mikebarrett

Oct 05

Nice Way to Start

By mikebarrett
Okay.  Let's get the question out of the way-  the question I was asked about 14 times on Tuesday night.  I probably even asked it to a few people standing around me.  Were the Clippers that bad, or did Portland just play very, very well?  Because the Trail Blazers won this game by 29 points, and it wasn't that close.  Portland won it 115-86, after leading by as many as 38.

Yes, it's the preseason.  The first game of the preseason.  So, don't worry.  No one was pounding their chest after this game.  But, in terms of what we were hoping to see, and I mean from top to bottom, it was mission accomplished.  I don't care if it's the preseason or not, that means something.  And, don't think for a second Nate McMillan is going to let anyone get overconfident after an outing like this in early October.

There were many things to get excited about, while keeping in mind all the things we've just talked about.

McMillan has spent a lot of time during training camp working on defense.  He's talked about running more (I know, I know).  He's said getting stops, thanks to a smothering defense, will lead to a much easier time on the offensive end.  They've worked so much on defense at times, we've wondered out loud during practices, "Gosh.  Are they neglecting the offense part of the game?"  Clearly, that's not an issue.  At least at this point.

The Trail Blazers ended up shooting 48 percent for the game, and that total came down significantly during the late stages of the contest.  Most impressive?  The Blazers were 16 for 27 from behind the three-point line (59.3 percent).  That's another area we wondered about during the first few days of camp- "do the Blazers have enough players who are capable of hitting the long ball?"  This was one night, but, yes, it appears they do have guys who are capable.

Another observation, that I'd certainly move more toward the "definite" category, is that Wesley Matthews is going to turn out to be a tremendous catch for this team.  He's looked like a perfect fit throughout camp, and doesn't seem like a second-year player who was overlooked by every single NBA team in the 2009 draft.  His story is crazy.  How could no team have thought this guy was worth even a second-round pick?  And, it's not like we're talking about someone who grew into a role after hanging around the league for a number of years.  This was the 2009 draft we're taking about.

Matthews took home the MVP honors from the Fan Fest last Friday, which clearly doesn't mean a ton.  But, against the Clippers, he was a leader on the floor, always appeared poised and in control, and scored 20 points in 20 minutes.  Oh, and his best attribute is that he's a defensive stopper.  So, the offense is basically a bonus.  The guy is the real deal, and it's amazing how no one is talking about Portland "overspending" to get him now.  He looks like a bargain.  Add to all of this the fact that the Blazers stole him from a team in their own division, thus weakening a rival, and it just gets better.

LaMarcus Aldridge and Brandon Roy.  Solid, and solid.  No surprise.  L.A. had 17 points and 7 rebounds, and Roy had 12 points, while simply going through the process of fine tuning his game in the preseason.

Nicolas Batum also falls into the category of a "known commodity."  If he had gone scoreless, while tripping over his own shoes a half dozen times, I wouldn't have been concerned.  Instead, he had 10 points in 18 minutes.  We'll see him getting more minutes, and hopefully more shots than he took in this game (7).

Andre Miller, Jeff Pendergraph, Dante Cunningham, same thing.  All are in great shape, and had solid outings.

Now then, to the x factor.  I've been saying that the Rudy Fernandez situation isn't an issue.  Well, it may have just become one.  If he had loafed his way around the floor, looked disinterested, and basically just ran around on the court, this would be less of an issue than it is now.  Given what's been said, I think people probably expected to see that from Rudy.  Instead, he went out and reminded us that he still can be a very, very big part of this team.  Make no mistake.  Portland played some of its best basketball in this game when Rudy was on the floor.  Fernandez had 15 points, was 5 for 6 from behind the three-point line, had five rebounds, 3 assists, and was active defensively.  

What now?  I don't really know.  But, Rudy was on the court smiling, darting about, spreading the floor, hitting long shots, and putting the ball in the proper place.  In short, he was being the best version of himself, and his teammates seem to love and support him.  Was this enough to remind him of the good times he's had in Portland, and perhaps, just perhaps, was he thinking on his drive home that maybe this can work after all?

Up to this point Rudy has continued to say "nothing has changed."  Really?  Still?  I know it was one preseason game, but if you were looking for one potential situation that could possibly change his mind, this could have been it.  It's so strange.  The guy spends a couple of months saying he wants to be traded.  Then, comes out on media day and just shreds his trade value by saying he doesn't want to play anywhere in the NBA.  Then, in the first preseason game looks terrific, and most importantly, looks like an impact player in the league.  Someone else figure this out please.

The team will be back on the practice court on Wednesday morning, and Nate will be hammering away on them again.  

What were McMillan's thoughts on this game?  Click here to listen to his post-game interview with Brian Wheeler and Antonio Harvey.

Then, give me your thoughts.  Did this performance turn your confidence knob up a click?  Or, was this just simply a playoff team beating up on the same ol' Clippers?  And, Rudy.  He was given a very good reception by the crowd again, so people are obviously willing to forgive and forget.  Are you in that camp?  And, do you think this changed anything?

Fire away.



       
Previous Story: Courtside Recap
Next Story: Two Losses in Utah

54 Comments

  1. As I said before I think we'll be fast out the gate and this game just makes me think even more that way even though it is a preseason game against the Clippers.

    Rudy is certainly a enigma.

    Love Wes, but I was a little surprise he took 8 3-point shots.

    by mgb on 10/5/2010 11:03 PM
  2. I wasn't able to watch the game because it wasn't on TV and I'm not in Portland, but listening to Wheels' call, it really sounded to me like it is more a case of the Blazers being good than the Clips being bad. We didn't have any of our true 5s, and they didn't have their two best guards so I think if they had played too it would have still ended with a similar result, maybe the Clips would've cut it a little closer but not by much. I honestly believe that this team may have matured over this off-season into an elite NBA team. Roy and Aldridge seem to have accepted the fact that they're not just nice young players anymore and the team's shortcomings will no longer be attributed to youth. They have accepted responsibility as leaders and have everyone buying in this year and with the addition of potential 6th Man of the Year Wes Mathews, they might be able to do something special. This team, with its talent and depth from top to bottom looks like it will be able to compete with any team on paper and with tonight's strong effort, looks like it might be able to do it on the court as well.

    by T Russ on 10/5/2010 11:30 PM
  3. Every other game I was able to watch on a website because they are TELEVISED. Why is the Portland ones not? WHY? We are the best fans in the NBA, according to nearly everyone, so why don't we get the TV preseason games we DESERVE?

    /end rant.

    I didn't watch the game, but I thought out loud to my friends "Meh, we might win, we might lose, depends on how Nate McMillan wants the game to be played. It might just be a rookie showdown".

    I went on about my evening and decided to see who won their basketball games. I saw Portland was up by 20 EARLY. I was a bit surprised, especially since I lost some confidence in the Fan Fest (but simply because I'm a bit nervous about my expectations this season), but believe me, after hearing about this game and seeing the score, I'm satisfied.

    And let's not forget that Brandon Roy, well, wasn't exactly solid. I kind of disagree a bit there (but yet I didn't watch the game). However NBA.com has him listed as 4/11 shooting. That's not the Roy I know, but yet again, this isn't the Blazer team I know winning by 29 against a fairly decent team (The Clippers could get somewhere this season), so things should equal out. All I know is at this pace, the Blazers could lift some weight off of Roy's shoulders and he could become the all-star we need without having the burden of being the one that HAS to score.

    We've got a deep bench, we've got a great starting unit, we got a championship contending team!

    About Rudy... I just don't get it. I hear all this stuff about him wanting to leave, and then I see highlights of him on the court and he looks like he's the happiest guy ever. Maybe he wants to leave the NBA, maybe he doesn't, but I see the Blazers keeping him until the Trade Deadline at least. He's got to prove himself to the league, and the better he does, the more we'll get for him. I'd love if he stayed, even though I'm a bit mad after going to the media first, but he's a Portland Trail Blazer, and did well in the playoffs against Houston. You got to support a Blazer. After all, he's not a Bonzi Wells.

    Keep preaching defense. I asked Antonio Harvey during the playoffs when he was being interviewed by Casey "Do you consider the Blazers an offensive team or defensive team?". I don't remember his direct answer to the question, but he did say one thing I agree with. The one reason the Blazers struggled getting decent looks is because they took the ball out of their net. When you play good defense, it's cliche, but correct - it always leads to good offense. We saw a taste of that. Keep preaching defense. It wins championships.

    by Herr on 10/6/2010 1:16 AM
  4. Herr,

    While the Clippers may be a fairly decent team they did have both their back court starters out so I think that hurt them a lot.

    What is strange about Rudy too is saying he doesn't want to be traded to another NBA team he just wants to go home. If other teams believe that it may not matter how well he plays. But then again he might have felt the Blazers wouldn't trade him for what was being offered and figured if he got release he could sign with another team. Just hard to say.

    by mgb on 10/6/2010 3:41 AM
  5. Mike:

    So good to hear from you and get a great update.

    Everybody is down playing this win; they were without their starting back court, but we were without our starting Front court. We didn't play our starters to much so our bench got tons of minutes. Therefore much of this win was due to our bench, not be because they were terribly short-handed.

    The Rudy syndrome is what it is. Rudy beyond his personal wants is a true BB player, although I still feel he quit on us in the play-offs. He may be doing his Media thing just to be in the lime-lights. Of course he doesn't like coming off the bench to back up BRoy, and wants more playing time, but who wouldn't. Nevertheless, I am still for putting Wesley in front of him in backing up BRoy simply because Wesley is long term and although today is all we really have, I don't think Rudy will be around after the trade deadline.

    I do realize there is no guarantee in life or the future, but Wesley is more of a hope then Rudy is.

    As I said in the last Blog, I am glad we won, but gladder they didn't report any new injuries.

    Nate says our rebounding needs to be improved, I am sure that will happen once we get more of our bigs back.

    So Pendy played good I was concerned about that.

    Hg

    by Hg on 10/6/2010 5:41 AM
  6. thanx,MB,woo hoo.............ahhh Real basketball.Twas good to feel the blazer vibe again.Listened to part of it on the radio.Wheels is great.

    Well,you all know I have been harsh on Rudy.If he plays and keeps his trap shut,then I got no problem.I might even wear his jersey again.But,I am suspect a bit ,stil,at least till the season starts..But Nate had a great comment on Courtside.Re:Rudy,Sarge said"When they are on the court,they forget to be mad"

    .Let's hope that's the case.

    To all you people with guarded optimism,this team is going to blow up this year.If we get any kind of center play, the depth on this team is going to DESTROY other teams.
    One of the biggest things that our depth impacts is our star BRoy.Last two years ,he has had "Wear and Tear" injuries from us having to ride him so hard like a horse.Now Nic is more aggresssive,Mathews is a scorer,LMA looks confident.Now ,the whole load will not fall totally on his shoulders,which makes him more dangerous come playoff time.
    BTW,The Armonizer had a couple of steals as well.I'll bet that if he gets playing time ,he will lead the league in steals from the bench.
    Yeah,I said it... and you read it.

    BlazersRock

    by DowntownVinnie on 10/6/2010 6:43 AM
  7. Hg,

    Our starting center didn't play, the rest of our starting front court played. We had 4 or 5 starters they had 3 of 5. I'm not trying to take away from the win, but a fact is a fact. They had trouble holding on to the ball and part was Blazers and part was not having either starting guards.

    by mgb on 10/6/2010 6:55 AM
  8. MGB:

    It is true that we had only one position that was down instead of two, but that lead to too few rebounds on our part. Also our starting back court didn't play all that many minutes so I still salute our team. Now, if you had said because of the lack of depth, I may of bought into the we won because they were short-handed. Our team is an authority on playing short-handed.

    I will compromise with the fact that we played great and they played poorly, and it is only one game and pre-season and all, but from the sound of things, our team was awesome on defense that lead to great offense.

    Hg

    by Hg on 10/6/2010 7:08 AM
  9. From what I saw they had Blake Griffin and Chris Kaman. That's enough for the Clippers to be decent with the other players.

    We won, by a lot, in a game in which we should have won, by a lot. We should be satisfied. After all the Heat, with their talent, should have won by 80 points against Detriot. Yet they only won by 30 or so (forgot the score).

    Btw even though this is the preseason, I found it funny the Nets started their season with a win.

    by Herr on 10/6/2010 7:13 AM
  10. Utah should be more of a test. I bet Wesley will be up for it.

    by mgb on 10/6/2010 7:17 AM
  11. I am not going to discount any win, ever. Why? because every time this team walks onto the court, and wins, it builds confidence. And confidence is half the game.

    I was concerned about Roy, who went 0-5 in the first half. I was especially concerned when Wesley and Rudy came in and immediately turned it on. By halftime, it was almost surreal, as the Blazers had outscored the Clips 30-19 in the first qtr and like 33-17 in the second....with Brandon Roy not contributing a single point (he had 2 assists and 2 rebounds, but really? no points at all?). Then he came in after the half and put up 12 points, half of them 3-pointers. He (sounded) like the same Natural we have all come to love and respect and hinge our hopes upon. I don't think he played a minute of the 4th, since it was a run-away win. But still, I was left wondering.....what happened in the first half? Rust? Jitters? or....Matthews? Because he recovered in the 3rd, I am assuming he is okay, fine, great. But I am wondering if the relatively unexpected fierceness of Wesley Matthews, and especially his ramped up offensive game, is unsettling Brandon just a tad. If so, I hope he gets over it quickly. The last thing we need is an insecure Roy.

    I was a little peeved that Nico was NOT on the floor more. With the Martell trade, everyone assumed Nico was going to get a lot more time. With the Wesley pick-up, it looked like he might take some of Nico's time, but then Rudy-gate happened, and it seemed Matthews would get minutes behind Roy instead. Now, Rudy is play great (wth????), Wesley is a beast MacMillan is NOT going to be able to keep off the floor, and now I am worried about Batum. He NEEDS time on the floor, or he is going to become disgruntled, and his growth is going to slow down. I hope the rotation works out to his benefit, no matter how good Rudy and Wesley are. I know it was a pre-season game, but Nico barely played. I am thoroughly in love with Matthews' game, but I am a little nervous that his presence, perhaps the missing piece, is unsettling our core. I have confidence they will figure it out if that is the case..I just hope they do so quickly.

    Pendergraph impressed me, with his defensive presence and his hard work. I thought he did alright, but I will be very relieved when Camby comes back. It's true that the Clips were without their best guards, and I do think the game would have been a lot more competitive had even one of them played. However, I still think the Blazers would have won, even without a true center. We are just too loaded offensively at the moment. When looking at the box, I was very pleased to see that all the guys we need to score scored - Wesley 20, LMA 17, Roy 12, Rudy 15, Nico 10 and Bayless, Miller, Pendy, and Dante all had 8/9. Balanced scoring, tough defense (most of the time), real teamwork, good assists.....sounds like a winning combination to me!

    As for Rudy, I will never regain the respect I once had for Rudy. I also think the type of performance he had last night will come and go. I think Rudy is a dramatic and emotional guy, whose attitude will fluctuate, and unfortunately, extend to the floor. When he's playing well, Nate will use him, but if he starts pouting, he won't. Will we keep him? I don't think any team in the league is going to take him, no matter how he plays, after his media day comments. I expect to see Rudy on our bench or on the floor until his contract is up. Will I cheer for him? Sure. Will I boo him? NO. Do I forgive him? Not really, not completely.


    Vinnie: I agree with you. We are going to come out of nowhere, with everyone ranking us in the bottom rung of the West playoff teams, and just run the floor. By the time teams start to adjust to our new secret weapon, Wesley Matthews and an improved Batum, our bigs will be taking the floor, and we will be almost unstoppable. I haven't been this excited about a team (despite all my little reservations about Batum and Roy and Matthews) since the early 90s Blazer squad. Can't wait to see the national analysts eating crow in a few months :)

    by EowynAmarie on 10/6/2010 7:34 AM
  12. Looks like someone else is an Armonizer fan.
    http://www.portlandroundballsociety.com/home/2010/10/5/a-fine-beginning.html

    by DowntownVinnie on 10/6/2010 7:39 AM
  13. Jeff Pendergraph: 8 pts, 5 boards, 6 hacks, a dime, a pack, a steal, and his team won by 40.
    THAT's GOOD BASKETBALL!

    by Tobyus Sanchezo on 10/6/2010 7:39 AM
  14. Another great stat.Steals,check em out .Rudy with three.
    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/boxscore?gid=2010100522

    by DowntownVinnie on 10/6/2010 8:09 AM
  15. uh oh "Tiny" Gallon just got released by Milwaukee>Rim Crasher in college.HMMMMMMMMM.

    by DowntownVinnie on 10/6/2010 8:11 AM
  16. Eowyn Amarie:

    I agree with not discounting any win because of confidence, especially of our rookies

    I remember BRoy often starts games slow then comes on like a sneaky snake. I think that is where the Sandman nick name came from. One of the opponents says BRoy lulls him to sleep then all of a sudden he explodes on you. I hope it is not from Matthews. He said he wasn't going to come out and try to win it all in the first half of the season, but play for the whole 82 games.

    Of course I didn't listen to the game, but upon reading everything I could on the Blazers, I remember Nate saying that he knows what to expect from his starters so He wants to give his new players tons of minutes and wanted to see more of Mathews to see what offensive game he can give us. Rather that was the reason Nico only got a few minutes or not, I don't know, but Nic is one of the established players that Nate doesn't worry about. But for some reason Nate never gives Nic lost of minutes, maybe he thinks Nic is fragile. I hope Matthews isn't too unsettling to the core, but becomes part of the core. If I keep adding to the core and untradeable players we will have the same team forever LOL.

    I agree with you completely on Rudy, I not only lost respect, but lost the trust I had for him. Not because of good and bad games, but if he gets disturbed will he quit on the team again. If he has a bad game now, I won’t know if it is because he is off or because he is going off on another one of his tangents. I feel the same as you about cheering him and not booing him. I can forgive, but I can't always forget.

    Your post was terrific and very well said. I thank you for sharing your wisdom with us

    Hg

    by Hg on 10/6/2010 8:15 AM
  17. Wow, an actual game. I'm impressed with how they worked as a cohesive unit with many parts that worked well together.

    by Ancientone on 10/6/2010 8:52 AM
  18. b-roy started slow because he was being guarded by ryan gomes. gomes, formerly of the t-wolves, has always given brandon a tough time. ryan was also getting help with defending roy. the result however was one that the blazers starting line-up will see frequently, that being that nic was wide open. if memory serves, batum had a couple of threes and 8 points total in the first half of the first quarter. brandon was drawing their best defender, and a crowd. against that kind of action from gomes and the t-wolves last season nic had 31. and, now would be the opportune time to mention the sick dunk that had to have gotten the first batum-shaka-laka of the season. nic in transition, just towering over a clipper guard, crushes it through the hoop right-handed before blake griffin can even get close trailing the play.

    by reverse on 10/6/2010 9:22 AM
  19. This was a very good tune up game for the Confidence of the Blazers. I think coach M is correct in the statement that the offense will take care of its self if the team plays good D. They did that last night and it made the offense look a lot faster and easier. It was a good evening. I think that Wesley may be the player that gets us to the next level. He never gave up on his D even on the one play he was beat on, he blocked it from behind. To the people booing Rudy. Do you really think that helps him feel better about coming back? He played his tail off and is acting and playing like a pro. Give the guy a break. He is just homesick. Nothing wrong with that. It is pretty human if you ask me. I will continue to cheer all the Blazers including Rudy and the Rooks. The rooks all looked shell shocked. Luke looked lost at first and sure looked like he had the jitters. That is understandable. It was his first real NBA game. All in all I liked what I saw. It is just one pre-season game, but it looked encouraging. We shall see what happens in the future. It was sure obvious that we need a 5 pretty bad. Jeff and LA did fine but they are not centers. Pendy fouled out simply because he had to body their bigs. I sure hope we see our 5s pretty soon. We sure need them. Gooo Blllaaaazzzzzeeeerrrrrrsssssss

    by mfre111 on 10/6/2010 10:10 AM
  20. For those of you who have "lost faith, or dont trust Rudy" I can tell you never played organized basketball. Or have never coached organized basketball. You allow the media to saturate your opinion on a player. The players play on the court is the final word. If he is off, I can say to you it has zero to do with anything going on in the media. So continue to allow the media to guide your opinion, while Rudy's play speaks for himself. The guy is a tremendous player, its unfortunate for the Blazers and the N.B.A that he will leave. Actually its the N.B.A you should lose trust in, its why Rudy and others are leaving. Heck, there may even be a lock out, I don't blame Rudy, I have every trust in his game and zero trust in the politics and media insanity in the N.B.A.

    by LTG on 10/6/2010 10:16 AM
  21. here's the batum dunk:

    http://www.nba.com/video/games/blazers/2010/10/05/0011000008_lac_por_recap.nba/index.html

    by reverse on 10/6/2010 10:29 AM
  22. Nice read MB. Just wanted to let you know that your timestamp is off. You posted this blog before the game even happened...nice work.

    by Lawrence Wan on 10/6/2010 10:40 AM
  23. I know. Saw that too. Not sure what in the heck that's all about. There are a few bugs in this new system.

    by mikebarrett on 10/6/2010 12:11 PM
  24. Love the D, now take it to Utah !!

    Go Blazers !!!!

    by Kim~ on 10/6/2010 12:29 PM
  25. What a game to start the preseason! My dad and I went and had a great time. Before going, we had dinner at Pause (their salmon special was superb!) and over tequila shots, predicted how many games the Blazers would win this season. He said 58, and before I could even think about it, I blurted out "60!", clinked glasses and threw back a gulp of Cazadores, loving the burn. After seeing the game, maybe I didn't shoot too high, but had I been sober the number would have been closer to 55, but definitely over 50 (tell Rice to lay off the gin...maybe switch to tequila!). Oh well, it's too late now. My prediction has been made: 60 wins.

    Impressions...

    Babbitt is proving me right; kid needs a lobotomy.

    Pendergraph held his own against a very good big man in Chris Kaman, but didn't do himself any favors by fouling out.

    Did BRoy play tonight? I couldn't tell, I was too busy trying to catch WesMath's next highlight.

    Aldridge is going to have a great season.

    Batum was as slick as it gets.

    Nobody else really stood out to me, but Bayless, Miller, and Armon all held down the point very well, with some help from WesMath and Rudy. Surprisingly, the Clips didn't punish us too bad in the paint. They only got two more points in the paint than the Blazers, and I think that was because the solid perimeter defense made it difficult to pass the ball inside.

    It is so nice to get the preseason rolling with a good old fashioned back-alley whipping. Go Blazers!

    by 500Dogs on 10/6/2010 1:02 PM
  26. 500dogs:

    If Greg comes back and plays full strength, I would go your 60 and raise you one. If he doesn't, I will string along with your dad's prediction.

    After I told you that inking was horrible, I bought at tramp stamp of a butterfly for my wife's birthday to show I am upgrading to the 21 century, but I still think inking all over the body like your reference to birdman is horrible.

    by Hg on 10/6/2010 1:20 PM
  27. To ewoynamarie:
    I thought about the whole possible...how will Matthews fit in re: Batum also.
    I think the reason Batum played less minutes and Matthews more is that Batum played this summer. I think Nate knows what Batum can do.
    Nate also put Matthews at the point, Roy as shooting guard and Batum at the 3.
    Don't worry, I think Batum will get all the minutes he wants and needs and if anything, Matthew's play will help Batum develop his game..as it will help/push BRoy with his game!!!!
    The guy brings a winner's/champion's attitude that will do nothing but help the Blazers become just that. CHAMPIONS

    by natsthecat on 10/6/2010 2:15 PM
  28. natsthecat,
    Welcome! I wish more BEdgers would comment here, and I'm glad to see one of the good guys came around. I usually dig your comments over there and I hope you stick around.

    Regarding the Mathews/Batum/Rudy conundrum, I agree that Batum will not be left wanting minutes. I think natsthecat is right on by chalking his sparse minutes up to a need for rest. France didn't go too deep in the FIBA games, but Nico definitely was the focus of the opposing defense which will wear a guy out. When the regular season gets rolling, Mathews will be stealing minutes from Rudy before he encroaches on Batum's. I know Rudy's been playing well, but the team still knows where his heart is (overseas) and will not skimp committed players for his sake.

    The real battle will be between Dante and Rudy. WesMath is going to dominate the minutes behind Roy and some of Batum's, which means Rudy is going to have to pick up the scraps at SF. Dante is gonna be after those scraps and he's just the kinda scrappy scrap to get 'em! ...Scrap!

    Personally, I'm more attracted to a Dante, Wesley, Bayless, Camby, Przybilla second unit than any mutation involving Rudy. I could see putting him in for Dante if 3 pt. shooting is needed, but I think his recent confessions make anything more undesirable. If he's not here long term, what's the point? Better to develop the young guys.

    by 500Dogs on 10/6/2010 4:33 PM
  29. Hey guys, thanks for trying to alleviate my Matthews/Roy/Batum concerns...I appreciate it. It's just what occurs to me, at the moment, right? So your perspective helps, as does firsthand info on who was playing what position at what time, something that can be hard to follow on the radio :)

    I will be SO GLAD when these games are finally TELEVISED!! You know, I get to watch the Heat, Orlando, the Suns, OKC, Boston, Houston, Dallas, the Lakers, and even the T-wolves this preseason on NBA-TV and ESPN, but not my Blazers. Why is that?

    by EowynAmarie on 10/6/2010 7:01 PM
  30. Yes, Brandon started slowly. So what? Brandon's always been that player who does as much as he needs to do. Nobody really credited this team with the kind of offensive firepower that they displayed. So Brandon didn't need to take over.

    I've been saying from day one that Matthews would be a great offensive player for Portland...not just all world defensive player. I've based that on what I saw him do at Utah, his rapid rise and age, and the numbers he put up, especially when it counted last year.

    I see Brandon, Miller, Bayless, Matthews, Rudy and Batum moving around and each getting a ton of minutes at the 3 perimeter spots. When healthy, Przy, Camby, Oden and Aldridge will get their share. That's 10 players who have to have minutes...a 10 player rotation. Who do you leave out of that to cut it to 8-9? How deep IS this team? Point is, even if Portland DOES have 1-2 injuries this year, it won't matter too much. They're that deep.

    by dunkonyerhed on 10/6/2010 7:34 PM
  31. EowynAmarie: i'm concerned with the Nicolas/Wesley/Rudy minute issue as well. Nicolas has earned his time on the floor, and to not increase his minutes to at least 30 per game is not going to help his progression. yes, according to last night's performance, we're going to want to give Wesley time. yes, according to last night's performance, we may want to give Rudy more time. the problem is that there are only so many minutes to give them without eventually hurting Nicolas in the process (not to mention, leaving absolutely nothing for Elliot). when it comes to Brandon, i'm not worried; he'll bring it when it counts.

    500Dogs: i was impressed with Jeff, though i am worried about his propensity for fouls. i guess that's what you get when you ask a 6'9" guy to play center.

    LTG: you don't have to have played or coached organized basketball to know that Rudy disprespected the team, his coach, the nba, and the fans with statements he made. anyone who would constantly berate the media and blame it for everything wrong with life has never worked in the media. not everything is political, and not all the world's problems are to be unjustly blamed on one single profession. honestly, that's completely ludicris. the media, like anything else, is not perfect, but it is not the absolute evil you would like to portray it to be.

    all: sorry for the little clog there; just felt it pertinent.

    GO BLAZERS! SILENCE THE JAZZ!!!

    ~ Kassandfra

    by Kassandra on 10/6/2010 8:07 PM
  32. Kassandra:

    Well said, no need for apologies.

    Dunkonyourhead:

    How have you been, I have missed blogging with you.

    Hg

    by Hg on 10/7/2010 3:21 AM
  33. Mike,
    I loved the break down you've given of the game and the team as a whole. I, for one, am pumped about Wesley. If he can come out and show everyone in Portland that we didn't overpay and that he is the real deal on both ends of the court, I think he will make a great home in Portland. I love that LA, Roy, and Miller all looked in shape and confident. Miller's alley-oop to Pendergraph was spectacular and made NBA TV Dunk of the Night. Can't wait to see that during the season.

    As for your questions, this game did turn up my confidence knob. But only just slightly. I mean it is the Clippers but they are still an NBA team with good players. If we continue to play aggressive defense night in and night out, I believe the sky is the limit for this team. Also this is only preseason (which I hate) but I love that it gets me in the mood for basketball again.

    Rudy will be Rudy. I just hope that throughout the preseason he learns that this is his new home and that he should stay. I just don't think that he has that kind of personality. I believe he seriously wants to go back to Europe. Too bad. He is a fan favorite and I'd hate to see him go but when you have someone on your team that is complaining and causing problems, you have to distant yourself from them. Let's hope for a miracle though.

    Thanks again Mike!

    by CrazyRusty on 10/7/2010 4:17 AM
  34. hg: i'm not going to apologize about Wesley. i'm still skeptical. i think his hustle and activeness is going to help us. i still want to see if he's going to consistently shoot well, or if he's going to have one effective shooting game, then lay up bricks for a couple of games (something known as the 'Steve Blake Effect'). i guess what i'm saying is that one pre-season game does not a season make.

    we have too many sg/sf's. i'm going to leave it at that for now.

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 10/7/2010 6:51 AM
  35. Kassandra:

    I was referring to your response to LTG. Of cause there is no reason to apologize for the way you feel about Wesley either. Our run in on Wesley was just good natured fun on my part; as I had said technically I was like you, I had to see him play before I got hyped up about him. That being said, I do believe he is the real deal now, mostly because of his work tactic. But remember I supported Steve for the same reason. All of the players will get in a funk, especially shooters, so I don't worry about that. Plus like everybody else, I was looking at his defensive contribution and the offense he is bringing is just frosting on the cake. But still, I am mostly going by what I read because I just don’t know.

    I am skeptical of JBay playing PG. If it wasn't for his fear of sitting on the bench, IMO, he would be "It's about me" type of player, much like Rudy is now. Of course I didn’t see that coming from Rudy; therefore I may be a poor judge of character.

    Upon reading all your post, I think basically we are on the same page with the team, barring another injury plagued year this sounds to be very exciting and very satisfying year.

    I don’t have to work tonight, so I get to listen to the game.

    Hg

    by Hg on 10/7/2010 8:05 AM
  36. hg: gotcha on the apoligy thing. i also understand where you're coming from on Wesley. it was fun for me too. i have nothing against him. i like his attitude, work ethic and the effort he puts out there. i will not question that. as with every player, i'd like to see consistency. if he brings that, awesome! if not, then i will remain skeptical.

    the way i see it this year, we've got about 12 players we want to ty and fit into a nine- or 10-player rotation. that's certainly going to be tricky.

    and yes, we ned to remain healthy this year. i've heard it said that a player has a better chance at avoiding injury if they go hard rather than take it easy. ever heard of anything like that?

    by Kassandra on 10/7/2010 8:24 AM
  37. When you describe your thoughts on Wesley, I get reminded of my thoughts on Martell. He would have one or two good games than be rotten for two or three. I know Martell will be a great shooter but I was always skeptical of him every time he went in the game.

    I sure feel your thoughts on putting 12 players into a nine man rotation. Like putting a large body into medium sized garment. It just doesn't work; something is usually left hanging out LOL.

    I want to see Arman play, but I just don’t see him getting the playing time. It has been suggested that he goes to the D league for practice.
    It is true delivering a blow whether than receiving a blow gives you less likelihood of being injured, but that doesn’t necessarily hold true with noncontact injuries, as with Joel and Greg. They were both being very aggressive when their injuries occurred. Nevertheless, you can be as careful as you can be about stopping injuries in a game, then step off the curb wrong and tear the cartridge in your knee. I can give testimony to that.

    Hg

    by Hg on 10/7/2010 8:51 AM
  38. Kassandra: Wesley shot around 40% last season from the 3 as did Martell but Wes brings so much more then that, Kassandra you will love Wes by November! and as for the game, I would give my thoughts on what I saw if I could of SEEN THE GAME!!!! preseason>>>>>summer league.........I don't think I'm the only one who feels this way...

    by B.O.B on 10/7/2010 9:09 AM
  39. Go Blazers! Visions of the future of 101 to 71 wins once the bigs are back. Teams might as well start picking up 3 point shooters because no one is getting in the paint in our house! All the key players played as if they were 2/3 of the way through the season and starting a playoff push. This had to be one of the most impressive 1st preseason games of all times. Sure it wasn't the greatest opponent but preseason is not about beating the opponent but is about not beating yourself. The rookies had some questionable moments but that is their job.
    All these Brandon comments encapsulate the whole Rudy situation. Here's where it stands. Rudy is a world class player that was slowed by injuries and lost time to the hot hands. Sure he's a little sensitive but the Blazer fans really turned on him last year. There is nothing that we could get for him that would be more valuable than his playing well. It's the same Blazer fan paradigm that is blowing Roy's game out of proportion. Everyone is asking "Has Brandon lost his edge? Will he be able to compete at a high level?". It's the 1st PRESEASON game and undoubtably Nate asked him to take it easy. Does anyone really question whether Brandon will be giving 100% on the 1st regular season game. My point being that if we expect 100% from them they should be able to expect it from the fans. Roy is tougher emotionally but I'm sure it is still difficult to hear all these questions being the competitor that he is. If we had given Rudy the love every Blazer deserves we wouldn't be in this situation. The good news is he's still here and he's on fire. Sure he's got to earn it, they all do. Let's have our teams back and ride this mother as far as it will take us!

    DEFENSE and gotta love ya Wesley!

    by davsykes on 10/7/2010 10:37 AM
  40. a quick off-topic question for some of the other long time barrett blog commenters. i'll ask this now that a bit of time has gone by....

    for quite a while i had thought that eclectic spider was kp. did anyone else have the same suspicion?

    by reverse on 10/7/2010 11:29 AM
  41. travisd: Very interesting. I'll have to ruminate on that (I am from Tillamook). I think I could see that unless he shows up again.

    by Ancientone on 10/7/2010 11:56 AM
  42. is it possible that the "what do the blazers do for a starting pg after andre?" question has been answered? time will tell, but it looks like wesley could be that guy.

    also, i'm less worried about wesley taking minutes from nic than he would be taking them from rudy and jerryd. dante will keep seeing playing time until greg and joel are all the way back.

    and, was it me, or did blake griffin look shorter than the 6'10" they list him at? i thought he looked noticeably smaller than lamarcus, not by just an inch.

    by reverse on 10/7/2010 11:58 AM
  43. I sure hope that Utah will go full strength esp. in the backcourt so we can see how our perimeter players do against first line players. I have a feeling that Tues night was not a fluke but how do you know when they didn't face the Clips best backcourt?

    hg: I almost had to go get a snack in the middle of my own blog

    by Ancientone on 10/7/2010 12:05 PM
  44. wow travisd ... and i thought LTG was a conspiracy theorist! i don't think it ES is/was KP. the last i'd heard from ES, i was setting him straight about some things. then, all of hte sudden, he was gone. i suppose the possibility exists though.

    B.O.B.: maybe Wesley will be great. as i said earlier, i will reserve judgement until i see him play some regular season games; not just aftre one preseason game. that's really all i'm saying (though i think it would be really cool if he reads the blog and is determined to erase my skepticism with his play on the court!).

    hg: i know Martell lacked some consistency. however, i think his had more to do with the sparatic times he played and whether he was a consistent starter or not. off the court, Martell was really our first draft pick to help lead us out of the 'jail blazers' era. Brandon became the leader of that effort, but Martell was a great first example of that.

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 10/7/2010 12:13 PM
  45. Travis,
    We'll know if eclecticspider was KP if the next team he goes to somehow signs Jason Kidd to a 10 year contract.

    by 500Dogs on 10/7/2010 12:23 PM
  46. Travisd
    I hadn't thought about Eclectic spider being KP, but it is an interesting thought. Kassandra and I discussed the alto ego thing that he mentioned in private e-mail when things were kind of touchy on Barretts blog. and we thought that he had an alto ego, but I would have not guessed KP.

    Antientone:

    If you needed a snack on the length of your post, you must really pork out on my post LOL.

    Hg

    by Hg on 10/7/2010 12:25 PM
  47. Kassandra:

    I can't debate with you on Martell, I loved him too. I think the year lost then being forced into the starting line-up when Batum got hurt to quick was also a factor, plus he is a very emotional kid. He was also just getting into adding more to his game. We will be able to tell this year. I read where Rhambis said he was having a little difficult getting the hang of the triangle offense, but Martell said he was confident that he would do ok in it. There was a lot of contributing circumstances to Steve's inconsistency also. For one he is just not the natural athlete that many are, He also had that shoulder that hindered him for the best part of two years, but he is a fighter and a competitor. Phil Jackson said he hurt his ankle in a scuff with one of the players and Phil loved it because of his fire. He was also in that chair throwing escapade in San Antonio that was swept under the rug.

    I am not trying to open up a new debate about Stevie, because I agree with you that he was inconsistent. I was just showing circumstances with him as we did with Martell and with our worry about with Matthews.

    I got some questions that I need you to give me your thoughts on but I don’t want Ancientone putting on to much wt. and I have to go to work so as I can get home to listen to the game.

    Later

    Tonight is going to be the start of a new era of dominance over Utah.

    Hg

    by Hg on 10/7/2010 12:52 PM
  48. Most likely Wesley won't continue to be a big scorer. He doesn't have to be. His contribution is going to be mainly on the D side of the ball. He shot 8 3-pointers against the Clippers which surprise me a bit. I doubt that'll continue. Mostly what I'm saying is he doesn't have to score a lot ot have a positive effect on the game.

    by mgb on 10/7/2010 12:59 PM
  49. Mike, I love everything you do/post, and am very enthused about this upcoming season. And why not be? This is a team that showed brilliance without either true 5 (Oden, Prizbilla). If they can consistently show this intensity (all thank's to Wes) I am seriously adamant about beating LA in the West finals. The best part is, Portland is hands down the most under the radar team in the league, and probably capable of the most (for underated teams).

    by Gianni Godsil on 10/7/2010 2:17 PM
  50. Very encouraging article about Joel and Oden:

    http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/blogs/jazznotes/50433139-62/miller-blazers-camby-full.html.csp

    by mgb on 10/7/2010 2:35 PM
  51. mgb: That sounds like Pryz might be able to play fairly soon. Oden still limping sounds like that might be a while. I hope they are right and Camby plays tonight.

    Does anybody know how Wesley is as a ball distributer? I think you need Miller at the end of the game as a directer and distributer. Bayless has been disappointing in that respect.

    by Ancientone on 10/7/2010 3:13 PM
  52. I heard Nate comment that Wesley can play the 1, 2, and 3. He has a high BBIQ so I think that he'd be a good distributor.

    Can't wait for the regular season to start! Going to be a lot of fun this year. Might be very special!!

    by mgb on 10/7/2010 3:25 PM
  53. finally got the portland streaming for the game tonight, and following gametracker on nba-dot-com. the problem is, the gametracker is about 60 seconds ahead of the stream!

    nice comeback in the second half (yeah, yeah, i know you all want to say 'i told you so, Kassandra' regarding Wesley -- don't!). i hope Jeff isn't injured too badly; the last thing we need is another player with a knee injury.

    we definitely have a whole lot of depth ... then again, we here at MB's blog already knew that!

    ancientone: i've been thinking the same thing about Joel ever since MB told us that he had been running sprints last month, then when he made the hanging dunk on first day of training camp.

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 10/7/2010 6:25 PM
  54. Loved seeing Rudy look like the "old Rudy" hopefully it will continue. Matthews is awesome!!

    by RedRudy5 on 10/8/2010 2:45 PM
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