The Rockets Look for Success Without Yao and Artest

By Harold Dworkin

The Houston Rockets possibly over achieved last season stretching a 7 game series with the champs Los Angeles Lakers. They fought hard, but just couldn't pull it out.

The Rockets went 53-29, which in the Western Conference is very good. The Rockets racked up wins by their defensive efforts holding teams under 95 points per game. The Rockets were 17th in scoring - which is why they couldn't beat the Lakers, not enough fire power.

This nearly happened, as the Houston Rockets took the Los Angeles Lakers to a full seven games during the Western Conference semifinals last season. While the Lakers won this game 7 by a whole' points, the Rockets had LA's number during a few of these games, leaving many wondering just how dangerous this efficient basketball team was.

Yao Ming has been battling injuries his entire career and many as of late. We still do not know if he will play in the 09-10' season.

Will the Rockets still be the same, pesky team that scared so many NBA clubs last season? Or will Ron Artest's move to the Lakers bridge the gap between the two franchises by that much more?

Hopefully the Rockets can get Yao Ming back sometime during the latter half of the season before the playoffs. Most teams that usually go all the way usually have a stud big man. Yao is exactly that, if he can ever stay healthy.

Tracey McGrady can't stay healthy either. McGrady is only 30 years old but this is his 12th NBA season and his body has a lot of miles on it already. McGrady never played all 82 games in a season - the most was 78 games in the 04'-05' season. McGrady's scoring average has decreased every season 02'-03' also.

Whether this has to do with having better players around him or issues with his health isn't known, maybe both. McGrady's scoring average always increased during the playoffs but he would face better teams and couldn't make it out the first round. - 31494

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