In today's Oregonian, John Canzano wrote an obnoxious column aimed at the Rockets, entitled "Look Out Houston: Now It's Your Problem." Basically, Canzano called the Rockets a bunch of chokers and stated that if they should lose Game 6 in Houston on Thursday, the series is as good as over.
What a crock. First, the Rockets aren't chokers. The reason they haven't gotten out of the first round in years is that they're an injury-prone team of average talent playing in the tough Western Conference. Second, even if the Rockets should lose Game 6, Game 7 is no lock for the Blazers. The Rockets have shown they're quite capable of winning in the Rose Garden.
Most of all, Canzano's column annoyed me because I feel for Yao. Yes, I know he's the 7-6 giant standing in the way of the Blazers' manifest destiny. And yes, Yao couldn't foul out of a game if he took a gun out on the court. Still, as Wilt Chamberlain said, "Nobody loves Goliath." And poor Yao has more pressure on him than anyone can imagine. Greg Oden has had to deal with unreasonable pressure, but Yao has the pressure of living up to the dreams and expectations of BILLIONS OF HIS COUNTRYMEN. If you ever watched the documentary "The Year Of Yao," you have to have some compassion for this poor guy.
Am I rooting for the Rockets to pull out this series? Of course not. But having a classless, bandwagon-hopping attack dog like John Canzano piling on Yao when he's down is enough to make me ill.
Still, it's like President Lyndon Johnson famously said when asked why he didn't fire J. Edgar Hoover: "Better to have him inside the tent pissing out than outside the tent pissing in." At least, for the moment, Canzano is Houston's problem, not Portland's.