Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Yao Line 11.26.07: Winning Ugly is Still Winning

from Yao Central

36:58 min | 14 pts | 5-11 FGs | 4-5 FTs | 8 rebs | 2 asts | 1 stl | 1 blk | 6 TOs | 4 PFs |

Well, it wasn't pretty, but thank the heavens for T-Mac or his jumpshot. His 19 points in the 4th turned what was really an unnecessarily face-tightening game into a comfortable W. And it couldn't have come at a better time as what feels like other Western Conference team in the league lost the past couple of nights. Yao, however, struggled against the Clips' Chris Kaman and it wasn't always clear as to why. My brother and I like to watch the games on broadband with Jim Peterson's radio broadcasts going, a bit of nostalgia that recalls the warm fuzzy feeling when our dad used to cruise us around Houston in the car just to listen to the broadcast of the games, back when you couldn't get many games on television.

But Peterson made some interesting observations regarding Yao's offense and the bothersome part was how many times he repeated them. Yao just didn't seem to want to shoot the ball and often when he had it in point-blank territory, preferring to just throwing it back out right as it was thrown in. And even in single coverage, Yao struggled to make the right moves. Peterson kept calling for Yao to go to his right and drop a little baby-hook, that it was exposed. But Yao forced his moves left with often poor results. Everybody has a bad game but this was a rare poorly executed game from Yao. His 6 TOs this time were all his to blame. Yao usually eats Kaman alive, granted he's having the best season of his career, but he's the kind of one-on-one match-up that makes Yao's eyes light up. This kind of thing is uncommon to be sure, but Yao has seemed to defer a little too much since the Rockets hit the skid. It would be a shame to think that Yao might equate success in the motion with his shooting less.

A win is nice but T-Mac can't be forced to carry the load every night; and every team won't be a struggling Clipper squad with Dan Dickau running the point and no Elton Brand. The Rockets are going to need Yao to stay assertive on offense when he gets his touches, particularly with Phoenix and Golden State coming up. For the first time in a long time, the Rockets are gonna get multiple looks against more nimble teams with T-Mac and Yao healthy--so we'll finally get a clearer picture of how they stack up against league's best running teams.

Yao Ming Mania has your pics.

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