Game 1 Road Victories Huge – Who has the Edge? Orlando or Houston?
May 5, 2009 by AlexV
Last night presented us with a pair of game ones on TNT that just about went down to the wire, but most importantly, had the road teams winning. The first game featured the three seeded Magic and two seeded Celtics in Boston with Orlando getting the W. The second game was the five seeded Houston Rockets at the one seeded Lakers in Los Angeles. with the road team pulling out a crucially upsetting victory. This is a great position for any team to be in, and especially a considerable underdog like the Houston Rockets. With that being said, who has the greatest advantage?
One advantage both teams earned with their victories is home court. Aside from that there are other mental factors that can provide advantages as well as some disadvantages.
The Orlando Magic looked solid and efficient as they worked their way building a huge lead which at one point was as high as 28 points midway through the third quarter. Their big four scorers of Dwight Howard, Raefer Alston, Hedo Turkoglu, and Rashard Lewis all posted 10+ points and they also received a boost from Mickael Pietrus who stepped it up adding 10+ points of his own. All in all it definitely looked like the fatigue from Boston’s seven game, multiple overtime series with Chicago was beginning to show.
That was until they began a spurt which saw them outscore the Magic 54-41 in the second half, and even close the gap to four points when there were less than two minutes left in the game. Now it’s one thing to win on the road and pull off a game one victory. But when you cannot keep the clamps down after building a 28 point lead in the third quarter against a team who is supposed to be tired and is playing without Kevin Garnett and Leon Powe, that should do more good for they psyche of the Celtics than it does for the Magic.
As for the Rockets, they managed to stay within their game the entire contest versus the Lakers. Even when L.A. converted a nine point deficit in the second half into a one point lead, Houston never waivered and stuck with their game plan a got back to holding onto comfortable leads of five to nine points. Much of that had to do with the careful and mistake-free ball handling of point guard Aaron Brooks.
On top of that, they received en emotional lift when Yao Ming was hurt after Kobe Bryant’s right knee banged into his own right knee. Yao was favoring the knee very heavily and he even walked off the court before pleading with his team trainer that he was fine and able to go back. All he did in his return was hit a big jumper and sink six free throws to keep LA at bay in the waning moments of the game. Now if that isn’t good for a fifth seeded team’s confidence faced with task of taking down the daunting L.A. Lakers then I don’t know what is.
Because of the Rockets consistent game play in their victory coupled by the determination of Yao Ming, I would give them the edge on the advantage end over Orlando. As for the Magic, it is great that they won on the road, but they were basically hanging by a thread as the game was expiring, and perhaps they have yet to face a fully alert and enthused Celtics team.