The Trail Blazers have already played the Rockets three times this season, so they've got a good idea of what their first round opponents bring to the court. Given that, I asked Steve Blake, Brandon Roy, Travis Outlaw, LaMarcus Aldridge and Joel Przybilla to give the basic scouting reports on their positional counterparts.
Steve Blake on Aaron Brooks
There’s no secrets. He’s a solid, all-around point guard. He’s really quick, a good penetrator, can finish and distribute. He can shoot the three ball pretty well. Defensively he’s really active. So he’s really a good an all-around game.
"I have a lot of respect for him. He’s earned that spot. He’s a very good, talented point guard. So I’ve got to figure out ways to stay in front of him and take care of the things that I can do: run our team and play good defense."
Brandon Roy on Ron Artest
"We’ll try to keep him out of our paint. We’re going to try to guard him almost as if he’s kind of like Kobe and those guys. We’re going to try to make his looks tough because he’s their second leading scorer. We’re going to really focus on trying to wear him down. That’s kind of our thing now, body him. He’s a physical player but we don’t have many guys that are physical with him. So we’re going to try to apply those things."
Travis Outlaw on Shane Battier
"He’s a defensive-minded player. Active hands. When you’re shooting, he do a little trick with his hand to try and put it in your face to throw your shot off. Just follow through with it and everything should be all right. He’ll try to take my right hand away. So you go left. I think everybody knows me for my one dribble pull up, so I’ll add another dribble on to it, hesitation. Just everything. You got to feel the momentum of the game. That’s when you start feeling their moves.
"On offense, you just try to run him off the three-point line. I mean, if you’re going to try and limit his attempts from three, it can help a little bit."
LaMarcus Aldridge on Luis Scola
"Solid player. He can knock down the 18-footer. Pretty solid defensively. He’s just a solid player. You have to watch him.
"I always try to start out getting deep post position. My whole thing is doing it the whole game. I think as the game goes on and they send two or three guys at me, I tend to not fight as much. So I just have to keep trying to fight the whole game."
Joel Przybilla on Yao Ming
"He tries to catch the ball as low to the hoop as possible. You’ve got to limit his touches, really. He’s going to get his touches, to tell you the truth, but the thing that I try to do is push him out as far as possible. The extra foot or two may cause his percentage to drop. If he’s on the block he may be shooting 55 percent but if he’s two feet off the block he’s maybe shooting 40 percent. That 15 percent makes a big deal, especially in a playoff series.
"On defense he’s so big. With him, he’s always in the paint because he’s so big, he can always touch someone to keep from getting a defensive 3-seconds call. He’s always there. You try to take him out of the paint by doing a lot of screen and rolls, getting him moving, wear him down, things like that. Try and wear him down, run him up and down the court."