My computer was spending a cruel hour I had a night to spend, sleeping in bed, nursing my allergies (Cherry Blossoms, I think. Nature’s cruelest act, that a flower display so beautiful, a shade of pink that sings so sweetly, makes me want to sit in my house all day.) and considering last night’s game in aggregate.
What I came to, in my dreams, was that this game was fundamentally unjust, an open display of a universe in imbalance.
Late in the second quarter, LaMarcus Aldridge hit James Harden in the nuts. It happened. We all saw it. James Harden collapsed to the floor, writhing in a pain many of us have felt.
Then, it happened: a vicious crowd of jackals, drunk on beer and fueled by an intangible anger towards Harden, a fire in their hearts fed by announcers, radio men, fan bloggers, and society itself, let loose with boos.
The Rose Garden boo’d a man who got hit in the nuts while he lie on the floor. By all rights, everyone in that stadium should have had their eyes wedged open while James Harden personally took his revenge on the Blazers that evening, collecting 50 points on route to a Rockets buzzer beating victory while everyone’s cup slip in half and spilled soaked the entire arena, once a community gathering place, now a church that worships only cruelty, in a sticky/sicky beer/booze mixture.
But it didn’t happen this way. The Blazer managed to pull out a victory, leaving a void in the universe that demands to be filled. Destiny now demands, that the Blazers and Rockets meet in the playoffs. Justice demands the Blazers lose. I am sorry, that’s just the way it is. Blame the misguided passions of those who would cry for James Harden’s nutblood.
Otherwise, this was a good game. The first half was very close, the second half wasn’t until Cory Brewer had a freakish 17 point offensive explosion. If I hadn’t once seen Brew score 50 points in a single game it would have been the strangest thing I ever saw. The Rocket’s down-late strategy was interesting: they went for really aggressive for steals.I suppose, if you don’t care about fouling, it’s a proper risk/reward
Another strange thing: Meyers Leonard checking in for a foul-betroubled Lamarcus Aldridge, getting worked in the post by Donatas Motiejunas, who is smaller and thinner than he is, then drilling two three pointers in close succession, sparking a rally, yelling a lot, and getting a pretty red face. It’s funny to watch him play, sometimes, because he is such a good shooter from three, but his release is SO SLOW that he passes up on a lot of shots that would be no brainers for most 40-some-odd-percent three point shooters. The Rockets did a pretty bad job guarding him, because it’s not that hard to keep him from shooting a three.
Alrdidge’s foul trouble had him with five fouls and five minutes to go in the fourth. The Rockets managed to fandangle a switch. This left our man staring ol’ Jimmy Harden, king of the foul, right in the face. Lamarcus swallows his fear, get into a stance, ready for the whistle that will send him to the bench at any moment, and he dances. He dances for love, for life, for justice. He keeps step with the Trickster God, and stifles him. Harden has to pass out (Eventually, Brewer hits a three. Weird game, man.), his dreams of foul outs dashed and defeated. It was a moment of true bravery.
The first quarter ended with TWO impressive attempts against the clock, the first from Corey Brewer (It went in.) the second from Afflalo (It did not.) Exciting length of the court play from both sides. Speaking of the length of the court, the Rockets managed to really get out in transition in the first half. Active hands from Brew, Harden and Josh Smith.
There was a play. The Rockets went into the backcourt. A violation was imminent. But Alonzo Gee, god bless, went for the ball. Josh Smith touched the ball, took the backcourt, and broke up the play. Josh Smith also dunked on Kaman real good.
If Gee could shoot threes, he would be a very good NBA player. I still think he should get McCollum’s minutes.
Aldridge took two three pointers early, missed one, and didn’t return to the promised land. When will he just make his home there?
The Robin Lopez post up, where he camps in the lane gets a pass and IMMEDIATELY turns and hooks the ball, is a good play, but one that pushes the limits of the three second violation every time. If he had to move close to the basket, God forbid, it would never work.
Afflalo was not great. Watching him work in the post makes me miss Wes, who only got down there when he was absolutely sure it would work. This is the difference between these players: Afflalo seeks to make his own advantage, Wes hunts for any advantage he might be able to find in the context of the game.
I think Harden is a brilliant player. But when he does the ball-show thing and doesn’t get a call, it looks so, so silly.
Jon Barry on the call, again. Oy vey. At one point he suggested that Ariza hit the backboard instead of hitting the ball so the rim would shake and knock the ball off. It was very silly.