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Full Court Press

Sean Meagher has gathered all the Rockets articles together for you. Some must-reads in there.

Jason Quick gets Steve Blake's side of Game 1.  It's, uh, an interesting self-assessment.

Blake bristled at the notion that one of his mistakes in Game1 was repeatedly allowing Brooks to zip past him. The Blazers play team defense, Blake and coach Nate McMillan noted, and many of Brooks' points were simply breakdowns by the team.

"Some points were on me, some on other guys, and some he scored because of a defensive scheme and he just beat it," Blake said. "But I take it personally if he blows by me."

How many times did Blake feel that happened in Game 1?

"He probably beat me, I don't know, probably three times," Blake said. "But he didn't blow by me. I cut him off and he hit step-back jumpers, which you can't do much about."

Joe Freeman looks at LaMarcus Aldridge's struggles and the necessary bounce-back tonight.

From the first Blazers' possession, when Aldridge backed Luis Scola down on the block and attempted a shot -- only to be emphatically blocked by Yao -- it was a night to forget for the Blazers' third-year power forward. The Rockets seemed to focus their defense on clogging the paint and shutting down Aldridge, bringing Yao from behind to double team or having guards slither in from the wing to add support.

Aldridge was unable to respond to the extra attention, often forcing bad shots or holding the ball too long and stalling the Blazers' offense. Aldridge, who averaged a team-high 23.3 points against the Rockets in the regular season, watched game film by himself Saturday night and Sunday and again with the team on Monday and didn't like what he saw.

Casey Holdahl has a nice recap from yesterday's Rockets practice.

While everyone likes to be complimented, in this case, the Trail Blazers would probably prefer Artest coming into Tuesday's game expecting another blowout. Instead, Adelman, Artest and all the other Rockets are expecting a battle. Hopefully the Trail Blazers can oblige.

Ryan White remembered that T. Mac used to be on this Rockets team.

Let's talk about Tracy McGrady, because if the Rockets eventually win this series, he's going to be kind of a sad character.

The knock on him has always been that he can't get a team out of the first round. Great player, can't get out of the first round.

Fair or unfair, that's the knock. He scored 30 the first time Portland and Houston met this season -- the only game the Blazers won against the Rockets this season.

Currently he's recovering from microfracture surgery, a procedure he announced on his blog.

Dwight Jaynes predicts victory.

I expect Portland to win this game. I expect a bloody nose or two. The Blazers better be ready to give those and receive them, too. This is the night when we find out how much character and determination this team really has.    

Brian Hendrickson said the Blazers are going back to the drawing board.

Brandon Roy knows exactly how the Houston Rockets built their confidence Saturday night.

It was easy for a team to feel good when its center, Yao Ming, was looking infallible on the court, Roy said. It started with a face-up jumper, then a post-up shot that drew a foul on Blazers center Joel Przybilla for a 3-point play, followed by a face-up 11-foot jumper that triggered Houston's 108-81 win over Portland.

All of that was before the Blazers even scored.    

Kevin Pelton asks, "Is this the playoffs of the point guard?"  

I've been thinking about this in the wake of my All-Defensive picks. Fans of the Celtics and Magic, respectively, felt I'd overrated Rondo and Rafer Alston, who made my First and Second Teams, respectively. I think part of the disagreement is they have seen these players beaten time and again-but they haven't seen the same thing happen to other point guards they aren't watching as closely. Basically, given the current rules, it's virtually impossible to defend the league's best point guards. While it may be frustrating for fans to see their defense get beat, it makes for an open, free-flowing, entertaining game for the rest of us.

Geoffrey C. Arnold looks at the long friendship between Aaron Brooks and Brandon Roy.

"I remember him making game-winning shots on me in the third grade," Roy said. "I still get mad about that."

The two have been friends since childhood, but that friendship has been suspended because of the renewal of a rivalry that has existed since those days growing up in Seattle.

Mike Barrett goes for the big r word: redemption.

But, in the playoffs, especially the first round, the games are sometimes spread out, and there can be a longer-than-usual layoff between games. In most cases, this is seen as a bad thing. However, in this particular case, for these Trail Blazers, they've loved having two days off between games one and two against the Houston Rockets.

"I usually want to get back on the floor as quickly as possible following a loss," said Brandon Roy, after practice on Monday in Tualatin. "But, I can't say that's the case here. We honestly have needed some time to let game one sink in, and to regain our confidence heading into game two."    

John Canzano takes fans to task for rowdy behavior on Saturday night.  This sentence jumped off the page.

Well, on press row, when the derogatory chants started from Blazers fans, you should know that media started looking at each other, shaking their heads. has a translation of Sergio's most recent blog post regarding game 1.

You could tell that this was not just another game, it was a playoff game. People were tense, from the valet parkers to the team itself. It was a strange game, our worst of the year, especially since it was at home. Besides being an especially important game, and a game that they dominated from beginning to end, it was a strange game. Fortunately it's a seven game series which gives you a slightly larger margin of error.     

Brother Wendell Maxey asks if tonight will be the last home game.

The Dream Shake thinks Adelman should have been Coach of the Year.

Please drop any other links you find in the comments.

-- Ben (