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Game 44 Recap

Whoa...implosion.  But there's no shame in losing this game even if we went a little overboard with the 30-point deficit.

Rockets 99, Blazers 69

Team Observations:

--The first half wasn't all that bad, from what I saw.  (My Tivo joined the game in progress...they must have switched the time or something.)  We were playing with a reasonable amount of defensive energy and seemed to be moving our feet, rotating on defense, and being at least somewhat aggressive on offense, though it didn't always pay off.  Going into the locker room down two was a good achievement even if it meant an ugly 36-34 score at the half.

--We didn't necessarily do anything that wrong in the second half, we just got T-Macked.  It's as plain and simple as that.  We came out to play Lazer Tag, they brought a howitzer.  Because McGrady torched whoever was on him, we had to double him.  And not only did we have to double him, he also preoccupied the attention of our big men waiting to see if they'd be needed to help.  With him commanding the attention of two and a half guys it was fairly easy pickings for the Rockets from there.

--After the semi hit us we just deflated.  (And props to a talent like that who can make another team fold single-handedly.)  Most of the energy from the first half was gone by two minutes left in the third.  At that point we turned into a jump-shooting team.  And if you stack the entire Blazer squad against T-Mac in a jump shooting contest the Blazers are going to come out losers every time.  The game was essentially over at that point.  

--An interesting observation:  when we shot early in the clock tonight (not at 20 seconds left, but around 14) we often hit.  When we went late it was mostly forced jumpers against pressure and we missed.  The offense also looked more natural and comfortable going slightly quicker.  I know that slowing down is part of how we control the game (or try to) but for our own sake I think maybe the reins need to be loosened a bit from here on out.  After all we're not winning most of those slow-ball games anyway.  This also reflects what I said in the preview about how our only chance to hurt the Houston defense was to go before it was set up.

--Zach was the leading scorer with 13 points.  Nobody else was in double digits.  Ouch.

Individual Observations

--I was darn impressed by Martell Webster's effort tonight.  He only shot 2-9 for 8 points but I liked him on the floor because he was one of the only guys out there bringing it all game long.  He got 8 rebounds.  He also played some darn skippy defense on Bonzi Wells.  When Houston saw Martell on Bonzi they tried to iso him.  Martell challenged him every step of the way and made it tough on him.  A couple times he actually shut him down entirely.  Houston stopped trying that after a while.  Martell also had his hands in a lot of defensive plays tonight.  He had a couple steals and a couple blocks and was bothersome even more times than that.

--Zach had another tough offensive night and only got six rebounds but I really liked his energy tonight on defense too.  He was much more active than he often is.  Most of the time his hands were busy and his feet were moving.  This helped keep us in the first half.  The only thing I'd say is that I really never, ever again want to see him just stop and stand under the basket when he thinks the ref didn't give him a call.  I've had enough of that.  It doesn't do a damn thing except give the other team an automatic break advantage.  Just stop it.

--Sergio had five assists tonight and was penetrating and causing at least some disruption.  He has to be careful though because other teams are starting to play him for the pass again and he's trying to make them anyway.  Let's see if he can overcome that this time instead of getting shut down and benched again.  He also has to learn what to do when opponents jump-double him on the pick and roll play.

--Jamaal Magloire shot 4-5 and had 9 points , 4 boards, and a block in 19 minutes.

--I'm pretty sure everybody else would just like to forget this game.  Lamarcus was fairly energetic and Jarrett Jack had a couple of nifty passes and some nice shots but that was about it.

Miscellaneous Observations

--Clyde Drexler is the Houston color analyst and I wish...well...I wish a lot of things when it comes to Clyde.  It's so bittersweet with him.

--Thanks to Damir and everybody for representing strong in the Gameday Thread, especially in a blowout.  That thread will be a great tool someday for attracting new people to the site.  You never know when this will be the night that somebody new decides to give us a try.  It would be disappointing for them to show up and only see, like, 10 comments and nobody to talk to.  Thanks to all who enjoy and take advantage of that opportunity.

--Dave (