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!

Reviews are in: New York media loves Yao

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by Free Agent, Feb 26, 2003.

  1. Free Agent

    Free Agent Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2002
    Messages:
    2,116
    Likes Received:
    0
    [​IMG]


    Marc Berman
    NY Post

    February 26, 2003 -- Yao Ming proved last night in his Garden debut that he'll be an All-Star for years to come. But he still can't beat the Knicks.

    Yao established himself early in the low post, ringing up 15 points by halftime. But with the Rockets continuing to put the ball in his hands in the final few minutes, the Yao Show got ruined by Clarence Weatherspoon, Kurt Thomas and Latrell Sprewell, who finally made him look like a 7-foot-6 mortal despite his 24 points.

    On the game-turning play in the Knicks' 102-95 victory, Yao got the ball in the low left block, backed in Weatherspoon, ready to put the dagger into the Knicks, the Rockets clinging to a 92-91 lead.

    But before he could turn to sink another sweet fall-away, Sprewell slid over like a cat and stripped the ball from Yao, bounded downcourt and hit a 3-pointer from the top with 1:50 left.

    The Knicks led 94-92, and it was the beginning of the end for Yao's Rockets.

    The Knicks' physical play on Yao wasn't as effective as in the first meeting Dec. 27, as he established position, got his points and the Rockets built a 14-point lead late in the second quarter.

    But the banging eventually wore him down. Thomas injured Yao's elbow late in the second quarter after stealing the ball from him, sending Yao to the bench wincing.

    Yao shot 9 of 15, made all six of his free throws and hauled in six rebounds. But his five turnovers - two in the last two minutes - did them in.

    "He was a lot more aggressive offensively - he's grown a lot more since we saw him in December," said Sprewell, who scored just 13 points but notched five of them in the last two minutes after a 10-minute benching. "He's a lot more confident. He lived up to the hype."

    Weatherspoon - one foot shorter than Yao - again climbed over the Chinese star for a dunk with 3:11 left, making it 89-87.

    "I just tried to get to his body before he got to mine," Weatherspoon said. "For me being smaller, a lot of guys get me on the release. I've got to jump six inches higher."

    But overall Yao held up on the biggest stage. Four Chinese fans in the front row held up a sign in Chinese saying, "We cheer for Yao Ming" and they had a lot to cheer.

    "We tried to keep him of the lane as much as we could," Knick coach Don Chaney said. "He is so big and strong, it is hard to do that. He is going to be a force to be reckoned with for years to come."

    Before Sprewell's steal, Yao had a beautiful driving dunk, spinning past Weatherspoon along the left baseline with the left hand dribble and dunking with his right, drawing a foul to boot. After Yao's free throw to complete the 3-point play, the Rockets were up 92-91 with 2:27 left.

    After the Sprewell steal, Yao didn't shy away. He hit a fall-away in the lane, tying it at 94. But after Weatherspoon hit a runner in the lane to make it 96-94, Yao committed his fifth turnover.

    Thomas pried it loose, grabbed Yao's jersey, then the ball. Sprewell iced it with a pull-up jumper from the foul line, making it 98-94 with 50 seconds to go.

    Sprewell's big finish was a surprise, as he was quiet for three quarters, getting benched for a 10-minute span.

    "The toughest part is not to get frustrated," Sprewell said. "It was tough to sit there. I'm proud of myself. I kept [focused] on the game."
     
  2. Free Agent

    Free Agent Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2002
    Messages:
    2,116
    Likes Received:
    0
    The Newest Big Guy Attracts New Fans

    By COREY KILGANNON
    NY Times


    hen Yao Ming was announced with the Houston Rockets' starting lineup last night for his first game at Madison Square Garden, Soo Koonlee leapt to her feet cheering, along with hundreds of Asian-Americans at the game.

    "Look at how many Asians are here tonight," Koonlee, 28, a bond analyst from Brooklyn, said. "You don't think of the traditional Chinese person blowing $50 on a basketball game, but they want to see Yao."

    The appeal of Yao, the 7-foot-6 rookie who at 22 became the N.B.A.'s youngest All-Star this month, was not limited to Asian-Americans.

    "I'm here for Yao, and it's got nothing to do with race," Steve Grobman, 33, a hedge fund manager from Manhattan who secured his tickets months ago, said. "The guy's got great touch. He's only going to get better."

    But Koonlee argued that Yao's impact goes beyond his playing ability: beyond the 13 points and 8.1 rebounds he averages and beyond the huge television audience he attracts. His importance as a role model is the reason she became a basketball fan this season and the reason she bought tickets to this game in December, she said.

    "Yao gives empowerment to every Chinese kid who grew up here getting our butts kicked on the playground, and to an older generation who grew up feeling looked down upon," she said watching Yao reach over the Knicks' Howard Eisley for a rebound. "He breaks the mold. Even my parents, who never watched basketball, now stay up to watch his West Coast games."

    Same with Wayne Jiang, who took his father, Bo, a 54-year-old laundry worker, to his first basketball game.

    "He made me take him because he heard Yao was playing," Jiang said. His father folded his arms across his chest and stared at Yao warming up before the Knicks' 102-95 victory over the Rockets.

    "Even my mom is asking me about him," Jiang said. "All the older people in Chinatown are watching Yao, and my father says that in China, everyone's going in late to work so they can watch his games on the satellite telecast."

    John Teng, 32, a financial analyst, sat courtside rooting for Yao. He wore a traditional red Chinese shirt decorated with dragons, and sipped a cup of beer through a straw.

    "I grew up in Boston rooting for Larry Bird, but I could never really identify with Bird completely," he said. "There's something about the limitations on Asian-Americans, and Yao breaks down that barrier.

    "He's going to be a monster, worldwide phenomenon, bigger than Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods, as long as he stays humble."
     
  3. Free Agent

    Free Agent Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2002
    Messages:
    2,116
    Likes Received:
    0
    [​IMG]

    By FRANK ISOLA
    DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITER

    Yao Ming created the type of buzz at Madison Square Garden last night you usually feel with Michael Jordan and, lately, Kobe Bryant in the building.
    The NBA's next great big man/pitchman also has that unique star quality to draw a crowd. L.L. Cool J and NBA commissioner David Stern were there, although not together. The regulars, Spike and Woody, also came out for Yao's Garden debut.

    But the A-list star most conspicuous by his presence at courtside during the Knicks' dramatic 102-95 victory over Yao and the Houston Rockets was none other than Latrell Sprewell.

    "I was sitting there waiting," Sprewell said. "It was tough. I'm not going to lie."

    Don Chaney benched Sprewell for 9 minutes and 59 seconds in the second half, a decision that wounded Sprewell's pride but not his focus. In fact, Sprewell created a new role for himself last night: the closer.

    In the final two minutes, Sprewell scored five points and recorded two assists and one steal as the Knicks survived the 7-5 Yao's 24-point night and snapped a four-game losing streak.

    "The toughest part was trying not to get frustrated sitting there," said Sprewell, who finished with 13 points and recorded five of his eight assists in the last 8:15. "I'm a fierce competitor. I love to compete. To have to sit there and take it on the chin, that was the most difficult part."

    Chaney replaced Sprewell with Shandon Anderson with 6:29 remaining in the third and the Rockets leading 65-57. Until that point Anderson had outscored Sprewell despite playing 15 fewer minutes. But Sprewell, who was shooting 3-for-8 when he came out, did not agree with Chaney's decision.

    "I didn't think I was playing bad," Sprewell said. "I wasn't doing anything to hurt us in the third quarter. To come out so early and then not get back in until seven minutes (left) in the fourth was difficult."

    Without Sprewell, the Knicks, who trailed by as many as 14 in the first half, eventually went ahead in the third quarter. Allan Houston scored nine of his 25 in the period.

    Sprewell returned with 8:30 remaining and the Knicks down 79-74. The lead changed hands eight times in the fourth quarter and Houston went ahead 92-91 with 2:27 left when Yao dunked over Clarence Weatherspoon and converted a three-point play.

    After Howard Eisley misfired on a three, Sprewell stole the ball from Yao and buried a three with 1:50 remaining. Yao tied it with a short jumper but Sprewell set up Weatherspoon for a baseline jumper. Moments later Kurt Thomas stole the ball from Yao, leading to Sprewell's 15-footer.

    "I'm proud of myself because I was able to (stay focused)," Sprewell said. "I didn't just say, 'I'm not playing so I'm not going to go out here and play these last six minutes.' I did an excellent job of staying into the game."

    Thomas sealed it by drawing an offensive foul on Steve Francis, then hitting a jumper with 25.9 seconds left. In the fourth, Weatherspoon scored all nine of his points, including his second dunk in as many games over Yao.

    "Clarence is one of those guys that goes unnoticed all the time," said Chaney, whose team faces the Nets tonight. "He blocks out, he comes up with a steal every once in a while and he rebounds."

    Thomas, saddled with five fouls in the fourth, finished with 13 points, four steals and one block on Yao. He also chopped down on Yao's arm in the first half and Yao was seen icing his left elbow in the second half.

    Cuttino Mobley led Houston with 25 points, including 22 in the first half. Steve Francis had 19 points and 12 rebounds. But the biggest revelation was the 22-year-old Yao, who shot 9-for-15 with six rebounds and five turnovers.

    There were cries of Yao and yo each time he touched the ball. It says as much about him as a pop icon as it does about Yao being a budding superstar on the basketball court.

    Yao's best moments came in the final six minutes of the second quarter, when he scored Houston's last 11 points. He schooled Michael Doleac, powering his way for a three-point play, hitting a bank shot and then converting a jump hook on three straight possessions.

    "He lived up to the hype," Sprewell said.
     
  4. Free Agent

    Free Agent Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2002
    Messages:
    2,116
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ok...so not every review is positive, but this is mostly because Yao took the blame for last night.

    IN THE END,
    MING COMES UP SMALL


    By MARK HALE
    NY Post


    February 26, 2003 -- He was brilliant - until the final two minutes.
    That's when Yao Ming got into trouble.

    Playing the Garden stage for the first time, Houston's 7-foot-6 rookie sensation scored 24 points on a whirlwind of dazzling post moves and jumpers.

    But he also turned over the ball twice in the final two minutes, miscues that ultimately sealed his team's 102-95 loss to the Knicks.



    "I had a chance to win the game, but I didn't come through," Yao said after his 9-for-15 performance. "If it wasn't for my turnovers, the result would have been different."

    With the Rockets holding a 92-91 lead with 1:57 left, Yao was first stripped by Latrell Sprewell.

    Fifty-three seconds later, with the Rockets down 96-94, Kurt Thomas - using physicality that could have drawn 5-to-10, let alone a whistle - ripped the ball away from Yao.

    Playing 34 minutes on the second night of a back-to-back, Yao was also unquestionably exhausted. To his credit, he refused to make excuses.

    "It had nothing to do with me being tired," he said. "It was just a turnover."

    But Yao was plenty effective early. He hit two of his first three shots against the 6-9 Thomas before the Knicks brought in 6-11 Michael Doleac. Yao promptly abused him, hitting three straight buckets, rolling in a short turnaround, banking in a nine-footer and swishing a baby hook.

    It was about then that Doleac looked like he wanted to be deported and the buzzing Garden crowd sounded like it wanted to switch allegiances.

    "The feeling of the arena was really great," Yao said. "I didn't feel a lot of pressure."

    "Anybody that's 7-5 and can move has potential, and he's better than that because not only can he move, he can play," Hall of Famer Walt Frazier said. " He can dribble. He can shoot. He's going to be a bona fide player."

    After flying in from Boston late Monday night, Yao said he felt fatigued. He opted to stay in his hotel room all day rather than tour New York City. Had Yao chosen to walk the streets, he would have certainly been mobbed.

    Such is life as The Next Big Thing.

    "It is very hard to deal with," said Yao, 22, who hasn't had a month off from hoops since he was 15. "I have no privacy."

    Said Cuttino Mobley: "Sometimes people [have] got to realize, give him a break. Sometimes he can't enjoy the scenery."

    Last night on Broadway, Yao's scenery on stage was nearly picture-perfect. Save for the last two minutes.
     
  5. Free Agent

    Free Agent Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2002
    Messages:
    2,116
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yao Brings Old Buzz to Garden

    By GEORGE VECSEY
    NY Times


    YAO MING was tough on himself. When asked how he evaluated his performance last night, he could have referred to his 24 points, including 6 of 6 foul shots, in his first game at Madison Square Garden. Instead, he had only one standard for himself.

    "I think at the end of the game, if it wasn't for my turnovers, the game would have been different," Yao said in his deep voice, in Chinese, before the translator turned it into English.

    He was taking the blame for coughing up the ball with 2 minutes 13 seconds left and again with 1:04 left as the Knicks roared past the Houston Rockets for a 102-95 victory that made the home fans as happy as they have been in a while.

    Many of them had come to see the 7-foot-6 rookie out of Shanghai, who had been a very welcome addition in this alleged final season for Michael Jordan in the National Basketball Association.

    Yao was terrific — usually in the right place, showing good hands and good form and good patience. But the swarming Knicks swatted the ball from him down low before he had a chance to stuff it.

    "It has nothing to do with my being tired," he said, when given the chance to blame the game in Boston on Monday night.

    He has played in every one of the Rockets' 57 games this season, which is not easy. Most rookies in the N.B.A. hit a wall somewhere toward the end of the normal 30-game college season.

    But Yao has come even farther, from the Shanghai Sharks and the Chinese national team, reviving a dormant franchise and activating cash registers all over the league.

    He made the sellout actually feel like a sellout. People were there because they wanted a glimpse of Yao in person, not just because they were using the expensive tickets they could not quite bear to give up.

    That is Yao's gift — bringing back people who had become bored with professional basketball. Asked about his impact on the sale of tickets and jerseys, Yao said: "I don't really understand that very well. I am a basketball player, not a businessman."

    David Stern, the commissioner, who once invented cable television and later invented Michael Jordan, has a new attraction. Yao is now averaging 13.4 points a game and 8.2 rebounds and has 107 blocked shots. And Stern sat very close to courtside last night, in a tribute to his new and very tall meal ticket.

    Yao has conducted himself with patience that makes you flip through the Rockets' media guide and discover that his birth date is Sept. 12, 1980 — the second-youngest player among the 24 in uniform last night.

    He is also a curiosity. It was hard enough for him to go out in Shanghai, where at least he spoke the language, even if he was 18 or 24 inches taller than almost everybody around him.

    "Leaving home is hard to express," he said early last night. "I miss everything."

    Yet he is doing amazingly well in every way — a credit to his family, his society. He was the first No. 1 draft choice in the history of the N.B.A. to come from an international basketball league.

    During the 1990 Goodwill Games in Seattle, some homegrown players on the United States squad mocked what they perceived as robotic play by Italian and Yugoslav national players. In fact, what they were encountering was that quaint concept of good fundamentals — now in evidence in terrific players from all over Europe.

    The games keep coming. After arriving very late Monday night, Yao said he lazed around his hotel room, which was probably true, since there were no sightings of a 7-foot-6 man sightseeing in frigid Manhattan.

    "You have to understand, I don't like to be bothered by a lot of people," he said during the personal pregame news conference that happens every time he goes to a new city.

    Under questioning, he said his earliest memory of the N.B.A. was the 1994 finals between the Rockets and the Knicks, when he was playing with the Shanghai youth team and "the entire team gathered to watch."

    Asked how Patrick Ewing, whose No. 33 will be retired by the Knicks on Friday night, would have defended against him, Yao smiled and said, "The biggest problem is whether I could defend against him."

    He has been gracious toward everybody. When he was voted to start in the All-Star Game earlier this month, beating out Shaquille O'Neal, Yao said he was honored. It seems that he was taught diplomacy along with basketball. However it happened, an entire league is grateful.
     
  6. basso

    basso Member
    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2002
    Messages:
    30,623
    Likes Received:
    7,123
    missed one;)
    -------
    February 26, 2003, NY Times

    Yao Brings Old Buzz to Garden

    By GEORGE VECSEY

    YAO MING was tough on himself. When asked how he evaluated his performance last night, he could have referred to his 24 points, including 6 of 6 foul shots, in his first game at Madison Square Garden. Instead, he had only one standard for himself.

    "I think at the end of the game, if it wasn't for my turnovers, the game would have been different," Yao said in his deep voice, in Chinese, before the translator turned it into English.

    He was taking the blame for coughing up the ball with 2 minutes 13 seconds left and again with 1:04 left as the Knicks roared past the Houston Rockets for a 102-95 victory that made the home fans as happy as they have been in a while.

    Many of them had come to see the 7-foot-6 rookie out of Shanghai, who had been a very welcome addition in this alleged final season for Michael Jordan in the National Basketball Association.

    Yao was terrific ? usually in the right place, showing good hands and good form and good patience. But the swarming Knicks swatted the ball from him down low before he had a chance to stuff it.

    "It has nothing to do with my being tired," he said, when given the chance to blame the game in Boston on Monday night.

    He has played in every one of the Rockets' 57 games this season, which is not easy. Most rookies in the N.B.A. hit a wall somewhere toward the end of the normal 30-game college season.

    But Yao has come even farther, from the Shanghai Sharks and the Chinese national team, reviving a dormant franchise and activating cash registers all over the league.

    He made the sellout actually feel like a sellout. People were there because they wanted a glimpse of Yao in person, not just because they were using the expensive tickets they could not quite bear to give up.

    That is Yao's gift ? bringing back people who had become bored with professional basketball. Asked about his impact on the sale of tickets and jerseys, Yao said: "I don't really understand that very well. I am a basketball player, not a businessman."

    David Stern, the commissioner, who once invented cable television and later invented Michael Jordan, has a new attraction. Yao is now averaging 13.4 points a game and 8.2 rebounds and has 107 blocked shots. And Stern sat very close to courtside last night, in a tribute to his new and very tall meal ticket.

    Yao has conducted himself with patience that makes you flip through the Rockets' media guide and discover that his birth date is Sept. 12, 1980 ? the second-youngest player among the 24 in uniform last night.

    He is also a curiosity. It was hard enough for him to go out in Shanghai, where at least he spoke the language, even if he was 18 or 24 inches taller than almost everybody around him.

    "Leaving home is hard to express," he said early last night. "I miss everything."

    Yet he is doing amazingly well in every way ? a credit to his family, his society. He was the first No. 1 draft choice in the history of the N.B.A. to come from an international basketball league.

    During the 1990 Goodwill Games in Seattle, some homegrown players on the United States squad mocked what they perceived as robotic play by Italian and Yugoslav national players. In fact, what they were encountering was that quaint concept of good fundamentals ? now in evidence in terrific players from all over Europe.

    The games keep coming. After arriving very late Monday night, Yao said he lazed around his hotel room, which was probably true, since there were no sightings of a 7-foot-6 man sightseeing in frigid Manhattan.

    "You have to understand, I don't like to be bothered by a lot of people," he said during the personal pregame news conference that happens every time he goes to a new city.

    Under questioning, he said his earliest memory of the N.B.A. was the 1994 finals between the Rockets and the Knicks, when he was playing with the Shanghai youth team and "the entire team gathered to watch."

    Asked how Patrick Ewing, whose No. 33 will be retired by the Knicks on Friday night, would have defended against him, Yao smiled and said, "The biggest problem is whether I could defend against him."

    He has been gracious toward everybody. When he was voted to start in the All-Star Game earlier this month, beating out Shaquille O'Neal, Yao said he was honored. It seems that he was taught diplomacy along with basketball. However it happened, an entire league is grateful.
     
  7. Free Agent

    Free Agent Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2002
    Messages:
    2,116
    Likes Received:
    0
  8. ecinokc

    ecinokc Member

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2002
    Messages:
    121
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks Free Agent, great reads!
     
  9. ecinokc

    ecinokc Member

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2002
    Messages:
    121
    Likes Received:
    0
  10. qrui

    qrui Member

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2002
    Messages:
    1,528
    Likes Received:
    1
    Excellent posts Free Agent. Thanks.
     
  11. HotRocket

    HotRocket Member

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    Messages:
    1,410
    Likes Received:
    6
    I guess when the Knicks actually win a game, it turns out to be deal... :rolleyes:
     

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