mikebarrett

Nov 08

Blazers Come Up Empty in LA

By mikebarrett
Burn the game film of this game.  Actually, being it's usually on DVD these days, frisbee them against the wall.  Or, erase the hard drive on the scouting computer, and just move on. 

You don't want to totally forget what happened on Sunday night in Los Angeles, but this is probably a case where you simply turn the page quickly and don't dwell on it.  I do think the Lakers gave the Blazers some pretty good lessons in this ball game, but it didn't have much to do with Portland.  The Lakers are locked in, focused, and are playing an an incredibly high level this early in the season.  Plus, they were very well rested while the Blazers were playing the second of a back to back.

I'm not going to get off on a tangent here and start complaning about the schedule, but when national writers are pointing out the shaft that was given to the Blazers by the NBA's schedule makers, we should at least mention it.  If you don't think that's a factor, you're not aware of how things work in the NBA.

The Blazers have already played three sets of back to backs, and are coming off a brutal second full week of the NBA season.  As ESPN's Mark Stein said in his piece today...  "Latest entry for your next You'll-Never-Guess-What-Happened-to-Portland-This-Time discussion:  The Blazers were assigned to play FIVE games in the second week of the season... and had to visit the Lakers in game No. 5."

No one around the team is looking to make excuses, but to say the schedule has been tough so far is an understatement.  For a team that's looking to find its legs early in a season, it's been brutal.  It's amazing what's happened in the last few weeks.  Jeff Pendergraph, one of the most popular Blazers on the team, goes down with the knee injury and has to be waived to make room for help.  Fabricio Oberto comes in, seems to be the perfect fit, and then has to retire.  Elliot Williams hurts his knee and is gone for the season.  Then, of course, the biggest emotional blow of losing assistant coach Lucas.  Tough month.

Okay, that maybe helps explain some of it.  And, if you want to call me an apologist for the team, that's fine.  I'm just stating things that are certainly factors in Portland coming back to Earth after a 3-0 start.  By the way, the schedule doesn't get much easier this week.  We got home in the wee hours on Monday morning, will attend the Maurice Lucas Memorial Service, and then will host Detroit on Tuesday, before heading out to Oklahoma City, New Orleans, and Memphis.

Now, a couple of things on the actual game.

The Lakers blistered Portland early and often on Sunday night.  This thing was never a contest, and that hasn't happened to the Blazers much the last couple of years.  I can't remember many times where they were beaten so completely, from the opening tip until the end, with really no serious run in the game and no positives to take from it.  Heck, going into the game, the Blazers had beaten the Lakers in four of the previous five meetings, and had even won on their last trip to L.A., in April of last season.

But, in this one, it was 27-14 Lakers after the first quarter, and that was pretty much it.  I've watched a couple of Lakers games so far this season, but hadn't seen them up close like this.  The additions of Steve Blake and Matt Barnes were terrific, and I think right now they're a better team, maybe a lot better, than they were last season.  Scary thought.  They shot 55 percent against the Blazers, and outrebounded them 49-25.  That's a huge number.  Portland doesn't get outrebounded like this.

Tuesday night will be pretty telling.  The Blazers bounced back well from Thursday's loss to OKC, with a win over Toronto.  Now, another bounce-back game awaits.  This one leads us into a tough three-game trip.  Too early to say "must win," but it's certainly an important game.

The best news, after all of this craziness, is that the Blazers are 5-3 and are not happy.  They shouldn't be after Sunday's loss, of course.  But, they probably also have to be careful not to start feeling sorry for themselves or this thing could snowball.  Nate McMillan has always been good at getting his players to circle the wagons.  He'll do it again.  He has to.

Here are his comments after the loss to the Lakers.  Click here to listen.

Then, issue your own comments.



51 Comments

  1. Mike, excellent perspective. I needed it after hearing all of the doom and gloom coming from emotional fans. We've played a lot of games and lost a huge person we loved so much. Staying focused has gotta hard going through a heartbreaking loss and a physically draining schedule.

    At least this game can be viewed as absolute garbage. Sometimes that's easier to swallow than a nail biter heart breaker.

    Onto the Pistons.

    Go Blazers! I for one still Believe!

    by thedanman on 11/8/2010 10:32 AM
  2. I think I will just that I will second dantheman's sentiments. Yes, all in all, 5-3 isn't bad considering all the things you mentioned Mike and yes, the Lakers are on top of their game. Let's hope we bounce back once again. What's done is done, learn from it and move on and try not to make the same mistakes.

    Let's go Blazers!!! Lots of b-ball yet to play!

    -Anees

    by Anees on 11/8/2010 10:41 AM
  3. Justed wanted to add, I have to say that it's still painful to see Steve Blake in the white and gold. :-) Thanks for choosing that picture Mike :-)

    by Anees on 11/8/2010 10:42 AM
  4. It's hard to comment abt a game like this, so Mike i just wanna ask you one thing.

    Lamar Odom, falls down (i think after hitting a shot behind the basket in the 3rd quarter) turns his head to the ref, and very very loudly yells, "foul" why is that not a technical??

    It seems like the refs arent calling these things consistently. and even if it's consistent w/in the game, its definitely not been consistent from game to game. and the NBA needs to know this is unfair to judge differently each game (especially with a new rule like this)

    by joe.k on 11/8/2010 10:47 AM
  5. I didn't watch this game as much as the Blazers didn't play it. I really think the lose of Lucas took a big emotional toll on everyone. I know losing my grandmother and friend recently took a toll on everyone that also had similar relationships. The schedule is one of the hardest, and the Lakers have been having a VERY easy schedule, and well... as much as I hate to admit it, are a better team.

    People worry about Roy, and I am too. He looked fine in the first three games, before Lucas passed away. He went 1-6 last night, or so I heard. He's got to step up and be a leader once again. Right now, I feel this is Miller's team more than Roy's. Miller is an aging vet. The last thing we need is an old guy being the leader of a rebuilding team.

    Armon looked awful against the Raptors, but looked decent against the bench of the Lakers. He's a rookie, but I started to see the Bayless effect in him late in the game, in which he made sloppy passes and just wanted to score (mainly against the Raptors.

    I'm nervous about the Blazers. But once the funeral happened for both my grandmother and my friend, it was a lot easier to put it behind us. Hopefully the Blazers can do the same.

    Luckily for them, they get an All-Star break in this month with 5 days off. It's sad to say it this early in the season, but they need it more than ever to get Joel and Greg back.

    Rumor has it I was right. Both are ready, but the Blazers are taking extra precautions.

    by Herr on 11/8/2010 12:32 PM
  6. aneebaba, you know what's worse? I watched on League Pass, and had the Lakers commentary. The interviewed Steve Blake's father. When asked "Was it hard to move to the Lakers". Without hesitation, he said "nope, I packed up all my Blazer stuff and sold it to a garage sale". All this while wearing a Lakers hat.

    by Herr on 11/8/2010 12:34 PM
  7. Thanks for the post Mr. Barrett. I take it you are not in the "Fire Nate!" or "Trade Brandon" camps then? Just kidding of course.

    The radio, Blazersedge, Oregonlive, and national media are all over this team right now, so it's really nice to see a positive perspective. I realize that is Mike's job to some degree, but I still find it refreshing.

    I don't get why it's soooo hard for fans and analysts to see that this team is trying to make adjustments to personnel changes, coaching changes, health limitations (in Brandon's case especially), and playing-style changes. And all of that takes TIME!

    All last season, I saw people complaining that we needed to run more, move the ball more, LMA needed to get tougher and go inside more, that Brandon needed to make more adjustments, that Nico needed plays for him, that Coach needed to be more flexible. And now, the team is actually doing ALL of those things, albeit not always in the same degrees, but trying to do all of them! But no, that's not good enough, because the EFFECTS aren't happening RIGHT NOW! I swear, it's like watching three-year-olds. No patience, no insight, no perspective. Just "gimmee, gimmee, gimmeee!".

    Onward and upward....GO BLAZERS!

    by EowynAmarie on 11/8/2010 12:46 PM
  8. I'm worried about Brandon Roy.

    by Jacob Krall on 11/8/2010 1:20 PM
  9. Eowyn Amarie:

    Wow great feed about the unjust fans. I am not in the fire Nate or trade BRoy by no means. I am worried that BRoy is getting bogged down mentally and physically this early in the year. He plays his position than is the first to back up Dre, which has a different role then his role, then he is back to his role with different players subbing with different tendencies.

    This is plain and simply a bad week ending with services today. If fans and BB analysis can't put the human factor into the game then they are not much of humans themselves. We are not making excuses, but the fact is it is and was a very emotional time for all Blazer players, fans. Even-so. a loss like this happens to all teams.

    Let us move on. I hope you are wrong about NOH and I am wrong about the Grizzlies.

    by Hg on 11/8/2010 2:20 PM
  10. bet it hurts to c blake in that laker jerzey, wait till we take care of you in portland.

    by lakersrking on 11/8/2010 2:31 PM
  11. Hah, typical Laker fans always being douche bags and bragging. Bet it still hurts that we beat them every time they step foot on Oregon soil.

    As for Blake, he was a good character, but was inconsistent and well, if you actually read this blog you'd see that no one wanted him. Take the inconsistency. Fisher and Blake have nothing on Dre and Armon. Doesn't hurt one bit that's on the other team. I find it cute everyones loving him until he gets into a slump and the Lakers have point guard problems like they did against Westbrooke, Williams, Nash and Rondo.

    Anyways, I get enough of that crap on Fanvoice... moving on.

    I think Nate should try sending Rudy to the point sooner. Rudy, at the moment, is more reliable than Armon. Give Armon his minutes, but don't count on him in close game situations. Rudy has more experience and honestly makes better passes at this moment.

    by Herr on 11/8/2010 4:15 PM
  12. i had a neighbor who passed away about a year and a half ago who used to make note of "fair weather fans." i agree with her that there are too many people who ride high and criticize low when a team is on opposite ends of the rollar coaster.

    sure, lets trade this player or fire this coach because yeah, that'll make us instant winners (sarcasm). seriously, give me a break. it's my understanding that a lot of blazers fans think you can change half the team and the coach and win the championship. why do they think this? because in 1976-77 it happened. However, that's not the rule; it's the exception.

    Nate has done a lot of things right when it comes to the team. granted, there are a few things many would wish he'd done differently. i think he's above average, especially considering the adversity he's faced as our head coach over the past two seasons.

    Herr: i noticed that interview with Blake's dad ... i only wonder if their wizards, nuggets, bucks and clippers gear is also packed away.

    Herr (again): i understand the precautions with Greg, but Joel has only suffered the injuries of the average nba big man, so i'm unsure of the extra precautions. EowynAmarie and i have been predicting Joel's return for some time now, and it appears it could come at any time.

    EowynAmarie: the team IS working through all of it's adjustments. it's very unfortunate that some people seem to be panicking. as MB said, you throw this game out and bounce back. this certainly is not the end of the world for this team. we got crushed, we come back and don't let it happen again.

    lakersking: i hesitate to respond, but as the regulars on the blog know, i likely will anyway. go ahead, basque in this for a bit, but just wait until you guys face us in portland with our healty tri-towers and the loudest 6th man in the league. and please, please don't make me go LTP on you.

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 11/8/2010 4:29 PM
  13. I couldn't help but notice how when the Lakers shot the ball, it usually went in the net--we should try that.

    by 500Dogs on 11/8/2010 5:59 PM
  14. Okay, we didn't shoot that horribly, it just felt that way after watching a ton of quality looks from in close rim out in the 1st quarter.

    Let's start this with the positive!

    Nicolas Batum continues to work his way out of his mini-slump, shooting 53% for 17 PTS. Also, he demonstrated his back-to-the-basket game (which admittedly needs some work). Kudos to Nico for busting it out in a big game and not totally bricking.

    As a team, the Blazers shot 84% from the line. You've gotta make your free throws!

    Armon only had one TO, and got an opportunity to get his own shot a little bit in Garbage Time. Also, it was nice to see a little Armon-to-Luke connection for old time's sake.

    Andre managed to put enough points on the board (20) that the team wasn't forced to commit seppuku after the game.

    Now the bad...

    Our starters combined for 15 REBS. Theirs combined for 31. Our starters combined for 54 PTS. Theirs combined for 76. Brandon Roy shot 1-6. Brandon Roy shot 1-6. Brandon Roy shot 1-6. Brandon Roy shot 1-6. Brandon Roy shot 1-6...

    At least Roy was perfect from the charity stripe, because pity was the only way he was gonna get any last night. RonRon thinks he's injured, and I think he's right. That, or someone spiked his Gatorade. Time to sit the man, let Wesley start for Detroit and maybe OKC. Like Greg says, if you ain't at 100%, you're not helping the team.

    I'm at a place where all I can say is, good job LA--you burned us but good. I invite any Laker fans to come on over and rip into the team. Normally, I'd get all butt-hurt and try to shame you, but not this time. Knock yourselves out. I love my team, but this is a loss not even I can stand up for.

    Now let's exorcise the demon on Detroit.

    by 500Dogs on 11/8/2010 6:38 PM
  15. Herr: No one here wanted Steve Blake? I did for one and I'm sure BRoy did also which is far more important. Steve was a perfect guard to pair with Brandon in that he could switch to shooting guard (and perform well there) when Brandon wanted the point. Andre Miller is clearly a better PG than Blake but he may not be as good a fit with Brandon.

    Very interesting article in this morning's paper about Brandon and his current funk. He admitted it's as much (maybe more) mental than physical. He specifically mentioned the absence of Blake and Travis Outlaw as having a big effect on his game! Without those two, the team's offense is way different from what it was during Brandon's great first few seasons as far as his personal style of play goes.

    I hope this gets sorted out soon...
    --
    don

    by dgpdx on 11/8/2010 6:52 PM
  16. Did Broy losing wght to get quicker cost him too much in his strength. I say we cut his minutes, no point gaurd, and see if he can't recover his form. It's not that we don't have anyone to take some of these minutes. We need Brandon in allstar form not the meandering passive player we've seen thus far.

    I'm certainly not fire Nate or trade Broy person. However we need the real Broy and Nate needs to pick up on these things better and be more adaptable.

    by Ancientone on 11/8/2010 7:49 PM
  17. the team is 5-3 and there is nothing wrong with that.

    the 3 losses include one against the champs on the second night of a back to back, one on the road against a playoff team, and one in overtime that was the first game back from a road trip (the only one that really ruffles my feathers).

    gutting out a win in NY was the difference against being a winning team so far, and being mediocre. with all of the other challenges, i think the team has done well. 6-2 would be better, but hey they've found a way to put up a winning record.

    brandon has averaged just under 39min a game, and already had games of 24, 22, 29 and 26 to help drive the team to 4 of its 5 wins.

    if they can just take care of the pistons and then break even for a bit, joel will be back to stabilize things. don't fret blazers fans, things will come together.

    and, by the way, the blazers are currently alone atop the division ;o

    by reverse on 11/8/2010 9:29 PM
  18. dgpdx: source and link please. Even if it's not digitized, you should be able to give me something that will lead me to it via the internet. I'd like to see exactly what Brandon said specifically, especially about Blake and Outlaw. Thanks in advance.

    Herr: agree they are being extra cautious, especially with Joel, who has felt he is ready to return for weeks now :)

    by EowynAmarie on 11/8/2010 9:41 PM
  19. Excuses excuses excuse, give it time to get thing in order, when is the time? from 1970 to 2010 isn't that enough time?
    Come on folks face the facst and reality. Nate McMuffin can not coach against elite teams, Roy is just an average NBA player. He never got voted by the fans to be an all star, and that's the reason why. Mr. Cho has to make a major move to bring the Blazers to the next level and be a serious contender.
    Trade Broy while his value still high, fire Nate McMuffin.

    by Idealist on 11/8/2010 9:46 PM
  20. I think the Blazers need to take it to the next level and prove they're ready tomorrow by hammering Detriot, who got better with T-Mac. It won't be an easy game.

    The game against the Thunder will be a true test. This one, DONT LET GO OF THE PEDAL. It's bad enough that my prediction of a sweep is gone, don't ruin our perfect streak of going 3-1 the past two seasons.

    by Herr on 11/8/2010 11:59 PM
  21. Where is our heart ? Where is our spirit ?? The crowd was not even into in !!! We need the Rose Garden to get out of their seats !!!! ..................................................RISE UP !

    by Justin Downs on 11/9/2010 5:22 AM
  22. Herr: I completely disagree that "no one wanted Blake". Far too many people simply have no idea how valuable of a player that guy is in a ball control offense. Phil Jackson, you know that guy who won 10 rings so far, has wanted Blake on his roster for the past 3 yrs. If you don't see the obvious meaning behind that, then nothing I can say will convince you otherwise. Blake isn't a SC highlight reel...but he was quite valuable to Nate's offense, and is an absolutely perfect fit in the triangle.

    by Marcus Johnson on 11/9/2010 6:40 AM
  23. I see a lot of comments here from various people putting down those of us who look at the Blazers with a critical eye. Rose colored glasses are just as damaging as pointing out every flaw or mistake on a daily basis. As usual, the best policy is to try to find some balance.

    Taking everything into account, this team has some serious issues. The entire validity of Nate's system rests in the hands of Oden's eventual return and ability to stay healthy. Roy's chronic knee problem isn't going away anytime soon. In case you are not aware of this fact, he is missing the meniscus in his knee and has a bone on bone condition that may never allow him to reach his peak of 2 seasons ago. If Roy is not a top 10 player, this team has no chance of contending with or without Oden. Roy's mental state/attitude and chemistry with the starting point guard seems to also be a developing issue. Certainly, Roy is having to adjust to new system demands, learning how to share the ball, and being "the man" a little less and make the extra pass in various possessions is going to take time.

    Beyond this is the legitimate question of whether or not Nate's system is truly the one that will get this team to a championship. Even if Oden/Roy/LMA stay 100% healthy, this is not a question that is easily answered. I love Nate as a person and his ability to teach position mechanics to develop young guys. But it is clear his offensive & defensive approaches do not maximize the talent of many of the players on this roster.

    If either Oden or Roy are unable to perform at expected levels, then a system change is going to be a necessity to develop other players. This is not me being in the "fire Nate" group...it is simply reality.

    by Marcus Johnson on 11/9/2010 6:50 AM
  24. I see a lot of comments here from various people putting down those of us who look at the Blazers with a critical eye. Rose colored glasses are just as damaging as pointing out every flaw or mistake on a daily basis. As usual, the best policy is to try to find some balance.

    Taking everything into account, this team has some serious issues. The entire validity of Nate's system rests in the hands of Oden's eventual return and ability to stay healthy. Roy's chronic knee problem isn't going away anytime soon. In case you are not aware of this fact, he is missing the meniscus in his knee and has a bone on bone condition that may never allow him to reach his peak of 2 seasons ago. If Roy is not a top 10 player, this team has no chance of contending with or without Oden. Roy's mental state/attitude and chemistry with the starting point guard seems to also be a developing issue. Certainly, Roy is having to adjust to new system demands, learning how to share the ball, and being "the man" a little less and make the extra pass in various possessions is going to take time.

    Beyond this is the legitimate question of whether or not Nate's system is truly the one that will get this team to a championship. Even if Oden/Roy/LMA stay 100% healthy, this is not a question that is easily answered. I love Nate as a person and his ability to teach position mechanics to develop young guys. But it is clear his offensive & defensive approaches do not maximize the talent of many of the players on this roster.

    If either Oden or Roy are unable to perform at expected levels, then a system change is going to be a necessity to develop other players. This is not me being in the "fire Nate" group...it is simply reality.

    by Marcus Johnson on 11/9/2010 7:19 AM
  25. sorry about the double post. It seems if you hit the refresh button this happens. Any way to delete/edit posts on here?

    by Marcus Johnson on 11/9/2010 7:20 AM
  26. warning, Kassandra is feeling a tad spunky!

    idealist: this current group of players has been around for say, 1-4 years -- not 40. they have not been building this current team since 1970. honestly, that is ludicris. i don't see anyone here making excuses; Mike Barrett even said that in his blog. what most are saying is that the season is not lost by one game. do you seriously think Brandon is going to receive more votes from blazers fans portland than Bryant is going to receive from lakers fans from a city with a six-fold population? that's a ridiculous comparison. you even contradicted yourself in a way when you claimed he was an average player, yet still had a high trade value. no, true blazers fans are looking at the big picture, not the implusive panicking one.

    Marcus: i realize you're new here and all, but you should realize that if you had been around longer, you'd notice the regular posters here are extremely critical of players, coaches and administration of the team -- when it warrants it. like i just told idealist, the people who commonly post here know this team very well. we simply are not in panic mode because of one loss (you're probably counting the okc loss as a major indication of something wrong, but a one-point loss to a playoff contender in overtime does not warrant it). at the same time, we are very critical of johnny-come-latelys who want to come in and claim the team needs to be overhauled overnight or it will either implode or explode. the true fans who comment here know that that is not necessary. i could break apart the contents of your comment quite easily, but that's not my intention here. i will say, however, that Nate's system does not rely specifically on Greg. it does rely on a regular rotation which you don't have with either center out. this team would be just find with Marcus and Joel sharing time at center.

    if you take the blazers' 5-3 record and factor it out from a percentage standpoint, the team is on pace for 51 wins. that's more than most of the prognosticators and right in the neighborhood of the individual broadcast team's predictions. now, while MB and most here are not complaining about the schedule, the mere fact is that these first three weeks are a more difficult chunk of the season. again, that's not a complaint, as most teams have sections of their seasons like this. ours just so happens to come at the beginning. Joel will be back in about two weeks, and Greg probably a bit after that, and the schedule will even itself out. once again, not a complaint, but a fact. the "reality" of your comment is that you very much seem to be, indeed, in the fire-Nate, trade-Brandon group. as Shakespeare said, "a rose by any other name ..."

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 11/9/2010 8:10 AM
  27. Marcus: yes, the refresh button does do that. as far as i know you cannot delete posts. however, i save the blog to my favorites and click that when i wish to "resfresh."

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 11/9/2010 8:12 AM
  28. Kassandra~

    I love a spirited debate and I like a lot of what you have to say. :)

    However, if you believe this system will be "just fine" long term with Marcus or Joel in the middle, then you and I have FAR different definitions of what "just fine" means.

    The Blazers (and the fans) aren't in this to win 51 regular season games. Teams, players, coaches, owners, and the fan base are in this to WIN A CHAMPIONSHIP. Period.

    Taking this into account, this team has legitimate problems that cannot be explained away by apologists claiming it is early in the season or because the guys are tired. Every team in the league is playing a tough schedule to some degree. The playoffs are a grind. Are you going to dismiss a 1-6 BRoy outing against a playoff opponent as "no big deal, he's just tired"?

    This was the freaking LAKERS. Yes, it's an early game. Yes, this team has a slightly tougher early road schedule than many other teams. But if you can't get up for the LAKERS then who can you get up for? These guys are professionals who are paid a LOT of money to perform. No, they will not always perform at their best. But 1-6 against the Lakers is inexcusable. The entire team's level of play was inexcusable.

    So, with that in mind, this is when the debate begins: what exactly is wrong with Roy? It is unclear at this point if this is mental, physical, or some mixture of the two. But somethin aint right in Kansas.

    With that said, I disagree that my supposition about the offensive and defensive system being flawed can be "easily picked apart" as you stated. Statistically, the Blazers are 7th in offensive efficiency, which sounds good on paper but does nothing to explain the protracted scoring droughts this team is still experiencing after 3 seasons. The team's defense is ranked 16th, which isn't going to get it done.

    You may wonder why I'm more concerned with the offense than the defense given the statistical rankings, and the answer is simple: I still have faith Oden will return healthy and his impact on the defense will be immediate and tangible. The offense, however, will continue to sputter for long stretches.

    One sign we have problems is this: we lead the league last year in shots taken as the shot clock expired. This has not changed this year. How many times do you see our worst outside shooter on the floor (usually Andre) taking a desperation 3 at the buzzer goes off? This is an obvious sign that the game flow, spacing, and ball movement are off much of the time.

    The bottom line is this system does not maximize the talent we have. A coach's job is to put players into positions to score efficiently, to get easy buckets without expending a lot of energy. Far too often our players are taking high degree of difficulty shots, under duress/fully covered. If this isn't a sign something needs to change I don't know what is. I am not sure what offense you are watching if you don't see this, but I have about 100 blazer games burned to DVD if you need to review some from the past few years.

    To come full circle: this team presumably isn't playing just to beat poor and average teams during the regular season, they are playing to win a championship. The Laker loss gives us a true barometer of where the Blazers stand in that goal. Unfortunately, reality dictates that we look at the evidence at hand. A 5-3 record doesn't mean jack when 2 of those losses came against the very teams you need to compare yourself against to make a deep playoff run. The Blazers are nowhere close to challenging the Lakers and frankly I don't see how anyone could say otherwise. The problems with this team are real and tangible and have nothing to do with it being early in the season since they are largely the same problems we've seen repeated game after game for the past few years. Again, this doesn't mean I am saying "fire Nate". What it does mean is that this team needs to start doing things differently. And if they don't then eventually Nate WILL have to go.

    by Marcus Johnson on 11/9/2010 8:38 AM
  29. Marcus,
    I agree with a lot of your points, and thanks for sharing. Where I diverge is this: "Teams, players, coaches, owners, and the fan base are in this to WIN A CHAMPIONSHIP. Period."

    While I agree that the team, coaches, management and owners should have the ring in sight at all times, as a fan I just want to see my team give their all. I don't see that right now, and that's what frustrates me. If we are seeing their best right now, all that means to me is I have to lower my expectations...

    On a separate topic, I've seen a number of posts recently bashing the Rose Garden crowd for not getting into the games like we used to. I've been to 4 events so far this season (FanFest, LAC [pre], PHX and OKC) and frankly, I haven't been given much to be excited about. The LAC preseason outing was a hoot, and stretches of the other two games were exciting, but generally there has been a deflated, flat feeling to the team.

    Last season, I witnessed a few loses but always walked away happy to have seen my team give their best. Not so much this year. I was crestfallen after the OKC loss, and it wasn't because they lost another game in OT, it was on account of their disinterest in winning and lack of creativity when it counted.

    So don't blame the crowd: we're waiting for an excuse to explode. You just can't expect us to put the team on our backs. Don't get me wrong, we can shoulder the load, it just takes a hand lifting it off the ground.

    by 500Dogs on 11/9/2010 9:12 AM
  30. Marcus Johnson:

    First: where did you get the facts of BRoy not having any meniscus left? I have read that his surgery was to repair minor damage to his meniscus, but I have never read that he was playing bone on bone.

    Second: You seem to stipulate that your post is the fact and not just your opinion. You can't debate the fact, just the opinions.

    Third: The Blazers like any other team in the NBA is not perfect. You can fire Nate; trade BRoy off, as Kassandra says, that sounds like your wants. Get a new coach, get a new star, and with in a short period, you are a critical bunch that are like you, at the first sign of adversity or bad streaks, will be saying trade off the Star and fire the coach. Rebuild the team.

    Fourth: You give no credit to the perfection in which the Lakers played that game. It was said by their announcers that the Lakers this year has had no trouble scoring big numbers against any team, but their defense has been failing. The Lakers had just come of a miracle victory over the Raptors, and they were very worried about the Blazers. They went all out to stop BRoy and LaMarcus. There were plenty of opportunities for the rest of the players to play up to their strength. Except, if you don't get a stop or a rebound you can't utilize your offensive skills. How is that Nate's fault?

    Five: I to believe there might be something wrong with BRoy's game, but he said it was more mental then physical. He is trying to stay grounded to save energy and slow down the wear and tear on his body. Those big changes takes time, plus he said us fan’s didn’t like him playing his game. The fans wanted him to change his game to more team orientated, opposed to ISO. Now that he is doing that, no body likes it. That is called, they are mad if I do, and Mad if I don’t. He can’t win.

    You can try to debate with Kassandra, or any of the regulars, but our bottom line is, it is not our call to make to say fire Nate and trade Brandon. We as Blazer fans may disagree with some of the choices made by the Brass, but we support whatever cast that is given us.

    by Hg on 11/9/2010 9:22 AM
  31. Marcus: I had a proffessor once who said if you want to change something radically to "make sure you have all the parts of the puzzle and then put your hands in your pockets and walk around the block and see if you still want to do it". Well we are still missing two huge parts of the puzzle, Joel and Greg, and I haven't even started for the door to walk around the block yet.

    by Ancientone on 11/9/2010 10:19 AM
  32. Ummm....yeah....we like it rosy here :)

    Want debate about your OPINIONS? Want to be super critical of the team? Plenty of other forums invite that and feed on it (BE, OregonLive, Fan Voice, etc.). This is OUR blog, and no, honestly, I don't want your version of "reality" here, lol!

    I come here to get away from the constant negativity and complaining and armchair coaching I hear. Mr. Barrett provides a calmer, well-reasoned, and utlimately glass-half-full perspective. It is actually his blog, and we all try to respect the atmosphere he tries to create.

    Your opinions about what the team needs and what is faults are perhaps have some validity, but you miss the point: most of us here don't prescribe to the idea that we actually believe we know what is best for the organization.

    I will argue that MOST, if not ALL, NBA teams have several weaknesses that they are constantly trying to iron out. We are not unique in that. Also, pretty much EVERYONE in the entire Organization has clearly stated that the goals this year are to win the Division and make it to the 2nd Round.......NOT ONE has mentioned a Ring this year. And I, a Blazer fan, am not after one this year either. That expectation is quite simply, ridiculous at this point. We are still growing, and you know what? THAT IS OKAY :)

    Thanks for stopping by though.....LBTP was hungry I think :p

    by EowynAmarie on 11/9/2010 10:53 AM
  33. I don't see much value in trying to diagnose a team on the basis of one bad game, but the Laker game did underline one point I've been wanting to make for a while. Lamarcus Aldridge has taken a lot of grief in this space for the last couple of years because he's been too "soft"; relying on outside shooting instead of going inside. We heard during the off season that he's been working on his inside game, especially the spin move to the baseline, and has been bulking up so he can be more of an inside presence. And as the season has started what I see is that he has accomplished his goal. He now thinks inside first and is playing tougher down low. I've seen some passing recognition of this, but not the praise I'd expect, given how hard on him some posters have been. He missed a couple of shots he'd normally make against New York, and everyone was talking about his "disappointing" performance, when in fact he outperformed Amare Stoudamire in every category except shooting percentage. The next game his offensive numbers were down, but he blocked five shots. It feels like he's gotten many more of those easy inside-lob baskets than last season at this point; that's because he's going to the basket and players are looking for him. The Laker game was Aldridge's first really bad outing, and part of the reason is pretty clear (it's spelled G-A-S-O-L). Once the big Spaniard stopped a couple of moves that would have worked against lesser opponents the Blazers stopped working hard to get Aldridge the ball. Granted, the Blazer's passing was coping badly with the Lakers' defensive intensity, so perhaps some of those inexplicable turnovers were failed tries to find him. The point is that people have talked a lot about Brandon's bad game, but in my view, our chances to win a championship in the next three years depend on the Blazers becoming a team where Roy is NOT the team's best player, and almost certainly not the first option on offense. Unless Aldridge or Oden (or preferably both) develop into bigger threats than our smooth-but-slow shooting guard, I don't see any way to bring home a ring. But fans and the national broadcasters all tend to simplify the question to how well the team's biggest star is doing. And Brandon too often tries to meet that expectation, to "take over" in crunch time, or against a tough opponent, whether that's really best option. The team is best when it moves the ball and lets whoever gets open do the damage. Obviously that's made easier when there are threats like Roy or LA who can draw an extra defender. But a team like the Lakers who can match up well man-on-man against our two top threats requires the rest of the guys to step up, and while Andre and Nic did that to a degree, the tendency to go to isolation with Brandon was still there and it hurt the team. Not that all this offensive analysis means much for this particular game; the way the Lakers were shooting meant we were going to lose even if our attack had been going on all cylinders. But it underlines a problem down the road. Will Brandon adjust to the idea that the Blazer offense starts with Lamarcus? Will he be a happy team guy if Oden evers stays healthy and needs to take half-a-dozen shots a game that would have been Roy's to take. How will his Alpha Dog mindset respond if Batum outscores him three games in a row? I think that, even if he's healthy, Roy has some hard mental adjustments to make if he's going to a key part of the the championship team we're all dreaming about. But right now I see Aldridge as the one who has already made one hard adjustment, and who needs his hard work reinforced, by the team and by fans, so that it brings bigger success in games to come.

    by Islander on 11/9/2010 11:50 AM
  34. Islander,
    I want to read your comment; please break it into a couple more paragraphs so I don't go blind.

    Thanks.

    by 500Dogs on 11/9/2010 12:32 PM
  35. Nice try bud we're not falling for that BS! FAN FOR LIFE no chasing championships like lebron..... where not trading roy over a 1-6 shooting trip in LA, that just sounds foolish, to say the least. our defense is fine....... our offense is fine.... broy n miller play well together, way better then last year.....the reason we all know your a fair weather fan is you all act the same as soon as we lose one game or three. You get things all twisted up and want to burn it down and start over. GO blazers

    by Miller on 11/9/2010 1:09 PM
  36. I like islanders comments, see how thats done.

    by Miller on 11/9/2010 1:12 PM
  37. Eowyn Amarie: The article I quoted was Jason Quick's "Blazers Insider" column in the Monday, 11/8, issue of the Oregonian. You should be able to find it by searching the Oregonian's archives.

    by dgpdx on 11/9/2010 2:49 PM
  38. Anyone else here think the Lakers are even better this year? I'm impressed by the way Ron Artest has minimized his ego enough to blend in extremely well with Kobe and Company. I've long thought Lamar Odom is one the NBA's best PFs and he just keeps on ticking. Add in Pao Gasol and that's the best 4-man group in the league. In Steve Blake and Matt Barnes they have added two pieces to their bench who fit the system perfectly and won't holler about minutes.

    Baring major injury, It's hard to imagine anyone beating them for another title.

    by dgpdx on 11/9/2010 3:05 PM
  39. New article on Roy...

    http://www.oregonlive.com/blazers/index.ssf/2010/11/brandon_roy_says_his_body_tell.html

    He says he needs to monitor his minutes to regain his explosiveness. I think rather than keep his minutes per game down, we need to look at limiting his minutes per week. There will still be games that we need our All Star to play 40+ minutes, but playing three of those in a week shouldn't happen.

    The other thing he mentions is the necessity of developing a "ground game", which sounds more like Miller's style. I support this. Andre manages to score around the basket without jumping through the roof, and just look at his health!

    by 500Dogs on 11/9/2010 3:08 PM
  40. looking for a much better game and effort tonight- I think it is best to just forget the laker game.

    Have to say I really hate seeing blake in that laker uniform...

    by RedRudy5 on 11/9/2010 3:29 PM
  41. once the second unit has a stabilizing anchor like joel, there will be better production from wesley, rudy, dante and even armon. leads will not be given up so easily, and starters will not be rode so hard.

    l.a. is most likely peaking too soon.

    when g.o. comes back (february is fine with me:) things will change shape drastically. i'm so confident in the plan to let big greg take more time to heal and rehab that i bought myself a greg oden jersey.

    we'll see what's up in may & june.

    by reverse on 11/9/2010 3:44 PM
  42. the portland roundball society linked through to this one, which is hilarious:

    http://www.theonion.com/articles/denver-nuggets-announce-plans-to-move-to-new-york,18412/

    it has almost come to this, which is why i'm in favor of folding a few teams.

    by reverse on 11/9/2010 4:08 PM
  43. Mike: "Burn the game film of this game."
    Negative Sir. There is a lot of good stuff in that game for the Blazers.

    Mike: “You don't want to totally forget what happened on Sunday night in Los Angeles, but this is probably a case where you simply turn the page quickly and don't dwell on it.”
    Not so quick there sir. There is a lot of good material from that game for the Blazers to learn from. The Lakers schooled the Blazers non stop from opening tip to final buzzer. If the Blazers do not think there is a wealth of lesson material here and just move on, that will just confirm my view of the organization. They will never be champions with a mindset and approach like that.

    Mike: “I do think the Lakers gave the Blazers some pretty good lessons in this ball game, but it didn't have much to do with Portland.”
    It has everything to do with the Portland Trail Blazers.

    Mike: "They (Lakers) shot 55 percent against the Blazers, and outrebounded them 49-25."
    Yup. And now you have touched on just one of the good things in that game for the Blazers.

    by Blozers on 11/9/2010 4:23 PM
  44. Oh, and by the way. I do not believe the Blazers (players, coaches and organization) even have a clue what they really need to learn from the Lakers School House.

    by Blozers on 11/9/2010 4:29 PM
  45. i am shocked at some of the comments directed at marcus. he makes some great points, he's succinct, and he's not insulting anyone. since when do we not welcome "healthy" debate? since when did we start bullying people who don't deserve it? come on now, we're better than that.

    islander, i completely agree with everything you said.

    marcus, i hope you keep blogging

    by sudelander on 11/9/2010 5:24 PM
  46. Marcus: it’s not my endeavor to debate you here. i merely pointed out that you were very incorrect when it came to people making their own comments and excuses toward the team. as hg mentioned, people are going to formulate their own opinions and you know what, some may differ from yours. it appears as if it’s all right for you to offer an opinion, but not all right for others to do the same.

    i have no problem in being challenged on a point i make. however, i would ask you the same as i would ask anyone: if you’re going to reference what i say, please get it right. in many of your statements, you relied on assumption, conjecture and exaggeration. before continuing, maybe i should point those out to garner greater understanding.

    1. i said we would be fine once one of our bigs return. it was only you who used the statement “long term.” it’s well known around here that i do not see Marcus playing beyond the final year of his contract, which is next year. it seems you could only make your point so long as you embellished it.

    2. no one, myself included, ever indicated the team’s goal was to only win 51 games. actually, that statement was simply preposterous.

    3. no one, myself included, ever indicated that one-of-six shooting was acceptable. i’m not sure where you got that, but it seems to be another piece of assumption.

    here’s the real problem though, with your denial of being in the “fire Nate; trade-Brandon” camp: you claim that the two biggest problems of the team are Nate’s system and Brandon’s performance in just one game this season (prior to l.a., he was averaging 22.3 ppg). you then say major changes have to be made. how could anyone not draw that obvious conclusion?

    my take on Brandon is that he’s thinking too much. that can come with being a leader and i think he’s falling into that trap a little. he’s worried about his durability this season, and wanting to make sure he’s around at the end of the season to help with the playoff push. it should also be said that the franchise itself is treating injuries with kid gloves. we already know that Joel and Greg are both pretty much ready (Joel apparently more ready), but that the team is taking extra precautions because of the recent injury history.

    i already covered (i thought very well) that every team in the league has tough stretches of their schedules, and that one of the blazers’ tough parts of the schedule comes in the first three weeks. no one is making excuses here. this is just plain fact.

    of course you’re going to disagree with your point about the offensive and defensive schemes. however, just because you disagree, does not mean you are correct. and by the way, as i finish this, the blazers have just gone to 6-3, which puts them at 55 wins … last year that would have been good enough for second seed in the west.

    the real problem i’ve seen with your supposition is that you’re taking one single game into account and just about seem ready to overhaul or throw this team under the bus. well, most of us here are not fair weather fans. that being said, we’re not oblivious to going on with the team either.

    everyone here was new at some point and had to earn their stripes. we simply don’t know you, and most of us simply don’t need a know-it-all coming in telling us how we’re all wrong in our views of the team, especially when that someone relies on conjecture, exaggeration and assumption to try to prove their point.

    one final note: you also come off a little egotistical in your comment about the page refresh. as i’ve stated, many have been coming here for a long time. we already knew about that. despite whatever your intention was, you were not providing any new flash there.

    of course after all that, and as EowynAmarie said, thanks for stopping by.

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 11/10/2010 7:55 AM
  47. hg, EowynAmarie, islander, miller: excellent posts. that's exactly what i was saying, though you're perspectives were great!

    sudelander: frankly, i'm shocked that you think the people around here would not respond to Marcus' comments in the manner in which they (and i) did. was your break from the blog so long that you don't remember us?!

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 11/10/2010 7:58 AM
  48. hi kassandra (and co.),

    it's funny you say that. i have found that it's healthy to take a break from things in order to gain new perspective. like when i'm working on a physics problem and i can't figure it out, i usually get up and take our dog on a walk or anything to get my mind of things. i find that when i do that, i succeed. kinda like when you do a crossword puzzle and you get stuck. if you put it away until the next day, then you find that you can finish it. you are probably going through a few brain clogs at stanford right now, which by the way, i'm happy you got in. great school beautiful campus. are you a cardinal or a duck"?

    this is what i have found coming back:

    the atmosphere has become saturated with condescension, unneeded sarcasm and underlying animosity.

    if i was a new to the site and wanted a peaceful atmosphere to share my thoughts, this wouldn't be the one.

    with that said, i hope you realize that this is coming from someone who likes you guys and because of my absence, i feel like i can opine from a neutral standpoint.

    i don't think some of you realize what it sounds
    with comments like:

    "everyone here was new at some point and had to earn their stripes. we simply don’t know you, and most of us simply don’t need a know-it-all coming in telling us how we’re all wrong in our views of the team, especially when that someone relies on conjecture, exaggeration and assumption to try to prove their point".

    i f i recall kassandra, you yourself have been accused of being a "know-it-all"on more than one occasion and probably didn't appreciate that. i'm not saying you're that. i just find it difficult to hear you call someone that considering what you've had to deal with in this blog in the past.by the way, i'm glad you and eowyn are pals.

    i'm sorry if you felt you had to earn your stripes in this blog. i remember those days, and if i recall, i think i crushed a couple of the doushebags that were insulting you (not that you ever needed my help).

    my point is it shouldn't have to be that way. specially after what this blog used to be like during its "dark ages" and you know what i'm talking about.

    you guys know me. you know that i stand up for my friends and will go to battle with anyone who is disrespecting you guys or the players on our team.

    i think if you take a couple days off and read marcus' blog again, you might find that it's not as bad as some of you make it sound. i may not agree with some of what he says but at the same time, i think he presents his points respectfully.

    with that said, i agree that we CANNOT gauge Nate's system without our complete starting roster on the floor. i did notice that the team offense opens up when roy is sitting. if he can somehow someway adjust his game to a more up tempo motion offense then i think he could really help this team win a championship. yes i said it, championship. iso ball should be a second option rather than first.

    i hope you can take my perspective as constructive rather than destructive.

    like the old 'vizzle diz' addage goes...style crushers are bad umkay? or something like that.

    looking forward to going to the games over the holidays.

    i hope we kill the nuggets like the pacers did last night.

    by sudelander on 11/10/2010 10:55 AM
  49. I know there's a new blog, but thought I would note this anyway.

    dgpdx: from Quick's article, online (I assume this is the one you meant)

    "Roy is obviously frustrated at what a grind it has become for him to get an open shot. He said part of it is the attention defenses pay to him. Part of it is his body doesn't feel the same. And some of it is the team's personnel has changed.

    Translated: Gone are Steve Blake and Travis Outlaw -- two players who could help space the floor for him by making outside shots. In their place is Andre Miller and Wesley Matthews -- two players who are not known for their sharpshooting.

    'A lot of things have changed," Roy said. "We almost have a whole new roster as we did two years ago, so things aren't going to be the same as they were. I'm just trying to adjust, to see what this team needs.' "

    Only the last paragraph is what Roy said. The specific comments about Outlaw and Blake were Jason's. I know Brandon has said something specific about Blake, but I didn't see that here. Not trying to argue, just noting that if this is indeed what you were referring to, it would be incorrect to say that Brandon "specifically mentioned Outlaw and Blake" in regard to being unhappy. Which is why I asked for the source in the first place.

    by EowynAmarie on 11/10/2010 12:03 PM
  50. sudelander: i understand what you're saying, and i don't completely disagree. i know you've been one of the more neutral people here -- most of the time.

    the main problem i have with Marcus' comments is that i see a decent intention there, though as with everyone, i rely on fact to back up what is being said. having an opinion is natural, but allowing someone else to disagree is more difficult. i don't need to wait and read his blog another time just so i can come around to his type of thinking. that, and the fact that i just plain disagree with some of his points, are exactly why i'm going to state my position without worry of ridicule. that's all i can really do, isn't it?

    i find it ironic that you suggest i wait a couple days and re-read Marcus' comments, yet you didn't suggest that he wait a couple days and re-read mine. my mind doesn't work that way whereas i need to do that. i know what Marcus said, and i know my opinions on the issues he raised.

    i posted here, though not completely regularly, for over a year, before i received a single response. it then took some in-depth comments and logic for more interaction to take place. i honestly don't give a crap if someone is going to disagree with me. life is much too short to be worried about the inevitable differences of opinion. of course, i am likely to present my position in an effort to sway that opinion.

    maybe it should not be that way, as you said, but the fact remains that it is that way. it's like a defendant in court saying he's innocent only because he doesn't like the law. life doesn't work that way.

    i really don't think you're looking at this from an objective standpoint. if you agree with Marcus, good for you. if i don't ... well, as you know, i will voice my own opinion ... because that is the way it is, and that's the way i am.

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 11/11/2010 8:02 AM
  51. Now 6 of 5. See what I mean. Blazers don't even comprehend the lessons taught at the Lakers School House. Even if they did they probably would not be capable of learning the lessons nor competent enough to apply them. As Obama might say, the Blazers play stupidly.

    Tracking now for a 45 win season. You can already kiss this season good-bye.

    Thinking maybe I should become a Laker fan.

    by Blozers on 11/13/2010 9:05 PM
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