News » Houston Rockets Getting Inside 2009-12-08

Houston Rockets Getting Inside 2009-12-08

Houston Rockets Getting Inside 2009-12-08Rick Adelman had seen enough from Portland's Brandon Roy to consider taking the ball out of his hands with the game on the line Saturday.

The Rockets coach considered sending an early double team to Roy, but that likely would have left someone open with a very good look to win the game. Had the Blazers run a pick-and-roll, he still might have trapped Roy, but knowing this, Roy asked to be isolated, and Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan obliged.

Over on the other bench, Trevor Ariza asked for another shot at stopping Roy. Shane Battier had offered to switch assignments, but Ariza wanted to stick with the job. Adelman agreed.

He did not want to hand the Blazers an open shot with the Rockets holding a one-point lead, knowing that Roy is too fine a passer to miss the opportunity. But more than that, this what Adelman believes. He likes to empower players to put responsibility on themselves and then puts them in position to do what they do best.

For all the changes in his role, defending with the game on the line is still what Ariza does best. He did not do a bad job either, challenging Roy's drive until Roy reached Chuck Hayes, another stellar defender, who had stepped out to cut him off.

Roy hung in the air and twisted around Hayes to get his shot to the rim, where it bounced twice and in. The defensive strategy did not work. It was, however, the sort of move that Adelman has made with great success for years.

"That's coach's style of coaching," Battier said. "He lets us play. He lets us play to our strengths. He doesn't interfere too much with our jobs. He gives us freedom. It's up to us to go do it. I thought Trevor did a good job on him. He made a lot of tough shots down the stretch. You live with it."

TRAIL BLAZERS, 90, ROCKETS 89: The Rockets have seen this before. A year after Brandon Roy beat them by catching and shooting a 30-footer, all in eight-tenths of a second to beat the buzzer, he took them apart down the stretch Saturday more gradually, but as assuredly.

Roy scored the Blazers' final 10 points, including a twisting drive with three seconds left, to give Portland the one-point win, ending the Rockets' three-game winning streak.

With Greg Oden out sidelined by a knee injury, Houston's power forwards had repeatedly given the Rockets the lead. Carl Landry grabbed the rebound on three consecutive missed shots, drawing fouls and making free throws. Luis Scola hit 20-footer with 9.9 seconds left. They combined for 43 points. But after Roy's final drive, there was time only for Aaron Brooks to make a rush toward the rim. His runner over LaMarcus Aldridge missed, and the Rockets left lamenting that they could not stop Roy again.

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Added: December 8, 2009


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