I missed this one live, as I was supporting my wife’s band, Powdercake, who were playing their first ever gig at a local club, so I taped the game and watched the “Director’s Cut” this morning. By the way, if you are interested, you can visit their page at www.myspace.com/powdercakeband, sample their music, and see pictures of them looking appropriately cool/bored. They are sort of a pop/punk/emo-ish girl group, so expect lots of lyrics about "no one understands my deepness" and "I'm all alone and I just want to be me," etc.
Okay, enough shameless promotion, I suppose I need to get to the game at some point, which seemed to be the Bobcats' attitude as well. Actually, The Bobcats started out well and built an 11-point lead. But there were cracks in this façade: Emeka Okafor had to sit quickly with 2 fouls, the shooting percentage was artificially high (including 5-for-5 on 3-pointers), and it was artificially low for the Rockets (0-of-9). So basically the first 7 minutes was a dot.com bubble and the rest of the game was a 3-quarter recession of low productivity (just 4 points from Gerald Wallace, just 5 assists from Raymond Felton), deficits (25 at one point), and high turnover (27!).
I was unaware that Houston had such a large Japanese contingent (actually, I didn’t think there was a large contingent of anything in Houston, unless you count air pollution); even the Budweiser ads are translated into Japanese. Anyhow, the “Toyota Center” is an appropriate name for the Rockets’ arena. Nothing flashy about this team, but Jeff Van Gundy’s system of Total Quality Management maximizes the efficiency of components such as Rafer Alston (14 points, 8 assists, 9 steals), Luther Head (17 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds), and Juwan Howard (16 points, 6 rebounds). Howard, by the way, briefly got into it with Gerald Wallace for double-technicals, but it didn’t amount to much. I’m assuming Gerald told Juwan to look at the scoreboard before realizing that we were, in fact, trailing by 12.
As the remaining minutes quickly became a mere formality (even more quickly with my fast-forward button), Coach Bickerstaff went into trial-and-error mode with the lineup, granting more playing time to Melvin Ely and the recently competent Walter Herrmann (12 points and a highly ironic 0 turnovers in 23 minutes). Sometimes I wonder if Coach has a specialized slot machine back there that—in lieu of cherries, gold bars, etc.—just has the players’ faces on the three dials. Then on games like this he just pulls the lever and throws out there whoever's smiling face pops up: "And it's…Primoz!…Melvin!…Walter! Get out there!" No, of course Coach doesn’t do that—that crazy. It’s probably more like a wheel-of-fortune that he spins…