Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. I was getting ready to fall asleep last night just like Charles and then the Rockets/Blazers went and made things pretty interesting. Wow again, for emphasis. I hope you guys all got to watch that game. My goodness. First, B. Roy hitting that jumper with 1.9 left? I didn’t think there was any way that shot would sail through the net, but of course it does.
Next play, with Yao drawing the foul on Roy and still hitting the basket? That was amazing. And, as Russ said to me last night, HOW can this guy be such a great free throw shooter? It does sort of defy logic. His hands are huge (they have to be, right?), he is about 18 feet tall (thanks, Russ), and yet, he looks so comfortable at the line it’s like he is sitting down to eat dinner. Dinner with 0.8 tenths of a second left on the clock.
The final shot by Roy was why I feel it is impossible for anyone to not fall in love with this game when given the opportunity to witness a play like that. Catching, rising, releasing, a high-arcing shot from about 30-feet away, the ball doesn’t even shake the net. Unbelievable. How he managed to get the shot off in time still boggles my mind when they show the replays.
This was a fantastic game and a great win for a Portland team that is still without Greg Oden. Great effort from the Rockets as well. They are a handful.
The Philadelphia/Orlando game almost put me to sleep, to be honest. Charles, Kenny and Ernie were wonderful as always, but someone needed to remind Ernie to include Kenny’s stint as a SLAM columnist on his Neat-o Stat of the Night. The “Gone Fishing” photo was great and I love Charles getting cranky and railing on teams for “bad team defense”.
So, it is finally Friday and we’ve got another big weekend of games. Marcel will have you covered with Worthy of Your Attention later on today. I am so unbelievably excited to sleep in on Sunday, I cannot even express it with words. Saturday I’ve got football playoffs to watch and I’m wishing my boy Jonathan big things in his game. Huge things, actually. It’s going to be great. Everyone enjoy your weekend and meet me back here Monday morning, at 9 a.m. sharp!
Portland 101 Houston 99
In what was not only the game of the night, Brandon Roy and Yao Ming supplied the shots for what was one of the craziest finishes this league has seen in recent history. With the score being close throughout, the Blazers began to pull away in the fourth quarter, going up by as many as 10 points. Thanks to a big fourth quarter from Tracy McGrady, the Rockets caught up to them and then things got interesting First, Brandon Roy hit a jumper with 1.9 seconds left to give Portland a 98-96 lead and put them in a position to come away with the game. Then, on Houston’s final possession of the game, Yao drew a foul on Roy and made the shot, to get the three-point play opportunity. He hit the free throw to put the Rockets up one, 99-98 with 0.8 on the clock. Eight tenths of a second was all Roy needed as Steve Blake inbounded the ball to him from 30-feet out and he was able to catch and shoot his way into earning the victory for Portland. Roy finished with 17 points while shooting only 6-18 on the night as LaMarcus Aldridge finished with 27 points and 9 rebounds, Rudy Fernandez scored 15 points and Travis Outlaw had 14 points and 13 rebounds. McGrady had 30 points, 7 rebounds and 8 assists for the Rockets while Luis Scola and Aaron Brooks each scored 14 points and Yao added 13 points in the loss.
Orlando 98 Philadelphia 88
Despite Dwight Howard scoring only 2 points in the first half and spending most of the opening 24 minutes on the bench thanks to foul trouble, the Magic were able to hold off the Sixers to grab a 98-88 victory. With Howard on the bench, Philadelphia tried to take advantage, but still trailed 54-43 at the half. In the third, with Howard back in the middle, the Magic got things rolling and went up by as many as 23 points, before surrendering most of that lead in the final quarter when they were unable to make free throws down the stretch. Luckily, the large lead gave them enough leeway to hang on for the win. With Howard held to 14 points and only 8 rebounds, Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu each scored 20 points and grabbed 8 rebounds while Jameer Nelson added 16 points and 9 assists. Thaddeus Young scored 19 points for the Sixers as Andre Iguodala finished with 16 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists, Samuel Dalembert scored 10 points and pulled down 14 rebounds and Andre Miller added 15.