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Bob Sura is expected to play tonight. (Chron)

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by vtkp99, Jan 31, 2005.

  1. vtkp99

    vtkp99 Contributing Member

    Jun 30, 2002
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    Jan. 31, 2005, 12:48AM

    Heat's Wade steals show
    With attention on Shaq and Yao, Miami's other star triggers victory

    MIAMI - Yao Ming had what every center wants when playing Shaquille O'Neal. He had O'Neal stuck to the bench.

    But after the Heat spread the Rockets' defense to let Dwyane Wade carve it to pieces, driving the Heat to a 104-95 win Sunday, Yao almost sounded as if he missed the days of 650 pounds of Yao-Shaq collisions.

    "When Shaq is not in the game, the center I defend is more of a pick-and-pop shooter," Yao said, making him the first center this season to leave a game against the Heat talking about the matchup with Michael Doleac. "And Wade is a great player. He went through our double teams."

    With O'Neal on the bench for 21 minutes, the Heat had Wade attack, usually in pick-and-roll bursts, but almost always enough to trigger the Miami offense.

    Wade finished with 30 points, eight rebounds and six assists. But even when he was not collecting numbers, he had the Rockets' defense scrambling to the point that a few passes later, the shooters stationed around him took target practice.

    "That's how good he is," Rockets guard Jon Barry said. "He has an unbelievable ability to get to the basket. I don't think he made a jump shot today (he made one, early in the second half) and he scored 30 points. He ... puts so much pressure on your defense.

    "It's tough to get both of them done. We got one part done. I thought we did a great job on Shaq. But it's very difficult to contain them both."

    For the Rockets, it was impossible. With Wade forcing help defenses, Damon Jones and Udonis Haslem each had 16 points, with Haslem making seven of nine shots.

    "When Shaq goes out, they bring in a shooter, Doleac," Rockets forward Tracy McGrady said. "Dwyane Wade puts so much pressure on your defense, he can penetrate and get to the hole, and you have to collapse on him. He finds open guys and those guys are knocking down shots for him."

    But holding O'Neal to 15 points and just five rebounds, with Yao collecting 22 and nine could have been enough. But the Rockets never could knock down enough outside shots to stay with the Heat.

    McGrady led the Rockets with 28, but made just 10 of 26 shots. Bob Sura made his first five shots and finished with 21. But he made just two of eight in the second half. Barry and Scott Padgett combined to miss all eight of their attempts.

    Most damaging, when the Rockets were within three to start the fourth quarter, they made just four of 16 shots as the Heat built their largest lead (94-82) with O'Neal having played just three fourth-quarter minutes.

    Still, the Rockets had chances. Yao and Sura made four free throws to move the Rockets within eight before Clarence Weatherspoon was called for a bizarre goaltending. On an alley-oop to Wade, Weatherspoon smacked the ball, but was called for grabbing the rim, earning a goaltending and a technical foul, a ruling that would become key moments later when the Rockets rallied.

    "I don't know how that's goaltending on a pass," Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy said. "It always matters. Just like the free-throw violations (two called against the Rockets with O'Neal on the line). Those mattered, too."

    Weatherspoon said he never touched the rim.

    "They said I grabbed the rim with my off hand. My off hand came through the net. I didn't grab the rim. I don't know how that can be goaltending. He didn't have the ball. I never saw that before."

    Yao scored on the Rockets' next two possessions, keeping them within seven. But with 55.9 seconds left, Sura tried to foul O'Neal under the basket, but instead sent O'Neal to the line for a three-point play and himself out of the game with a dislocated left ring finger after what amounted to punching a wall.

    "I definitely got the worst of that one," Sura said. "I'm sure I didn't have any effect on him. I took the brunt of it. Dislocation and slight fracture — I got the worst."

    McGrady passed to Yao for a dunk and nailed a 3-pointer to push the Rockets to a 100-95 deficit with 31.9 seconds remaining. But before McGrady could try to repeat his December run against the Spurs, Wade made both stop-the-clock free throws, then took off on one last fast-break flight to offer a reminder of where the game had been won much earlier.

    "At one point, Shaq was in foul trouble, and I knew coach was going to come to me," Wade said. "I decided to drive hard and try to make plays for my teammates.

    "I understand that on some nights, like tonight, when Shaq is not on the floor, it's time for me to make plays happen. There are some nights when he takes over. Tonight was the time for me to step up and make some plays."

    When he did, he hurt the Rockets more than O'Neal did, even if his way doesn't dislocate a finger.



    Rockets Summary

    Tough assignments
    The Rockets acquired David Wesley in part to match up against shooting guards. He knew that. He has found out, however, that he will be assigned shooting guards, point guards and an occasional nuisance of a small forward as need be.

    Wesley has matched up against everyone from Hedo Turkoglu to Mike Bibby, with his first game with the Rockets against LeBron James. But he said Sunday's assignment, Miami's Dwyane Wade, is as tough as any.

    "Playing LeBron twice in a week, that's not fun," Wesley said of going against James with the Hornets and Rockets. "(Wade) is quick, strong, finishes well around the basket. You have to stay in front of him and try to make him take as many tough jump shots as possible."

    Wesley, 6-1, said he tries to use his quickness on the quick players and strength and leverage against tall opponents. But Wade used pick-and-rolls to score 30 points with six assists, while making just one jump shot.

    "He's got great quickness and he's a hard cover in the pick-and-roll, and he's clever in how he draws fouls and goes to the line," Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy said.

    All-Star experience
    As much as the All-Star break could be a rare and needed breather during the season for a coach, Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy, who also had a stint coaching the Eastern Conference All-Stars, said his brother Stan will enjoy the extra work.

    "It was a good experience," Jeff Van Gundy said. "It means you have a good record, that's why you get it."

    Stan Van Gundy said coaches from the previous season's conference champions should coach in the All-Star Game, an idea that would allow a coach to have the best record and get the weekend off.

    "I think it's an honor, though, to be the All-Star coach," Jeff Van Gundy said. "Certainly you could use the rest, but it's something he will enjoy. I'm happy for him."

    It is, he said, also educational.

    "You do learn, even in that little short practice, why some guys win and some guys lose," Van Gundy said. "You see how they go about their business. It's eye-opening to me. I always had great respect for Reggie Miller. To watch him go through his routine. ... A couple other guys were a little shaky. You see why certain guys win and why certain guys put up numbers."

    Press row view
    As much as Damon Jones' free agency last summer has sparked debate about what he could have brought his hometown team, Bob Sura looked like the right choice for the Rockets and Jones seems right for Miami. Jones' shooting range could have helped, but is ideal in Miami; the Rockets needed Sura's attitude and versatile style, as they demonstrated when he was out to start the season. The Rockets could use another shooter, but if they had Jones, they would need Sura.

    Inside the numbers
    After averaging 21.5 points and 8.8 rebounds against Shaquille O'Neal and the Lakers last season, Yao Ming had 22 points and nine rebounds in his first game against O'Neal and the Heat this season. ... The Rockets' bench combined to make three of 13 shots for six points. ... The loss snapped the Rockets' three-game road winning streak and dropped them to 10-11 on the road. ... The Heat made 50 percent of their shots, the first team to make at least half against the Rockets since the Pacers on Jan. 18.

    Did you know
    For all the star power of Shaquille O'Neal, Dwyane Wade, Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady on the court, the game offered a different rarity -- three undrafted starters, David Wesley, Damon Jones and Udonis Haslem.



    Rockets Tonight
    Celtics update: The Celtics are the only division leader with a losing record, but they have won nine of their past 10 home games and are coming off a win in Chicago on Saturday.

    The Celtics must: Defend Yao Ming without leaving too much else open. Yao had 19 in the first half last season in Boston. The adjustment to stop him sent the Rockets to a 15-point win.

    Rockets update: The Rockets head to Boston for the second half of a back-to-back with a two-game losing streak. ... ... Guard Bob Sura, who dislocated a finger on his left hand Sunday, is expected to play tonight.

    The Rockets must: Have one of their better defensive games. The Celtics shoot a good percentage and take care of the ball.

    Check out: The matchup of Paul Pierce and Tracy McGrady. The Rockets have been talking about McGrady's defense. This will be a matchup where it's needed.
  2. smoothie

    smoothie Jabari Jungle

    Mar 1, 2001
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    i hope this doesn't affect his shooting:p

    this guy is tough, i hope having him play inspires the rest of the team to play hard and win tonight.
  3. Deuce

    Deuce Context & Nuance

    Aug 1, 2001
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    That's awesome! I was fearing the worst! (out for a month or so).

    According to the game write up it is a dislocation but also a slight fracture. Luckily it is on his NON-shooting hand.

    I think with that slight fracture, it is once again going to come down with him playing with pain just like his knee. It will be interesting to see how it effects his game if any. And what happens when someone hits that finger during the game.

    Somebody quick, get some duct tape so we can patch up Sura and throw him out there again. :p
  4. Fegwu

    Fegwu Contributing Member

    Nov 20, 2002
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    This is good news. Dislocations are not that bad. If it was a break he would have been surely out. Now lets finish January in style the way we started it.
  5. Willis25

    Willis25 Contributing Member

    Oct 22, 2002
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    I wonder if he will throw the ball to Yao now ;)
  6. wakkoman

    wakkoman Contributing Member

    Aug 10, 2003
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  7. adai

    adai Member

    May 20, 2002
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    Hopefully, someday, samething could be said to Rockets

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