Photo by Fernando Medina, NBAE/Getty Images
I'm not sure what to say about this loss. On one hand, I'm tempted to call for the heads of Sean Corbin, Tom Washington, and David Guthrie, the officials who ruled that Adonal's tip-in of Rashard Lewis' missed shot at the buzzer was too late. Replays in the arena showed that the ball was completely out of Adonal's hands before the red backboard light illuminated. ESPN has its highlight package up, and the results are inconclusive at best. Even The Dream Shake, the web's premiere Rockets blog, could have lived with the basket counting. Had the basket not been waved-off, the Magic and Rockets would have headed into overtime, where Orlando is 4-0 so far this season. However, the Magic would have been without Dwight Howard, who fouled-out trying to guard Yao Ming, and were just 7-7 at home coming into the game. Certainly, there's no guarantee that the Magic would have won in overtime.
I hate to say we lost a game because of an official, so I'm looking for a way to pin it on something else. Really, we didn't necessarily play well enough to win. Rafer Alston -- Rafer Alston! -- made what turned out to be the game-winning layup. Layup. The fact that we allowed Rafer Alston to get to the rim in the closing seconds with the game on the line alone should void our right to complain about the call at the buzzer. It's one thing if he takes and makes a contested jump-shot; it's quite another when he moseys into the paint for an uncontested layup.
Jameer was great in his new role as the sixth-man with 20 points and 4 assists, one of which was to Rashard Lewis for his game-tying three-pointer. As John Denton reported earlier today, Stan Van Gundy moved incumbent starter Keith Bogans to the bench in favor of Keyon Dooling because he believed Dooling matched-up better with Luther Head, the Rockets' starting two-guard, but Dooling did not play particularly well in his new role.
The only other thing I have to say is that Yao Ming (26 points on 10-of-18 shooting, 10 rebounds) completely outclassed Dwight Howard (16 points on 5-of-11 shooting, 8 rebounds). I'm not upset about Dwight's streak of 15 consecutive double-doubles ending; a lot of rebounds he could have gotten instead went to Hedo Turkoglu, and that streak really wasn't that important anyway. But Yao was just unstoppable tonight. When he has that fadeaway jumper going, there's no way anyone, not even Dwight, can hang with him.