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Game 3: Rockets vs. Jazz

The Rockets go into the proverbial Lions den tonight, amidst, well...

Let's be honest. They're Mormon. And they're in Salt Lake. And there's nothing else there. ... You've got to smile and be happy all the time. This might be one opportunity for fans to get vicious."

Okay, so I don't agree with that sentiment at all. In fact, that was a really stupid thing to say by Bucher. I do believe they have the best home court advantage in all of the NBA however. Energy Solutions Arena is built so the fans are right on top of the players. The fans come in all the same color to the games and are loud and whiny the whole game. I truly believe it is one of the very few places that referees are actually swayed by the crowd. Every other place I believe that to be true is a college arena, there is no other NBA equivalent. The crowd in Utah is undeniably phenomenal for their team. Last year in the first round of the playoffs Golden State was able to pull that off, that was for one round, Utah does it every single game. My hat is off to those loud, whiny, dressing alike bastards.

Going into the game, Tracy is at it again, proving once again, you don't play with your mouth. The Rockets are down 2-0 and while, in an effort for full disclosure, we and just about everyone else have been harder on him than is probably necessary, he still is the "superstar" and needs to just suck it up. From Jonathan Feigen's article in the Chronicle today:

"It's my fault," McGrady said. "It's my fault we missed free throws. It's my fault we lost both games. Blame me. It's my fault we fouled to tie the game up. That's my fault. It's my fault they get easy layups. It's my fault we're not executing well on the offensive end. It's my fault a couple people in the stands ordered Heinekens and they got Budweiser. It's my fault. I'm sorry."

Told the beer reference might have revealed his straight-faced sarcasm, McGrady rolled on.

"I am serious," he said. "It's my fault. Everything is my fault. It's my fault. It's T-Mac's fault. "Everybody's blaming me. The Suns (for being down 2-0 to the Spurs). I mean, everybody. That's what it seems like. It's my fault. I'm out there by myself."

On the surface, what he said is hilarious. It just is. For instance, the Heineken part was pure gold. With any level of diving below that surface, it is truly tragic. Tracy simply does not get it. It's not his fault, I completely agree with that, but he doesn't even address that it is his problem. And as the 19MM per year player that he is, he gets to shoulder that blame. And again, for 19MM per year, in no way do I feel sorry for him. I loved his attitude before the playoffs last year, "It's on me". This year, he tried to deflect it to his teammates, which to me was his way of saying that you can't blame him if they fail. In the end, it's not about Tracy, it's about the team, so why does he always try to make it about what you can, or can't say about him?

Tonight's game will go a long way with me in determining if Tracy is just trying to bide his time with some words before he breaks out. I know he has a full four quarters of dominance in him. He's 28 years old and there is no way I believe he is so out of shape (NBA basketball superstar shape that is) that he can't go 4 quarters hard on 2.75 days of rest. To win this series, we have to have 4 full quarters, it's as simple as that. With a banged up team and only one of our two star players, it's on Tracy to get it done. He will need his teammates, but not nearly as much as they need him.