This weekend the eyes of all Rockets fans will be on Portland, as the Yao Ming and company take on the young Trailblazers. The last time the Rockets made it past the first round of the playoffs was 1997. In recent years, much of the blame has been placed on Tracy McGrady. But this time around McGrady is hurt and won’t be playing. Over at Fred’s Barber Shop in Houston, most people seem to think they don’t need McGrady.
“That’s what people say. I believe in my Houston Rockets. Plus we don’t have Tracy McGrady. Ever since he left, we’ve been winning and we’ve been playing better basketball.”
Luther Bonner says with McGrady gone, the focus should be on Yao Ming.
“We’ve got a good chance. All we have to do is run it through Yao Ming. Like play offense through him. And we’ll be all right.”
Nathan Jones likes Houston’s chances as well. He says the Rockets have frustrated him in recent years, but he’ll still be watching when the playoffs start.
“They got a good chance but they gotta win one in Portland. If they don’t win one in Portland then basically, it’s gonna go seven and Portland will win.”
Even if the Rockets should make it past the first round, almost no one is giving them a chance to go any further. Most believe the Finals will be the Lakers versus the Cavaliers: Kobe Bryant versus Lebron James. Regardless, you can bet the Toyota Center will be rocking next week when the two teams return to Houston for game three of the series.
Bill Stamps, KUHF, Houston Public Radio.