mikebarrett

Nov 02

Three of Four On the Road

By mikebarrett

For a game that started exactly like Monday’s in Chicago, it couldn’t have been more different through the final three quarters.      That’s a good thing for the Trail Blazers.  They were slow out of the gate again, but rallied in a big way, using a variety of weapons.  And, they finished off a tough four-game road trip with a 3-1 record.

That’s four wins in five games on the season, and four of the games have been on the road.  That’s a pretty good precedent- if we can actually establish such things in early November.  Even if you don’t believe it’s truly that meaningful, or is too early to tell, you have to admit that to set such patterns is a positive thing.

We indeed feared we were headed for a repeat performance of the game against the Bulls, when the Blazers were emotionally flat, appeared stuck in the mud, and dug themselves and early hole that they couldn’t escape.

On Tuesday night, just when it appeared exactly the same clouds were moving in, Portland seemed to figure itself out (this after missing 9 of their first 10 shots).  Or, maybe they just got a superb effort from the bench unit.  Maybe a little bit of both.

No matter the cause of the turnaround, the Blazers overwhelmed the Milwaukee Bucks in the final three quarters and won the game 90-76.  We can start be giving credit to the defense, because that’s what Nate McMillan always does.

After not playing much D in Chicago, or in the first quarter against the Bucks, the Blazers tightened the screws after that.  The Bucks shot 55% in the first quarter, and just 30% the rest of the way.  They scored 27 points in the first, and followed that up with quarters of 18, 17, and 14.

It did take a little offense as well, and it was Wesley Matthews, making a homecoming appearance in Milwaukee, playing in front of his mom, who really stepped it up.  The former Marquette star scored seven points in the final six minutes of the first quarter, and then had nine in the second quarter.

As important as his scoring was, it was his intensity that rubbed off on his teammates the most.  All in all for Matthews, 18 points, five rebounds, four assists.  He’s stepping up to be a heck of a sixth man, and his off-season signing is starting to look like a bargain.

So, if the story isn’t impressive enough that an undrafted second-year player did the heavy lifting, a rookie, selected in the second-round, probably belongs on the MVP-of-the-night podium as well.  We’ve been singing the praises of Armon Johnson since the first day of training camp, and now you’re starting to see what we’ve been talking about.  The kid has a chance to be an impact player.

Johnson is a game changer, simply with his intensity, aggressiveness, and ability to hit the ground running off the bench.  This one-two punch of he and Andre Miller looks pretty good.  Johnson had 10 points, on 4 of 4 shooting, hit both his three-point attempts, and had 5 assists.  His most dazzling pass was a midcourt strike to Dante Cunningham, who grabbed it in the air and reverse-slammed it into the hoop.  As great as it was to watch, it seemed to be the emotional hammer that dropped the Bucks to the canvas for the final time.

Armon “Hammer” also plays some serious defense.  Johnson and Matthews were part of the reason Milwaukee’s starting backcourt of Brandon Jennings and John Salmons, two guys who have the ability to be explosive, combined to shoot 4 for 21 in the game and had just 13 points between them.

It was a night where Portland’s starters, following the slow start, were solid.  They weren’t spectacular, but they were solid.  LaMarcus Aldridge didn’t post numbers that leap off the page, but he did have 14 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 blocked shots.  Brandon Roy had 17, Miller had 12, and Marcus Camby pulled down 13 rebounds.  But, it was the presence of a balanced attack that was most impressive on this night.

Given the difficulty of this early-season trip, the earliest 4-game trip in team history, a 4-1 record at this point is very acceptable.  And, the team is already 2-0 on the second night of back to back sets.  You probably know they lead the NBA with a 15-4 record last season on the second night of back to backs.  Say what you want, that’s effective coaching, and they should also get some credit on this night, and following this trip.

To listen to Nate McMillan's comments, following the win over Milwaukee, click here.     

After a long flight home, we are back, and host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday night at the Rose Garden.

 

44 Comments

  1. Hey Mike, good win for us and a great way to end the road trip and get to 4-1. It was nice to see Wes have a nice game after not-so-great outings in the last few contests (wish I would have put him back in my Starting 5, hehe).

    Next game is going to be really fun I think - hope we step it up a notch.

    Thanks for the post as always.

    -Anees, from Prague

    by Anees on 11/3/2010 1:19 AM
  2. Nic........

    by Revfisk on 11/3/2010 4:53 AM
  3. k a few things:

    1 - i hope Nic gets back into it soon, you can tell from his body language something is off and he isnt feeling the flow of the game in the last 2 games!!! we def need his shooting, especially if rudy can buy a shot either!!

    2 - in the game in Chicago, after the bench got the game to 9 points and 4 min left, Nate called a timeout. Was anyone else as surprised as me that he didnt put the starters back in? i mean yeah the bench did a nice a job and they were resting them for the bucks game, but we had a game at that point. No joke, the next play we got a stop then blew a fast break, that wudve been a 7 point game with just under 4 min. I hear yah that we shud rest the starters, but that felt like giving up in my books!!! Mike has anyone else brought this up aroud the team, it just seemed off a little, i must be missing something!!!

    3 - Camby, i love u dearly, but do me a favor - a lil less strength on those alley-oops to LA, they've been just a tad too strong the last 2 games. But its def my fave alley-oop combo - a combined 14 ft!!!

    4 - Arrrrrrrrrmon!!!!!!! (roll that 'r'!!!!! i love this kid!!!!, and i didnt realize it but wow a pure shooter too!!!)

    5 - (last but not least) im a lil upset that aldridge didnt put in that many points yesterday, and here's why - the dude had a great game, showed off some serious talented moves (a 3, the and 1, nice jumpers and fade aways) so lets get him to the all-star game, so if possible LA do a lil more 33 point games!!! oh and pick up ure assists, ure a great passer - no joke, u def can have a triple double at some point in ure career

    Maurice, u were a good man, may ure legacy extend way beyond the few years you were in this world

    Joe K

    by joe.k on 11/3/2010 6:32 AM
  4. The Armonizer......know what I'm sayin!

    by DowntownVinnie on 11/3/2010 7:36 AM
  5. Great road trip and a great win. Amazing to win a game where the other team went to the line 16 more times than us.

    The Armonster is proving his critics wrong, burying treys with confidence. Mathews is proving his critics wrong, earning every penny of that contract. LaMarcus is proving his critics wrong, scrapping under the basket for blocks and rebounds. It was a great day to be a Blazer! It was not, however, a great day to be a Nicolas Batum fan.

    I don't know what's up with our Nico, but he has been phoning it in and getting benched for it. I don't know if I approve of the way Nate has handled this little slump, but until now this team has been much better with Batum on the floor. My hope is that he can play through this, but that's not going to happen on the bench.

    Last night, the problem seemed to be that Nicolas got burned by Delfino, then picked up a couple quick fouls and that was that. I would have liked to see Mathews brought in for Miller, going with a Roy, Mathews, Batum back-court. I think that would have shut down the outside shooters, covering up Nico's mistakes and giving him a chance to get back in the flow. Instead, Mathews came in for Batum, and Rudy soaked up the rest of his minutes.

    Why on Earth is Rudy getting minutes over Batum right now? If Batum is in a little slump, Rudy is in a big old lump of a slump. He's proving his critics right, failing to show up in games that count. Seriously, put the guy in an exhibition game and he'll shoot the lights, but right now he couldn't shoot an elephant in a phone booth. 30%, folks. Nico is rocking 50%. So you take those 15 minutes Rudy got, carve them up and serve it to Nicolas with a side foie gras. Heck, just take 10 of those minutes, and it might have been enough to get the kid out his slump.

    What will not work is super-gluing his butt to the pine. Nicolas has earned more respect than that. Does BRoy get benched? How about LMA? Nico is as important to this team as either of them. I guess he's still a rookie in Nate's eyes.

    by 500Dogs on 11/3/2010 8:14 AM
  6. Oh yeah, in other news, Blazer Buddy Numero Uno came up with a new nickname for Cunningham: Ham Sammich. As in, "Choke on that Ham Sammich, Mama Cass!"

    Ham Sammich.

    by 500Dogs on 11/3/2010 8:23 AM
  7. K, so if u read my last post, u clearly know that im a huge fan of Armon (which btw we gotta tell broadcasters its pronounced ar-MAHN)
    so just an interesting question, does it seem that he plays like hes a lil scared sometimes? like his actions dont seem as fluid as say Roy's (obv that's a bad comparison cuz Roy's a star and Armon's a rookie), but hes playing soo well while still looking a lil stiff - i cant wait till he's more comfortable!!!

    by joe.k on 11/3/2010 8:45 AM
  8. K, so if u read my last post, u clearly know that im a huge fan of Armon (which btw we gotta tell broadcasters its pronounced ar-MAHN)
    so just an interesting question, does it seem that he plays like hes a lil scared sometimes? like his actions dont seem as fluid as say Roy's (obv that's a bad comparison cuz Roy's a star and Armon's a rookie), but hes playing soo well while still looking a lil stiff - i cant wait till he's more comfortable!!!

    by joe.k on 11/3/2010 8:46 AM
  9. Vinnie and 500 Dogs:

    Mike Barrett Got it right Arman "Hammer", get used to it LOL.
    Joe K: It was reported that LMA was nursing a sore ankle and that may have slowed him down. Super-Star stats or not he played a great game, he is improving his D, Getting rebounds and doing a great job of playing center.

    Mike Barrett. Wheels and Tone stated that it was released that Joel is penciled in as returning Nov 26th. I know it is not a difinate but it gives us a real date to shoot for. Is it true?

    MGB: I am not doing at all good on your your 10 game prediction, but Kassandra and EA are doing great. I was going to question AE on predicting a loss to NOH, but considering they are coached by Monty, they now have JBay and they are 3 and 0, I withdraw my questions. We all have OKC on Thursday as a win, I think, It is going to be a rough game, but we have a day of rest from the road trip although, Mike and Mike says that the first game back is really the end of the road trip, I think that is from to much Home cooking LOL

    Kassandra: I was about to swing to your side on being skeptic of Matthews, but I was going to plea that he was coming of a bad Achilles injury ( any Achilles tendon injury is bad ), but when I read that him and Armon "HAMMER" went to the gym to work out after the bad showing at Chicago, re-affirmed my value of him. He is going to be like everybody on our team including BRoy, he will have his bad games and good games, but his energy and aggressiveness along with Armon Hammer, I feel, saved our bacon last night. Touché on the debate

    I think My Batum is just in a funk. He will come around.

    OKC will be ours at Our House. Bring them on

    by Hg on 11/3/2010 9:22 AM
  10. 500dogs;

    I like the raging Inferno for Dante much better. Of course I don't know what the choke is about.

    by Hg on 11/3/2010 9:27 AM
  11. Comcast has me blacked out, KXTG and KGW don't stream the games and I can't pick them or any station carrying the game over the air leaving me with Sirius-XM. That means I get the home team "announcers", eg. Chicago where they whined all game about fouls called against them where a EMT didn't need to be called, "They ought to let them play.", and if one of our players was suspected of halatosis and some of his breath wafted passed their player, "Where's the call".

    I therefore rely on you, Mike, and the bloggers as to how the game actually went. I can follow on line the stats and who scored but that leaves out any feel for the game.

    I know I've joked about having to go for a snack in the middle of long blogs but you better believe I read every word.

    by Ancientone on 11/3/2010 9:28 AM
  12. Get NBA League Pass to follow the blazers and other teams all year long

    by glynn2k10 on 11/3/2010 9:59 AM
  13. HG - oh it def didnt limit him, he played great!!
    and i totally dont need him to put up huge stats, its obv what he does. I just want him to put them up so voters will put him in the all-star game!!!

    by joe.k on 11/3/2010 10:08 AM
  14. Ancientone

    abt the bulls announcers complainin abt the fouls...i was thinking the same thing...oh just shut up already guys!!!

    but u know who also always comments abt the refs.....his name is Mike and he's not the guy who wrote this blog!!!

    dont get me wrong i love when Mike Rice blames the refs for being too young/inexperienced to have made the right call....it def proveds for good humor throughout the game!!!!

    by joe.k on 11/3/2010 10:10 AM
  15. Im a big fan of Armon Johnson just like the rest of portland because of the impact he has on the team when hes on the court. He picks up the pace and intensity as soon as he steps foot on the court. He knows the defense doesnt expect him to score and when they sag he takes the shot and usually a very quality shot which is the most important he typically is gonna shoot high percentages bc he takes good shots. Right now hes getting aclimated to being on the court which is why to some he looks hesitant and stiff while he plays. He doesnt want to over dribble or commit turnovers so hes stopping his dribble a little earyl usually a little before his intended target come off the screen or when post position has been solidified. As he grows more accustom and get the okay from Mc Millian to be more active and aggressive offensively we will he him set up teamates better, he is learning the game and this may be on of the few times i do not want andre miller moved anytime soon because i believe he is as smart as Chauncey Billups at the point guard position. He can teach armon alot and make him very dangerous because Armon is the athlete andre never was and if he can incorporate the intelligence of Dre with his defense and what seems to be naturally lead by example and a match my intensity approach he can be the best back-up point in the league

    by CharmCityBLA7ER on 11/3/2010 10:12 AM
  16. Ancientone:

    I have the NBA Package, and moved my 5th wheel outside of Comcast blackout range LOL. I don't know if you read my personal e-mail to you or not, but I have Dish Network, which has a mobile option called the snow bird package. I just put my receiver in the fifth wheel and set up in Burns OR. Of course when I have to come home to work I have to bring my 5th wheel home with me because of vandalism.

    Long short, I also have to listen to the home team announcer’s whine about the injustice of the Refs.

    by Hg on 11/3/2010 10:19 AM
  17. 4-1 !?!?

    the team is on pace to win 65.6 games.

    i can get used to this.

    joel is projected to be back in 3 and a half weeks.

    the bench is capable of some serious spark.

    is 30 and 13 too much to ask of marcus tomorrow?

    i hope the clips rough up okc a bit tonight.

    by reverse on 11/3/2010 10:23 AM
  18. glynn2k10: If you get the NBA league Pass, you have to live out side of comcast blackout range or it will be blacked out. I believe that is a 150 mile range.

    Therefore, anybody that is going to get the NBA league pass check your zipcode and see if it is outside Comcast controlling fingers.

    As stated to Ancientone, I moved my reciever to Burns OR, which is out side Comcast control and I still get my local stations which is Portland's KGW, Koin, ABC and the independent station.

    by Hg on 11/3/2010 10:28 AM
  19. Been waiting for a blog for two days now, so hopefully my 50 page essay I was going to write on here will be shortened.

    In Chicago, the loss was disappointing, but very acceptable. You can tell everyone looked emotionally flat, especially with being on the road for a week and having Maurice Lucas pass away. The good news out of that game is, the way Chicago was playing, the Blazers never let it slip too far. It was over in the first, but the Blazers should have been blown out by around 30-40 with the way they were playing. Losing by 18 while playing that bad is fine with me, in certain ways. If you take away the first quarter as well, you've got a ball game, in which the scores were very similar the rest of the way.

    Against Milwaukee, we looked like an elite team again, and it made me happy. Since I don't have comcast, I had to use a different stream, and happened to come across the one that Bucks have. I got to listen to their broadcasters, and they talked more about Portland than their own team. It was praise after praise after praise. Always nice to hear that from a different team.

    LMA looked great on the road trip. I was shocked to see how much he scored. It seemed like he had a much bigger impact on the game than his stat line said. He's been the go-to guy more than Roy the past two games, and has been producing.

    Dante Cunningham looked very professional last night. Once he gets complete confidence, he could easily be a 10-10 guy or a 20-10 guy depending on his minutes. He's a great rebounder and hustler, and like I said, if he gets confidence in his jumpshot, and doesn't hesitate, he has that potential to be a 20-10 guy.

    Now onto something I hope everyone that attends tomorrows game reads, and especially the Blazers themselves read. You see, tomorrow we play the OKC Thunder. Personally, I find them to be very annoying. They're overrated, and when you look at their stats against bottomfeeders to contenders, there is no way they'll get 50 wins with this hype. People are also saying LeBron James isn't as good as Kevin Durant, and in no way is Kevin Durant ready to be MVP of the entire NBA. That being said, I tend to say that a lot when people compare OKC to Portland on Fanvoice. To me, it's no question that Portland is way better. An OKC fan disagrees... everytime.... and decided to make things personal after bashing the Blazers losing to Chicago (I kind of did the same to OKC against Utah, but yet again, the Blazers had good reasons to lose, OKC was playing their best against Utah and still got blown out on homecourt).

    One of the lines this person wrote were along the lines of "And to think, one of their "Greats" died yesterday. That's funny".

    Getting to know a relative of Maurice Lucas and knowing what he meant to this team, I take this game very personal. I know not all OKC fans are like that, and some are very decent fans, but this is just too far. I hope the Blazers beat the crap out of OKC tomorrow, and end the discussion of "who's better" and sweep this mediocre over hyped team.

    by Herr on 11/3/2010 10:31 AM
  20. HG,
    Mama Cass died while eating a ham sandwich.

    Personally, I don't like Armon "Hammer". It's a reference to the baking soda, right? As in "Arm n' Hammer". That puts the emphasis on the "n" in Armon instead of the "o", so by saying "Ahr-min-ham-er", you're pronouncing his name wrong, which is one of his pet peeves. I much prefer Armonster, because the emphasis is on the correct letter. Not to mention there's more room for creativity.

    I mean how many comparisons can you draw between a man and a box of baking soda? You can focus on his defense dropping like a hammer, but that's it. A man and a monster is some deep turf.

    Y'all can call him whatever you want, but I'm sticking with Armonster.

    by 500Dogs on 11/3/2010 10:39 AM
  21. more on armon

    the regulars here on the barrett blog may have noticed my affinity for draft express and their draft camp measurements of the young players, and how that translates to their performance on court given that they are hard workers.

    Derrick Rose's Predraft Measurements as on DraftExpress:
    Height w/o Shoes 6' 1.5" Height w/shoes 6' 2.5" Weight 196 Wingspan 6'8" Standing Reach 8'2.5" Body Fat 4.6 No Step Vert 34.5 Max Vert 40 Bench Press 10 Lane Agility 11.69 3/4 Court Sprint 3.05

    Armon Johnson's Predraft Measurements as on DraftExpress:
    Height w/o Shoes 6'2" Height w/shoes 6'3.25" Weight 195 Wingspan 6'8" Standing Reach 8'3.5" Body Fat 5.6 No Step Vert 31.5 Max Vert 38.5 Bench Press 18 Lane Agility 11.25 3/4 Court Sprint 3.19

    the word is that a.j. is a very hard worker. if you put a guy like that with a vet like andre miller, a great shooting coach, and excellent team...

    by reverse on 11/3/2010 10:42 AM
  22. Armon is awesome i believe he should teach Elliot Williams his style of defense because from an athletic standpoint Elliot is superior but Armon seems to be stronger mentally and very focused and knows his role and wat power is vested in him while he is on the court. If elliot can gain some weight and get to 200 and play the defense the way Coach K taught him than a unit of Armon Elliot Wesley would be Cerberus guarding the gate to the the interior of the 3pt line

    by CharmCityBLA7ER on 11/3/2010 10:43 AM
  23. I used baking soda and apple cider vinegar to clean my drains once. Worked great! Baking soda i.e "sodium bicarbonate" will raise your body's ph levels, thus stabilizing your bodies internal chemistry. Maybe Armon Johnson has the same stabilizing effect on the team, so I'm going with Armon Hammer.

    by Phi Slamma on 11/3/2010 11:12 AM
  24. May I be Frank? Shirley this is getting out of control. Nicknames, or monikers use to mean something. Why does a rookie deserve being called anything but his name when he hasn't proven anything yet? I remind you Snaggletooth pixies that the greatest player of all time, Michael Jordan, didn't have a moniker. We've got the L-Train, The Natural, The Thrilla already. Assigning every Armon, Wesley, or Nicholas a catchy surname, in my opinion only cheapens the brand. It means as much as the "Til' Death Do Us Part" phrase in your local wedding vow. Wouldn't saying, "Til' I find someone better that makes me feel good about myself" be more accurate? Until next time, this is Phi Slamma Jamma, your sweet Bananarama signing off.

    by Phi Slamma on 11/3/2010 12:10 PM
  25. My vote goes with Vinnie's Armonizer! The Bucks were Armonized!

    Excellent win last nite. After the slow start the Blazers just enforce their will on the Bucks. They refuse to lose!

    I'm looking forward to the Thunder game. I was hoping it would be the first game of the season that I could attend, but my health still won't allow it. :(

    Oh well, I'll be watching it on tv!

    GO BLAZERS!!!

    by mgb on 11/3/2010 12:12 PM
  26. 500dogs:

    I knew that Moma Cass choked to death, but I thought it was on a chicken bone, but what my question was how does that pretain to Dante?

    actually, I have to agree with Phi Slamma on nick names, I just get caught up in the game. I tell you ES, had me quite confused on some of his nicknames.

    I got the Armon "hammer" off of BE. and liked it, not thinking of how it is really pronounced. I liked it because when he comes into the game he drops the hammer on the opponents. Fair is fair, I will call him Armon from now on, besides, most of that was mine and Vinnie's on going bebate.

    I am just glad Armon is doing so great.

    by Hg on 11/3/2010 12:43 PM
  27. Sorry I haven't had a chance to read everyone's comments but Mike you said it best.

    I thought Milwaukee came out of the gate intense and fast, with an obnoxious crowd. If they could sustain that kind of play, they looked like a playoff team. Glad Delfino cooled off from his 'Stoijakovic' like touch and Jennings was MIA.

    It was a magical win from Brandon's turn around fading jumper, to Matthews and AJ (not sure about Armn'Hammer myself lol), to LA and Camby getting blocks, and of course Dante's reverse alley oop and everyone else played their role in suit and THAT's what you have to do an accept to win in this league.

    I like the new look Nate has going on both ends. It is truly refreshing to say the lease albeit early in the year.

    RIP Coach Lucas and all my prayers to the family. Surely there would not even be the one champiuonship banner without him although everyone knows that by now. A true Blazer for all time.

    OKC is coming. We are at home. I think we can beat those guys at home. They are good. We are good. This is one of the marquee matchups in the league, hence being on TNT.

    Glad to be a fan and hopeful for our 2 big guys to come back healthy and strong the way we need them.

    The more I watch Miller the more I think he was a steal, much like Mathews and Johnson. Loving this team and so glad the Blazers are back again.

    MB, you and Rice did a great job on the broadcast. The 3 hot dogs thing was a little much but then again it brings more of the feeling of actually being in the arena when you are just in your living room. Also, it kicks a lot of butt having Terry Porter involved with the halftime show. He adds a great new dimension to the commentary. One of my all time faves. Even when he played for Miami and SA lol.

    Go Blazers!

    by Bull Frog on 11/3/2010 2:44 PM
  28. I personally think Armon looks a lot like a mosquito running around out there on the hard wood. He is very quick just like a mosquito. I therefore think he should be called SKEETER. lol Hey HG. Nice to see you around. Go Blazers.
    PS: for the moron that laughed about us loosing one of our greats. He is correct in that we did loose ONE OF OUR GREATS AND A FINE HUMAN BEING. Unlike him. Something must be wrong in his genetics or mental condition to even think like that. That is completely out of line. I will never understand idiots like that.

    by mfre111 on 11/3/2010 7:13 PM
  29. My woman just came up with one for Armon too. Skipper! Like a water skipper, skeeter. lol that is good too.

    by mfre111 on 11/3/2010 7:17 PM
  30. I've been watching NBA Gametime for the last couple of hours and they have had several discussions about the elite teams in the league and they haven't mentioned the Blazers once! i can't believe how we got "no respect" from all the media around the league. I can't wait for the our big men to get back and all of a sudden the rest of the league will finally see that we're goin all the way!!!!!!!! We'll have the biggest front line in the league by far and we'll be scary good at rebounding and in the paint defense. Oh well I guess we'll fly under the radar until then!!! OKC is going 2-2 after loosing to the Clips tonight and 2-3 after well crush them tomorrow. all the media was picking them to be the number 2 seed in the west! That tell you what they know!!

    by Gavinfan on 11/3/2010 8:29 PM
  31. Yep, so far, Kassandra and I have been right. I think we departed from this point though (I don't remember now) on one or two of the games. Glad the Hornets are making me look really smart :P

    I was horrified at how we played in Chicago, but then, I wasn't expecting a win. When I heard about Maurice, I knew for sure we wouldn't do well. The one shining spot was watching Lamarcus play! What is it about playing the Bulls in Chicago that fires him up so much I wonder? Whatever it is, I would like to bottle it up and have it spoon-fed to him and Nico everyday :)

    The Bucks game was like, the polar opposite of the Bulls game. While I was expecting a win here, I was blown away at how we played. There were several stretches, after the first, where I felt like I was watching perfect basketball....aka, the Celtics or the Lakers playing. We show FAR more maturity than we should at this point. Seriously, think about it. This is still a relatively young squad, excepting Marcus and Dre. Yet we are hanging together, remaining poised, staying in the game, and playing team ball as if we have multiple playoff appearances under our belts. Yes, surprisingly, we look.....ELITE. Here's to hoping THAT continues and becomes even more evident :)

    Armon was so good, just so good. Are we sure he's a rookie? After last season, and seeing how mature and intelligent and tough Dante was as a rookie, I never figured we could get so lucky twice in a row. But Armon is clearly making even more of an impact than Dante did last season. For one, he is being subbed in for more than garbage minutes, consistently, and then contributing in real ways to the team, be it through energy, defense, super assists, or actual baskets. PGOTF.....that's right...I said it. And Dante, wow, what a DUNK!

    Wesley played very well, provided much needed energy off the bench and just out-hustled everyone on the floor. Glad he had such a great game in his hometown and in front of his mother. I really would not want to be in Coach Nate's position these days. Balancing the minutes would be really, really tough.

    Lamarcus is redeeming himself. He is showing that he really did take things to heart this off-season and worked hard at improving his game. SUPER defense after carrying the team in what otherwise would have been a serious embarrassment. He is going low, trying hard to rebound, block, defend better, passing much much better, and just being tougher. I am very impressed with him. I only hope it continues, so his critics will hopefully be silenced for GOOD!
    That one move in the 4th when he tried to go right, got doubled, so went left, laid it in and got the and-one was a thing of beauty!

    I think Nico will be okay, but I have been a little concerned. The problem is, in Nate's system, if someone like Wesley is giving you production and defense, and Batum is not, then Batum is going to sit out, perhaps too much. I do agree though that RUDY should not be in before Nico is....that's just wrong. He seemed fine until Chicago....I wonder, since the game is half-mental, was Nico overally affected by Lucas' passing? Did the court-side presence of Scottie Pippen, followed by a poor showing, rattle him? Is Wesley's competiveness getting to him? Anyone else notice what Wesley said in his post-game interview when asked about his extra effort and energy? "BRoy said if I want to start, I gotta bring that....." Start? Sure, we all knew that was his goal, and kind of set it aside, because we all know the implications. BRoy saying it seems to indicate HE doesn't feel threatened, so.......the only other position Wesley could challenge would be Nico's ( a PG Wesley is NOT), unless our starting line-up is going to be really unconventional. I probably read too much into casual comments, but it's something to consider.

    The Clips are KILLED the Thunder. OUCH for them, being the first team to lose to them, especially when we beat them on the home opener. More fuel for Herr's arguements I think. I don't know if the loss is good for us or bad for us, but it is what it is. Wish I could have seen it. My Warriors are beating Memphis tonight, which will make them 3-1 now. Oh, and it looks like the Lakers will stay undefeated. Perhaps I will be wrong and WE will be the ones to break their winning streak. They have to have a bad game eventually, right? One more, the HORNETS beat Houston.....yep, they have a better record than us now, at 4-0. They've beat the Nuggets, the Spurs, the Bucks, and the Rockets....all potential playoff teams mind you, and 2 were on the road. I am really happy for Monty, Bayless, and even CP3. Like I said, at least they are making my intution look spot on :)

    Herr: That is really, really awlful. I hope you reported whoever it was, even though Admin is MIA.

    GO BLAZERS!!!

    by EowynAmarie on 11/3/2010 8:58 PM
  32. EA - I have, but couldn't. Guess who it was. Popular OKC fan there that lives in denial. I may be a complete jerk on those boards, and act totally different there, but I would never EVER EVER make fun of someone passing. The way it hit me so personally makes every lose against the Thunder that so much bitter sweet. Such a shame, I absolutely loved the Sonics, but the way people approach the Thunder make me want to throw up, and makes me hate them with a strong passion.

    As much as I dislike them, you can see how they are not a 50 win team. I even bet our good friend shlovad they aren't a 50 win team. They are a bottom feeder. They have so many high expectations, so teams are going to play them as if they really match those expectations (we'll see after this season that they shouldn't even be in the playoffs, and honestly, I don't think they'll make the playoffs).

    Portland has no excuse for losing tomorrow. They are BY FAR the better team, more complete team, and have far more talent than OKC. Remember that article about two years ago, in which was read by LaMarcus and the team? I believe we beat the Thunder by around 40 after that article.

    We also beat the Thunder in a MUST WIN GAME to avoid the Lakers, without Brandon Roy or any size except Camby. We now have a much stronger and aggressive LMA. This game should be EASY. Put Armon on Westbrook, Mathews/Batum on Durant. Give LMA the ball and game over, Blazers win.

    We'd beat the Thunder by 70 points in a playoff atmosphere game if we had Oden as well.

    Easy win tomorrow, Blazers don't fail me.

    by Herr on 11/3/2010 9:55 PM
  33. okc losing makes this a very interesting dynamic.

    in the past, coach nate has game-planned well against durant and company. let us hope he can keep it going.

    brandon usually comes out very focused for these tnt games.
    he also routinely obliterates sefolosha. 25, 6 & 6 ?

    lamarcus has played very well in the last two games.
    the thunder seem to like defending aldridge with ibaka.
    i think LA is going to have another big game.

    durant may come out on fire coming off a bad game, but can nic and wesley match his intensity? when both of them put together good games on the same night, watch out.

    even minus joel and greg portland seems to have far superior depth. can dante make okc pay for their weak bench? not having back-up 4 nick collison is clearly bothering them.

    also, andre seems to enjoy battering westbrook & maynor. it may not happen soon, but i'd love to see miller and armon on court together for a few minutes.

    if i can ask for one thing from the guys.
    if you're going to foul durant, foul him hard.
    don't let his frail frame out quick and then not pay the toll.

    by reverse on 11/3/2010 11:55 PM
  34. Agreed Travisd. Durant will get his charity calls. Oberto so far has been the man to foul hard. Love to see him put one to Durant and have him say in his Argentina accent "Welcome to the NBA".

    by Herr on 11/4/2010 12:02 AM
  35. armon and matthews tore it up! i love to see gritty young players that make the most of everything. what a great game. and aldridge looked pretty damn good too.

    go blazers!

    by thedanman on 11/4/2010 5:05 AM
  36. DEFENSE.....that was the glaring difference in this game.?The fact that they only got 76 points is monumental .with the exception of the first quarter,we shut them down like Chrysler!

    Matthews is so strong going to the hoop.One thing about him is he is very aggressive going to the hoop.That is an excellent quality to have if you are an outside shooter.But, II have seen him force a few things this year,and this game.But, i think all of his good qualities outweigh the bad.Nate even commented that he had stop forcing things so much in this game.I do think his abilities were well worth the dollars we spent on him and I think his versatility will really benefit this team.

    Last year on one of the sites I called LMA LAMama's boy cause I was frustrated with his "soft" play that night.This year,man, a completely different LaMarcus.He is stronger,for one, which I am noticing in the post.He is going to the hoop much more often instead of settling for the jumper.Now ,if he could just make free throws:) another of the big changes in LMA is his defense.Way more productive ,ie,5,count em ,5 blocked shots at Milwaukee and 4 STEALS .Das what I'm talkin about! Cudos,baby!

    I certainly hope Nic doesn't lose confidence.We can't afford to have him getting tentative on offense or on Defense. There has been some scuttlebutt on the net that Nate is mismanaging Nic's poorly.I don't believe any of the such.Confidence is a fine line to walk as a player.it's tricky,especially offensively. So, Nic will have to look inside for that part of his game.

    Whatever it is ,I hope he gets it back soon.

    Phi,hg,ok..here's the deal...i like to put my own stamp on life, my own style.I like being creative in my own way. Eclectic Spider got me into it and I think it's a fun way to give the players their own moniker .That being said,build a bridge ..............and get over it.
    I know neither of you will get this refence and that's why i am using it.
    Style crushers are bad.........UUMMMMKAAAAAAYYYY

    yes,hg anybody can STEAL a nickname :)

    THE ARMONIZER............. is straight up the reason JBay got ran outta town.
    People have been sayin on some sites that The Armonizer can't shoot from the outside.Weeeeeeeeeeeelllll..... let's put that rumor to rest.Tuesday,he added shooting range to his ever increasing skill set. As you quite obviously well know,I Luv me some Armonizer,but he has amazed even me with his game.what's really blown me away is his confidence in big game situations and in running the team as well.
    Yeaaah ,my boy MGB knows which is the right nickname,sho nuff.

    This was a great road trip and a much improved defense coming up to big game against OKC on thurs.


    BLAZERSROCK

    by DowntownVinnie on 11/4/2010 7:36 AM
  37. Vinnie: you are sounding offended; did I get in your head with trash talk?

    You go for your nick names; I don't have any problem with it. I am just not a nickname type guy too much. I was just trying to keep up with the Jones. Armonizer and Armon "Hammer" is longer to write so I will stick with AJ or Armon. I was just teasing you because MB gotcha tee hee.

    Armon was interviewed earlier in the year, no links, his statement was “of course I can shoot outside shots, but why would you want to when you can take it to the rim.” So, it was just the people that didn't think he could shoot. I prefer to think he can take it to the rim also, and still burn you from the outside.

    Also Dre taught him that if no one can block your shot don't take the extra effort to get a highlight dunk. Take the easy lay-in, save the knees and save the energy, that is why Dre is the Iron man. Armon said that was a valuable lessen. Therefore not only is he becoming great with energy, speed and versatility he is also listening to the Veterans. Camby says he talks his ear off all the time just trying to be a better player and a better all around Blazer on and off the court. I like that.

    I don't see him as challenging Dre for starting, I see him as getting more minutes from Dre as to not wear Dre down as the season goes on, I see his as giving us a great back-up pt guard as to where we don't lose anything when Dre goes out and Armon goes in.

    He may force things a bit at times, but I would rather see that with aggressive play then for him to get timid. He is learning from Dre all the time and will get better and better.

    I am not a Jerryd hater, I just think in a short while Armon will be a better point guard then Jerryd, if he is not already.

    by Hg on 11/4/2010 8:14 AM
  38. PS vinnie:

    I got my courtside streaming back. As you being a Dre fan, I thought it was great when Dre was getting ready to go in for AJ, when AJ made a spectacular play, he turned to Nate and said leave that kid out there and went back and sat down. That gave me lots more respect for Dre. Now you can say I told you so.

    by Hg on 11/4/2010 8:21 AM
  39. its one game guys armon is a stud but it's one game. he earned more playing time thats it .

    durant not looking like he did during the fiba thing. thats all he is a scorer. i like his game but if you think he is an mvp your wrong.


    kg is a piece of work and james is cry baby whats is the league coming too. iv never liked kg sence timber days but he needs his a$$ kicked.

    by Miller on 11/4/2010 9:59 AM
  40. its one game guys armon is a stud but it's one game. he earned more playing time thats it .

    durant not looking like he did during the fiba thing. thats all he is a scorer. i like his game but if you think he is an mvp your wrong.


    kg is a piece of work and james is cry baby whats is the league coming too. iv never liked kg sence timber days but he needs his a$$ kicked.

    by Miller on 11/4/2010 9:59 AM
  41. tonight during the game, i'll be working, but am hoping to hear of a solid team effort. movement on offense, and tenacious d.

    go blazers

    beat okc

    by reverse on 11/4/2010 10:15 AM
  42. Elliot out probably for the year with a patellar dislocation. I know that he has had trouble with his rt knee in the past but patellar injuries (esp dislocations ) are more common in women than men. Has to do with angle mechanics of the joint (women tend to be knock kneed and men bow legged). Makes you wonder if there is something in the conditioning and strengthening exercises the Blazers are using.

    by Ancientone on 11/4/2010 3:04 PM
  43. Oberto retires...

    by Herr on 11/4/2010 4:50 PM
  44. To those of you not paying attention.this is not the Armonizer's first good outing.

    by DowntownVinnie on 11/4/2010 6:09 PM
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