1. Welcome! Please take a few seconds to create your free account to post threads, make some friends, remove a few ads while surfing and much more. ClutchFans has been bringing fans together to talk Houston Sports since 1996. Join us!

[CHRON] Rockets collapse right out of gate

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by I am a Donut, Nov 14, 2005.

  1. I am a Donut

    I am a Donut Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2003
    Messages:
    883
    Likes Received:
    391
    http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/sports/bk/bkn/3458608

    Nov. 14, 2005, 1:22AM

    Rockets collapse right out of gate

    No worrying about late leads against Celtics

    By JONATHAN FEIGEN
    Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle

    BOSTON - Finally, the Rockets would not waste a big lead. They would not fall apart late. They would not blow a game they could have, or even should have won.

    The Rockets collapsed from the start. And the start in which they broke down, Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy said, was the start of training camp.

    The problem was not just that the Boston Celtics spanked the Rockets 102-82 on Sunday, never trailing and leading by 23 before coasting. It was not even that the Rockets let Celtics forward Raef LaFrentz hit a career-high seven 3-pointers in the first half without bothering to even cough in his direction.

    For all Boston did so well, the Rockets were not humiliated by the Celtics. They embarrassed themselves by taking it without showing even a hint that they minded.

    "Yeah, we didn't have any fight," said Rockets forward Stromile Swift, who led the Rockets with 17 points. "They got all the loose balls. They made all of the hustle plays. We didn't show any fight out there."

    That was first obvious in their unwillingness to run all the way out to LaFrentz at the 3-point line. He was one 3-pointer shy of matching the NBA record for 3s in a half held by Tracy McGrady, Kobe Bryant, Tim Thomas, Ray Allen and Michael Redd, and finished with 32 points, 27 in the first half, and eight rebounds in his 35 minutes.

    Redd had his eight in a quarter in February 2002 against the Rockets when former Rockets guard Oscar Torres, who did not speak English, did not understand the instructions to go over picks rather than let Redd keep shooting. On Sunday, the Rockets went with the Tower of Babel defensive system.

    "A lack of intensity, just didn't execute the game plan, lot of mistakes on ourselves," McGrady said. "That's why LaFrentz got off to a great start. He was so wide-open because of our mistakes."

    Juwan Howard opened on LaFrentz and then left him as designed in the Rockets' defensive rotations. The next defender is then supposed to rush at LaFrentz, even if it means going past when he puts the ball on the floor. But the Rockets didn't rush anywhere. Instead, the defensive rotations were not quick enough to get even a good look at LaFrentz.


    Shortcomings aplenty

    "We made some mistakes that contributed to how open he was," Van Gundy said. "You have to give him credit; he's a very good player. Juwan did not make mistakes."
    But the Rockets might have been able to overcome those shortcomings, until they found so many more.

    After trailing by as much as 16 in the first half, the Rockets were briefly within eight and down by 10 midway through the third quarter. But while shooting poorly and turning the ball over more than in any game this season, the Rockets also cruised through most of the night, despite playing from behind since the game's first minute.

    Even when they finally kept LaFrentz company at the 3-point arc, they were so slow defensively the Celtics did not need to shoot outside. After the Rockets reduced the Boston lead to eight in the third quarter, the Celtics scored on three consecutive drives through the Rockets' defense before Ricky Davis nailed a 3 to push the lead back to 66-53. By then, it was clear what was lacking.

    "Hustle, heart, will, quickness, speed, intensity, passion; what separated the two teams was those things right there," Van Gundy said. "The margin of victory was much higher than (the score) turned out to be. They took it easy on us.

    "We don't have a lot of fight for the ball, and if you don't fight for the ball, it's going to be hard. They were much more assertive on the boards, on every loose ball. They were just harder playing than we were, much harder."


    12-for-40 shooting

    After shooting well for a half, the Rockets made just 12 of 40 shots in the second half. After scoring 20 points in the fourth quarter a night before, McGrady did not play at all in the fourth quarter with the game that far out of the Rockets' reach.
    But for once, the Rockets did not lament how it ended. They had plenty to censure before that.

    "I think we were not ready to play today," Yao Ming said. "We say this over and over and over, but we weren't ready. Last night we played pretty well, and today we think this is a game we can get, and then just walked, just jogged on the court."

    With that, it was pretty tough to get one of those cumbersome leads to protect.

    jonathan.feigen@chron.com

    Rockets Summary


    McGrady OK

    Tracy McGrady said he had no issues with his back strain a day after playing his first game since the Nov. 4 injury.
    McGrady said he was tired a day after he played 38 minutes in New Jersey, but no more than normal.

    McGrady did sit out the entire fourth quarter in Boston, finishing his night after 28 minutes. But Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy said holding McGrady out down the stretch was not because of any issues with his back. The Rockets trailed by 20 when McGrady went out.

    "I think it was coach's call," McGrady said. "He felt like the game was out of hand. There was no need to put me back in."

    Ryan Bowen, who was inactive because of a strained pelvis Saturday, was well enough to be activated, but played just one minute.


    Green inactive

    Celtics forward Gerald Green, a rookie out of Gulf Shores Academy, checked out his first NBA game against his hometown team from the same vantage point as each of his previous five, the inactive list.
    The Celtics have considered sending Green to the NBA developmental league, but for now are leaning toward keeping him with the team.

    "We change our minds probably once a day on that," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "If he does go, I think Danny (Ainge, Celtics director of basketball operations) and I will wake up one day and say 'Let's do it.' "

    Rivers said he thinks Green would be best served to practice against Paul Pierce and Ricky Davis.

    "Then the next day, I say, 'Well, maybe if he just played 40 minutes a night.' Most days I lean to keeping him here. But some days I think, just let him play somewhere."

    Green said he would not complain about a stint in the developmental league, but believes he can improve while practicing with the Celtics.

    "It's going great, but it's kind of tough that I'm not playing," Green said. "I'm trying to make the best of it. It's still early. I'm just trying to be patient.

    "A lot of the guys said this is what a lot of rookies do, wait and work hard and when they get a chance try to produce. I'm just trying to learn as much as I can."


    Press row view

    Tracy McGrady could perform magic one night to get the Rockets a much-needed win. But the real trick would be to get the "role players" around him to play the roles. That means do the little things that make a big difference. That means get deflections and to loose balls, to make open shots created by the star, to play harder than players of greater talents. While the players around the Rockets' stars shoot horribly, they have become noticed by failing to do the things that when done right go unnoticed.

    Inside the numbers

    • 20 — Rockets turnovers, a season high.
    • 11 — Rockets assists, a season low.
    • 13 — Missed Rockets free throws as they made just 22 of 35 (62.9 percent).
    • 14 — Attempted Boston free throws, with the Celtics making 12.
    • 7 — Shots made out of 37 by Rockets guards.

    JONATHAN FEIGEN
     
  2. tiger0330

    tiger0330 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2003
    Messages:
    4,754
    Likes Received:
    60
    7 of 37 :mad: Bring back Mike James and take away CDs "GM of the Year Award".

    It might be that the team needs time to gell and if they haven't by December we need to start being concerned that the new guys Swift, Alston and DA aren't the impact players we thought they were. Damn, I know its only been 6 games but to be in the cellar of the SW division doesn't feel good especially after thinking we would be 6-0 now.
     
  3. solid

    solid Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2001
    Messages:
    17,442
    Likes Received:
    3,616
    The James trade is looking more and more like a very poor decision, perhaps a critically bad decision. James has had just as long to "adjust" to his team as Alston has had with the Rockets. He is doing great, Alston isn't.
     
  4. john_l

    john_l Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2003
    Messages:
    591
    Likes Received:
    28
    I found this game to be frustrating to watch, as the Rox mailed it in. It is maddenning to see them admit this much in the interviews after the game.

    With the exception of the 2nd half of the openner and half 2 vs. the Nets, I haven't even seen the Rockets even act like they cared about the outcome of *any* game this season.

    I can't remember the last time we had a Rockets team that did not give the effort night in and out. Last year was phenomenal. Likewise, the Francis-Mobley teams always played hard, albeit often stupidly. This team is utterly aloof. It should be an embarrassment for this organization for a Rockets team to look this lackadasical and disinterested. At 100+ per for lower bowl tickets, I'd appreciate it if they at least would *pretend* to care.

    I hope they can be bothered to bring it against the Pistons.
     
  5. GRENDEL

    GRENDEL Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2002
    Messages:
    15,866
    Likes Received:
    1,845

    Nice to see you made this very detailed assessment after a grand total of 6 games.
     
  6. john_l

    john_l Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2003
    Messages:
    591
    Likes Received:
    28
    I'd love to see'em prove me wrong.

    I am a lifelong Houstonian and a rockets fan my entire life. I watched pre-season Rox rather than world series Astros. For the first time I've had enough cash to buy a mini-plan, and I really want to see this team do well.
     
  7. leehoang

    leehoang Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2002
    Messages:
    900
    Likes Received:
    0
    No.

    How many games have we've played...
     
  8. GRENDEL

    GRENDEL Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2002
    Messages:
    15,866
    Likes Received:
    1,845
    I've been a life long fan as well. Last year we went through the same thing to start the season, everyone freaked out and talked about how horrible we were at 6-11, then we go on to win 50+.

    This year, less games and the freakout starts early. We have better talent than we did last year. Simple point is that we have shot horridly, how many of us can really say that will stay true all year??

    This team will be fine.
     
  9. Rule0001

    Rule0001 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2003
    Messages:
    2,801
    Likes Received:
    0
    how is the collapse of the rockets a 5 star thread?

    should be -55 stars
     
  10. twhy77

    twhy77 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2002
    Messages:
    4,041
    Likes Received:
    72
    That Charlie Rosen guy is looking smarter every day.
     
  11. hooroo

    hooroo Member

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2003
    Messages:
    17,946
    Likes Received:
    648
    james is in a contract year and the raptors are 0-6.
     
  12. john_l

    john_l Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2003
    Messages:
    591
    Likes Received:
    28
    Uhhmm...

    Last year the team didn't stop sucking until we traded jj and boki and went through like 4 sub-standard point guards and Sura got back in the lineup from injury. IMO, that team was sucking due to lack of talent, which was remedied by CD going into epic GM of the decade mode and manufacturing a talented team out of whole cloth.

    This one appears to be simply not paying attention.

    This time, I hope *this* team comes around, without another year long retooling effort.
     
  13. solid

    solid Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2001
    Messages:
    17,442
    Likes Received:
    3,616
    You can't win alone, a lesson that TMac is relearning from his Magic days. James has been looking good, 36 pts last night. Could Alston do that right now, even if he got 30 shots? The Rockets have won only two games, and he had very little to do with either. I am not talking about contracts and accounting, I am talking basketball. As a FAN, that is all I care about. I think the Rockets would be doing better on the court if James was still here.
     
  14. russian88

    russian88 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2005
    Messages:
    739
    Likes Received:
    1
    When will Justice write the 2005 R.I.P Tombstone editorial for the Rockets?
     
  15. OddsOn

    OddsOn Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2003
    Messages:
    2,555
    Likes Received:
    87
    I doubt it. MJames isn't going to make the other guys hustle or hit the open jump shot. This all boils down to players desire and passion for winning the game.
     
  16. GATER

    GATER Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2000
    Messages:
    8,325
    Likes Received:
    78
    He didn't do at it after 17 games (6-11) last season. Is there a reason he'd do it after 6 games this season given...

    * McGrady's back.
    * Wesley's off-season surgery.
    * The addition of Alston who's far better than last years' early starters Lue and Strickland.
    * The addition of DA.
    * The addition of Swift who is an upgrade to Mo Taylor at a fraction of the price.
    * A #24 draft pick who's doing pretty well.
     
  17. GRENDEL

    GRENDEL Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2002
    Messages:
    15,866
    Likes Received:
    1,845
    The fatalistic attitude is what I don't understand.

    Every team, even the best in league, will go through bad stretches this year. We've had a major injury and horrid shooting from our guards to start the season. So why "the sky is falling attitude"?
     
Loading...

Share This Page

  • About ClutchFans

    Since 1996, ClutchFans has been loud and proud covering the Houston Rockets, helping set an industry standard for team fan sites. The forums have been a home for Houston sports fans as well as basketball fanatics around the globe.

  • Support ClutchFans!

    If you find that ClutchFans is a valuable resource for you, please consider becoming a Supporting Member. Supporting Members can upload photos and attachments directly to their posts, customize their user title and more. Gold Supporters see zero ads!


    Upgrade Now