Ron Artest Is the Roy Stopper
That is fine -- you cannot be an honest broker of credit without delivering equivalent blame. As such, Yao Ming's success gave way to LaMarcus Aldridge's failure. This is true: Aldridge played poorly, and that hurt his team. But such obvious failure masks the other failure around a player. It's easy to blame Aldridge, so he soaks up nearly all the lashings. This isn't quite fair to LMA, because ... well, Brandon Roy had a pretty bad Game 1 too.
In this points-driven business, few noticed. Roy was the only Portland starter with at least 10 points, and one of only two Blazers total to reach that threshold. Of course, Roy needed 23 shots to get those 21 points. That's quite poor. Roy was an excellent scorer this season in terms of efficiency and would be expected to get 26 points out of those shots based on this year's work.
(Of course, those five points wouldn't have made beans of difference Saturday -- as I said, there is plenty of blame to go around. Putting five points here or there is ignorable.)
The optimistic Blazers fan might believe Roy's performance will rebound in Tuesday's Game 2, and that their star will offer up better efficiency more in line with his 2009 production. The optimstic Blazers fan, however, should pay attention to Roy's history against the particular defender who held him to poor efficiency Saturday, the defender who will again line up across from Roy on Tuesday night.
That defender, of course, is Ron Artest, a man who has spent the past three years locking Roy up. This chart shows Roy's production in total over the last three years in comparison with his production when matched up with Artest in three key offensive areas: shot creation, shooting efficiency and turnover frequency.
As you can see, in the nine games in which Artest has matched up with Roy, the Blazer has shot less frequently, less efficiently and has coughed up the ball more frequently. Notably, Roy doesn't draw fouls as much when opposed by Artest. Anecdotally, he is forced to rely on his jumpshot more frequently as Artest's strength and quickness prevent the Blazer from getting to the rim at will.
Roy is a cerebral player, so he may be able to overcome Artest's stellar defense. But history -- even if just nine games -- indicates Roy will continue to have problems solving Ron-Ron. In that sense, if this is as good Roy can do against Artest, the Blazers really do need Aldridge to clean it up.
Data from Basketball-Reference, as always.