First off, I want to say a Happy Martin Luther King Day to all of you (even though most of you will read this on Tuesday).

The Houston Rockets have been looking much better as of the New Year. Granted, their recent 7 wins in 10 games were against mostly sub-par opponents, but the win over San Antonio the other night and tonight against Seattle show that perhaps Houston has turned the corner and is ready to make a second half run.

One of the reasons for the recent resurgence naturally is the return of Tracy McGrady from injury. Another reason is the increased efficiency in their offense. When Rick Adelman took the job, it was promised that the Rockets would be much better offensively and maybe it's starting to show. I still see a lot of PNR and isolation sets, but the high-post backdoor seems to be occurring more and more. I saw the Rockets run this flex backdoor play a couple of times among a few others,

One of the more underrated things about Yao Ming is his ability to pass the ball. Much like how the Spurs use Tim Duncan to find people from the high-post pop-out, I think the Rockets can use Yao at that same spot to find cutters underneath.

Hi-lo Flex Baseline:

The key to this play is having a great passing big man. Because a guy like Yao or Duncan are so tall, they can receive the pass, pivot, and fire the ball down low even with heavy ball pressure simply because of their height.

The formation is a 1-2-2 or you can even go 1-4 high. The PG, O1 passes to Yao, O5 who pops out to receive the pass. O1 then goes to set a back pick for O3 near the baseline low block.

O3 comes off the flex screen and Yao fires a hot pass to O3 for the quick score. The Sonics defend it pretty good by switching, as X1 comes over top to try to deny the pass.


The Rockets are amazingly one of the lower shooting percentage teams in the league (though it is improving recently). I say amazing because they have Yao Ming who is above 50% in FG. One of the reasons why they shoot a low percentage is because they don't average a high number of assists, and they don't get out in transition and run. Though I don't think they will every be a running team with their current personnel, more passing and backdoor cuts will certainly mean higher percentage shots and an increased shooting percentage overall.

For something a little different, take a look at Steve Fisher's new DVD on his favorite plays and drills. Coach Fisher is the current coach at SDSU and has coached at Michigan previously. Don't forget to check out the X's and O's Basketball Forum to discuss this and any of your favorite basketball topics.