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NBA Analysis: Yao Hurt, Rockets Fall to Wizards

Wizards 98, Rockets 91

The Rockets fell short of a solid game tonight in Washington D.C.  The effort was there to begin with, but 39% shooting from the field throughout the game and an 10-0 run by Washington in the fourth quarter killed any chance of Houston pulling out a win. 

Yao Ming suffered a left tendon strain early in the first and did not return to the court much to the displeasure of what was most likely China’s most watched basketball game of the year.  John Wall was a couple steals short of his first quadruple double finishing with 19 points, 13 assists, 10 rebounds and 6 steals.  Kevin Martin set a new season high with 31 points (15 charity stripe attempts).

The Houston Rockets are now 1-6 and it’s becoming clear why.  The defense was once again non-existent.  Houston is great on one half of the court but when it comes time to make some stops this team looks like it’s being coached by Mike D’Antoni.  Open corner threes, an inability to stop penetration, and poor help defense all contributed to our demise tonight.

If I could blame the loss on anything other than injuries, defense, and poor shooting I’d choose substitutions.  Rick played Jordan Hill for 9 minutes in the first half and then for whatever reason relied on Chuck Hayes and Brad Miller to close out the game.  Houston was getting destroyed in the paint by the likes of JaVale McGee, Andray Blatch, and even Yi Jianlian had a good game against the Rockets rim protection.  It was either a height issue with Chuck in the paint or a physical issue with Brad Miller.  I do not understand Rick Adelman’s refusal to let Jordan Hill at least try to clog the lane when all else fails.

Ishmael Smith had a great game but ultimately lost in the battle of the rookie point guards.  Ish started the game and hit two three pointers (out of three attempts) and finished with 12 points.  The undrafted rookie has elevated his game and did not fail to impress although I was underwhelmed with his 3 assists.

Kyle Lowry saw the court for his second run this season but looked like he was still feeling quite a bit of pain in his back.  His tenacity on defense earned the team some key possessions but Kyle balanced that out with some poor shot selection and boneheaded posessions.

Kevin Martin and Luis Scola seem to be our only consistent players this season.  Scola’s hustle in the paint and Kevin’s ability to get to the line and shoot from deep kept the game closer than it should have been.

Brad Miller hit his first three pointer as a Rocket tonight and finished with 7 points.  He looked more fluid on offense (although still terribly slow).  Miller is a defensive liability in the paint and in my opinion should never be on the court with Scola.

The Wizards had 10 blocks tonight, 4 of which came from the über athletic JaVale McGee who made attacking the rim very difficult.  Kirk Hinrich only finished with 10 points but a couple of those were dagger three pointers he should have never been allowed to take.  Lowry’s to blame for leaving him open on key possessions.


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