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[CHRON] Minute by minute, Rockets fitting in

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by MrRolo, Oct 11, 2005.

  1. MrRolo

    MrRolo Contributing Member

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    Against Philly, Van Gundy plans to dish out time to all 16 players
    By JONATHAN FEIGEN
    Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle

    http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/sports/bk/bkn/3390820

    The core of the team, the Rockets' veterans said so often before training camp began, is back. They know Jeff Van Gundy. They know his little details and big priorities. They would be much better equipped to hit the season running.

    That's the theory, anyway. It might still be.

    There are three newcomers — Stromile Swift, Derek Anderson and Rafer Alston — who are certain to have a place in the rotation. Also, Jon Barry and David Wesley, though back from last season's mix, were not in last season's training camp. And it all sounds a bit like that speculative "on paper" stuff anyway.

    So instead, the Rockets will begin the preseason in Philadelphia tonight and come home to face the Orlando Magic on Wednesday ready to test the theory.

    "We're just going to see how the hard work paid off for the last week," Tracy McGrady said, adding he was just happy to know that games are considerably shorter than Van Gundy's practices. "Obviously, a couple of key guys won't get the minutes we normally get. We just want to see where we're at so we can go back and sharpen things up."

    Rough honeymoon
    Every team might feel roughly the same way. But the Rockets went 6-9 to start last season, in no small measure because they began with just five players and two starters (Yao Ming and Jim Jackson) back from 2003-04.

    The Rockets hope the stability this year will lead to a better opening, a better seed in the playoffs and, most of all, a better finish.

    "I want to get off to a great start," McGrady said. "I realize how tough our schedule is at the beginning of the season, so I just want to get up to speed and bring those guys along with us."

    After a week of practices, the new players might feel the need to take the semester's first exam more than returning players. For them, the difference between learning plays and using them to defeat an opponent could be a greater leap.

    McGrady and Yao might by now have a pretty good idea how things work for them. Anderson and Swift, who must fit in around the Rockets' stars, can only now begin to find out.

    "I wish we could play more preseason games so we could get a feel for each other," Anderson said. "We come out here and execute our stuff, but everybody is not going to use our stuff like (the) trap screen-and-roll."

    The results of preseason games don't mean much. The past 10 NBA champions were a combined 35-39 in the preseason. (The Rockets went 5-3 in each of their championship seasons.)

    Emptying the bench
    Van Gundy plans to play all 16 of his healthy players and probably not play his starters in the second half. How he allots minutes tonight and Wednesday should be enough to gauge the progress of the team.

    "I don't get caught up as much in winning, whether it's preseason, regular season or the playoffs, because if you play well enough and do all the things you should, you'll give yourself a chance to max out your potential, whatever that may be," Van Gundy said.

    He has been known to be unsatisfied with wins. But for now, he won't be alone in measuring success in degrees of "playing well."

    "Tomorrow, we'll see where we're at," Swift said. "This is repetition learning. Tomorrow we'll see how everything works out. I'm kind of looking forward to it."

    jonathan.feigen@chron.com

    ROCKETS SUMMARY
    Motrin moments
    Rockets forward Juwan Howard seems happy to be worrying only about working out a few kinks in training camp.

    Howard's season was interrupted last March when he hurt his right knee and ended when he developed a heart condition weeks later.

    "I'm enjoying it each day. Of course it hurts, but it's supposed to. This is something I enjoy, I appreciate and I love," he said. "When I hurt the knee, I was in 82-game playing (shape). No one right now, including myself, is in 82-game playing shape. That's what we're working toward."

    No. 22, No. 2 thrill No. 1
    Now Tracy McGrady, Rockets forward and resident baseball nut, knows how Houston sports fans felt last December.

    Having been amazing, McGrady got a chance to be amazed at the Astros' 18-inning win over the Atlanta Braves.

    "That was one of the most unbelievable things I've ever seen in the game of baseball," McGrady said. "That was like 13 points in 35 seconds. For real, that was unbelievable."

    McGrady, whose last-minute scoring burst stunned the Spurs last Dec. 9, has become an Astros loyalist while maintaining his affinity for the Yankees.

    But he is especially a Roger Clemens fan since their day taking batting practice and playing H-O-R-S-E at Clemens' house last season.

    "For the old man to come in and close it out like he did and then for the young fella ( Chris Burke) to take it, it was great," said McGrady, who watched the comeback in Yao Ming's restaurant.

    "Hopefully, they can return the favor for what St. Louis did to them last year. That's what we all want to see in Houston. I was a Floridian. Now I'm a Houstonian. I want the Texans to start winning as well."

    Said Yao: "I'm not really understanding a baseball game. I know a couple rules, but not all the rules. I like to see those fans. I can feel the heat."
     
  2. BigM

    BigM Contributing Member

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    thanks for posting that, i like how tracy was watching the astros game at yao's restaurant. :)
     
  3. geeimsobored

    geeimsobored Contributing Member

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    The whole team (except Yao I think) was at the game on saturday.

    Moochie seemed especially excited when they appeared on the jumbotron.
     
  4. couch_pot8o

    couch_pot8o Contributing Member

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    see, this is why each and everyday, we love tmac even more!!! :cool:
     
  5. RocketsFanSam

    RocketsFanSam Contributing Member

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    " I'm a Houstonian"
    Good to see where his mindset is.

    GO ROCKETS

    :cool:
     
  6. MartianMan

    MartianMan Contributing Member

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    "The results of preseason games don't mean much. The past 10 NBA champions were a combined 35-39 in the preseason. (The Rockets went 5-3 in each of their championship seasons.)"

    Haha, JVG, you liar.
     
  7. moestavern19

    moestavern19 Member

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    I don't even really give a damn about the Astros or Texans, but I love Tracy McGrady for saying that.
     
  8. tinman

    tinman Contributing Member
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    is the food any good at yao's restuarant?
     
  9. BigM

    BigM Contributing Member

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    i've never been but my buddy thought it was pretty good.
     
  10. xiki

    xiki Contributing Member

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    Food is good, portions generous, service positive. Not cheap, but good value.
     
  11. Quakes

    Quakes Member

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    It would totally suck to have to sit behind the team watching the playoffs at the stadium. Heck, if Yao was there it would suck for everyone in the 5 rows behind him!
     
  12. JuanValdez

    JuanValdez Contributing Member

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    I noticed that too. I'm trying to remember what exactly JVG said, because I think he said contenders instead of champions, or something like that.
     
  13. BenignDMD

    BenignDMD Contributing Member

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    TMAC is an amazing dedicated player. I cant wait for tonight!
     
  14. Toast

    Toast Member

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    I've been there as well and agree. The food is top notch. The people are friendly. I kinda wish it was a buck or two less, but seriously (all homerism aside) it's some of the better quality Chinese food in the city.
     
  15. RocketsMVP

    RocketsMVP Contributing Member

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    The food is compariable to PF Changs. It's a nice atmosphere, and it was cool that I got to meet Yao's dad on my b-day.
     
  16. VinceCarter

    VinceCarter Member

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    T-Mac is an a$$hol :eek: .....all these little comments he makes are for you guys to eat it up...
     
  17. coolweather

    coolweather Contributing Member

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    Too expensive and mediocre quality. Don't get me wrong, I love Yao but my experience in that restaurant is not that good.

    The service was terrible also. I'll give it another try when the regular season starts.

    Wait a minute, I'm talking about the restaurant, the sports bar is one the best though.
     
  18. macfan

    macfan Contributing Member

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    Hey, how's Toronto's NBDL team doing?
     
  19. RioGrando

    RioGrando Member

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    ... with Mike James at the helm?
     
  20. tikwanleap

    tikwanleap Contributing Member

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    Agree with coolweather about the restaurant. Me and my friends went in the first week that it was open. The service was sloooooow! The prices were expensive. The portions were small. The food was average at best. We all decided that there are a lot better places to go to for Chinese food on Bellaire.

    Never tried the sports bar.
     

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