Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Thrilla Night

It seems almost rude to single out any one player for praise in a game featuring great all-around team play. There was LaMarcus Aldridge canning jumpers and improving his defense in the second half on Luis Scola. And Brandon Roy battling influenza-like symptoms to provide stability in the fourth quarter. And of course their was Rudy Fernandez, who, despite scoring just seven points, kept Shane Battier busy running all over the court.

All of those performances are worthy of kudos, but for me, this game was all about Joel Pzybilla. Przy's stat line in Game 5 isn't going to wow anyone, but he played an integral role in winning what will hopefully be the first of three elimination games.

Consider that Przybilla finished each of the previous games in the series with no fewer than four fouls. Tuesday night, just two, none of which came against Yao Ming. He had two steals, as many as he had in the first four games combined. But the big number was four, as in a career-high, not to mention team-high, four assists for Przybilla. That's the equivalant of Rudy getting 10 blocks in a game. And it's probably not worth noting considering the minuscule sample size, but while we're showing the big man some love, might as well note that the Blazers are 2-0 in the series with Przybilla gets more than one dime.

But maybe the most important number is 33, as in the number of minutes Joel was able to play tonight. He stayed out of foul trouble, held Yao in check (with a huge hand from Greg Oden), was a major factor in holding the Rockets to just three offensive rebounds, set solid screens that drove Battier to frustration and generally provided the rugged play that we've come to expect from the Thrilla'.

Przybilla has often looked tired postgame during this series. A night of throwing your body against Yao will do that, but after Game 5, Przybilla looked refreshed. He looked like a guy who was ready to go again. In fact, it was Przybilla's son Anthony who seemed ready to doze off in the locker room postgame, not that his dad would let him.

"You're not tired are you?" said Przybilla to his heavy-eyed offspring. "The fun is just starting."

You can say that again.


Kristin said...

It's nice to hear that Joel is ready for more. He played so well tonight and it showed in the end result. The people we needed to step up tonight did. It was nice to see LaMarcus' shot start falling again. It was just nice to see the guys play like we all know they can.

Thanks for posting so late. The post game energy has me up late as usual. Go get 'em in Houston, and enjoy the torrential downpours (a sign Portland is due to win one down there).

hg said...

Winning like we did last night is the best cure in the world for fatigue.

I have never singled one player out for a lost and I have never pointed to one person for a win. It is what it is win or lose it is a team thing.

Great win, The Fun continues as I am again guaranteed to get to watch the Blazers one more game.


Adam said...

You can't have a name like ''The Ghost Face Przybilla'' and not be a stud. His game was crazy last night. Get it in Houston, Trail Blazers!

Anonymous said...

pryzbilla puts in so much hard work day in and day out, and i have a feeling that if we win a championship with him on the team, he is guaranteed to have his jersey number retired. He will never get eye popping stats or allstar votes but its usually the hard workers and hustlers like him that receive the greatest honor by the teams, a number in the rafters.

Junniper, MPA said...

So glad Joel is finally getting some love! He is an excellent ball player and keeps that team going. One issue, though, can we not put typos in the headline? ThRilla Night!!

millertime said...

he is the toughest center in the nba. he would lay out howard if he wanted to try to throw elbows at the back of the gurillas head. go blazers

Ramsey said...

The Thrilla (spelled correctly, you left out the R) is my favorite. He seems like a great mentor, as well as a pillar of support. A 7 foot 1 pillar