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Rockets/Blazers: Game observations and bullet-points

Recapping games and doing "journalist" type stuff... so not my thing.  I'd much rather just rant and rave and post my observations and things I see that the Richard Justice types never will because he is they are too busy using Google Images to search for incriminating photos of Brad Mills.  I mean, how else do they keep their jobs in this economy?  Anyway...

  • Holy hell the Rockets look tiny next to the Blazers!  Granted, most teams are going to look small going up against a front-line of Greg Oden, Joel Przybilla and LaMarcus Aldridge.  Those dudes are TALL. 
  • After this season is over, the whole world will finally appreciate how much of a badass Yao Ming is.  For all the criticism he's taken for being "soft" or "overrated" or "slow defensively," only in his absence will people truly understand how great he is.
  • Okay, so maybe Luis Scola won't go 20/10 this year.  You have to look for your shot more to get 20 points and the Rockets appear to have adopted a more democratic sense of offense.  This may or may not be a good thing.
  • Did Carl Landry shrink 3 inches in the off-season?
  • Kyle Lowry showed why the Rockets won the Rafer Alston trade .0001 seconds after it was made.
  • For all the pre-season hype and talk, Pops and Joey continue to be non-factors in the rotation.  Against a big team like Portland, you would think they would get more court-time.
  • David Andersen had about a 5 minute burst in the 4th Q where he actually looked really, really good.  Is this what I can expect for the next 81 games?  If so... I'm completely on board.
  • Chase Budinger can dunk?  Must have learned that playing volleyball...
  • Greg Oden did get 12 rebounds and 5 blocked shots.  But, uhhh, we basically handed that s--t to him.  The dude is a monumental bust for a #1 overall pick.  He can't run or shoot.  And after 2 years in the league, you'd thnk he'd have at least some modicum of an offensive "go-to" move.  And yet....... all he has is that stiff-legged, line-drive hook shot.  Not exactly inspiring stuff.  Somewhere Durant is laughing.
  • Everyone is praising Chuck Hayes for playing amazing last night.  And yes, for Chuck Hayes, that was one hell of a good game.  The problem is that Chuck Hayes at his absolute best is only about 65% of a competent NBA center.  We may be "solid" on team defense with Chuck, but the Blazers still out-rebounded the good guys 51-33.  Yes, the Rockets only got 23 defensive rebounds the whole game.  That is bad.  It's not Chuck's fault, but his personal disadvantages are representative of the entire team's defensive problems.  "Doing your best" works just fine in little league (at least that's what my parents told me), but this ain't little league.
  • As for our biggest acquisition - Trevor Ariza - he had a quick offensive burst in the first quarter.  Then he kinda disappeared.  His defense was "okay"... Outlaw was just on fire and no one was gonna stop that without earning a suspension for illegal cut blocking.  But, Ariza has one major flaw in his offensive game:  he has no handles.  Ron Artest may have looked sloppy dribbling the basketball, but he was so strong that you couldn't take it away.  Ariza looks very fluid, and yet - he can't dribble with his left hand and Portland just attacked him every time he put it on the floor.  I am not sure how we hide this in the future.
  • Nice to see Rick Adelman in post-season form asleep on the bench at crucial times. 
  • Luis Scola, Aaron Brooks and Trevor Ariza just found out how tough life is in the NBA when you don't have a Yao, Kobe, McGrady, Artest or Gasol around to take attention away from you.
  • On that note - someone needs to tell Aaron Brooks that we don't care if he is 0-6 from deep - you HAVE to take that open 3 pointer at the end when it's available.  Do you think Reggie Miller passes up an open three even on a cold-shooting night?  Hell naw!
  • In the end, we should all applaud the Rockets for fighting back in the end.  They were down 20 early in the 4th Q and could have easily gone Tennessee Titan (and by that I mean "giving up completely").  Instead, they fought back with important contributions by the new guys.  That was inspiring.  If only there was an NBA genie that could grant my wish to make everyone on our team 10% taller.  Or at least make every other team 10% shorter.
  • Big game tonight.  We get to see how the "run and gun" new look Rockets match up against a team that's been running and gunning to moderate success for decades:  the Warriors.