Rockets Liftoff: Twenty-Two and Counting
Posted Mar 17 2008 1:13PM
Tune in to TNT at 8:30 PM E.T. Tuesday night when the Rockets face the Celtics.
(Bill Baptist/NBAE/Getty Images)
SECAUCUS, N.J., March 17, 2008 -- The Houston Rockets have downed the last 22 opponents they have faced and now only one team stands in their way from them making history, only they won't play them. The only team in the league's 62 years of existence to win more than 22 in a row was the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers, who ran off a streak of 33 straight victories.
Houston broke the tie with the Bucks (20) on Friday when when they won in Charlotte, 89-80. Then the Rockets beat the modern incarnation of the Lakers on Sunday, 104-92 to continue their run towards the record.
If Tracy McGrady and company do continue their winning ways, they will have a chance to draw even with the 33-game mark on April 6 in L.A. against the Clippers and then can set the new standard for a hot streak in professional basketball if they defeat the Sonics in Houston on April 9.
While it's fun to look ahead of what could be, it's also worth looking back at the 22-game stretch that the Rockets just completed. There are a few interesting parallels between Houston's current run and Milwaukee's run of 20 in a row 27 years ago.
The Bucks and the Rockets started their streaks after the New Year, win No. 1 in both cases came against the Warriors and win No. 6 in both cases came against the Hawks.
One could argue that Milwaukee's streak was more impressive because it included 10 road games, compared to only seven for the Rockets and because the Bucks' average margin of victory was 18.4 against a 12.3 average victory margin for the Rockets.
Then again, the Rockets' run is nothing to scoff at as they've come out victorious against Chris Paul and the Hornets twice, LeBron James and the Cavs twice as well as Golden State, Washington, Dallas and New Jersey - all teams who would make the playoffs if the postseason started today.
Here's a breakdown of the Rockets' and Bucks' streaks side by side and coverage around the Web reacting to Houston's achievement:
WHAT WE'RE SAYING:
NBA.com's Rob Peterson:
Coach of the Year Rankings - Adelman No. 2
"Remember the scene in Jurassic Park where Steven Spielberg cut to the shot of the T-Rex in the Jeep's sideview mirror (about 2:38) with the words: OBJECTS IN THE MIRROR ARE CLOSER THAN THEY APPEAR. Rick Adelman is the T-Rex, and Byron Scott is the Jeep. "
NBA.com's Maurice Brooks:
Race to the MVP - McGrady No. 7
"Heíll win the MVP if: the Rockets win all of their games to end the season on an all-time best 38-game winning streak. OK, the chances of that happening arenít likely, but McGrady is going to get a vote or two for having Houston in position to challenge for the top spot in the West. He has to overcome the fact that he has missed 15 games this season and was playing second fiddle to Yao for most of the year."
NBA.com's John Schuhmann:
Power Rankings - Rockets No. 1
"They beat the Lakers, and for that, they're rewarded with the Celtics (home), Hornets, Warriors and Suns (all away) this week. If this streak reaches 26, anybody who writes an anti-Rockets e-mail will be forced to watch the April 11 game between the Grizzlies and Heat ... 10 times in a row."
NBA.com's Dave McMenamin:
Rookie Rankings - Scola No. 4, Landry No. 7
"Scola is the classic example of function trumping form. His jump shot is as ugly as a Mississippi paddlefish, his body looks more lumpy than long and lean and his haircut makes you think he should be playing tennis. But, as I've been saying all year long, he flat out gets the job done...
WHAT THE MEDIA IS SAYING
Houston Chronicle, March 17: Battier is face of historic run
"If this keeps up, Shane Battier won't be the most unappreciated NBA player. Pretty soon the whole world will know what you and I have known for a while.
Houston Chronicle, March 13:
Ugly? This Win Was a Masterpiece
"Defense and hustle and poise kept the Rockets in a game they shouldn't have been in. Down the stretch, it was Chuck Hayes and Luis Scola scoring with offensive rebounds that got the Rockets some breathing room.
New York Newsday, March 13:
Why the Rockets are This Good
"Hired at 35 with a computer science degree from Northwestern and an MBA from M.I.T., Morey lacked the PhD in NBA. But his "Moneyball" approach has worked, and the Knicks should be considering someone of his ilk if and when they replace Isiah Thomas." -- Ken Berger
Baltimore Sun, March 13:
Houston Rockets in Rarified Air
"Like just about everyone else who keeps an eye on the NBA, I figured when Yao Ming made his usual early exit that the Houston Rockets would pretty much pack it in, especially since they play in the Western Conference, where you could win 60 percent of your games and still not make the playoffs." -- Bill Ordine
Toronto Star, March 13:
Morey's 'Moneyball' Approach Paying Off
"It's far too early to tell not only how serious a championship threat the Rockets can be, but how influential Morey's stat-engrossed approach can become. He has said the Rockets have invested millions in everything from the massive computer servers required to store the hours and hours of digital video from which statistical trends are mined, to the analysts who do the prospecting. And if Morey has hit on something revolutionary, nobody is expecting him to share the wealth of proprietary data." -- Dave Feshuk
Houston Chronicle, March 12:
Good and Twenty
"Theirs is just a regular-season accomplishment, but it is an accomplishment that puts the Rockets in company with the greatest teams and players there have ever been. When other teams put runs together and the charts start coming out of the greatest winning streaks in NBA history, these Rockets will be there, again and again, as it has been for the Lakers and Bucks of another generation." -- Jonathan Feigen
WHAT MULTI-SPORT WEBSITES ARE SAYING
FOX Sports.com, March 17: Rockets make all the right moves to extend streak
"In the end-game, Rick Adelman went small with Jackson and Alston in the backcourt, Battier and T-Mac at the forwards, and Luis Scola at center. That's four 3-point specialists plus one plugger. As a result, some snappy pass-work created clean looks from just about everywhere in addition to unattended driving lanes." -- Charley Rosen
ESPN.com, March 17:
Catching 22: Rockets Greats Revel In Streak
Not since Jan. 27 have the Rockets lost a game, and the 12-point victory Sunday represented the 14th time in the past 18 games they had won by double digits. Houston has gone 31-3 in its past 34 games to move from out of the playoff picture in the hypercompetitive West to atop the entire conference. " -- Chris Sheridan
ESPN.com, March 13:
Twenty Story: The Worst Win, The Best Of Times
"Part of being a great team is the ability to win when you're not at your best.
FOX Sports.com, March 11:
Hey Rockets -- Sorry I Wrote You Off
"Nobody could have seen this coming when they were struggling to stay over .500 before the first of the year. But by the end of January, they gained the kind of momentum that few teams ever find. They havenít lost since Jan. 27 to the Utah Jazz and since Jan. 4, they are 28-3, winning 23 of 24 and going from 10th in the West to just a game out of first (they are in third)." -- Mike Kahn
ESPN.com, March 13:
Rookie Watch: Another Rockets rookie turning heads
"Luis Scola has had such an impact on the Rockets this season that he deserves to be No. 1 on our list for at least one week. And like Al Horford, our previous No. 1, Scola does things to help his team win that do not show up on any stat sheet. Consider the Rockets' first basket against the Nets on Monday night: Scola set three screens, tried to set two more but was turned down by a teammate (meaning the dribbler drove opposite the screen), and then made a beautiful post move for an easy bucket after an effective post up and attack dribble. There's not another rookie in this class who would be as productive and meaningful for Houston as Scola is, and his role in the Rockets' 19-game winning streak deserves some recognition." -- David Thorpe
CBS Sportsline.com, March 12:
Always Overlooked, Houston Coach Adelman Just Continues to Win
"Quick. Name the top 15 coaches of all-time in the NBA. You probably thought of Red Auerbach and Pat Riley and Larry Brown and Phil Jackson and Jerry Sloan and Jack Ramsay.
WHAT BLOGS ARE SAYING
Ball Don't Lie: Rockets' 'Moneyball' Approach Paying Dividends
SLAM Online: Houston Making History
Bleacher Report: The Great Tracy McGrady
The Dream Shake: Rockets/Hawks - the Best of Both Worlds!
AOL NBA Fanhouse: Rockets Fans Go (a Little Too) Crazy