Game 4 Preview — The View from Houston...

So this afternoon I hung out and watched the Dallas Mavs go down to a last second 3-ball when a weak attempt at spending a "foul to give" wasn't called and Melo came free to nail the open look. Much angst in Dallas, let me tell ya. They're down 3-zip to Denver and are essentially cooked — even if Josh Howard doesn't get suspended for a game for going ape-shit on the refs after the final buzzer, which he very well might.

Sated and a little sad, I turned off the tube and grabbed a book and had a nice cigar on the deck. It was a good evening.

Popping online a few hours later to assemble this Rocket POV stuff for the Game 4 preview, I was shocked to learn that Dallas is the Happy Giggles Funsville part of Texas compared to the roundball misery now sweeping Houston. Yao Ming has broken down again... Bear in mind the team already lost their backup Center, Dikembe Mutombo, during the Portland series.

Wow.

It's not like they've got seven good options after that — Luis Scola is maybe 6'7" in real life, Carl Landry is said to be 6'9", Chuck Hayes is listed at 6'6"... You might be able to fake it for a game or two against the Timberwolves or the Thunder with those "bigs" (quote, unquote). But that's not who they are matching up against...

It is crystal clear: The Houston Rockets are in the doo doo of maximum deepness having to face Pau and Drew and Lamar of the Lakers, all three of whom have major size advantages over their opposite numbers. This doesn't even start to touch the offensive ability gap, which is even more massive.

Well, you've gotta play the hand you're dealt. Lakers will call, there is no bluffing out of this one.

Let's see how the Houston media are taking the catastrophe...

(Click through for links and leads...)

Click the headlines to read full stories...

(1)

Injury Forces Yao Out of Rockets-Lakers Playoffs Battle

by Jonathan Feigen, Houston Chronicle

The news was devastatingly familiar, but the Rockets never saw it coming.

Hours after Yao Ming was thought to have suffered only an ankle sprain and might be able to play Game 4 against the Los Angeles Lakers today, a hairline fracture was found in his left foot, ending his season.

With that, a Rockets season that has gone farther than any in 12 years was floored the same way as so many before.

With the latest injury, Yao has had four-consecutive seasons interrupted or ended by fractures of bones in his left foot or right knee. Yao, who played in 77 regular-season games and nine playoff games this season, averaged 19.7 points and 9.9 rebounds, and was averaging 17.1 and 10.9 rebounds against the Lakers.

Yao said he turned his ankle in the second quarter on Friday and then re-aggravated it in the third and fourth quarters. Though noticeably limping late in the game, he finished with 19 points and 14 rebounds, his sixth-consecutive double-double and was able to play for 40 minutes before leaving the game in the final minute. He underwent treatment for the sprain Saturday morning with the team holding out hope that he could play Sunday afternoon.

"Yao Ming had an initial test taken in the early morning hours on Saturday following the game," Rockets team physician Dr. Tom Clanton said in a statement. "The original diagnosis of the left ankle sprain was based on the results of that test. Further diagnostic procedures performed later in the day, revealed a hairline fracture on the top of his left foot. In order for the bone to heal properly, Yao will need to immobilize the foot by wearing a walking boot. No surgery is required and he should be able to resume his regular workout routine sometime between the next eight to 12 weeks." * * *

 

(2)

Yao Out for Playoffs

by Anup, Rockets Buzz

Yao Ming is done for the playoffs, according to the Associated Press.

HOUSTON (AP) - Yao Ming is out for the rest of the playoffs with a broken left foot. The Houston center limped off the court late in the Los Angeles Lakers' 108-94 victory over the Rockets on Friday night.
Yao missed Saturday's practice to get treatment and the team said the 7-foot-6 All-Star would be re-evaluated on Sunday.But the Rockets announced later Saturday night that further examination of Yao's injury revealed a hairline fracture. The Rockets say Yao will need 8-12 weeks to recover, though no surgery is required.
The Rockets and Lakers play Game 4 of their Western Conference semifinal series on Sunday. The Lakers lead the series 2-1.

 

More to come....but what's left to say?

 

(3)

Game Preview: Houston Rockets vs. Los Angeles Lakers — Game 4

by UofTOrange, The Dream Shake (lifted in full with apologies and thanks)

I've got nothing.

Every chance the Rockets had of beating a better Los Angeles Lakers team in this series went out the window in the last 5 minutes of inexplicable play by Yao Ming that was allowed to happen by our coach. There was absolutely no reason for Yao to be out there. The team wasn't getting him the ball and he wasn't helping on defense because he was hurt.

I can't help but think that the fracture happened during that time because he was favoring his knee and his ankle. Yao went from limping to running in agony in those last few minutes. Why was he out there? Anyone? That's it guys, I'm sorry, I want to stay optimistic. In fact, I'll be there with Dave tomorrow cheering my heart out. The Rockets could even pull one out. But it is very likely that this series is over in 5 or 6.

For those of you thinking I'm not a real fan because I'm not blindly following my team, I just kindly disagree. I love the Houston Rockets, heck, I paid 90 bucks to sit in the upper deck for Game 4. I just see what I see. And the differences in this series were Kobe for the Lakers and Yao for the Rockets. Yao won that battle in game 1, Kobe won it in games 2 and 3. Without Yao, the Rockets cannot conceivably beat the Lakers in a series.

A game? Sure. A playoff game? It remains to be seen. I'll still be there, Rockets red pumping through my veins.

Prediction: My hearts already broken for Yao

 

(4)

Yao Out for Playoffs

by TitanFan2K, posted to The Dream Shake

Just reported on tha Cleveland game. Yao Ming out for tha rest of the playoffs w/ a hairline fracture. here's the ESPN link:

ESPN LINK

I have nothing else to say.

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fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

 

(5)

Yao injury raises Rockets doubts anew

by J.A. Adande, ESPN.com

HOUSTON -- The Houston Rockets pulled off the rare feat of winning the battle and losing the war on the same day, after their momentary lift when Ron Artest was spared a suspension for a flagrant foul in Game 3 was crushed under the weight of Yao Ming's tumbling out of the rest of the playoffs.

Yao's left foot was in pain in the fourth quarter. Now Houston is in a world of hurt.

After finally making it out of the first round, Yao couldn't reach the end of the second. His season is over after medical examinations revealed a stress fracture in his left foot. It bothered him throughout Game 3 and he was limping visibly toward the end of the game, finally limping to the bench in the waning minutes.

Already trailing the Lakers two games to one in the best-of-seven conference semifinals, the Rockets can start booking their offseason plans. Yao's injury, following a season-ending injury to Dikembe Mutombo in the first round vs. Portland, leaves the Rockets literally short at center. The 6-foot-6 Chuck Hayes will receive more minutes, and while he has been an effective defender against Lakers 7-footers Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, Hayes has scored only two points in 34 minutes this series.

Yao scored 28 points when the Rockets won the first game, and even in his hobbled state he managed 19 points in Game 3. Without him, the Rockets aren't equipped to match the Lakers' scoring prowess.

The question going forward: How much can the Rockets count on him to be the focal point of this franchise, given his history of injuries? * * *

 

(6)

Damn!

posted to ClutchFans.com by DaFranchise0309


Damn.

 

** ADDENDA **

(7)

Yao is out. I'm going to cry. I'm also going to blame Sleepy for this.

by GrungeDave, The Dream Shake

Yao broke his foot. Again.

Okay, whatever. So Yao is out for the playoffs. But should he be? Everyone who watched the game on Friday saw that Yao was hurt and hobbling in the second quarter. Everyone also saw that by the fourth quarter, the Rockets simply were not going to win. Yet Yao played another 40 minutes and was not removed from the game until a minute was left. At some point he went from being "hurt" to being "injured." This should have been avoided.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but what the f--k was Rick Adelman thinking?!?

Sleepy strikes again.

Between the refusal to adjust his rotation, to the refusal to play the "hot hand," to the undying loyalty to his starters (even when that included Tracy McGrady), Adelman has steadfastly refused to pay attention to the events unfolding before his eyes. It was funny when the Rockets were winning in spite of him, but now it's indirectly caused a major injury to the franchise center. This is unacceptable. * * *

 

(8)

This is all I'm going to say about the matchup

by "Only a Lad," posted to The Dream Shake

The Rockets survived last season without Yao. They played undersized and overmatched for over two months. Granted, that was with a somewhat healthy McGrady and a red-hot Rafer Alston, and with Deke drinking from the fountain of youth for a few minutes each game, but they did it. And they beat the Lakers for that 22nd win.

Is Ron Artest the offensive player that McGrady was, even last season? No, but he's much better on defense, and I think Brooks and Lowry can outshoot and outdefend Rafer Alston.

If this is going to happen, it'll be up to three things:
1) Artest playing great.
2) Brooks/Lowry doing their jobs.
3) Carl Landry stepping up and being the force we see glimpses of.

It's not likely to happen, but if there's any team in the league that could possibly survive a hit like this in the playoffs, it's the Rockets.

 

(9)

Yao Ming Injured and Out

by Reginald Blackstone, Fourth and Fifty.com

I normally try to refrain from cursing in my posts, but WHAT THE FUCK?! Yao is out for the rest of the playoffs.

Really? Yes. Apparently Yao has a fracture in his left foot which will require 8-12 weeks of rest.

It's bad enough playing a team full of douche bags, but now Houston has to try and win without their star center. Hey it's alright, the Rockets can just play the back up for the position. Oh wait, Deke is also injured and out for the season.

There is always next year. Congratulations on getting lucky LA Lakers.

 

(10)

Déjà Vu

by Clutch, front page of Clutch Fans.com

Looks like I picked the wrong day to stop sniffing glue. What was setting up to be a potentially great weekend in Clutch City has turned absolutely nightmarish. Game 3's loss was painful, but it's followed by news that Yao Ming is done — the victim of yet another hairline fracture in his left foot.

 

(11)

Recurring Woes Raise Questions

by Jerome Soloman, Houston Chronicle/Chron.com

Another season. Another season-ending injury.

And simply another bad break for the Rockets and center Yao Ming.

This is the fourth consecutive season Yao has suffered a major injury, three of which ended his season prematurely.

How many bad breaks will Yao have to endure before the Rockets have to consider whether they should go in a different direction?

The 7-6 center has had foot issues since childhood but has played in 244 of 246 games in his first three seasons after being drafted No. 1 overall by the Rockets in 2002.

He hasn't had a healthy season since. This year was going well ... until the latest bad break.

This one is as much a tough break as a bad one, considering Yao has a hairline fracture on the top of his left foot that doesn't even call for surgery.

According to team physician Dr. Tom Clanton, Yao will be required to wear a walking boot to immobilize the foot, and in eight to 12 weeks, the broken bone will heal.

Hopefully that is the case. But another Rockets season is shattered by this little break. * * *

When you build around a star player, particularly a center, his absence from the lineup can’t be overcome.

Not only do the Rockets not have another Yao Ming on the bench, there isn’t another Yao Ming anywhere on the planet. Believe it; a lot of people are looking for one. *  *  *

 

 

(12)

Damn.

by "EveryHoustonTeamRox!" - posted to The Dream Shake

But honestly guys i stilnk we can pull this one out...think about it

Pros

1) We matchup a lot better now...Scola can go TO C and guard Gasol and now we have someone to gaurd ariza and we can match up.

2) Now we got speed.

3) Besides for both game ones. Honestly, Yao has not been as effective as he was in the season.

4) Rebounding might go up.

5) More outside shooters.

6) DORSEY MIGHT PLAY!!! (LOL)

Cons

1) Lakers will be more willing to drive without a wall there.

2) Refs will have to call shitty fouls on other people.

3) LA DEF will be more spread out and no double needed which will not allow us to get open shots.

So who knows?

 

The Bottom Line:

1. Oh, shit.

2. Deep shit.

3. Holy shit...

 

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