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11/28/2002 - Houston Chronicle
Second-half burst brings road win
11/28/2002 - Seattle Times
Rockets rise to the occasion
11/28/2002 - Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Sonics go cold in second half
11/28/2002 - Tacoma Tribune
Befuddling fade continues
11/27/2002 - Tacoma Tribune
Rockets rookie Yao making big impression
11/27/2002 - Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Sonic opponent Yao hits it very big with local Chinese
11/27/2002 - Seattle Times
Ming dynasty: No. 1 draft pick Yao carries load for Rockets
11/27/2002 - Seattle Times
Give Yao some time to reach his potential
MOOCHIE REDEMPTION
Struggling guard hits big shots to fuel huge 83-72 win in Seattle
By ZRB
NOVEMBER 29, 2002 11:59 PM  |  BOX SCORE  |  HISTORY VS. SONICS
ZRB of the Clutch BBS was in attendance in Seattle, and wrote up his thoughts from the game

Wow, what a game! It is so good to come out of that building on top, for a change.

Unlike in Portland, I had great seats for this game. I could read the lips of the players on the court, especially when they were whining to the refs. :D

There where definitely a lot of Yao Ming supporters. He received a strong ovation from the crowd, and there were many oohs and aahs when ever he made a great play. I didn't feel like the lone Rockets fan tonight.

Let's start with the first quarter.

Now that was interesting. Just when I thought Seattle was ready to explode and outscore Houston 35-12, the Rockets kept it close with great defense and a few spectacular plays. That Francis-Griffin alley-oop was beautiful. These first quarter troubles are a little worrying, but I'm sure that will improve with the return of Cuttino Mobley, and the development of chemistry.

This is what separates this team from last year's team. If the Rockets had only managed 18 points in a first quarter last year, the opposing team would have scored 36. The Rockets are a much better defensive team this year.

The second quarter? Well, let's just say that typical ZRB pessimism abounded.

The Rockets took a 29-26 lead, and I was pretty excited. Then the defense disappeared, and the Sonics looked like they were ready to blow the Rockets out yet again. I hung my head in disappointment, and held little hope of anything changing in the third quarter. Another 18 point quarter, and the Rockets were down ten.

Then the third quarter happened.

WOW! YAO!

Amazing, brilliant, fantastic, spectacular... There aren't enough words.

I haven't seen the Rockets play a better quarter since, well, they last beat Seattle in the Key. That was two years ago. In that game, the Rockets scored 43 points in the second quarter, including nine threes, and took over the game. I didn't expect that kind of performance in the typically Rocket-killing third quarter.

For most of the third, I was in a state of disbelief. I just couldn't believe that this was the same Rockets team that blew sure-wins against Phoenix and the Clippers. Well, to tell you the truth, it wasn't.

That quarter shows just what the Rockets are capable of this season. Yao Ming is the perfect compliment to Steve Francis, and Steve Francis is the perfect compliment to Yao Ming. This duo is the next Shaq and Kobe people, believe it.

Yao's passing made things so much easier for Steve Francis. The Rockets moved the ball with precision after Yao's double-team, and that opened up the lane for Steve Francis to drive, or pull up for wide open jumpers. That opened things up for the rest of the Rockets. When Mobley gets back, Houston will have another shooter/slasher to feed off of Yao's perfect passing.

The Rockets came out with such a fury, that the Sonics were never able to recover. The Rockets dictated the game in the second half. Their defense was great, but the Rockets also had a psychological edge. The Sonics were simply stunned into submission.

32-11? That is great basketball. That is playoff caliber.

The fourth quarter was hilarious.

No one could make a shot. The Rockets got wide open looks, and just couldn't drain them. Yet, unbelievably, the Rockets still controlled the game. How about Kenny Thomas? He put the nail in the Sonics' coffin when he hit that turnaround jumper.

Moochie Norris was also a hero. It looks like this guy has busted out of his slump, big time. He did a great job of coming up with loose balls, snaring rebounds out of the hands of big men, and hitting clutch shot after clutch shot. That is the Moochie the Rockets signed to a huge contract.

This was the type of game that playoff teams pull out. Now I have no doubts. If this team stays healthy, they will be in the playoffs, probably top five.

Even though the Rockets will probably lose to the Kings, I will still be on a Rockets-induced high thanks to this game. I have no doubt that they can handle San Antonio, Philly, and New Orleans. All they needed was to beat a quality team. This is going to inspire confidence. I smell a big winning streak coming up.

This team is going to win championships, and soon. I am thrilled!

My losing steak was snapped. I am now 3-5 in Rockets games I attend. That was my first win in over a year and a half.

YES!!!


ZRB can be reached at zrexb@hotmail.com



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