As soon as Bassy tried to take over the game, any chance of a T-Wolves comeback was lost.
I was at tonight's game. Section 104, row 15. Wonderful seats for a boring game. But boring was probably the best we could have hoped for; a boring blowout win over an undermanned lottery team.
It was nice to see some actual defense on Randy Foye this go-around. He put up 20 on us in our last meeting, but we made an effort to close out hard on his jump shots, and it paid off, as he went 3-11 from the field for only 9 points.
Our offense was clicking, but only because the Wolves play some of the worst defense this side of Oakland, California. They played one-on-one against Yao Ming for the entire night...and matched up 6'7 Craig Smith against him. While Yao didn't have his greatest night, it was clear that he wasn't having to play with the same effort that he would were the Rockets playing a good team. We had an abundance of open three pointers, and we took advantage of them, hitting 11-20. Shane Battier looked comfortable with his shot for the first time in a while, and Brent Barry had three tres of his own. Hell, even Brian Cook hit a three. It was that kind of night.
Most importantly, we hit 14 of 14 free throws, something that isn't dictated by the skill level of the opponent. Ever since the Denver free throw debacle, we have recovered our charity stroke and have once again used it to our advantage. In order for us to win against the big boys, the free throws have to fall. That's something that we have in our arsenal that many other teams don't have.
Random thoughts from the club section:
- Mike Miller threw about twenty no-look passes. Even on easy dump-offs, he would look in the other direction and then flick it out to the perimeter. If only Miller's stylish passing could translate to a stylish hairdo...
- Speaking of hair, my friend and I threw out a question upon seeing Miller match up against Luis Scola during a possession: whose haircut is worse? We agreed: it's got to be Miller's. Scola is of a soccer-happy nation, and thus, his haircut matches his culture quite nicely. To put it bluntly, it looks good on him. The Rockets also held "Luis Scola Wig Night", so it adds to his popularity as well. On the other hand, nobody likes Miller's mop. It looks like he just got groomed by one of those canine stylists that they have at the Westminster Dog Show. I don't know what he's thinking, but he needs to stop asking the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants to fix his hair up.
- Sebastian Telfair assumed the identity of Bassy tonight and became a greedy high school star in the third quarter. His play-by play: Sebastian Telfair misses layup, Sebastian Telfair makes 3-point jumper, Sebastian Telfair misses 3-point jumper, Sebastian Telfair misses driving layup, Sebastian Telfair misses 7-foot running jumper. Unless I'm mistaken, all but one of those were on consecutive possessions. Meanwhile, Randy Foye was watching from the three-point line trying to decide how to counter with some heat-checks of his own.
- Kyle Lowry continues to look smart and efficient during the 20 minutes of playing time that he gets per game. His patience in the half-court game is stunning to me, at least for a young, energetic guard. He uses picks well, and his ability to pass up three pointers for either drives or jump shots closer to the basket goes to show how mature of a player he is. He realizes his three point shot isn't there yet, and he's not trying to force it. Very impressive.
- Ron Artest was able to get a lot of set shots tonight, and it translated to a 50% shooting night. On many occassions in the games that he has struggled in recently, he used his hot shooting streak as an excuse to take fadeway jumpers and long three pointers. Now he has resorted back to dribbling around picks and getting set for shots. It makes all the difference for him.
- Do the folks at Getty Images love our Power Dancers or what? This is the second game in a row in which they've done a close-up of our dancers during a dance routine. It must be the black leather that they've been wearing lately. Yep, that must be it. Observe:
He's kind of the best dunker on the planet. In his Rockets debut, White went 2-2 with a three pointer, a steal, a block, and 3 turnovers, all in 3 minutes and 42 seconds of playing time. Question for Mr. Rick Adelman: Can you maybe spare ten minutes of playing time to Flight when we are up by twenty and clearly going to win the game? Is it that important for Ron Artest to be harrassing Rodney Carney or Ryan Gomes when we have the game in hand? Come on, Ricky. Put James White in the game.
That's all I've got for tonight. I'm glad we were able to take care of this game without wearing out Yao. Lord knows he's going to have to give it his all against San Antonio and Utah. I would be happy to win one of those games, and I'd be even happier if we won both. We've got a chance to go ahead of San Antonio in the standings - let's capitalize on it.