Portland, Ore. May 10, 1999 It was a dark season for the Trailblazers, and an even darker post season as the Houston Rockets swept the Blazers in the first round of the playoffs. In a close first game, rookie point guard Steve Francis was ejected with two technical fouls early in the third quarter but somehow reserve point guard Bryce Drew managed to keep his team alive. Games 2 and 3, however, were nothing short of absolute terror as the 8th seed Rockets gained control of both games early on and lead the whole way as the Blazers could do nothing more than fight back, even getting close in game 3. The Portland Trailblazers held the league's best record for the season.
"We had the series but just couldn't hold on to it. The Rockets just outplayed us. I knew they would end up winning some series against us, but not in this way. They just have too much talent", said forward Scottie Pippen. "We were hoping to keep us alive in game 3 by changing our defensive game play to stop the Rockets offense, but it didn't seem to work. They are just too versatile."
He may be right on that, as no one expected the Rockets to win this.
"The game was almost ours but coach wanted me to take a bad shot that I was uncomforatable with, so I told him to let Steve (Smith) take it. He made it, but Damon (Stoudamire) tried unsuccessfully to take a charge, ending the post season for us."
Well, as it may be, the Rockets next face the Utah Jazz. Will they play as good as they seemed to in Portland or is the Portland series just a fluke?