Perhaps, but it doesn't look like Tracy McGrady got the memo.
T-Mac returned Friday night in Chicago and suddenly the Rockets were watchable again. By the fourth quarter it became Must-See TV and if you missed the overtimes, God help you.
McGrady scored 35 points, hitting several key baskets at critical times, as the Rockets snapped a 7-game slide by beating the Bulls in Chicago 109-108 in a thrilling double overtime affair.
Tracy, playing his first game since going down to back spasms almost 2 weeks ago, hit a jumper with 2.1 seconds left in regulation to force overtime, hit a huge 19-footer with 15 seconds left in the first overtime and a dagger three-pointer with 42 seconds left in the second OT.
Now, he had his miscues -- he started the game 6-19 from the field and he missed a triple with 11 seconds left in double OT, giving the Bulls a chance to win it -- but after watching this game, you realize how much of a massive impact a guy like McGrady has on this team. He finds David Wesley wide open behind the three-point line and he creates for a guy like Juwan Howard.
And he was unreal down the stretch, hitting 7 of his final 10 shots. All championship aspirations for the Rockets ride on that young man's back. Literally.
But there was another hero who emerged Friday night -- a surprising one. Chuck Hayes, in just his second game of a 10-day deal, played all the crunch time minutes for the Rockets, and he responded. He finished with 12 points and 13 boards and made some game-winning plays for the team.
With 11 seconds left in regulation, Hayes blocked a Kirk Hinrich drive from behind, got the ball and called timeout (setting up T-Mac to tie the game). In double OT, he got an extremely tough offensive board with just under a minute to go, setting up T-Mac again for a big three.
Hayes... I mean, the dude just came out of nowhere.
It's not fair to mention the contributions of Juwan Howard down this far in the recap, but his 30 points (on 15-28 shooting) were critical ... his 15-18 footer is becoming damn near automatic.
David Wesley added 17 points while Rafer Alston had 12 assists and 8 boards (whoa).
I understand that the Rockets could/should/will get a very rude wake-up call Sunday in Detroit against the Pistons, but for one night, it was incredibly thrilling to watch this team again.