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T-Mac has a selective memory

Sometime last week, I read in the Chronicle an article about Tracy McGrady being ready to answer the critics now that Yao is out. T-Mac gave Feigen all the right answers... and naturally the topic came to last year's playoff series against Utah.

T-Mac before Game 7 last year: "It's on me."

(no one argued this at the time)

T-Mac today? "It's not on me," he said. "It's on us. I think this year, we have much more of a supporting cast. As you see, my scoring is down a lot. That's because guys are making shots. We really have more offense this year."

(yeah, you have Luis Landry this time 'round, and not Juwon Howard)

So far I agreed with everything. Then T-Mac commits a cardinal sin and starts making excuses for last year:

"I got criticized in Game 7 last year of the playoffs that I was settling too much for jumpers, despite me having 29 (points) and 13 assists. Damned if I do; damned if I don't."

Tracy, this is why people criticize you. There are three major problems with this statement. One, you are making excuses. Leaders do not make excuses. Leaders find a way to win. Period. Two, you DID settle too much for jumpers. You did. Admit it. You'll feel better. Lee and I delayed watching the De la Hoya/Mayweather fight just to watch you NOT aggressively take the ball to the basket in the fourth quarter last May. It was infuriating. Three, your personal stats for the game mean absolutely jack shit. So what if you had 29 points and 13 assists? Your team lost, so obviously something in your analysis is wrong.

Let's look at the box score from that fateful Game 7.

Yes, Tracy, you did have 29 points... and those 13 assists. Congratulations. That said, you took 25 shots to get those 29 points (and missed all four of your three-point attempts), and in all of those shots, you took exactly... 9 free throws (making only 5, ugh). Granted, Rafer didn't help you by going 2-8 from 3 and 3-11 overall, but you did settle for jumpers in the late stages of the game. I only have to look at your shot chart to prove that.

1st quarter:

2-6 from field
(one made dunk/layup, one made jump shot, 4 missed jumpers from 14 ft, 17 ft, 20ft and 22ft)

2nd quarter:

3-5 from field
(one made dunk/layup, two made jump shots [7ft, 11ft], 2 missed three-point attempts)

3rd quarter:

4-8 from field
(two made dunk/layup, 2 mid-range jump shots, 2 missed jump shots from 19ft and 27 ft, oh and two missed runners near the basket for good measure)

4th quarter:

3-6 from field
(one made layup with 10:37 left in the game, one made dunk with the game already over, one made 9 ft jumper, *3* missed jump shots)

At the 6:54 mark in the 4th Q, T-Mac entered the game with the Rockets down 84-82. He quickly made two free throws and the 9 ft jumper. After that, he missed a 25 ft attempt for 3 and a 17 ft shot. Other than a pointless layup with 19 seconds left, T-Mac neither attempted a free throw or even took a shot from the 4:28 mark to the end. He passed up opportunities to put pressure on Utah by not driving to the basket and he constantly deferred to Yao and even Rafer.
There is one thing I was certain of last May. Utah could NOT stop Tracy McGrady. Yet T-Mac never made them play defense against him. He settled for jump shots and did not try to dunk on them like they were Shawn Bradley. The statistical and video evidence proves this. I only point this out so that T-Mac can learn from it and possibly not be the Cowardly Lion this year.

Or, made more simply --

Tracy, more of this:
and a whole lot less of this:
I rest my case.