Sleep actually took a lot of the sting out of this one. Probably one of my better decisions in a while. Looking back I probably would have sounded like a crazed 16 year old boy/girl who is in one of those ‘OMG the world is over’ type fights with their significant other and end up sending them a crazy e-mail they immediately regret. Although I’m kind of sad that I’m not so emo about it anymore because I squeezed in a sentence about Spencer Pratt, Heidi Montag, vaccuums, Jenna Jameson and this game. Ask me if you still wanna know.
We at the RCP try to Classier than Freddie Blassie so….I want to congratulate the Rockets for their win. There was a reason why no one wanted the Blazers to see the Rockets in the playoffs. And we learned it over the past few days. They earned it by playing great team basketball for 6 games. Their defense deserves all the credit in the world. They executed and did the little things to win in the playoffs. Also….Luis Scola for stepping up in a huge way and making the Blazers pay for taking Yao away. Say what you want to say but the Rockets took care of business.
(Also, allowing your mind to wander to ‘What if?’ Finley’s three had not have counted (like it shouldn’t have) or what if New Orleans doesn’t choke in San Antonio or what if Houston doesn’t choke in Dallas to finish the regular season…people that’s like torture. I refuse to play that jazz flute. It’s just torturing yourself for no good reason. Too many playoff wounds on this guy to go there.)
Even though this was a tough matchup, this Blazer team was right there in nearly every game. Except for the beginning and the end, in kind of one of those fitting type endings that some Film major would point out to me. Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge took major steps up the Superstar ladder. Everyone else got major playoff experience and more importantly, motivation for this to never happen again.
Also, I want to say that it has been a hell of a season. Nobody should lose sight of that, this may not have been the ending that any of us wanted but that doesn’t mean it was a bad season. Yeah it’s a bad taste and it might sting for a while but eventually it will leave. I’ll speak for myself here but as rough as dealing with being eliminated from the playoffs is, I would much rather have this feeling than have been talking about the draft for 2 weeks. Portland is back to playing meaningful basketball and that’s something none of us should take for granted. I wasn’t sure it would ever happen again to be honest with you.
(I just wonder how the first-timers are taking it? Do they feel about Von Wafer, Ron Artest and Luis Scola the way I used to feel about Sean Elliott? Just thinking out loud here.)
The actual game? In my pre-thoughts, I stated that it couldn’t be the Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge show if the Blazers wanted to win. I stated that the Blazers needed someone else to step up. Well, Rudy, Blake and Outlaw combined to shoot 4-for-20 on the night. In the playoffs you have to have a measure of balance offensively. It can’t just be one or two guys. Ask LeBron the past few years, ask D-Wade this year, ask Kobe about a few years. It has to be a team effort and Portland never really got it. The inability to score really hurt Portland this series. And the more you think about it, realize that Portland rarely got anything easy. Houston’s transition D was insane. Houston’s help D was insane. As great as Portland had been all season they could just never get their footing offensively in this series. Portland forced more turnovers than they ever have but couldn’t take advantage of them because Houston was already back. And over the course of 48 minutes when you aren’t getting anything easy, you’re going to have lulls and droughts, uch as the one Portland had in the second quarter that they never recovered from.
Blaming Nate for putting Rudy in the starting lineup? Cop. Out. Now if you want to criticize the move with valid points, be my guest. I scratched my head since Batum has started in 76 of the 79 games he’s played, and has been the starter since November 1st. I personnally knew Rudy would get the lion’s share of the minutes after Game 5 but I assumed Batum would get 3-4 minutes to see if he could contribute anything. Bless Batum’s heart but he simply was not a threat offensively in this series. And if you were able to see the second quarter you can now see why Nate would want as many offensive threats on the court at the same time. If Rudy had come out like gangbusters or the Blazers had won, he would have been a genius. Hindsight is always 20/20.
I don’t really know what else to say to be honest. We at the RCP aren’t done, so stay tuned. Thanks to all the readers who have come through here this season, we appreciate it. Shout out to all the other Blazer blogs.
Tags: Aaron Brooks Blazers Brandon Roy Greg Oden Houston Rockets LaMarcus Aldridge Luis Scola Nate McMillan Portland Trail Blazers Rick Adelman Rip City Ron Artest Rudy Fernandez Steve Blake Travis Outlaw Von Wafer Yao Ming