OK, the best part of this game can be summed up thusly:
Dangit folks, that’s why basketball is fun.
The Rockets left the door wide open on this one. Yao Ming was as docile as a wide-eyed doe out there. Seriously, you could have stuck a sack of coal on roller skates out there and gotten better defense and twice the rebounds.
In any case, without having to contend with a dominant man in the middle the Blazers needed to do a couple things: rebound and attack the lane. The rebounding tonight was amazing, wonderful, stellar.
On the other end the Blazers did a great job of containing the Rockets’ penetration while still getting back on their shooters fairly quickly. You didn’t see a ton of open looks for
Then you get down to the nitty-gritty. The pattern of this game was similar to the
The beginning of overtime was nothing to write home about for either team. The take-away point there was that even though the Blazers’ offense was derailed they kept playing hard, which is one of the secrets to winning consistently in the NBA. (How many nights have you seen us miss shots and then just crumple entirely for stretches?) The last few plays were incredible. This was going to be
One of the best decisions of the game came on the second-to-last shot of the night…the first one
We did an amazing job on
We used our last timeout and Blake inbounded the ball to
So we all get to go home feeling happy. We should feel really happy. Don’t underestimate how hard this win was to get…how hard the Blazers fought for the chance to heave a miracle three at the buzzer. Even with
--We’ve said a lot about Brandon Roy, but again you have to credit his play even on a night when he wasn’t all there. He only shot 33% but he ended up with 17 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists. He had 5 turnovers but he still felt able to carry the ball and the offense in the critical moments. He got embarrassed by Ron Artest in the Blazers’ final possession of regulation but he still took the winning shot of the game…twice! This guy has confidence. The team obviously has confidence in him. Perhaps this will be a break-out experience for him in 2008-09.
--Lamarcus, are you kidding me? 12-20 shooting (60%), 27 points, 9 rebounds (7 defensive), 3 blocks, and only 1 foul against the Rockets. LMA loves to play those
--Hey Ron Artest, meet Rudy Fernandez. Oops! I can see he’s already gotten by you. That’s OK, you can meet him later. I see Yao Ming waving at him now. Rudy had a couple of crowd-buzzing highlights tonight and played another fantastic offensive game. Most every game I like to talk about something that makes him special…the reasons why he looks different than other players out there. If you see a replay of tonight’s game, watch his hands as he cuts or comes off screens on the offensive end. He is always ready to receive the ball and shoot. We talk about his quick release and that right there is half of it. He wastes no time. He knows where the ball should be before it’s thrown to him and he paints a target for his teammates. Rudy was a little overmatched tonight on defense but that’s fair, considering the choices for him to guard were Ron Artest, Tracy McGrady, or Aaron Brooks. He seemed to have the hardest time with Brooks and his fast feet. I thought he did reasonably well on McGrady and Artest, especially for a first look. In any case, he made them look more foolish than they made him look by a long shot.
--Travis Outlaw…SHUT UP! You did not just do that! I can’t help but think Trout was a little disappointed with his performance in the
--You know, Nicolas Batum did not look bad out there. Tracy McGrady drove by him a couple times and Ron Artest bulled over him once but he stuck to his guns, moved his feet, and bothered shots. He also helped up the tempo early. He collected 5 fouls in 20 minutes but that’s going to happen the first time you meet these
--Steve Blake couldn’t hit from beyond the arc tonight but he had 8 assists. The Blazers went with their all-scoring lineup (Rudy, Roy, Travis) in the critical time but Blake was one of the guys who helped the Blazers hold it together getting there.
--Joel Przybilla had 5 fouls, 6 points, and 6 rebounds. He’s had better statistical nights but he did a marvelous job on Yao Ming. Joel may be the unsung hero tonight.
--Channing Frye shot 50%, had 8 points, and got 5 rebounds in 19 minutes. He’s almost strictly a jump shooter now but that’s really his comfort zone. As long as he hits the boards I don’t mind. He did collect 4 fouls again. I wonder if that’s part of his job description now…use ‘em up.
--Sergio Rodriguez has 6 assists and 3 rebounds and no turnovers in 11 minutes. He’s doing very well with the second-unit offense now…better than Blake would do with that squad I’m thinking. I’m totally comfortable watching him on that end of the court. If you want to know why he didn't get more minutes tonight despite the impressive stats, there are a couple reasons. First Blake was doing well and he had the experience to keep us steady when
One-Sentence Game Summary:
It’s amazing what a difference one made shot can make in people’s outlook.
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