Rockets-Jazz: Tracy McGrady Exits Stage Left…Again

Tim PollockSenior Writer IApril 22, 2008

After Tracy McGrady’s Houston Rockets lost its second home playoff game in a row to the Utah Jazz, T-Mac had some disappointing but confirming comments:   

"In the fourth quarter, I didn't have anything," said McGrady. "I had no legs, I was on empty. I was just trying to push myself through it, and I had a fresh [Andrei] Kirilenko on me, a 6-10, long guy, and I just didn't have it."   

In a way, I feel for Tracy McGrady.  He is such a talented basketball player, and he just can’t seem to get luck to go his way. 

But imagine Jordan making those comments. Or Bird. Or Magic Johnson.  Ever hear Allen Iverson use that kind of passive, shrug-your-shoulders talk?  LeBron James?  Any quality player in the league?   

For that matter, imagine the mediocre five-eleven point guard for your local high school saying that.  

“I just didn’t have it.”  

This is an All-NBA first team member, a perennial All-Star, a “franchise player,” and he’s complaining about a “long” guy playing good defense on him? 

Yes, Kirilenko is an excellent defender, but to steal Jim Mora’s thunder, this is the “Playoffs!” 

McGrady clearly still doesn’t get it—even after all his experience in the league. 

You can settle for jumpshots and take off possessions in the regular season.  If you get tired, you can rest on one end of the court. 

In the playoffs, though, it’s win or go home.  

McGrady still can’t play on both ends of the floor without giving up production on one end.  Against the Jazz in game two, he worked so hard on defense (and with much success, to his credit) that he could barely muster his line-drive jumpshot on the offensive end.  

Yes, his team is missing its All-Star center, and as short-handed as the Rockets are, a first-round win over a quality Jazz team was about as unlikely a scenario you could imagine.  I am not blaming Tracy McGrady for the Rockets’ inability to win this series. 

But for all the talk he ran during the 22-game win streak, he simply can’t back down now with this kind of waving-the-white-flag nonsense. 

Unfortunately, his coach is in on the gig, too, saying, "Those guys in the locker room played their butts off. I can't ask for more effort than they gave, and we came up short."    

Houston fans must be jumping for joy with that ringing endorsement heading to Utah down 0-2. 

Is anyone going to be surprised when the Rockets get swept...without a fight?  

“I just didn’t have it.”    

Those words are echoing in Houston and across the country. 

Sadly, it seems T-Mac will never have it.