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News » Another injury, another ad lib Rockets to give excited Landry first NBA start


Another injury, another ad lib Rockets to give excited Landry first NBA start


Another injury, another ad lib Rockets to give excited Landry first NBA start Rockets UPDATE

Sunday: Rockets 100, Thunder 91.

Record: 9-8.

Wednesday: at L.A. Clippers, 9:30 p.m.

TV/radio: FSH; 610 AM and 850 AM (Spanish).

Rockets forward Carl Landry did not know how he would feel but looked forward to finding out.

With Luis Scola out Wednesday because of the swelling and a seven-stitch gash in his right eyelid left by a meeting with Etan Thomas' left hand, Landry will do something he never has in the NBA. He will start Wednesday in Los Angeles against the Clippers. And as much as he has been a solid rotation player for several years and a go-to scorer this season, this is different.

"Growing up as a kid, your dream is always to play in the NBA and to put on an NBA jersey," Landry, 26, said. "Having the opportunity to start in the NBA, that's another level. I'm going to be psyched up.

"I've never started a game since I've been here. This is my third year. I'm going to try to roll with the punches, go with the flow and see how things work. I'm going to stick to my same routine, stretching and doing the things I did before every game coming off the bench. There's a first time for everything."

For all of the Rockets' injury-forced adjustments and all the games they have played with stars on the inactive list, it seems odd the starting job never came around to Landry. That is largely because in his three seasons, Scola never has missed a game.

But the Rockets have come to expect the unexpected, including developments considerably more unpredictable than being without Yao Ming or Tracy McGrady. And they believe the experience has prepared them to adjust.

Never a dull moment

"It's unfortunate that since we do play for the Rockets , we have a lot of injuries, but everybody is prepared and ready to fill in," guard Aaron Brooks said. "We're pretty much used to it, unfortunately."

The Rockets also will need contributions from center David Andersen, who had 12 points and a season-high eight rebounds Sunday in a 100-91 win over the Thunder. They could use Chuck Hayes, Shane Battier or Brian Cook at power forward, as they did in Sunday's first half when Landry was in foul trouble.

But much of the responsibility for making up for the loss of Scola will fall to the 6-9 Landry, who is in the unusual position of having to become a go-to scorer before he has started a game.

"The front office and the coaching staff have had confidence in me since day one this year," Landry said. "I'm playing with a lot of confidence. My teammates are confident in me."

But the Rockets will need Landry to play on the road as he has at home and to avoid the unnecessary fouls that forced him to the bench Sunday.

Landry is averaging 20.1 points on 68 percent shooting in Toyota Center. He was averaging 11 points on 41.1 percent shooting on the road before Sunday, when he had 17 of his 21 points and nine of his 10 rebounds in the second half at Oklahoma City.

"I think he broke through," coach Rick Adelman said. "After his foul trouble in the first half, I think it was really important for him to come out in the second half and play the way he played. There's no reason he can't do that at home and on the road.

"When you have two fouls in the first quarter, you have to know that, and you can't get a quick, easy foul. He got his third foul on a nothing play. He's got to be a little smarter.

"He's got to realize we need him to be big every game for us. He's got to demand the ball, and he's got to understand that he has the ability to score against anybody in this league. I don't care who it is."

Ready to rebound

Landry said he must improve his defense and "Basketball IQ." Carrying an average of 5.8 rebounds, he likely will have to take care of the boards more to make up for the loss of Scola.

But the Rockets have reason to believe no player, no matter how valuable, is irreplaceable.

"(Scola) is such a big part of this team," Hayes said. "We look to him a lot in the post. We expect a lot from him. This gives us an opportunity to let other guys step up. It's been like that with the Rockets since I've been here, and it seems like it's going to continue."

jonathan.feigen@chron.com


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Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 3, 2009

 

 
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