Portland at Houston, 9:30 p.m. ET -- The AP reports: The strategy seems simple enough: Pass the ball to Yao Ming. Once again, the Portland Trail Blazers shut off that option for the Houston Rockets and stayed alive in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs. Yao scored 15 points—but only two in the fourth quarter—in the Blazers’ 88-77 win on Tuesday night to force Game 6 on Thursday night in Houston. The 7-foot-6 Yao, a seven-time All-Star and Houston’s leading scorer at 19.7 points per game during the regular season, took only four shots in the last quarter and the Rockets were outscored 24-15. The Blazers have mostly defended Yao by putting either Joel Przybilla or Greg Oden in front of him and then double-teaming whenever he touches the ball. Yao found a way to score 24 points in Game 1 and 21 in Game 4, leaving the game plan for Game 6 fairly obvious—at least to him... LaMarcus Aldridge scored 25 points for Portland in Game 5, complementing Brandon Roy’s 25. Aldridge scored 27 in the Blazers’ other win in the series and has averaged only 13 points in his team’s three losses.
Can't help but be nervous about this game tonight. Rockets need to come out with energy, not like game 5. Artest needs to start being aggressive. And the entire team needs to start being patient in getting Yao the ball.