So I know a lot of people want Nate fired after every loss and crown him brilliant after every win. I'm not one of those people and this is not one of those posts.
That said I have to say Nate blew it tonight. Hear me out.
Playoff basketball is about matchups. Whoever has the best mismatches OR exploits those mismatches the best wins the game. Everyone knew that the Rockets were going to throw everything they have at BRoy and LTrain tonight. At the start of the first and third quarters the Blazers could barely squeeze a point a minute for like the first 5 minutes. In a slow down game where the score ends up oooh say 83-86 thats a BIG problem. Why are the starters scoring at such a slow clip?
You guessed it! Matchups. If LA and Roy DON'T dominate their matchups then only Blake is left as a credible scorer. Joel and Batum are not scoring in this series not tonight, not in Game 1 or 2 and I can pretty much guarantee not for the rest of the series. Why? Joel cannot get the ball over Yao and Batum is being guarded by either Artest or Battier. If they can slow down Roy Batum doesn't have a chance!
With the starters as is the Rockets are shading Roy and Aldrigde AT THE SAME TIME. Joel doesn't have a defender with in a quarter mile unless he is near Roy or Aldridge and Batum isnt going to hurt them even if left open all night.
So my point would be why oh why didn't Rudy get a lot more minutes? Why does Outlaw continue to be the first off the bench? Because thats what Nate did all season. Outlaw isn't producing out there and Rudy is Period. Time to make a change.
About Batum don't get me wrong. I love Batum. If we were playing a team with a great wing scorer by all means start Batum. But against this team in a seven game series it just isn't going to work with Joel on the floor too.
Then there was the second quarter. There was like a 6 minute run were the rockets went Yao less and we went small. Here was an excellent chance to create a huge mismatch for us in Oden. But Oden played almost NO minutes when Yao was sitting. Why shoot 20 ft jumpers when 2 handed dunks are a substitution away? Oden got a whopping 5 shots. Most of those in the 2nd half. Fry jacked up 5 shots in 9 minutes. WHAT!
Anyway. In a 3 pt loss only a few more shots for Rudy and GO may have made the difference.
I hope Nate notices. What do you think?