APRIL. 9, 2011; Portland, OR, USA; Houston Rockets head coach Kevin McHale smiles as he speaks with referee Ron Garretson (10) during the first quarter of the game against the Portland Trail Blazers at the Rose Garden. Mandatory Credit: Steve Dykes-US PRESSWIRE
That's a 4-0 road trip, 'Shakers. Your Houston Rockets went from Chicago to LA to Sacramento to Portlandia and they won all four games like it was routine. Surprisingly, this game was the closest of all four, but something about the Rose Garden always gives the Blazers a chance, no matter who they trot onto the floor.*
The Rockets' point guards let the way and never let the team sink down to Portland's level (and it feels like a crime to write that, but this is hardly the Blazers team we're used to seeing; plus, Harrison Barnes could cheer their fans up). Just when it seemed Portland could crawl back early in the fourth quarter, Houston got out to a great start and never looked back. Chase Budinger came off the bench to score a quiet 15 points and finished off perhaps the single prettiest fast break we'll from the Rocekts see all season. Make no mistake, with Goran Dragic at the helm, this team is really damn good in transition.
Last but not least, Patrick Patterson did a real good job on LaMarcus Aldridge and kept the Blazers' best player from ever making his mark on the game. He was literally limited to taking jump shots when left open by Marcus Camby, who seemingly baited him all night (hint: Do not bait LaMarvelous from the elbow).
Overall, it was an ugly, yet gritty performance from a team seemingly set to peak at the right time. Suddenly, Kevin McHale's relaxed approach is paying all sorts of dividends thanks to some uber-creative guard play.
Recap after the jump:
1. Goran Dragic — The Dragon eclipsed the twenty-point mark yet again, dropping 22 points on 14 shots. He also chipped in three steals and seven assists and he makes me giggle with the joy of a young Slovenian enthusiast.
2. Marcus Camby — Really Old Anthony Davis grabbed eleven boards and added nine points. Most impressive was Camby's ball movement: he kept making crisp passes inside and out and opened up the lane for some easy shots.
3. Kyle Lowry — Bulldog found his stroke in just his second game back after a run-in with the Andromeda strain, and he looked locked in from the start. He shot 5-6 for 13 points, grabbed 4 rebounds and dished out three assists. By the way, this Dragic/Lowry backcourt is WAY scarier than ever before.
1. Chandler Parsons — Chandler missed seven shots. All seven shots.
2. Luis Scola — Luis missed eleven shots. Eleven of seventeen shots.
3. Samuel Dalembert — Sam did not take a shot. He still scored three points.
Stats of the Night:
HOU from three: 10-19
POR from three: 6-21
Jamal Crawford: 4-14
Joey Crawford: Thankfully absent.
HOU turnovers: 13
POR turnovers: 14
HOU fast break points: 19
POR fast break points: 7
The Steve Novak Honorary Three-Point Gunner of the Night: Marcus Camby shot 1-1 from behind the arc. That's impeccable accuracy.
Argumentative Bastard of the Night (in absurdly low quality video):
Kyle Lowry thought he'd forced a jump ball in the fourth quarter, but was instead whistled for a shooting foul. He spent about thirty ignorant seconds in the lane trying to make his point while Luke Babbit tried to wave him away to shoot his free throws. Then Lowry went and bitched to the referee for another two minutes. Excellent trolling, Kyle, just excellent. You even got yourself a delay of game call.
Free Agent Showcase of the Night: Goran Dragic may have just signed with Portland after this one. Lord knows they need a point guard.
*Worst Lineup of All Time of the Night: Portland rolled out "Team We Were Good In 2008:" Jonny Flynn, Nolan Smith, Luke Babbitt, JJ Hickson and Hasheem Thabeet.
Next Game: Wednesday night vs. the Utah Jazz. Let's keep this winning streak going and LET'S GO MILWAUKEE BUCKS!