The Houston Rockets just can't be stopped; with or without Yao Ming in the lineup. Last night, the Rockets beat the Dallas Mavericks 113-98 for their 17th win in a row—their fifth win without all-world center Yao Ming.
Tracy McGrady continues to show how invaluable he is to the team. Last night he put in 31 points and nine assists. But more importantly McGrady brings a level of confidence to the team.
“We all believe, man,” McGrady said after the game. “When you’ve got a roster full of guys that really believe in themselves, great chemistry among the team, and we go out and play extremely hard every night, I’m not surprised.”
The Mavericks were led by Josh Howard who put in 21 points and Jason Terry who had 17. The Mavericks were also without forward Dirk Nowitzki, who was serving a suspension for his hard foul on Utah Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko.
However, even without Dirk in the lineup, Mavericks guard Jason Terry gave all the credit to the Rockets.
“They just outworked us—to a man, every position. That’s something we can’t allow to happen. They’re playing well together right now, but at the same time there’s not a team we can’t beat,” Terry said.
The thing about this streak is that the Rockets are not playing weak teams, last night they beat a good Mavericks team in Dallas. So the question is how does this streak translate into wins in the NBA playoffs?
The thing is—it doesn’t. Playoff basketball is at another level. I can see the Rockets beating someone in the first round but can they really play and win multiple games against a team like the Lakers or Suns? With Yao they have a shot, without Yao they will make it competitive but the lack of big man in the center will end up costing them.