That winning record certainly is elusive. The Rockets has a much better chance of beating the Miami Heat than they did of defeating the Portland Trailblazers tonight. The Blazers played a very good game, and the Rockets answered them with a very bad one. The Rockets shooting was simply horrible in the 3rd quarter, and the Blazers, in turn, did everything right. Sure, there were some bad calls, but that's not the story at all.
The story is not hitting open shots, not grabbing rebounds and not playing defense.
I'll quickly run through the game recap and then on to drinks. Yes, I'm breaking out the recipes for particularly bad losses. Miami didn't qualify, that was a tough loss to a good, potentially great, team. Portland is a team the Rockets can beat. Their record and play isn't much better than ours, and I'd say the Rockets future actually looks brighter than that of the Blazers.
Despite Nicholas Batum being a guy I wish we'd had a way to keep and Wesley Matthews being more than the middle finger raised to Utah I thought he was, it's hard to see either guy bringing the wattage of (sadly, I think, done) Brandon Roy. As for LaMarcus Aldridge, well, yes, he's more assertive, but no, I'm not frightened.
Be that as it may, the Blazers applied a beating to the hapless, lost and slow-looking Rockets tonight.
- Patrick Patterson - is emerging as a beast on the boards, and a competent guy with the ball. He's physically overpowering, something most Rocket players definitely are not. I described him as an evolutionary Ron Artest at PF, and that may yet prove to be correct.
- Terrence Williams - This isn't the situation in which I'd prefer to see him, but he's something else. The speed, power, hops and passing chops make for a pretty rare package. His court vision was something to behold - better keep your wits about you Rockets, when TWill is on the floor, cause the ball may come in to you- fast.
- The spilled drinks. This was Matt Bullard's highlight of the night, and its hard to blame him. If you don't know what I'm referring to, trust me, you've saved several minutes of your life for better things, like belching.
- Aaron Brooks. Aaron went to visit The University of Oregon last night. He must have hit up his favorite bars in Eugene, and then brought some microbrews for the way back, and then hit some of Portland's truly excellent watering holes, because AB0 looked hung over. Not "rusty". Not "slow". Blotted. Creaky. Gin-soaked. Maybe he's still recovering from his NYE bowling party, I don't know. But do a cleanse, drink a lot of
Gatorade"G", sleep as much as possible, drink some wheatgrass juice, because that won't do.
- Aaron Brooks. Hi, Aaron, you're on here twice. Think of it as tough love, because we do love you. But it hurts us to see you like this. This looked like the bleary New Years Day "touch" football game I'd play with college friends in an effort to revive ourselves before watching football and drinking more. Anyway, I personally recollect 12 points Brooks single-handedly donated to Portland. Not allowed, donated. He made Patty Mills, Paul Allen's pet project, and "Australia's Finest PG Ever, Mate" look like a freaking All-Star.
- Kevin Martin - when the shooting touch isn't there, and there aren't any calls, Martin is a lot less fun to have around. Tonight was one of those nights.
- Rest of the Rockets - Notice the instant double team on Luis Scola? That means they aren't scared of the rest of you. You need to make them scared. Sandwiching Scola with two 6'11" guys in the high post is pretty effective - so the rest of the team needs to make open shots.
- Timely Time Outs. Sometimes, Rick, the team just isn't going to play through it. They just aren't. Why does it take 15pts and six bad plays to convince you? I know you're a great coach, I understand and approve of your patient ways, but sometimes the steady hand is the one that signals a timeout.
THE DRINKS - This in no way condones drinking, or underage drinking, or evil. Obey the law. But if you're old enough, you can responsibly enjoy the following. I'll put up a food recipe on the next bad loss. Hopefully that won't be for a while.
Reaching back into the annals of imbibery we bring you:
The Vieux Carre - Evidently from the 1930s, and clearly from New Orleans (and Imbibe Magazine)
1 part rye whiskey (yes Rye, it's less sweet than Bourbon, and it's spicy)
1 part brandy (or even Cognac if your tastes run that way)
1 part sweet vermouth
1 barspoon (aka spoon) Bénédictine
2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Mix with ice. Strain into glass with ice. Drink.
The Sidecar (Yes, another drink I order at open bars. I'm that guy. This one turned out better than some other drinks I'd only seen in old movies. Hot Buttered Rum? Gross. Or perhaps badly made.)
1 Part Brandy (or Cognac if you're so inclined)
1 Part Grand Marnier (or Cointreau or some sort of triple sec)
1 Part Lemon Juice
Shake together with ice, strain into a martini type glass- you can sugar the rim, too. For a less sweet version, use 2-3 parts brandy to 1 part Grand Marnier. You can also substitute lime juice for something like, but not like, a margarita.
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