My original feeling heading into the West Coast road trip was that the Rockets would win 3 out of the 5 games. I figured wins verses the Blazers, Clippers, and Spurs. I did hold out some hope that we could win more but with the way we played earlier in the season I didn't think it was possible that we could go 5-0, maybe 4-1 but not 5-0. Well now we have to beat the Suns and the Spurs to make the 3-2 mark. It will be ruff.
Blazers game: We should have won this game, Brandon Roy stepped up though and hit an unbelievable shot as the clock ran out. Seemed we had very poor help defence during this game though. Their players ran around screens making Ron Artest and Barry chase them all over the court, never getting bumped and getting open for wide open shots. We finally shot the ball well going 47% from the field but the key stat was allowing 16 offensive rebounds. When you play teams with lesser talent those second chances will kill you every time and they killed the Rockets in this one. Carl Landry continues to get into foul trouble as soon as he gets in the game and can't spell Luis Scola, who seems to be kind of a defensive liability. Aldridge killed him in the first half, Chuck Hayes defense slowed him down in the second half, but with his size we continued to get killed on the boards.
Clippers game: Another close game that we could have blown but Carl Landry finally showed up and scored 6 of his 22 in the final 3.5 minutes. As a team the shots we not falling again though as we shot in the low 40's (43%). We did hold them to 43% shooting also and we finally won the offensive rebounding category with a 12-11 edge. Yoa Ming, Artest, and Landry picked up the offence while Tracy McGrady shot 0-5. Aaron Brooks, a nice surprise thus far into the season only saw 9 minutes in the game. Artest was quoted after the game saying "Even though we won tonight, it still wasn't an impressive game for the Houston Rockets. We're still searching to find ourselves." How true that is. It really has seemed that through the first six games the Rockets have not played good team ball at all.
Lakers game: The second huge test for the Rockets of the young season. After losing a game verse the World Champion Boston Celtics we take on the team that reped the West in the finals, and whom many pick to win it all this year. Both teams have big stars and deep benches. FAIL! After a brilliant first quarter and start of the second it looked like the Rockets would be a tuff team this year, did we find our selves? No we didn't perhaps it was fools gold while the Rockets really didn't play great in the early going but the Lakers just played bad, and dumb. Aaron Brooks was about the only good thing that hap pend to the Rockets by the time the game was over putting in 20 points. T-Mac finished his La La land trip shooting just 1-11 in the game, for a total of 1-16 in the city. That is just bad. We did win the offensive rebounds again getting 16 of em but we still lost by 29 points shooting a season worst 37%. That will not win games. Kobe got his 23 but turned the ball over 4 times but once again the power forward position just killed us, Pau Gasol shooting 7-10 for 20 points. Yao was the only bright spot for our Big 3 shooting 6-11 but only got 26 minutes. Artest was just as bad as T-Mac going 2-11. As we see we have alot of work to do. The Lakers shot over 50% from the field and even 52% behind the 3 point line. We we out scored 95-40 after the second quarter and that is just embarrassing, pathetic, and unacceptable. “We just played very poorly offensively,” Rockets coach Rick Adelman said. “You can’t just go one-on-one. You have to play as a team, and we did not play as a team. Give them credit. They’ve been very good. But we’re better than that. We have to find answers.” Yep we have to find answers!
Looking ahead: Well we have seen the power forward position kill us so far on this trip and now we get the Suns and Spurs with to of the games best at that position. The Suns will throw Amar'e Stoudemire at us who is averaging over 25 points a game and who has dropped 49 in a game already this year. They also will throw Shaquille O'Neal at us who even though is winding down his career will play Yao very physically and that is really what seems to give him problems. You then have the spurs with Tim Duncan who is a MVP winner but they will be with out Tony Parker. Can we take both of these games? I hope so but I think we will get 1-1 losing to the Suns and beating the Spurs. With 2 days off after the Lakers dismantling of the Rockets maybe T-Mac will be able to find his rhythm and we can learn to play some team offence. I would really like to see Yao Ming get the ball on the block instead of out near the elbow I think it will not only help his game but open things up for the rest of the gang.
We then face the Hornets at home on Saturday the night after the Spurs, which will be another test for us. I will try and recap the week Saturday Morning and preview the Hornets game. Next week we play 4 games in 7 days with 3 of them on the road. One of the most brutal schedules in the first couple of weeks for the Rockets but if you want to be champions you must hold your own and play the games when you got em, and not take nights off.