Well, Red Nation, it is looking bleak in H-Town. After two disappointing losses by our Rockets to put them down 0-2 to the Portland Trailblazers, the scene now shifts to Rip City (of which I did not know the meaning of until recently, but nonetheless…) for Game 3. The Blazers have a shot to potentially kill the Rockets’ chances essentially by winning this game. On the other hand, if the Rockets win this game, it is a confidence builder first of all. Secondly, they avoid the sweep and no matter what, the series goes back to H-Town.
The summary of this series so far has been quite simple. LaMarcus Aldridge has been shockingly hot. James Harden has been shockingly cold. In both games LA has been deity-like, scoring 46 and 43 points in games one and two. Harden, our savior, has disappeared. Similar to his OKC days, he has been in a shooting slump: 14 for 47 in the two games. Game 2, we learned that this team goes where Harden takes them, despite 32 and 14 from Dwight Howard. So, is it the beginning of the end of our beloved Rockets? If they don’t want to go home, they need to follow these keys:Apr 23, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) shoots during the third quarter as Houston Rockets forward Terrence Jones (6) defends in game two during the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center. The Trail Blazers defeated the Rockets 112-105. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
1. Double team Aldridge. 46 points. 43 points. Need I say more? Yes, it opens up all the three point snipers around him, like Damian Lillard, Wes Matthews, Dorell Wright, Nicholas Batum, etc. but make someone else beat you instead of him. Nullify him.
2. The Awakening of The Beard. I’m sorry, but James Harden needs to step up here. This is HIS team, not Dwight’s. Did you notice that last game? He needs to be aggressive and start going to the basket ruthlessly Instead of shooting pull-up threes all the time.Apr 23, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) reacts after a play during the fourth quarter against the Portland Trail Blazers in game two during the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center. The Trail Blazers defeated the Rockets 112-105. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
3. AVOID THE SWIFFER. AT ALL COSTS. AVOID THE FREAKING SWIFFER. Nobody has come back from 0-3. Only a few have come back from 0-2. Which brings me to my next point…
Once upon a time, a team nicknamed “Choke City” was down 0-2 to the Phoenix Suns in 1994. That team ended up winning that series and winning the NBA Championship. They now call that team “Clutch City.” So, is it the beginning of the end? Or is it just beginning?
And if you don’t know… now you know.