The Four Winners, Four Losers in Rockets' Game 5 Win
Worrell: "If Calvin Murphy were playing Mo Williams tonight" ... @bull50 "There'd be a few punches thrown, don't you think?"— David Barron (@dfbarron) May 1, 2014
In honor of my friend and colleague, Sean Pendergast, if leads for the Rockets were characters from The Sopranos, they would have all been whacked in the first four episodes of season one. Yet another good sized lead came tumbling down in game five despite the Rockets holding on to win. I would never encourage the Rockets to get behind early, but maybe just keep it close and not worry to much about leading. Save that energy for late in the game...that or learn how to close out.
The trajectory of Aldridge's scoring in the series has looked a bit like a chart of the stock market circa September, 2008. He has scored in order of games 46, 43, 23, 29 and 8. Some has a change in the defense being played on him (How could it have been worse than in the first two games when he was being compared to Hakeem Olajuwon?), but it is also possible that things are simply evening out for the Blazers All-Star power forward. No one imagined he would continue to score 40 a night as the series progressed any more than we should think he won't hit double figures in game six.
James Harden vs. Wesley Matthews (if you are a Rockets fan)
Before this series began, I really didn't have a clue who Wesley Matthews is. By the time game four was in the books, I was describing him as the modern-day equivalent of Jeff Hornacek, a member of the Utah Jazz in the '90s universally hated by Rockets fans. His defense on Harden has been nothing short of outstanding and after a 3-17 drought from the three point line, he has been lighting it up from downtown. He, via Portland coach Terry Stotts's game plan, has also exposed some continued defensive struggles from Harden in an attempt (successful apparently) to wear down the Rockets guard early in the game.
Mo Williams's Mouth
At the end of game four, Williams got in the face of rookie guard Troy Daniels as the Rockets left the floor. He continued his "mind games" when he was quoted in the Portland papers talking about the "young fella" (he refused to use Daniels's name) and clearly trying to get in his head. It didn't work and the entire team rallied around Daniels with some punishing treatment of Williams throughout game five, including a slight forearm shiver from Chandler Parsons. If Williams had the ability to back up his yapping with his play on the floor, it might be one thing. As it is, he's better off keeping his trap shut.