“Look….if you had one shot, or one opportunity…to seize everything you ever wanted….one moment…would you capture it or just let it slip?”
It has been common knowledge since the Game 1 loss that to win the series Portland would have to pick up a win in Houston. This is that one shot, that one opportunity to grab this series like it is theirs for the taking. And to win this game Portland will have to take it, because I guarantee Houston is not going to give away a single thing. They don’t want to go back to Portland, they don’t want to deal with another game with Portland, they want the second round for the first time since 97. They want to take care of business. A big key in my eyes is if Portland’s desire to keep playing is greater or equal to Houston’s determination to advance. It’s still win or go home, but this one is different from Tuesday night. A loss here will end the season. A win? Well….I won’t even start. But I know that you know that I know that you know what I’m thinkng there. Scintillating.
Execution, aggression and desire. That’s what this game is coming down too. I’d say that these three, somewhat-vague categories are the reasons why Portland didn’t win Game 3 or 4. Not talent, not X’s and O’s…these three categories. Game 3, the Blazers came out shy, tentative and afraid to shoot and it showed. It’s like Houston fans kidnapped the Blazers and told them if they played with any sort of aggression they would have to watch the Hannah Montana movie non-stop for 72 hours. Aggression was needed in that game. Game 4 was lost because of issues with execution and desire in the 4th quarter. They didn’t value each possession on either end. Portland turned the ball over 6 times in the final period and gave up multiple second shot opportunities. All of that added up to an L. That is practically handing Houston the game. Those kinds of things cannot happen in the post-season, it’s death. There is no doubt in my mind that if Portland comes out aggressive, executes offensively and plays with that ‘We’re not going home’ swagger we will see Game 7 in the Rose Garden.
Lastly, the game is probably going to be won offensively. Portland’s defense since the opening two games has been on point. And while I’m still weary, it’s been 3 straight games of the same thing so I feel pretty comfortable about it. Unless Yao brings his lunch pail and the Rockets realize that he’s on their team. Then….not so much. What I’m worried about is the offense. Do we have enough firepower to win? It can’t just be the Roy and LaMarcus show. That’s worked in Portland twice…and failed in Houston twice. The playoffs are where unexpected heroes happen. And Portland needs one to step up to the plate in a major way. Houston has gotten it from Luis Scola who will more than likely torch Portland for about 7 jumpers. Who will punish the Rockets D? Rudy? Travis? Blake? It’s coming down to one of those three individuals. Batum and Oden’s contributions are on the other end. One of those three men I mentioned are going to have to be an offensive threat. It’d also be nice if we could get some easy points.
Portland can win this game. If it’s close in the 4th quarter, Portland can win this game. Houston can and more than likely will get tight. Their crowd can get taken out of this one easily if there isn’t a hot start. Their superstar can be taken away in the 4th quarter. Ron Artest can go crazy. This is do-able.
Only time will tell if we’re celebrating the biggest win from this franchise in a long time, or if I write a post with a ton of expletives and typos, probably a mention of a swine flu conspiracy and then take it down in the morning and pretend it never happened.