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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 18, 2009 11:09 PM. The previous post in this blog was SoWhat greenway hits toxic snag. The next post in this blog is Another "snazzy" linchpin. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Game report: Rockets 108, Blazers 81

Well, there's two hours of my life I'll never get back. The Houston Rockets gave the Blazers a serious shellacking tonight -- one of their worst home playoff losses ever, 108-81. The game was over in the first three and a half minutes. Yao Ming scored 9 points in that span of time, and Aaron Brooks had Houston's other 2, while the whole Blazer team scored only 2. After that, the Blazers never threatened.

Yao killed them. But it wasn't just Yao. Brooks scored 27 and dished out 7 assists, embarrassing the Blazer defense time after time down the court; nobody laid a hand on him. Ron Artest scored 17 points on 7 for 12 shooting. Luis Scola added 19 points and 8 boards.

Offensively, the Blazers had little going on. Their long bombs weren't going in, and they had nothing else to offer. Yao completely scared them away from trying to drive to the basket. They looked as though they didn't know what they were doing. Clearly they did not show up ready to play.

The referees were terrible -- both ways, but especially against the Blazers. It was a no-name officiating crew, and one that doesn't belong in important games. But it really didn't matter much -- the Blazers were stone cold beat from start to finish.

The home crowd at the Rose Garden wasn't impressive, either. With nothing to cheer about, in the second half it vacillated between library silence and several chants of "These refs suck!" The house entertainment program, never one of Portland's strong points, has become so irrelevant that the more seasoned fans resorted to an old-fashioned "Let's go Blazers," trying to drown it out.

A first-game playoff loss may or may not shake a team's confidence, but getting blown out of its own building, trounced in every department, is definitely going to have Portland looking over its shoulder come game 2 on Tuesday. It's a good thing that the Blazers held their victory party in Pioneer Courthouse Square on Thursday. Barring a miracle -- and especially if they don't shut down Brooks, who isn't as good as Portland let him play tonight -- they'll be available for autographs at golf courses throughout the area quite soon.

Here's our patented lousy photo from the game. This was first quarter action, with LaMarcus Aldridge taking a rare inside shot. After this, I put the camera away, and there wasn't much to move me to take it back out:

The halftime show was Red Panda Acrobat, a gal from San Francisco who balanced on a tall unicycle and flipped multiple bowls onto her head with one foot. She really got the job done. For Blazer fans, it was the only good part of the night.

UPDATE, 2:07 a.m.: Rich Adelman's a darn good coach -- always has been.

Comments (16)

The victory party on Thursday featured a "Beat LA" chant. So ridiculous.

I've played enough sports to remember what it feels like when you know you are better than your opponent. It's a different level of confidence than just being hot. It's that 100% certainty that if you just play like you can, you will win. It makes things a lot easier.

The Blazers could yet win this series. Underdogs sometimes do. But the Rockets believe in their hearts they are better than us and that's a tremendous problem.

I didn't see a Blazers choke, even though they were clearly tight. What I saw was a team that couldn't do its thing because the other team had clamped down on them. We could still win but we are in real trouble here. We do not match up with these guys very well and that is not something adjustments can change. The Rockets will have to choke a little to lose this or get injured and the Blazers will have to play out of their minds. That's the sad truth and it was evident at their place last time we played them.

I was proud of Aaron Brooks. I can't help it. He showed Derrick Rose-like cool tonight.

The best thing about the game: Spinal Tap in the house.

The Blazers aren't going to win any games in which Brooks gets 27. You've got to hang this loss largely on Blake. Outlaw also looked like he might be picking up playoff disappearances where Cliff Robinson left off.

Spinal Tap IN THE HOUSE! Yesssss!

The game reminded me of the championship series with Chicago when Jordan Nike'd in walking on air and broke the Blazers' spirit beaten lopsidedly at home. And the refs had the leading Assist stats, feeding Michael. Either there were two or three Big Games which fit that description, or else I have merged multiple mirages into one. Those Blazers bounced back (except not quite high enough), and these Blazers can't.

Rick Adelman coached those Blazers. And he has exacted long-running vengence on Blazers, with whatever team he's given -- he'd beat them with a high school junior varsity, or Yao Ming, because of the dirty deal when the Blazers dumped him. I didn't know he was at Houston, and the instant I saw that, tonight, I knew Paul Allen's pretenders are pickled. 4 and out.

Paul Allen: pull out of Portland. Thank you bye.

These guys summed it up pretty well. "No empiezan con buen pie el play off," indeed.

Watching the game was depressing. It seems like we couldn't get anything going: the Rockets were effective in completely neutralizing our strengths. First home game Rudy didn't get a three; LA & Outlaw couldn't sink anything. The only strong point of the game was that Oden was in it to win it -- good head, decent game considering.

Biggest problem I noticed was the rebound game -- we had so many misses that the Rockets nearly always capitalized on while we failed on getting rebounds.

On the radio, Wheels summed it up best (and I paraphrase): "Rockets put it up ... and what do you think?" Any shot the Rockets put up was gold; we couldn't get a basket for any amount of effort.

PS: When the Morrison bridge re-opens, check out the buildings downtown: our office has "GO BLAZERS" in 27" letters across our floor.

Houston foul shots: 28
Portland foul shots: 16

uncalled elbows, hooks and shoves by Scola, Artest & Yao: 138

# of time Houston fought to the basket: 85
# of time Portland fought to the basket: 7

Pryzbilla, Roy and Oden(!) were the only players who played with any ferocity.

and Houston got an amazing gift in the officiating. it set the tone from the first few minutes. it was surprisingly awful.

It's all about match-ups and I knew it was bad when Houston fell to #5. Home court looked like the only saving grace, but that's not going to do any goog now. Portland would have destroyed San Antonio last night, but thanks to a late game collapse by New Orleans and a lousy last game performance from Houston, this is what we get. Houston is the legitimate #2 seed in the West. Had it not been for the .500 part of the season when they adjusted to the loss of McGrady, they would be.

Likewise, had Detroit not had all the Iverson distractions at the end of their season, they could have got that one extra game that would have sent them to Boston and matched up very well.

This is the error in not giving Bayless more playing time after Blake came back from injury. Blake can't keep up with guys like Brooks and Chris Paul. Neither can Sergio. Period. So either his 3 pointers are falling or he gets his ass whooped. Bayless needs big first half minutes and he's going to have to use all five fouls he has to slow Brooks.

A 75% shooting avg. most of the first half for the Rockets seems unsustainable, except when you consider the shots were primarily from Yao in the paint, Yao on the perimeter, and Yao from the foul line.
Yao now bangs inside like Shaq, but with finesse.
Can the Blazers neutralize their big man?
That is a key question.

I think the difference (for Houston) this year is that Yao looks incredibly focused. Adelman has clearly made this team Yao's team, and he has responded. Perhaps playing the Olympics in his home country, and now being the leader of this team are what caused the change, but Yao has the air, the swagger of Shaq in his prime. I think Houston could easily get to the Western Conf. finals. Portland may not be the only speedbump they run over.

"But there is no joy in Mudville— mighty Casey has struck out."

Houston in 5.

Portland will win game 2, but stand no chance in Houston with their 20-21 regular season road record. They will come back to Portland looking at a 3-1 deficit and without a player with the will to win like a Kobe, Lebron or Kevin Garnett or a reason to win like the Rockets (10 playoff appearance first round exits), Houston will take the series from Portland in the Rose Garden.

Houston in 5.

Portland will rebound by winning the next four.

Then go on to the finals and lose to Cleveland 4-2

Unless Portland gets the same officiating gift in #2 that Houston got in #1, this one's over in four.

Ecohuman, let us know where you live and we'll get the whaaambulance over there ASAP.

I sat 9 rows from the floor at game 1 and then watched it again on DVR tonight. Here is my simple, yet keenly observed conclusion - at this point in their development and level of experience, this team has some great individual raw talent, lots of potential as a collaborative unit, but many of the key players are s-o-f-t. They were manhandled, plain and simple. I don't think a few days of practice nor Sarge's best, creative schemes are going to do much to rectify that issue. Hardening players to the combat of the playoffs takes years...not days. This is over for this year. How quickly is academic, but let's chalk it up as a growth opportunity and maturing process.


As a lawyer/blogger, I get
to be a member of:

In Vino Veritas

Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
Kiona, Lemberger 2014
Willamette Valley, Pinot Gris 2015
Aix, Rosé de Provence 2016
Marchigüe, Cabernet 2013
Inazío Irruzola, Getariako Txakolina Rosé 2015
Maso Canali, Pinot Grigio 2015
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Kirkland, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2016
Cantele, Salice Salentino Reserva 2013
Whispering Angel, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2013
Avissi, Prosecco
Cleto Charli, Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco, Vecchia Modena
Pique Poul, Rosé 2016
Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Rosé 2016
Stoller, Pinot Noir Rosé 2016
Chehalem, Inox Chardonnay 2015
The Four Graces, Pinot Gris 2015
Gascón, Colosal Red 2013
Cardwell Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot 2013
Della Terra, Anonymus
Willamette Valley, Dijon Clone Chardonnay 2013
Wraith, Cabernet, Eidolon Estate 2012
Januik, Red 2015
Tomassi, Valpolicella, Rafaél, 2014
Sharecropper's Pinot Noir 2013
Helix, Pomatia Red Blend 2013
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2013
Locations, Spanish Red Wine
Locations, Argentinian Red Wine
La Antigua Clásico, Rioja 2011
Shatter, Grenache, Maury 2012
Argyle, Vintage Brut 2011
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16 Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2014
Benton Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
Primarius, Pinot Gris 2015
Januik, Merlot 2013
Napa Cellars, Cabernet 2013
J. Bookwalter, Protagonist 2012
LAN, Rioja Edicion Limitada 2011
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Rutherford 2009
Denada Cellars, Cabernet, Maipo Valley 2014
Marchigüe, Cabernet, Colchagua Valley 2013
Oberon, Cabernet 2014
Hedges, Red Mountain 2012
Balboa, Rose of Grenache 2015
Ontañón, Rioja Reserva 2015
Three Horse Ranch, Pinot Gris 2014
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
Nelms Road, Merlot 2013
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Pinot Gris 2014
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2012
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2013
Villa Maria, Sauvignon Blanc 2015
G3, Cabernet 2013
Chateau Smith, Cabernet, Washington State 2014
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16
Willamette Valley, Rose of Pinot Noir, Whole Clusters 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Ca' del Baio Barbaresco Valgrande 2012
Goodfellow, Reserve Pinot Gris, Clover 2014
Lugana, San Benedetto 2014
Wente, Cabernet, Charles Wetmore 2011
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
King Estate, Pinot Gris 2015
Adelsheim, Pinot Gris 2015
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Intrinsic, Cabernet 2014
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Layer Cake, Shiraz 2013
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Dunham, Trautina 2012
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Stoppa, Emilia, Red 2004
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The Occasional Book

Phil Stanford - Rose City Vice
Kenneth R. Feinberg - What is Life Worth?
Kent Haruf - Our Souls at Night
Peter Carey - True History of the Kelly Gang
Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games
Amy Stewart - Girl Waits With Gun
Philip Roth - The Plot Against America
Norm Macdonald - Based on a True Story
Christopher Buckley - Boomsday
Ryan Holiday - The Obstacle is the Way
Ruth Sepetys - Between Shades of Gray
Richard Adams - Watership Down
Claire Vaye Watkins - Gold Fame Citrus
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Anthony Doerr - All the Light We Cannot See
James Joyce - Dubliners
Cheryl Strayed - Torch
William Golding - Lord of the Flies
Saul Bellow - Mister Sammler's Planet
Phil Stanford - White House Call Girl
John Kaplan & Jon R. Waltz - The Trial of Jack Ruby
Kent Haruf - Eventide
David Halberstam - Summer of '49
Norman Mailer - The Naked and the Dead
Maria Dermoȗt - The Ten Thousand Things
William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying
Markus Zusak - The Book Thief
Christopher Buckley - Thank You for Smoking
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Joseph Conrad - Heart of Darkness
Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
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Sara Varon - Bake Sale
Stephen King - 11/22/63
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Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
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Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
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Peter Ames Carlin - Bruce
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Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
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J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
Timothy Egan - The Big Burn
Deborah Eisenberg - Transactions in a Foreign Currency
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Slaughterhouse Five
Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
Natalie Babbitt - Tuck Everlasting
Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 113
At this date last year: 155
Total run in 2016: 155
In 2015: 271
In 2014: 401
In 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269

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