Copyright 2007 Houston Chronicle
With Tracy McGrady out, Yao Ming is the only Rocket averaging in double figures and the player most likely to be able to carry a short-handed offense.
He said he expects to have to carry a greater load, but with teams likely to be even more determined than usual to keep Yao surrounded with double- and triple-teams, he said he will need help.
"Yeah, of course," Yao said when asked if a greater offensive burden will fall to him. "But everybody needs to do more.
"If Tracy does not play, we lose a big piece of the team. I will need to do more, and I believe my teammates will step up to win."
The absence of Tracy McGrady changed more than the Rockets' lineup and rotation.
Bonzi Wells got the start, his second this season, so that the Rockets could begin the game with him and Shane Battier on the Grizzlies' 6-9 Rudy Gay and 6-8 Mike Miller. Luther Head, who started in Denver with McGrady out, came off the bench. But Wells and Head were not asked to run the same plays the Rockets call for McGrady.
"You can't run a lot of the things you run for him," Rockets coach Rick Adelman said. "He's so skilled. You have to have more of a team concept. As far as people touching the ball and going to Yao (Ming). With Tracy, you can run certain things and he creates for everybody. We don't have anybody like him. It has to be a combined effort.
"If we move and make the defense react, we can get good opportunities. He creates a lot of it for everybody. It changes the game."
Though the decision to hold out Tracy McGrady for at least two games was medical, Rick Adelman said he favors letting a player get well if an injury affects his play.
"It depends on what it's like," Adelman said. "The way he's played with it, he's obviously in pain, and he's limping. He can't attack the basket like he normally does. That takes away from his effectiveness. If it stays there, it stays the same or gets worse, it doesn't really help him or us. We need him healthy. Hopefully with rest, he can come back and move a lot better than he was moving before he was hurt."