Washington Wizards Rookie PG John Wall recorded 19 points, 10 rebounds, 13 assists and six deals in last night’s 98-91 victory over the Houston Rockets to become the third youngest player in NBA history to record a triple-double. Only LeBron James and Lamar Odom have been able to produce that type of stat line at a younger age. “I wasn’t forcing too much tonight,” said Wall. “Finding my teammates, making the right reads. Sometimes I get too excited trying to make a spectacular play instead of the simple play. Tonight I think I did the right thing with the simple plays.”
Al Thornton and Andray Blatche led the scoring campaign for Washington with 20 apiece. Yi Jianlian came off the bench for 13 points, seven rebounds and four blocks. The Wizards found themselves up nine after the first block while Houston center Yao Ming watched from the sidelines with a strained tendon in his right leg.
The Rockets chipped away at the deficit, eventually gaining the one-point lead courtesy of Kevin Martin finding Luis Scola for the layup with 5:52 remaining. Blatche then sparked a late-game run with three consecutive buckets to solidify the W for Washington. Houston will look to improve on Friday when they travel to Conseco Fieldhouse to matchup with the Indiana Pacers as the Rockets play host to the Charlotte Bobcats at the Verizon Center.
The Houston Rockets organization and veteran guard Tracy McGrady are presently looking to part ways after six seasons together. The Rockets hope to trade the seven-time All-Star as soon as possible to gain some relief from paying his $23.2 million expiring contract. T-Mac just recently came back from micro fracture knee surgery and has since been out to prove himself as a top competitor.
“Whoever gets me is going to get a hungry player,” said McGrady. “I don’t care if I go to the damn moon. It doesn’t matter. I’ve been hungry since I came back from my surgery. I rededicated myself, refocused, moved to Chicago, worked out the whole summer there. It was every day just grinding, just pushing. I’m not even supposed to be playing right now, so that really tells you how hard I’ve been working.”
The Washington Wizards have already reached out to Houston with plans to swap McGrady for Gilbert Arenas. The Rockets denied, knowing the $111 million contract sitting over Arenas with a side of his own constant knee problems. Look for a number of teams to show interest in McGrady as he returns to full health.
Tracy McGrady took the floor for the first time in ten months as the Houston Rockets went on to defeat the Detroit Pistons 107-96 yesterday at Toyota Center. T-Mac was greeted with a standing ovation in light of his highly anticipated return. He was limited to just eight minutes, but further swayed the momentum with his top of the key three-ball in the first quarter.
“It’s been so long since I’ve played, it was just a great feeling to be back on the court,” said McGrady. “Just to get up and down the court with these guys and to be back out there competing is what I missed. To have that back, finally, and feel good and have fun doing it, there’s nothing better.”
Luis Scola and Aaron Brooks led the Rockets in scoring with 23 each. Carl Landry had a very productive night off the bench, netting six-of-ten with a side of seven free throws for 19 points. Houston will next travel to Denver tonight to square off against the Nuggets as the Pistons head to New Orleans to face the Hornets.
Houson Rockets’ big man Yao Ming is facing a serious foot injury. Ming has had four surgeries on his feet and ankles in the part three years, and may not be able to have another and keep playing. The 7-foot-6 center from China may need upwards of a year to heal his broken foot. The Rockets team physicial Tom Clanton even went as far as to call the latest injury “career threating”. Even if Yao can get back into playing shape, his ankles and feet will always be prone to injury due to his size. The Rockets acquired three guards from the draft: Jermaine Taylor, Sergio Llull, and Chase Budinger. The Rockets have the luxury to trade or drop two of them, and seem to have made smart and cheap decisions.
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The Houston Rockets won a very physical game 1 against the heavily favored Los Angeles Lakers on Monday night. The Lakers fell behind early, and never managed to catch up again. “I think we were hungry to win the first game, like we had in the first game of the last (series),” Rockets Center Yao Ming told the AP. “We know we have to respect them. They will come back strong in Game 2.” Ming was briefly sidelined by a knee-to-knee collision with LA’s Kobe Bryant, but returned later. Yao hit a jumper and converted all six trips to the free throw line.
Despite a 32-point effort from Bryant, the Lakers fell short.”I’m fine,” Bryant said in a post-game interview. “My energy felt fine, I was OK. “We just blew some defensive assignments at key moments.” Los Angeles looks to take advantage of home court advantage in game 2, scheduled for Wednesday night at 10:30pm Eastern.
Los Angeles Lakers playoff tickets and Houston Rockets Playoff tickets are available now!
The Boston Celtics rebounded nicely from their loss to the Pacers over the weekend with a 103-99 victory over a very talented Houston Rockets team. The Rockets who picked up Ron Artest in the off-season now have a ‘big three’ of their own along with Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming. Although the Celtics won last night’s battle, the superstars for the Rockets certainly had their chances. Ron Artest missed 13 of 16 shots and Yao Ming was 4 of 14 from the field. McGrady was the bright spot for Houston with 26 points.
Ray Allen was the offensive star for the Celtics with a team high 29 points. Garnett chipped in with 14 points and 11 rebounds. The Celtics won the overall battle on the boards, outrebounding the Rockets 46-41. Both the Celtics and Rockets moved to 3-1 on the year.
Celtics tickets are available for all 2008-2009 games. The Celtics will visit the Oklahoma City Thunder for the first time ever on Wednesday 11/5. The Celtics will return home on 11/7 to host the Milwaukee Bucks.
With last nights 94-90 victory over the Dallas Mavericks, the Boston Celtics accomplished something that hasn’t been done in seven years. That feat would be the good old fashion ‘Texas Sweep’ or when an NBA team comes in and beats the San Antonio Spurs, Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks all in the same road trip. The last team to come into Texas and beat all three of the powerhouses was the Sacramento Kings in November 2001.
The win didn’t come easy for the Celtics who trailed the majority of the second half, and even were down with less then one minute to play. Ray Allen nailed a 3-point field goal with :31 seconds left to pull the Celtics ahead 90-88 and they were then able to hold off the Mavs offensive attack for the remaining time on the clock.
“This feels good,” said Allen on nba.com, who’d missed three games with a jammed left ankle. “It’s something for the rest of the NBA to watch.”
The C’s capitalized on shooting very well from the charity stripe hitting 30 of 35 attempts (85.7%) on the night which helped balance out an ugly performance from the floor where they were only 30 for 87 (34.5%). The PG combination of Rajon Rondo and Sam Cassell combined for a dismal 1-16 shooting display which dragged the teams overall percentage down, but the effort was enough for a win.
Paul Pierce had another solid performance recording a double-double with 22 points and 13 rebound. Kevin Garnett had equally impressive numbers with 20 points and 13 boards. Allen finished with 21 points and all the heroics that were needed to secure the victory.
The Mavericks were led by PF’s Dirk Nowitzki and Josh Howard who scored 22 and 24 points in the losing effort. PG Jason Kidd was held to only 2 points and Dallas is now 0-7 to teams with winning records since he was traded to the team before the deadline.
“We’re just right there in a lot of these games,” said Jerry Stackhouse on nba.com, who scored 17 points. “It’s disappointing to keep coming up short.”
The loss was the second consecutive loss at home for the Mavericks, the first time that had happened all year. It doesn’t get any easier for Dallas, San Antonio is in town on Sunday and the Spurs have beaten the Mavericks in their last two meetings.
Last night’s win was the Celtics 14th victory in 15 games. They are currently 4-0 on their road trip with one game remaining on Saturday vs. New Orleans. During the month of March they’ve held opponents to an amazing average of only 87 points per contest. During the ‘Texas Sweep’ the Celtics held All-Stars Tim Duncan, Tracy McGrady and Jason Kidd to a total of 20 points, together the trio averages 52. Not bad, right?
Not bad at all. The Celtics continue to roll with no plans to stop until a 17th banner is hoisted at the TD Banknorth Garden.
It was supposed to be a great match-up that featured the Eastern and Western Conference leaders, but in the end a showdown that would only leave the Boston Celtics standing tall after an impressive display of defense en route to a 94-74 victory over the Houston Rockets, snapping their 22-game win streak. The streak which dated back to Jan. 27th was the 2nd longest winning streak in NBA history, only behind the 33-game steak the 1971-1972 L.A. Lakers team compiled in the midst of their championship season.
Fans in Houston definitely got their money’s worth in the first half of the contest, watching intense play go back and forth between the NBA powerhouses. Both teams were fired up, and tempers even flared before the opening tip when Celtics PG Rajon Rondo and Rockets PG Rafer Alston got into a shoving match that resulted in a double technical foul.
It was the Celtics who jumped out to an early lead but saw it slip away in the final three minutes of the period, capped with a steal and lay-up by Alston with only :03 seconds left on the clock. Alston ended the period with 9 points and the Rockets had a 22-21 advantage.
Houston jumped out to their largest lead of the game with 8:45 remaining in the 2nd quarter after Bobby Jackson netted a jumper to make the score 32-25 in favor of the Rockets. The Celtics fired back going on a 15-8 run to end the half, which ended with a Paul Pierce 3-pointer with :30 seconds left on the clock, tying the score at 40-40.
The second half was a different story, a story about defense.
Boston held Houston to a season low of only 34 points on 11-33 shooting (.33%) from the field in the half and capitalized on turnovers to turn a tied ballgame into a one-sided victory for the Celtics. At one point late in the 4th quarter the C’s took a 27 point lead on a powerful drunk by Kevin Garnett with 1:33 to play.
Rockets’ leading scoring Tracy McGrady was kept in check all night by aggressive, in your face defense, and the All-Star only scored 8 points on a 4 for 11 shooting display.
“It’s not disappointing,” McGrady said on yahoo.com. “It’s a hell of a team over there. They outplayed us. I’ve never seen a defense like that. I mean, if they play defense like that, night in and night out, the NBA is in trouble because that was defense at its finest.”
Garnett led the way for the Celtics recording another double-double with 22 points and 11 rebounds in the win. In only 20 minutes of action, reserve PF Leon Powe scored 21 points while captain Paul Pierce chipped in with 20. The team was again without SG Ray Allen who sat out his third consecutive game with a sore left ankle injury.
With the loss, the Rockets fall back into a tie with the Lakers for the best record in the Western Conference at 46-21. The Celtics remain in charge in the Eastern Conference, now 5 games ahead of the 2nd place Detroit Pistons with the NBA’s best record of 54-13.
Up next, the Celtics continue their Texas swing after impressive wins vs. the Spurs and Rockets to face the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday 3/20 for the fourth game of a five game road trip. In the only meeting between the Celts and Mavs, Boston captured a 96-90 victory at home on Jan. 31st in a game where Garnett sat out with an injury and Pierce and Allen both hit for 26 points.
The last three times an NBA team has won 20 games in a row during the regular season, they went on to win the NBA Championship that same year. The Houston Rockets will go for their 20th straight win tonight on the road vs. the Atlanta Hawks whom the Rockets have already beaten once during their current streak. It could be history in the making.
The last team to win 20 games in a row during the regular season was the 1999-2000 LA Lakers. This would be the year that they would go on to win the first of their three consecutive NBA titles with Shaq and Kobe dominating the league. Before that it was the Lakers again who won 20 in the 1971-1972 season en route to a title while just one season earlier the Milwaukee Bucks captured 20 regular season wins in a row in the 1970-1971 campaign.
“It’s impressive, and we keep adding on games,” said Rockets guard Rafer Alston, who has averaged 15.3 points and 6.8 assists during the streak. “It’s fantastic to have your name mentioned and your team mentioned with some of the best teams, some of the best players to ever play the game. It says a lot about our ball club.”
What makes the streak that much more convincing then it already is is the fact that the team has kept winning even after the announcement came that All-Star center Yao Ming would be out the remainder of the season with a stress-fracture in his left foot. 7-time All-Star Tracy McGrady has taken on a new leadership role, and carried his team through this streak on the offensive end of the court.
“It can be something really special,” McGrady said on the Rockets website. “When it comes late April, if we were to make the playoffs, that’s when it really starts to count and mean something. That’s when this streak right here will be even more special to me and our team.”
Currently the Rockets are 1.5 games out of the top spot in the Western Conference, residing in the third position behind the LA Lakers and San Antonio Spurs. If Houston can capture victories tonight vs. Atlanta and Friday vs. the Charlotte Bobcats they will face the Lakers on Sunday March 16th going for their 22nd win in a row which would be good for the 2nd longest winning streak of all time, only behind the 33 consecutive wins that 1971-1972 Lakers team captured during their run.
“We’re a habitual team from the standpoint we come to work every day, we prepare the same way every day,” Rockets forward Shane Battier said on yahoo.com. “We don’t get too excited, don’t get too down. That’s consistency.”
Consistency, indeed, has been the Rockets key to winning and if they can continue to play the same style of basketball they’ve been displaying throughout this streak, the rest of the NBA needs to watch out because they will be a serious contender in the playoffs. Now before we declare them the champions, let’s see how they do this weekend with the Lakers, and then early next week with the Boston Celtics. If the streak is still alive after those match ups, maybe Houston fans won’t be concerned anymore that T-Mac has never won a playoff series in his career.
We’ll just all have to wait and see about that, but for now let’s enjoy the show that the Rockets continue to put on night after night and see just how long the streak can last.
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