Oct 18

Blazers Go Cold in Oakland

By mikebarrett
Shooting 37 percent and scoring only 78 points against the Golden State Warriors would certainly be cause for concern in the regular season.  Monday night in Oakland, the Trail Blazers played a pretty solid first half.  They led most of the first two quarters, by as many as 11 at one point.  But, the second half was an entirely different story.

The Blazers managed only 16 points in the third quarter, just 19 in the fourth, and got drilled 100-78.

I don't care when you're playing Golden State- preseason, regular season, summer league- that shouldn't happen.  Losing in Oakland?  Okay, we can deal with that.  It's always been a tough place for the Blazers to win, even when they play well.  And, yes, this was probably meaningless.  But, that doesn't mean you can simply flip by this game and get ready to wrap up the exhibition season against the Denver Nuggets.  Don't think for a second Nate McMillan is going to do that.

I admit, we're using one phrase way too often lately- "yeah, but it's only the preseason.."  So, let's establish that nothing about this loss, and nothing about this preseason has seemed comfortable so far.  And, we can still attempt to qualify disappointing losses by reminding ourselves this is just the preseason.  But, there is only one preseason game left.  Tune-up time is almost over.  So, I'll ask you the question that I'm positive some of the players and coaches are asking themselves- is this a cause for alarm?  What does all of this mean?  Anything at all?  

I do know this- Monday night's performance has suddenly made Thursday night's preseason finale a little more intriguing.  The Blazers have already assured themselves of a losing record in the exhibition season.  We've continued to downplay the significance of the outcomes of these games.  But, again, you could argue that the way they are dropping some of these games is just plain bothersome.  You sure as heck don't want to wrap things up in the exhbition season with another stinker.

Maybe it's silly to think that you could carry over any kind of momentum from a preaseason to a regular season, but to think that none of this matters is probably unrealistic.  True, Monday's game probably meant a lot more to a team like Golden State, that is trying to create a winning atmosphere.  And, yes, Marcus Camby didn't play, Wesley Matthews sat, and Aldridge, Roy, Miller, and Batum all played sparingly.  I'm not grasping at perspective here, those are all huge factors.  But, it still makes Thursday's game actually at least semi-important, doesn't it?

Here's something else that should be smacking us across the face at this time.  Even though the top half of the Western Conference is not as strong as it was last year, you had better check the rearview mirror.  Golden State, the Clippers, Memphis, Minnesota, and New Orleans, are all going to be better.  In some cases, much better.  You simply aren't going to be able to cruise through some of these teams the way the elites have the last couple of seasons. 

I haven't even really come up with my own win-total prediction for the Blazers this season.  One huge factor in considering such a projection has to be the overall strength of the conference, top to bottom- especially at the bottom.  Two years ago, when the Blazers won 54, they absolutely manhandled the east.  That's not going to happen again, obviously.  Last season, on their way to 50 wins, they went 33-19 against the west.  Because of the strength of the east, you would think Portland will have to post at least a record similar to last year's against the west to get back to 50.  It's not like it can't, or won't happen.  It's just not going to come easy.  

Nothing in the preseason has come easy, that's for sure.  But, this team is past the point of having to try to establish a tone in the exhibition season.  I only say that because veteran teams always say that.  And, history has indeed shown us that preseason records mean very little.  

Let's hope that trend continues.



  1. I was a bit concerned after reading your post but after checking the box score and seeing how many minutes the rooks played I feel better. I mean GS played the big guns big minutes so I am actually glad that these rooks got that kind of exposure. E. will and Bab have not played much at all this pre-season. I am really excited about A. John, I think he is going to be the answer at backup PG.

    by Zman66 on 10/19/2010 12:22 AM
  2. MB,

    As you said the first half we did fairly well and that's more with players that would normally be playing the game compared to the second half when we stunk it up with the end of our bench. I'm not to concern with this game, but saying that the wins came against the Clippers and GS while our losses came against the Jazz and Nuggets and now against GS. Seems we are a lot more successful against bad teams. But it's preseason so it's hard to say. Do I think it's important to play well in our last preseason game? Well I would like to see a little more intensity, but the game sure isn't worth a injury just to prove something if you know what I mean. A lot depends on if Nate still wants to give a lot of the young guys looks when they won't get it once the season begins or if he thinks it's importand to get some momentum going into the season. I think once the games that count start we are going to be playing just fine.


    by mgb on 10/19/2010 6:36 AM
  3. Mike:

    I agree that pre-season is not the time to push a panic button, but playing without any fire because it is pre-season is pretty bad.

    You can not blame this lost on the end of the bench players. The cause of this loss is BRoy and Dre. We lost the lead and they got something like 14 pts ahead when they were in the game the second half. Those two didn't do much the first half only the lack of scoring by GS and turn-over’s prevented GS from blowing us out the first half.

    Our defense the first half sounded like it was doing OK, but they gave up on that also in the second half.

    The fact that BRoy and Dre has stunk up the place all pre-season is alarming to me, or maybe disgusting. I can assume they can play better, but BRoy hasn't played a good game since his injury before All-Star weekend of last year. I know the injuries to his body prevented that, but how about now? Has he mentally lost it because of fear of injury? Does he think he can turn it on anytime he wants? Whatever the case, I am concerned, and I am upset.

    by Hg on 10/19/2010 6:58 AM
  4. Nice post ,Mike.
    We just seem sleepy.we are not executing wholeheartedly on offense or on defense.But,My boii,"The Armonizer" is rockin the preseason.Ok,maybe a few turnovers last night.i'm tellin ya,right now,JBay better step it up or he's gonna be the third PG.
    EMail has great physical abilities,but seems lost still.I'm a bit dissapointed in him thus far.not sayin that couldn't change.

    I'm going to listen to the game at work on my IPod today.
    I know we haven't had our normal rotation due to injuries.So; I'm taking that into consideration.I think we have much work to do still.I'm not worried,but i am feeling a bit uneasy.

    by DowntownVinnie on 10/19/2010 7:03 AM
  5. The rookies have to learn. Preseason is better than regular season for it.

    Hopefully Nate will peel the paint about 25 turnovers.

    Bring on the Nuggets!

    GO BLAZERS !!!

    by Kim~ on 10/19/2010 7:22 AM
  6. You can't just turn on and off on effort, teamwork, shooting and rebounding. I know the premier players only played, excuse me were on the floor, for 24 min.. The season is almost here and Roy, Miller and Batum have yet to show up. The best shooting gaurd by far has been Rudy.

    We led in one stat last night- turnovers. Not just the rooks either. Will Roy show up for the last preseason game to start a pattern of play? I hope so. We have the talent but lazyness and disinterested play can become a habit.

    by Ancientone on 10/19/2010 7:41 AM
  7. The following are the averages for our PGs in the preseason. Make of them what you will...

    Andre Miller
    FG-37%, FT-93%, REB-1.6, AST-4.5, STL-1, TO-2.8, PTS-7.6
    Armon Johnson
    FG-56%, FT-81%, REB-2.3, AST-1.5, STL-0.6, TO-1.4, PTS-6.5
    Jerry Bayless
    FG-38%, FT-72%, REB-1.5, AST-3.1, STL-0.5, TO-1.1, PTS-8.5

    by 500Dogs on 10/19/2010 9:04 AM
  8. Hey all. Everyone, I know you are concerned with the team. I have to say you must take it easy. It has nothing to do with pre-season. You have to understand that guy's like Dre and Roy know exactly what they are doing. They know how to prepare for a long season. They are both proven players in the league. I think everyone just wants the season to get started. Once it does, we may have ups and downs but we will be fine. Roy and Dre have nothing to prove. On opening night, you will see what the Blazers can do. Until then, speculation and worry only effect yourself. Put some trust into these men both the players and the staff, they know what's up. Let's just make sure to do our part and cheer like heck on opening night.

    by LTG on 10/19/2010 10:32 AM
  9. I will just say one thing, that this is the preseason. (yes I had to say it). I will start my real concerns when the Blazers start losing in the regular season (of course, if that happens). Like last season, we're awaiting reinforcements with Oden and Joel, so this season will be interesting. I do have some concern however. We played well against Denver and Utah when we didn't play the big boys much, and the rookies played fairly well in those games, so saying there a loss is a bit overestimating the L in the W/L column. So, I'm saving my concern for the regular season.

    However, last blog got me thinking if I am truly ready for the NBA season, and I realized, I'm not. I'm not ready for 82 games of basketball that determine which spot in the playoffs (where the Blazers will be) we will be placed and if our result is doom or if it is success. I am fairly confident we'll see a Blazers vs Lakers series this year. Be it WCF or 2nd round. Where we start doesn't matter to me, it's where we finish, and same with this pre-season.

    by Herr on 10/19/2010 10:34 AM
  10. The preseason games may not count but the Blazers should be setting the rhythm now instead of 10 games in the regular season.

    by AdmiralJay on 10/19/2010 11:43 AM
  11. Just for comparison's sake, here's the preseason stats for the Suns PGs (who have a loosing record as well [1-6])...

    Steve Nash
    FG-51%, FT-83%, REB-2.6, AST-6.6, STL-0.8, TO-2.1, PTS-6.8
    Goran Dragic
    FG-37%, FT-25%, REB-2.0, AST-2.0, STL-0.5, TO-2.1, PTS-6.1
    Chucky Atkins (only played first 3 games, then was waived)
    FG-25%, FT-50%, REB-0.0, AST-1.6, STL-0.3, TO-0.6, PTS-1.0

    It should be noted that in their last game, Nash turned it up a little, scoring 16 PTS on 75% shooting, pulling down 7 REBS, dishing 4 ASTS, and snatching up a couple steals. Definitely not his best performance, but he's starting to smell the regular season. I'll be curious to see what they do to the Warriors tonight.

    by 500Dogs on 10/19/2010 12:34 PM
  12. I agree about trying to get some rhythm going for the reg season, but preseason isn't only about that especially for a vet team with the starters and backups pretty well set. We had players come in earlier than most teams, I'm not real concern how well we'll play when it counts and I don't think Nate is either. I mean sure, we want to do well any time we play, but I think not having any more injuries and getting healthy would be my first concern since these games don't count.

    Right now if I was Nate I would want to be tweaking the end of the rotation and different lineups and get a last look at players that won't be playing much. This game he might play the starters longer or he might rest them. It's hard to say.

    by mgb on 10/19/2010 12:47 PM
  13. Btw, it'd be nice to have the playing time with the stats on the PGs.

    by mgb on 10/19/2010 12:49 PM
  14. MB,

    Somethnig I've wondered about and maybe you can suggest. Why not hire a assistant coach from Spain? It doesn't count against the cap and he could keep Rudy company. Rudy might not like the Blazers buying him a friend, but what the heck it might help.

    by mgb on 10/19/2010 1:51 PM
  15. The info is out there, MGB. Personally, I've slogged through enough boxscores for the day. Happy hunting!

    by 500Dogs on 10/19/2010 2:36 PM
  16. 500dogs: Tells me Bayless doesn't shoot very well but takes a lot of shots

    by Ancientone on 10/19/2010 2:53 PM
  17. 500dogs - I'm not too worried about our point guards shooting averages, but I do like to see the assists numbers for the pre-season. I think Bayless makes a bit too many stupid mistakes, most of them resulting in him shooting. I'd like to see him passing unless wide open or driving to the lane and drawing a foul.

    I feel comfortable with Andre handling the ball, and maybe putting Bayless at the two if Rudy gets out of hand.

    I have yet to see Armon play, so I can't judge him.

    But again, "It's just the preseason".

    by Herr on 10/19/2010 3:55 PM
  18. yes Mike, we use the 'it's only the pre-season' excuse a lot, but the fact remains: it IS only the pre-season. while we would like to win every game we can, Nate is not looking at pre-season rotations the same as the regular season. no Marcus, no Joel? we can't keep up with those situations, no matter how other players look.

    should we be playing and coaching as if these games count? yes. i think we should. i don't want excuses. we have the talent at most positions, but we're sorely missing the depth at the center position. Dante can fill in, and LaMarcus can slide over, but we need Marcus and Joel (and Greg; only discluding him since Joel will be back sooner).

    i think this comes down to coaching, and i am getting the nagging feeling that Nate is not the right coach for this team. other coaches would have this team playing to their strengths, rather than his own priorities. there is a lot of young, athletic talent on this team, yet Nate wants to slow the pace (a point of which i'm not all that against). you said something a long time ago about KP having so much time to prove himself, and Nate having a certain amount of time himself. that may have been when Nate signed his last contract. i can't remember exactly when. the point is, KP's time came and went; shouldn't we be thinking about Nate's?

    mgb: hiring a spainish assistant coach might be a good idea, but not just to coach Rudy. besides, how long is Rudy still going to be a blazer?

    hg: i'm still not alarmed with Brandon or Rudy's play this pre-season.

    phislamma, AdmiralJay, et al, could you settle on one screen name? not trying to start something, but it might be nice.

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 10/19/2010 9:50 PM
  19. I kind of agree with you Kassandra. I'm not on the "Nate is the problem" Bandwagon, because I think he's underrated as a coach (I personally think he should have won COTY, and we'll see why the NBA made that mistake when OKC falls below their high expectations). But I do agree if we had... you know... Jerry Sloan we'd be a championship contender already. I mean after all look at him sweeping the Lakers in the pre-season while losing Al Jefferson in tonights game (probably not for long, but he looked like he was in some pain).

    Speaking of Utah, this team scares me. People think Korver, Brewer, and Boozer leaving made this team a bottom seed contender. Jefferson looks like he's working out well with the Jazz, and they've been playing some great basketball.

    I'd rather go against the Nuggets than the Jazz at this point, but I see Melo leaving before the trade deadline. Denver doesn't want to be "LeBron'd".

    Again, I stand by my post of Greg being ready, but having restrictions on his game. If he's making dunks and playing 2's, he should be ready come the regular season in a week (FINALLY!!!!), but I really think the trainers are just working with him to make sure he's MORE than ready.

    I guess I'm ready for the season. It'll be a tough and fun one, and will be interesting.

    Mike, I demand a blog before the season starts asking for predictions! Lol.

    by Herr on 10/19/2010 10:18 PM
  20. Kassandra:

    I am not so alarmed as I am disappointed or maybe even disgusted. BRoy and Dre don't play many minutes, but they should put out an effort to play good or at least hard. I have cooled down a little so I am getting my enthusiasm back

    by Hg on 10/19/2010 10:31 PM
  21. Oh Kassandra, you are so cute! but please lay off the tired coach rant. He really is not the issue, and has done a great job with the team. He(coach) works his butt off. He is the coach, let us support him please:).

    by LTG on 10/19/2010 10:37 PM
  22. Woah guys, let's keep it clean. We're all friends here.

    Anyways, I read two articles today that can be found on the front page of blazers.com.

    One was about Rudy warming to Portland, and how cool that'd be. I'm fine with Rudy staying, as long as his negative attitude goes. People told me he might just be warming because he's playing a lot of minutes with Mathews and Roy out. But I started seeing this attitude during Fan Fest. Will be interesting to see.

    The other article was about Oden vowing to come back strong. That's nice to hear. I have him as a friend on facebook (or I'm his fan, whatever) and he posts quite a bit about his injuries, his favorite teams, who he wants to win, all the good stuff. A lot of the time he gets negative feedback from ungrateful fans, but it's nice to hear him at least say that people can doubt him, he doesn't care, he's going to come back strong.

    Middle of November, Early December for our two centers? I'll take it. Camby man has got some work ahead of him, and so does LMA, but they've got reinforcements soon.

    There's about 2-4 games in October right? We should have played around 20 games before Oden returns. 20 games to show our new physical game. Make it happen.

    My prediction - Blazers vs Lakers 2nd round or WCF. Blazers in 7 (as long as 2002 doesn't happen again).

    by Herr on 10/20/2010 11:46 AM
  23. Well Herr, you're wrong about one thing.... We're not all friends here. As for keeping it clean, it'll be as clean as a vinegar and saltwater douche. Although in some cases I definitely think a little extra vinegar is in order.
    Like Agent Zero,
    Or Nate McMillan;
    Someone's got to be the hero,
    Someone's got to play the villain;
    Whether packing heat,
    Or sending the Heat packing;
    You must compete,
    Leave nothing lacking;
    I pray that only, I stir the pot,
    To Kassandra I say, "Thanks alot"!

    by Phi Slamma on 10/20/2010 12:29 PM
  24. Wowsers,uncle Phi:)

    I guess we are waiving Steven Hill .Someone asked if we didn't need him till Joel gets back.I said not unless we need a vegetarian cook for road games.

    by DowntownVinnie on 10/20/2010 3:30 PM
  25. Hoo-doggy! MB posts two blogs, lickitty-split... Phi drops one of his poems... Barrett's blog is in mid-season form alright. The fog of the off-season is lifting, and the promised land of BBall is drifting into sight... Land Ho!!!

    I am psyched for next Tuesday. I'll be at the RG, with a posse, ready to rumble on some Suns. It's gonna be epic, brothers and sisters. Last season, the opener was against the team that rolled us out of the playoffs, and it's mighty nice of the schedule-makers to give us the same opportunity this time around. The Suns, minus Amare, plus Hedo, are gonna be like horses in a glue factory--they won't have a leg to stand on (how many ways can I use that cliche?).

    I hope to see Batum go to town on Nash, and shut Richardson down on the other end. Turkoglu should be an easy assignment for WesMath, and between JB and Armon, Goran is gonna be "Drag"ging more than an "ic", if you know what I mean (I don't).

    Just one more pointless game and we're there. I can't wait!

    by 500Dogs on 10/20/2010 5:05 PM
  26. herr: defense wins championship ... but you stilll have to outscore the other team. Nates offense does not facilitate that, even with a player like Brandon at his disposal.

    hg: Brandon and Andre will get their minutes once the season starts. yes, i'd like to see them show more life in the pre-season (though Andre had a nice showing the other night). however, they'll be fine.

    LTG: it's not a matter of simply bashing the coach. i think Nate is a very good coach. i am getting the sinking feeling, that he is not the right coach for this team. Nate advocates a slow-down offense, while we have the talent to run with the best of them. being a good coach and not being the right coach are two different things.

    Vinnie: the vinster rocks! did we expect Hill to be around? we still have too many contracts. my feeling is that
    Cho thought one might open up through his negotiations. not yet, as it seems.

    500 labradores: i'm still figuring about my package, but i'll be following tuesday!

    phislamma: this is the last time i will respond to your rhetoric, nor that of any of your alter egos. seriously.

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 10/20/2010 10:00 PM
  27. You make a good case Kassandra and I agree in some cases. I would like to see Brandon without Nate's leash from time to time. I know Roy could compete for a scoring trophy, but, as you said, Nate isn't the type of coach that wants one player to rule the club. After all I still don't understand why in the world he let Rudy rot in the starting lineup when Roy was out when other players wanted the opportunity to at least show why they belong in the NBA rather than one showing why he doesn't belong.

    But before we try to fix this problem, let's find a solution. I'd like to hear someone that thinks Nate should go find someone that could replace him. I remember lots of blogs ago people always wanted Nate to fired. But, who can replace him?

    by Herr on 10/20/2010 11:06 PM
  28. Kassandra,

    I don't think it's only Nate, Roy likes a slow down game as well. But good D can get you more fast breaks and speed up the game some.

    by mgb on 10/20/2010 11:06 PM
  29. Phi Slamma - you guys don't have to be friends, but I think I speak for a majority of the viewers here when I ask that you guys keep any insults away from the blog. You can always use fanvoice for that. There's always arguments there, especially with a majority of the posters being young Laker fans that think Kobe is the best person to walk the Earth.

    by Herr on 10/20/2010 11:08 PM
  30. I for one completely agree with you Herr.

    by mgb on 10/20/2010 11:14 PM
  31. Kassandra:

    Doing the Worlds, Vinnie gave us a link that coached young players; He said over and over that most kids coming out of high school and collage can already play the run and gun. But when they meet up with a team that plays rough D and they can't get a good shot up, or they can't run then they have to learn a good half court offense. In saying that many players don't fit into Nate's coaching style is saying that they are not good students in learning half court offense and playing good D.
    That could be the reason why players that goes 4 years of collage and plays for a coach that uses discipline and teaches half court offense does better in the NBA much quicker. That link makes a lot of since to me, but I really don't know that much.

    Nate has often said before you can run you have to play good D and rebound, and that isn't happening on a consistent basis. That is why we are suffering with out Joel and Greg; Nate has pushed Batum and LMA to rebound more and that seems to be helping on the fast breaks and good half court execution. In Monday nights game, we were doing pretty fair the first half, then the refs called three quick fouls on LMA giving him five fouls (hmmm sounds like a ref’s interference case) and Batum wasn't in the game so that gave GS a free for all. Once the avalanche started there was no stopping it without our bigs.

    Most of this is just my thoughts, and not always with good knowledge.

    Reading between the lines, BRoy more or less said don’t judge him on pre-season, wait until the season starts. Nate said win or lose isn’t the problem, it is about playing hard and with the same high intensity. He pushed that point by saying from here forward he expects that scrappy intensity. So maybe win or lose tonight we may see a better game.

    I am saying you are right about BRoy and Dre being OK when the season starts, but it still makes me angry as a fan.

    by Hg on 10/21/2010 4:50 AM
  32. Herr:

    Like you I often wonder about Nate's decision making. He is relatively young and is still learning.

    Over on BE, the Nate Bashers and fire Nate group often suggest replacements for ate, but all their suggestions were white coaches leaving me to believe that they wanted a white coach that it didn’t really matter whether they could coach better. I think Nate is not perfect; I think BRoy is dogging it; I think Batum turns on and shuts off like a water faucet, but I wouldn’t trade them for that reason and like you who do we get to replace them?

    by Hg on 10/21/2010 5:04 AM
  33. You're great at starting crap and then playing all innocent.
    I'm going to say this once so listen up. I haven't posted here in three months. I am not, nor never have posted as KP, Sudelander, Admiral J, or Captain kangaroo. Get that through your thick brunette head. Or did you go blonde? Do tell.

    by Phi Slamma on 10/21/2010 6:47 AM
  34. Dang, this MIA-ATL game is is pretty freaking competitive for an exhibition game. Miami's trying to make a statement and Hotlanta ain't taking this lying down.

    by 500Dogs on 10/21/2010 5:06 PM
  35. Yeah this game's actually good. LeBron showing why he's the best player on the planet, and Juwan Howard looking weird wearing a Miami jersey instead of a Portland one.

    by Herr on 10/21/2010 5:19 PM
  36. ...and James Jones. I guess it's been a little while though.

    by 500Dogs on 10/21/2010 5:28 PM
  37. Watching LeBron got me to wondering: Which Blazer matches up best with him defensively?

    LeBron is 6'8", and 250. His wingspan out of college (anybody got a website with current player measurements?) was 7'0" and his standing reach was 8'10".

    What Blazer can compete with a beast like that? Batum, while sneaky, intelligent and long, doesn't have the weight to stop that. Mathews is a better match-up as he only gives up 3 inches and 30 lbs (gulp), but I think he'd still get blown past and shot over. LaMarcus should be in this conversation, but he's yet to prove that he's committed to defense. That leaves Dante Cunningham.

    In the Red Corner! Weighing in at 230, stanging at 6'8", with a 6'11" wingspan, and a standing reach of 8'10"! Dante "The Inferno" Cunningham!

    For real though, he's the best pound-for-pound match-up for The King. If LaMarcus steps up, he could dominate, but it would take a rebirth for him defensively. That leaves Dante.

    by 500Dogs on 10/21/2010 6:03 PM
  38. OOOH, check this out.

    by DowntownVinnie on 10/21/2010 6:45 PM
  39. Nice win for a preseason game. It was obvious both teams wanted the win tonite to go into the regular season on a winning note.

    Nice line by Miller, 12 pts, 7 rbs, 7 asts on 6 of 13 shooting.

    Hope Batum is ok.

    by mgb on 10/21/2010 8:53 PM
  40. We most certainly did see a better game from the Blazers.

    BRoy and Dre put in the effort to win tonight. Camby sure makes a differnce in how we play

    Greag job by the whole team. I to hope that Nic is OK.

    Kassandra: it is your turn to say I Told you so.

    by Hg on 10/21/2010 10:11 PM
  41. Hey,gang ,check this out!


    by DowntownVinnie on 10/22/2010 7:04 AM
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