Related News

Home » Sports » Basketball

Portland works out strategy to slow Yao

THE Portland Trail Blazers pulled out a rarely used strategy to slow Houston Rockets star Yao Ming, employing giants Joel Przybilla and Greg Oden in tandem at times.

Portland had trouble against Yao in the first game of the NBA playoff series. The 2.29-meter center from China had 24 points, going a perfect 9-for-9 from the field and 6-for-6 from the free-throw line, in a 108-81 victory.

But they handled him better in Game 2, and the Blazers went on to win 107-103 on Tuesday at the Rose Garden.

The Blazers' adjustments included fronting Yao rather than playing behind him, double-teaming him and playing 2.16m Przybilla and 2.14m Oden at the same time.

Portland coach Nate McMillan had only employed the idea once before, during a game against the Boston Celtics in December.

"Coach thought it would be a good matchup with what they were doing, and guys really stepped up during that time," Oden said.

McMillan took the approach one further, trying a lineup on the floor at one point that he had never used before, with Przybilla, Oden, Sergio Rodriguez, Rudy Fernandez and Travis Outlaw.

Yao, who got into foul trouble, had 11 points and eight rebounds in just more than 31 minutes. He was 3-for-6 from the field. "What can I say?" Yao said. "Those guys are quick learners."


Houston coach Rick Adelman said the Rockets will have to adjust to the Blazers' adjustment for Yao.

"If they're going to sacrifice and do that, then other people have to step up," he said. "It's a fine line - we took a couple jumpers from the free throw line. If those are going down, we are in great shape. If they're not going down, he's not going to get the ball."

The Blazers' defense of Yao tragically became a bigger issue for the Rockets on Tuesday when reserve center Dikembe Mutombo injured his left knee in the first quarter and was taken from the court on a stretcher.

The 2.19m veteran from Congo said the injury ended his 18-year career.

"I thank God a lot for all of his blessings, for putting such great people around me, all of my life and throughout my career in the NBA," he said. "I just have to go out with my head up and go out without regrets. I have so many things that I can be thankful for over my 18 years."


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend