Sunday, December 23, 2007
Damn it's been a long time since I've posted here. The last time I did post, I declared that Tracy McGrady should be on the first flight outta Space City.
I've lightened my stance on McGrady getting traded a little bit - not because he's shown the potential superduperstardom that his talent should warrant, but because I've realized that no team with the star player we need would take T-Back and his massive salary.
Anyway, Tracy came back to action last night in Chicago, only to be upstaged by the Rockets suddenly awaken bench. Bonzi had 20, Scola chipped in with 14, Lu Head put up an impressive 13 in his Chi-town homecoming.
But the biggest (or smallest) difference came from greatly needed rook Aaron Brooks. He only scored four points, but he dished out six assists, and in the fashion the Rockets have been trying to implicate since training camp. Aaron pushed the ball with relent every time he touched it, forcing his veteran teammates into his tempo. And it's about time.
The emmergence of Brooks and Head the last two games seems as if it will spell the end for offseason vet pickups Mike "Who" James and Steve Francis, which would break my heart in another lifetime (like, if I was 14).
We're looking forward to more minutes for Brooks, who will turn out to be the real reason Rafer Alston should have been watching his back this summer.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
No one has made more excuses for Tracy McGrady over the years than me. When he was traded to Houston in 2004, everyone here was elated. We had our superduperstar.
Sure, everyone loved Steve Francis, but was he going to lead us to a championship? No. Was he even going to average 20 ppg again under Jeff Van Gundy? Hell no.
McGrady was the guy we had been begging for, the star that was going to galvanize the team and take it back to that elite status we had been struggling to re-attain.
In the first round of the 2005 playoffs, it was confirmed that T-Mac was that dude, and all he needed was a change of scenery to Clutch City to prove it. The Rockets took the first two games of the series in Dallas and seemed poised to sweep the Mavs. Of course, Houston lost four of the next five games and got blew out by 40 in Game Seven in D-Town as it seemed McGrady had checked out of the series after Game Three, just as he had done two years before after his Orlando Magic got up on the Detroit Pistons, 3-1.
What did we say after another Rockets flameout? He needed better role players, Yao needed to step up, Coach Van Gundy needed to open up the offense. All these things were true, but they weren't the only things wrong.
The same things were said after last season's choke job against the Jazz, who the Rockets had up, you guessed it, 2-0 before getting ransacked in Utah in games 3 and 4. We need a point guard, a better power forward, higher scoring.
We forgot something again; the Houston Rockets need a leader, and you sir, Mr. McGrady, are no leader.
I had always thought in the back of my mind (and in conversations with friends) that Mac was not and never going to be the dominant player in pressure moments to lift the Rockets, or any team he plays for, to the next level. He's not aggressive enough, not tough enough, and as Monday's game (and his tenure in Orlando) proved, when the going gets tough, Tracy McGrady usually quits. Or he "sprains an ankle" and heads to the locker room.
And he has always done these things. In game seven against the Mavs, he quit so fast after it seemed things weren't going his way, and his teammates followed suit. In game seven against the Jazz, he absolutely refused to drive to the basket in the final two minutes, deferring to his less talented teammates who weren't equipped to do anything except take long contested jump shots. When Philly was driving us into the ground on Monday, he became Michael Redd.
We have no leader, whatsoever. So what do we do? Go get one. Daryl Morey, call up Jerry Buss, get us a real man. But with #23 and #24 retired, what number will Kobe wear in Houston?
Friday, December 7, 2007
D.J. Augustin is simply the best point guard in college basketball....as of right now.
Now why couldn't he be this dominant last year with the POY on campus? All in all, 14 points and 6.7 assists per is really good (actually kinda great) for a first year pg on any level, but Augustin could've done much better in his freshman campaign.
He routinely ignored Kevin Durant even after he was hot from the field, and, even though he had no trouble getting into the lane, it was his decision making upon entrance that he struggled with.
This year, D.J. does no such things. His decision making so far this season has been off the charts, and he's been excelling in late game situations (save for the lucky air-ball/alley-oop to Damion James in the W at UCLA).
He's averaging 19 points and 7 assists, which are dominant numbers in the college game, and he's putting himself in a great position to be a lottery pick next summer. Though I do believe Memphis' Derrick Rose will eclipse Augustin slightly by the end of the year, right now D.J. is looking like another point guard who went to high school in Houston and had two letters in his first name.
Saturday, December 1, 2007
Before the NBA season started, I predicted the Boston Celtics would come out of the East. Of course, I was speaking from the initial excitement of seeing of the league's greatest players escape a horrible situation in Minnesota and land on one of the most storied franchises in sports history -- with two other All-Stars already present at that.
I didn't know how KG, Allen, and Pierce would play together on the court, or how the other 9 guys would contribute in relief of the trio. Well, after seeing them start the season at 13-2, including complete beatdowns of the Denver Nuggets, Miami Heat, and perhaps the lowest moment in New York Knicks history, a 46 point BCS ass whooping Thursday in Boston on national TV (after some inspiring words from the Rev. Quentin Richardson).
The best thing about Boston's start has been the beautiful motion that has been the Celtics' ball movement in the halfcourt, which has complimented their stellar defense, tops in the league. (Of course, the excitement Beantown has registered around the nation exposes hoops fans' hypocrisy. The San Antonio Spurs do the same thing the C's are doing, only better, and they get dismissed as "boring". Riiight.)
KG has been playing like a leading MVP candidate, and would be the definite leader in the race if it weren't for King James absolutely destroying the league on a nightly basis. Ray Allen has hit some big clutch shots (like his GWs in Toronto and Charlotte) and has showed that he is still one of the best shooters in the NBA.
But mainstay Pierce has been the real killer for the team with the best record. Truth is leading the squad in scoring and has been the go-to guy in the fourth quarter, which he should be, seeing that he's been the Celtics top guy for about eight years.
But how great does Garnett feel right now? He leaves the wasteland that is the Timberwolves, goes to Boston (which is on a sports high right now with the Patriots destined for a Super Bowl and the Red Sox coming off their 2nd World Series in three years), gets an extension, gels immediately with his new teammates, and now they look like the best team in the East by far. Plus, he gets to come home to an unbelievable display of fineness every night.
The good life indeed.
Four kids charged in the murder of Sean Taylor. Ages range from 17-20. Damn shame.
Everyone in the hood talks about how white people oppress us, but in reality, we're killing us -- and our own people are targeting the few black men that make it out of struggle and become successful.
The lesson: there is no lesson. Anything can happen to anyone, anywhere. Whether it's suburbia USA or the gutters of Dade County or South Park, Houston. Watch your backs, and apparently, the people that you let around your house.
Once again, R.I.P. Sean Taylor and R.I.P. black unity.