The guys over at The Dream Shake were nice enough to take some time and answer some question about Cleveland's toughest opponent to visit the Q this season, the Houston Rockets --
FTS -- What is the over-all feeling Rocket's fans on the McGrady-Ming duo. There are a lot of regular season wins, but not a lot of post-season success. Why is that?
DS -- Well, for the first few years we all decided that it was because McGrady didn't have much help on the wing or at the power forward position. Then we got stronger in those areas, but Yao went down for the playoffs last season. I think most fans pin the playoff losses more on McGrady than on Yao, at least the past ones - he was the guy that said "It's on me" if we didn't advance in the playoffs, so everyone made him keep his word, and thus, he took the brunt of the blame. McGrady's supporting cast also played poorly in many of those postseason games, and especially in the finale against Utah last year when T-Mac had at least 40 points and we still lost. As for the overall feeling this season, we still hope for health, but when healthy, we like Yao to be the primary scorer and for McGrady to score when open, but to pass as often as he can - he's a gifted passer and could honestly average a LeBronian 7-8 assists a game if he decided to try to do that.
FTS -- What has the addition of Ron Artest meant to the team? He is controversial to say the least, has he been on his best behavior in Houston?
DS -- Ron has given us another premier defender to pair with Shane Battier, thus allowing us to send multiple defensive looks at the same premier wing player for the opposing team, whether it's Vince Carter last night (10 points) or anyone else, say, Lebron. However, I think Ron's greatest impact will be coming off the bench and playing with players besides McGrady and Yao. Of course, all three will be in the game at the end, but over the course of the game, when T-Mac and Yao need rest, Ron can come in there and help keep a lead, strengthen it, or try to shorten a deficit. So far, he has played well coming off the bench, and while his numbers will take a dive, he is still going to be extremely productive on any given night. As for his behavior, let me just say this: There is something about Rick Adelman that keeps Ron from going nuts. He behaved well during Adelman's time in Sacramento, and he has behaved well so far down in Houston. I could care less why he is behaving well as long as he isn't behind bars.
FTS -- A couple years back there was a rumor that the Cavaliers were going
to acquire Luis Scola. I was high on him then and still am. What can you
say about him and how good do you think he can be?
DS -- Luis has been a solid 4-man since he arrived in Houston and has given us a legit post presence to pair with Yao. He has a good baseline jump shot and can even hit a 15 footer if he has time. He's a great rebounder as well and just a bulldozer under the basket. I think Luis can be a 15/10 guy in this league if he works at it. However, the only thing holding him back is his consistency. Some nights you'll see him dominate, others you won't see much of him at all. He really has to play well to stay in the game at times because we have guys like Carl Landry that can come in and play well in place of Scola. And of course, given the fact that we have so many other scorers, it's unlikely that Luis will have the opportunity to score 15 a game night in and night out. But so far, he's been solid for us, nothing less and nothing more.
FTS -- Where do you place Yao Ming on the list of current centers in the
DS -- To me, there's no question that he's number one. When Yao came into the league, there were a few knocks on him: A) He wasn't in good shape, B) He wasn't powerful enough inside, and C) Can a guy that big stay healthy? So far, he has proven A and B to be false, and what many people don't realize is that Yao played in all but 2 games in his first 3 seasons, and for the most part, his injuries the last two years have been freak accidents that can happen to any big man. And that's as far as negatives went. Otherwise, Yao has the best post-up game of any center in the NBA, has a great outside shot, and though we don't use him outside too often, he can also nail a three given the chance (he does it in practice all the time). He is also a great rebounder and pretty good shot blocker - that's where Dwight's got him, if anywhere. Some people might ask, "So how does Yao not put up 30 and 10 like some of these all-time greats?" Well, two things. For one, zone defense is back in the NBA and hurts a postman's chances of getting room inside. And two, with all of the double teams Yao receives, even triple teams at times, he has become a very efficient passer. He only had 1.6 apg, but many of those passes will be sent to the corner immediately for an open three for Battier or anyone else. Yao's just the complete package and can dominate at any time over the course of the game. He has to be number one. Oh, and I forgot to mention, he shoots 87 percent from the Free Throw Line. Hack-a-Yao will never take place.
FTS -- Is there a player coming off the bench that Cavs fans don't know
that we will after tonight?
DS -- He may be starting if Rafer doesn't play, but either way, Aaron Brooks is a name that people need to start familiarizing themselves with. He's a short, lightening-quick point guard with an uncanny ability to score and whose passing skills are improving by the day. He's also developed a lethal 3-point shot and has range from about 3 feet behind the line, kind of like what you'll see out of J.R. Smith at times in Denver, those long three pointers. Our offense has blossomed of late under Aaron's leadership, and I think he can be a guy that can use his quickness to neutralize Delonte West or Mo Williams to an extent while making them work on the defensive end as well