|7:30 PM Mountain/10:30 PM Eastern|
|TV: ESPN, FSAZ|
|Steve Nash||PG||Rafer Alston|
|Raja Bell||SG||Tracy McGrady|
|Matt Barnes ||SF||Ron Artestosterone |
|Amar'e Stoudemire||PF||Luis Scola |
|Shaq ||C||Yao Ming|
Can there be a more disappointing team than the Rockets? Loaded with talent, striking fear in opponent's head coaches, rattling off a historic 22-game win streak, being touted this year as a top team. In fact, the Houston Rockets have been forecast far ahead of the Suns this year, having made one off-season splash (Ron Artest) after another (Luis Scola). And let's not forget they picked up Brent Barry for nothing. In most cases, the Rockets have been rated as an elite team, while the Suns are not even ranked in the top 10. For example, ESPN ranked Houston at 6 and Suns at 11.
While 4-3 is nothing to sneeze at, the Rockets are poised to disappoint this year once again. One wonders how a team loaded with great talent, proven coaching and covet-inducing young bigs like Carl Landry. But that's just it. Anything less than title contention for such a team should be disappointment. For whatever bizarre reason, this team is lesser than the sum of the parts. Sure, they may figure out how to play with Artest, but that doesn't explain how the team seems to play better when one of its stars TMac or Yao Ming don't play. That 22-0 run didn't require both stars on the floor to make it happen.
There's no question the Rockets are top team, but they are biting at the cusp of eliteness without having yet achieved it. The respect they earn is in expectation of achievements they have yet to grasp. Tonight they meet a team biting on the cusp of eliteness, one whose achievements are fading in the rearview mirror of NBA pundits and fans. The respect they earn is an afterglow of those achievements and with every new win, comes the breath of thousands of bloggers, "yeah, but their window is closing."
Is it really?
Check out the Dream Shake perspective here.
Check out the Vegas Summer League King stuff Yao Ming at the rim...
Score one for the little guy!
Better yet, how about a Free Throw chucker as bad as Shaq? Here's Chuck Hayes' Motivational Video!