We now return you to Round One of the NBA Playoffs, with your host, Rick Daniel of the Houston Rockets.
After that excruciating game one loss, I had to regroup. My shot wasn't falling in practice at all and I was struggling in scrimmages so I didn't know how effective I was going to be in game two. I had a plan however, for how I felt I could best help the team: I was going to re-double my efforts as a role player. I'm not nearly the highest-rated player on my team, we have the league MVP and I'm not even playing my natural position because we have someone better than me playing it. That told me that I needed to step back from the limelight. We don't need me to be the star. We don't even need me to be the Scottie Pippen/James Harden of our team. We need me to not do what I did at the end of the last game - cost us a win. That I can do.
With this new-found focus on not failing
, we won game two pretty handily. I only scored 7 points but I only took five shots. I also didn't turn the ball over and has two assists and two rebounds. We won but it was deflating to my ego.
The next game, with the series tied 1-1 was in Minnesota and I again went full-out role player. I finished with 13 points, but four of those came on end-of-game free throws to ice the win. Again I didn't turn the ball over and I notched 1 board and 1 assist but... do you remember when I said last post that my confidence was rattled? It's absolutely shattered at this point.
Most frustratingly, Brandon Roy is having his way with me. He's just too big and athletic for me to guard. I'm not sure what I'm going to do.
No, actually, I know just what I'm going to do.
I ran through a series of scrimmages and shootarounds before the next game, getting myself back into shape. When game four rolled around I wasn't feeling quite as good as I thought I ought to but my desire to be Role Player #3,521 was gone. I was going to go all-out.
The practice paid off. Not only was my shot back in full force but I was a step quicker on defense and got a career high two blocks.
I had my handle back as well as I ran up the score with a game-high 17 points, to go with 3 rebounds, 2 assists and the aforementioned 2 blocks on 50% shooting (7-14 overall, 3-6 from range).
I got Player of the Game honors and we won! Yes!
I'm so pumped - we're going to the next round!! WOO! We all danced on the floor and got ready to see... who... what?
What do you mean, there's another game against Minnesota, back in Houston? We won! We... oh. Math has conspired against me. 2 road wins plus 1 home win does not equal 4 total. Dammit. Ok, back to Houston.
(on the floor for game five) "Ok, so I can't count! I can still shoot, so isn't that what matters? Gimme a break!"
I started the game with a mid-range jumper and an assist to Kevin Martin for a three, but my mark, Brandon Roy, scored the first 10 points for Minnesota. I mentally noted that and decided to see if I could keep him down the rest of the game.
I shot well this game, scoring 21 points on 8-12 shooting (3-4 from long distance) but I'm most proud of my six assists - most of them to K-Mart who went on to score 31 in a rout. The best part though, was that after that 10-point spurt to start the game, Roy only had four more the rest of the way. Ha!
Ok, now how many wins was that again? How many did we need? Are we moving on now, for real this time? We are? Good. God, I hate math.
Unfortunately I still don't know who we're playing. The Warriors led the Nuggets, three games to two last I saw but that series wasn't decided when I came to post this. What was decided though, was that I had Style.
Yeah, nice, huh? I'm ready for the conference semi-finals now. Are you?