mikebarrett

Dec 26

Post-Christmas Trip Rolls On

By mikebarrett Posted in: Warriors

The headlines were very easy to come up with following the Christmas-Day game at Golden State.  Anything having to do with Portland's giving spirit in the fourth quarter, to gift-wrapping a win for the Warriors, to getting coal in their own stockings while playing Santa Claus in the East Bay.  Easy stuff. 

The sad part is, this kind of stuff was rolling around in my mind with just over five minutes left in the game, with the Trail Blazers holding a 97-90 lead.  Thoughts like, "wow, if somehow we don't get this one now, it'll really be painful."  Terrible attitude, I realize.  That has a lot more to do with playing not to lose rather than playing to win.  And, I don't think I'm alone with thoughts like that during the fourth quarter this season.

They're rolling around in your head too.  If I'm thinking it, and fearing it, and you are too, then you know that negative feeling creeps into the players' minds as well.  This latest incident happened when it really felt like perhaps we were through with that part of the season.  I didn't want to have to remind you again how good Portland was in fourth quarters the last two seasons, and how different things have been this year.

The Trail Blazers have now lost 7 games this season when leading after three quarters.  They lost 9 games when leading after the third quarter in all of last season. 

Now, I will say, this one felt differently than some of the other situations like this so far this season.  Even though no one else seems to ever want to do it, I always try to give credit to the opponents when they deserve it.  Yes, Portland could have done things better.  When you end a game on the bad side of a 19-5 run, there's blame to go around. 

It wasn't surprising how Golden State was able to battle back and continue its dominance over Portland at Oracle.  Monta Ellis was the guy we talked about in the pre-game show, the guy you were fearing, and the guy who Portland was setting its defense around.  And, he went out and got 39 points and was huge late in the game.

The Warriors are also making an effort to play some defense this season (unlike in the recent past).  LaMarcus Aldridge shot 7 for 21 from the field and had 15 points.  He did miss some very makeable shots, but I thought David Lee played him very well.  Two other starters recorded double-doubles.  Nicolas Batum had 18 and 10, and Andre Miller had 12 points and 15 assists.

In the end it's a painful way for the Trail Blazers to lose a game, after playing well for 3 and a-half quarters, and outrebounding the Warriors a whopping 53 to 32.  But, again, we've seen this same situation this season.  It kind of makes you fear playing with a lead in the fourth quarter in the near future.  Tough to say you'd rather play from behind, but I'm willing to try anything at this point.

Now, this trip gets tougher.  We're in Salt Lake City, and Monday night the Trail Blazers take on the Utah Jazz.  We mentioned this on the air the other night, but if you were to hand pick the three places in the NBA where Portland has had the least success (in modern times, anyway), it would be Utah, Denver, and Golden State.  The Jazz hold a 62-14 all-time record against the Blazers in this city.  And, most of those wins came for Portland at the old Salt Palace.  I actually started this post telling myself not to throw numbers like that out there.  Oh well.

One other note about the Jazz..  Jerry Sloan, as you know, is in his 23rd season in Utah.  Do you realize how amazing that is?  He's the longest tenured head coach in any of the four major professional sports.  There have been 243 coaching changes in the NBA since Sloan was named the coach of the Jazz in 1988.  Which team has had the most coaching changes in that time?  The Clips, with 13.  No huge surprise there.  It kind of surprised me that the Lakers have had 11 coaching changes in the time Sloan has been in Utah.  The Blazers are near the bottom of the list with only 6 (amazing what you come up with when you're alone in a hotel room on Christmas Day).

By the way, there's another factor that makes these next two games even tougher, besides the fact that it's Utah and Denver.  It's a back-to-back.  Talk to you Monday night.

Previous Story: LaMarcus 2.0

18 Comments

  1. All I can say is this game proved a couple of things.

    1) we need a closer (Roy). Good luck trading him, you're going to need him.

    2)It was a gift to even be close. Lately when we play there we just suck. We play with no energy and bring absolutely nothing to the game. It was nice to see the Blazers actually playing, even if it's a loss.

    3) It'll be a gift if we win any game on the road trip, or even our first game back. I just want to see some effort.

    4) At least the Heat won!


    4 game losing streaks not that bad, but Houston is just 1 win behind us. Hopefully Melo does get traded and Denver falls. They just lost to Philly without him.

    by Herr on 12/26/2010 11:14 PM
  2. What killed Portland in the 4th was the combination of missed open shots, untimely turnovers, and missed free throws. The problem they are having now is that it is in their heads, especially against teams they should put away. They lack focus and killer instinct and tend to slow down the tempo when they should continue to be the aggressor. It all starts with their mind set. How much do they want to finish the game until the opponent waves the white flag?

    by blazerdarren77 on 12/26/2010 11:27 PM
  3. LA fell short and looked tired. He didn't want the ball. Rudy was off again but needs to shoot more. The bench got beat.

    We don't have enough players to cover 48 minutes. Our team slows down in the 4th because they are tired. LA can't over 40 minutes every game and then run like does. He misses freethrows because of his legs. Donte has to shoot more. He has a sweet shot and that means his teammates must start looking for him. Where did the inside outside game go? Speed the game up. Stop walking the ball up court. Teams have watched enough tape on us that they know our plays just as well as we do. Red Hot And Rolling is where it is at. Our next home game everyone should wear black, and call that game (BLACKOUT!).

    by civilhold on 12/27/2010 2:15 AM
  4. Ok, I'm going to come out and predict a rare win at Utah! There, so it's been said so it shall be!

    GO BLAZERS!!!

    by mgb on 12/27/2010 10:21 AM
  5. Let's hope the missed shots in Oakland, was rust and not fatigue. LA, Marcus and Dre may still need more rest.
    We shall see how Mills does against De-Ron and Chauncey this week. The pgotf will need to handle it 8 times a year , and the playoffs for rings .
    Mr Cho I hope your wife is reading. 3 days and counting.

    Time to man up and roll into Utah and Denver.


    GO BLAZERS !!!!!

    by Kim~ on 12/27/2010 12:02 PM
  6. a while back when things really looked bleak, i kept mentioning that we were lacking energy and intensity. that's what we saw on saturday. same exact thing. Ellis led the warriors, but all of them beat us. they didn't win many of the stat comparisons, but won the most important; the final score. it was the lack of intensity which did us in, rather than missed ft's. missing shots hurt, but as MB pointed out, we were playing not to lose.

    some of the guys who've stepped up lately didn't have the best of games, but you've got to make adjustments to that. for example, Rudy didn't shoot lights out but, with the way he was hustling and rebounding, i wouldn't have pulled him out of the game if i were the coach. yes, LaMarcus missed mosre than his share of shots, but that doesn't mean he wasn't out there fighting.

    we should not have been tired after five days off, and i don't think we simply ran out of steam in this one. i just think we stopped playing aggressively and played passively.

    i've been a defender of Andre's, and he had an excellent game (lead the league in assists for the day), but his efficiency was minus-14. i'm leaning more and more toward the fact that we need to run quite a bit more than we're doing. we're very good in transition and that helped us quite a bit, especially in the first half. i think Nate needs to open up the gates and give the guys the green light to run more than they are.

    i think i mentioned in the last blog that my feeling is that we can win any night we take the floor. yes, utah has won several straight. tonight's question is: do they truly have our number, or are we due to beat them?

    only the 11 guys who take the floor in blazers uniforms can answer that.

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 12/27/2010 12:15 PM
  7. Kass,

    What is frustrating is we got good shots, just missed them. If we hadn't Miller would have even more than 15 assists! I think we did play a bit tenative, but I think that has to do with us thinking oh no not again and not having more confidence rather than the players that are on the court.

    by mgb on 12/27/2010 12:33 PM
  8. Great Blog. I hope we can get over this 4th quarter thing soon- i find myself worrying if they are going to loose the lead all the time when we actually have it.

    I'm hoping that we can turn things around in Utah tonight- at least if we loose I want it to be because the Jazz beat us not that we beat ourselves with poor passes etc

    Go Blazers!!

    by RedRudy5 on 12/27/2010 12:50 PM
  9. mgb: yes, we got some good shots, but our defense was so lacking in the fourth quarter that the warriors got better ones. there were too many inside drives and shots for golden state that it looked like a warmup drill. i would have loved for us to make more of the shots we took, but the bottom line is that we didn't take care of business on defense.

    my comments regarding running and having a quicker team transcend the warriors' game. lately, and this happened about the time Patty came on to the second unit, our bench has been looking really good. i don't believe in coincidence, and i think it only proves we need to have more of a full-court offense rather than a half-court offense. that's when our offense has been working.

    Andre had a very good game, but obviously, we were at our best when he wasn't on the floor (his minus-14 shows that).

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 12/27/2010 4:12 PM
  10. If that is true then we had a better team on when Batum was on the floor as he was -11.

    I do like Patty on D actually because he's fast enough to keep the other PG in front of him. But +/- can be misleading.

    by mgb on 12/27/2010 4:18 PM
  11. EA, fair enough. point well taken, but for the sake of argument, let's say it's the whole organization's fault. either way, i'm completely baffled by it. how could they have overseen this? i think part of it has to do with brandon's apprehension of MRIs and i also think he felt deep down that something was very wrong and didn't want to face it.

    do you realize that they gave him that contract without any recent MRI analysis? wouldn't you want your mechanic to look at a car that you were considering buying?

    in this case it's 82 million! and be bought him as-is!

    shame on them.

    it's easy to be a fan of this team and i always will be, but it's very difficult to be a fan of the organization.

    by sudelander on 12/27/2010 4:25 PM
  12. Oops, that should have been when Batum wasn't on the floor.

    by mgb on 12/27/2010 4:48 PM
  13. I only saw the second half. Lackluster, lackadaisical walking the ball up and a lot of standing around. You would of thought it was a triple back to back.

    by Ancientone on 12/27/2010 5:17 PM
  14. Ok Barrett, you anouncer guys need to be more positive toward the end of games. All you come up with are negative facts. Try producing facts that might actually shed some positive light on the team you get paid by and I am watching. Personally I don't want to here that the blazers fell apart the last game. Come up with positive facts toward the last few minutes of the game. As a blazer fan for the last 15 years it may be tough to watch the last minutes of the game, but I am having to mute or talk over you guys in order not to here the negatives. Think it over. I just watched the Utah win tonight and the last few minutes were horrible from you end. You brought up the golden state debalcle when interviewing Lamarcus, come on that is a slam. You are a professional and don't need to bring up the negative aspects of the game. Lucky for you Lamarcus didn't walk away from you after that comment. They just won the game! I highly suggest you listen to your comments and Rice's too for the last 5 minutes of the game with Utah and the post game with Lamarcus. You can do better.

    by coastblaze on 12/27/2010 9:15 PM
  15. From what I seen they didn't want to jinx the Blazers at the end of the game.

    Also, it's easier to say positive stuff when the Blazers are doing positive stuff. They were just going by what the Blazers have been doing and what is probably going throught he Blazers minds.

    by mgb on 12/27/2010 9:21 PM
  16. that was a special win tonight. that was 48 minutes of sustained effort. this is what we've been looking for, and it couldn't have come at the expense of a better team. all the guys contributed. i love to see a team effort.

    i'm a little worried about whether Marcus can play tomorrow night. i'd love to see him on the court, but who knows at this point, but i can't wait to see the game!

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 12/27/2010 10:12 PM
  17. Lamarcus hit the weights, put on the heavy vest and went to work this past summer, and it shows.

    Aldridge scored as much as the utah starting front court of kirilenko, millsap & jefferson with 26.

    The L-train is rolling, and the blazers play pretty well when that is the case.

    by reverse on 12/27/2010 10:26 PM
  18. coastblaze, completely and absolutely disagree. if anybody has been accused of being somewhat of a homer and painting it to rosy, it's actually mike barett. sometimes i even think he's overly positive.

    the post game interview was great and he even made lamarcus laugh. it had a happy vibe to it.

    also, what do you expect the them to say? to say we've been dreadful at the end of games is an understatement. we all felt it and they feel it along with us.

    mike and mike love their blazers and i think i can safely say 99.9% of us here love mike and mike!

    it's good that he brought the gs game up! these guys need to know we're watching and we want them to succeed. plus he brought it up in a way that wasn't accusatory. it was used to illustrate the point of how awesome it is to finish games out. i mean we just beat utah! in utah!!!!!

    mike, keep up the phenomenal work that you do.

    amazing win!



    by sudelander on 12/28/2010 1:32 AM
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