Sunday, March 16, 2008

All The Critics Can Kiss His Black Ass

Dikembe Mutombo’s black ass, of course. Houston Rockets' recent run has been nothing short of amazing. Twenty-one straight wins with this particular roster? They surpassed the second-longest win streak in NBA history, the 20 compiled by Bucks in 1970-71 season. Right now, Rockets have the Western Conference's No. 1 seed in their sights, and that alone tells something.

What's more important than any streaks to me is how they compete, fiercely, like every game is their last in their basketball lives. Their stifling half-court defense is consummate. There is also this matter of confidence. CONFIDENCE. This streak shows Rockets have a great deal of confidence in themselves and each other. Once you get to that level of belief, you're not going back. The hard part is getting there. Houston is there, with role players and coaching staff believing they can win.

Amazing, too: 12 wins with Yao in the lineup, 9 wins without him. Maybe he’s just better off doing Rockets’ mascot. They are able to dig out victories even when they’re not at their best. Like Wednesday night at Atlanta. A season-low 32 points in the first half. 33 percent from the field. 65 percent from the free-throw line. Yet for the 20th time in a row, they won. Otherwise, before this game, Rockets tied another record in the books, ten consecutive wins by double digits. Blowout here, blowout there and everywhere.

Without the big fella, this team that doesn't overwhelm with individual talent, but rather has become massively more than the sum of its parts. The team’s adaptation to Rick Adelman’s (my favorite for COY) system is superb, after some struggles in the beginning of the season. The defense is there, and recently, the players picked up Rick’s offensive style to perfection. It’s the motion offense, everyone passing the rock, everyone’s involved. Adelman’s substitution patterns are great, too. They have got a lot of defensive principles from their former coach Jeff VG. It’s still working. Daryl Morey, GM, is my favorite for Executive of Year, because he’s built a great T-E-A-M.

Let’s look at the particular players.

Yes, they have (No. 1) T-Mac playing his best in years. He no longer has to score 35 to have his team victorious.

(2) Rafer Alston has been superb. His turnovers are down and his scores are up.

(3) Luis Scola is their secret cog, now when he’s fully out of rookie’s early slumps.

(4) Carl Landry is a gold find. He’s a terrific player with a heart of Lion King.

Let’s get a little bit of credit to another rook, PG (5) Aaron Brooks.

What to say about (6) Dike Mount Mutombo? He blocks shot like robot. His arms are long like hockey sticks. Everyone’s afraid of his finger-wagging.

(7) Chuck Hayes is a guy that works his butt off every second. Hustle, rebounds, you got it.

(8) Luther Head is another piece of puzzle. His outside shooting is finally dependable.

(9) Shane Battier can easily win Defensive Player of Year award with the way he’s playing in this 21-streak. Hold on ‘til the season’s end, Shane.

(10) Bobby Jackson is familiar with Adelman, what a great and hidden deadline pickup by Morey. He did rid of malcontents like Bonzi Wells and Mike James. Morey even waived Gerald Green, cautiously.

So this is the core of Rockets, their basic rotation. But don’t forget their bench guys, the likes of (11) Steve Novak, a spot-up shooter, or (12) Mike Harris, a new-found contributor. We can forget Steve Francis, who is officialy a Rocket, but is not with the team anymore.

Not only they’ve got a great coach in Adelman, but his coaching stuff is terrific, too. R.J Adelman, Elston Turner, Jack Sikma and T.R. Dunn, very good assistant coaches.

The electricity of the fans in Houston’s Toyota Center over this last games has been terrific and I think the players would agree with that. Lately, it has been a big boost. The city of Houston right now is caught up with pro hoops. Nobody cares about anyting outside their Rockets. It’s better watch than NASA landing on Mars, actually.

Starting Sunday, today, the road ahead will bring some challenges, with five games against LA Lakers, Celtics, Hornets, Warriors and Suns approaching.

The streak may be halted, which is probable, however it’ll still the second-longest in history. Yes, McGrady can’t get out of first rounds of playoffs, but I guess... I mean this is better feeling than being kicked out of Conference Finals. Winning 21 in a row, all T-Mac and guys have to do is safely cruise into the playoff dock and then try to shock the world again. Because win or lose in the first round, the chance to bask, between Friday and Sunday, in an 21-win streak is an amazing feeling.

Tonite’s games:

DET at NO... (NO win)
LAL at HOU... (HOU win)
CHA at CLE... (CLE win)
SEA at DEN... (DEN win, a chance to break the 140-points mark)
DAL at MIA... (DAL win)
ATL at NY... (ATL win, Hawks have to win, they simply have to)
TOR at SAC... (a tie)

p.s.: (mike d’antoni on ginobili) *i’ll tell you what, since watching him in europe and watching his maturity here, and this is a shame, he’s one of the best players in the world, without a doubt, but he never gets mentioned. he didn’t even make the all-star team, which is a travesty. i think he exemplifies everything you want a player to be: great in the clutch, great at getting after a loose ball, great at defense, great at offense, unselfish; takes a contract for less money to make his team better. i don’t think there is one superlative you can say that is too much about him. Not in san antonio, but in the world he is unappreciated. maybe because he is unorthodox, whatever. i don’t know. but I’ll tell you what, you can’t get a better player than him.* thanx mike.

Posted by Foreigner in CS - Mar 16 2008 11:55AM

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