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[Hou Chron] Rockets put it into overdrive

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by tim562, Mar 2, 2005.

  1. tim562

    tim562 Contributing Member

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    http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/sports/3064391

    Rockets put it into overdrive

    Three-game losing streak ends with 30-point win over Bulls

    By JONATHAN FEIGEN
    Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle

    NBA:
    Chicago 89,
    Houston 119
    FINAL
    SOUTHWEST CONFERENCE STANDINGS
    Team W L PCT GB
    San Antonio 43 13 .768 ---
    Dallas 38 17 .691 4.5
    Houston 33 24 .579 10.5
    Memphis 32 25 .561 11.5
    New Orleans 11 45 .196 32
    As of Mar 1 2005 11:22 p.m. CT
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    COMING UP
    Wednesday:
    at Washington, 6:00 p.m.
    TV/Radio:
    Listings; KILT (610 AM)

    CHICAGO - There was no way to get there in time. The ball was flying toward the baseline press table and the stands.

    But Jon Barry chased it anyway. Through the dancers, into the table and hard into the concrete floor.

    The Rockets led by 34 at the time.

    But that was how much they wanted and how much they needed this one. Or they were so sure they had the game in hand that Barry merely entertained himself with a flying leap.

    The Rockets played with every bit of the urgency they lacked in their three-game losing streak following the All-Star break, blasting the Bulls 119-89 on Tuesday night.

    From the Rockets' best shooting first quarter this season to a fourth quarter in which they led by as much as 39, the Rockets ripped Chicago with the offensive spark and defensive energy they had during their eight-game winning streak before the break.

    "I don't think it would have mattered if it was by one or 30," Barry said. "We really needed to get it done.

    "Some nights are better than others, but any time we can shoot the ball the way we did tonight, we're a tough team to beat."

    The Rockets rolled through one of their best offensive games this season, making nine of 14 3-pointers and shooting 55.6 percent overall against the league's top defensive field-goal percentage team.

    That sort of shooting tends to make everything else look better.

    But the Rockets were desperate to excel again.

    Point guard Mike James, in his second game since being dealt to Houston from Milwaukee at the trade deadline, rolled to 26 points, making 11 of 15 shots with five assists and only one turnover.

    The Rockets swarmed defensively, holding the Bulls to 37.2 percent shooting and not allowing a fast-break point.

    Most of all, as much as Tracy McGrady needed to look for his shot and lead the Rockets' offense the way he had before the losing streak, he needed the refuge of a game after learning of the death of his cousin, Carroll Johnson.

    "I'm dealing with a death in my family," McGrady said. "I've been through it so many times. Going out on the basketball court escapes what I'm dealing with off the basketball court. So I just focus on basketball and (do) not think about what's going on off the court.

    "It's tough, because the person who passed was somebody that really got me involved in sports. It's just a tough time for me."

    But he also said it offered a chance to look for his shot.

    "In this game, I just came out more aggressive," McGrady said. "With Yao (Ming) down there on the post, he creates problems. It helps to have shooters spread it around such as myself, Jon Barry and David Wesley."

    McGrady sat out the fourth quarter, having already racked up 32 points with seven assists.

    By then, the Rockets had made a season-best 70 percent of their shots in the first quarter in scoring a season-high 36 points. They matched their season high with 30 second-quarter points and scored more points in a half (66) and through three quarters (97) than in any other game this season.

    They did almost all of that with one Yao tied behind their back. But in many ways, Yao, limited by foul trouble to six first-half minutes, did start the Rockets on their way.

    "I remember (Bulls coach Scott Skiles) the last time we played them said he was glad we didn't throw it to Yao all night, or he would have had 40," Barry said. "I think the key was we established Yao early in the game. He had eight points in the first four or five minutes.

    "Unfortunately, he had to shut it down with foul trouble. But I know that was a point of emphasis to stop him, and they couldn't. Maybe they got a little discouraged by it, but we just ran by them."

    Even with the rout on, when Yao returned to start the fourth quarter, he pulled up for a jumper, flew past Othella Harrington on a spin move that ended with a jam, and hit a fadeaway off a shake.

    With that, Yao was done for the night, having taken his turn whipping the Bulls before resting for tonight's game against the Wizards.

    The Bulls, meanwhile, lost Luol Deng to a sprained ankle and their composure when Tyson Chandler flashed an obscene gesture to an official. But they had lost the game almost as soon as it began.

    "Right from the beginning, they were open all over the floor," Skiles said of the Rockets. "It is the third time this year (including the preseason) they have pretty much dominated us. It is pretty evident that is a much better club than we are."

    jonathan.feigen@chron.com


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Rockets Summary
    King of the fourth
    Bulls rookie Ben Gordon first gained attention in Mount Vernon, N.Y., and Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy, a former resident of nearby Chappaqua, has watched Gordon for years.

    With Gordon leading the NBA with 16 fourth quarters in which he has scored in double figures, Van Gundy is more impressed than ever.

    "I saw him in high school," Van Gundy said. "He scored all the time. He was a heck of a player at Connecticut. He is a heck of a player here.

    "You do a late-game tape against every team, watching all their close games. He's magnificent (in) every close game. The shot-making is ... just a joke. The guy makes every shot."

    As unusual as it might be for the Bulls to be led by a reserve in the fourth quarter of close games, it could be more remarkable that the player is a rookie on a team filled with early lottery picks.

    "You watch them play, they're unbelievably well-coached. They compete hard; they have great quickness; they've got guys accepting who they are," Van Gundy said. "They've got guys who score. They've got a nice mix. My point as that relates to Gordon is: Here's a rookie that they go to, and it looks like it's a very selfless team that just accepts that's what he's great at."

    With Tuesday's game out of reach for the Bulls, Gordon had only four fourth-quarter points.


    Inching back up
    Eric Piatkowski, sent to the Bulls in the Rockets' deal for Dikembe Mutombo, has bounced back well.

    In his first season after nine with the Clippers, Piatkowski had the worst shooting year of his career (37.7 percent). This season, he is making 43 percent overall and 43.8 percent of his 3-pointers.

    "I didn't feel as though I was ever healthy after my ankle injury (last season)," said Piatkowski, who played in 49 games after signing with the Rockets as a free agent.

    "But my job was to come in and knock down shots, and I wasn't shooting the ball well. Whether that was because of my ankle or because I lost my confidence after a slow start, I don't know."


    Press-row view
    Everything looks better when the ball goes in. But even when Tracy McGrady is not shooting as he did Tuesday, he must keep on shooting. It is becoming increasingly clear that he must not forfeit his greatest strength, his nearly unparalleled ability to get his own shot. He had a mismatch against the Bulls when Luol Deng went out with an ankle sprain. But the Rockets have players who can knock down shots when they come. When McGrady is forcing the action, the shots that come are more open for everyone.


    Inside the numbers
    5 -- Length of Rockets' winning streak against the Bulls, matching their longest ever against Chicago.

    13 -- Fast-break points scored by the Rockets

    0 -- Fast-break points for the Bulls.

    7 -- Rebounds for Clarence Weatherspoon, a season high, making him the Rockets' rebounding leader for the first time this season.

    .952 -- Free-throw percentage for the Rockets, matching their best this season.


    Did you know?
    For the first time this season, every player on the Rockets' active roster scored in the same game. There have been two other games in which every player who got onto the court scored.

    -- JONATHAN FEIGEN
     
  2. qrui

    qrui Member

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    thanks. great read.

    i didn't get watch the game but wow, lead by 34 and jon flying and chasing a loss ball! i like that. with that attitude and the confidence, the rocks are indeed a tough team to beat.
     
  3. Jeffster

    Jeffster Contributing Member

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    Why do I keep seeing "Southwest CONFERENCE" on these articles? There's no such thing as the Southwest conference in the NBA. There is the Southwest DIVISION of the WESTERN conference. Somebody needs a new editor.
     
  4. tigermission1

    tigermission1 Contributing Member

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    I think it is fair to say that of all the local-town papers covering their team's games, Chicago papers are probably the most balanced and fair sports writers in the business. They give credit where it is due.

    But again, it could just be a coincidence since the Rockets have dominated them in every game this year, so what else could they say?;) :p
     
  5. choujie

    choujie Member

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    Mcgrady must have a huge family.
     
  6. tigermission1

    tigermission1 Contributing Member

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    Well, the funny thing is Jon Barry was on the post-game interview with Geno last night, and he was joking about how JVG didn't like that, 'cause he might have needlessly injured himself.:)

    That was a funny interview, Jon Barry is easily the best comedian on this team. Although I am sure if I did understand Chinese, Yao would give him a run for his money
     
  7. moligity

    moligity Contributing Member

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    The Chronicle is a Houston paper; you are talking about the paper above, right?
     
  8. tigermission1

    tigermission1 Contributing Member

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    Oops, sorry, it is the Chronicle, I thought this was an article in a Chicago paper. My bad:)

    Still, Chicago writers are some of the best around. Usually the big-town papers are pretty fair overall since they are not as obsessed with their teams as the smaller towns (say Sacramento or Orlando)

    NYC writers always impress me because they blast their own teams more than any other out-of-town papers would:confused:, which granted is kind of depressing if I were the local teams
     
    #8 tigermission1, Mar 2, 2005
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2005
  9. moligity

    moligity Contributing Member

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    Chicago Sun-Times

    Bulls hit with double downer

    March 2, 2005

    BY JOHN JACKSON Staff Reporter

    Tuesday night was turn-back-the-clock night at the United Center. Unfortunately for the Bulls -- not to mention the sellout crowd of 21,755 -- the era revisited was the lean years of the previous six seasons.

    Trailing by a large margin virtually from the start, the Bulls suffered their most lopsided loss of the season as the Houston Rockets romped to a 119-89 rout.

    The Bulls' previous largest margin of defeat was a 105-81 home loss to the Miami Heat on Dec. 3.

    ROCKETS 119
    BULLS 89

    The loss snaps a three-game home winning streak for the Bulls (29-25) and ends a stretch in which they had won 11 of 12 at the United Center.

    "That was a game we were never in,'' Bulls coach Scott Skiles said. "Right from the beginning, they were open all over the floor. That's the second time they pretty much dominated us. It's clear that's a much better team than we are.''

    As if the loss weren't bad enough, the Bulls also face the prospect of playing without rookie small forward Luol Deng. After suffering a sprained right ankle early in the game, Deng left the United Center on crutches, wearing a protective boot on his right foot and ankle.

    "The bones are fine,'' Bulls trainer Fred Tedeschi said. "I would call it a significant sprain at this point.''

    Deng, who was expected to get an MRI exam this morning, is optimistic he won't be sidelined long.

    "It's starting to feel better already, so hopefully it's not that bad,'' he said.

    Speaking of bad, that's the only way to describe the Bulls' effort.

    "We just didn't have any energy,'' guard Kirk Hinrich said. "It can happen; it's a long season. It can't be to this magnitude, though.''

    The Bulls entered the game leading the NBA in defensive field-goal percentage, holding the opposition to 41.9 percent. The Rockets were 45-for-81 (55.6 percent) from the field for the game, but they actually shot better for much of the night. The total included a 7-for-17 (41.2 percent) stretch in the fourth quarter during garbage time.

    Houston (33-24) snapped a three-game losing skid and was led by Tracy McGrady's 32 points and Mike James' 26.

    "Some nights you just don't have it defensively,'' Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy said. "For the Bulls, it was just not their night.''

    That was evident early. Deng was injured less than two minutes into the game as he was driving toward the basket. After he was fouled by McGrady, his right foot became tangled with Yao Ming's lower leg. Deng's foot bent awkwardly, and he reached for it as soon as he hit the floor.

    Houston grabbed a 36-24 lead at the end of the first quarter on 14-for-20 shooting and stretched the advantage to 66-39 at halftime.

    The frustration came to a head less than three minutes into the second half. With Houston stretching its lead to more than 30 points, Skiles sent five players -- Adrian Griffin, Tyson Chandler, Jannero Pargo, Ben Gordon and Othella Harrington -- to the scorer's table for a mass substitution.

    That move drew the first cheers from the crowd since the opening minutes of the game.

    The maximum change, though, was thwarted because Eddy Curry (team-high 17 points) was fouled and went to the free-throw line. All the subs except Harrington came into the game with 9:08 remaining as Antonio Davis, Chris Duhon, Hinrich and Andres Nocioni headed for the bench.

    Later in the third, Chandler was called for a blocking foul as he was knocked to the court. He reacted by flipping off referee Sean Corbin and was hit with a technical foul.
     
  10. KeepKenny

    KeepKenny Contributing Member

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    I don't get how a guy can flip off the ref in front of 21,000 people and not get ejected.

    Imagine Yao doing that when he gets called for tough, yet obvious blocking fouls.
     
  11. tim562

    tim562 Contributing Member

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    I know its wrong, but sometimes I wish he would!!!:D
     
  12. Easy

    Easy Boban Only Fan
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    Don't be fooled. Barry just couldn't resist the chance of diving into the dancers. :D
     

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