Blazers/Rockets Game 3 Recap
Feel that gust of wind? It’s Houston breathing a sigh of relief.
Allow me to ask a quick question to Rockets fans everywhere. Aside from getting a win, which is clearly key, how confident do you feel about Houston after they nearly let a 17 point lead and control of this series slip away? The Rockets came out on top, but it should not have been that hard. The Rockets are the anti-Paris Hilton. Nothing comes easy for them.
Houston got by without the offensive production of Yao Ming, who scored all 7 of his points in the quarter, by relying on Shane Battier, Luis Scola and Carl Landry. If you were to tell me a week or so ago that Yao Ming would score 11 and 7 points in Game 2 and 3 respectively, I would have told you the Rockets were in trouble. Instead, Yao is being supported by a total team effort. That will be huge if the Rockets get to the 2nd round against L.A., I mean … Utah still has a chance. Cough.
Brandon Roy got his 19 but it didn’t come easy. He shot 6-18 because the Rockets finally committed to making him work for baskets. If I am Rick Adelman, I am daring anybody but Roy to beat me.
Give props to Nate McMillan, who calmed his team down after they were at risk of another massacre at the hands of the experienced Rockets. The Blazers were able to get back into the game with the help of the 3, the great equalyzer. Rudy Fernandez, my second favorite Spanish player aside from Ricky Rubio, finally gave help off the bench, shooting a ridiculous 5 of 7 from three. Steve Blake, who I am convinced was a stunt double for the alien from Mac and Me, blew a chance to tie the game at the end, firing up a weak three. You’d think that a point guard would know better.
We also saw flashes of the player the Blazers thought they were drafting in Greg Oden. Yao got 3 blocks in the game but didn’t look comfortable guarding him, even going 18 feet from the rim to guard him. Why would you guard Oden that far out? On defense, Oden fronted Yao and made it nearly impossible to get him the ball. Yao is going to have to pull Oden from the basket with consistent perimeter scores. The Blazers are insistent that he isn’t getting in the post anymore.
Game 4 presents a rare opportunity for the Rockets in the Playoffs. They can basically end this series with a win, although you can’t take anything for granted with Houston. The keys to Houston’s offense will be Aaron Brooks and Shane Battier. Brooks has been brilliant in moments and boneheaded at others, and saved face by grabbing a rebound off his missed free throw at the end of Game 3. Battier is going to get open looks from three all the time, because Roy is overhelping on Yao. It is his job to knock that shot down, like he did tonight on way to a 16 point night. If that happens, Portland can’t double Yao, the lane opens up and the Rockets win.
Portland must mature quickly and continue to be aggressive. I don’t care what Marc Jackson says, Portland does not seem afraid of Yao Ming in the paint. Well, maybe Joel Przybilla is, but I think the thought of offense is more of his fear. Mark it down Webster’s. Pryzbilla-itis is the fear of scoring. For example, Johnny’s prom night was ruined by Przybilla-itis. The 3′s fell tonight for the Blazers, but they can not expect similar success like that in Game 4. If they take the ball to the rim, they can tie this game up. It’s how they won Game 2. If they don’t, well we can always talk about the future of Portland, right?