mikebarrett

Nov 29

Slump in 4th Sinks Blazers

By mikebarrett

Even if all the reasons weren’t the same, the Trail Blazers went ice cold at the exact same time for the third-straight game, and dropped the first game of this four-game road trip.  The New Jersey Nets, who are showing signs of life after beating Atlanta in their last home game, defeated the Blazers 98-96 on Sunday night.

In their last three fourth quarters the Trail Blazers have been outscored by a staggering count of 85-51.  In the most obvious statement of the day, you’re not going to win many games when you’re on the bad side of that equation.  What’s more troubling is the fact that the Blazers have only averaged 17 points in their last three fourth quarters.  You can’t even really accurately call that a slump. 

As you know if you’ve watched the last three games, even though the offense has suffered, the defensive effort hasn’t been there either.  The Blazers allowed 48 percent shooting to the Jazz, then gave up 52 percent to New Orleans, and on Sunday watched the Nets, who came into the game shooting just 44 percent on the season, shoot 53 percent in this game.

Nate McMillan always talks about trying to achieve “sustained positive momentum” in games.  But, if you’ve noticed, in the last three games we’ve seen wild swings and a ton of runs.  Sometimes this happens when you’re not getting balanced scoring between your first and second units.  But, the Blazer bench has been decent lately, so I don’t think that explains it.  I’m not sure all of this can be explained by saying it’s simply been a lack of concentration, and inconsistent effort, but that’s where I tend to go when looking for an answer.

This team has also seen its confidence take a major hit, and that has really shown up down the stretch, especially when they’ve built a lead.  They held a 12-point second-half lead at New Jersey on Sunday.  Then, it appeared that fear started creeping in and they found themselves in another major offensive lull.  Rather than putting a team away, it almost appears they get completely conservative and start waiting for bad things to happen.  We start seeing poor shot selection, a lack of movement, and a bunch of attempts at the rim when the shot clock is winding down.

You can’t blame this loss on the team’s big producers either.  When you get 21 from Brandon Roy, 20 from LaMarcus Aldridge, and 25 from Wesley Matthews, they should win.  So, that’s just saying that Portland isn’t getting enough from its supporting cast.

There were some key moments of Sunday’s game that seemed to really turn the momentum.  As I said, the Blazers asserted themselves late in the first half and carried an eight-point lead into the locker room at halftime.  They built that lead to 12 in the third, and looked poised to drop the Nets and win the first game of the trip. 

I’m not going to toss any blame at the referees in this game, but a key turning point in this game came with about seven minutes to go in the third quarter.  Devin Harris, who minutes earlier had flown down the lane and ran over Marcus Camby for an offensive foul, did exactly the same thing with 7:11 left in the third and the Blazers up 8.  It looked like an offensive foul, and was called that way by the official who was in position under the basket.  Even as it seemed the Nets accepted the call, an officials conference took place after the initial call and it was changed.  Camby, it was ruled, had instead been called for a block- his 4th foul.  He had to come out of the game, and less than 2 and a-half minutes later the Portland lead was gone.

We went back and forth down the stretch, and the game was tied at 89 with just over a minute left.  Not only were the Blazers struggling to score at that point, the Nets were following them down that path.  But, when Devin Harris nailed a long three pointer, it gave New Jersey a 92-89 lead, and Portland wasn’t able to recover.

I’ve seen it written today that this is now rock bottom for this Portland team, so far, this season.  The players were frustrated after the loss and did hold a players-only meeting in the locker room.  That’s a very positive thing, and the kind of thing McMillan wants to see- self policing.

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

We’re now in Philadelphia, and this trip continues on Tuesday night against the 76’ers.  Then, it’s on to Boston on Wednesday, before the trip wraps up in Washington on Friday.

 

 

42 Comments

  1. Thanks for the post Mike. Indeed frustrating, but let's hope that meeting and this game served as a bit of a wake-up call and that they can correct themselves while things aren't too bad record-wise. -Anees, from Prague

    by Anees on 11/29/2010 9:42 AM
  2. Hey MB--

    There were three big refereeing calls against the Blazers in the 2nd half, but I don't think it's fair to obsess over any of them, even though two of them were incorrect.

    1. The overturned call against Camby which you mention was a block/charge call -- said to be the most difficult in sports. In real time it looked to me like Camby was in the circle and the refs missed the call in the Blazers' favor. Then the call was reversed. In super slow motion we could see that Camby was actually not in the circle only by virtue of one of his heels being slightly elevated. There is no way that a referee is going to be able to see that from virtually any angle on the floor in real time. These things happen.

    2. The time out call on the Nets rebound, which Rice went on and on and on and on about for 30 seconds -- claiming the Nets didn't have possession -- was completely moot. If the timeout had not been granted it would have been side out to New Jersey since the ball was swiped out of bounds by the Portland player. It's a pity that this wasn't pointed out in the telecast.

    3. The steal on Outlaw by Matthews (I think it was) was a bad call and really was decisive for the Blazers. But again, it was a very quick play in which the refs were looking for a fast intentional foul and the scrawny Outlaw went flying. Blowing the whistle was the natural reaction on the play. Again, by virtue of replay -- access to which the refs did not have -- we could see that it was a blown call. Again, bang bang play, that's show biz.

    The bottom line is that your inclination not to blame the refs is a good one. The Blazers simply were unable to finish off one of the worst teams in the NBA who were on the heels of a bad beat in a back-to-back. They let the Nets shoot a season-high 52.5% from the field (that number from memory, the fact is right) and suffered the consequence.

    Championship-caliber teams are able to "flip the switch" in the 4th Quarter. Unfortunately for Portland, it seems they've begun flipping the "off" switch.

    --timbo

    by Carrite on 11/29/2010 9:58 AM
  3. Mike:

    I want to thank you for the great post on such a down day. A player’s only meeting was called and the winning ways of the Blazers are in jeopardy, and the answer is not easy to find, we will find a way to bounce back.

    You said that in the last three games although un-related, about the same time in the forth quarter we seem to lose it and our shots quit falling. In almost all NBA games about that time of a game is when teams tighten up their D, take the star of rhythm and play lock-down D. That is when the Blazers lose it. They are not good against tough D unless their outside shot is falling. Of course that leads to out of position shooting which stops us from getting boards and allowing the opposition to get into transition scoring, which in return makes our defense look terrible.

    My answer is work on playing better doing crunch time and against tough defensive teams. I think the lack of bigs is the big reason for the melt down, and although our defense is not great, it is OK. When a three doesn't go down it opens up the game for easy scoring for the opponents and they end up shooting a high %.
    Just how to fix my Observation of what is happening; I have no idea.

    by Hg on 11/29/2010 10:30 AM
  4. A RE-POST FROM MY COMMENTS ON BE.

    I don't see it is BRoy or Nate as the problem. When Matthews was inserted into the line-up in place of Batum and started scoring, BRoy and Dre happily fed him the ball and things were going somewhat smoothly. Although at the end of the game, I think making BRoy the pg and turned the ball over twice could have very easily been the culprit. Of course he was being guarded by none other then Mr. 4th quarter himself, Travis Outlaw. Therefore we need a replacement for Travis as Mr. 4th quarter, and right now although somewhat erotic and inconsistent, that is probably Wesley Matthews. BRoy isn't healthy enough to be PG or a facilitator, because he is too vulnerable to being broke down due to his injury. Armon is too inconsistent, and actually Dre can't make threes and spread the defense. He can't draw the defense to him because they are already drawn into the center to protect the paint. Nevertheless I think if Dre brought the ball down the court and use LMA, BRoy or Matthews (Batum if he gets his game back) as the options, instead of BRoy on ISO.

    For whatever the reason, the un-engaged Batum is more of the culprit then anyone else. True, Matthews is more then a willing sub for Batum, but the idea is to have both of them to take the heat off from BRoy. Therefore, BRoy trying to be the main scorer in the fourth is because no one else is either capable or willing to take over the job is no fault on him.

    We need an Outlaw as Mr. 4th quarter. Let it be Matthews for now because LMA and BRoy attract too much attention.

    Hg

    by Hg on 11/29/2010 10:41 AM
  5. Hey mike!!!
    I was at the game last night, and i think the last guy to talk to you after the game, hope u remember!! (was wearing a roy jersey)

    i was actually taking with Mike Rice after the game abt Nico - it's very surprising whats happening to him thi season. out of all players i pegged him to bee a consistently involved player, u know he'll do his thing, whatever they ask of him, and he'll do it well. but this season, he looks wildly inconsistentt, like a few gmaes hes way on, then a few gmaes he looks like a high school player and is lost on the court.

    do we have any idea whats up with him??

    by joe.k on 11/29/2010 11:18 AM
  6. Mike,

    stats don't tell the whole story. Miami constantly loses when their "big three" score 20 or more.

    yes lamarcus scored 20 points, but he shot 6-17 for 30 something%.

    i agree with some of the comments about batum. he has been inconsistent, but then again the rotation is somewhat non existant.

    armon is really taking some steps backwards.

    dre's perimeter defense is awful. just awful.

    is brandon our point guard at the end of games?

    uncle hg, i think you should re-state your comment about wesley mathews :)

    by sudelander on 11/29/2010 11:42 AM
  7. Sudelander:

    I would re state, but I find no one else that is aggressive enough or experienced enough to be Mr. Fouth.

    I don't think Armon is taking steps backwards, you will have your up and down games in your learning curve as long as you are still learning that is what matters. You know 2 steps forward and one back. The story of the Trailblazers and fans life.

    Hg

    by Hg on 11/29/2010 12:02 PM
  8. Tough loss. Blazers played nice, took good shots, but they didn't fall. This game I can only survive after knowing it was more of an ice cold slump than just losing to the team that tanked last season to get a draft pick.

    I do have some complaints. After LMA missed his second free throw, the Nets were able to take a timeout without possession of the ball...

    After that, they inbounded to Travis Outlaw. Wesley Mathews goes after the ball, making contact ONLY with the ball, and has a runaway fast break to tie it at 92 a piece. However, a foul was made.

    Next we go to Philly, where we don't play well either...

    by Herr on 11/29/2010 1:16 PM
  9. very frustrating games of late. Hope the players meeting helps- they gotta find a way to score in the 4th!!

    by RedRudy5 on 11/29/2010 1:19 PM
  10. Does Roy need the ball in his hands or not ??
    I hope they figured it out in the players only meeting....
    The team looks like it has no idea in the 4th quarter. Understandable with the mixed messages floating around. Roles need to be established regardless of injuries ......

    by Kim~ on 11/29/2010 1:34 PM
  11. I was out of town and missed the Hornet game, but got back home in time to see the re-broadcast of the fourth quarter. I was tired from the road, but saw what looked like a greatest-hits collection of the kind of bad plays that lose games: wild shots by Wesley, blown dunks, bad turnovers etc. The word was that Brandon had played well in his return but we sure didn't see a good team result. Then came the New Jersey game, and Brandon did indeed look good, making his moves and shots. But again, the team faltered, became stagnant and ice cold down the stretch--though to be fair, there were a lot of good-looking shots that just rimmed out in the fourth--and lost a game they should have won. The body-language in the fourth quarter the last two games had none of the confidence we had last year.
    I'm worried because the team energy I saw while Brandon was out has vanished. I know part of it has to do with whatever mental space Nicholas is sliding into--his shooting had gone bad when we were still winning, and now Nate has clearly lost patience with him--but also I'm starting to suspect that we really are a better team without our All-Star. When Wesley stepped into the starting two job he started to get good shots out of the flow of play, instead of forcing them the way he often has off the bench. (You may remember Nate praising him for that, when he was being encouraged to talk instead about Wes becoming more of a take-charge scorer). For whatever reason, it felt like the first and second units meshed better during Roy's absence, and now both units seem out of synch. I understand that in this game we suffered a lot from our shortage of big men. Maybe some of the let-down has come because Joel's return was postponed again; we sure could have used him during the foul trouble last night. I alos think we may have been hurt more by the loss of Jeff Pendergraph than we realized. Eight solid, high-energy minutes while your big guys get a rest go a long way in close games. But I wonder whether his absence may also be hurting in the locker room. We lose when we get tight and stop working hard; who could lighten the mood and up the energy like Jeff?
    My working hypothesis for this year is that we need to understand that LaMarcus is the most important player on the team. He was missing a lot of shots again last night and we lost.
    It's understandable that he's tired right now, because he's being forced to play way too many minutes at center. Joel's return should remedy that. But I worry that there's a psychological shift when Roy is on hand that somehow makes it harder for our supporting cast to do its job. Our poor shooting percentage came from the two overworked big men and the bit players off the bench. Our guys with only a few shots missed most of them; the Nets' supporting cast only took shots they could make. I don't really know; maybe there's no connection. But it seems like there could well be a mental shift from "This is my chance to shine!" to "Hold on and don't blow it." And we all know that thinking about blowing it doesn't work out very well.

    by Islander on 11/29/2010 1:51 PM
  12. uncle h, i meant your comment about mathews being "erotic". i think you meant to say "erratic". just thought that was funny that's all. brings the term "mancrush" to a whole new level :)

    i hope you know i'm just joking. right?

    by sudelander on 11/29/2010 2:48 PM
  13. I I think what is missing is extra defensive help. This hopefully will come when Pryzbilla comes back. Correct me if I am wrong, but I heard a rumor that our guards are easy to blow by. This leaves Canby and Lamarcus as the last wall. I think Canby has too much on his shoulders and needs help. We don't even have the help of Pendergraph and Oden. Batum is the only other good defensive player on the team.
    This leads me to a criticism. Look at Outlaw, Rasheed Wallace, and Blake. Don't you see an emerging pattern here? When you looked at the old “Rise With Us” slogan on that granary next to the Rose Garden, did you say , “there’s some champions” or did you say. “Man, there is some really nice guys who play basketball well” Are we still hung-over from the media’s Jailblazer hype?
    When Blake was interviewed before the last Laker game he stated that he really felt good about playing with some “veterans” I repeat veterans. When the team invested in Pippen, Smith and other veterans we should have won the championship then. I am sorry if this comes off a bit negative, but my criticisms are directed towards the management.

    by T on 11/29/2010 3:48 PM
  14. Talk about a glaring stat; being outscored 28-17 on avg. in the last 3 games. I don't care how good a team may be, bottom line; no one wins games like those, unless a team is leading by 25 pts or more. Not so with the Blazers.

    by blazerdarren77 on 11/29/2010 6:56 PM
  15. We need to find some sort of solution to this 4th quarter drought. I don't know if it may be exhaustion or lack of confidence, but someone please (Roy, Matthews, Miller) save some much needed energy/confidence for the fourth quarter. Games are won in the fourth quarter, period. Please we are a better team then this. At the beginning of the year we were unstoppable in the fourth! Come on Blazers!

    by Kraydayz on 11/29/2010 7:27 PM
  16. Funny, it's days like these that make me want to give up all hope as a Blazer fan. Not because of them, but...

    It's funny how we're sitting here pondering a few questionable calls against us and in favor of a team that had to relocate in order to get fans viewing.

    Meanwhile, the highlight game of the day, NOH vs OKC, NOH is absolutely getting mauled on one side of the court, with OKC being credited with "blocks", while no contact is made and Durant/Westbrooke is on the FT line.

    We've done everything the Thunder have done, but BETTER with our uprise and surprising the league two years in a row. However, because we don't put up 110 every night and allow our opponents to put up 106 or whatever, we don't get the calls our players deserve. We don't get refs aiming for us to win.

    It certainly is pathetic how a team that shoots 30% wins a game over a team shooting 48%. And it amazes me how a jumpshot team has more FT attempts per game than the Miami Heat, which have three of the biggest names in the NBA. LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Pat Riley.

    How do we do it Blazer fans? We're no where near the Porter/Drexler era that everyone likes to compare us to, and they even got cheated against the Lakers in which is considered "one of the greatest comebacks in NBA history" when really it was just "3 in the key is for stupid refs to call". Our only hope is to be the best team of last decade, the San Antonio Spurs. Aldridge needs to become Tim Duncan. Armon Johnson needs to become Tony Parker. And Brandon Roy... well... he's fine the way he is, he just needs to stop being the solution and the problem at the same time.

    Sniff, tear, drink a beer, who knows. But honestly, even if the Blazers miraculously become the best team in the league, they aren't winning a championship as long as OKC and LAL are around. The refs and the league wont let us. Our only hope is to fry... err... fire David Stern. Heck, we even got cheated against the Houston Rockets by the refs, and they're not a big market at all.

    Until then, I guess we can keep following the dream of winning a championship. But until things beyond our control happen, one won't come to Portland with this current NBA.

    by Herr on 11/29/2010 7:33 PM
  17. Also, Mike, you seem to be good at these things. In I believe the start of the 4th or late in the 3rd, Serge "Iblocka" got a rebound. Chris Paul tried to tie him up. Serge yelled with a fierce roar and sent his elbow flying towards Chris Paul's head, who luckily dodged it. The ruling on the court was Flagrant 2, but they changed it to a technical foul because he missed.

    So if I'm an NBA player, I can go up and throw a punch at Kevin Durant but it's okay if I don't miss him with every intention to get him away from me? Oh wait... bad example. If I did that to KD I'd get expelled from the NBA

    by Herr on 11/29/2010 7:43 PM
  18. That championship window some have talked about for the Blazers -- it has slammed shut so hard it racked the wall framing and cracked the foundation. How much longer is Paul Allen going to put up with this kind of performance from a team he has shelled out the big bucks for?

    Then again, isn't that the story of just about every one of Allen's investments? Maybe Portland is stuck with his karma.

    by dgpdx on 11/29/2010 8:09 PM
  19. sudelander:

    Oh man that is bad. sorry about the misspelling LOL.

    by Hg on 11/29/2010 8:59 PM
  20. How about saying that Matthews is a little bit unpredictable on his shooting?

    by Hg on 11/29/2010 9:03 PM
  21. i pretty much mentioned my thoughts on the last blog and, though a bit cranky, i stick by them.

    now don't get me wrong; i'm not calling for Nate to be fired. i am calling for him to be fired up, and to fire up the team. perhaps to do this, he needs to light a fire under them. i will say that at this point, he's not cutting it. you can say you don't want to blame him, but a lot of this comes down to coaching.

    actually, it seems as though the players are taking those matters into their own hands -- at least i hope they are. players-only meetings can be great during situations like this. obviously, we don't know what was said, but we can only hope that it contained a lot of talk of maintaining energy and intensity for a full game. i've said this before; that's what's killing us, and MB alluded to it when he mentioned our fourth quarter defense being about as successful as our fourth quarter offense.

    i don't want to pile on as far as the officiating is concerned, but i have to single out something that Carrite said about Marcus' fourth foul. i don't mean this to sound aggressive, but the official who made the initial call had probably the best vantage point in the arena (right under the basket; roughly 10-15 feet away, as MB highlighted). it wasn't until the conference that he was overruled and Marcus was called for the foul. Carrite, i think you should review the video of that if you can find it.

    look, we all know that there is an extreme bias in nba officiating which many of us agree comes from the front office. this is not going to change until David Stern is replaced. those i've talked to say it wasn't like this until Stern took the commissioner's job, then the favor in superstar and large-market officiating began. be that as it may, we pretty much just have to deal with the cards we're dealt, and we can't seem to be dealt a decent hand.

    one final note on Nicolas. i'm confused at those who are calling him inconsistent. yes, he's had a couple two-game stretches of drought, but i don't think the word
    "inconsistent" describes a player who hit double figures in 10 straight games this season -- that's seven longer than any other stretch in his career. he's hit double figures in scoring in 75 percent of the games this season. i challenge anyone to compare that to his rookie and second seasons. listen, i would love to see him get out of this funk and have a solid game against philadephia. we'll just have to see.

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 11/29/2010 9:04 PM
  22. I'm trying to see the bright side of what I consider to be the bonehead move of the season: starting Mathews over Batum. This is going to be very hard for me. A heavy dose of mock-cheer should get me through it...

    Super Radical Benefit #1
    Faster bench unit.

    With Batum as our new 6th man, it should inject some confidence and ball movement into a bench that has looked hesitant at times (assuming Batum's confidence hasn't been shattered into a million billion pieces).

    Super Radical Benefit #2
    More touches for Batum.

    Without B(allhog)Roy demanding more touches, Batum might finally get an opportunity to call his own number without a dressing-down from the coaches. Sure, they told him to be more involved offensively this season, but the way Nate's *cough* inspired *cough* offense runs, that just means "get to the corner quicker". They've told him to back down PGs, but the rest of the team ends up standing around while the defense collapses on Batum, who then is forced into a contested jumper. Perhaps he can hone that technique on the grindstone of lesser opponents.

    Super Radical Benefit #3
    Simple comparison of Roy and Mathews.

    Given relatively equal roles and minutes, we should be able to see whether Mathews' upside is half of Roy. If they're even close, the team can start to think about reconstruction...which sucks, but you gotta know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em. I haven't watched nearly enough basketball to know that for sure, but we aren't looking like a playoff team right now, and that's a shame.

    by 500Dogs on 11/29/2010 9:22 PM
  23. Kass, about Nico. I don't care how many points he scores. What bugs me is he use to be a consistent rebounder. He got ZERO against New Orleans, who got dominated on the boards tonight by OKC, a team I believe we outrebound TWICE.

    We all know Nico and Mathews are there for defense. Rebounding, in my opinion, is defense. It prevents the other team from getting a possession. I don't care if these two never score (as long as we're winning), but the problem I see with Nico is he doesn't seem as aggressive.

    Knew the 5 day break was way too long, because we have looked a lot slower, especially Nico. That dunk he missed on Friday looked like he was playing a role for "The Walking Dead" (good show I might add). He just didn't seem interested.

    However, I do not think putting in a player that's not struggling in his position is a good idea. That's just going to kill the 2nd unit if Nico continues to struggle.

    You were also in the chatroom with me when Blazer fans were confused on how the Nets were able to get a timeout on a loose ball, and how Mathews was called for a foul in the open court for a fast break. I'm not saying there is a conspiracy in this particular situation, it just shows that refs can be the difference between win or loss.

    I wonder though... whenever I watch football and a call is challenge, it seems the ref is always right. In the NBA, it seems like they're always wrong when we're shown the replay. I guess it's easier to watch.... however many men are on a football field over 10 players on the court.

    by Herr on 11/29/2010 10:13 PM
  24. i'm still hopeful that things are about to turn around a bit.

    pryzbilla's return has been delayed by a week or so, which means they just need to hold the fort for the rest of this trip. wins against the 76ers and wizards would do the trick. joel will help maximize marcus' effectiveness.

    sean marks was showing some fire before tweaking his ankle. if he can play as a 3rd center, and 3rd power forward like that, it would be a needed contribution. i like his play.

    in 2 games back, b-roy is averaging 24pts, 4asst, 3.5rebs & 1stl. not bad considering the despair about his knee. i don't think it is the worst thing that they're still trying to find the right combinations with roy, matthews and batum.

    it is not out of the realm of possibility that the blazers get some relief in the form of injury and trade exceptions, and can make a move. a little less than $3.4mil for greg, $.6mil for elliot, and slightly less than $2.3mil for jerryd. i have no idea if all that can be lumped together, but if they could, that would be about $6.3mil which is not chump change for a team trying to avoid the luxury tax.

    once they have a clearer idea of how the team works with joel back, and roles maximized amongst roy, wesley & nic, they can get it together. the rotation change may work well for a while, and i'm confident batum will find his way, he's too good not to.

    they will catch a break at some point...

    by reverse on 11/29/2010 10:55 PM
  25. Yeah, sad game...

    But we're still on the run, who know a streak of 15-20 games? Ok, it won't be like that, but if the lack of effort and focus can be surpassed, then everything is going to be ok.

    Last year we were at an even worst shape than this year, and everyone doubted our team, and they reached 50 wins and a relatively good seed at playoffs.

    So I say that a lil bit more of training, concentration and hearth will do the trick.

    (Who would guess I would be asking for MORE hearth from this wonderfull team? Yeah, that's what's lacking recently.)

    by Tiago Torigoe on 11/30/2010 8:00 AM
  26. Herr: i know exactly what you're saying about Nicolas' rebounding, et al. the only thing i can imagine is that Brandon's return -- and success -- is throwing off Nicolas' game. a bit. true, that shouldn't happen to his rebounding or defense, but i think we've all seen times when players are thrown off one part of their game, it can affect other parts of their game as well. again, i don't know if that's the case with these past couple games with Nicolas, but it's a thought i had on the situation. of course, it could just be that he's going to have a stretch of very solid games, then a couple flops. as a whole, i think he's done well this season and i hope he bounces back tonight.

    i know there were other calls which blazers fans have questioned and there's probably merit to that. i merely wanted to point out that the official on Marcus' foul who made the initial call likely had the best vantage point. i do agree with you that it only takes one or two calls to determine the outcome of a game, especially a game decided by a scant two points.

    i'm not impressed in the least with the instant replay system in any league. the only way it's not going to be biased is if you actually have a different official determining the replay as who made the initial call. the nfl has booth reviews in the last couple minutes of games, which is probably about as honest as instant replay can get.

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 11/30/2010 10:06 AM
  27. Kassandra:

    I am in your camp on Batum. I am not in the least giving up on him. I not only feel that BRoy's return is not only throwing Batum's game off, but the rest of the starting cast. I have no idea why nor do I point fingers. It just appears that way to me because when BRoy was out we won two games in a row, one in which was Denver. We had Utah in hand until Wesley got in serious foul trouble.

    I am not trying to praise Wesley, because I see him as being all good or all bad, I don't feel that moving Batum to the second unit is for keeps, but for now it might be a good thing as we definitely need a change. Matthews seems to play better when starting so I am for giving it a try, because we need both Batum and Matthews not one or the other as it has been.


    I feel our dilemma is not from the lack of trying as some think, but from injury, foul trouble, and a little confusion. I watched Batum get the ball when BRoy was being double teamed, instead of shooting or taking it to the rim; he chose to give the ball back to BRoy instead of taking advantage of the defensive scheme of the opponents and making them pay for leaving him. I don't know why, but does appear that other players hesitate to shoot when BRoy is in the game.


    Last year Dante said many times that him and Batum plays great together on defense. Armon, Rudy, Batum, Dante, and Joel would be a good team defensively. Rudy is not great at man to man but he is great at getting in the passing lanes and stealing the ball. Rudy, Batum and Dante with a little of Armon the Hammer added is a great up-tempo team. So, I am looking at the positives of the move. Besides it can't hurt.

    I also agree with you that you can't give up on Batum when he has 7 good games and 2 bad, and one of the bad he was in serious foul trouble and fouled out of the game which watching seemed to upset him very much. Nate doesn’t pull BRoy or LMA when they have an below average game, although it is Nate’s job to try to win games by inserting combination of players to get a win.

    I don't have the knowledge of BB as many have, but I love the whole team and I am for making the team better.

    I am not yet worried, and time will tell as to what it will take to get out of the funk.

    Hg

    by Hg on 11/30/2010 11:27 AM
  28. knee braces and pads

    i am aware of the fact that it often does not feel good to wear a brace or even relatively loose pads. they can feel restrictive, and even heavy. i am curious though as to whether brandon should have a brace on his left knee. one of the type that chris paul was wearing a few nights ago. the main reason for wearing the brace? to help prevent further damage to b-roy's left knee. i know it won't feel good, but i am for anything that will help prevent an injury on the level of nagging hinderance going to something more major.

    and, i'd be all for joel and lamarcus sporting the retro olajuwon/ewing knee pads. corey magette is still out there knocking knees with people...

    by reverse on 11/30/2010 12:04 PM
  29. i agree with hg

    nic with dante and rudy in the second unit makes for a very interesting 2nd team. defensively, i think nic's reach and length will help a set of reserves that are a bit on the small side.

    also, about batum. this summer, he needs to skip eurobasket, and join some of the other guys in the weight room. this year, he should put more of his skills honed on the french squad to use (point, shooting guard and team leader). if being in the reserves helps that along, so be it. next year he needs to make sure that he keeps raising his potential and upside by maturing his body.

    i think we all know nicolas is a hard worker that will hardly have his confidence rattled by coming off the bench for a few games.

    by reverse on 11/30/2010 12:29 PM
  30. From what I've seen it's a lack of confidence not Roy that is the problem. That is why many of our players are passing to someone else when they have a shot they normally take.

    Earlier someone said that the injury to Oden can't be blame for this, but I don't agree. I think Oden was the light at the end of the tunnel and that mentally it has effected the players losing him for the season. When Camby has to sit it's like playing with one hand tied behind their back. Hopefully Joel's return will solve this.

    I've been wanting to reply to a lot of posts, but I reinjured my right shoulder and couldn't even use a mouse with my right hand let alone type, though my main problem was I couldn't reach to the right to get my keyboard. So I haven't posted lately and can't post as indepth as I'd like to know because my shoulder is just getting a little better and I don't want to push it.

    GO BLAZERS!!

    by mgb on 11/30/2010 12:35 PM
  31. Haha, while I'm still in the mood to complain, I thought it was completely hilarious (and pathetic) how OKC's broadcasters kept crediting their players and mentioning how amazing their play is WITHOUT SHOWING THE REPLAY. At least our broadcasters credit the players but show the replay and admit any mistakes they previously mentioned. The ones last night just kept hiding everything that was "amazing", or showed an improper angle.

    I understand they're biased and are fans, but if I see a foul, I go "oh okay, we got lucky there" in a replay. But when one isn't even shown, even during a timeout when they have lots of time to show the replay, they don't, but they talk about how "amazing" it was even if in real time we saw that it was an obvious foul.

    Credit to you Mike and your partner. People may call you biased, but at least you're honest.

    I may sound like an OKC hater, but I'm not. Was always a fan of the Sonics, and I liked Kevin Durant a lot. But I'm not a fool that believes the hype, and it bugs me people think this team should be in the WCF. That really irritates me. This team is good, but they aren't 2nd round good. A lot of their games have been very close games with the officials heavily in their favor. Last night was another one of those games, and it really bugs me seeing one team jump around like they're the best because they won by shooting free throws or fouling the other team and getting away with it, or both like with what happened against Portland in OKC.

    by Herr on 11/30/2010 1:15 PM
  32. im not worried.... we have some kinks that need to be worked out oh well... we should be use to it by now. GO BLAZERS

    by Miller on 11/30/2010 1:29 PM
  33. I agree 100% that Batum's summer Eurobasket career should be over, at least as long as he's still a Blazer. the NBA game is tough enough on bodies and if players don't rest during the off-season, or at least use their muscles differently, the potential for injury and exhaustion become all the greater.

    Same thing with Rudy. His small frame can't take year around pounding. Even thought Euro league play is less physical, he still needs time off.

    by dgpdx on 11/30/2010 3:49 PM
  34. They are dying in the fourth! Is anyone staying on them about their nutrition!

    by Ruthcarey on 11/30/2010 6:07 PM
  35. a few thoughts after the game in philly

    until things stabilize, it might be wise to have rudy handle the ball on offense in the second unit. armon is in his rookie learning curve, and every possession counts when the margin of error is so small. they need a more experienced hand on the ball right now.

    until lamarcus has his minutes dialed down to 36 or so, he'll be too tired for a 4th quarter push. he, like marcus needs joel badly. also, it seems like at least once a game that aldridge gets hit on the forearm when shooting and gets no whistle. he doesn't need star treatment, but just getting the proper call.

    whether it be new orleans, philly or utah, other teams are coming with waves of bigs that the blazers can't match right now. after camby and LA they have dante. new jersey brought 7' petro, derreck favors and troy murphy as reserves. philly sent battie, speights and young off the pine. that doesn't even account for the opposing starters. every other team has 3 guys off the bench as legit bigs, and the blazers have one 3/4 combo guy. its no wonder that the bench can't score, and LA and marcus are out of gas every night. the blazers have 2.5 bigs going against rotations of 5 guys. WE NEED JOEL AND SEAN, and maybe another big added to the roster to compete.

    l.a. who have similar bench woes (with no bigs to sub) are on a 3 game losing streak of their own, so i say... if cleveland is looking to unload sideshow bob, take him. if orlando wants to save on the luxury tax, get brandon bass. if the kings are showcasing and shopping jason thompson, then buy.

    having said all that, i really hope that portland can find some of their back-to-back magic in boston. i'll be at work during the game, but would love to have good reason to find somewhere to watch the replay after work.

    by reverse on 11/30/2010 9:45 PM
  36. nothing but me and the crickets?!? really...

    ok, i've been resisting asking. i really try to keep very positive, and don't want to hatch any crazy theories, but what is really going on with brandon? i watched the entire game tonight, and i genuinely feel bad for the guy. it is painfully apparent that he is not functioning anywhere near 100% of his game. i'd guess 60% is where he's at right now. being truthful, i'd guess that he won't play tomorrow. he looks like he feels like he's running on egg shells. i really want to know what is going on. i also don't want to see him damage himself if he's playing on bald tires, it's too dangerous!

    is the team demoralized because they know something we don't?

    by reverse on 11/30/2010 11:25 PM
  37. Yeah, just the crickets and you. I think I heard one cherp "all time low". I think I agree.

    Losing to OKC, twice, was embarrassing. Losing to the Nets and Philly is worse. Not just that, but losing 2 home games for the same reasons we lost tonight.

    Against the Nets we took good shoots that just rimmed out. Tonight against Philly, we looked desperate for shots, and allowed poor defense to stop us from scoring.

    Pathetic is all I can say. You know things are bad when you start panicing being down by 4 with 8 minutes left in the 4th quarter.

    by Herr on 11/30/2010 11:36 PM
  38. Wow, that absolutely stunk! We look like a wipped dog out there. The bench is giving us nothing and our starters are looking tired. Either our talent level is too low to be good or McMillan isn't able to fully utilize it. Somewhere a change needs to be made.

    by thedanman on 12/1/2010 5:52 AM
  39. Travisd:

    For sure BRoy isn't playing a shell of what he used to be. Whether it is the knee, trying to adjust his game to the type Dre plays with not elevation and more of short jumpers then lay-ups. Maybe we will never know the whole story.

    The strategy of opponents is to stop BRoy and LMA and you can stop the Blazers, It is easier to stop BRoy by all accounts now and can focus more on LMA, which hasn't the reputation to being a fourth quarter player anyway.

    Now as I heard the Philly announcers say, attack BRoy on offense because he is crippled and can't and can't stop anyone with out fouling.

    That has been the trend in the four losses, and until we get another Mr. fourth quarter and quit going to BRoy and LMA in crunch time it will continue. In fact in lieu of BRoy’s present condition, I think I should pull him on defense, and use him as a decoy on offense in crunch time.

    Another possibility, because of lack of confidence that keeps growing as losses piles up is everybody is playing the fourth as not to lose whether then keep doing what got them the lead in the first place. Kind of like the prevent defense in football which doesn't work. And of course every team in the NBA tightens up the defense, plays passing lanes more if they are behind to create a turn-over. Portland plays right into their hands on that respect.

    Armon is going to be OK, and although he is making a lot of mistakes, he will get better IMO. This is the time of the year to give him playing time, but at the moment he is a hindrance when playing on offense. That is no fault of his because he is learning and playing as hard as possible.

    We as fans have just got to stay patient and wait for the trend to end. I hope we are not putting to much emphasis on Joel and Marks return, but that will definitely help on D.

    Hg

    by Hg on 12/1/2010 7:43 AM
  40. If we keep this up,MB ,won't have to change the blog title.WOW,this game was just pitiful.I have NEVER in 35 years as a fan,seen the B's play so dismal .
    Joel will be back tonight, which will be an emotional lift,but we still need people to score.Unless joel is going to drop 30
    on the Celts,his return may not help.
    I hate to say it ,but Nic is becoming Travis Outlaw with better defense.I just don't know what to make of Nic.He NEVER drives to the hoop ,making him one dimensional as a player.
    I'm not trying to be a fairweather fan,but this is not going to get better soon, I'm afraid .
    I have tickets to Tuesday's game with Phoenix and With winter here and work slowing down,I don't know if I wanna fork out gas and ticket price, and 6$ beers just to see another beatdown AT home.
    I think mostly this is a mental issue.We have talent,but our confidence is at an all time low,for some reason.
    Last night ,I thought about how much we missed JBay driving to the hoop.The Armonizer has been more like "the Harmonizer" lately.I think he needs to go to the hoop more, and take his shots when he's open.
    I also think LB needs some time.He can shoot the rock and we traded him for Martel to be a shooter.Even Patty ,no one else is getting it done.So ,I say give those guys a chance.
    This is going to be one of Sarge's biggest challenges to turn this around.We'll find out just how much heart we have against one of the best in the NBA in Boston.
    Les Do Dis Ting.

    by DowntownVinnie on 12/1/2010 7:58 AM
  41. A couple of points I forgot to make.1)Broy is NOT getting by anyone and getting his usual freethrows.I don't know if that is a physical thing or a fear thing.He takes almost exclusively outside shots now.He,and the team, need to get some easy points ,either at the line or fastbreaks, something.
    2) I like Wesley starting because he is more potent offensively than when on the second unit.Nic hasn't produced consistently from the starter position, so I think this will be good for him.IMO,a little competition for a spot is good for the players.
    3) I might be waffling a little from my earlier post.(Phi Slamma loves that !) Joel's return WILL be more beneficial than I said.OBVIUOSLY,we have been playing with only one true center.so,when Camby goes out ,it is a considerable drop in defense.Then LA is playng a position which he has fared ok at ,but is not his true position.He doesn't need to get extra fouls ,either .we need him on the floor .
    Dante is undersized for that position as well.

    by DowntownVinnie on 12/1/2010 8:26 AM
  42. DTV:
    I have to agree with your sentiments. I don't mind watching when we lose, if we are playing Blazer ball, but if is looks like a skunk, smells like a skunk then it is safe to assume it is a skunk. Now, as you have challenged, can Nate wipe away the smell or will we continue to stink up the place?

    Nate tried Babbitt in the last game for a few minutes but he really lost it on defense.

    As I stated to Travisd above, I think Armon the Hammer is OK; he is making many mistakes that is a hindrance to us as right now, but he is far from being the cause of the loss. So, he will get better in time and now is the time to give him the playing time. We aren't winning anyway so a little more adversity isn't going to hurt that much.

    I have to agree with you on Batum, I am not about to abandon his ship because I liked Travis, and with Batum's D that makes him better, although I wished he could become Mr. 4th quarter.

    Hg

    by Hg on 12/1/2010 8:39 AM
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