Not going to mince words. Tonight was f--king ugly. And the Rockets have only themselves to blame for the piss-poor effort in Portland tonight. Let me count the ways:
- The Rockets still haven't figured out a way to counter the Blazers fronting Yao. You'd think after 5 games a coach might have an idea or two. I guess not.
- Carl Landry and Kyle Lowry apparently were not aware that there was a basketball game being played tonight. Carl Landry walked around like he was on Ritalin™ the whole game. Lowry gave me flashbacks of one Rafer Alston. (This is not a good thing.)
- Brandon Roy had his worst game of the series. The Rockets did not take advantage. At all. Which is unfortunate, because Roy was sick tonight. He won't be sick on Thursday. This scares me.
- 15 goddamn turnovers. Most of them of the 'unforced' variety. Lowry's 3/4 court attempted alley-oop to no one in particular was especially nice. This was also 20 seconds after he dribbled off the back of Outlaw's foot. When Outlaw wasn't even looking.
- 20% shooting from deep.
- Blazers miss 7 free throws. Again, the Rockets do not take advantage of the situation.
- Luis Scola started off on fire. Unstoppable. It was like NBA Jam out there. Rick Adelman decided he wasn't going to allow that to continue.
- The myriad of loose ball fouls that were wholly unnecessary. Get back on defense and quit slapping at the ball when Portland gathers a defensive rebound. (Yes, I am again looking at you Mr. Landry and Mr. Lowry.)
- Take the ball to the damn basket. Quit dribbling side to side. Matter of fact, pass the damn ball to a teammate. It's still a team game. Ball movement works wonders. I promise. Running out the shot clock and then making a last-second heave really isn't in your best interests in the long term. It's true.
- Somehow Carl Landry had the highest +/- of the game. This statistic is now rendered meaningless to me.
Simply put, the Blazers may have just played their worst game of the series. And yet they won by DOUBLE DIGITS! I realize I predicted the Rockets would win the series in 6 and that after Game 1 both teams would probably hold serve on their respective home courts. None of this has changed, but I'm far less confident going into Thursday than I was 2.5 hours ago.
I hate to say it, but the Rockets need to treat Thursday like a Game 7. There is very little room for error now. Everyone needs to get angry and follow Scola's lead.
If Yao can't get open, get the ball to Scola and Wafer and get the hell out of their way. That includes you, Coach Sleepy.
Ummmm, GO ROCKETS!!! (!?!?)