Wizards 89, Rockets 87
Just a really solid win by a team that has had its heart broken time after time in the fourth quarter all season and was playing without it's leading scorer. That said, the Rockets didn't show up tonight. From the opening tip, that looked like a team that saw an opponent with a bad record and just coasted.
Actually, don't take my word for it. Tracy McGrady (who coasted the ENTIRE game and is a shell of his former self, the one who once dropped 62 on the Wizards): "We just thought that we could really turn it on in the fourth quarter and win this game against a team that doesn't really show that they are a good team. It really backfired on us."
Yes it did.
-The Wizards won because Antawn Jamison was a real stud tonight. Season-high 30 points, 12 rebounds and three assists and he didn't back down when Rick Adelman tried to get physical with him by putting Ron Artest on him.
-Andray Blatche played some very nice position defense on Yao Ming, including the last play. If you recall Houston's win at VC in November, Yao hurt the Wiz by making hard moves to the basket but Blatche and Etan Thomas really stayed home and made him take a lot of jump hooks. He missed some very makeable ones and had he made a few, the outcome could have been different, but he missed.
-Ed Tapscott said the team's plan was to stay at home on the outside shooters on that last play and it worked. Yao caught it, looked around and then tossed up a contested jump hook.
-People in Houston are not happy with this club. The Rockets are 20-12 but judging by the fans at the game, the chatter on sports talk radio and the overall vibe, you'd think they are 12-20. Tonight did not help.
Keys to the game:
-Key stat: the Wizards finished with a 44-30 edge in paint scoring.
-MVP: I'd go with Jamison but Blatche and his defense as huge. Plus, the guy came back after getting his nose cracked by an accidental Jamison elbow. "Antawn got me," Blatche said. "Everyone thought it was Yao but 'Twan got me."
- Turning point: How about that huge, 22-foot shot from the corner by DeShawn Stevenson with 1:12 to go. When he took it, I was thinking: "No way this goes in." It did and gave the Wiz a three-point lead. On the next possession, Stevenson drove, drew a foul on Yao and made the one of two free throws.
By Ivan Carter |
December 30, 2008; 12:44 AM ET
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