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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Great competitors among Rockets and Greyhounds

Most Houston sports fans, including me, are reveling in one of the most satisfying Houston Rockets wins in many years — a thorough drubbing of the perpetual rockstar team of the NBA, the Los Angeles Lakers, by a final score of 99-87 that somewhat conceals the Rockets' overall domination (including a 29-point lead in the early fourth quarter). The Rockets are still decided underdogs. But for all the reasons I'm normally not a big fan of the NBA, I particularly enjoyed this game.

With the Lakers already leading the playoff series 2-to-1 and Rockets star Yao Ming out for the remainder of the year with a broken foot, the Rockets were widely expected to politely roll over and die. Instead, they thoroughly embarrassed the Lakers with a combination of aggressive and consistent defense, textbook hustle and teamwork, and unlikely heroes — chief among them point guard Aaron Brooks with 34 points and forward Shane Battier with 23 points, 15 of them on 3-pointers. Four different Rockets were in double-figures, even though arguably the most high-profile Rocket on the floor, guard Ron Artest, had a poor offensive day (only 4 for 19 for 8 points). The Lakers gave up 11 turnovers, most of them early in the game when the outcome was at least arguably still in doubt, and they let their frustration show with two technical fouls. With his teammates' help, Battier — who in my humble opinion is the smartest and most underrated player in the NBA, and therefore among the most appealing underdogs to root for — also held Kobe Bryant to a pathetic 15 points, turning the Lakers' superstar into a complete non-factor. Very sweet!

But even that was not, to me, quite as sweet as the performance on Friday of the Johnston Middle School Greyhounds in the HISD-wide "Name That Book" competition. The third-place finish city-wide, on the heels of a second-place result at the initial competition during the previous week, marked Johnston's best showing in sponsor and JMS librarian Delores Sellin's memory. And among the celebrants was my youngest, Molly, fourth from the left (with the purple sleeve) in the photo below:

JMS 'Name That Book' team after winning 3d place in HISD on May 8, 2009

Happy Mother's Day to all mothers out there, and especially to my ex. (The promised review of the new Star Trek movie will probably have to wait until next weekend; we rearranged some schedules to guarantee her some extra snuggle-time with four kids who are increasingly hard to get all together in one place at one time.)

Posted by Beldar at 05:30 PM in Family, Sports | Permalink


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(1) dchamil made the following comment | May 10, 2009 6:18:16 PM | Permalink

Is the young person down in front making Mara Salvatrucha gang signs?

(2) Beldar made the following comment | May 10, 2009 7:06:57 PM | Permalink

dchamil (#1), I doubt that's what she intended.

(3) Marianne Matthews made the following comment | May 10, 2009 9:27:36 PM | Permalink

And when those braces come off all those grins in a year or two, Houston will have a new bevy of beauties, including your daughter, Beldar. Sometimes I think that the South has the most beautiful American women. Went to a formal party in Greenville Mississippi a few years ago, and was stunned at how beautiful all the women were. It looked like a photo shoot for Vogue. Have to say, the guys were pretty much like all guys at a party -- a few lookers, and the rest somewhat ordinary. But those women ...just wow.

Marianne Matthews

(4) Mike Myers made the following comment | May 11, 2009 3:24:09 AM | Permalink

Okay from Los Angeles--it was a whuppin' alright and totally unexpected. With the loss of Yao Ming, one would have hoped that the Rockets would roll over and die. Didn't happen. We'll see how it works out.

On Marianne Matthews comment re Southern women; yup, you have a point. Years ago I met an attractive young woman in San Diego. She was dating one of my fellow law firm associates. She'd recently moved from Houston to San Diego. Now there was nothing wrong with this young lady; pleasant personality, great looking young woman. But she said she'd moved from Houston because "the competition was just too tough". The girls and young ladies in Houston try to look good, and they mostly succeed.

(5) Cash Gifting Practice made the following comment | May 11, 2009 10:21:01 AM | Permalink

Battier's early shooting boosted the Rockets. Phil Jackson's "I won't call a timeout no matter how much I get behind early" strategy backfired. LA got into a hole it couldn't get out of. The Lakers should take it but it's become an interesting series. Still looking for Lakers/Nuggets winner vs the Cavs with Lebron lighting up the Finals.


(6) Legal Aid made the following comment | May 12, 2009 12:45:18 AM | Permalink

Rockets played as a team unlike the Lakers who has no one to count on but Kobe. Congrats to the Greyhounds!

(7) Laura made the following comment | May 13, 2009 10:06:10 PM | Permalink

My guess is the young lady across the bottom is showing "third place" rather than gang signs. Congratulations! I am a librarian and love the "Name That Book" competition.

(8) Beldar made the following comment | May 14, 2009 1:11:16 AM | Permalink

Laura (#7), I think you're right. I asked Molly about the possibility that these were intended to be gang signs, and she laughed and laughed, replying, "Dad, just trust me, from that girl, they're just so not." As a performing arts magnet school, Johnston attracts a somewhat atypical student body for HISD. And while it has its share of racial self-segregation, cliques, and social divisions, and resulting tensions -- it's a very urban public school -- there are also performing arts, athletic, and academic extracurricular activities that cut across those dividing lines. If there are gang influences originating from Los Angeles at JMS, I'd expect to see them somewhere other than in a competition among library book-loving students.

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