The Mavs are meeting the Rockets for the 3rd of their 4 times in the first 25 games of the season. Do I think that's wrong that a team can meet one of their divisional opponents so many times at the beginning of the season? Yes. Am I complaining about it? No. The Rockets are known to suck at the beginning of the season. And this game is a picture-perfect example of why they don't have what it takes. I'm not saying the Mavs definitely do have it, but the Rockets aren't just pretenders. The are pretending to be pretenders. There's a difference.
1. Yao Ming - Yao had a double-double in the first half. I think this guy is a bust in the sense that he won't be what you would hope a 7'6" first pick of the first round type of game changing center would be, but he's talented. I'll give him that. He proved as much in this game, scoring 28 points on 10 of 18 shooting, grabbed 14 boards and pitched in 3 assists, a steal and 3 blocks. I'm not down on Yao, but I'm down on Yao. Does that make sense?
2. Devin Harris - Little D ran all over Steve Francis, and pretty much anyone else that tried to contest him. He had 14 points on 5 of 7 shooting, plus 7 assists and 5 steals.
3. Josh Howard - Howard did what he's supposed to do. He started off strong and then deferred to his teammates. 23 points on 9 of 18 shooting, 5 boards, 1 assist, 1 steal and 1 block. Filling up the stat sheet.
- Dirk's Digits: Dirk threw one down on Yao's fat sushi head, but it won't make the highlights. Most people don't like to see two light skinned fellows in highlights that have them more than 10 feet from the basket. Dirk had 20 points, 6 boards and a career high-tying 8 assists.
- Steve Francis is back with the Rockets this season. The guy that at one point was called Stevie Franchise because he was supposed to be the savior in Houston was traded for Tracy McGrady. He's bounced through 3 teams since then, and now here he is starting at point guard. Is that a good thing or a bad thing for Houston? I say bad. I've never been a big fan of Francis.
- I love seeing ref's names that I don't know. If I don't know you, it means I don't hate you already. The only refs names I know are bad refs. This was an evenly called game, and there were no grudges or alterior motives involved.
- Jerry Stackhouse is on fire early, and Tracy McGrady is cold. T-Mac has a way of piling on when he thinks a win is immenint, but in this game, where he knew it was going to get ugly, he decided that his vagina hurt and bowed out in the first half. I'll take Stackhouse.
- Shane "Shar-pei" Battier caught an inadvertant elbow from Dirk on his forehead. He needed stitches, but he came back to play. I salute that from Shar-pei. He also punked Erick Dampier by tossing the inbounds pass off Damp's backside, then picking it up and scoring. It's a cool, heads up play for the guy that does it. It's a total embarrassment when it happens to you, especially when it happens from a guy with a bandage and stitches on his wrinkly forehead.
- Jason Terry is playing this game in dedication to a Dallas kid that is fighting cancer. JET wrote the kid's name on his shoe. That's cool. Have I mentioned that I love JET?
- Conversely, Bonzi Wells is a f**k up. I've said it before, but I wish I had as much basketball talent as Bonzi has in his pinky finger. And if I had said talent, I wouldn't blow it by being a jackass.
- Between Dikembe Mutumbo and Luis Scola, the Rockets have the 2 missing links on their roster. Not the 2 missing links to a championship team, but the 2 missing links to human civilization. This game should be broadcasted on National Geographic.
- Mavs pick up the hustle and defensive energy in the 3rd quarter. They laid down the defensive gauntlet, and T-Mac ran off like a wounded camel.
- I'm not as down on T-Mac as this might sound. I think he's a great scoring talent, but I also think that if he's going to live up to all the hype the league and his endorsements give him, he would have done it by now.
- The biggest key in this game was that the Mavs were getting beat badly on rebounds and second chance points, but they were getting steals and holding the Rockets to very poor shooting. That tends to even out and generally leans in the favor of the more aggressive team. Surprisingly, the Mavs were the aggressor in this game.
- I keep saying it, but I think the Mavs may have turned a corner in this game. Time will tell, but I think it speaks to the Mavs capability that they can shut down the Rockets when Yao Ming has a good game, and I think it speaks to T-Mac that he folded at the first sign of adversity.
- Stack and Bonzi started to mix it up a bit towards the end of the game. In this situation, I take Stack. He's tough, but he's smart. Bonzi's an idiot. Granted, in a true street fight, I would take Bonzi, because I wouldn't put it past him to be a crotch kicker. Most guys will tell you that you don't go for the groin in a street fight, but I see Bonzi as being one of those guys that does it anyway.
I have to give a shout out to my good friend Amy, who was in town for this game. Well, she wasn't in town just for this game, she just happened to be in town, and she came over to the house while the game was on. It always seems like I'm watching a Mavs game when Amy comes over. Amy is a very good friend of my wife's (and a dear friend of mine), and I was very happy that she got to come over to see the family. Now if I can get her to convince all those Boston folk that the entire city of Dallas didn't kill JFK. Go Mavs!