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Oakley said. "Yao doesn't have to worry about Shaq (O'Neal) no more."

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by vtkp99, Mar 19, 2004.

  1. vtkp99

    vtkp99 Contributing Member

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    http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/printstory.mpl/sports/bk/bkn/rox/2456766

    March 19, 2004, 1:45AM
    Oakley brings beef to Rockets
    By MEGAN MANFULL
    Copyright 2004 Houston Chronicle
    RESOURCES

    Yao Ming pulled Patrick Ewing aside at Thursday's practice. He wanted to be sure that was actually Charles Oakley in the Rockets' practice jersey. Yao was told that Oakley signed a 10-day contract with the Rockets, but the former New York Knicks forward looked thinner than Yao remembered.

    Yao had followed Oakley when he played for New York. Well, not just "play."

    "More fighting than playing," Yao said smiling.

    Oakley, 40, may be trimmed down, but he made it clear that some things haven't changed since Yao watched him during the peak of his career.

    "All (Yao) needs to know is he's got a good man beside him," Oakley said. "He doesn't have to worry about Shaq (O'Neal) no more."

    Injuries at power forward necessitated Oakley's signing with the Rockets, but his attitude and demeanor was what made him most attractive. The Rockets had been talking with him since the start of the season, but the talks became serious this week because of the Rockets need for immediate help at power forward.

    After only one practice, Oakley will be dressed and ready to play tonight at Golden State. The 6-9, 245-pound forward is even likely to see playing time. On Thursday, Kelvin Cato was placed on the injured list with a left sprained shoulder. Clarence Weatherspoon said he is "working toward" being able to play after missing two games with a left calf strain. And Maurice Taylor said he plans to play after missing a game with strained ribs.

    "We got caught shorthanded the other night," said Jeff Van Gundy, who coached Oakley for four seasons in New York. "Cato's hurt, too. So we needed another big guy. I know him. I trust him. He knows who he is and how hard you have to play to win in this league."

    Oakley hasn't donned an NBA uniform since playing for the Washington Wizards last season, but his 18-year career has been packed with success. He is 17th in NBA history in rebounding after collecting 12,200 with Chicago, New York, Toronto and Washington.

    Oakley also adds toughness. Van Gundy has joked that Yao needed to elbow an opponent in the face and not be so hospitable in the lane.

    "Jeff is no fool," said Mark Jackson, who played in New York with Oakley for four seasons. "He reached back and got one of the toughest, if not the toughest guy to play this game. (He's) war-tested. And I think it's a very different environment when a guy drives a lane, realizing that he could get popped.

    "Nothing dirty, just good old-fashioned basketball. That's something that we need to learn."

    Oakley is the third player whom Van Gundy coached in New York to join the Rockets since December when they traded for Weatherspoon. In January, they signed Jackson as a free agent. Before the season, Van Gundy named former Knicks standout Ewing as an assistant coach.

    "It's a Knicks reunion, but we don't have no barbecue," Oakley said. "We've been to a lot of playoffs. I think the fans of Houston want to see their team get back to the playoffs and do what they did in the '94, '95 days."

    The Rockets will evaluate Oakley over the next 10 days and decide if they will sign him for the remainder of the season.

    "When he was in his prime, he was the best frontcourt team defender in the NBA," Van Gundy said. "So obviously, time has marched on, but he can still do that effectively in the NBA. (At) his peak, there was no better help defender."


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

    Rockets summary
    So long ago
    Among the Rockets, Cuttino Mobley is the only one who has donned a Rockets jersey in the playoffs. But don't expect him to be telling stories about the franchise's last postseason appearance. Mobley says he doesn't remember it.

    "Do you remember stuff when you were 2 years old?" Mobley said. "No, seriously. I'm just asking. Does anybody remember anything from when you were 2? No you don't. I don't remember that. The only thing I remember is Shaq (O'Neal) blocking my shot. I don't remember playing. I remember nothing. So this will be special. This will be like my first playoff."

    The appearance came five years ago during Mobley's rookie season. The Rockets lost in four games to the Lakers, and Mobley started each game, and averaged seven points and 2.8 assists. He led the Rockets with a 3-point percentage of 57.1.

    "I don't remember it," Mobley said. "It's crazy. Five years. I seriously don't remember."

    Watching Heat
    Jeff Van Gundy had high hopes for his brother, Stan, when he was named coach of the Miami Heat.

    But Jeff knew Stan had a tough job ahead of him in his first season, especially when the Heat opened with seven losses.

    That's why Jeff cannot help but boast when anyone mentions his brother's name these days. Despite their horrible start and a number of obstacles along the way, the Heat have persevered. Now, with only a handful of games remaining, they are a playoff contender.

    The Heat (31-37) are in a four-team race with Boston, Philadelphia and Toronto for the final spot in the Eastern Conference. The Heat are tied for the seventh spot, but No. 9 Boston only trails by a half game.

    "There's so many great coaches in this league, but objectively, if you were to tell me that the team that left here 0-7 would have 31 wins right now -- with Dwyane Wade being out what 25 of those -- I'd have said, no way," Jeff Van Gundy said. "I don't know if they'll make it, but to even be in the hunt is a remarkable accomplishment. I think the players there and the management, Stan and the coaches deserve a lot of credit. I think they've done a heck of a job. Really, a great job."

    Shooting for 16
    The Rockets could make history tonight with a victory against the Warriors. Golden State has lost 15 consecutive games to the Rockets in Oakland, dating back to April 2, 1996.

    If Houston stretches the streak to 16, it will be the first franchise to ever win so many consecutive road games against one team.

    The Rockets aren't focused on that particular goal, however, but winning is on their minds. They have 11 of their next 16 games on the road, and the Rockets want to erase their humiliating loss to Phoenix at home.

    Golden State is on a two-game winning streak, which includes a 17-point victory against San Antonio on Monday.

    "We're going to have to play well to win," coach Jeff Van Gundy said. "Golden State has won its last two handedly.

    "Again, it's about how we play. And I have to expect Golden State is going to play well, and we're going to have to play well to win."

    -- MEGAN MANFULL
     
  2. CompaqC

    CompaqC Member

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    Unless the Rockets play the Lakers in the Playoffs, there's only one game left against Shaq.
     
  3. birat

    birat Member

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    This way Yao will always be fresh offensively.
     
  4. Panda

    Panda Member

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    This guy knows the main points when he talks.
     
  5. qrui

    qrui Member

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    i like his attitude. the rocks need that.
     
  6. Jeff

    Jeff Clutch Crew

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    Seems to me that Yao doesn't worry about Shaq now. What is he averaging, like 28 points, 12 boards and a couple blocks against Diesel? That doesn't sound worried to me. :)
     
  7. oliver_67

    oliver_67 Member

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    Yao is not worried about Shaq. BTW, Shaq plays clearn D on his opponents.

    Yao is more worried about the likes Najara. That's where Oakley can give us some help.:)
     
  8. vtkp99

    vtkp99 Contributing Member

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    something like this:D :D

    [​IMG]
     
  9. pgabriel

    pgabriel Educated Negro

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    Charles Oakley is full of himself.
     
  10. Texas Stoke

    Texas Stoke Contributing Member

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    Yeah kind of like in Chicago when Brad Miller didn't have to worry about Shaq with Oakley at his side. If it wasn't for Oakley, Shaq would of landed that punch.
     
  11. GrEgOnOmIcS

    GrEgOnOmIcS Member

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    Right now Oakley is a better player than Kelvin Cato.
     
  12. JuanValdez

    JuanValdez Contributing Member

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    I seriously doubt that.
     
  13. AroundTheWorld

    AroundTheWorld Insufferable 98er
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    I agree. I can't stand the guy.
     
  14. Jonhty

    Jonhty Member

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    i love that tough talk. now let's see what he can do on the court to back it up.
     
  15. lalala902102001

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    The guy is a quote machine. That's his reputation.

    Oakley says the darnest things.
     
  16. DreamWeaver

    DreamWeaver Member

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    And you know this because.......

    I think Oakley may add some toughness to our team but I just don't see how he will be a bigger presence than Cato who has been playing pretty well for us so far this season.

    But I certainly hope I am wrong about Oakley. A 40-yr old PF and a 40-yr old PG, I am speechless. :eek:
     
  17. daoshi

    daoshi Contributing Member

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    Same here, but I'm willing to take the guy if he can inject some toughness in the paint. Do anyone honestly think he has anything left in his tank? He couldn't even play with the Wizards last year?!:mad:
     
  18. Clutch

    Clutch Administrator
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    Translation: Up until I showed up you've had to worry about Shaq roughing you up, so all your teammates are flower-picking pansies.

    Boy, the chemistry is flowing already. Locker room cancer. Who ... Oakley?
     
  19. Easy

    Easy Boban Only Fan
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    A healthy Oakley would be better than any player in the IR. What's your point?
     
  20. RocketForever

    RocketForever Contributing Member

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    I think we need Oakley to swing his elbows in the paint. Good move.
     

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