Rockets 98, Nets 93

2009 December 26
by rahat huq

This game was won simply by virtue of the Nets not being a very good team.

Carl Landry stayed in ‘beast mode’ leading the way with 26 points and 9 boards.  The Nets were paced by Devin Harris’ 19 points.

The Rockets led 57-51 after 24, shooting 53% from the field, but were held to only 13 points in the 3rd as the Nets crawled back to momentarily take the lead early in the 4th.  However, Aaron Brooks hit a driving layup with 37.3 seconds remaining to put the game out of reach.

Despite the close score, this was possibly the most boring Rockets game I have seen all year.  Those of you who opted for the Ocean’s Eleven/Remember the Titans, TNT/VH1 double header chose wisely.  I unfortunately did not have such an option at my disposal…

Random Musings

  • YES!  My excitement peaks as I see that League Pass is carrying the YES Network broadcast of this game.  That of course means I will be treated to my favorite duo in the business: Marv Albert and Mike Fratello.  These two combine the perfect blend of gravitas, wit, and knowledge to ensure an enjoyable viewing experience.  I am suddenly filled with envy upon the realization that Nets fans enjoy the pleasure of having a nationally acclaimed broadcasting duo call each of their everyday games.  That’s a lot like having Ted Koppel cover the local news.  Or something like that.  Anyways, on this night, it’s rather refreshing to, for once, hear a game called with no trace of the bias characteristic of the telecast coverage of most NBA games.  Kudos to Marv and Mike for their professionalism.  It is greatly appreciated.
  • News breaks prior to the game that Tracy McGrady will not be in action during the double-header.  Something about his son’s birthday party.  I would rather not blindly speculate, but it’s quickly becoming clear that there is trouble in paradise.
  • 11:17 into the 1st, first Rockets’ possession, Ariza just pulls it out and promptly jacks up a 3.  Seriously?  I decided earlier today to stop documenting his mistakes, but this is becoming mind-numbing, especially when his decision-making so grossly contracts with that of his teammates.
  • At the 3:10 mark of the 2nd, the Rockets scramble on a pseudo-break, Trevor catches with the defense out of position and pump fakes the ‘3’.  His defender flies by and Ariza puts it on the floor, slices through and double pumps for the lay-in.  This is how Trevor Ariza can thrive for this team.  Unfortunately, not too many of these opportunities will present themselves until Yao returns or another premiere player is acquired.  Slashers like Trevor are at their best when the defense is off balance and they can blow by against a late rotation.
  • Midway through the 1st, Marv says that the Rockets would surely be a contender this year with a healthy Yao.  The gesture is appreciated, but I disagree.  I don’t think we can make serious noise in the playoffs without a dynamic perimeter element.  No disrespect to the effort shown thus far.
  • Very nice drive by Aaron Brooks late in the 1st as he lofts it up underhanded to avoid Brook Lopez.  Aaron has done a much better job this year of not getting blocked in the lane.
  • Mike Fratello describes his former player, Kyle Lowry as “one of the toughest, toughest guys [he] has coached.”  Is there really a tougher point guard in the league right now?  I would have loved to see Lowry on those 93-94 Knicks teams prior to the imposition of the current hand-checking rules.  Actually, now that I mention it, I don’t see Kenny Smith making it past the time-line too many times in the ’94 Finals against that…
  • Speaking of the 90’s Knicks, coming back from commercials, YES had a brief clip of Anthony Mason running the break.  Unfortunately, I was flipping back from Remember the Titans, so I didn’t catch the discourse in its entirety, but apparently Chuck Hayes was given DVD’s of Mason and told to observe and emulate.
  • Random thought: Would have loved to have seen the 93-94 Knicks (the best statistical defense in NBA history) in a cage match vs. the ’05 Suns.  Really can’t think of two greater opposite extremes.  Well other than Marv and Mike with…
  • 37.3 remaining in the 4th, Aaron Brooks makes a driving layup along the left baseline, double pumping to avoid a swiping Yi.  He got blocked on a similar play last year by Duncan to end a game against the Spurs.  Maturation or is it just that Yi isn’t Duncan?  You be the judge.
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  • Good to see the Rockets pull out a tough one against a Nets team that isn't very good but how about that Windmill jam from Terrence Williams? Sick.
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