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Recap: Rockets/Spurs - where half-court shots make all the difference

I'm going to keep this short and sweet.

One, I love my team, but the Rockets are proving to be a very young team that keeps making rookie-ish mistakes and they do not learn from them.  These mistakes keep being repeated.  It bothers me.  You have a 7'6" All Star on your team.  When the game is on the line and you need a simple shot to win - you give him the freakin' ball.  You do not try to make the ball miraculously bounce from the underside of the backboard through the rim when there are still 14 seconds left in the game.

Two, the ends to both quarters in the second half were eerily similar.  Both cost the Rockets the game.  First half... Rockets have the ball with 25 seconds left and are "going for the last shot" - but that concept means you ONLY shoot the ball when there isn't much time left and you absolutely make CERTAIN that the other team will not get even a half-court attempt.

For as Michael Finley proved tonight, half-court attempts can actually go in.  Tonight it proved to be the difference in the game.  Mental mistakes kill (especially at the ends of quarters).

To make matters worse, Brooks made the exact same mistake at the end of the fourth quarter and rushed a shot when there was still fourteen freakin' seconds left in the game and the Rockets could have easily gotten a better shot to win the game.  Alas.........

Third and finally - Crazy Pills, I like you.  I really do.  But you are not Kobe Bryant.  You do not have supreme leaping ability in the lane.  Pass the freakin' ball to Yao or Scola when you get double-teamed and stop dribbling out the clock.  (This goes double for you, ABZ.)

Oh, and fourth I guess.... make your freakin' free throws.  Two weeks ago the Rockets were an 83% free throw shooting team.  Tonight they made 12 of 18.  That's 66.6%  That is unacceptable.  You make 15 of 18 like normal and you likely win.  It's simple math.  Then again, Yao had zero FTs.  How does Yao Ming get beat on for 36 minutes and not once take a free throw attempt?  Are you kidding me?

Ahhh, screw it.

Three Up:

1.  The Rockets' resiliency.  The Spurs took a rather commanding 11 point lead in the 3rd quarter.  No matter - put in Von and Lowry and Landry and the Rockets quickly went on a 17-2 run to take the lead by four.  Which they quickly gave right back.  Again... we play way too much like a young team.

2.  Yao Ming getting 17 shots.  It should be 20+ every night, but it's better than 9 shots like he had last time.  Baby steps, I guess.

3.  Ummm, I guess we out-rebounded San Antonio.  So that should count for something.  Right?  (Real answer: no.)

Three Down:

1.  Mental mistakes.  We already covered this.  No need to repeat it, even though I know you are going to repeat these mistakes.  I am so going to blame these guys for my early death via heart attack.

2.  Chuck Hayes' stat line.  Chuck's shooting stats today:  1-3 FG in 7 minutes.  This can only be interpreted one way.  And that way is WTF?  In what world shoot Chuck Hayes be shooting the basketball 3 times?  One attempt I would accept as a pure accident or maybe a result of the shot clock running out.  Alas, that was not the case tonight.  On multiple occasions, Kyle Lowry sought out Chuck Hayes in the pick and roll and gave him the ball.  Strike 1.  Then Chuck tried to do something with the ball.  Strike 2.  And no one told Chuck to never do that again.  Strike 3.  Ouch.  Seriously, Kyle - take the guy's advice from Clerks regarding Dante Hicks and apply it to Chuck:  "don't pass to this guy, he sucks (on offense)".  Seriously.

3.  Fundamentals.  There are these things called free throws.  Make them.  Tonight you did not.  And tonight you go home with an L.  This was a winnable game but in the end it was given away.  Also, on defense at the end of quarters - you play a full 12 minutes each quarter.  Not 11 minutes and 55 seconds.  Stop half-assing it at the end of each quarter.  The Spurs killed us in the 1st half with Artest's stupid foul giving Tony Parker two cheap free throws (and unlike the Rockets, Parker does not miss FTs).  In the third quarter, Brooks got shot happy and let Finley work magic from half-court.  In the fourth, Brooks again got shot happy and tried a playground shot when the game was on the line.  Hey, guys, you have teammates.  Pass the ball.  Ball movement makes the defense work.  The "whomever has the ball first shoots" offense bails out the Spurs.  That's not the way to play basketball.  At least not winning basketball.

Look, we can beat the Spurs.  They are not invincible.  The Rockets simply have to learn how to close out games and stop making fundamental mistakes at bad times.  Maybe this is why Adelman prefers to sleep through games... watching it can be too painful at times.

Next game... CP3 and the Hornets.  It doesn't get any easier, fellas.