Yao dominates in double-OT, and the NCAA Tournament is right here

03.19.09 10 years ago 30 Comments

When the Rockets lost to the Spurs over the weekend, one of their biggest problems was an overall indecisiveness and lack of an offensive identity in the fourth quarter, whereas San Antonio knew exactly who they were going to and what they were doing in crunch time. In last night’s double-overtime win over the Pistons, the Rockets had it figured out:Feed the ball to Yao Ming. Scoring 13 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter and overtime, Yao (15 rebs, 4 blks) consistently delivered as the go-to guy when it mattered. Ron Artest jacked a couple of bad shots during that time — he’s not gonna change overnight — but for the most part, everybody was on the same page as far as where their bread was being buttered … We can’t even really talk bad about Kwame Brown for getting buckets from Yao, either. Kwame was busting his ass all night, especially on the offensive boards (12 rebs, 7 ORB). He made some good defensive plays, and offensively, the best thing he did was regularly get rid of the ball almost as soon as he got it. Let the scorers do what they do … And speaking of scorers, Rodney Stuckey was kind of a beast. Without A.I., Rip or Rasheed in the lineup, and with Tayshaun having an off night, Stuckey (21 pts, 10 asts) carried the offense, especially in the fourth quarter and overtime. Some of his takes to the cup were reminiscent of Deron Williams. Now if he can develop a three or a step-back J like Deron’s, Stuck’s going to be a major problem … Sign in the crowd: “Yao’re Under House Arrest.” … Can we stop with comparing Walter Herrmann to Dr. J and Connie Hawkins? We can see the guy has huge hands, and that reverse layup he made last week was sick, but it’s just not right. There have been plenty of other guys with big hands that we could compare Herrmann to; what about Orlando Woolrige or somebody? We’re surprised Hubie Brown even stood for that during the broadcast … KG, Ray Allen and D-Wade all sat out Heat/Celtics, opening the door for Paul Pierce (36 pts, 11 rebs) and Mike Beasley (21 pts) to get theirs. Nothing new for Pierce — but all season long, Beasley has been playing a role unfamiliar to him, and judging by the smile on his face as he was giving dudes buckets last night, you could tell he was loving being The Man again … Pierce took over in the fourth quarter, scoring 16 points and then another three and some free throws in overtime to get Boston the W … Even in street clothes, Wade still managed to get as much camera time as the parquet floor. The ESPN broadcast was basically two hours of Jeff Van Gundy trying to convince Mark Jackson that Wade should be the MVP, and Mike Breen riding the fence so hard it cost him a set. “I’m not taking sides,” Breen said about 20 times … If you had the Hornets trailing by one and down to their last possession, what play would you think they’d run? Exactly. Chris Paul (26 pts, 10 asts, 5 stls) got the pick, David West made the roll, and when both Minnesota defenders went with CP, he hit West for the mostly uncontested go-ahead dunk. And on the Wolves’ ensuing possession, what play do you think they ran? Exactly. Randy Foye dribbled around until he found a shot he liked, but his jumper rolled out … Some big stat lines from Wednesday: Shaq put up 26 points, 11 boards and three blocks in a win over Philly; Carmelo scored 35 in a win at Memphis; Baron Davis had 11 points, eight boards and 20 assists in a win over Washington; Derrick Rose scored 25 in a win at Oklahoma City; Gerald Wallace posted 25 points and 12 boards in a win over Sacramento; Vince Carter dropped 29 on the Knicks in a win; and Dwight Howard went for 28 points, 12 rebounds and seven dimes to beat Milwaukee (Charlie V‘s halftime Tweet: “I am SO SCARED!”)Greg Oden returned to the Blazers lineup, in time to play in front of his hometown Indiana fans. The stat line wasn’t much (11 mins, 4 pts, 7 rebs, 0 injuries), but it didn’t have to be as the Blazers got a relatively easy win. Nate McMillan said afterwards he just wanted Oden to set some screens and start getting his rhythm back … Go ahead and stay right here on DimeMag.com during the NCAA Tournament games today. We’ll be live-blogging the TV action all day, plus some of the Dime crew is out in Portland right now, and will be hitting you with on-site reports around the city while Washington, Mississippi State, Purdue, Northern Iowa, Gonzaga, Akron, Western Kentucky and Illinois will all be in action. In the meantime, for your last-minute types, we’ve got some tips for you in filling out your Big Dance bracket. Or you could just copy the most powerful man in the world … Finally, if you missed it yesterday, we dropped the cover of our new issue, Dime #48. On the front we’ve got Brandon Roy, one of the fastest-rising superstars in the game who is making his national magazine cover debut. Check it out HERE, as well as info on the rest of the issue … We’re out like Orlando Woolridge …

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