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Detroit Free Press: Yao still leaves opponent in awe

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by ymc, Dec 6, 2003.

  1. ymc

    ymc Member

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    This article looks so yesteryear! ;)

    http://www.freep.com/sports/pistons/pcorn6_20031206.htm

    Yao still leaves opponents in awe

    December 6, 2003

    BY HELENE ST. JAMES
    FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER

    Tonight's game at Houston makes Chauncey Billups glad he's a guard. Because as challenging as it is to defend Steve Francis, at least Billups can look him in the eye, something that can't be said about the human oak tree masquerading as Rockets center Yao Ming.

    Yao averages 17.1 points, 9.7 rebounds and 2.0 blocks, all terrific numbers for an NBA center. Beyond the numbers, he'd dazzle opponents purely with his size, because even in the tall man's world of the NBA, it's rare to come across someone who's 7-foot-6 and 310 pounds.

    "His size is just unbelievable, man," Billups said. "It is always a good time when I can sit out there and watch a little bit, just look at him and the way he maneuvers out there. The skill level that he has with his size is unbelievable, being able to shoot the ball and pass and the things he does. It's always a treat to see a guy like that.

    "I would hate to be 6-10 thinking I'm a big guy and have to play against him. He's 7-6 and he's all over the place."

    Though Elden Campbell is the team's starting center, Ben Wallace has played against Yao in the past and likely will take several shifts against him. Even if he lets his afro out, Wallace, who's 6-foot-9 hair-down, is still going to be looking up.

    But, he figures, he's wiser.

    "He's got a foot on me, but I've got a couple of years on him, so it's going to balance out in the end," Wallace said with a grin.

    Since it's nearly impossible to contain Yao, the better option is to try to limit his time and space.

    "You can't allow Yao to come down and catch the ball where he wants to catch it at," Wallace said. "A guy with his size, if you allow him to come down and just walk down the floor and catch the ball, he's going to score every time. You've got to fight him and keep him off the block and make him do things he's really not comfortable doing."

    NOTEBOOK: If, as Larry Brown said, the Pistons have a tendency not to take everybody seriously, their lackadaisical habits could cost them against Houston. The Rockets are 11-7 after defeating New Orleans on Friday night, but they have played 11 of their opening games on the road, including their past six. Entering Friday's game, they were the third-best defensive team in the league with a points-against average of 85.3, while averaging 88.4. In addition to Yao, Cuttino Mobley (16.8 points) can hurt opponents, and Francis is a superb point guard capable of producing 18.1 points per game along with 4.7 assists and 5.6 rebounds (though he's also a bit turnover-prone at 3.8). "It could be tough if we get down and put ourselves in a hole and then trying to climb back out," Billups said. "We've got to focus on not doing that."
    Tonight: Rockets

    Matchup: Pistons vs. Houston, 8:30, Toyota Center. TV/radio: Channel 50; WDFN-AM (1130). Injuries: Detroit -- C Zeljko Rebraca (fatigue), G Chucky Atkins (knee), G Lindsey Hunter (knee), injured list. Houston -- F Eddie Griffin (suspension), G Mike Wilks (shoulder), G Adrian Griffin (knee), F Ben Davis (knee), out.

    Contact HELENE ST. JAMES at 313-222-2295 or stjames@freepress.com.
     
  2. ergo

    ergo Member

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