The way I see it, there are really two ways to think about tonight's close loss to the Rockets:
1) ENCOURAGING: The Blazers played a mediocre game at best, and nearly came away with a victory in their first road game in the playoffs. They were down 17 points, and got almost nothing from LMA all game. Rudy stepped up and gave the Rockets something to think about. We held Yao to 7 shots and 7 points. We got outrebounded by 9, and outshot at the free line by 14. These Blazers have a history of failing the first time they try something, and then being quick learners (see first playoff game and second). This was their first road playoff game. All these factors and more make me feel more confident that we will win on Sunday than I was before this game started.
2) DISCOURAGING: The Rockets got 7 pts from Yao, 9 pts from Artest, 11 pts from Brooks and they still won. The Rockets will not play this poorly again at home. We missed out best shot to beat them on their floor. They will not overlook us again and are much more likely to kick our tails in Game 4 than they were before this game.
So which is it for you?