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[Chron] Rockets Set off to meet high expections

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by devin23, Oct 29, 2008.

  1. devin23

    devin23 Member

    Nov 13, 2006
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    Wow, T-mac is talking like yao now with the "cautious optimism" attitude.


    The Rockets hear it all the time.

    This is the year.

    From Reggie Miller on TNT to the guy at the gas station, from chat rooms to City Hall pep rallies, the Rockets are told again and again that great things are expected, even predicted of them.

    Their addition of Ron Artest to Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady has been compared to the Celtics’ championship-winning Big Three. They are consistently listed among the championship favorites.

    They don’t disagree. But heading into Wednesday's opener of their most anticipated season in a decade, neither do they consider themselves close. A team that has not won a playoff series since 1997 and is filled with players that have never won in the post-season starts the season against the Memphis Grizzlies tonight feeling as much a need to prove itself as before it became one of the preseason flavors of the month.

    “They put predictions on teams every year,” McGrady said. “We have to go out and prove it. We haven’t proven anything. It’s good to have people predict us to be in the Western Conference Finals and possibly even come out, but it doesn’t mean anything to us because we have to go out and make it happen.

    “When you haven’t accomplished a lot, you can’t get ahead of yourself. We hope at the end to put ourselves in a good position, then go from there. We don’t look ahead. We don’t try to put ourselves as one of the elite teams. Play ball and let the wins do the talking for us.”

    Too late. Plenty have already spoken for them. McGrady did admit, “You have to respect the talent.” But he and the Rockets argue that they are still what Rick Adelman described as “a work in progress.”

    “I’m a little bit nervous,” Yao said of the expectations. “Now we have extra pressure. I know if you want to play big you have to handle those pressures, but I’m not used to saying anything before I start playing. That’s how I am.

    “This team has always been stronger and stronger every year. This is obviously another year we added another couple good players with us. We just need to make something happen. All right, this is the time. We need to make something happen.”

    Last season, it took 50 wins just to make the Western Conference playoffs and the West seems as deep this season. The Rockets did not remain better than .500 last season until January and this season, start with six of their first nine games on the road, with games against the Mavericks, Celtics, Lakers, Suns, Spurs and Hornets in the first 2 ½ weeks.

    “I know out there, a lot of people say, ‘the Rockets should contend in the West, should win in the West,’ “ Yao said. “But a lot of teams got stronger. Other teams are not sitting there watching. Everybody wants a championship. You read those articles. They are positive, saying the Rockets should win and have a good team, whatever. I think a great team should always try to find something we have not done yet.”

    The expectations were dramatically increased after the Rockets’ outstanding summer. They had a very good July and August, signing Brent Barry and trading for Artest. September and October, however, brought troubles, with McGrady slow to come back from knee surgery and Shane Battier unable so far to come back at all from his ankle surgery.

    The play in the preseason was uneven. The Rockets went 5-2, but were far off their standard defensively, prompting Adelman to consider his team’s defense to begin the season his greatest concern. Last season’s rookies, Aaron Brooks and Carl Landry, had an outstanding preseason, but Brooks went out for at least a week with a bruised ankle.

    “Everybody, they’re all revved up about the team for good reason, but like I said all along, we had a lot of guys have a lot of things going on in the summer,” Adelman said.

    “All that stuff looks great on paper and everything, but I’ve seen Yao say it enough: you have to do it on the court. Right now, we’ve been so in and out with people we’ll see what happens when we get on the floor. I do have enough faith in these guys. They usually respond.

    “I don’t think we’re anywhere near where we thought we’d be. But we’ve done enough stuff. We’ve seen the team. If we get everybody together, we think we’re going to be pretty good.”

    They are expected to be better than that, and expect that of themselves. They are less certain when they will be that good. But even if they consider themselves behind schedule, there does seem to be an increase in the usual optimism.

    “I think the different feeling is we added some pieces to the puzzle,” guard Rafer Alston said. “It seems we’re closer to the goal because of those guys. You still have to display it on the floor. But having Brent and Ron here, having a healthy Yao back, you look at all the pieces we have here, there is a little more excitement. I think the energy around the city helps it out.

    “Everywhere I’ve gone, if I go out to eat, or lollygagging around town, the first thing out of everybody’s mouth is they can’t wait to have the parade.”

    They are a long way from the championship celebration. But while the destination remains anticipated but unclear, the journey begins tonight.

    “It’s here,” McGrady said. “We’re ready. We put in a lot of hard work. I think guys are focused. We’re ready to go, without a doubt.”
  2. t_mac1

    t_mac1 Contributing Member

    Jan 10, 2008
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    “When you haven’t accomplished a lot, you can’t get ahead of yourself. We hope at the end to put ourselves in a good position, then go from there. We don’t look ahead. We don’t try to put ourselves as one of the elite teams. Play ball and let the wins do the talking for us.”

    that quote says it all. none of our main guys have had playoff success. just take it one game at a time and think about it when it comes.
  3. ico4498

    ico4498 Member
    Supporting Member

    Feb 15, 1999
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    got no proof whatsoever, but imo its the Brent Barry effect. Artest was all championship talk before he arrived here too. as a team the Rockets have all opted for understatement. might not be Brent but the word is too synchronized for coincidence.
  4. Ismail

    Ismail Member

    Sep 12, 2008
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    Why does the Chronicle always put out these articles. Every year. I know McGrady said "Let's let the wins do the talking" or whatever, but, seriously, we need to let the wins do the talking. We're not even 100% healthy, McGrady's not 100%, our defense looked bad, yet the Chronicle makes it sound like we're gonna start firing on all cylinders. I pray that's the case, but a little humility never hurt anyone.
  5. HoustonRockets

    Oct 6, 2007
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    “.....We just need to make something happen. All right, this is the time. We need to make something happen.” - Yao :)
  6. northeastfan

    northeastfan Member

    Oct 16, 2007
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    Agreed. I'm not sure why we have such high expectations; we don't have any proven winners on our team. Yao and McGrady have never won anything. Artest is volatile. The others are role players.... Until they can show some grit and execution when it really matters, the Rockets are a woulda coulda shoulda team.
  7. battousai

    battousai Member

    Jul 18, 2006
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    I like the new tone, now we are poised to win it all. don't promise anything or get ahead of yourself. one game at a time.

    Doesn't matter our win lost ratio in reg. season. as long as we can get into the playoffs, any match would be the same.
  8. Rivaldo2181

    Rivaldo2181 Contributing Member

    May 30, 2003
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    I laugh at all the "experts", media, and fans who like to label certain people but completely forget about the past when it's popular to jump on the bandwagon. KG, who I love, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce were never winners, yeah they advance past the first round (KG- once before last season I think and that was because Cassell, Spree and Hudson were great that one year), Ray and Pierce 2 times each maybe), but last season they were labeled winners and glossed as these greats but no mention of their past failures.

    I guess it will be the same thing this year once the Rockets go far, we can only hope anyways b/c the hate towards T-Mac is ridiculous.
  9. Hayesfan

    Hayesfan Contributing Member

    Nov 3, 2006
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    You know what I have noticed. The players say a lot of the things I hear coming out of Rick Adelman's mouth. Which is a good sign.

    The same thing happened last year (as I will admit, I followed Boston a bit) when Doc started everything with his ubuntu (sp?) message with the Celtics. It got them all on the same page.

    If a team wants to succeed they need a common mindset, I think it's good that they all have the same "Don't talk, show" attitude.

    There are going to be panic threads permeating the GARM when we lose our first game (which may come soon) but the important thing is for the team to build from the beginning.

    Cautious optimism isn't a bad thing.
  10. Alvin Choo

    Alvin Choo Member

    Aug 11, 2007
    Likes Received:
    They have talk the talk, now its time to walk the walk.

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