors, but he never seems to have the goods when we need him.  

It's not all his fault, of course, but he is our star; he is a future Hall-of-Famer (probably) and he should be better.  He can't win us a championship by himself.  But he can lose it.  After last night, I'm thinking he's going to lose it--yet again.


JMW said...

Wow, nice Derek Bell reference. Who saw that coming?

Keep hope, grasshopper. Jeez, they split in L.A.; what more could you want? Get some of that H-Town mojo working at home, and who know?

Dezmond said...

I agree with JMW. You are being too hard on the Rockets. As the road team they did what they were supposed to do: split the two games on the road and take home court advantage.

Yao is incredibly talented, and he can be the most valuable big man in the league during the fourth quarter because he hits free throws like a mofo. But he will not lead a team to a champioship. He can be an integral part of a champioship team, but he won't be the leader. Is Artest? Probably not. T-Mac certainly is not.

What the Rockets have going for them in this series is tenacious defense, three point shooting that is spot on, and two players that demand double teams. They also have no pressure whatsoever, so they can go out there and have less chance of being tight or choking. NOBODY expects them to beat the Lakers.

To me, it has been a successful season already, regardless of what happens. They got out of the first round, and did it without McGrady's participation. Mission accomplished.

Since you are a dedicated reader of my blog, you know that I have picked The Lakers to win it all anyway. I still think they will. They are the most talented team in the NBA, player for player. So no shame in The Rockets not winning this series.

Dezmond said...

Still cursing the Rockets?

Tim said...

Dez--They've been better than they should have been, no doubt. I think, in a way, their success proves my point: Yao is not here and they're doing fine.

I'm pessimistic about tomorrow, but I'm going to watch anyway. My hatred for Phil Jackson and Kobe burns brighter than 1000 suns. It would be so sweet to beat them, at home. SO SWEET.