Early Optimism Abounds In Houston

By Yolande Lezine
Updated: November 6, 2007

HOUSTON — The Houston Rockets opened the season at 3-0 and are clicking on all cylinders. They have won games early in the season on the road against the Los Angeles Lakers and the Utah Jazz. They even won their home opener against the Portland Trailblazers.

Everything is looking good. Houston has been starting Shane Battier and Chuck Hayes at forward, Yao Ming at center, and Tracy McGrady and Rafer Alston at the guard spots. Luther Head, Luis Scola, Bonzi Wells, and Mike James have been the guys off the bench and they play hard just like the starters.

But the month of November isn’t over and the Rockets still have a long way to go. On Monday night despite 35 points from McGrady and 21 from Yao, the Dallas Mavericks handed the Rockets their first loss of the season in a 107-98 game at Dallas.

Earlier Monday, McGrady was named the Western Conference’s first player of the week for this season. Tuesday night, the Rockets returned to the Toyota Center to face the defending NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs and the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday.

They’ll return to the road the next night to battle the Charlotte Bobcats. If all goes well, the Rockets hope to be at least 6-1 by the end of the week and they have a very good chance of doing it.

Houston was ready for their home opener before a sellout crowd at the Toyota Center. They started the game on a 11-4 run and never looked back. In the second quarter they went on a 9-0 run increasing a 25-12 lead to 34-12.

Everyone is running and playing hard. They’re competing as a team, like they have never before and it looks good. Yao and McGrady combined to score 41 points against the Trailblazers.

GAME NOTES:

– Adelman still ranks as the second winningest coach in Trailblazers history behind Jack Ramsay, racking up a record of 291-154 in the regular season and a 36-33 record in the postseason. He twice coached the Trailblazers in the NBA Finals.

– Yao hosted the Chinese Women’s National Team members in a suite for the Rockets/Trail Blazers game. The Chinese National Team played an exhibition //<![CDATA[ team at Reed Arena.u003cbr />*Home Opener Firsts:u003cbr />First Points: 11:29 by Yao Ming hitting 1-of-2 FTu003cbr />First Rebound: 11:32 by Yao Mingu003cbr />First Defensive Rebound: 11:28 by Chuck Hayesu003cbr />First Three-Pointer: by Tracy McGradyu003cbr />*Portland’s Brandon Roy, the 2006-07 NBA Rookie of theu003cbr />Year, didn’t score his first basket until the 5:08u003cbr />mark of the second period.u003cbr />*Former University of Texas center LaMarcus Aldridgeu003cbr />scored 20 points.u003cbr />*The attendance for the home opener vs. Portland wasu003cbr />18,232. It ranks as the second largest opening-nightu003cbr />crowd in team history.u003cbr />*In the fourth quarter of the game with a little underu003cbr />7 minutes to play the fans started chanting "We Wantu003cbr />Steve". The fans were trying to let Coach Adelman knowu003cbr />how they felt about Steve not being in the Rocketsu003cbr />rotation.u003cbr />*Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady led the Rockets with 21u003cbr />and 20 points respectively. Ming also had 12 rebounds.u003cbr />*Mike James added 17 points coming off the bench.u003cbr />u003cbr />*PULL PHOTOS OF YAO MING, TRACY MCGRADY, AND MIKEu003cbr />JAMES.u003cbr />*RAY BRANCH TOOK PHOTOS.u003cbr />u003cbr />u003cbr />u003cbr />u003cbr />u003c/div>”,0] ); D(["ce"]); //–> //]]> game earlier in the day against the Texas A&M women’s team at Reed Arena.

– Home Opener Firsts: Points: 11:29 by Yao hitting 1-of-2 FT; Rebound: 11:32 by Yao; Defensive Rebound: 11:28 by Hayes; Three-Pointer: by McGrady

– Portland’s Brandon Roy, the 2006-07 NBA Rookie of the Year, didn’t score his first basket until the 5:08 mark of the second period.

- Former University of Texas center LaMarcus Aldridge scored 20 points.

– The attendance for the home opener vs. Portland was 18,232. It ranks as the second largest opening-night crowd in team history.

– In the fourth quarter of the game with a little under seven minutes to play the fans started chanting “We Want Steve”. The fans were trying to let Coach Adelman know how they felt about Steve Francis not being in the Rockets rotation.

– Yao and McGrady led the Rockets with 21 and 20 points respectively. Ming also had 12 rebounds.

– Mike James added 17 points coming off the bench.