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One Long Blog Entry for Houston Game
posted: Thursday, December 21, 2006 at 2:17 PM

OK, we've had some issues with our wireless connection at the Rose Garden, but I think we have them fixed for the Toronto game on Friday. Here is a blog for the Houston game:

Big one tonight, and I'm talking about the game, not that 7'6" center for the Rockets (though Yao sure did get a nice ovation from this Rose Garden crowd). This one is big because it's the Trail Blazers chance to running their winning streak to five. If they get it, the streak will be their longest since the 2002-03 season, and the best stretch of Nate McMillan's tenure.

Here we goooooo………

If the first 6 minutes are any indication, we're in for a defensive battle.

On almost every one of Houston's possessions the ball is going through Yao in the post. He's not going especially strong to the hoop, rather shooting the absolutely un-blockable turnaround jumper – but he's been catching a lot of iron, and only a bit of net, lucky for Portland.

Zach on the other hand is going strong to the hoop. One two consecutive possessions Zach has driven into the lane and earned a trip to the line.

Bonzi Wells just checked in, and he's getting NO love from the Portland fans….

But Brandon Roy, well… he just got a standing ovation. This is what we've all been waiting for…

11-14, Rockets.

And wow, we didn't have to wait very long. Brandon just slashed through the lane, got fouled, and made the bucket. Three-point play opportunity after the timeout.

And of course, Roy converts.

Bonzi Wells has taken two shots in a row now and missed them both. Well, one the former Trail Blazer didn't even get off – Travis Outlaw put the lid on it and turned the block into a Rocket's turnover.

Each time Bonzi gets the ball the “Booo's" rain down from the Rose Garden crowd, and it seems for the better. Wells is energized by his detractors, and as a result he's trying to quiet the – but instead of playing solid basketball, he's forcing up bad shots.

Good work Portland fans. Keep it up.

At the end of one things are all tied up, 20-all.

Roy hits again, this time from near the top of the key. No signs of rust. Got to love it.

Got. To. Love. It.

Trail Blazers lead, 28-25.

After all the recent drama in New York, it's probably best to err on the side of caution when giving out fouls these days, but Travis Outlaw delighted Portland fans by stopping Bonzi Wells' dunk attempt.

And just now, oh my goodness, say it aint so. Travis FLEW up, out of nowhere, and crushed Yao Ming's shot attempt into the stands. This place is rocking! Standing ovation, and I'll say, you can expect that baby on SportsCenter tonight.

Forcing turnovers!

That's two on two possessions. First Juan Dixon stole the ball in the backcourt and converted on an easy layup. The next play Portland bounced the ball off Bonzi Wells out of bounds.

It keeps getting louder, and the Trail Blazers keep looking better.

38-31, Portland.

Looking Good

Portland closed the half strong, and will begin the third with a nice little cushion – 10 points to be exact. The Rockets are no prolific offense, but they can still score in bunches. If their three-point shooters, of which they have many, heat up, things can change in an instant.

So you can bet that coach McMillan is telling his team to keep the pressure on. If Portland can do what they did in the first-half, they have a very good chance of winning this game.

The battle between the team's two stars, Zach Randolph and Yao Ming, is pretty tight, but at the moment, Zach's got a slight edge.

Randolph has 13 points and a game-high 9 rebounds to Yao's 13 and 4. At this pace, Zach could rack up a new career high.

Oh boy did Zach just pick Yao's pocket. And after a quick Rockets start, the Trail Blazers went on a run of their own to open the lead back up to 10 on a Joel Przybilla dunk.

After that timeout was called and Jarrett Jack and Joel made their way to the Portland bench together with big silly grins on their faces -- laughing and slapping fives all the while. Gotta love that. These guys are having fun out there.

52-42, Portland.

It's gotten ugly. Not that the Rockets are coming back, but that both teams are having trouble keeping a handle on the ball. Passes are missing their marks, balls are being dropped, and easy shots are way off, if they're even being set up.

But with Zach's two free throws, Trail Blazers up 12. Six minutes left in the third.

Back-to-back baskets over Yao! I couldn't believe it when Zach scored over the NBA's premier center with a jump hook, but when Jarrett's floater made it's way past Yao's outstretched hand… well… that's cause for celebration.

Yao, however, is doing some good work on the offensive end. He's drawing fouls, making shots, and is tied with Zach Randolph's 21 points for game-high honors.

I could see Shaq giving Yao a nickname. “The Big Quiet," he might call him. But the most massive, mostly calm Houston center just showed a little emotion after hitting a sweet turnaround from the baseline despite the foul.

But far from quiet is the Rose Garden. Jarrett Jack's three at the shot-clock buzzer pumped the season's decibel meter to a new high – thanks in part to a fuller than usual Rose Garden.

Yao is on a TEAR!

The superstar center scored the last 11 Houston points… but he couldn't stop Travis Outlaw from beating the third-quarter buzzer, keeping the Trail Blazer lead at 10.

70-60 and we've got one left to play.

Every Trail Blazer is getting in on the action. This is just the kind of team-first ball that Coach McMillan has been talking about since he got here. And not-so-coincidentally it is team ball that has gotten Portland their last four wins.

78-70, Trail Blazers.

Time for Portland to get low into a defensive stance, move their feet, do what they can on Yao, and keep the teamwork.

Wow. Travis. Out-LAW! Making big plays on both ends. Blocks on one, clutch baskets on the other.

After knocking a Houston shot off course that would've brought the Rockets within one, Outlaw comes down and sticks a 15 footer. Four point swing, and the Trail Blazers are up five.

3:34 to go…



Unbelievable no-call leaves Roy on the floor and the Rockets on a fast break. Two free throws from Juwan Howard puts the Rockets within two.

Trail Blazers time-out. 1:17 remaining.

Dixon off, Rockets with a chance to tie. Chants of “DE-FENSE" rock the building.

The shot is off! Trail Blazers rebound!

Timeout Portland.

32.8 seconds left, Trail Blazers with the ball. Neither team has a foul to give.


A sweeping hook and it goes in as Brandon gets knocked to the floor! And if that doesn't make the rookie who just missed 20 games deserving of the hype, nothing will.

Just unbelievable. What courage. What poise.

Portland up four.

But a quick Rockets hoop and they're right back in it!

Good game of keep-away and Jarrett Jack will have two free throws with 10.1 seconds to go. Like those odds, as Jack is one of the NBA's top free-throw shooters.

Hits them both.

Luther Head for three!

.8 seconds left. Z-Bo at the line for two.

Hits the first!

One more ought to ice it.

Or he could miss intentionally…

Misses and Trail Blazers WIN! FIVE STRAIGHT!

Fabulous performances all around. A total team effort. Boy, could things be any better?

Blogger BGtodd said...

This game felt like a playoff game in the second half, although it was played well from the start by both teams. The energy level in the last quarter was amazing! Zac purposely missed that last free throw with less than a second to go; great basketball play to seal the victory! If he makes it, then .8 seconds is enough time to throw an out-of-bounds baseball pass for a catch and shoot for OT. Remember Terry Porter's double-clutch three-pointer against Seattle? --- Yao is magnificent and single-handedly carried the Rockets in the third quarter. When Tracy McGrady returns, look out! --- I loved the defensive intensity of the team. --- Outlaw was incredible! The crowd woke up when he abused Ming's floater! --- Roy was smooth, like "A Natural". --- Dixon showed great court sense and energized the already buzzing crowd with his great hustle: steal & score, then creating a Rocket turnover by tipping the ball and then diving to the floor, alertly tapping the ball while completely prone off of Bonzi's foot. --- What can you say about Zac except "All-Star" all the way! He has an amazingly soft touch in traffic and consistently scores off his own misses down low. --- Udoka is my favorite player: Tough, clutch, rock-solid defense. Reminds me of Buck Williams with his quiet leadership, letting his play do all the talkin! --- And Joel - Can you say "BOO"?! There were several errant Rocket shots that were lofted off-course because of Joel's presense. Without him the Blazers can't apply the kind of defensive pressure they did against Houston's outside shooters. --- Jared Jack! Great court sense on offense, hitting the screens, cutting hard and finding the open spot 12 to 17 feet out and stickin' it! Fantastic! --- Magloire, workin' hard keeping Yoa off the block most of the time. --- Webster is getting better all the time, stayed at home on defense! ----- Overall, the most consisent energy I've seen yet from our team. This team can win 40 and possibly make the playoffs.

9:37 PM  
Blogger 973 Blazer fan said...

I didn't see the game because they don't televise to many blazer games where I live. (New Jersey) But I make sure I watched an and every highliht I could. But anyway I understand how Nate run his offense but it seems like the blazer squad are limited to their offensive potential.Like for example, the game when they played the Bucks,Jack had 30 and 10. Martell had about 19pts and Zach had 20 and 10. How come he won't let them do that every night? LATER....!!!

9:17 AM  

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