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January 21, 2008 11:19 AM

Rockets game thread

Posted by Jayda Evans

GAME OVER: Two made FTs by Wells closed out the game. Houston won 96-89, handing the Sonics their 11th consecutive loss. The teams meet again on Wednesday at KeyArena.

ADELMAN BAFFLED: The Rockets missed three of their past four FT attempts to give the Supes a glimmer of hope. They're down by five with 8.8 seconds remaining, so it's unlikely, but they won't go away. The continued fight is good to see.

BLOCKED: Two missed FTs by Green and blocked shots by Green and Thomas probably just ended the Sonics' chance to win. But this remains the best game they've played in a month by far. Houston is ahead 93-85 with 23.3 seconds remaining.

BACK ON TRACK: The Supes are back to making smart passes and being aggressive on the defensive end to pull within 87-81 of the Rockets. T-Mac just shot one of those vet baskets in KD's face to kill the little momentum Seattle created, however. There's still 3:30 remaining, so there's still a chance to pull out the win. Green has caught himself guarding Yao, an interesting sight.

BAD SHOOTING: Houston went on a mini run (14-6) to build its biggest lead at 71-63, but both teams combined to miss six shots during the spurt to make for a sloppy stretch.

BENNETT SIGHTING: Just in case you care, Supes chairman Clay Bennett and GM Sam Presti is in attendance. They had a long talk before the game in the stands, but Bennett again didn't speak with media. His being around supports my point that the team isn't intentially throwing games - a ridiculous thought. He seems like he cares about what's going on and wants to see for himself. If he just wanted to swipe the team and move it to OKC, I don't think he'd be around as much.

WEST SITS: Coach P.J. Carlesimo is playing a 10-man rotation and so far that means Delonte West is not part of the mix. Carlesimo commented about it being hard to find minutes for everyone and appears resigned to have West be the one that's upset today. F Mickael Gelabale also hasn't logged a minute.

SAVOR IT: The Sonics played their best half of basketball since defeating New York on Dec. 12. They're down 53-52, but shooting 51.1 percent. Green leads with 11 points and Watson has nine, but missed an open jumper to give the Supes the lead at the buzzer. Yao is the expected monster for Houston, leading with 17 points and 10 rebounds. T-Mac complained a little about KD's defensive coverage to officials and has four points. Carl Landry, who the Supes drafted and traded, is playing well with 12 points while local product Aaron Brooks is scoreless.

DUNKING MACHINE: You're not supposed to be able to dunk like this with the 7-foot-6 Yao Ming on the court, but Green is going off. A young boy behind the press table is going nuts at the powerful slams. Green has three so far in the opening half. The Sonics are tied at 43 points apiece with Houston and running the offense extremely well with Watson and Luke Ridnour swapping the PG role. Ridnour was 3-for-3 from the field, too, for seven points in nine minutes. Watson also has seven points with three assists in 12 minutes.

LOTS OF ENERGY: For a road-weary team, the Sonics are playing with oodles of energy. They're shooting 50 percent from the field and have forced three turnovers heading into the first timeout of the game ahead 13-11. Green had another sick dunk on Battier, but the consensus is it wasn't better than the one on Erick Dampier on Saturday.

T-MAC NOT STARTING: Rockets All-Star Tracy McGrady is going to play off the bench for a second consecutive game. He returned to action on Saturday after missing the previous 11 games due to a left knee injury. He's being brought back slowly, but the team has commented that even as a reserve, you can feel his presence and leadership.

TAKE ME HOME: It's been a long road trip and some players were wishing it was halftime an hour before tip-off. They're still ready to play, though, wanting to put the losing behind them. The team departs for Seattle immediately after the game and is thankfull they don't have another long road stint until March -- seven games in 12 days. "That's going to be a [blank]," said forward Chris Wilcox.

Here are tonight's starters:

Sonics
F Jeff Green
F Nick Collison
C Kurt Thomas
G Kevin Durant
G Earl Watson

Rockets
F Shane Battier
F Chuck Hayes
C Yao Ming
G Rafer Alston
G Bonzi Wells

The officials are Dan Crawford, Bennie Adams, and Matt Boland.

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