28:00 min | 10 pts | 4-12 FGs | 2-2 FTs | 7 rebs | 1 ast | 3 blks | 5 TOs | recap
Jon Feigen assesses the "Yao Ming dilemma" on his blog, which basically sums itself up in its last two lines:
The Rockets' offense will be a season-long project, ideally growing all the way into the playoffs. Job one, however, might need to be getting Yao the ball in position to dominate quickness and Yao sure enough with the ball to do it.He's absolutely right, nobody outside the Rockets locker room would know better, so why haven't the Rockets found a consistent way to take advantage of smaller teams? The Spurs have. And so did the old Lakers with Shaq. A win against the Phoenix Suns in the manner in which it was attained brings a lot of expectations; and the Rockets were nowhere close to meeting those expectations last night. It's easy say it was the second game of a back-to-back, but the Rockets didn't just look tired, they looked like they didn't want it.
I've been harping on Yao all season about those turnovers and everyone keeps saying well, the great ones all turnover the ball, or turnovers are okay as long the Rockets win. There hasn't really been a singular moment or game that was glaring enough for most fans to get too concerned about Yao's TOs. But turnovers are what give teams like Golden State easy buckets, the kind where you blink and suddenly they've doubled their lead. Yao has to protect the ball better against smaller defenders. It really should never be slapped out of his hands from the high post; he should laugh when defenders try it--and I hate to make the comparison--but like Shaq used to. That fiery dominant nature Yao's apparently still working to command doesn't just manifest itself through dunks and blocks, it's a complete attitude throughout the game, getting position, boxing out, throwing elbows and protecting the ball. Last night, he didn't have it.