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[ESPN] Team-by-team look at the West playoffs - Marc Stein

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by caffreys_irish_ale, Apr 17, 2009.

  1. caffreys_irish_ale

    caffreys_irish_ale Contributing Member

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    I'm slowly getting over the loss to Dallas when the Rockets knew how important that game was, but I digress. I like our chances but we have to win atleast 1 or 2 games in Portland which will not be easy.

    Here is an article by Marc Stein from ESPN. Marc has the Rockets in 6 btw.
    Click here for the full story.
    <hr>
    No. 4 Portland Trail Blazers [​IMG]

    What I like: The Blazers have so many commodities crucial to playoff success. Already.

    They are feared on their home floor. They have Brandon Roy as a closer who has somehow earned that rep before he ever played in a playoff game. They also have copious amounts of length and depth to surround Roy.

    Add it all up and you have a team that, in spite of its virtually nonexistent collective playoff experience, is being increasingly nominated as the West team best equipped to give the Lakers problems in a series.

    It's a theory that obviously might never have made it into circulation so soon if, say, San Antonio, New Orleans or Houston weren't weakened by injury. But none of that diminishes the wow factor here. Nate McMillan won 54 games with a ridiculously young team and wound up in the right bracket to test that L.A. theory if it can get to the second round.

    How can you not like all that?

    What I don't like: The flip side is that when it comes to playoff experience, I actually am one of those stubborn old-school purists. I generally need to see it on the postseason stage before I can believe it.

    So I inevitably presume that the young Blazers won't look quite as good as they have once the glare and expectations of this postseason hit them. I'm convinced that the lack of experience has to be a key factor in Houston's favor, even when Portland is facing a group whose own cornerstone still doesn't know how it feels to win a first-round series, either. (This will be Yao Ming's fourth attempt to reach Round 2.)

    Complicating matters for the Blazers, who still have some holes in their defense and perimeter shooting, is the fact that they probably won't be able to play with the nothing-to-lose looseness that you'd expect for a team in their situation. The support they receive in Portland from Blazers maniacs is tremendously loud and loyal -- and the Blazers are lucky to have it -- but that also means expectations are tremendously high in spite of the experience issues.

    Remember back in February when Roy basically said "just making the playoffs and giving ourselves a chance on that stage" was the general aim this season? Don't think Blazers maniacs would sanction that sentiment after what they saw in a rousing March and April.
    <hr>
    No. 5 Houston Rockets[​IMG]

    What I like: Home-court advantage is Portland's. Most of the other advantages belong to Houston.

    Shane Battier and Ron Artest represent two top-shelf defenders to throw at Roy. The Blazers have struggled to cope with Yao Ming -- even with Joel Przybilla and Greg Oden as Portland's two-headed center -- and know that LaMarcus Aldridge will be hounded by the pesky Chuck Hayes in relief of Luis Scola. Backcourt speed (Aaron Brooks, Kyle Lowry, Von Wafer) is another Rockets strength.

    The Rockets obviously wanted Game 1 at their place. But I've had the feeling for a while now that Portland is the first-round opponent they wanted given the choices available, setting up Houston -- which has its own well-chronicled playoff psyche issues -- to be the bully for once.

    What I don't like: The usual complaint about the McGrady-less Rockets is that they have no late-game closer without him. That's not my complaint, though, since T-Mac has never advanced past the first round in his career, just like Yao.

    How can you miss what you never really had?
    <hr>
     
  2. wreck

    wreck Contributing Member

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    i like the final point he made. never factor, well if tmac was here into the equation at any time during the playoffs. thats a dead argument.

    we play with what we have and that should be enough to win the first round.
     
  3. t_mac1

    t_mac1 Contributing Member

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    we really need to win this. this is the first time in a long time where a lot of things favor us and we are clearly the better team. and hopefully when we get that monkey off of our backs, this team can take its game to another level when facing the lakers.
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. rox4lyf

    rox4lyf Member

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    there doesn't seem to be a whole lot that stein doesn't like. but, i liked when he talked about that this series might be the first in a very longtime where the rockets are the bullies.
     
  5. caffreys_irish_ale

    caffreys_irish_ale Contributing Member

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    That's true, this is becoming a monkey on our backs and that monkey is only getting bigger and heavier every year.
     
  6. Dave_78

    Dave_78 Member

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    Nice, informed article.
     
  7. ClutchCityReturns

    ClutchCityReturns Contributing Member

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    I don't know where he's getting that information. Yao's numbers have not been good against Portland this season.

    16.8 points
    .417 FG%
    .905 FT%

    8.7 rebounds
    1.7 assists
    2.7 turnovers
    1.7 blocks

    I guarantee if you offered Portland those numbers for the series they'd take it in a heart beat. In fact, he shot a worse FG% against Portland than he did against any other team in the league, except for Indiana (.333). Utah is exactly the same at .417.
     
    #7 ClutchCityReturns, Apr 17, 2009
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2009
    1 person likes this.
  8. caffreys_irish_ale

    caffreys_irish_ale Contributing Member

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    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Yao might not average 20+ points a game but I bet that he will be close. Probably 19.9 points per game ;)

    If we break it down game by game:

    At Portland
    Houston 99 Portland 101
    Thu Nov 6th - 41 Minutes 6 rebounds 13 points

    In Houston
    Houston 98 Portland 94
    Tue Feb 24th - 30 Minutes 8 rebounds 15 points

    In Houston
    Houston 102 Portland 88
    Sun Apr 5th - 36 Minutes 12 rebounds 21 points

    The game in Portland was very bad for Yao, hopefully it doesn't stay that way.
     
  9. ClutchCityReturns

    ClutchCityReturns Contributing Member

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    So he has 2 sub par games, 1 slightly above average game (at home), and for some reason you expect him to play better in a series where it's guaranteed that at least half the games are away?

    As much as I'd like Yao to get his averages for the series, I just don't see it.
     
  10. caffreys_irish_ale

    caffreys_irish_ale Contributing Member

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    If they don't front Yao then I'll gaurantee Yao gets his numbers and with Oden I think they will. However, if they front him with a smaller guy, we could be in trouble.

    Also if it had not been for that lucky shot by b-roy the Rockets would have swept the Blazers this season. The Blazers have more to worry about than just Yao.
     
  11. ClutchCityReturns

    ClutchCityReturns Contributing Member

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    Then why didn't Yao get his numbers over the 3 games against them this season? Keep in mind he played over his season average in minutes.
     
  12. arno_ed

    arno_ed Contributing Member

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    Exactly Yao has not been dominating the Blazers. He has been subpar against them. This is just a article written without any research. We have been beating the blazers as a result of the good play of our role players (Brooks, Scola).IMHO not a very good piece.
     
  13. caffreys_irish_ale

    caffreys_irish_ale Contributing Member

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    I agree that Yao will not dominate but I do think he'll get his numbers [20/10]. Yao's worst game was the first one against the Blazers and he had the most minutes. However his last game he did play well against the Blazers and Greg Oden was back for that game.
     
  14. Shaud

    Shaud Member

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    The biggest key is that Yao doesn't have a mismatch on the defensive end like he did in the Jazz series. I think that will make a big difference in the outcome.
     
  15. Cowboy_Bebop

    Cowboy_Bebop Member

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    This is good sign for the Rockets winning against Portland without the dominating Yao. If Yao is stepping it up and dominating in the PO, we will beat them handily.
     
  16. juicystream

    juicystream Contributing Member

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    [​IMG]
     
  17. Seth

    Seth Member

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    Scola should be involved in this series, he shot at 69% clip against portland and averaged 15 and 7.

    He was an overall 20 for 29 in the 3 games.
     

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