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Rockets Against the Lakers: Without Yao Ming

HOUSTON - MAY 10:  Center Dikembe Mutombo and Yao Ming of the Houston Rockets during Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center on May 10, 2009 in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Alena GroveContributor IMay 12, 2009

HOUSTON — Yao Ming, wearing a suit and sitting in the auditorium. Not exactly the view that Rockets fans want to see. Playing hard in the field—scoring, defending and settling the old scores: this is the way Houston fans want to watch Yao.

The news about a hairline fracture on Yao's left foot came like a bolt from the blue Saturday evening. The fact was that Rockets Yao Ming would miss the reminder of the 2009 NBA playoffs ... for the second time.

After the Lakers beat the Rockets last Friday and took a 2-1 lead, this news seemed to be the worst possible. Many people thought that it had sealed the Rockets' fate. But Game Four on Sunday showed that the Rockets are not anywhere near being lost, even they don't have the tallest player of NBA. They were still high up and fighting like the lions.

Tonight, Game Five (either the Los Angeles Lakers or the Houston Rockets) is going to bring a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference semifinal series. The disillusioned Lakers vs. the loose Rockets. Both teams will be coming with their strong and low points, and dealing with the facts of lost player or with changes in player positions.

No matter what, there is no doubt that Game Five will be exciting...and maybe surprising.


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