Van Gundy must back down first

Updated: February 11, 2004, 12:17 PM ET
By Dr. Jack Ramsay | Special to ESPN.com

The Houston Rockets, 29-22 going into Wednesday's game against the Lakers, average 87 points a game (27th in the NBA) and shoot .434 from the field (18th). Yet, they are in a virtual tie with Denver (30-23) for the final two playoff spots in the fiercely competitive Western Conference.

The Rockets are where they are because of their excellent, Jeff Van Gundy-style of team defense. They allow a league-leading .395 field-goal percentage and a second-best 84.2 points a game to opponents, hold ...

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