Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Yao Line 02.22.08: Yep, They're for Real

35:01 min | 28 pts| 12-21 FGs | 4-5 FTs | 14 rebs | 2 asts | recap

Now that's what you call a statement game. The outcome of this one could have meant any number of things. A bad loss would have meant that despite all the recent success, the Rockets were not ready for prime time. A close loss, could have meant big things on the horizon but would still leave a lingering air of doubt (much like the last one). A close, but lucky win would mean little more than that. The thrashing that Houston gave Chris Paul and the Hornets last night? Real legitimacy. The Hornets (now 37-16, still 1st in West) were one of the hottest teams in the league. The Rockets are the hottest team in the league.

It was total domination on both sides of the ball. The Rockets defense was stifling, boiling over with playoff intensity and appropriately so, for in the West, lets' face it, it's already started. The Rockets defense made New Orleans look flat out terrible. Landry just gets better with every game, this guy has no off button, he does not crash. He's like mosquitoes on a case of Red Bull... everywhere.

And what the heck got into T-Mac last night? No one's complaining, that's for sure, but just what the heck was that? I haven't seen Mac that flat-out aggressive since '03. He just force-fed the Hornets ass-whupping from the tip. It was nasty... I almost started feeling bad for Mo Peterson and whoever else they tried to put on him. They were completely lost. It was ugly. And because of T-Mac's straight bully-move, Yao's 28-14 was actually kind of quiet. Still, I didn't think he was gonna miss a shot, that's how easy he made it look. It's the singular reason I can never fully buy Marcus Camby or Tyson Chandler winning Defensive MVP. They can't stop Yao one-on-one.

This was easily the best game the Rockets have played all season and it wasn't some freak of nature--they just played hard-nosed ball. Winning basketball. A franchise record 11 straight road wins, 20-4 in 2008, dominating the no. 1 team in the West in their own home... brace yourself Houston. It's should be no surprise anymore to anyone in the league. The Rockets are for real.

Originally posted at Yao Central on February 23, 2008 12:26 AM

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