Damian Lillard: Stotts COY and LA's game
HOUSTON – Don’t know what to make of the Houston Rockets’ jovial mood after their Game 1 overtime loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday. The very next day, and the day after, the team was in good spirits, cracking jokes and laughing.
It has been a bizarre scene in the practice court area of the Toyota Center. You would have thought they had won the opening contest. Dwight Howard is going to be Dwight Howard no matter the situation, but it appears there are about 12 other Dwight Howards on the roster, as well.
Kevin McHale has even been light-hearted these last couple of days, too. When you ask him a serious question regarding stopping LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard, he chops it up to just having to make adjustments like it’s that simple. The thing that was most noticeable out of all this was that there didn’t seem to be anybody holding anybody accountable.
It was as if McHale doesn’t believe Portland can win another game in this series, judging by his, and his team’s demeanor. It was a fluke, is the vibe I’m getting.
You visit Portland prior to them getting set to practice and it’s a more subdued, converged atmosphere. This is not to say one team is more prepared than the other for a Game 2 win tonight, but the drastic contrast in game preparation is noteworthy.
[Jaynes: Ex-ref Tim Donaghy: It seemed like Foster had money on Portland and Salvatore had money on Houston]
The Trail Blazers aren’t in this series for giggles. It’s real out there for them.
“We’ve got to be the desperate team and come into the game like we lost Game 1,” Earl Watson said. “We can’t let up. We’ve got to stay hungry. That’s our mentality.”
Unless probed and unavoidable, Aldridge cares not to mention his 46 and 18 performance in Game 1, knowing those number aren’t carrying over into Wednesday’s game. It’s a new day. It’s a new challenge, one that will be more difficult with each game. Regardless how Houston prepares for games, they’ll be a desperate bunch tonight.
“We haven’t done anything yet,” Nicolas Batum said. “It was nice to win the first game but that game doesn’t win you the series. We have to take it game-by-game. We’ve done this before, you know, start off good. Now we want to finish it this year.”
A hungry, Portland Trail Blazers (0-1) squad looks to get greedy tonight with an appetite set on going up 0-2 over Houston Rockets (0-1) in this first round playoff series.
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Radio: Fox Sports Radio 620 AM.
Place: Toyota Center.
2013-14 Season Series: Rockets 3-1.
CSN Programming: Rip City Live begins at 5:00 p.m., Talkin’ Ball is immediately following the game and Trail Blazers’ Pulse is right afterwards.
Probable Starters for Trail Blazers: Damian Lillard, Wesley Matthews, Nicolas Batum, LaMarcus Aldridge, Robin Lopez.
Probable Starters for Rockets: Patrick Beverley, James Harden, Chandler Parsons, Terrence Jones, Dwight Howard.
History between these two teams courtesy of Trail Blazers media relations department:
Playoffs All-Time Record: Rockets lead 10-5
In Portland: Trail Blazers lead 4-3
At Houston: Rockets lead 7-1