Monday, April 6, 2009
One step forward ...
Last night's loss to the Houston Rockets is going to go down as one those games you really wish you could have picked up. It could have been a two-for-one in the Western Conference standings, a tie-breaker, a marque road win late in the season. Instead, it goes down as another what could have been road loss.
Portland did clinch a playoff spot thanks to the Mavericks dispatching the Suns with extreme prejudice, but now is no time to be satisfied with simply making the postseason.
“I congratulated the guys for getting there but our work is still not done," said Nate McMillan. "We have a chance for home court and we have to keep working for it.”
Despite the loss, there's some motivation to be found. As many have pointed out, there's a decent chance the Trail Blazers, now assured of a playoff spot, will meet the Rockets in the first round of the postseason. There are probably better matchups for the Blazers, but there are definitely worse.
But according to at least one member of the Rockets, Portland v. Houston is the preferred pairing.
“I think we played pretty good against the Trail Blazers," said Aaron Brooks, who finished with 14 points and one assist. "In a first round match-up this might be our most favorable one, honestly."
I appreciated Brooks' honesty. Looking at the matchups, he may very well be right in his assessment, but according to Brandon Roy, it might not be best to judge Portland by what they showed last night.
“If we play them again we know we can do it," said Roy. "Our attitude today was that we were too relaxed. In the playoffs I think you will see a different team from both of us. We’ll be ready if we have to play them again.”