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My OFFICIAL prediction for Rockets-Blazers series

April 17th, 2009
by John

I was asked by a certain basketball publication (online version) which I won’t name (yet) to provide my prediction for the Rockets-Blazers series. I was flattered they asked, and I sent it to them yesterday.

Well, I just found they posted it…but guess what? They changed alot of my words around to fit what they think I SHOULD have wrote to fit the theme of their article! WTF? Unbelievable! So just in case you’re coming over from that site (which I won’t reveal because I don’t want to give them ANY pub until they fix it), here’s what I wrote ORIGINALLY:

Before the Rockets blew their 14-point 3rd quarter lead to Dallas in the regular season finale, Houston was headed for a dream setup in the playoffs as the #3 seed: Home court advantage, a series against the Hornets/Spurs/Blazers, and they were out of the Lakers bracket for the next playoff round. Under that scenario, I predicted the Rockets would go all the way to the Western Conference finals.

That all changed with their choke job Wednesday night against the Mavs.

Now after dropping all the way to the 5th seed, no home court advantage, and having to play against a tough and athletic Portland team, the Rockets are psychologically damaged, dreaming about what could have been.

Meanwhile, they are also still trying to figure out how to win tough games on the road against good teams, and will continue to fail to exploit the defense when Yao is fronted, for some dumb reason.

As a result, I predict they’ll make a series of it against the Blazers, but will ultimately lose once again in the first round. The monkey will still be on their back for not winning a playoff series in over a decade.

After that, the off-season will be interesting with major changes expected. Except for Yao who is still untouchable, I expect Artest will not be signed, and Shane Battier, and maybe even Aaron Brooks, will be traded. They’ll do that in pursuit of trying to acquire a scorer who can complement Yao, and who can deliver with clutch performances late in games to put them over the top.

So there you go, my official prediction. [UPDATE: to their credit, the publication ended up updating my post to my original version right here. One of the commenters criticized the incorrect version posted because it didn’t make sense]. It ain’t pretty, but in order for the Rockets to get to the next level, they will have to go through a little more pain on their way to finding the right players. I really think they’re only 1 or 2 players away.

The only way I see Artest coming back is if there is NOT enough money for him to make elsewhere through free agency (in this economy, the $ may not be there), and he accepts a mid-range offer from the Rockets that doesn’t bust their bank so they can sign that big-time scorer I mentioned earlier. The decision for Ron to come back to the Rockets will be on him, but only at the right price for the Rockets.

Enough of the off-season talk: let’s see if the Rockets can go out there and prove me wrong!

18 Responses to “My OFFICIAL prediction for Rockets-Blazers series”

  1. Jeff Says:

    Artest is useful for the Rockets, because he can defend and score at the same time, unlike Battier who can only defend.

    He should be kept in the line-up, if the Rockets can affford the money.

    The Head Coach should be replaced for too many repeated mistakes. Only a fool makes the same mistake twice; and Idleman is, beyond doubt, a real fool.

  2. pryuen Says:

    Personally, I rate Shane Battier's value way over Ron Artest in Rockets.

    Shane's basketball IQ/EQ is much much better than Ron Artest.

    And I'm not sure if fans noticed how Ron Artest's boneheaded plays and ill advised shots had caused many many of Rockets' defeats.

    He is not the type of team-oriented player like Shane. And Shane's contribution to the team sometimes could not be genuinely reflected in his stats.

  3. YaoMingMania Says:

    I should have probably elaborated why I thought Shane Battier might be traded, but they only allowed me to provide 250 words. Battier gets a lot of credit for doing the little things that don't show up in a boxscore, but I think there comes a time when enough is enough — if your starting small forward only scores 5-10 points a game, that's a problem. It's kind of like Chuck Hayes, who used to get a lot of kudos for doing the little things and being a great defender when he was a starter, but we all knew he wasn't qualified to start forever because of his inability to score (really hurt them during the Utah series a couple of years ago), which made them go out and get Luis Scola and draft Carl Landry.

    I just think if they lose another first round series and Shane is MIA in the scoring column, Daryl Morey has got to wise up and call it a day with Shane, who makes $5 million a year, but still has decent trade value.

  4. YaoMingMania Says:

    I should have probably elaborated why I thought Shane Battier might be
    traded, but they only allowed me to provide 250 words.

    Battier gets a lot of credit for doing the little things that don't
    show up in a boxscore, but I think there comes a time when enough is
    enough — if your starting small forward only scores 5-8 points a
    game, that's a problem. It's kind of like Chuck Hayes, who used to
    get a lot of kudos for doing the little things and being a great
    defender when he was a starter, but we all knew he wasn't qualified to
    start forever because of his inability to score (really hurt them
    during the Utah series a couple of years ago), which made them go out
    and get Luis Scola and draft Carl Landry.

    I just think if they lose another first round series and Shane is MIA
    in the scoring column, Daryl Morey has got to wise up and call it a
    day with Shane, who makes a lot of money for what he provides ($5
    million a year), but still has decent trade value.

  5. airchina23 Says:

    I might be too optimistic, but I think if the right team shows up, Rockets take this series in 5 games. I know no one else in either fan base would agree with me, but I really don't see the Blazers posing as a threat.

    Of course, everything could change if the Rockets lose the opening game tonight. Then I'll be really pissed.

  6. airchina23 Says:

    I’m curious, which online publication is this. Can you twitter me the answer? my twitter login is AirChina23.

  7. d Says:

    Props to you for journalistic integrity.

    Regarding the blazers and Houston series, I respectfully disagree. I get all the upside of this young athletic team was good @ home. Defensive teams tends to shine in the playoffs. Of the ESPN and Yahoo analysts, I am little surprised that many analysts are picking Portland to win over Rockets.

  8. YaoMingMania Says:

    I hope I'm wrong. Thanks for the props, BTW.

  9. ymmer Says:

    you'll be glad you were wrong. rox in 4

  10. YaoMingMania Says:

    I'd be ecstatic if I'm wrong. Rox in 4 is a little too bold for me, though.

  11. Ree Says:

    Did my comment show up? -faint- I keep messing up posting. Let's enjoy this postseason together. WHAT A GAME! WHAT A PERFORMANCE BY YAO!!!

  12. Ree Says:

    What a game!!! Glad you are posting for post season games. Watching Rocket games feel different without Yaomingmania!

  13. ymmer Says:

    given the 1st round format and homecourt disadvantage, i think they have a bigger chance finishing the series at home, which makes rox either in 4 or 6. 6 is more likely, but 4 isn't out of possiibility coz this blazer team is too young and this rox team is a totally different team w/o t-mac.

    looking forward to your postgame analysis…

  14. YaoMingMania Says:

    I'm about to post my post-game update. It was such a late game, I fell
    asleep writing it.

  15. YaoMingMania Says:

    It was DimeMag.com. After they complained, they may have removed it.

  16. ymmer Says:

    given the 1st round format and homecourt disadvantage, i think they have a bigger chance finishing the series at home, which makes rox either in 4 or 6. 6 is more likely, but 4 isn't out of possiibility coz this blazer team is too young and this rox team is a totally different team w/o t-mac.

    looking forward to your postgame analysis…

  17. YaoMingMania Says:

    I'm about to post my post-game update. It was such a late game, I fell
    asleep writing it.

  18. YaoMingMania Says:

    It was DimeMag.com. After they complained, they may have removed it.

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