mikebarrett

Nov 09

A Much-Needed Thrashing

By mikebarrett
You could make the case that this was the most complete effort of the season for the Trail Blazers.  Of course, like everything else recently, even this didn't come without drama.  I'm not certain at this point if this Brandon Roy situation is worthy of that description, but it'll certainly be played as that.  I can't blame anyone for being concerned.

On a day when Brandon talked about needing perhaps a reduction in his work load, his teammates were able to rally, pick up the slack, and destroy the Detroit Pistons 100-78 at the Rose Garden.  Roy saw his wish granted, as you probably know, and played just 21 minutes in the contest.

While just about everyone seems totally convinced there is much more to the story in the case of Roy, I'm not going there yet.  I feel it really is possible that given the difficult early-season schedule, the heavy minutes he's been logging, and the emotional fatigue everyone has been feeling for a variety of reasons, this is simply just as Brandon has said it is- he's trying to get a second wind, and can't seem to get it yet.  Of course, it's possible there's more to this.  His left knee has been giving him problems.

The case I'm making is that we just recently saw Roy score 29 in New York.  He had 26 even as recently as Saturday night in a win over Toronto.  My point is that even though he hasn't perhaps looked as explosive in recent days as we've come to expect, it's not like he's totally looked lost and like he's going at half speed. 

Sunday should be able to be explained away pretty easily.  He was shut down by Ron Artest, just like the rest of the team was, in a loss to the Lakers.  He was emotionally flat, just like the rest of the team, as it was hammered by the world champs.  That's it.  Relax.  Until I get more evidence that there's something more to this, I'm not going to overthink this.  You can do what you like.  Perhaps it's a case where I'm just hoping for the best, and being ignorant.  That's possible.

Even in this game against Detroit, Roy was 4 for 7 from the field, hit his lone three-point attempt, and had 11 points in his 21 minutes.  Nate McMillan had the luxury of giving Brandon exactly what he was asking for- a break.  Roy is averaging 20 points per game.  He averaged 21.5 last season.  If he's simply worn down, following a brutal first couple of weeks, then fine.  He's been a warrior for the franchise.  I think he's earned the right to be given the benefit of the doubt in a situation like this.  Time will tell.  

Moving right along, it was LaMarcus Aldridge to the rescue in this game.  Several players stepped their games up, but Aldridge was fantastic, to the tune of 19 points, 17 rebounds, and 3 assists.  Rough play inside, physical defense, and his usual soft touch from the field.  If he keeps up this pace he'll be an all-star this season.

It's so encouraging that Nicolas Batum has established himself as a true weapon on the offensive end.  We've always known he's got the ability.  But, after being urged by the coaching staff to be more aggressive with his offense, he's actually doing it now.  He had 17 points, on 7 for 11 shooting.

If Brandon's minutes will indeed be monitored closely for a while, the guy who will benefit the most will be Rudy Fernandez.  On this night he was active, aggressive, and appeared to be having a great time.  Rudy finished with 13 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals.  

We're seeing this second unit hitting a nice groove, and that's very positive.  When they're attacking like this, pushing the tempo, and playing scrappy defense, that's a heck of a hammer to bring off the bench.  Armon Johnson was very solid in his 17 minutes, and Dante Cunningham was 5 for 5 in the fourth quarter.

There will also be a lot of talk about the tempo the Blazers created in this game.  This team doesn't record 27 fastbreak points very often.  As always, running is possible only when you defend and rebound.  In their losses the Blazers haven't done either.  Tonight they were excellent in both catagories.

To listen to Nate McMillan's post-game comments, click here.

This win was vital, especially given what lies ahead.  There's just no break ahead in the schedule in the next couple of weeks.  We leave Thursday for a three-game road trip that will take us to Oklahoma City, New Orleans, and Memphis.

It'll take more efforts like the one we saw on Tuesday night, for the Blazers to stay on top in their division.  That's right.  For all of the difficulty, drama, and hand wringing that's gone on through the first 9 games, the Blazers are 6-3, and lead the Northwest Division.  

Not bad.





  

49 Comments

  1. Great win, with my favorite Blazers all stepping up. It's probably just as well the lead got big enough that Lamarcus was able to sit instead of picking up a 20-20 game. We don't want the whole league to catch on too soon to the power of the new and improved LA. His touch was off on a couple of inside moves or he'd have snagged the 20 points anyway. And I have to say, I like the way the ball moves when Brandon isn't in the game. It's not entirely a coincidence that the fastbreak numbers were so high, when his minutes were so low. I'm not yet on the Wesley Mathews bandwagon, though; he throws up too many "what the hell?" threes and is not terribly smooth when he drives the ball. But he's young and a hard worker, so we can hope for better, in the future. And it's nice to see Batum's predicted future start seeping into the present.

    by Islander on 11/10/2010 1:08 AM
  2. It was great to see our starters get a nice rest and enjoy the end of the game, cheering a second unit that really looked to be coming together as a team AND having a good time. Yes, a few mistakes were made, but the hustle was appreciated. Perhaps seeing this will give Brandon ease when he needs to take a rest, knowing that it doesn't ALWAYS have to be on his shoulders. Congrats to LA on a FANtastic game. If he keeps playing like this, there's no doubt he'll be an All-Star in February. Tonight was the "bounce back" we needed after the LA loss. RIP CITY!! Now, let's "hit the road," guys, and keep it going~

    by Pamela Porter on 11/10/2010 1:15 AM
  3. You're a gun Mike. I love reading your blog from all the way here in Perth, Australia. Great to see LMA getting heaps of boards this season and Batum starting to realise his potential. I've got no doubt that if we get some stability and consistency in terms of players available, we'll be a challenge to anyone and could go deep into the playoffs. I'm sure Nate would love a good 3 month stretch without someone going down with a season ending injury. I don't think B-Roy asking for support is any more than that. We've had a tough start to the season and we continue to fight through the adversity. I'm proud to be a Blazer fan.

    by PlatinumHead on 11/10/2010 1:19 AM
  4. Quick has an article up that says what's up with Roy is a lot worse than most think. Worst part is it is his knee that was hurt in 2008 not last year. When is someone going to do a serious probe into our training staff and find out why we continue to have a litany of injuries? This becoming ridiculous.

    by Ricky Ackerman on 11/10/2010 1:49 AM
  5. You make a good point about Roy, I just worry about his leadership ability. He looked great on the road (minus the Lakers) in his leadership abilities, but the games at home I've questioned his decisions, and with good reasoning.

    This game was nearly perfectly played by everyone on the Blazer roster that got minutes. There was a big lead, and the Blazers kept it (except the 13 point lead at the start, but let's be honest, the Blazers were making their first shots and shooting 82%. No team shoots that consistently while there are 5 players on the court trying to prevent that).

    It was, all in all, a perfect game for the Blazers. But still, there are things we need to look at to be convinced, especially the downfall. I know there are at least 12 excuses we can use to why the Blazers are "only" 6-3, when their loses have come against teams we should beat, and would have beaten at least two (OKC and CHI) if we showed up to play.

    The main thing I think the team needs to work on is getting these players to play 48 minutes. We would be 7-2, had we beat OKC, but we shut down fairly early. We got to keep the momentum flowing. Momentum is contagious. If one player performs well, generally the team starts playing well. I think the reason people have been bashing Roy on the court for his bad performances have been because of Nate's decisions. I'm not a "trade Nate" guy, and I hope people here know that, but I've seen him put Roy into situations where he needs to shine, but there is no momentum. And honestly, I don't even know if Roy is that talented enough to change a game where there is no motivation. He's done it before, but to do it consistently is hard. I think we saw this against OKC, which is why Roy got a lot of blame (but he deserved it after some of his shot selections).

    If need be, give him rest. Just don't do it this road trip. We've got 3 possible playoff contenders coming up, one who is undefeated, one who has given us troubles, and one who stole a victory at the Rose Garden. Right now, Roy, and the team, need to prove themselves. This road trip could be 3-0, 0-3. It's a very hard trip to predict.

    Now about the game. Rudy! Where you been? Keep up the intensity. I think him coming in during the first quarter (as opposed to whenever Roy gets out) is a great move, and I think he needs to come off the bench as a point guard. Move Roy to the SG if he must stay in. I think if Rudy has the ball early, he'll play better. He seems like the type of player that gets annoyed if he's waiting for the ball (I know I do). If he comes off the bench and immediately has control of it, I predict he'll do better. When time comes, move him to SG and have Armon replace Roy.

    I keep saying it, but Cunninghams jumpshot only gives me one word that pops in my head - professional. He's what one of my teachers calls ferris wheels - The Silent Assassin. He's got a great arsenal, and has really impressed me. I really hope he gets minutes when Joel and Greg come back.

    I really hope the Blazers have Wednesday off, practice Thursday, and have Friday off. They look like they need the rest, especially with all that's happened, and now that you mention it, I think they kind of deserve it.

    I hope this win however isn't just some fluke to gain our confidence back, which it kind of has. After Toronto, I had some concerns, but after LAL, I had a laundry list of concerns.

    by Herr on 11/10/2010 2:01 AM
  6. Thanks for the post Mike. Again, since I don't see the games - I'll just say as for LA's game: THAT is what I'm talking about! I really agree with Coach Nate, not only cam LA get those double-doubles consistently (I think it was 2 seasons ago that he those more consistently, but I may be one season early on that) but as Coach said, but with 15+ rebounds. That would be great to see and yes, that will help him get into the All-Star discussion as you said Mike.

    On the Roy issue, I don't know what to think. I was happy when he said he wanted the ball more this year and I love it when he has his jumper going and occasionally gets those dunks on the big guys at the hoop (remember that one vs. the Clippers (C. Samb)??? If it's just an energy, small injuries issue, then I hope he can log medium minutes, while others step. I hope that if he just need his second wind, that he comes soon - I think we could use an aggressive on this road trip, but it sounds like he needs more time than that. I think as Herr said, we really need to step it up this road trip, so hope Roy is up for the challenge that lies ahead.

    On Batum: Awesome, would love to see more of this offensive aggressiveness - he's got what it takes, so once he finds a groove, he should keep at it and if the staff is pushing him in that direction, that should really make want it more.

    Anyways, my thoughts. As always, really enjoy reading your blog Mike and getting your insight and it's extra special since I'm away from home.

    -Anees, from Prague

    by Anees on 11/10/2010 3:28 AM
  7. Mike:

    Thanks for the Post. I taped the game, as Tuesday night is my bowling night, and haven't had the chance to peek yet. I had to read your post first. And I thank you again.

    It sounds like it was a fun game. Everybody was involved and although I can almost hear the chatter of it was against an inferior opponent so don't see too much into it. IMO, all teams we play against is worthy opponents. Just like us most teams has some iron out to do. Even the Lakers that kicked our butts so convincingly, has problems with defensive efficiency. They almost lost to Toronto, and the last I heard was having problems with Minny. Does that sound familiar?

    I think we should be honored that the Lakers feared us enough to go all out to guarantee a victory for them.

    With the expected chatter of who have we beaten so far, I agree with you, regardless of the opponents this was a must win.

    I agree with you on BRoy, although I felt he was not at 100%, I was not going to get on the dramatic band wagon that our season is ended. The only visible concern I had was the reference by Nate that we must put the ball in our best shooters hand at crucial times to be able to score. With BRoy’s fatigue, his energy level, his lack of explosion, was like getting on a dead horse and whipping it to run faster. IMO, our declining offense at times was caused by asking too much of BRoy. Not by any means blaming BRoy. BRoy facing reality and admitting that he hasn’t been able to catch his second win and he needs to pace himself for the punch at the end of the race is admiral to me. Also, he feels that giving Rudy and Wesley more time early will make us a much better team later.

    Also with BRoy, It might be better to not make him the number one option on the shooting pecking order at all times. He has so much more value then just shooting. In fact Nic’s resent developing offensive aggressiveness may very well be the key to our success if we start running more plays for him and less for BRoy. Not only will that take the heat off BRoy, it will also give us more of a threat for defenses to worry about.

    by Hg on 11/10/2010 7:36 AM
  8. I concur

    by NavyGuy on 11/10/2010 8:30 AM
  9. It's been busy,so I'll be brief.a nice win ,I'll take it.
    Great effort by the second unit.

    All I can say about Brandon is .......REST HIM OR RUIN HIM....

    It's painfully obvious that the poor guy isn't healthy .He has had to drain fluid from the knee a couple of times this year.
    Start Wesley or Rudy and give "The MAN" some REAL rest. I mean really, c'mon,give him a freakin break.

    Otherwise ,we are messing with this team's future. Know what I'm sayin?

    by DowntownVinnie on 11/10/2010 8:30 AM
  10. Even in the games that he scored well BRoy wasn't the explosive powerhouse we're used to. Glad to see management of his time, but will Nate do that in a close game? BRoy is a warrior and if he says he needs less minutes that may mean we need to scrutinize the situation and see if more needs to be done. Do what is best for him now and have him for the future.

    by Ancientone on 11/10/2010 8:51 AM
  11. Maybe this injury could be a blessing in disquise! After watching the game last night, I think all the players on our team like to play a up-tempo game like last night. Aldridge, Rudy, Batum and Matthews flouish in that style of play and the team seems to play better as a team in that style. Hopefully Mcmillian realizes this and keeps the team going in that direction. Maybe this is what was needed to get us out of the ISO age and into a better flow on both offense and defense.

    by Gavinfan on 11/10/2010 10:17 AM
  12. Great Blog! I totally agree with you related to Brandon- I say let it be - yes he isn't dominating every minute of every game but he is still putting up good numbers most games and I think in some ways it is good to get others to step up and contrubute more as well. After all this is a team sport and part of what has got us in trouble in the past is the rest of the team stopping and watching brandon do his thing to win the game- sometimes that works but we need other options as well.
    LA has been awesome this year- glad to see it and Nic WOW. Also glad to see Rudy looking more like the rookie year Rudy!
    Looking for a good road trip!

    by RedRudy5 on 11/10/2010 10:26 AM
  13. Gavinfan:

    I feel you are unjustly blaming BRoy for the lack of up tempo. Our uptempo and fast breaks depends on stops and rebounding. Our three losses we were not able to get stops and we had problems with rebounding.

    Any BB player can play uptempo BB. That is what they learn in High School, College and on the playground as kids. It is when that fact tempo is taken away with tough d and rebounding that Run and Gun team’s gets in trouble. That is why the defensive teams win championships.

    I agree that fast tempo is fun and exciting, but if it is not there than you have to learn to play half court. That is what Nate is about, he wants to push the tempo, if the defense stops the play then set up half court.

    If all the players you mentioned flourish in fast tempo, but can't play structured half court half of their games will be lost.

    BRoy can play uptempo, he can take it to the rim, and he can play in a structured half court set. If your uptempo players learn to play half court along with their uptempo then like BRoy they can play a complete game.

    Otherwise we need both.

    by Hg on 11/10/2010 11:15 AM
  14. about the second unit

    rudy, wesley, dante & armon need to keep turning in efforts like this one. the huge piece of recognition that i'd like to add is the fact that the leader of the second unit is lamarcus aldridge. LA has been the anchor for the bench players, playing the 5 spot. seeing gasol up close sunday likely inspired lamarcus. i believe aldridge is on the verge of real basketball greatness. the numbers show at 18.3pts 8.9rebs and 1.1blk he's having his best start to a season ever. one more game gives us a 10 game sample to look at. for a guy that usually starts the year a bit slow...

    by reverse on 11/10/2010 11:46 AM
  15. It's funny, but talking about Brandon and the fast break, I realized that I have a lot of distinct images in my head of how Blazers of the past--and some of the present--run the fast break, but I don't have any clear mental pictures of him in that role. I remember how Jim Paxon was on the break--straight to the basket, never pass off--how Clyde was--drive from end to end and dish at the basket with a behind-the-back pass--how Dave Twardzic looked, and Bob Gross, and Calvin Natt and others too. I'm getting an idea of Andre's style, both passing early and at the lane, and Rudy's and am even starting to get a glimmer of what Armon will be like, but Brandon, no. I can picture the occasional cherry-picked breakaway after a steal, but nothing where he's sharing the court while pushing it up.
    My concerns with Brandon have been threefold: he doesn't like to run, he needs the ball in his hands, and he's what Bill James has called "a young player with old-player skills." He was talking about baseball, where criteria are a little different, but that thing everyone said about Roy, that he "looked like a veteran" in his rookie year captures it. He looks like he's as old as Andre, looks like a guy who has tons of experience in how to get his shot and make it, but has lost a step or two with age. The thing about guys who aren't too fast to begin with is that they really can't afford to be slowed by injury. So if I were a new GM with a keen analytical mind, I would be watching carefully for the moment this team develops a confidence that doesn't depend on Brandon, when it finds a couple of other emotional leaders, and has built up the other scoring threats it needs, and at that point have my homework done to make a big trade. I'm a huge fan of building from within, and letting players grow, and am not one to believe that some outsider with a big rep must be the messiah who leads us to the championship. I know that a lot of people think of Brandon as the heart and soul of this team. But I have a strong suspicion that, unless he's healthier than rumor has it, and proves able to adapt and expand his game pretty quickly, this team won't see a championship until he's gone.

    by Islander on 11/10/2010 12:37 PM
  16. 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 dizz' addage goes...style crushers are bad umkay? or something like that =)

    looking forward to going to the games over the holidays.

    by sudelander on 11/10/2010 1:19 PM
  17. Mike, Im usually in your corner 99.9% of the time, I dont like to jump to conclusions with Roy, but this is how I see it. First Off, Brandon Roy is my fav. Blazer, hes done Soo much for this club. The talent is still there, He is still BRoy. But Im not gonna buy the extra playing time and road trips in why Roy is not the same player. Theres gotta be something wrong. If you look at the big stars in this game-Wade,Kobe,Lebron,Paul..these guys play and play, they step up when they need too, each will have bad game now and then. but you dont see them change Like Roy has, and then blame it on playing time. So either Brandon is injured in some sort of way, or hes not in as good shape as the other leaders of teams in the League. If he is injured, hey lets deal with it!..rather have him 100% than out there running the court in wheel chair...seriously..have you seen Roy this year..were talking about a guy couple years ago, YOU COULD NOT STOP HIM!!..he would cross over-fadeway you, go to the rim with so much force and energy, I mean he was amazing!!...now when he jumps..his feet barely leave the ground, he gets denied most of the time when he goes to the rim, his game has turned into pass the ball and watch his team mates, or a quick pull up jumper. Ive seen Brandon too many times, hes got great b-ball IQ and when 100% plays this game as good as anyone on the league.

    So the question remains, Whats wrong with Mr. Roy Go Blazers!!

    by whitefeather21380 on 11/10/2010 1:34 PM
  18. islander i echo your assesment of brandon roy and the offense flowing better when he's not on the floor. i just think he's so used to having to bail us out that he's confusedd as to how he can help this newer and more athletic team. i have never questioned his heart. what i question is if he will be able to "evolve" as this team is evidently doing. we can't go back to the days of roy at the end of the game going 1 on 5, especially if he's having knee issues. that's what has probably caused his body to star breaking down.

    i think he can be deadly if he adapts and tries to get easier buckets. the only way he can do that is if he adapts to more motion. if he adapts, he'll also probably be able to play at a high level for longer than if he tries to be savior of the team every night. he doesn't need carry the whole load anymore. i just hope he realizes this.

    by sudelander on 11/10/2010 1:40 PM
  19. Islander,
    "And I have to say, I like the way the ball moves when Brandon isn't in the game."

    I have to agree. When he's not the stopgap between inbounding and playmaking, we get fast break points. I like that. Hopefully his time recovering will give him some perspective on how to be a better teammate.

    How about Dante! I think he's one of the best finishers on the team. When Miller and Armon are looking for an alley-oop recipient, they should look no further than Ham Sammich.

    Let's hope the demons have been exorcised.

    by 500Dogs on 11/10/2010 1:43 PM
  20. The question was asked of Blazer fans this morning on the msp,
    " are you a Mike Barrett side fan, or a Jason the sky is falling Quick side fan." ( I added my own personal middle name for Quick )

    I will always ride with the Mike Barrett side. Agree 100 % that it is being made out to be more than it is. We have a great young team, and when Pryz coes back, no one in the nba will be worrying about Oden or Roys knee.

    Take it to OKC !
    Let's Go Blazers !!!!

    by Kim~ on 11/10/2010 2:37 PM
  21. Well, I truly enjoyed that game, from beginning to end. Before it even started, I thought it was just really, really cool that little kid got to win a jersey, sit courtside, meet Jerome and all that, just for being lucky enough to walk through the turnstile at the right moment, lol!

    Wow, Rudy......THIS is what we all thought we would see the LAST time you got such an opportunity with a benched Brandon Roy. I was thrilled, but will reserve judgement until a few games go by :) It was encouraging though.

    I am really split between who deserves more credit between LMA, Camby, or the 2nd unit. I guess since, as travisd so astutely pointed out above, LMA actually anchors that unit, it would definitely be him that was the most important element in winning this game. SEVENTEEN Boards, and his FOURTH double-double (rebouding). His numbers throughout the season have been great, but even more impressive has been his overall effort. Like islander noted on the last blog, he is NOT getting his due from the analysts and fans, and this is just wrong. I don't know if they read them, but I put a comment on LMA's page, just to let him know SOME of us have indeed noticed. I guess positives just don't make good news, which brings me to Bradon Roy (and Quick and his "journalism").

    Brandon looked rather solid in his limited minutes last night. Other than the Laker game, I have been thinking that although he doesn't seem to have quite the same athleticism or explosion or quickness off the dribble, Brandon has been doing just fine. No, he is not as effecient this year, due to the higher reliance on the jumper, but he is still getting to the line (though it's perhaps not as fluid or "natural" looking), making his free throws, and providing solid leadership. As has been mentioned, his averages are a tad down, but just barely, and he's still managed to have some really great nights. It's not as if every player in the league goes out and consistently shoots 20 or something. All this talk about Roy's "diminshed" abilities is so dramatic. I mean, what team would not value a guy who has high BB IQ, a great jumper, isn't selfish, gets to the line, leads the team, and averages 20+ points a night?

    Wow, suddenly, if I am listening to Quick, I should flush my dreams of Trailblazer success down the toilet...shoot, trade them all and just start the rebuilding now! (I am being really, really sarcastic for those who might have missed that). Brandon's knee issue is concerning, I agree. But one thing last season gave this core was a maturity and ability to handle adversity, much sooner than they would have gained it otherwise. This is going to work out, even if Brandon NEVER plays the way he did in '08. Our guys have become so solid, have developed so much, that not having an All-Star, MVP candidate on the floor isn't going to hurt us (yeah, I know, LMA! You all are forgetting Gasol, who is also having his best year so far. And Timmy. And Dirk. And Scola Shall I continue?). I know we all dislike Boston around here, but that teams exemplifies a Championship TEAM. I think that kind of team effort is where we are headed and you know what, THAT's OKAY!

    And another thing, fans have been whining about ISO for so long now, they should all be absolutely thrilled that the team has scrapped its ISO plays. They should also be thrilled to see Brandon sitting on the bench, almost forcing the team to play well without him (all while knowing he is sitting there, capable of coming in when they really need him to). This is all-around good for the development of the team, and especially for LMA and Nico. Just imagine....a team with THREE elite scorers, a really smart PG, and three of the best Centers/Back-up Centers in the league. We all have always known this team was going to need another player to step up. It looks like we may now have at least 2 doing so.

    Okay, sorry, rant over.

    That 2nd unit was so good last night. Here's to hoping THAT continues. Oh, and Dante in the 4th! WOW.

    Marcus Camby remains my hero. Him leading the break, and then later being on the opposite end of the high-low? WOW. How is it he can keep reinventing himself? Just how many tools does this guy have? Seems like a great influence around an adjusting BRoy right now :) Oh, and yeah, the SIX assists, which btw, was the team-high, right?

    Nicolas Batum is finally blossoming into his potential (how unfair is that? He's only 21!). Was this the third time he's been 15+? I can't remember off-hand. Nevertheless, it is clear that he is getting better and better offensively, and figuring out how to balance being aggressive defensively while remaining focused when he has the ball (something LMA seems to have down as well). He makes those 3s look sooooo easy, and almost looks like he's running in slowmotion, even as he easily outpaces the guy trying to catch him. Nico has long been my 2nd favorite on the team, and I love what I am seeing right now.

    The upcoming trip is truly scary. I predicted a loss in OKC and New Orleans originally. I will stick to that, and hope I am wrong on at least one of them. I did say that after we lost to them, I thought we might have a chance of returning the favor. I do think that is possible. They just lost to Boston a day or so ago, but they play Philadelphia today (who are only 2-5) at home. It's 50/50 for me at this point.

    New Orleans is only getting more confident, having beaten playoff team after playoff team (Denver, Spurs, Miami, and Bucks - twice). They've got to lose eventually I suppose, but I think they are going to get us. They are just on a streak.

    Of course, it could be Memphis too. Anybody catch that monster game Z-bo just had? Nuts. They have Dallas tonight, then Boston, then Orlando....they'll be hungry for a win by the time we get to them, lol!

    by EowynAmarie on 11/10/2010 2:57 PM
  22. HG
    I'm not blaming Roy for anything. When Roy is in the game, the game slows down. When he's out, Matthews pushes the ball up more and finds the athletics players for quick easy baskets. Defense creates alot of this and Brandon is having a tough time defending and pushing the ball down the court. Defense creates these fastbreaks. I think we need to change our style and play more of a"Boston"style. Tough D and push it up court at every opportunity.

    by Gavinfan on 11/10/2010 5:26 PM
  23. Soooo, I know I was a huge Bayless Believer when he was a Blazer, but I was just checking out his season this far and... Good work, Cho.

    He did have a dang good showing against the Clips, shooting 50% for 15PTS and dishing 9 AST in 19 minutes, so he might be getting his groove. All the same, it has been a rough time for Rex lately, as before last night he was averaging 2 PTS on 30% shooting, 1.5 AST, and 2.1 TO.

    I only wish the best for all the former Blazers of the KP era, and that includes Jerry. I just hope he doesn't open up a can on Saturday! Ideally, he would stay true to his season averages and wait a week or two to really bust out of his slump.

    by 500Dogs on 11/10/2010 7:04 PM
  24. I just wanna give LaManchild some props .I knew he could be a 20 -10 guy.Plus he has been exceptional on the defensive end.Right on.

    by DowntownVinnie on 11/10/2010 7:17 PM
  25. MB wrote: "As always, running is possible only when you defend and rebound."

    That's true, Mike, most of the time. But why is it that teams so often can run on us even after a made basket? And why don't we return the favor more often?

    I know the answer to the second question and Nate seems more open to letting his antelopes push the tempo now than he has been the past few seasons. I sure hope that continues.
    Rudy, Wesley, Armon, and Dante were spectacular in the open floor against Detroit and we need our share of easy baskets to compete with the top teams.

    by dgpdx on 11/10/2010 7:31 PM
  26. Re: the BRoy situation --

    A lot of the speculation could have been avoided if he or the team would have simply told us what Jason Quick wrote today -- that Brandon's knee is bothering him a lot.

    We have many highly intelligent BB fans here and for the team to think we wouldn't notice that the clearout plays for Brandon weren't being called anymore and that Brandon is not himself out there is actually kind of insulting.

    If the team will just keep us informed, we won't go off speculating where none is warranted. Being secretive is the surest way to promote speculation...


    by dgpdx on 11/10/2010 7:37 PM
  27. Ya, the Pistons game is just what we needed, a nice blow out to make us all feel better.

    Well now we know why Roy was on cruise control during the season. I figured that with such a long season it was natural to take it easy during the preseason especially with the type of game Roy has and the mins he plays, but I sure didn't expect him to need a rest this early. I also didn't know his knee was bothering as much as it is. I wonder if Rice knew about Roy's need and that's the real reason he predicted only 47 wins this season?!?!

    Anyway, was nice seeing the bench play so well and I think there is some truth to us playing more of a slow down game with Roy in the game. He likes a slow down half court game it's just the nature of his game. That's not to say he can't get out on the fast break, just that he is more comfortable in a slow down game.

    I always consider road trips gut check time and feel winning at least half the games as successful. So 2-1 would be a successful trip for me, but that's going to be tough to do with the teams we are playing. The biggest factor is going to be our bench. Our bench plays a lot better at home than on the road so this will especially be there gut check time.

    GO BLAZERS!!

    by mgb on 11/10/2010 7:56 PM
  28. I forgot to compliment Aldridge for his game. We are use to the points, but 17 rebounds? That is really nice and if he keeps that up there is no way he won't make it to the all star game!

    by mgb on 11/10/2010 7:58 PM
  29. dgpdx said:

    """A lot of the speculation could have been avoided if he or the team would have simply told us what Jason Quick wrote today -- that Brandon's knee is bothering him a lot."""

    The main reason I would think is you don't want your opponent to know you have a weakness. Why tell them so they don't have to double team Roy which a lot of teams do? That way at the worse Roy can be a decoy. But once Artest said it's obvious something is wrong with Roy the secret is out so he wasn't losing anything letting the public know.

    by mgb on 11/10/2010 8:02 PM
  30. Lets let Brandon rest the whole season to heal and rest until we're three weeks from the playoffs. In the meantime, we run. Brandon is taylor made for the playoffs. His game is smooth, methodical, natural.But our squad is built to run. He's actually the slowest guy on our team,excluding the centers. I think we should run more. If for no other reason but to rule it out as an option. Lets at least see if we're capable. We've tried everything else.We claim to be in shape, i hope that includes endurance. Option 2, if he's serious about cutting back his minutes, he could always come off the bench.

    by commontongue on 11/10/2010 8:29 PM
  31. Dunno if any posters are vets,but if so ,thanx for fighting for our country.If not thanx to all those have who sacrificed for our country.A close friend of mine went to Kuwait.He has my eternal respect for that. Peace.

    VeteransRock

    by DowntownVinnie on 11/11/2010 7:56 AM
  32. 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.

    however, you're very much off-base in your assumptions about me, mind clogs and the fact that i am a cardinal. see, this is exactly what i am talking about. My mind works much differently than you describe. i've yet to have a mind clog (with the exception of one jerk of a guy). i know my intent here, what i'm going to accomplish and how i'm going about doing that. just as a tangent to that; i attend every class and accompany that with three hours of homework/review a day, seven days a week. i feel it's a priviledge to be in the situation i have earned, and there is no mind clogging about it.

    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 further find it ironic and shortsighted 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 8:15 AM
  33. i want to take this opportunity to say happy veteran's day to all of the men and women who have served our country proudly and with diligence. i am thinking of all of you today, and thinking of all i have because you served this country proudly.

    if you're a veteran: thank you.

    if you haven't served: please take this day to honor someone you know who has.

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 11/11/2010 8:20 AM
  34. JBAY 4 points a game ,2.6 assists,good trade:)

    by DowntownVinnie on 11/11/2010 8:25 AM
  35. I too would like to say happy veteran's day to all that have served and my condolence to all the families that had veterans that gave their lives so we can be free.

    You are all in my thoughts

    With Love

    Vicki and Harold Mangum

    by Hg on 11/11/2010 8:34 AM
  36. i'm a little late in commenting on the game, but i wanted to note a few things:

    LaMarcus is playing very well and to the naysayers of his inside game i've got to tell you: you don't get 17 rebounds by playing outside.

    with all the talk of Brandon's knee, few people are mentioning how steady Nicolas is playing right now. i've mentioned this before, but he seems to be hitting his stride in the third quarters of games. during our first few games that was a weak spot for us. Nicolas has shined there lately.

    this is exactly the type of game Rudy can give us. he shot well, rebounded well, passed well and hustled well. and all this after, on courtside monday, Rice offered to set him up with someone!

    Dante could very well be on the verge of taking the next step in his game. we've all known about his potential for a while now. i've been looking a lot lately at shooting percentages, and he went 5-6 in tusday's game.

    our bench is active, but i agree that we'll be a lot stronger when we have Joel back to anchor it.

    overall, it was a great team outing and MB is correct, we needed it. there's a tough stretch ahead, but i'm confident we can take care of business.

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 11/11/2010 9:37 AM
  37. lamarcus is currently 6th in the league in offensive rebounding at 3.8 per game. marcus is 8th at 3.6.

    by reverse on 11/11/2010 10:14 AM
  38. travisd: that's awesome, we have 2 guys in the top 10 in the league for OR :)

    Just saw this over at hoopsworld, giving Dante some love: http://www.hoopsworld.com/Story.asp?story_id=17870.

    by EowynAmarie on 11/11/2010 10:46 AM
  39. Nice link, EA.

    Is it just me, or does Camby manage to get his two bits into most team interviews? Whenever he's quoted, I'm reminded what a great acquisition he was. Good work, KP.

    by 500Dogs on 11/11/2010 1:28 PM
  40. mgb: Wouldn't the opponents be the first to figure out when a player isn't right? Artest stated the obvious about BRoy after the game, but I'll bet the LA coaching staff had already come to that conclusion in the first quarter and were planning accordingly.

    by dgpdx on 11/11/2010 2:20 PM
  41. I have to thank Kassandra for the heartfelt acknowledgment towards the veterans who served our country. Wow, this means even a jerk like me. You're right Herr. Maybe we are all friends here.

    by Phi Slamma on 11/11/2010 2:26 PM
  42. well kassandra, i consider it an honor to cyber-know someone who doesn't ever get stuck. i'm sorry to assume that you did. i've never met anyone like that. i've met talented students, even a few geniuses, but no one who doesn't need to get stuck from time to time. i never assumed you were a cardinal by the way. i don't know where you got that. i just asked you if you were a duck or cardinal.

    i don't think you truly understood what i was trying to tell you. i would never think that by re-reading marcus' post, you would "come around to his type of thinking". i just think that maybe, just maybe, you would see he wasn't being disrespectful. i witnessed it. he made a comment about brandon and nate's system and some of you jumped on him right away calling him names and in my opinion, being rude. that's the main point i'm trying to make.

    even though i didn't agree with some of his statements either, i didn't think the disrespect was necessary. i don't know how you can apply irony and short-sightedness to this. i read your comments to him. in fact, i agree with most of points regarding the team. what i didn't agree with was the spirit in which those, and some other poster's points were made. i don't think the courtroom analogy applies to this particular case either.

    i don't want to debate you about this anymore. there's no need to get angry. i don't agree with everything marcus saying. i just think he should be treated respectfully, that's all. i just thought after all the wars here, people would be more sensitive. i guess i'm being presumptuous in thinking that, and i apologize to anyone i may have offended for thinking so. maybe this is the way it is, but if it is, i'll always have something to say about it. maybe one day we can meet with the posse on of the games and have a beer.

    i was gonna say good look in school, but it sounds like you won't need it :)

    by sudelander on 11/11/2010 4:34 PM
  43. Vinnie - Thanks for the tickets once again. Mom really enjoyed the game, and it was obviously a good game to attend. I sent you some pics in your email.

    Kassandra - As I said above it was a good game for her to attend, with the abuse the Blazers handed the Pistons. She enjoyed it, lots of smiles.

    MB - We got mom down to the floor with some substantial effort, but the security guy would not let either of us approach you, I spent most of the game making my way through supervisors trying to get a message to you to see if mom could meet you after the game. At the top of the chain was a lady that said if you really had an interest in talking to mom you would have sent us a pass. I even ran into Jerome Kersey just outside of moms seating area and he would'nt take a sec to say Hi to her. You said in a earlier blog comment that you would make it a night mom would never forget, and I must say you've done that. She will probably never forget the game where you had her hopes sky high and let her down.

    To sum up,
    between the Blazers Management, the commentators, and even Jerome, none of you seem willing to show any kind of appreciation for a woman that has been a loyal follower to the extreme for 40 years. I am disgusted, and although mom holds strong in her loyalty, I for one am no longer a Blazer fan.

    by hdallmon on 11/11/2010 5:06 PM
  44. Vinnie - Thanks for the tickets once again. Mom really enjoyed the game, and it was obviously a good game to attend. I sent you some pics in your email.

    Kassandra - As I said above it was a good game for her to attend, with the abuse the Blazers handed the Pistons. She enjoyed it, lots of smiles.

    MB - We got mom down to the floor with some substantial effort, but the security guy would not let either of us approach you, I spent most of the game making my way through supervisors trying to get a message to you to see if mom could meet you after the game. At the top of the chain was a lady that said if you really had an interest in talking to mom you would have sent us a pass. I even ran into Jerome Kersey just outside of moms seating area and he would'nt take a sec to say Hi to her. You said in a earlier blog comment that you would make it a night mom would never forget, and I must say you've done that. She will probably never forget the game where you had her hopes sky high and let her down.

    To sum up,
    between the Blazers Management, the commentators, and even Jerome, none of you seem willing to show any kind of appreciation for a woman that has been a loyal follower to the extreme for 40 years. I am disgusted, and although mom holds strong in her loyalty, I for one am no longer a Blazer fan.

    by hdallmon on 11/11/2010 5:31 PM
  45. O.k., so after giving Brandon Roy the benefit of the doubt, it is coming out that he has real issues with the knee. Let's review: Kobe praises Brandon for being one of the toughest players to guard in the league. Roy proceeds to work his magic, (albeit his "disappearing act") in Los Angeles. To save face, Roy comes clean about his injury. Through his struggles the blazers have been exposed to their lack of another scoring option. Will it be Rudy, Batum? In the spirit of Veterans Day, can I get an OO-Rah? This team needs to start trusting each other, instead of relying on Brandon to bail them out of adversity, time after time. I cringe every time I hear about how this is "Brandon's team". Our lone championship team was never "Walton's team", and I've heard enough about this glorified, made for tv, "B" (as in Brandon) train wreck of a movie, proclaiming Roy as the savior of the franchise. It makes for great viewing and tastes great but is definitely less filling. I love Brandon as a person and a player, but the way he is used is ala Zach "the black-hole" Randolph, and that is truly a bottomless pit.

    by Phi Slamma on 11/11/2010 7:54 PM
  46. hdallmon,

    I'm sorry this happened. I don't know what goes on with security, and I being fans always come down and see us after games I didn't think you'd have an issue. I have no idea why you guys were turned away. Jerome is a great guy, always willing to go the extra mile, so I'm not sure what happened there either. But, clearly your experience wasn't very good. I'd love to be able to make it up to you. Let me know, and we'll do something special for her. It stinks that she was disappointed and I'd like to fix it.

    MB

    by mikebarrett on 11/11/2010 10:28 PM
  47. Thats a nice offer Mike, but I have no intention of getting her hopes up again. I'm afraid I will have to decline. At this point I think it's better to just let her continue to be a loyal fan and not push the disappointment level.

    by hdallmon on 11/11/2010 11:42 PM
  48. Sudelander: again, you filled your response with assumptions about me. i didn't respond to Marcus' post about Brandon. the truth is, i've tried to stay out of that debate for the most part and give the situation time to work itself out. i don't think it's a major issue as of yet (though it could become one during the road trip which starts tonight). my comments toward Marcus' post had to do with HIS criticism of people commenting on the positives of the team. yes, i tend to do that. there are so many people who make it a point to criticize, that i think it's just as important to highlight the positives (i.e. the recent play of LaMarcus and Nicolas). that's what the whole thing is about. mistating that as you did, you basically invalidated the rest of your comment.

    and what of the several other posters who made comments toward arcus' post? nocritisism of them for what they said, or did you just decide to pick on an 18-year-old girl yesterday?

    i'm extremely thick-skinned, but as many here know, i was brought up by military parents (as with Dante) and taught to stand up for myself, my beliefs and my intentions. i make great strides to avoid being disrespectful or rude. on the other hand, certain words have to be used at times to make one's point. it's unfortunate you can't understand that. the fact is, it's ironic that you call me rude and disrespectful because i felt, and continue to feel, that Marcus' statements were just that. you cannot make my perceptions for me and you most certainly will not formulate my opinions for me, so you're very much off base.

    i understand exactly what you were saying, and seriously, how could waiting and re-reading the post NOT mean i should come around to his way of thinking. perhaps it's you who needs to re-read his post (afterall, you seemed to have completely missed his criticism of posters being optimistic in his comments). oh, and if you re-read his post and understand the perspective of what i said, you'll see that my courtroom metaphor was dead-on.

    and who says i never get stuck? i never said never (and always try to avoid that). i have a way of thinking things through and getting unstuck (or unclogged, as it were). you're basically doing nothing more than nitpicking there.

    but here's the deal, my friend, the only one really dragging this on is you. if you're done, that's great. if not, then i would suggest to you that you soon be done. all you've done is get in the middle of something, mistate it, and extend it needlessly. if that was your goal, then congratulations.

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 11/12/2010 8:05 AM
  49. dhallimon:

    i'm glad your mom got to see a game like that, at least the on-court action was exciting and dominate. i would like to think that made the night special for her. as for the rest of it, i'm sorry to hear that you were roadblocked in an effort to get down to the court.

    personally, i would take up MB on his offer to do something. you don't have to get your mom's hopes up; perhaps treat the event as a surprise to her and it might even become a more special event. i hope you give it a shot.

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 11/12/2010 8:24 AM
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