Houston Rockets ‘07-’08: Mavs, Spurs and Dikembe dunkin’
The week started off in “flashback” fashion, as the Rockets went to Dallas, showed some promise, and then failed to close the deal. Just like in several games last year, most notably the playoffs, the opposing team executed better than the Rockets. With about 5 minutes left and the Mavs up a point, the Rockets started taking jump shots (missing 6 of 9) and turning the ball over twice. A 10-2 run by Dallas later and the Rockets had their first defeat, 107-98. They forgot their defense in some areas, letting Jason Terry (not the originally “Jet”, that was former Rocket Kenny Smith!) score 31 off the bench.
The next night it was a different city (back home) and a different championship caliber team (Spurs) and a vastly different result. Unlike the Dallas game, the Rockets didn’t forget about Yao when it came down to crunch time. The game felt closer than it was: the Rockets were up 8 going into the 4th quarter, and this time they held the lead winning 89-81. Continuing to go down to Yao in crunch time gave Yao 28 points and 13 rebounds in an exhausting back to back win. Again, bench support that wasn’t there last year was one of the keys to winning.
But the HIGHLIGHT of the game was Dikimbe Mutombo. Coming into the game early after Tin Duncan caught Chuck Hayes with an elbow requiring stitches, the old man grabbed some quick rebounds. He grabbed an offensive board and weakly put it back up, getting a facial courtesy of a block by Elson.
Obviously this pissed the big man off.
The very next time down the court, he took a pass from Battier and slammed a dunk home over half the Spurs team and some of the Rockets. And (the best part) ran down the court and chest-bumped Yao as the Spurs called time out.
Gotta find that on video. If you find it, please leave me a comment.
The week ended with the media circus that was Yao vs. Yi, Rockets vs. Bucks. I didn’t get to see this game (hey, Friday is Texas high school football night) but I would have been surprised if Houston had lost. From the box score, Yao did his phenomenal usual, as did T-Mac, with Bonzi providing the bench support.
This week has the Rockets on the road vs. Charlotte and Memphis, coming home for the 2 Lakers, a quick trip up the road for a rematch with the Spurs and then the Phoenix Suns come to town, for yet another type of test (runnin’ and gunnin’) for the new look Rockets.
So far, except for the Dallas breakdown, I like what I see.