mikebarrett

Dec 30

Blazers Drop Utah Again

By mikebarrett
On a night that began with the Trail Blazers announcing that Brandon Roy would be out for an indefinite period of time, the team showed its fans it can still be very dangerous without him.  It doesn't seem especially fair, to Brandon or the Blazers, but it's reality.  Now, the Blazers are doing the only thing they can do- they're playing the hand they currently have.

On Thursday night, for the second time in four days, the Roy-less team defeated the first-place team in the division.  On Monday night the Blazers were in control, then withstood a late Utah rally for a win in Salt Lake City.  In this one, the Jazz, also shorthanded, simply didn't have enough to mount a serious run, and fell to the Blazers 100-89 at the Rose Garden.

The man who will be starting in place of Roy for the immediate future, Wesley Matthews, once again showed that he is capeable of putting up Roy-like numbers, scoring 30 points.  It felt extra special to Matthews, being it came against the team that simply couldn't bid against the Blazers for his services last summer.

In the first two games against his former team this season, Matthews seemed to perhaps want it too much, and pressed at times.  He was still solid, especially in Utah on Monday, scoring 14 points and grabbing 8 rebounds.  On Thursday night his shot was falling.  When Matthews is hitting outside, and LaMarcus Aldridge is productive inside, and Marcus Camby is picking up the misses, Portland is tough to beat.  This is especially the case at the Rose Garden, where Portland has won seven in a row.

Aldridge conntinues to post All-Star type numbers, and in this game scored 27 points, on 10 of 18 shooting.  He once again outplayed Utah's Paul Millsap, and couldn't be slowed by Al Jefferson.  Only a zone defense by Utah seemed even partially successful in slowing the Blazers down.  But even that only enough to make the game somewhat interesting, and kept the Blazers from dropping the hammer much earlier.

Unlike Monday's game, Portland was in control throughout much of the night.  They led by as many as 19, and only trailed a couple of times, and only by as many as one point.

Before the game the status of Camby was said to be up in the air, as he has been recovering from an ankle sprain he suffered on Monday night.  In that game, the Blazers won without him.  On this night, his 20 rebounds never let a Utah run get seriously started.

Oddly enough, the Jazz won two state catagories that we predicted would be huge keys.  They outshot the Blazers 48 percent to 46 percent, and outrebounded Portland 39 to 34.  But, the Blazers were efficient enough on this night that even those things weren't enough.  Portland only turned the ball over 9 times, and got their 34 field goals on 21 assists- a very good sign for this team that the offense was working well.

The Blazers also didn't get a huge effort from the bench, like they got in Salt Lake City.  In fact, the second unit was just 4 for 17, and was outrebounded by Utah's bench 13 to 5.  Again, it didn't seem to matter, as Matthews and Aldridge were just too much.

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

This was a big start to a very important two-game homestand.  Given what's ahead on the schedule, including the upcoming three-game road trip, the Blazers absolutely have to continue to win at home.  They improved to 11-3 at the Rose Garden with the win, and now get set to take on the Houston Rockets on Sunday. 

Following Sunday's game, we hit the road again, for games at Dallas, Houston, and Minnesota.  After that it's home games against Miami and New York. 

31 Comments

  1. After next week's 3 game road trip, they only have 2 games on the road for the rest of the month. I feel a big momentum coming on.

    by blazerdarren77 on 12/31/2010 12:12 AM
  2. The Blazers are playing really well at home. They seem to have got use to each other and learn their roles. Wesley was a great addition, but just imagine if Roy and Oden was healthy this season. Oh well.

    by mgb on 12/31/2010 12:15 AM
  3. Who would have thought, back in midsummer, that the Blazers would again be playing without Oden or Pryzbilla, that they'd also be lacking Roy and Pendergraph, that a guy like Sean Marks would be getting meaningful minutes every game, and that the key players on our bench--besides Dante--would be Rudy Fernandez and Patty Mills? And who would have predicted that our record without Brandon would be so much better than when he was available? But this is why it's fun to watch a team with young players, because even when everything seems topsy-turvy, there's a chance that some of them will take big steps forward and start making magic. A lot of us expected Nic would be the guy making a big take-up; turns out he's having ignition problems. But LA and Wesley have both added exactly the right dimensions to their games, Rudy is playing hard and finding his old flair again, and Patty is getting a real shot, staying in the game even when he's taking confident shots and missing them. And the team is becoming a real team, with flow and chemistry and a distinctive style. We still may get ambushed by Houston and soon find ourselves in the middle of another losing streak. But there's been a satisfying consistency to this team's play since Roy has been out, and I think that an unexpected winning streak is just as possible as another slide down the chute.

    by Islander on 12/31/2010 12:23 AM
  4. Mike: I was sound asleep and had a dream that you posted a new blog. I really don't think that is amazing since I went to sleep thinking you would be putting out a new blog soon.

    I thank you for the update and your input.

    As you and Rice was saying, getting some definite news about BRoy at least put all the wondering aside and the team just showed that they had stepped up and will keep the game going. We haven't seen BRoy healthy since before the All-Star break last year; I think everybody is seeing him in that light and that type playing mode and tends to say how much better we are without him. That is only true when he was playing injured. I still believe that him and Greg will both return healthy and have big solid impacts for the team. We have moved on without BRoy, but we would be so much better with what we have now and a healthy BRoy and Greg to boot.

    We have won 6 out of the last 8 games and one of those was on the road against Utah. Therefore I am thinking that this team is starting to gel and has turned the corner. I feel confident about the Sunday game against Houston; mostly because win or lose I believe we will give the intensity and the fight that is needed to win. I think we should have The Mosquito in against Brooks much of the time. If not effective, it will at least will be exciting.

    We know we can play good against Dallas and Minny. By the time we hit the road we will know how we stand against Houston, so I look forward to a better road trip this time.

    We are slowly getting better and better, I know we are not there yet, but it is exciting to watch us grow with a line-up that plays minutes together instead of spurts together, well with the exception of Camby. And it is more exciting to know that we haven't came close to reaching the teams potential yet or close to reaching the potential of LMA’s new game. So once more it's safe to say it is great to be a Blazer fan.

    Hg

    by Hg on 12/31/2010 1:17 AM
  5. Well, this game was good, but EA and I were too busy fighting off Griffin homers on who should be an All-Star. If you want my argument, let me know and I'll post on the message boards why LMA deserves All-Star credit over Love, Millsap, Randolph, Griffin, and about anyone else. I'm near positive that LMA will have Jerry Sloan's vote. However, LMA could hustle on the boards a bit more on this game. I think he ended with 2. But his offense and defense made it so that absolutely did not matter. The man may not be equal stat wise to the other players competing for the ASG spot, but he is embarrassing them, and winning in the head to head battles. That, and he's been extremely entertaining to watch.

    The Jazz were short handed? Who were they missing in this game? AK-47 and Memo? They wouldn't have helped. I'm loving this new and improved Aldridge.

    Roy is out, but so far, his presence on the bench has been very valuable to the team, so much that he can sit out. I've seen him talking to players, and always has a smile when the Blazers go on a run. He's also up and congratulating his team. That is what I love to see. Roy is great on the court, but right now, he's better off it. From my perspective, he's been a leader, and he's been there for the team. I believe even Oden was there tonight. Him being out gives room for other players to grow, and in the end, that might benefit the team. The one thing Roy has over most of the league is intelligence. Honestly, I see him being more of a smart player than Kobe Bryant (who had a GREAT game the other day in San Antonio might I add). Roy may be out, but he's helping this team, and that is why I love Roy.

    Houston is a must win game. Let's win it.

    by Herr on 12/31/2010 1:21 AM
  6. Solid win.......this team is showing chemistry. A very nice team effort I hope continues. I have a feeling Roy will be out the rest of the year, thats fine. If he is truly going to come back and be the old Roy, he needs to rest up, and in the meantime maybe doctors and Paul Allen's money can do a ninja knee operation on him, or He just gets tons of rest and is good to go next year. Either way, Roy and the organization needs time to consider their options, and Im willing to wait till next season for the answer.

    Till then well play with what we got and see what happens, just play hard basketball and go from there.

    by whitefeather21380 on 12/31/2010 1:24 AM
  7. Posted by MGB in last blog:


    "I seem to remember Roy had a small piece of the cushion in his knee, can't think of the name, cut and he was able to return for some of the playoffs since he couldn't injure it any more. Now he doesn't even have that cushion?

    I thought this was interesting:

    """"“We’ve talked about (ending his season) and it’s a possibility, but we want to explore a couple of other things first,’’ Cho said.

    Cho said the team is still in the information-gathering stages of those other options, but he hopes to have more answers and a direction by next week."""""

    They are just now gathering info about that now? I would think they would have done any info gathering about his knee long ago if that is what he means.

    by mgb on 12/30/2010 11:24 PM ."
    ________________________________________________________

    MBG, IMO, up until know they have just been treating the symptom instead of treating the cause. Now, they have discovered the symptoms are untreatable and finally will tryto treat or fix the cause. I hope they find success.

    Hg

    by Hg on 12/31/2010 1:28 AM
  8. It's good to see Brandon rest and have the backing of management while doing that. This is a good time for the rest of the team to get time in on the court. The rest of the team can find themselves in different situations on the court. this is a win win for everyone. Now we focus on finding help for Roy's knee problem and the team grows with confidence. Greg and Roy will both be back next season and I'm telling you what a team we will have.

    by civilhold on 12/31/2010 4:25 AM
  9. Hg,

    That may be true, but I would think they would have research any options long before now just in case, wouldn't you?

    by mgb on 12/31/2010 4:42 AM
  10. MGB:

    Actually, IMO, they have already researched it, but because they were hoping to keep him playing they were looking for solutions to prolong the inevitable. What ever that may be I don't know for sure. They knew I needed knee replacement in 1995, but prolonged it until 2005 because they wanted to wait until I retired, they prolonged it with braces and injections of a STP type compounds setting up somewhat like a woman's breast enlargement. I wasn't playing BB though.

    From the time they knew I needed knee replacement to the time I actually got it done the technology advanced tremendously. Mine is of the capping type replacement where they grind of the effected cartilage and replace it with Titanium. That is still driving shafts into the morrow of the tibia and femur. the shaft in the tibia is a hollow cone shaped shaft that they place the Mencius in. Like a cone inside of a cone if you will, That way if I wear out the Mencius they just pull out the Mencius shaft and replace it. Before the new technology a new replacement would only last about 10 years at the most and then you had to replace the whole knee again and you were only allowed one more replacement then it was fusion time. With the new type caps, they don't know how long it will last, Probably different with different people and their activities.

    Technically it is probably much different then that, but that is the way I understand it.

    My Dr. told me no running or jumping although I am capable of doing both. Ancientone's DR told him no BB, although I bet he could. But ancientone and I are not professional BB players and are past our prime. Well at least Ancientone is LOL. In short, I don't know what BRoy's alternates are and still play BB. I feel like I can do anything I want, but running and jumping may change that quickly.

    New technology has been developed since I got my replacement so it is a matter of finding the right one for BRoy.

    This is all IMO, nothing you can take to the bank.

    If I don't quit writing Ancientone will have to make two trips to the kitchen.

    Hg

    by Hg on 12/31/2010 6:26 AM
  11. First off, though I've been a long time fan, this was my first game at the RG in about 4 years since I've been going to school overseas the last 5 years+. I felt so happy to be at the game!

    Second, though the team is going through some tough times on the larger scale, it's great to see the guys still playing hard. Even the off the court stuff has made this year special, with the friendship between Patty and Rudy.

    As for the game, the thing that was concerning was at certain points, after we had built up the lead to double digits, we seemed to relax or when the 2nd unit was in, we lost the lead and seemed to not know what to do out there.

    Gotta love Wes - I didn't even seem to notice that he was racking up 30 points. And Marcus! Awesome! So glad I got to see him in person before he calls it a career. What a beast!

    Also, it was great to be back surrounding by Blazer fans. I'll probably write a blog post on all this, but just wanted to say how much I enjoyed last night's game.

    It was sobering news that we got before the game, but I think like last year, this team has shown we can fight through adversity and while they can't really control what Cho and the management might be doing, they can put all they have on the floor and that is all I ask. Of course, I will support this team no matter what, but as long as they fight out there, especially against the better teams or those with better records (Sloan said we are a bit better than his team is at the moment despite the records), I'll be a happy fan.

    GO BLAZERS! and thanks for a great night!
    -Anees, from Portland :-)

    by Anees on 12/31/2010 9:02 AM
  12. herr in lamarcus case and you can tell your peeps you were in the discussion with. His stats are not the same becasue those other teams do not have a center like camby. Lamarcus is not going to rack up 10 rebounds a game with the like of camby a healthy joel or oden on the floor. These guys will fight tooth and nail for rebounds. look at cambys and lamarcus numbers when rebounding together. Then look at lamarcus numbers when he is playing the five by him self. Lamarcus can get 12 rebounds a game if he was playing the five. but he isnt so our centers are racking those numbers up. If you look at the power forwards in the league who do not play with a rebounding center they will have a ton of rebounds. But if they have someone like D howard or shaq they will not avrage that many rebounds. Thte clippers do not have a dominate center. Or the Jazz for that matter. So the griffens and milsaps of the league will get there rebounds. Face it we neysayers we have 2 possibly 3 of the best centers in the league defensivly and i would prefer a defensive 5 over a chris kaman who can put up 20 and 8 if he is healthy. Why you may ask We have scorers no need to worry about our 5 putting up 20 a night if he is pulling down 15 boards a night. because 15 boards creats 15 more chances for a Wes or Lamarcus.

    by Avgjoe28 on 12/31/2010 9:43 AM
  13. i feel horrible for brandon. i hope science can figure something out because they need to do better. much better!

    by sudelander on 12/31/2010 11:43 AM
  14. I am all for Brandon trying to get his knees and health as good as he can... I have been watching the Blazers since the Clyde and Terry days since the heart breaking loss to Detroit in the finals when we all thought that maybe that 3 point basket by Danny Young was good and would extend the game...anyway... i have never come to like the late play of the Blazers team... even the Jail Blazers played with some kind of tempo and flow that even though we didnt care much for the off court garbage the brand of ball at times was atleast worth the price of addmission, my pont being that all though we might lose the Brandon who became a All-Star because of his last second shots and great numbers we lost that tempo that the team had been playing with for years. As we watch this team moving forward and Nate sounds like he likes this as well... The Blazers are moving in the right direction with the offense and this style creates excellant team chemestry as the assist become more frequent and team mates thrive on the ally opps and dunks. The Blazers will start snow balling the wins, watch what i say and those of us who had been kinda bored with slow play will keep getting more and more excited moving forward. Wesley was a true find in the off season and aren't we as fans lucky the Blazers made that deal. Go Blazers!

    by David Harrison on 12/31/2010 12:32 PM
  15. I am all for Brandon trying to get his knees and health as good as he can... I have been watching the Blazers since the Clyde and Terry days since the heart breaking loss to Detroit in the finals when we all thought that maybe that 3 point basket by Danny Young was good and would extend the game...anyway... i have never come to like the late play of the Blazers team... even the Jail Blazers played with some kind of tempo and flow that even though we didnt care much for the off court garbage the brand of ball at times was atleast worth the price of addmission, my pont being that all though we might lose the Brandon who became a All-Star because of his last second shots and great numbers we lost that tempo that the team had been playing with for years. As we watch this team moving forward and Nate sounds like he likes this as well... The Blazers are moving in the right direction with the offense and this style creates excellant team chemestry as the assist become more frequent and team mates thrive on the ally opps and dunks. The Blazers will start snow balling the wins, watch what i say and those of us who had been kinda bored with slow play will keep getting more and more excited moving forward. Wesley was a true find in the off season and aren't we as fans lucky the Blazers made that deal. Go Blazers!

    by David Harrison on 12/31/2010 12:34 PM
  16. solid effort

    this team can win some games


    when pryz comes back (hopefully against houston) our active roster will be sound

    as they finish a nice home and home set with the jazz, they have another home and home with the rockets

    time to prove they belong in the 6-8 seeding race, not the 9-12 bunch

    i'd like to see camby defend scola, and aldridge on hayes, against houston's weird frontcourt

    offensively, they should attack the rim over, and over, and over, and over, from all positions


    is it too much to ask for the mavs to be dirkless again on tuesday?

    if dallas has to start brian cardinal against the L-train, i like portland's chances

    by reverse on 12/31/2010 1:24 PM
  17. I agree with Avgjoe28, a lot of LA's job is to keep his man off the boards so Camby or someone else can get the rebound. Also knowing Camby is going to get the rebound LA can take off for a fastbreak which we see he does often beating his man down the court.

    by mgb on 12/31/2010 2:04 PM
  18. Great win. I just wrote a Fanpost on BEdge about it (and other stuff). Enjoy...

    http://www.blazersedge.com/2010/12/31/1906372/dont-worry-be-happy

    by 500Dogs on 12/31/2010 2:34 PM
  19. Just want to add that I loved LA's continued aggressiveness of course. There were a few plays where i thought he could have taken it to the hoop and passed, but I could be wrong there, as my bball IQ isnt' as high as most of you and I think I was reveling in being at my first game in a long while as I mentioned above.

    Anyways, excited to see how we do against Houston.

    Peace out and Happy New Year!

    by Anees on 12/31/2010 8:45 PM
  20. travis: Hayes is out for 2 weeks with an injury.

    Still haven't watched the game, as it is saved on the DVR in the living room, upon whose TV the men in the house have been playing Assassins Creed for hours and hours and days and days. How can I be the SOLE BB fan in a house with three XYs? The worst part is that if I try to watch it alone, hubby will get irritated, but he won't want to watch it later, cause we are going to the game on Sunday! ARRRGGGHHHHH! I want my BLAZERS (Stamping feet!)

    Anyway, I can't comment on the game as yet :( I did however want to extend my extremely heartfelt sympathy for Brandon Roy's situation, something I hope Mike will pass on to him somehow. Brandon should know that not every fan in Rip City is pleased that the team has been "freed" from his overwhelming and ball-hogging ways. More than that, I feel deeply for the young man who may be on the verge of losing his dream and what matters so much to him. Money is one thing, what we love and love to do is another. I hope he will find a way through all of this, regardless of whether he ever makes it back on the court in Red and Black.

    BLAZERS in 2011!

    by EowynAmarie on 12/31/2010 11:03 PM
  21. hayes being out will make this game even more strange matchup wise

    the rockets will only have scola, brad miller & rookie patrick patterson as their 4/5 rotation

    they beat a raptors team that was without bargnani and started joey dorsey

    the L-train will roll in houston to start the new year

    a few games ago a godzilla sound effect, which i liked, was unleashed after one of LA's dunks

    if they double him, wesley and the 3pt crew will put on their goggles

    the guys need to scrape together a few solid road wins to balance things out and allow their home record to shine

    by reverse on 1/1/2011 9:37 AM
  22. Eowyn Amarie:

    I have a couple of games that I can't watch yet for the same reason.

    About BRoy, I have the same sorrows as you do, but I am not sure most of them are not feeling sorry for me. I have seen many and many young people not being able to even reach their dreams let alone reaching it and getting it yanked away from them, and yes both are painful.. The Irony part of BRoy's injury is the very hard work that allowed him to reach his dream is the same thing that is taking it away from him. The knees are the most abused region in the body that is true whether you be a historian or a BB Player. Of course BB playing and football playing is much more detrimental to your health, but you as a historian also stress your knees.

    Long short, BRoy can have surgery that will stop the pain, but it will also stop his career. I could say he is luckier then many because he reached his goal and has made a lot of money to tide him over. As you said it is not the money but losing his dream that hurts. But, if he had destroyed his knees while working at the loading dock, the compensation would not have been nearly as rewarding, and he would not have had the taste of being successful.

    Hg

    by Hg on 1/1/2011 10:13 AM
  23. Eowyn Amarie:

    One more thing I must ask as I have asked myself the same question many times.

    Is it better to be a has been because of injury or a never was because of injury?

    Hg

    by Hg on 1/1/2011 10:17 AM
  24. Great Win!

    by RedRudy5 on 1/1/2011 10:41 AM
  25. Nice perspective Hg, thanks. I think a has-been due to injury than a never-was for sure.

    Funny about the knee thing though. I have actually damaged my knees many times and am currently struggling with a torn meniscus that won't quite heal. I will probably have to have that little surgery at some point. I dance, rather vigorously actually, and have for years, along with having formerly been a gymnast. I have really loose joints to begin with and have injured my ankles, knees, shoulders, wrists and elbows so many times I lost count long ago! So yes, even historians can have these kinds of issues.

    by EowynAmarie on 1/1/2011 11:58 AM
  26. Just read an amazing article about Shane Battier and the Houston Rockets. It's a long one (did I just hear a fridge open?), but well worth the time...

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/15/magazine/15Battier-t.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1

    Great insights into advanced statistics and a truly genius player. If Portland doesn't make a hard play for Battier this summer (he'll be an unrestricted free agent), something is broke in this organization that needs fixing. He would be the ideal mentor for Batum.

    The article raises an interesting point about whether there should be more blocks recorded. Battier claims to effect about 30 shots per season from around the waistline, which aren't recorded by any statistic. Perhaps extending the umbrella of the block stat would be a way to highlight defensive players on the stat page. Fouls-drawn would be good one too.

    by 500Dogs on 1/1/2011 5:38 PM
  27. the utah win was a great one -- again. it's amazing that in these past two games against them we've somewhat turned the tables on the jazz. i see we continue the streak. LaMarcus is amazing and Wesley really stepped it up last game, though i'd still like to see him more consistent.

    once we get Joel back, we can get back to a regular rotation without the big guys playing so much out of position and shorthanded. Marcus starting with Joel backing him up a very attractive prospect. you bring in Dante behind LaMarcus for the athleticism; sf behind Nicolas by committee with Dante sharing time with Rudy; Wesley with Rudy backing him up there; and Andre with Patty behind him. that's not a bad nine-man rotation to say the least. add to that Sean, Luke and Armon available for spot duty. we can live with that. we can win with that. we can make the playoffs with that. and, we can achieve higher than an eighth seed with that.

    a lot of those on the national scene seem to dismiss or have not done their research into the fact that the toughest part of our schedule is behind us. about half of our back-to-backs have been completed, and 19 of 33 games have been played away. the schedule is evening out just when we're finding a groove with this current lineup and seeing LaMarcus take over as our number one option. basically, all things considered, i'm feeling pretty good about the team at the moment.

    the rotation i mentioned leaves us with Greg and Elliot on the inactive list for the duration of the season, and Brandon for possibly even as long. it's very unfortunate in each situation. for the past couple weeks on a couple message board threads here that maybe it would be good for Brandon to take the season to recoup, adjust his game and see how he can fit into the future of the team. i don't want to speculate too much more on any of that since no one other than Brandon and a few close to the situation truly know what's going on and what the plan is.

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 1/1/2011 7:54 PM
  28. Not sure if BE is wrong, but they have it that Lowry is out. I just checked CBS sports, which confirms the injury to Hayes. Not sure now WHO is out for Houston, but either way, it's a big guy, either the PF or the C! Whatever, if we play hard, get rebounds and defend, we should get a win. Man, I swear, if we lose to the Rockets while I am in the House, I am going to cry!

    Blazers 2011!

    If you haven't already, check out Quick's article on Oregon Live. Pretty interesting.

    by EowynAmarie on 1/1/2011 10:40 PM
  29. Okay, nvm! The BE writer just "misspoke". He was talking about Kyle LOWRY and then meant to say Chuck HAYES! A quick check of Houston's site confirms it is CHUCK HAYES who is out!
    Thanks BE, I needed to look like an idiot today :)

    by EowynAmarie on 1/1/2011 10:44 PM
  30. Kassandra:

    I too wished Wesley was more consistent and Nic wouldn’t lose confidence and stay aggressive.

    Question: Since both of the players mentioned are our best defensive players, do you think if they get a rough defensive assignment that it might take away from their offense? It was often said that BRoy didn't play good team D because he was our primary offensive player. Would the same thing be true in reverse? If so I will accept both of the player’s inconsistency, as long as we win.

    Eowyn Amarie:

    I read the article on BE and Quick's article, so you didn't appear to be an idiot.

    I was going to say that all of us on MB Blog already thought you were an idiot for liking Denver, as a joke, but thought better of it LOL. Truth is your post are very well thought out and well written. I sure wished I could do that.

    I won't cry at home watching from my living room, but I might spurt out a few unspeakable phrases, if our Trailblazers lose tonight.

    Hg

    by Hg on 1/2/2011 4:21 AM
  31. i'm predicting 10-4 in january, including a win tonight

    by reverse on 1/2/2011 1:22 PM
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