1. Welcome! Please take a few seconds to create your free account to post threads, make some friends, remove a few ads while surfing and much more. ClutchFans has been bringing fans together to talk Houston Sports since 1996. Join us!

[Chron] Rockets Revel in Hustle, Not Individual Stats

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by Jeff, Mar 12, 2008.

  1. Jeff

    Jeff Clutch Crew

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 1999
    Messages:
    22,412
    Likes Received:
    355
    http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/sports/bk/bkn/5611886.html

    The loose ball bounced toward the free-throw line where two Indiana Pacers were waiting. Shane Battier dove between them, hitting the floor with a splat.

    The ball came loose and Luis Scola crashed after it. The scramble began and Carl Landry hurtled into the pile.

    The Rockets led by 15 at the time. The franchise record for consecutive wins was already certain. Yet bodies hit the unforgiving hardwood as if the Rockets were trailing by three with a minute left in a Game 7.

    "It's what these guys do," Rockets coach Rick Adelman said. "All these guys have worked really hard to be NBA players. Nothing came easy to them. They feed off each other. They feed off that we play a certain way night-in, night-out."

    Of all the qualities that have combined to take the Rockets' winning streak to 19 games, matching the third-longest single-season run in NBA history, they celebrate this one.

    The Lakers of the 33-game winning streak had Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry West. The Bucks with the 20-game winning streak had Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (then Lew Alcindor) and Oscar Robertson. The Lakers that won 19 had Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal. All won championships.

    With Yao Ming out for the past seven games and the rest of the season, the Rockets have no All-Star on the floor. Though Tracy McGrady is a seven-time All-Star, even with McGrady they don't have players among the league leaders in any statistic. Instead, the Rockets dominate the plays that are not recorded with statistics.

    "The plays that don't necessarily show up in the stat sheet have been monumental in our play recently," Battier said. "When a Luis Scola dives for a loose ball and creates another possession, when Chuck Hayes back-taps an offensive rebound to one of our guards, it creates extra possessions. How many extra possessions do you create for your team? If you create extra possessions and shoot a normal percentage, that's eight extra points a game. We have guys with a knack for making those plays.

    "Making those hustle plays does two things. It does fire teammates up. It shows teammates you're playing hard. You want to play hard for your teammates. It raises the level of play, and it also deflates the opponent. Hustle plays, getting loose balls, you start making them and they think playing six-on-five. It's deflating. It's huge."

    To the Rockets, it is the one quality that has not varied for nearly 2 1/2 months. Each deflection of an opponent's pass, each dive for a loose ball or fight for a rebound that ends up going out of bounds off the other team seems to lead to another, and then another.

    Uniting factor
    "It unites us," McGrady said. "It inspires the team. When you see a 41-year-old guy (Dikembe Mutombo) out there blocking shots, that's inspiring. When you see Luis and Chuck and those guys battling on the floor for loose balls and scrambling for loose balls and actually come up with them, that's inspiring.

    "I got a chip on my shoulder. I'm leaving it all out on the floor. I'm trying to go for it all. I want this to be a memorable season."

    With the success of Landry and Scola and the increased playing time they have gotten since the start of the streak, they, Battier and Hayes give the Rockets at least two players on the floor at all times who not only give constant effort but produce when making the hustle plays. Many players will fight for a loose ball or contested rebound; the Rockets have come away with them.

    "It's huge," Hayes said. "With hustle plays, it's a matter of who wants it more. On this stretch we've been on, even Tracy is diving on the ground, getting back for a steal. We know what it takes. We know it means something."

    Shades of Sura
    The Rockets have had a smattering of those players in recent years, from Shandon Anderson and Steve Francis to Bob Sura and Ryan Bowen. Now, though, they come in waves, a particularly important improvement to a team that lost last season's Game 7 when it could not come up with the rebound of three consecutive missed Utah Jazz 3-pointers.

    "It's a mental attitude that you have to have every night," Rockets coach Rick Adelman said. "That's probably the biggest thing that's overlooked with the Spurs, why they win championships. They do all that stuff. They do it night after night after night over a long period of time. It wins games for you and for them; it wins championships.

    "Some guys take possessions off. Some guys take nights off. This team hasn't taken any nights off."

    Instead, they collect floor burns and bruises and consider them the price of a winning streak.

    "We play hard," Scola said. "If you play hard, if you dive for balls, it makes a big difference. Sometimes you're having a bad day, and you see a teammate running up and down, diving on the floor, fighting for every possession, and you say, 'I can't let this guy down. He's out there fighting for us.' We got to go out there and do the same. I truly believe it is that way, and truly believe it is really important."

    More than important, the Rockets believe it explains a 19-game winning streak that has put them in select company.
     
  2. meh

    meh Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2002
    Messages:
    15,107
    Likes Received:
    1,747
    It's nice to hear how we're winning these days. But you have to wonder how this will play out in the playoffs. Teams like Phoenix, Dallas, Utah, GS, and Denver are going to pick up their intensity dramatically in the playoffs.

    Would our mental edge still exist then?
     
  3. Deckard

    Deckard Blade Runner
    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2002
    Messages:
    51,553
    Likes Received:
    26,056
    We'll pick up our intensity. Dramatically.


    Very nice read, Jeff. Thanks! We've been seeing it on the court, but good job by Feigen putting it into words.
     
  4. Sweet Lou 4 2

    Sweet Lou 4 2 Contributing Member
    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2007
    Messages:
    31,293
    Likes Received:
    12,188

    we'll find out sunday and tuesday.
     
  5. durvasa

    durvasa Contributing Member
    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2006
    Messages:
    35,612
    Likes Received:
    12,675
    Creating possessions ... definitely an undervalued contribution in basketball. I have a quick an dirty way of summarizing it, which I've referred to a few months back as a "blue collar index". According to that, Carl Landry is 2nd best in the league and Chuck is 5th best.
     
  6. YallMean

    YallMean Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Messages:
    14,265
    Likes Received:
    3,786
    Several remarkable points about this winning streak

    1. While other 3 great teams featured all time duos, this team features Tmac and Alston. :eek:

    2. Despite 19 winning streak, we are still only 3.5 games ahead of the 8th seed.

    3. We could have a history making 21 winning streak and still miss the playoff.
     
  7. durvasa

    durvasa Contributing Member
    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2006
    Messages:
    35,612
    Likes Received:
    12,675
    I think the fact T-Mac played in a 19-game losing streak as well as a 19-game winning streak is pretty unbelievable.
     
  8. YallMean

    YallMean Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Messages:
    14,265
    Likes Received:
    3,786

    And nobody mentions Tmac vs Kobe anymore. But it seems Tmac always has had a leg up on Kobe on history making stuff. First to score 60+ points, frst to score 13 points in 30 seconds, first to be scoring champ and now could edege over Kobe on winning streak. When all said and done, Tmac is very unique talented player. I still think he can be as great as MJ if he wants to.
     

Share This Page

  • About ClutchFans

    Since 1996, ClutchFans has been loud and proud covering the Houston Rockets, helping set an industry standard for team fan sites. The forums have been a home for Houston sports fans as well as basketball fanatics around the globe.

  • Support ClutchFans!

    If you find that ClutchFans is a valuable resource for you, please consider becoming a Supporting Member. Supporting Members can upload photos and attachments directly to their posts, customize their user title and more. Gold Supporters see zero ads!


    Upgrade Now