“Indeed, it’s time. We’ve all laid aside disguise but you.”
Fuck the Rockets, James Harden, Patrick Beverley, Chandler Parsons, the officials, Patrick Beverley’s mask, misleading camera angles, the Houston announcers, and the city of Houston in general – apologies to Slim Thug. Apologies for the language too, but I’m angry and this is a blog with no standards except to put in some dragon shit when applicable.
The beginning was cool though. Remember, all the way back when the ball was zipping around and the defense looked competent and the jumpers were falling like snickerdoodles from heaven? I rather enjoy those moments. They put me in that state of mind where I just want to sit out on the porch and listen to James Taylor and talk about constellations.
But the truth is, I don’t really know that much about constellations and maybe the utopian illusion, James Taylor or otherwise, was just that, an illusion. I mean, look at North Korea – just don’t look too close.
Even while the Blazers held a 7-point lead at halftime and 12-point lead going into the fourth quarter, there were signs that the seemingly comfortable lead was really a façade, a bunch of cardboard buildings with nothing inside. Or maybe they had things inside but they were all ready to be easily burned to the ground.
I’m not normally one to blame officials for the outcome of a game, BUT: the officiating was terrible. There were missed calls, blown calls, and – shall we say – “creatively interpreted” calls. The crown jewel of which was probably an and-1 call on a Harden layup against LaMarcus Aldridge when Aldridge could be seen on the replay clearing the scene and not making even the slightest jersey brush of contact on Harden. Even one of the Houston announcers said that there was no contact. The other announcer, inexplicably, agreed with his comrade but then noted, “You gotta call it tight!”
Other disastrous errors of whistling included a foul on Damian Lillard against Beverley when Beverley first traveled to step back to the three-point line in the corner, then pump-faked to get Lillard in the air, only Lillard jumped right by him with no contact at all. Beverley received three free throws. Later, early in overtime, Lillard would foul out when his arm ALLEGEDLY touched Beverley in the face as Lillard tried to drive past him, causing Beverley to launch backward and onto the ground. I’m sure there were plenty of similar controversial calls against Houston, but hey! You gotta call it tight!
The call against Lillard and the murkiness and controversy around whether or not he touched the mask of Beverley is an easy and fun point to pick as the cause or symbol of the Blazers’ demise. But the game never should have gotten to that point – it never should have gotten to overtime. Blame imperfect free throw shooting, LaMarcus still not being quite back in peak form, curious inbounds plays, and opting not to foul Harden with 8 seconds left in regulation while leading by three. Blame whatever you want, really. It doesn’t matter. Harden burned it all down.