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chron--Rockets get huge dose of reality

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by feishen, Dec 15, 2002.

  1. feishen

    feishen Member

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    It seems Mr. Francis has his finger pointing to others, how about to himself first.


    Dec. 14, 2002, 10:58PM

    Rockets get huge dose of reality
    Defense, shooting subpar as Clippers snap seven-game home winning streak
    By JONATHAN FEIGEN
    Copyright 2002 Houston Chronicle
    As team meetings go, the last one was a lot more fun. Serious as they tried to be, when the Rockets began the week with a don't-let-this-happen-to-you talk, it was a happy get-together about how wonderful they were.

    By the week's end, the Rockets were huddled again, chatting quietly in the Compaq Center locker-room after they were slapped around by the Clippers 94-83 on Saturday night, snapping a seven-game home winning streak. As much as two losses had them flying, they were reeling and hurting.

    After consecutive wins over then first-place teams, Sacramento and Philadelphia, they had lost consecutive games to teams with losing records, Memphis and Los Angeles. That suffocating defense that had ranked among the league's best in nearly every measure had been ripped twice in as many days.

    They had fallen from third in the Western Conference to fifth, just when they thought they were ready to ride the soft part of a schedule to a run the other direction.

    "When you win games, but you realize that things aren't going as smoothly as they can, you can get complacent," Rockets forward Glen Rice, who called Monday's meeting said. "I wanted to make sure we didn't do that. We realize we're a good team. Sometimes, you think you're better than you really are."

    The first meeting headed off the attitude Rice saw coming. Saturday's was to figure out what to do about it.

    "We're old enough to see which guys go into a shell and which guys play the way we were playing," Rockets guard Steve Francis said. "One of the guys said, `This will let us know where we stand.' This (the back-to-back losses) let us know, `Hey,' you're not as good as you think.' We lost two games ... we should have won. How we rebound from it is definitely the main thing.

    "We probably believe we were better than we were. Guys were like, `Man, we beat those teams. These next two should be a cakewalk.' "

    The Rockets had all five starters scoring in double figures, led by Cuttino Mobley's 19. But they never shot consistently, got nothing off a bench short-handed with Kenny Thomas and Maurice Taylor out, and never could consistently challenge the Clippers defensively, their strength before the back-to-back losses.

    "You got to get a hold of it," Francis said. "Individually our defense is getting better. As a team, our defense lagged the last couple of games. That's what caused the last two losses.

    Even when the Rockets made an occasional move in the second half, the Clippers never really seemed challenged. The Rockets never could generate enough defensive pressure.

    Eddie Griffin cut to the rim to where Rice found him for a slam. He took a Francis pass on a break for a strong left-handed finish. Rice knocked down a jumper and the lead that had reached 16 in the first half was down to five for the first time since the game's fourth minutes.

    It barely took the Clippers two minutes to push the lead back to 11.

    But by then, the Clippers seemed able to score as needed. The Rockets pulled back within four. But Elton Brand and Andre Miller, who scored 27 apiece, each hit simple jump shots and Miller dropped a pair of free throws to start the fourth quarter with a 78-68 cushion.

    In the Rockets largest of three fourth-quarter comebacks this season, they trailed by just five.

    They did not stay within 10 for long, anyway. The Clippers needed less than four minutes to build a 14-point lead, Quentin Richardson nailed a trey for an 86-72 lead.

    By then, the Rockets offense pretty much ran into a wall. In the first eight minutes of the fourth quarter, the Rockets made 3 of 12 shots, making any kind of comeback unlikely.

    But then, it seemed improbable from the first seconds. The Rockets last chance, though remote, came when they found themselves within nine with 2 1/2 minutes left. But Cuttino Mobley had a drive blocked by Michael Olowokandi and after an officials' huddle determined the ball to have gone off Mobley, the Clippers easily fed Brand inside for a layup with 1:52 left that ended any delusions.

    But the Clippers had ripped through the Rockets from the outset. Even when the zone worked, they made the tough shots. But before long, they didn't make tough shots because they didn't have to take any. Brand made all five of his attempts as the Clippers rolled to a 13-point lead and lead.

    When they finally dipped to worse than 70 percent shooting on consecutive missed shots, Tremaine Fowlkes slammed in the rebound for a 33-20 lead, the most points any team has scored in a quarter against the Rockets this season.

    The Rockets' start was so bad that by halftime they were making 54.1 percent of their shots and were fortunate to be within 54-45.

    The got even within that range with a four-minute run from Yao. The Clippers had taken their lead to as much as 16 and still led by 12 with four minutes left in the half, Yao scored eight of the last 10 Rockets points of the half, setting up the other basket with a slick pass inside to a cutting Francis.

    Yao finished with 16 points and nine rebounds. But he never matched the passing touch he showed early in the week. But then, the Rockets did not match anything from the beginning of the week.

    "Sometimes, the hardest challenges are easier than the more difficult ones," Yao said. "And when you face more difficult challenges, there is the possibility to fail."
     
  2. DaDakota

    DaDakota If you want to know, just ask!
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    The funny thing is that Francis is the biggest problem on this team right now.

    He is clearly too stubborn to realize that in order to win he will have to defer to Yao.

    Francis is a very athletically gifted player.

    Yao is that, and a smart player.

    Give the ball to Yao, I will take my chances there, I have seen Steve fail to make the correct decision enough. I do not think he will be able to ever be as savvy as Yao.

    Rudy, reach down between your legs, pull your underwear out of your vagina and start putting players on the bench who do not run the system the right way. Show some sack, RT.

    DaDakota
     
  3. topfive

    topfive CF OG

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    Huh?!?

    Where's Colin Pine when you need him?
     
  4. Manny Ramirez

    Manny Ramirez The Music Man

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    I agree 100%. I have to say that Dakota has become my favorite poster in this forum because he is a realist. And if it wasn't for the fact that I love the Simpsons so much, I would use that "vagina line" for my sig!
     
  5. kidrock8

    kidrock8 Member

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    I would be perfectly happy, if Stevie were resigned to a primary role of being a spot-up shooter, something he's very good at now. Also, him and Yao have a great chemistry when Francis dumps it to Yao, then cuts to the basket. I just hope Francis realizes that the Rockets will not win with a PG as the primary scorer. I don't think Francis will be willing to play 2nd fiddle to Yao anytime soon.
     
  6. Houstone

    Houstone Member

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    LOL :D
     
  7. Skip To My Loom

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    "You got to get a hold of it," Francis said. "Individually our defense is getting better. As a team, our defense lagged the last couple of games. That's what caused the last two losses.

    Hmmm... I beg to differ, Stevie :rolleyes:
     
  8. djkickass

    djkickass Member

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    Mother of lord, SF not only low in IQ but also suffers amnesia.
    :eek:
     
  9. Manny Ramirez

    Manny Ramirez The Music Man

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    It looks like to me more and more that the Rockets are going to have no choice but move Francis to the 2 spot and get an "old-school" point guard.

    I mean it is time to grow up, Stevie Franchise. Either you are serious about leading this team back to the playoffs for the first time in 4 years or you want to continue to be the man for a team that will always be average.
     
  10. djkickass

    djkickass Member

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    DaDakota, now, an official Steve hata.
     
  11. Earl Cureton

    Earl Cureton Member

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    Like a parent who spoils his children and watches them throw poop in their father's face with barely an emotion flaring, Rudy T will never yell, curse at, or get physically upset with any of his players. I've never seen his anger and on-court frustration direct itself towards the players in all the years I've watched the Rockets. He lets his players play the game, leaving us to witness athletes ball according to their ever-changing whim, regardless of any plays that've been designed out for them. The worst part about it is when a player as immensely unfit as SF to run a center-oriented gamestyle refuses to change his game to make those around him get better shots. Sooner or later, Rudy has to get on his kids and teach them the ways, even if he has to do it with an iron tongue. The problem is, I haven't seen him do that in 8 years, why would he start now?

    Course, the season is only 1/4 over and all of this is a frustrated rant on the part of one Earl "the Pearl" Cureton.
     
  12. kidrock8

    kidrock8 Member

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    But, but, but that means moving Cuttino "One Dimensional" Mobley to bench, or gasp trading him!

    All joking aside, I've been begging the Rockets to slide Francis to SG, for the last 2 years.

    I don't mind Francis' "antics" if he is at SG, rather than PG. His defense sucks anyway, so I don't think he'll be anyworse off defensively at SG.

    What kind of PG would we be able to get for Mobley?

    The next well run fastbreak Francis executes will be his first. He just does not create enough easy scoring chances. His idea of a good shot, is doing some highlight reel double and triple pump reverse layup.
     
  13. feishen

    feishen Member

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    what's up with Rox now. It was good sign to see Ming get more passes in the Spurs game. I thought Rox finally realize... . Now after two big wins against two top west teams. The old rockets showed up again. Selfish play, selfish play. Guys need to know why they won those two games, why? not because they were super like Jordan. Quit playing unorganized bball, doing it all by oneself. Geez a bunch of Joradan wanna-bes. I am so sorry to hear what I have to hear from Francis now... Damn, still dont see it.
     
  14. kelsey_tam

    kelsey_tam Member

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    get j kidd, just like the NBA live 2003 did:D
     
  15. AroundTheWorld

    AroundTheWorld Insufferable 98er
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    One question I have:

    Do Steve Francis and Cuttino Mobley practice what they preach? You read the quotes from Barkley where he said that Francis and Mobley never listened to him. I remember that, back then, they would say it is so great being tutored by the older guys lalala. So either Barkley has a really bad memory or Francis and Mobley just say the things everyone wants to hear and then go on "doing their thing".

    I mean...Francis goes to the media and says "Yao Ming is the Dynasty, that is even bigger than the franchise" and Cuttino Mobley says "I love the guy, the game is so much easier for me now" - I really like these statements. But why does Yao Ming only get 9 shots then, while these two together jack up 35 shots? Yesterday, Ming took 13 shots while these two together took 44 shots.

    Both days, they had a significantly lower shooting % than Ming - and both days, we lost the game.

    Just doesn't make too much sense to me. Ming is too modest to demand the ball. But if these guys want to win, they will have to give it to him - that is the way it seems to me.

    Do not only talk - do what you say.
     
  16. Manny Ramirez

    Manny Ramirez The Music Man

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    kidrock and Dakota,

    We need to start a "club" that is in favor of Francis playing the 2 guard and getting a true PG.

    I would love to see Mobley moved, but I have my doubts that we could get a very good "old-school" PG for him.
     
  17. kidrock8

    kidrock8 Member

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    SJC-Finally. You are another Rocket fan who SEES that Mooch, Mobes, and Francis always SAY the right thing but very rarely DO the right thing. Yet, all the Francis/Mobley jockriders always try and say that these WORDS are proof that Francis and Mobley see the big picture.

    I don't doubt Francis and Mobley want to win. What I doubt is that they want to SACRAFICE their precious stats for the sake of wins.

    Barkley was right 3 years ago, and its proving to be even more true as long as Francis and Mobley put themselves before the team.

    The only way Yao will get the ball enough, will be if he becomes buddy buddy with them. Maybe Yao should put a #3 and a #5 sweatband on his arm.

    :rolleyes:
     
  18. djkickass

    djkickass Member

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    That's what I said. SF suffer a chronic form of amnesia.
     
  19. SageHare6

    SageHare6 Member

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    TOTALLY TRUE, I'M SO GLAD YOU SPEAK IT LIKE IT IS, DD
    Our "Franchise" ain't stepping up, and he isn't even giving our "Dynasty" a chance to shine. SF is a SHOOTING GUARD through and through... if he can't make plays for others, he should defer to others to make plays for him. I've never believed in the "with shooters, sometimes u just have to shoot your way out of slump." That is BALONEY. With good passing, you get good looks. With good looks, you get great shots.

    WORK THE OFFENSE THROUGH YAO!!!! It's so obvious, it's becoming redudant here. Back when (a long time ago) when the Rox were still winning, you'd see RudyT go to MOOCH in the waning minutes. MOOCH is the smartest PG on this team, BAR NONE. Let MOOCH play the point and SF at SG and CAT at SF if need be. But c'mon folks, let's play smarter....

    :mad: :mad: :mad:

    madSAGE
     
  20. AroundTheWorld

    AroundTheWorld Insufferable 98er
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    Well, as I said, it is just a question, since I don't get to watch most of the games. But I have been wondering that for a while now. I have gotten the feeling that these two are very smart when it comes to talking to the media. I would be surprised if there had not been some training/instructions from the Rockets for the players on how to deal with the media.

    I have no doubt that Francis and Mobley want to win. And I can mainly only judge from boxscores, recaps and from what I hear in the chat and on the BBS. But it seems to me that the stats don't lie - Yao Ming is not getting more shots than a Kenny Thomas would get. It seems that Yao Ming is much more efficient, though.

    I don't see any change in Francis' and Mobley's shot or assist stats since they got Yao Ming on board. They should have quite a few more assists and quite a few less shots.

    Right now the shot distribution is almost Francis 20, Mobley 20, Yao 10.

    I think Francis 14-16, Mobley 13-15 and Yao Ming 15-17 would be a good start. Go to guy with the higher percentage. It seems simple.

    Francis' and Mobley's overall stats could still look great...and in most fantasy leagues, assists are more valuabe than points ;).
     

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