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Rockets get to opener against Warriors by boat

Posted Oct 28 2009 10:31PM

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Aaron Brooks never figured he'd take a ferry to a game. Not in the NBA, anyway.

The Houston Rockets traveled by boat to their game with Golden State on Wednesday night, plus a bus ride on either side. Some riders thought the Rockets were plainclothes police officers, while others quickly figured out they were a basketball team.

The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge is temporarily closed down for emergency repairs after a cable on the bridge's upper deck snapped Tuesday, leaving the Rockets with two options to get to Oracle Arena: an early bus ride on a longer, alternate route over a different bridge or a quick and scenic ferry trip with the public.

Brooks even clicked some photos of his teammates on the 20-minute trip across San Francisco Bay. About half the team and staff came on one ferry, then the rest a little bit later.

No cases of seasickness reported so far.

"You know, our first boat ride together, you want to make a memory," Brooks said with a smile. "I feel like I'm part of the city. Now I feel like I'm from San Francisco and Oakland.

"This had to be a first. We always see the boats. It was different. I never imagined being in the NBA I'd take a ferry to a game. It was nice, scenic. We had a great tour guide in (Bay Area native) Chuck (Hayes) -- even though Chuck doesn't know where the Golden Gate Bridge is. It was still cool nevertheless."

Houston is staying in San Francisco -- as is typical for visiting teams -- and had to get to the East Bay to face the Warriors. Keith Jones, the team's athletic trainer and senior vice president of basketball operations, got word Tuesday night in Portland of the travel challenges in the Bay Area from the bus company and he began making alternative arrangements.

"We got 'em on there," he said.

Golden State coach Don Nelson was amused.

"Oh did they?" he asked when told of the Rockets' mode of transportation. "I haven't (done that). That's a first. I've taken trains."

This is a first as far as the Warriors or Rockets can remember. It made for even more travel time for the Rockets, who opened the season Tuesday night at Portland and have a tough early schedule with an injury-depleted roster. Houston is without Yao Ming for the year following offseason foot surgery and Tracy McGrady, who had microfracture surgery on his left knee, isn't expected to return until midseason.

"This is the first ferry ride I've ever taken," Houston coach Rick Adelman said. "It wasn't bad, beautiful day."

He said the only travel experience quite this crazy came during his playing days when he flew from Portland to Buffalo and played the same night.

Adelman said he couldn't see much on the boat, so he passed the time talking on the phone and reading.

"You can't see anything but a bunch of cargo ships," he said.

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