News » Houston Rockets Getting Inside 2008-10-29

Houston Rockets Getting Inside 2008-10-29

Houston Rockets Getting Inside 2008-10-29
The temptation to look six months ahead would seem strong. Never in the careers of most of the Rockets -- with Brent Barry the obvious exception -- have they been on a team as widely considered a legitimate contender as this team.

For a group that has never won a playoff series -- with Barry, Rafer Alston and Ron Artest the only exceptions -- this would seem to be a leap large enough to invite impatience.

The Rockets, however, insist they are not tempted. There are two other considerations that tend to draw their attention more than the sudden wave of respectful predictions or their own confidence.

First, they don't believe they played well enough in the preseason to begin looking forward to the post season. Second, they have entered too many postseasons encouraged by their chances, only to have barely stretched their season to the first days of May.

"They put predictions on teams every year," Tracy McGrady said. "We have to go out and prove it. We haven't proven anything. It's good to have people predict us to be in the Western Conference Finals and possibly even come out, but it doesn't mean anything to us because we have to go out and make it happen.

"When you haven't accomplished a lot, you can't get ahead of yourself. We hope at the end to put ourselves in a good position, then go from there. We don't look ahead. We don't try to put ourselves as one of the elite teams. Play ball and let the wins do the talking for us."

Beyond humbled by their past struggles, the Rockets also know they did not play well enough in the preseason to assume they will play great in the post-season. Most of that is because of injuries, with Shane Battier and Aaron Brooks out, and McGrady just working his way back in. None of the injuries is considered serious and there is plenty of time to make the improvements the Rockets would have liked to have made in the preseason. But they are not fooling themselves to think they are what they plan to be.

"We're nowhere near where we wanted to be," coach Rick Adelman said. "I don't think that's possible with Tracy not playing that much in the preseason. We're going to still be feeling our way along. I think we're good enough that we should go out and play pretty well. But we have a long ways to go.

"You know it's a long season. You don't get everything done at the start of the season. You want to get enough done to win. But we're going to be a work in progress."

They don't want to take all of the next six months to get there, but don't feel the need to think they have already arrived.

ROCKETS 82, GRIZZLIES 71: The Rockets' most anticipated season in a decade will be judged by how it ends, not how it began. Good thing. They rallied in the final minute to finally hold off the Memphis Grizzlies, but it was the sort of game they had to remind themselves was a win with several mentions that "a win is a win." It was not much more than that, with the Rockets managing to make just 36.8 percent of their shots. Yao Ming had 21 with Ron Artest and Tracy McGrady each scoring 16. But the "Big Three" was not their new partnership, the inspiration for all those excited predictions. It was a three-pointer by Rafer Alston in the last minute that gave the Rockets a seven-point lead and finally secured the win. Until then, Alston was 1-for-7, but it was that kind of game, with the Rockets doing just enough offensively to win.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: October 29, 2008


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