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Chronicle: Pistons thump Rockets in 85-66 victory

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by AroundTheWorld, Jan 8, 2004.

  1. AroundTheWorld

    AroundTheWorld ಠ_ರೃ
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    Pistons thump Rockets
    By JONATHAN FEIGEN



    AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- The Rockets have become a sure thing, automatic.
    Another game and another team's scoring turned impotent. Another night was filled with missed shots. Another offense was suffocated, left for dead until the only appeal was the morbid curiosity about how long coaches would wait to pull the plug.

    But this time, the offense the Rockets shut down was their own.

    For a third consecutive Rockets game, a team failed to reach 70. But Wednesday, the Rockets did little to challenge the reigning champions of the defense-first art form, accepting an 85-66 loss to the Pistons and adding another line to their record book.

    After holding consecutive teams to the fewest points ever scored against the Rockets, the Rockets finished with as few as they have ever put up in a game.

    But they were so feeble offensively, it took eight points in the last 3:39 to even match their all-time worst scoring night. And as much as they might have contributed to offensive blackouts by the Jazz and Warriors, they blamed themselves for another night of lowering the bar even further.

    "It was a lack of intensity as a team," Rockets guard Steve Francis said. "A couple players played hard. One or two players can't do it. You have to have eight, nine, 10 players in a rotation play hard. It wasn't much they did that got us to play like that. Some of the shots we got we normally take, but we didn't really move the ball as much as we normally do.

    "It's hard, man, you go up, and you go down. And the same thing takes us down every time. It gets old. That stuff gets old quick."

    If there were a couple of players with the intensity of their three-game winning streak, he did not point them out. He and Jim Jackson had 15 points each to be the only Rockets to score in double figures. But even when the Rockets and Pistons were still tied three minutes into the second quarter, the Rockets seemed disinterested compared to the more intense, focused performances in the winning streak.

    "We didn't prepare well this morning. We didn't compete well tonight," Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy said. "We weren't as determined to win as we have been for most of the time this year. Detroit played really hard."

    Failing to match that, the Rockets could not keep pace on cruise control. When they made just three of 17 shots in the second quarter, they let the Pistons take their lead to 14 by halftime and to as much as 23 in the second half.

    The Pistons, extending their winning streak to seven games, applied their revived defensive prowess from the start.

    But guard Chucky Atkins said they also beat the Rockets mentally.

    Francis had gotten off to a good start, scoring six points with four assists in the first quarter and even dropping Atkins to his backside with one move.

    "Me and him got to jawing at each other a little bit," Atkins said. "He made a statement that he was going to start lighting me up. I made a statement to him: `I'm not going anywhere.' Whatever he wants to do, we can do it. He started playing a one-on-one game, and I knew I had help. So it was one-on-five, so that was to our advantage."


    Francis missed all four of his second-quarter shots. And while Francis' offense disappeared, all 7-6 of Yao Ming was missing. Yao did not take a shot in eight second-quarter minutes. He played just five minutes in the second half, finishing with four points.

    "I never think ahead," Van Gundy said of the notion he might have benched Yao for the entire fourth quarter to rest him for tonight's game in New York. "I was playing to win tonight. I played guys that I thought that should play.

    "We missed a ton of shots. We got outrebounded badly (50-41), missed free throws (making 11 of 19), turned it over (15 times). We didn't compete well enough, prepare well enough, coach well enough."

    The Rockets have often let the frustration of errant shooting sap their intensity. But Wednesday, there was no intensity to lose.

    "We looked like we were in slow motion," Rockets forward Kelvin Cato said. "They weren't playing particularly well either, but we were in slow motion.

    "If you're missing shots, then you're missing shots. You still have to play basketball. We did a lot more than just missing shots. We didn't execute, we didn't do a good job on the boards. That was one of the bad games of the season. We didn't get it done. We didn't get anything done."

    Instead, the Rockets seemed impressed with their mighty three-game winning streak. They had held three teams to a combined 200 points. By Wednesday, they gave themselves a reminder of how that feels.

    "That's the difference between being a great team and an average team in this league, game in and game out bringing it," Jackson said. "Some nights you're not going to shoot well, but the intensity still has to be there."


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Rockets summary

    Case for defense

    Had the Rockets held the Pistons under 70 points, they would have been the first team ever to do that in three consecutive games. Only six teams -- three coached by Jeff Van Gundy -- have done it in consecutive games.

    The Pistons became No. 6 with their win over the Rockets on Wednesday.

    "I bore them to death," Van Gundy said. "But you know what's funny, everybody talks about our pace of play. New Jersey, the running team, you know how many points more they average than we do? Two. A bucket. I laugh when I watch other games.

    "The thing is when you play good defense, people say you only hold teams down. Unfortunately, the more you make teams work on offense to get a quality shot, it reduces the possessions per game. So even if you shoot well, like we did last game when we shot 46.7 (percent), we only scored 83 points, because the possessions were a lot less."

    On Wednesday it was the Rockets who were held under 70, tying a franchise low with 66 in a 19-point loss to the Pistons.

    Wilks seems safe

    Though he is in the Rockets' playing rotation, guard Mike Wilks was counting the days with an eye on the calendar.

    Playing with a non-guaranteed contract, Wilks is well aware that after Saturday all NBA contracts, other than 10-day contracts, are guaranteed for the rest of the season.

    He did not know, however, that teams placed non-guaranteed players on waivers by 5 p.m. Wednesday so that they would clear waivers by the close of business on Friday.

    The Rockets made that move with Alton Ford on Tuesday.

    When the Rockets did not make a move with Wilks, they almost assured him that he would be under contract for the season.

    "I've thought a lot about it," Wilks said. "I knew Saturday was the day. You prepare for the worst and hope for the best and try not to be surprised.

    "(Dealing with that deadline) is a fact of life for me. Coach is playing me so I'm just going to try to do what he wants and try to help the team."

    With 11 active players, the Rockets have two weeks to either move forward Adrian Griffin from the injured list to the active roster or sign an additional player to a contract for either 10 days or the remainder of the season.

    Foul study

    As promised, coach Jeff Van Gundy studied the tapes of every Yao Ming foul from the past 10 games.

    He found examples of excessive contact that could have been called differently, but he also found things Yao could be doing better to stay out of foul trouble. On Wednesday, Yao picked up three fouls in 22 minutes.

    "He gets them in a variety of ways," Van Gundy said. "The ones that are avoidable, he needs to get there earlier to do what he needs to be doing, rather than later, and square his body up a little bit better.

    "And rebounding-wise, instead of wedging a guy under with his body, he'll use his hands. There are a number of fouls that are avoidable through better technique."

    Asked if Yao had a right to feel persecuted, Van Gundy said, "I think he gets hit a lot, so those wouldn't be his fouls.

    "It doesn't matter. It's a natural phenomenon. You'll allow more leeway with smaller players facing bigger players. (Patrick) Ewing faced it. (Hakeem) Olajuwon faced it. (Tim) Duncan faces it now."










    ------------


    I HATE JVG's approach with Yao Ming. Treating him like this will not work.

    And Francis - check the contrast of his quote and what Chucky Atkins said.
     
  2. rocketfan83

    rocketfan83 Member

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    Same Rockets from last last year. You can't be a border line playoff team and pick an choose what games you want to give 100% effort to. Hopefully theyll learn some day
     
  3. IROC it

    IROC it Contributing Member

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    Game thread? :confused:
     
  4. AroundTheWorld

    AroundTheWorld ಠ_ರೃ
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    I did not see that it was posted in the game thread already - however, the Chronicle articles are often posted in a separate thread afterwards. I felt that the contrast between what Francis said to the press and what he said and did on the court according to Chucky Atkins, plus, the way JVG put Yao down deserved its own thread.

    From Clutch's first Game thread:

    I don't want to stifle all new threads. If you have something you feel deserves to be it's own thread, please go ahead - some good examples would be "Yao Ming needs more minutes", "My Photos From The Game Live", "Francis Is Not a Point Guard" - stuff from the game that is a different conversation in itself, but is not specifically about the game or "your thoughts" from the game.
     
  5. The Real Shady

    The Real Shady Contributing Member

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    It seems as though the two players that we wanted to see improve the most under a new coach, Yao and Steve, seem to have regressed the most. While Mobley and Cato are buying into JVG's philosophy it's obvious that Steve and Yao are not and it's showing in their play.

    Predicition: One of the next three people will not be on the Rockets team next season. Steve, Yao, or Van Gundy.
     
  6. London'sBurning

    London'sBurning Contributing Member

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    Eh I don't see where JVG is belittling Yao. I think he's pointing out the deficiencies in Yao's game like we all have seen since he came into the NBA. The guy is a good player, but he's still got a lot of work ahead of him if he's going to improve. While I don't necessarily agree with talking about your players in front of the media in a berating fashion, none of what he's said about any of our players has been a lie. Sometimes the truth stings, but it doesn't change it from being the truth. Yao relies too much on being big and rebounding lazily, defending his man, in sealing his man, in his footwork offensively, and most importantly being agressive. The guy moves around clumsily a lot of the time offensively and ends getting his legs tangled awkwardly while his defender is wedged right in front of him. It's not a diss on Yao, but it's plain observations that everyone on this board sees in him. I'd absolutely love to see him succeed because his success is detrimental to the teams success if it ever plans on making a run for a title. But right now merely making a run for the playoffs is what my sights are set for. I'm not that greedy... yet. :D
     
  7. AroundTheWorld

    AroundTheWorld ಠ_ರೃ
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    Hmmm... :)
     
  8. London'sBurning

    London'sBurning Contributing Member

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    Did I use the word wrong? If so, damn me for trying to sound intelligent :D
     
  9. London'sBurning

    London'sBurning Contributing Member

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    Main Entry: 1det·ri·men·tal
    Pronunciation: "de-tr&-'men-t&l
    Function: adjective
    Date: 1590
    : obviously harmful : DAMAGING <the detrimental effects of pollution>
    synonym see PERNICIOUS


    I'll be damned. I meant detrimental in a good way :D HONEST! :D


     
  10. Thanos

    Thanos Member

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    What a hypocrite. Trade this guy outta town while he still has value around the league. So criticizes his teammates and does that on the court? Ridiculous.

    I'm really fed up with Steve Francis. If one of Yao, JVG and Francis should go, it's a no brainer.
     
  11. Rocket River

    Rocket River Member

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    of course chucky is the most non bias accurate of folx

    Rocket River
    some odd reason i feel you have been on the TRADE SF bandwagon for a while. . and doubt ANYTHING would change your minds
     
  12. Thanos

    Thanos Member

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    What Atkins has to gain by making stuff like that up? I'm sure you can come up with a number of reasons, but none of them would seem strong enough to justify those statements unless they are the cold, hard truth. They also fit Steve's personality like a glove.
     
  13. montgo

    montgo Contributing Member

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    We should have pounded Detroit! They are not a good team personnel wise comparatively. Our talent is better, but mental always wins out against physical IMHO...

    We beat ourselves by not playing with intensity.....We have no inside game, our primaries did not shoot well and we seemed kinda lackadaisical...like we were waiting to turn it on. We had all the shots we normally get....

    This will happen on occassion. The only thing I am worried about is Yao and our inability to score consistently. We need someone who can score more consistently...not more, but consistently from the outside....Jackson's 1/9 and then 6/10 performances do not produce consistent winning %...Then again, Yao's in effectiveness is causing us a lot of pain too. We are relying on him to jumpstart our offense and he is not providing that spark consistently....
     
  14. GRAYsquirrel

    GRAYsquirrel Member

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    For real. That quote from CA about Steve going "One-on-One" and "One-on-Five" just exemplifies Steve's immaturity and selfishness. Then SF goes off and blames his teammates for not playing hard enough. Sheesh. :mad:
     
  15. Compgeek

    Compgeek Member

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    Don't be quick to shoot the messenger. Chucky wasn't saying anything that we didn't know all along. Stevie has an addiction problem that he can't kick. ISO addiction. All that talk about changing himself to help his teamates maybe from his heart. But once on court, he can't even help himself.
     
  16. Charvo

    Charvo Member

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    My guess is Marbury will do the same tonight. This is a hyped up game on TNT.
     
  17. rvpals

    rvpals Member

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    I agreed. Just look at the stats, it don't lie no matter how bias Atkins is.
     
  18. Old Man Rock

    Old Man Rock Contributing Member

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    We were, plain and simply, outcoached. I team with more offensive weapons than last year can not score 70 points. What pathetic coaching job that is.
     
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