The question is:
What do the Rockets do now?
Brandon Roy absolutely went nuts against the Rockets, and he may have just changed the whole series. For the Rockets this problem is compounded by Dikembe Mutombo going out. (We all wish you the best, by the way.) But the fact of the matter is, Brandon Roy has now scored 63 points in 2 games on 25-50 shooting from the field. That is to say, 31 ppg (50%) while also getting 9 rebounds... with only 13 foul shots, 12 of them in game 2! Think about it, only ONE foul shot for Roy all of Game 1?
50% shooting from a 2 guard, by the way, is pretty dang good.
(Yes, I am aware that Tony Parker is shooting 56% from the floor, I'm not sure what to make of that unsightly stat except that he's putting on a layup clinic, and apparently the entire roster of the Mavs signed up.)
Chauncey Billups, LeBron James, Brandon Roy:
That's how the top 3 scoring leaders look right now over at NBA.com as I write this. For those of you who do check that link, I also invite you to notice one stat in particular: free throws attempted. Out of the top 5 scorers so far, Brandon Roy has shot the fewest free throws/game (6.5) by a full free throw a night to Parker (7.5).
(Tony Parker & the "Ole!" Mav's Defense, everyone. Let's give them a big hand...)
The Rockets do not play defense like the Mavericks. Not even close. The Mavs are a passable, maybe even decent defensive team. But let's face it, they are not near the Cavs, Rockets or Celts (with Garnett.) The Rockets play intense, bumping, grinding, reaching, grabbing, borderline chaotic defense. Their entire game is built around defense. When you start Shane Battier and Ron Artest, then throw in 7' 6" Yao Ming, you're going to have a pretty good defensive squad even if your coach is a dead guy.
Brandon is simply not getting the calls at this point in his career, yet he still put up 42. I said before that Brandon had an advantage over Battier simply because defense is always harder than offense, and over a seven game series the advantage steadily creeps towards an intelligent offensive player like Brandon. Brandon scored 21 points his first stab in the Playoffs. He didn't get the calls he was starting to get used to in the regular season, and his shooting percentage suffered for it. Then came what I consider the best game of Brandon's career, far surpassing the 52 vs Phoenix (come on, Phoenix D aint Rockets D) He answered the call, and in doing so, not only put up the 4th most points in Blazers plaoff history (tied with the Glide) but I would bet he also joined some pretty exclusive company amongst players in their first two NBA playoff games.
(Sorry, it has to be a bet for me on this one. I can't manage to find a way to get those stats. I'm sure some website has them. Anyone throw me a link here?)
(The assist goes to: nima. Thanks!!!)
With the help of the Elias Sports Bureau, crack PR intern Aaron Grossman (Rex, to his friends) has uncovered evidence that places Brandon’s Game Two performance in perspective.
1) No other player in NBA history has EVER scored more points in a game that was either the first or second playoff appearance of his career.
MOST PTS, FIRST POST SEASON GAME
38 04/11/1979 Williamson, John
37 03/23/1949 Mikan, George
36 03/25/1970 Abdul-Jabbar, Kareem
36 04/13/1976 Brokaw, Gary
36 04/18/2009 Rose, Derrick
36 04/17/1977 Erving, Julius
MOST PTS, SECOND POST SEASON GAME
42 04/21/2009 Roy, Brandon
41 04/23/2007 Boozer, Carlos
39 04/27/2005 Arenas, Gilbert
38 04/01/1974 Lanier, Bob
38 03/24/1949 Mikan, George
2) Furthermore, Brandon’s cumulative total of 63 points after his first two playoff games puts him in pretty exclusive company.
1. 75 George Mikan
2. 69 Abdul-Jabbar, Kareem
3. 67 Paul, Chris
4. 66 Erving, Julius
5. 65 Lanier, Bob
6. 64 Issel, Dan
7. 63 Roy, Brandon
7. 63 Chamberlain, Wilt
What this changes:
Well, with Mutombo out, and the Rockets suddenly getting 7' 2" shorter?
Something that I've noticed all season, especially after Oden moved to the bench (and even before) is that as soon as he touches the ball, the other team sends a doubler nearly every time. No one else on the Blazers gets treated like that, not even Roy. He'll force the other team to double him, eventually. Usually, though that is often not the opposition's primary gameplan, given how well Brandon can pass.
With Brandon proving through two games that the Rockets can't stop him, only slow him for maybe one game out of two, the pressure is now on Houston to try and figure out a team that has them beat in height (Blazer Heights/Rocket Heights) by, approximately, 15 collective feet. That's a lot of human. With Oden providing a great spark off the bench so far (even if his game 2 prodiction was limited to being a foul magnet, and one spectacular put-back) he's maybe become the second, or third most important member of this team, at least as far as actually winning this series. But Brandon is still #1, and he proved it with a bang. Not only that, he proved that he can still be effective, even when he's not getting the calls. Game 1 was not lost by Brandon or Nate so much as a collective stinker from most of the team. If Brandon continues this, and everything in his career to this point says he will, Houston will have a serious problem.
(42 is the answer. What can the Rockets do about it?)