(For Blazers playoff coverage: 2009 NBA Playoff Coverage: Portland TrailÃƒâ€š Blazers)
Posted by Andy Popp
A Road Win Away From Round 2?
Just when you thought they were dead, the Blazers might be who we thought they were.
Aside from a few lapses in the 3rd and 4th quarters, the Blazers finally played their game Tuesday. They out rebounded the Rockets, forced turnovers, had four players in double digits, attacked the basket and Blazers not named Brandon Roy got to the freethrow line. It looked like the Blazers had finally shed their playoff nerves and reverted back to playing the basketball that got them a home court advantage.
And the referees let them slug it out. The veteran crew of Dan Crawford, Bill Spooner and Leon Wood decided it would be best of they just let the teams play. In a series that's been plagued by touch fouls and seemingly endless quarters because the Blazers are in the penalty the 10 minute mark, we finally got to see them play playoff basketball.
Over the series, many fans have been vocal about Rudy Fernandez's lack of minutes. Last night we saw him takeover Nicolas Batum's. Fernandez was not only the first player off the bench for Nate McMillan, but started over Batum at the beginning of the 3rd quarter. Fernandez didn't do anything spectacular on the offensive side of the ball (7 points), the real difference he made came defensively with 3 steals and 2 blocks over 35 minutes.
It's unfortunate they didn't regain their confidence earlier, but the Blazers are far from dead.
The focus now shifts to tomorrow's game 6.
*Photo by Seschloss, full set from game here.
Links de jour…
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- Maybe you're in the mood for a throwback Rasheed Wallace/Isiah Rider story.
- Do you like your blazer recaps peppered with witty pop culture references? No, you don't. Read Dwight Jaynes on the debacle with the officials instead.
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Andy Popp is a Portland native that loves sports and beer. When he's not at PDX Pipeline, you can find him at lowposts.com. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org