Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Yao Line 01.24.08: Return of the 'Mac

41:32 min | 6-13 FGs | 14-15 FTs | 12 rebs | 6 asts | 1 blk | recap

It must feel good to play spoiler for a change, but even with a chance to ice the game with two FTs that would have put Houston up 4 with :12 seconds remaining, T-Mac and the Rockets instead... made it interesting. Thank you Chuck Hayes, Luis... and thank you T-Mac for doing what he'd seemingly done all last regular season, put Houston on his back and carry them through the 4th.

That's right, T-Mac looks back, and like the Sonics announcers were saying, he's gonna have a hard time trying to sit out the ASG playing like that. For three and half quarters, it just looked like it wasn't the Rockets night. Yao was solid as ever, finding open teammates, getting to the line and converting. The Rockets weren't really turning over the ball (7 total) and they were shooting decently (.466 for the game), the Sonics were just shooting better (.519).

It was the defense that disappeared, despite the extraordinary defensive effort late in the 4th helped seal the win. Allowing shooters like Durant and Szczerbiak get open looks is never a good idea. That's the only the second time I've had to see Durant play a full game, but it's enough. This kid is the rookie of the year by a mile. No rookie makes more of an impact on the court than he does. If he stays healthy and gets stronger, he's gonna be prolific. That is, he aspires to be what T-Mac already it is. The Sonics color commentator (who sounded like Steve Snapper Jones, who's from next-door Oregon, but I can't be sure) put it best, I'll have to paraphrase, Durant's seen McGrady on television do this kind of thing over and over, now he gets to see it in person. Learn from it.

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