On the Rockets, who at week's end were 12-7 under first-year coach Jeff Van Gundy:
"They're already playing good Van Gundy defense, but learning his highly structured offense is going to take some time. He's trying to establish Yao Ming as the main low-post option, the man who will draw double teams: In the pick-and-roll Yao is rolling to the basket every time instead of occasionally popping out for the easy jumper. But no one's having a harder time grasping the offense than Steve Francis, who doesn't know when he's supposed to shoot or pass. You can tell that Francis is really trying to get it, and they're winning in spite of their misunderstandings. If he can figure it out, they'll be very tough, because this is a playoff-style offense and they have an excellent blend of talent. But in the meantime I'll be telling my team to do everything possible to keep the ball out of Yao's hands, because when you take the Rockets out of their first option they're really lost."