Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Same Old Tune


I know it's only 2-0, but come on, the Rockets will be swept by the Utah Jazz in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. Not much of a prediction considering the Jazz are nearly unbeatable at home, losing only 4 games this year. One of the four losses happened to be by the Houston Rockets way back on Nov 1. Tracy McGrady had 47 points.

With all that being said, and T-Mac looking at his 7th career first round exit, you cannot! this year's defeat on McGrady.

First off, the Rockets have been playing most of the second half of the season without All Star Center Yao Ming. Rafer Alston has also missed the first two games of the series.

With Yao out, T-Mac did a brilliant overachieving job willing his team into the Playoffs as a 4 seed in what maybe one of the best season a conference has had all time. And lest we forget the 22 game winning streak the Rockets had this year.

Look at this Rockets' team, they're really not that good. How they made the playoffs in the Western Conference is amazing. If you haven't paid close attention to Houston, who else is on their roster? The only other person you could think of is maybe Dikembe Mutumbo. Dikembe Mutumbo! He's like 62! Mutumbo was brought in as a role player and averaged almost 16 minutes, 3 points and 5.1 rebounds a game. A lot of help.
Shane Battier has played great. He's always been known for his defense, but he really provided an offensive spark on a team needing it so much.

The rest of the roster, Bobby Jackson, rookie Luis Scola (had it not been for Kevin Durant, he'd be the rookie of the year), Luther Head, Chuck Hayes, Carl Landry, rookie Aaron Brooks (should develop into a decent NBA player).

You talk about overachieving!

Yeah, so in the fourth quarter of the first two games, T-Mac is 0-7 with one point. Like I said, McGrady is pretty much the only scoring threat on the entire team. He's had to shoulder the load while Jerry Sloan has constantly double and tripled teamed McGrady. T-Mac still lead his team in points, rebounds and assists last night and was an assist away from the a triple double. The Rockets have no other options.

A key moment in last night's game came with the Rockets down 3 with about 45 seconds left to play. Bobby Jackson hit a wide open 3 (the assist my T-Mac would have given him his triple double) to seemingly tie the game. However a late whistle on Luis Scola nullified the dramatic play. Are you kidding me! This is the NBA Playoffs, you let the players decide the game, especially at a crucial moment in a crucial game. Scola tapped Andre Kirilenko and AK-47 did a brilliant acting job.

Watch the play (at about the 1:10 mark) and notice the referee watching T-Mac's feet to see if he were behind the line and then blows the whistle after seeing Kirilenko's reaction.

Anyways, come playoff time, you win games with free throw shooting and a solid bench.
The Rockets lost Game 1 93-82 and shot 62% from the line.
In last nights 90-84 loss, Houston shot 62%.
If there's anything we've learned from the college game, um Memphis, free throw shooting is the biggest key in the big games.
If the Rockets shoot 75-80%, they probably win both games.

Not to take away anything from Jerry Sloan and the Utah Jazz, they are a real nice team. I could see this team go to the Finals and even win the whole lot.
The Jazz lost at home by 6 points to the Celtics by 6. And about a month ago Utah smoked the Celtics in Boston 110-92.

Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer are already being compared to Stockton and Malone. They have great role players in AK-47, Kyle Korver, Mehmet Okur and Matt Harpring. Williams is one of the best point guards in the game. The West is loaded with PG's; Chris Paul (My MVP), Tony Parker, Steve Nash and even Jason Kidd.

If Utah can sneak a game on the road, and they easily can, you're not gonna beat them at home. Maybe Jerry Sloan finally wins his first NBA Championship as a coach.

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