News » Houston Rockets Notes, Quotes 2008-10-18

Houston Rockets Notes, Quotes 2008-10-18

Houston Rockets Notes, Quotes 2008-10-18

--Yao Ming, determined to cut back on his often excessive workload this season to reduce stress on his body and remain fresher, sat out the Rockets' fifth preseason game. This is common among veteran stars, even if it is unusual for Yao. But the break is telling for another reason.

After getting 16 rebounds in 24 minutes against Oklahoma City, Yao's recovery from last season's foot injury seemed complete, his conditioning back to 100 percent.

"This is the preseason. I understand the situation," Yao said. "I feel ready, but I always try to prepare better."

--After struggling through parts of the first few preseason games, Aaron Brooks has come on well enough to help ease concerns about the decision to virtually hand him the backup point guard job.

Brooks had been making just 33.3 percent of his shots through three preseason games, just 22.2 percent from beyond the arc. In the next two games, he made 14-of-25 attempts, and guided the Rockets more efficiently down the stretch of a third consecutive game decided in the final minutes.

"It was good to see them go down," Brooks said. "I've been working on my shots all summer. I know I can shoot the ball. It's just a matter of making them sometimes. I want to be aggressive, try to get some easy looks for me and my team. I think the second unit, that's our whole thing, get some good looks and get up and down and run."

The Rockets were not concerned with Brooks' shooting, but were more pleased to see him under more control.

"He made good decisions," Rockets coach Rick Adelman said. "He was getting to the basket and he was finding people. He's going to make shots the more he plays. He's a good shooter."

MAIN REASON ROCKETS CAN WIN: The Rockets might be the first team that ever needed Ron Artest more for his offense than his defense. This indicates how strong their defense has been and while adding Artest, the defense should be as solid as ever, and as usual, among the top two or three in the NBA. But finally the Rockets have a third scorer capable of getting his own shots when Tracy McGrady or Yao Ming is out of the game or injured. The addition of Brent Barry, though far less celebrated, could be nearly as valuable to the offense, offering a veteran skilled at running Rick Adelman's offense with shooting range to take advantage of defenses surrounding Yao or McGrady. Those additions, and the continued growth of last season's rookies -- Luis Scola, Carl Landry and Aaron Brooks -- should provide the depth to go with the stars.

MAIN REASON ROCKETS CAN LOSE: The Rockets are still gambling in several important areas. They will go into the season without a true center backing up Yao Ming, who has missed significant portions of the past three seasons with injuries. They will rely on undersized second-year point guard Aaron Brooks behind Rafer Alston, who after many durable seasons, had several injuries last season. The durability of Yao and Tracy McGrady remains crucial and a huge question mark.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I have to do what I do, I know. But there is a God who sent help. I've been waiting for this for a while. I get criticized a lot for not leading my team out of the playoffs, but when you don't have those pieces that you need to elevate you to that next level, it's hard. If you don't have that (help), it's tough. Now I have that. We'll see what happens." -- Tracy McGrady.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: October 18, 2008


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