T-Mac before Game 7 last year: "It's on me."
T-Mac today? "It's not on me," he said. "It's on us. I think this year, we have much more of a supporting cast. As you see, my scoring is down a lot. That's because guys are making shots. We really have more offense this year."
(yeah, you have Luis Landry this time 'round, and not Juwon Howard)
So far I agreed with everything. Then T-Mac commits a cardinal sin and starts making excuses for last year:
"I got criticized in Game 7 last year of the playoffs that I was settling too much for jumpers, despite me having 29 (points) and 13 assists. Damned if I do; damned if I don't."
Tracy, this is why people criticize you. There are three major problems with this statement. One, you are making excuses. Leaders do not make excuses. Leaders find a way to win. Period. Two, you DID settle too much for jumpers. You did. Admit it. You'll feel better. Lee and I delayed watching the De la Hoya/Mayweather fight just to watch you NOT aggressively take the ball to the basket in the fourth quarter last May. It was infuriating. Three, your personal stats for the game mean absolutely jack shit. So what if you had 29 points and 13 assists? Your team lost, so obviously something in your analysis is wrong.
Let's look at the box score from that fateful Game 7.
2-6 from field
(one made dunk/layup, one made jump shot, 4 missed jumpers from 14 ft, 17 ft, 20ft and 22ft)
3-5 from field
(one made dunk/layup, two made jump shots [7ft, 11ft], 2 missed three-point attempts)
4-8 from field
(two made dunk/layup, 2 mid-range jump shots, 2 missed jump shots from 19ft and 27 ft, oh and two missed runners near the basket for good measure)
3-6 from field
(one made layup with 10:37 left in the game, one made dunk with the game already over, one made 9 ft jumper, *3* missed jump shots)
At the 6:54 mark in the 4th Q, T-Mac entered the game with the Rockets down 84-82. He quickly made two free throws and the 9 ft jumper. After that, he missed a 25 ft attempt for 3 and a 17 ft shot. Other than a pointless layup with 19 seconds left, T-Mac neither attempted a free throw or even took a shot from the 4:28 mark to the end. He passed up opportunities to put pressure on Utah by not driving to the basket and he constantly deferred to Yao and even Rafer.
There is one thing I was certain of last May. Utah could NOT stop Tracy McGrady. Yet T-Mac never made them play defense against him. He settled for jump shots and did not try to dunk on them like they were Shawn Bradley. The statistical and video evidence proves this. I only point this out so that T-Mac can learn from it and possibly not be the Cowardly Lion this year.
Or, made more simply --
Tracy, more of this:
I rest my case.