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Tuesday December 5, 2006 5:11 PM

Scott's Shots

Padgett checks in with Rockets.com in his weekly player journal

NBA games. Extra shooting after practice. Hotel food. Long road trips. And Christmas portraits.

Such is life for Rockets forward Scott Padgett as he begins his eighth season in the NBA.

Padgett, 30, has reunited with the Rockets this season after a one-year stint with the New Jersey Nets. The forward played in Houston from 2003 to 2005 after four seasons with the Utah Jazz. He signed with Houston just before this season's training camp and made the team's 15-man roster.

Padgett has played in nine games, averaging 3.7 points and 3.0 rebounds per game.

After making the team, Padgett and his wife, Cynthia, relocated to Houston with their three children.

The Rockets forward will be checking in with Rockets.com in his weekly journal throughout the regular season.

Dec. 5, 2006

The good news this week is that my family and I got a picture done for our Christmas card. Barely.

On Friday, we went to get our picture done and we were there forever. It took 45 minutes for the photographer to snap the camera. Twice. He got exactly two pictures out of us during that entire time.

The photographer spent most of the time trying to make our kids smile and have the right posture for the shot. They weren't cooperating. I've got three kids so two of them would be doing something right and the other one would be goofing off. I was just begging and begging for them to cooperate. I told them that I'd give them anything just to get the picture done. Finally, after waiting forever, they worked with the photographer and we got it done. It probably should have taken 10 to 20 minutes, but the whole deal ended up taking two hours. But it's one of those things that you have to get done every Christmas.

Before dealing with all that, we had a couple of games. We had a good game against Minnesota and a rough game against Phoenix.

The game against the Suns was a back-to-back, but it's not the end of the world being in those situations. When you've been in the league a long time, you get used to it. During your rookie year, it might be something that's new and hard to deal with. But I don't have a problem with it now.

I just have a routine for trips like that. After catching the team flight out of Houston and getting into Phoenix, I went to the hotel room and crashed. Then, I slept in. You have to get your rest on nights like those. I tried not to lay around all day because you don't want to be lethargic, but there's not much you can do on a back-to-back anyway when you're on the road.

We could have done a lot of things better against the Suns, but the good thing is that a lot of teams might have folded after being down by 20 points in that situation, especially since it was a back-to-back. We didn't. We actually came back and took the lead. Hopefully, we learn from that and don't get behind like that in the early going. It's hard to take positives out of a loss, but we did good things to get back in the game.

Before the win over Cleveland, I had a chance to watch my alma mater, Kentucky, play North Carolina. The Tar Heels, unfortunately, got the win. We've got a young team at Kentucky. We played the style of play that we like against Carolina, but had too many turnovers.

I catch a lot of Kentucky games on television during the season. The good thing about Kentucky is they're on a lot and they play a good amount of afternoon games. I stay in touch with everyone there. I work out with the team during the summer and I talk to Coach Tubby Smith a lot. I'm sure the Cats will be alright.

-- Scott

Nov. 22, 2006

The road trip was pretty good. We picked up a good win away from home and I got to see a bunch of friends in the New York area. I played in New Jersey last season, so I know a lot of people out there.

I went out with a group of friends to Tao Restaurant in New York when I got in town. It's an Asian infusion restaurant that is pretty popular in the city. It's my favorite up there and I go every time I get a chance. I also went out and did a lot of shopping on our day off before the game. I was trying to get a little Christmas shopping in. Nothing too outrageous. Just a couple gifts for people here and there.

After all that, we got the big win in New York. I've always enjoyed playing in Madison Square Garden because it's still the coolest place to play. It's the only old arena in the NBA that's from that era where you had Willis Reed and all those other great players. There were so many great games there against the Lakers and Wilt Chamberlain. Lots of great rivalries and stories in that building.

I know Madison Square Garden is older and has some things that might be out-dated, but it's still cool. It's the best place to shoot in because they don't put any light on the crowd. They light the court and the crowd stays pretty dim, so you can't really see the fans and there's not a lot of movement in the background. The Knicks fans will still get on you a little bit and that's tough. But it's still a fun atmosphere to play there, whether it's against a championship-caliber Knicks team or a young and exciting Knicks team like they have now.

I did receive some more playing time on the trip. As a bench player and a guy that's a role player, you always get excited for more playing time. It's one of those things that you hope you can continue throughout the year. But at the same time, it can change at any time. So you prepare yourself for either scenario and play your best and make the most of your opportunities when you get them. For the most part, I felt like I played alright. There is no such thing as a perfect game and there is always something that you can improve upon.

The good news is that I'm all moved into my new house. We finished moving during my day off on Tuesday. We'll have Thanksgiving dinner there and I'll gain a couple of pounds. I'm going to have Pecan Pie, which is a personal favorite. It's good to just be home for more than one or two days because we've been on the road for most of the season.

-- Scott

Nov. 10, 2006

Before our recent road trip, I went house shopping and found a new place. I'm staying in Pearland. I'm glad it's over with because that kind of stuff is annoying to me and I don't have any fun doing it.

I looked through like 30 houses before picking one and I wasn't even trying to be picky. It's hard to be picky because you don't know how long you're actually going to stay in any house that you pick. I'm on a one-year deal so who knows if I'll be in that house for one year or two years or whatever. So I wasn't trying to pick out my dream house. I do have some standards, but I know that I'm not going to be living in any house for the next 10 to 15 years. I do, however, feel like I found a pretty good house for the time being.

I did the house shopping by myself because my wife is still in Louisville. She got to see pictures of the house on the Internet, but she didn't have a choice on the place. That's actually a running joke between us at the moment. She asked me what happens if she doesn't like it and I told her that if she doesn't like it, she just has to make it the way she likes it because we're not changing places. I learned early in my NBA career that you can't be picky with this stuff and she understands it as well. When I had a four-year deal in Utah, we built a house exactly the way we liked it. But we didn't end up staying there forever and right now I'm on a one-year deal. So we don't need to build a new place right now.

I had the road trip after all that. After the good win over Dallas, we immediately left town to go to New Orleans. We got in about 1 a.m. and I went straight to bed. We had our normal game day routine right when we got up the next morning. We had brunch and some meetings to prepare for the game and that was it. That's how your days are when you're playing back-to-back games in two different cities. Unfortunately, we didn't play as well as we would have liked. We came up short against New Orleans/Oklahoma City.

We went from there to Memphis. Shane Battier took us to place called Earnestine and Hazel's, which is supposed to be world-famous burger joint. It was kind of a dive, but it was good. Shane did real well. We had those burgers pretty much right after we landed in Memphis on Sunday night. We didn't really do much the next day. We had kind of a day off to lift with a cardio session. Other than that, I hung out in the hotel and watched TV.

After that, we got a good win in Memphis on Tuesday. We played solid, but didn't play great. And then we went to Milwaukee and took care of business. It was pretty much a business trip this time. We didn't really have time for shopping or anything like that because it was three games in four nights. We would have liked to have gone 3-0 on the road trip, but after you play three tough teams like that, to come out 2-1 is not a bad trip.

-- Scott