Yao Ming, the Houston Rockets, and Why Only God Can Save Them Now

Tyler Rose@@ienjoitroseContributor IMay 28, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 06:  (L-R) Ron Artest #96, Aaron Brooks #0, Kyle Lowry #7 and Yao Ming #11 of the Houston Rockets huddle against the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Two of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 6, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. 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 Harry How/Getty Images)

I'm not a Rockets fan by any stretch of the imagination.

I think they underachieve every year, and it slowly has taken its toll on my neutral status of fanship on all teams out west.

I found myself rooting for the Rockets to make it as far as possible in this year's NBA playoffs.

There's only one reason I felt like that, and it's because they have the talent, swagger, defense and offense to win big in this league.

They have marquee players like Tracy McGrady (once a scoring champ and hell of a player), Yao Ming (the big man from China who simply can't be stopped) and Ron Artest (the lethal assassin that can kill opposing teams on his own in the blink of an eye).

Yet Ron Artest didn't do that this season. He proved his doubters wrong and did his best to help his team win. So I ask, what did go wrong?

1. Tracy McGrady—shut down for knee and shoulder problems five-eighths of the way through the season

2. Shane Battier—Missing long stretch in the beginning of the season

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3. Having a point guard that has never been a starter; the inexperienced Aaron Brooks.

4. Dikembe Mutombo—Losing him is like losing part of your team's soul; the one thing inside of Yao that refuses to give up even after it was supposed to.

5. Finally the Yao injury—hurt when he was playing phenomenal basketball

The Rockets made it to the western semifinals and took the Lakers, whom many considered would be eventual runners up or champions, to seven games.

I am confident that if Houston did not lose Yao they would be in game six against Denver right now. The Lakers haven't been playing very well and the Nuggets haven't been able to take advantage of it.

Also, I feel for the man from China—he has had two major leg injuries in the span of three years. This is a result of wear and tear on his bones from his massive structure. He may never be able to withstand an entire season and postseason run but let me tell you, this guy puts his heart out there.

This Boston Celtics fan is here to say watch out for the Houston Rockets next year; they learned just how good they truly are—even if they don't have their two best players.


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