Thursday, April 23, 2009
Blazers/ Rockers : Fortune Favors The Bold. Vegas Favors The Home Team.
Editor’s Note: What follows is an exchange between Defend Tiller management and Mr. James Hovacious--the acting director of Defend Tiller paramilitary operations. These messages were shuttled—at great personal risk—between Tiller and Portland using the hobo railroad and an elaborate system of encryption. Any grammatical errors are the result of multiple translations and retranslations between English, Spanish, West Slavic, Coptic, and coffee house open mic.
Okay so after watching the game and then the highlights and then the final two quarters of the game a second time I have come to the following conclusions.
Last night I was under the assumption that if I created a game plan from what I saw that:
A: The blazers would take it to heart and execute it during game 3
B. Everyone would be really impressed that I went through such lengths to support my team and my community.
Obviously neither is true but hey......
Things I learned:
I cannot wait to play in Houston for the following reasons
1. Aaron Brooks obviously still plays well in Oregon . I guarantee you he does not shoot that well anywhere else in the world.....except maybe mac court...Brooks will be different in Houston, still effective but different.
2. Houston 's game plan from this point on has got to be centered around stopping Roy at any cost. Which should open up opportunities for Outlaw, Aldridge, and Fernandez to get involved. Which is our only chance in the long run. If Roy doesn't score over 28 for the rest of the series I think we have a good chance to win. All season the Blazers have been at their best when they move the ball and get everyone involved last night was the Roy and Aldridge show and it worked but it won't work for three of the next five.
The NBA officiating has been awful not just for our series (I'll get to that) but for the entire playoffs thus far. I've watched at least part of every game thus far and have not been impressed. What people can and can't do on defense seems to be determined by not only the player's rep (i.e. LeBron, Kobe , Pierce) but also by the quarter. Fouls that weren't being called in the first half are suddenly issued in the second. I watched Chris Paul get called for a palming violation (which he clearly was guilty of) but for three quarters he and Billups had been making the exact same move and had never once been called. Now all of a sudden it's the fourth quarter of a tight game and you call him for it not on a move to the hoop but while he is bringing the ball up the court......strange.....I think so.....
Houston vs. Portland vs. the refs
Now I could complain about how Yao was never going to get a fifth or sixth foul last night regardless of what he did on the defensive side (rape Brandon Roy on his way to the hoop) or on the offensive side (grabbing and holding Oden while he fronts him) which was called.......on ODEN!!! but I won't rather lets talk about the last two minutes when three times the officials stopped play allowing Houston who had no time outs to set up on defense or create an offensive set. As a coach I am familiar with some officiating no-no's the first of which is once you give a player the ball on a free throw line you do not rush in while he shooting and grab the ball from him in order to discuss something briefly with one another before handing him the ball back to shoot........This was outrageous, Aldridge on the line for the front end of two very important free throws, dribbles twice, comes up to shoot and then has a five foot ref grab the ball out of his hands......Absolutely cannot happen if he had missed I would have gone ballistic.....that was at the 1:45 mark. At the :32 mark with Houston out of timeouts Brooks hits a three with two of his teammates yet to cross the half court line. He is about three feet behind the arc and the official is standing in perfect view holding both hands up in the air. Yet here comes the same official halting play to check for about .5 seconds on the monitor allowing Houston to set up in a full court man to man that nearly creates a turnover....Additionally instead of getting the ball to Roy of Fernandez two excellent free throw shooters we are forced to pass it in to Outlaw.....an okay freethrow shooter with no pressure, guaranteed to miss at least one of two at the end of the game.
I was freaking out.......as was [Official Defend Tiller Paramilitary Mascot] Eisha kitty.......tell me you watched the game and tell me you still don't think the answer is bringing our third string point guard in to run the offense.....Bayless is a stud but he is not a true point at this time and they always play better down by thirty against the second string....
Fantastic analysis. My brainstorming about Bayless was caused by a severe dosage of Mescaline, which I mistook for "Ibuprofen." Please also disregard my wild fantasy about creating a basketball out of cotton candy and baby tears.
But... despite your assertion that my fellow UO graduate Mr. Brooks will be unable to maintain his shooting hot streak (9 for friggin 12), I remain less than convinced. I was only able to watch the second half due to class commitments, but during that stretch Mr. Brooks was able to dribble in and out of our defense with little resistance. Granted, we were meeting him at the basket when he attempted to go baseline... but from the top of the key he was able to get whatever he wanted. If he cools down to 50% he's still gong to be deadly. Bayless is obviously not the answer, and Blake did a pretty admirable job of staying in front of him. But the coaching staff didn't seem to have any faith in Sergio, who didn't even last three minutes off the bench.
I think our bench needs to get it together ASAP. Brandon and LA can't carry us every game on the road. Oden did an admirable job during his 12 minute/ 6 foul stint, but we'll need his presence longer and Outlaw's jumper more consistently down the stretch.
Had a dream last nite, well had a couple a dreams but only one the briefly involved the Trailblazers. It's come to that, I'm dreaming about a professional basketball team. Anyways I'm at Grandma's house watching the game and the Blazers have in Blake, Bayless, Roy, LA, and Oden......was it a glimpse of the future.....maybe......near or distant is the question. Bayless on Brooks, Blake on Battier, Roy on Artest, etc......Battier is the mismatch but I wouldn't mind making him the primary option.
Nuggets look very good against a lost Hornets team....but let's wait to see what happens in New Orleans....I think it might be similar to the Hornets/Spurs series where the home team owned the first few games........I just think Chris Paul is too good not to get a win or two at home.
Hawks.....Although the losers of last night game have the best chance to beat the Cavs in the east......Yes you read it right, consider this.....The Hawks split with Cavs during the regular season each team winning both games at home.... They have a handful of athletes physically capable of at least staying in front of LeBron (as well as anybody else). They are young and athletic and get up and down the court in a hurry. A problem for players such as Big Z, and Ben Wallace. In game one of the Heat series they looked as good or better (thanks Leroy) as any team in the playoffs and they have a clutch performer in Joe Johnson.
Orlando will play for the Eastern conference championship regardless. I think Boston makes it out of Chicago in 7 but the Magic are too good at too many positions. If they ever figure out that giving the ball to Dwight Howard in the fourth qtr will continue to get them good shots they will be very hard to stop. (Howard reminds me of young Shaq, not as big but a better athlete. He has trouble at the line but even if he only gets one of two down the stretch you are still coming away with points every time and getting the other team over the foul limit. Plus they have to double, in Philadelphia's case every time. Howard is a pretty good passer as well.)
(Editor's Note: There was more to this last message, but it was lost in the digestive track of a human mule. Multiple attempts to retrieve it using horse laxatives have not been successful. Stay tuned for further installments.)