I hope that the word doesn’t get out on the street. What’s the word? The word is “Physical”, that is how you play the Rockets if you want to beat them. The Rockets have lost to some of the worst teams in the NBA; they lost to the Grizzles and the Clippers last week. Both of those game the other teams were very physical with the Rockets. It has seemed that the refs are not going to call fouls on teams for hanging all over Yao Ming, or pushing, or grabbing him. So if they won’t call it, you better do it! I get furious with the refs at times. It seems that they still don’t give Yao the respect an All Star player in his 7th year deserves. Remember when the Lakers were the top team in the NBA, winning with Shaq in the middle? They said it was so unfair because you couldn’t guard Shaq, you had to play physical, you had to grab and push. Strange thing is that they would call fouls, Shaq would get to the line, and teams got in foul trouble. Now Shaq is on the down side of his career and Yao is becoming the premier center in the NBA, and Yao can’t get the calls that Shaq was getting years ago. Yao is attempting 6.7 free throws a game, fewest he has attempted in the last 3 years. He is 11th in the league in attempts per game; I think he should be in the top 5. In the 17 wins with Yao Ming in the line up he has averaged 7.5 attempts a game, in the losses 5.2 a game. The strange thing is that when the Rockets lose, opponents get more fouls called, 21.5 a game, compared to 21.2 when the Rockets win the game, those numbers are almost identical. So what does this mean? To me it means a couple things. It means that obviously Yao isn’t getting the calls. I have watched the games, they have fouled him, and there have not been calls. This also shows that when Yao struggles he gets fewer touches. I found kind of a crazy stat for the Celtics, Rockets game. Kendrick Perkins, one of the NBAs most physical defenders, was only called for two fouls and Yao Ming didn’t go to the line once! The Rockets had a chance to win this game, you will never make me believe that Yao Ming can go a whole game without getting fouled once while shooting, it doesn’t happen.
I know I am a Houston fan and I obviously look a lot harder for these fouls when the Rockets are playing. Fact is some are flat out obvious calls that are missed. Like I stated before the fouls called on other teams is almost identical when we win or when we lose. I really believe that it is just the way the crews’ ref the play against Yao. All the Rockets can do is continue to run the offense through Yao, good things will happen. Yao creates open shots for teammates and has learned to repost after the kick out, to get a closer look for the next entry pass.
On some other notes, the injury bug strikes again sitting Rafer Alston down with a hamstring injury. Steve Francis dressed for the Nuggets game and was spotted by myself on the bench looking like a sad state of affairs. You can tell the guy wants to play so badly. “How Sweet It Is”, Tracy McGrady got his first triple-double of the season!