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SI--Sura, Yao help Rockets rebound from sluggish start

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by Gatorfan76, Feb 7, 2005.

  1. Gatorfan76

    Gatorfan76 Contributing Member

    Jul 26, 2003
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    [SI.COM]--Sura, Yao help Rockets rebound from sluggish star




    The NBA is starting to flake out as it limps toward the All-Star break. Only a few squads seem to be playing according to script, and most teams on the playoff fringe are waiting for a trade or firing to get them interested again. The only consistent thread running through every NBA city is the fact that each and every player cannot wait to get to the All-Star break, an oasis that is still a week-and-a-half away.

    The Week That Was

    The biggest news of the week was the unfortunate but admirable resignation from Rudy Tomjanovich as coach of the Lakers. Since making the announcement last Wednesday we've learned that there truly was less to his story that we would have guessed; he simply didn't want to deal with the pressures of the NBA lifestyle any longer. The loss obviously has left the Lakers in the lurch, though they had won the two games Rudy sat out prior to his resignation. But since Rudy T's departure, the Lakers have dropped games to San Antonio and Houston, and have a nasty road schedule ahead of them.

    Houston hasn't answered all the questions that surrounded its slow start, but it has put together a nice five-game winning streak, and seem to be having fun again. Led by the gutsy all-around play of Bob Sura and the consistent inside presence of Yao Ming, the Rox are sixth in the West and in love with life right now.

    After bottoming out in mid January when they lost two of three while averaging 75.7 points per game, the Rockets have finally developed some chemistry, evident in their willingness to move the ball and light up the scoreboard -- in a relative sense -- of late. Coach Jeff Van Gundy's squad has scored more than 100 points five times in the past few weeks while reeling off eight wins in their last 10 contests. With only two road games the rest of February, the good times should continue. They had better with a rough March and April threatening to wear down Houston's veteran legs.

    We're staying in Houston with this one, to wonder if Rod Strickland needs a new contact lens prescription. After missing all three shots against the Lakers on Sunday, Strickland is shooting a healthy 15 percent (4-of-27) from the floor this season. In spite of that, the Rockets have won seven of the nine games he's appeared in, and he's dished 26 assists to seven turnovers. Still, the rotation on Strickland's shot is way off, a pretty sharp decline for a man who might be the NBA's all-time most underrated finisher (in the 6-foot-4 and under division) around the hoop.

    The Week Ahead

    The Celtics have won three straight to run their record to .500, taking their act to the top of the exalted Atlantic Division. This week they'll take on the Bucks on the road, followed by the struggling Clippers and Knicks (who have lost 12 of 13) at home. They'll need the wins; GM Danny Ainge seems intent on dealing Gary Payton for little more than a second-round draft pick and a roll of tape. Adding to the potential woes, the C's schedule is a lot tougher in the season's second half.

    The Suns have a light week -- just two games -- but both are good tests. First they'll head to Sacramento to try and avenge a two-point loss to the Kings last November. On Friday, the SuperSonics, who took Phoenix to overtime in a national TV matchup last December, visits the desert.

    San Antonio is rolling, which makes this Wednesday's tilt with the Wizards all the more intriguing. For starters, it gives NBA TV a chance that afternoon to rerun one of the 13 Eastern Conference (you read that correctly) playoff games the two teams played against each other in 1978 and '79. It also gives the Wizards a chance to surprise a Spurs team that hasn't had much competition this year. Though the Spurs ably dispatched Eddie Jordan's offense in the '03 NBA Finals when Jordan was a Nets assistant, the Wizards are just the sort of up and down team with which San Antonio sometimes loses focus. The game has the potential to be better than the Spurs' visit to Miami on Sunday; the Heat's deliberate offense plays to the strengths of San Antonio's defensive game plan.

    Oh, and Golden State plays New Orleans on Friday night. Don't watch that game.

    Twice this season Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy has drawn up potential game-winning shots for journeyman guard Rick Brunson in the final seconds, and you can probably guess how those turned out. The Clippers lost a close one in Philadelphia on Sunday, leaving them 2.5 games out of the playoff bracket.

    Reader Andy Dolan from Durand, Ill. thinks Mike Fratello's solid start in Memphis is due to a heretofore unnoticed streak of genius in Jerry West's personnel choices:

    "I wonder if Jerry West has a 'no perm rule' for his coaches. Hubie Brown had the Don Sutton-esque perm going at TNT. The year he ends up with the Grizz job ... NO PERM!

    Fratello has the perm for years; the year he gets the Grizz job? NO PERM!

    Dick Versace? Perm-less during his entire Grizzlies tenure. And I mean grizzly tenure. As in unbear-able.

    The list for the next Grizzlies coach must include Ron Rothstein (no perm for something like four years now) and John MacLeod (permless for the same amount of time)."
    Quoted, Unfortunately

    "When I was young and Scottie (Pippen) and I were both the forwards, the West [All-Star] starters were Shawn Kemp and Charles Barkley. Neither of us wanted to guard Kemp because he was a beast, and Barkley was usually hung over. So Scottie would stick me on Kemp."

    -- Grant Hill. (I think I'd rather try to check Kemp than have to hang around Sir Charles and his Stoli-breath.)
    #1 Gatorfan76, Feb 7, 2005
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2005
  2. Dave2000

    Dave2000 Contributing Member

    Aug 4, 2001
    Likes Received:
    ha, so thats how Kellydwyer looks, good write up :D
  3. sourav004

    sourav004 Member

    Feb 17, 2004
    Likes Received:
    We have one five games in a row?
    Maybe he can see the future.
    Good read.

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