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Recap: 76ers 104 - Rockets 96

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(Via Yahoo! Sports)

Summary: I was expecting some effort, intensity, and grit out of this Rockets team.  It was sort of there in the first half.  But when the second half began, we lost it.  Unfortunately, we didn't recover until about midway through the fourth quarter.  We were out-hustled in the paint and on the break.  During the third quarter, we acted as if we were entitled to win this game based off our first half performance, and when that wasn't working, it was too late to start hustling.

Yeah, I realized a few things going in.  We didn't have Artest and Battier, among other things such as: 1. The Sixers can grab offensive rebounds, 2. The Rockets haven't been great on defense lately, 3. Aaron Brooks has been in a slump, 4. Yao Ming hasn't played well against Phily historically.  I had those thoughts in mind coming into this game, so I wasn't surprised to see all four pan out against our fortunes.  What surprised me was that every one of those stats panned out enormously in the Sixers favor.  Observe:

  • Philadelphia grabbed 13 offensive rebounds.  We had 17, which was fine and dandy, but allowing 13 is inexcusable.
  • They only made 3 three-pointers in the entire game and absolutely destroyed us in the paint.  I've never seen a team make so many uncontested lay ups in my life.
  • Brooks went 1-11 after having a decent second half in the Atlanta game.  He's just not comfortable right now.  And I don't care if he is only 6 feet tall, the guy gets blocked on so many lay ups it's embarrassing.  Get your body into the guy and shield the defender.  If anything, draw a foul and use the 91% FT shooting to your advantage.
  • Yao took 9 shots.  Nine shots.  I expect him to make nine shots, not take nine shots.  We've got to find a way to get him the ball more, and maybe it's time we start asking Yao to do more to get open or become available in the post.

The only excuse I can think of is that either Battier or Artest would have definitely decreased Andre Iguodala's production.  Von Wafer, as good of an offensive game as he had, looked pretty lost at times on the defensive side of the ball.  We didn't play too badly in the first half or fourth quarter, but our third quarter killed us.  We needed to get a win tonight going into the Boston game, and it doesn't help that the C's just lost to Charlotte.  They'll be ready to play.

Three Up:

Tracy McGrady -- I asked Tracy to do one thing as long as he played: try hard.  And despite the fact that he didn't have his best shooting game, he had nine assists and ran hard up and down the court.  He also had 3 steals, so at least we are seeing some form of improvement.  But he looks like quite the elder statesman out there with that knee injury.  My mother looks more comfortable running.

Luis Scola -- Wonderful game from Luis.  He has been on a rebounding barrage of late and grabbed 17 in this one.  He also led our team in scoring with 18 points (something that I appreciate from Luis, but I'd rather see someone else lead our team in scoring with at least 20 points or so...*cough*Yao*cough*).

Von Wafer -- It's not his fault that he didn't get many second half minutes after shooting 6-7 from the field.  I can understand him not being in due to his defensive struggles, but it's tough to just bench someone who is that hot from the field.

Three Down:

Yao Ming -- 14 points and 6 boards: doesn't sound like a terrible night, but Yao gave up three billion points in the paint.  I shouldn't have to search for a 7'6 guy on my TV screen after a Sixer makes a wide-open lay up.

Aaron Brooks -- It's just not there right now.  He'll get out of it, but right now, he's just in a slump.  There's no other way to put it.

Rafer Alston -- Rafer went 4-13.  Which is typical, I guess.

Stats of the Night:

Rebounds: Luis Landry - 28.  Everyone else - 15.

Free Throws: Rockets  - 71%.  Sixers - 54%

Three pointers: Rockets - 5/19.  Sixers - 3/9.  Only 3 three pointers out of 104 points.

Field Goal %: Rockets - 43%.  Sixers - 56%

Fast Break Points: Sixers - 29.

Bench Points: Rockets 26.  Sixers - 43

Dikembe Mutombo: Zero minutes

Word of the Night:

"The Dropsies."  Invented by Bill Worrell, "The Dropsies" is a disease that Yao Ming has contracted that causes him to repeatedly drop the ball.  As soon as the first quarter was coming to an end, Worrell boldly stated, "Yao has a case of The Dropsies again tonight."

Nickname Request of the Night:

Can we call Von Wafer "Hawk" from now on?  He's fierce like a hawk, and he just got that mohawk.  Maybe?

Personal Concession of the Night:

Mareese Speights is the real deal.  He's got a nice jump shot, he's lengthy, and he can finish inside.  He's their future in the paint.  And speaking of paint, the Sixers put on a dunk show tonight.  Even when they missed the dunks, it was still impressive to see Thaddeus Young and AI get off the floor.

Next Game: At Boston.  Tony Allen is out, so watch out for Brian Scalabrine!