Another agonizing day of anticipation remains ahead before the Blazers and Rockets take the court for Game 3. Thankfully this is the last time there will be a two-day gap in between games for these teams. I’m telling you, that second day in between games is just killer. The series moves to H-Town….*ahem*281-330-8004, hit Mike Jones up on the low cause Mike Jones about to blow. (Had to do it.) As I was saying, the series moves to Houston for Games 3 and 4. To win this series, Portland will have to win a game in the Toyota Center. Stats argue that this should be a difficult task. First off the Rockets have posed match-up problems for the Blazers all year. Also…the Rockets are pretty dang good at home. Houston finished the year at 33-8 in their home building and closed the season winning 18 of their last 20 home games. Portland meanwhile went 0-fer in that building during the season and posted a Susan Boyle-like ugly road record against playoff teams. I’m talking no alibi type ugly….Oprah’s first ‘tweets’ on Twitter type ugly. Method Man & Redman type ugly. Rick Ross without his T-shirt type ugly. So ugly I don’t even want to know the exact numbers.
A lot of people figure it’s academic that Houston takes care of business. Pump your brakes. As I was sitting here I pondered to myself…why can’t Portland steal one of these two games? Does Houston really have that much of a home-court advantage? I thought ‘hmm I’m pretty sure they have been bounced out of the playoffs early ever year since back when Bret Hart hadn’t been screwed.’ You’d figure they’d had to have drop some home games, right? I did some research that agrees with my thought. People…be aware, I’m just going to throw this out there, and you can take it, or you can throw it right back at me. In each of their playoff appearances since 1997, the Houston Rockets have lost at least one home game in the first round. Boom, nailed it. 97 was also the last year they advanced. No joke. That is their last 6 playoff series they have lost a home game. Here’s the proof with their home records over the years:
- 08: 1-2 (Utah): Had home-court and lost it by dropping the first two games of the series. Won must-win Game 5.
- 07: 3-1 (Utah): Won Games 1,2 and 5. Lost Game 7.
- 05: 1-2 (Dallas): Had home-court after stealing 2 from Dallas. Lost Games 3 and 4 at home before winning a must-win Game 6.
- 04: 1-1 (Lakers): Lost Game 4 at home.
- 1999: 1-1 (Lakers): Won must-win Game 3 at home. Lost Game 4.
- 1998: 1-1 (Jazz): Stole home-court from Jazz by winning Game 1. Lost Game 4 at home.
- 1997: 2-0 (T-Wolves): Last year they swept at home. Also last year they advanced past first round.
No matter what the scenario or what kind of momentum Houston has had in the past, they tend to blow it at home. I know, I know, you might be wondering whether or not I took my pills tonight. Just thought I’d share this semi-interesting stat with you. I’m really big into conspiracy theories and jinxes. This may be a new year but Ghosts of Playoffs past always haunt you. Portland couldn’t get out of the first round to save their lives when I was growing up. Cleveland couldn’t get past Chicago….I mean ask Phoenix Suns fans about their inability to beat the Spurs? I could go on and on. My basic point, beyond the X’s and O’s is that you can see Houston has been in this position before…and blown it. You might brush this off as useless history…but I’m pretty sure one of my boring history professors made sure I knew that history repeats itself. In terms of the Rockets, they historically have lost playoff games on their home-court. Lets hope that trend continues.
(New poll question: Do you think the Blazers can steal a game in Houston? If you have any comments leave them here.)