Blazers/Rox Game 2 Recap
Brandon Roy, meet playoff stardom.
Let this game serve as notice for anyone who thought the Houston Rockets were going to blow the Portland Trail Blazers out in this series. If the young guns on Portland were overwhelmed by the big stage of the Playoffs, they overcame it quickly. The Houston Chronicle headline should read “Houston, we have a series.”
The Blazers got out early, as we knew they would after such a humiliating defeat in Game 1, but Ron Artest kept Houston in it by going off in the 1st quarter like Eminem on his mother. Then he decided to fire brick after brick from behind the line, finishing 1-8 there. It’s really hard to explain. Maybe there was a forcefield blocking his entrance to the lane? Or maybe Artest has fallen in love with the 3. The Rockets are just going to have to grin and bear it. Ron is Ron.
If there is anyone who doesn’t know how money Brandon Roy is, they do now … that is if the game was actually airing in your area. Roy is turning into Houston’s worst enemy and it is amazing that a team with Ron Artest and Shane Battier can’t find a way to at least get in his way. Roy was having one of those games that careers are built on. It was Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction good. Someone check Roy’s locker to see if he has a wallet that says Bad Mother F&%ker on it.
LaMarcus Aldridge also showed up in a big way and made the Rockets respect a player other than Roy. He may be the player the Rockets should be scared of. Roy can score 60, and tonight it looked like he just might, but without Aldridge hitting buckets the Blazers can’t match Houston’s offense, which is coming from multiple areas. 6 players on Houston scored in double-digits in Game 2.
There will be plenty of Rockets fans who complain about poor officiating. I’m from Houston and even I don’t want to hear it. The Blazers won because they were the more physical team and drove to the basket, getting Yao Ming into foul trouble early, essentially making him a non-factor in this game. With Yao out and Dikembe Mutombo leaving the game with a knee sprain (We hope the House is okay), the lane was all Portland’s to own.
Let’s talk a bit about Yao. I love the big man, but from now on maybe it’s best we call him the Patrick Swayze of the NBA, because no other star in the league can turn into a ghost like him. Yao shot 3-6 from the field. 6 shots. Could you ever imagine Shaquille O’Neal shooting the ball that little in his prime? Why is Yao not swearing in multiple languages at the coaching staff a la Michael Jordan to Doug Collins in Game 5 of the 1989 NBA Playoffs? Keyshawn Johnson wrote the book, but it’s Yao Ming that needs to be saying, “Just give me the damn ball.”
Not all of the blame goes to the players. Rick Adelman had no answer as to how he can get the ball to Yao versus Portland’s fronting him on defense. They better figure it out quickly, because even with 20+ point performances from Aaron Brooks (Brooks made critical mistakes in the 4th, in spite of his scoring) and Von Wafer, they still lost. Props to Nate McMillan for winning the coaching battle in Game 2.
For a match-up featuring two of the best defensive teams in the league, the game had about as much defensive presence as the All-Star game. Both teams shot over 50%, even in a pretty physical game. How can a game be physical and both teams score at will? Welcome to the Blazers-Rockets series. Maybe it’s best not to try and understand a match-up with enigmatic players like Artest, Yao and Mr. Foul, Greg Oden present. Just know that it looks this one is going to 7 games.