Jan 02

Houston No Match for Surging Blazers

By mikebarrett
Don't look now, but this shorthanded, beaten-up team, that was said to be out to pasture, is gathering some serious momentum and is looking better with each passing game.  

The storyline going into Sunday night's contest at the Rose Garden was how the Houston Rockets had reinvented themselves, and had gotten hot, following the loss of their all-star center.  And that was all true.  Since losing Yao, the Rockets had won 6 of 7, and 8 of 10, and were starting to make a move up the standings in the Western Conference.  But, it's now the Trail Blazers, who are also looking reinvented, who are turning heads around the league.

After beating first-place Utah twice last week, Portland was looking to keep things rolling, and prove that they're a factor once again in the west.  Still a very good defensive team, the Blazers have been out to show that along with stopping people, they're getting pretty good at the offensive end as well.  If the Utah wins combined to serve as exhibit "A," then Sunday night quite possibly could have been exhibit "B."

The Rockets have been scoring points and beating good teams.  But, were held to just 14 third-quarter points, 37 second-half points, and could only manage 85 total at the Rose Garden.  In their last 10 games they had been averaging 110 points per.  And, not only did Portland handcuff Houston's top offensive threats, but they put 100 points on their defense.  They did this despite shooting just 43 percent from the field.

When the Blazers are defending and rebounding, they can get away with shooting in the low 40s, and still beat quality teams.  What's amazing is they recorded 29 assists in the game, while still shooting a low percentage.  Those are two numbers that don't normally go together.

As for the individuals, LaMarcus Aldridge had 25 points and 11 rebounds, and didn't even play in the fourth quarter.  He also neutralized Luis Scola, who scored just 10 points in the game.  Kyle Lowry was outplayed by Andre Miller, Wesley Matthews played Kevin Martin to a draw, and Nicolas Batum, who had 21 points, won his battle with Shane Battier.

One of the concerns going into the game was bench play.  In the pregame show we asked the question:  "Would Patty Mills be able to handle Aaron Brooks?"  That would surely be a key matchup in the game.  Mills not only held his own, but badly outplayed Brooks.  Patty scored a career-high 14 points, and dished out 5 assists.  He forced Brooks into 3 turnovers, and 3 of 10 shooting.  

Even though it was not a great shooting night for Rudy Fernandez, he's doing so many other things other than just shooting the deep ball, you barely even notice when he's not hot.  And, Dante Cunningham's little shooting slump?  It's over.  He had 10 points on 5 of 9 shooting, and continues to be a key piece of this puzzle.

Then there is Marcus Camby.  Coming off a 20-rebound effort on Thursday against Utah, he grabbed 13 rebounds and blocked 3 shots against the Rockets.  But, the eye-popping number in his line were the 8 assists he dished out.  One of them came after he grabbed a rebound, led the fastbreak, and dished a perfect pass to Aldridge, who jammed it down. 

Portland took a five-point lead to the half, a 16-point lead to the fourth, saw it swell as big as 23, and won the game by 15.  No third or fourth-quarter slumps this time.

That's Portland's confidence you hear growing, and roles now appear very well defined.  That's the funny thing about injuries, and the constant change that this team has experienced.  It hardens you.  When you are shorthanded and you hit that crossroads, you get busy winning or get busy losing.

No one in the Blazer locker room is doing any chest thumping over this recent stretch, however.  After all, this team is only two games over.500, at 18-16.  But, now that the schedule is starting to balance out as we head into this new month, there's definitely a new belief that's taken hold.

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

We're now off on the road again, for a three-game trip.  The Blazers play Dallas Tuesday, Houston on Wednesday, and at Minnesota on Friday.  Nothing easy about that.  But, in a month that has the team home for 9 games, and on the road for only 5, there is certainly the hope that a revival is underway.

Talk to you from Texas.



  1. great game wish i could have watched. was able to listen though. And hung out on caseys chat for a while. ANy way keep it up guys lets go 3 and 0 on this next one.

    by Avgjoe28 on 1/3/2011 12:20 AM
  2. So for Western Conference Powerfoward All-Star races....

    Zach Randolph had 21 pts on 11-17 shooting (3-4 at the FT line), 8 rebounds, 1 st, 1 assist, 1 turnover. +15 (Won tonights game) in 34 minutes

    Lamar Odom had 7 pts on 3-8 shooting (1-4 at the FT line), 7 rebonds, 2 assists, 1 turnovers, 2 blocked shots, -22 (worst on team) (Lost tonights game) in 28 minutes

    Pau Gasol had 10 points on 5-9 shooting (0-0 at the FT line), 8 boards, 0 assists, 5 turnovers, 2 blocked shots, -14 (lost tonights game) in 31 minutes

    Luis Scola had 10 points on 5-8 shooting (0-0 at the FT line), 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 4 turnovers, -13 (lost tonights game) in 23 minutes

    LaMarcus Aldridge had 25 pts on 10-22 shooting (5-5 at the FT line), 11 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 turnover, 1 block shot. +19 (Won tonights game) in 32 minutes

    Blake Griffin had 31 points on 11-22 shooting (9-14 at the FT line), 15 rebounds, 3 assist, 1 turnover, 1 blocked shot. -8 (lost tonights game) in 42 minutes.

    Ladies and Gentlemen, we have our All-Star. Not only did he outperform Scola, but he outperformed all the overrated (Lamar, Griffin, Gasol) players as well while not playing in the 4th quarter.

    So unless these coaches get someone explosive in their face... I think we can count on Jerry Sloan, George Karl, and Rick Adelman voting for LaMarcus. That right there is three of the leagues all time BEST coaches.

    Dallas is a very winnable game. Dirk is coming back, but they lost Butler (I think everyone in Portland that saw Butler go down on the replay knows that he's done for the year. It looked JUST like Greg Oden and Joel Pryzbilla's injuries). I'll be surprised if he plays another game in 2011. Blazers should win. I think we could have easily won in Dallas had Brandon Roy been given less minutes. Speaking of Roy, I still love his positive attitude he brings to the team everytime the camera shows him greeting the player after a timeout. It'll be nice to see him in uniform again.

    I recently joined Twitter and added all the Blazers. Patty has been getting some of them to join like Dante and Batum. Everytime they play, even when it's a loss, they have a positive attitude and keep their hopes high. As a fan, it helps to see that. The team seems to be happy with each other (especially Rudy), and that's always a win.

    by Herr on 1/3/2011 12:43 AM
  3. Mike:

    A great win for us, a great blog from you.

    I have been thinking that this team is starting to show that they believe in themselves as a team and they can hold their own against any one.

    LMA is a different man out there. Wesley although not scoring big was a big factor in holding Martin from taking over the game in the second quarter. Is Batum for real? Some of his shots were out of this world type.

    I hope this is a peak at the way the bench will be for the remainder of the year. Their production is what makes our team become play-off contenders.

    I watched the game on NBA-TV and was very pleasantly surprised that I got to listen to you and Rice as announcers.
    That made the win even more satisfying.

    I am not going to write that the Blazers are the top, but I do believe they have found their identity. If this starting five can stay together and grow together, they will continue to be tougher and tougher to beat.

    Thanks for the update blog and although I have to bowl when we play Dallas I will be listening on the radio.


    by Hg on 1/3/2011 2:32 AM
  4. OK! Now we're starting to play with confidence. I love it!

    by civilhold on 1/3/2011 4:20 AM
  5. Great blog and great win. Patty was awesome! Hope this confidence can translate to some more wins on the road!

    by RedRudy5 on 1/3/2011 6:34 AM
  6. Nice pun Mike "with each passing game". The chemistry and passing will hopefully continue to improve as the players know what is expected of them and they learn to trust each other.

    by Ancientone on 1/3/2011 8:52 AM
  7. Mike,

    I wrote to you last year after Andre's 52 point game in Dallas last year. I was the one following the game via ESPN.com's 30 second (probably closer to 3 minute) updates while in Iraq. You offered me seats to a game of my choosing, which I greatly appreciate. Like most of my fellow servicemen and women, I hesitate to, if not completely avoid altogether, take advantage of kind offers based on my military service. In addition, I have season tickets this year.

    One thing I would LOVE however, is a chance to meet you and Rice. I've always been a huge fan of you both and would love to shake your hands!


    by RyanC on 1/3/2011 8:54 AM
  8. Mike,

    I wrote to you last year after Andre's 52 point game in Dallas last year. I was the one following the game via ESPN.com's 30 second (probably closer to 3 minute) updates while in Iraq. You offered me seats to a game of my choosing, which I greatly appreciate. Like most of my fellow servicemen and women, I hesitate to, if not completely avoid altogether, take advantage of kind offers based on my military service. In addition, I have season tickets this year.

    One thing I would LOVE however, is a chance to meet you and Rice. I've always been a huge fan of you both and would love to shake your hands!


    by RyanC on 1/3/2011 9:49 AM
  9. last night's game was very solid and an indication of what these guys can do when they play --- dare i say it again -- 48 minutes. i haven't looked up this stat, but i'd like to find out our record when both Marcus and LaMarcus hit double digits in rebounds. i inclination is that it's probably pretty good.

    great overall game from LaMarcus, as well as Nicolas and Marcus. i'd include Wesley in that, but i just can't give the guy complete props for 3-12 shooting from the field.

    our bench continues to impress; they had 34 points -- a smidge over a third, which is exceptional. Dante shot well, Rudy was active and Patty really caused some fits for the rockets on the defensive end. his career high of 14 was terrific, but his stat that really stands out to me is the five steals.

    our record for the season is kind of indicitive of a game philosophy: keep it close to put yourself in a position to win it late. at 18-16, i think we've done just that. we have a workable road trip starting tomorrow night, followed by a whole lot of games at home this month. they guys are confident and each is playing like they're hungry -- scratch that; like they're greedy -- for a win each night. not that i want to jinx anything, but i think it's cause for optimism.

    Stephen mentioned Patty and the guys on twitter. you can tell how close this team has become and is still becoming when you follow them and see there interaction (Patty said this morning to Rudy: "Bala bala @rudy5fernandez wake up!!! time to go to Dallas. I'll pick you up in 65 minutes"). it's addictive to follow the blazers when you see the comradarie. i follow the blazers tweets, as well as Patty, Rudy, Dante, Nicolas, Marcus, Elliot and even Jeff -- and Patty even follows me!

    it's become a great way for us fans to get charged up about these guys. word has it Patty is working on getting Wesley on twitter as well.

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 1/3/2011 10:50 AM
  10. Mike,

    I wrote to you last year after Andre's 52 point game in Dallas last year. I was the one following the game via ESPN.com's 30 second (probably closer to 3 minute) updates while in Iraq. You offered me seats to a game of my choosing, which I greatly appreciate. Like most of my fellow servicemen and women, I hesitate to, if not completely avoid altogether, take advantage of kind offers based on my military service. In addition, I have season tickets this year.

    One thing I would LOVE however, is a chance to meet you and Rice. I've always been a huge fan of you both and would love to shake your hands!


    by RyanC on 1/3/2011 11:37 AM
  11. Wow...I certainly didn't mean to send that 3 times...

    by RyanC on 1/3/2011 11:41 AM
  12. Kassandra you tyrant :>)
    Can't you give props to Wesley for keeping Martin from taking over the game in the second quarter? You have just got to cut him a little slack; it is hard to keep Martin under control and make lots of baskets at the same time.

    Actually this is all in jest because I feel great that we played such a great complete game and each and every Blazer contributed to the cause by being a Blazer.

    You once said that a game every other day for extended time was too many games and I agree. You also said a week off between games is too long and I agree again. From the way they played last night, would it be safe to say that every three days is just right? One day to rest. One day to Practice and the next day to play. It sounds great to me. Even though, I would like to watch them every day.

    You must be about ready to go back to school. Winter term isn't too long and spring break is just around the corner. Keep working and you will stay on the Dean's list.


    by Hg on 1/3/2011 11:59 AM
  13. It's funny, but there isn't much to say when it all goes right. Everything is clicking for this team now. I'm certainly happy I made the comparison of Patty to Aaron Brooks a while back; it's easier to see it after a game where Brooks looked like the off-brand imitation. LaMarcus still needs more repetitions of his turn-to-the-middle-to-get-the-hook-shot-in-the-lane move to get his hoop radar precisely tuned in, but after what we've seen so far it's hard to imagine he'll leave that rough spot unpolished for long. If we can just have a game with this style and flow where a couple of guys--Wes and Rudy this time--aren't missing most of their shots, we'll beat anybody in this league.

    by Islander on 1/3/2011 12:25 PM
  14. Harold, i am the last thing from a tyrant there is! what i said about Wesley is that i couldn't give him complete props because of his shooting night, which goes to say that i can give him some props for his hustle. there's only about one game this season where i don't think i could do that, but in the rest, he's done well on defense and in the hustle areas. i can give him credit and be critical at the same time. you know, i also didn't mention Andre, who i thought did some nice things; Sean, who is in there battling while giving Marcus and LaMarcus some well-deserved rest; and Luke, who grabbed two rebounds in just over a minute of action.

    i actually think a game about every other day is about right. every third day gives us a chance to recharge the batteries a bit longer. in fact, i think that really helps guys like LaMarcus who has played a whole lot of minutes this season. on that, i was pleased to see that he only had to play a little over 32 last night in the win. it would be very nice if we had more games like this where he could sit out a large part -- if not all -- of the fourth quarter.

    first day of winter term was today, and my class schedule is very similar to fall term, which i really liked. got the first dean's list accomplished; now on to the second!

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 1/3/2011 3:29 PM
  15. Well, very glad I shed no tears last night :) It is extremely gratifying for the team to win, in any fashion, when you are actually paying a fair amount of money to see them play live. That they won in the fashion they did was an extra special treat.

    I have the games on the 15th, 22nd, and Boston on the 27th (OMG! I CANNOT wait for THAT one!) this month, then only 4 more for the rest of the season, unless I buy another one, which I probably won't. I really, really, really want to get my husband to take a real vacation this year and if we do so, money will be tight for everything else for awhile. Anyway, that's 7 more chances for the Blazers to earn my $$ for next season, lol! Seriously though, it's a lot cheaper to watch them lose on tv :)

    Not a lot to add to the commentary above. Chemistry, trust, fun, hustle, etc. all equaled a win against a team that was super HOT coming into the game.

    Herr, might I suggest you do a comparison of Lamarcus' last 9 games (since his 35-pt game in Dallas) against the PF he's been matched up against for those games, and post those results, if they look decent, in another FV thread? I don't know how he looks when he's evaluated that way, but it might provide some perspective, either in favor of or against your "LMA for All-Star" movement :)

    by EowynAmarie on 1/3/2011 4:24 PM
  16. Well said, Mike. This week's road trip will test them and so will Miami and Boston, but those two games are at home. I see a very productive month where they can and should make some headway in the Western Conference.

    by blazerdarren77 on 1/3/2011 5:00 PM
  17. Haven't been here in a bit,I've been immersed in the studio workin on a CD.
    But,Yes indeed ,this team has found their identity,And they are playing with heart on both ends of the floor.If LaManchild doesn't make the all star team,it would be a cryin shame.He has been a demon out there.Not only has he toughened up,but he is playing like a leader.His added presence on d makes him and Camby very formidable inside.
    I love watching the new fast paced version of the Blazers.I could never get tired of this run and gun stuff,Just hearing Nate yell "Go,go,go"cracks me up. But, you gotta give him credit for adapting to his peops.
    Theres so many Blazers to give props to that theres just not enough space.
    Camby is been so solid on the boards and as an inside peresence, and a "glue" guy asthe say.
    Same with my boi Dre,not only his leadership.but his veteran experience as a point guard.
    Then there's Patty ,who's monster game really sparked the Blazers,he has become the new PenderBender as far as being a fun guy to keep the teams spirits up.
    Yeah ,Kassita,what's the dealio with all the Wesley criticizing ?
    Last time I looked,he has been filling up the stat sheet.Not to mention hitting big shots when we need them.You watchin a different Wesley? They don't call him Wesley Money for nuttin.
    Hg...Yeah,I love that double pump bank shot on the run by Nic .That was highlight stuff.good to see him have a good night.He needs any boost to his confidence

    by DowntownVinnie on 1/3/2011 5:09 PM
  18. LaMarcus the Barbarian for All-Star!

    On the road, they need to ride the starters a bit.

    My interpretation of this Mike Tokito article:


    is that they should look to LA, Andre and WesMoney for points on the road. Andre doesn't need 50+ again, but scoring wise, he can't lay in the weeds like he has been at home. Miller needs to aim for 20pts a game in Texas.

    I don't want to jump too far ahead, but a month from now, can the Blazers be getting close to playing for home court position in the first round? They could be close if the Mavs sink. Injuries in Dallas and Utah have me thinking it could be possible, especially if Marcus keeps dishing on the break.

    I won't be shocked to see Dallas trade for either Stephen Jackson or Gerald Wallace almost immediately, especially if Dirk is expected to not be too seriously injured. Haywood for Jackson? Haywood and Butler for Wallace and Diaw?

    Things are getting interesting.

    by reverse on 1/3/2011 8:39 PM
  19. p.s. a dash of the vanilla gorilla in Texas would help Portland's chances!

    by reverse on 1/3/2011 8:41 PM
  20. Vinnie: did you read my comments, and my response to hg? i will always criticize someone if they shoot 25 percent from the field. some may have completely embraced his entire game without looking at the entire game, but i have not. i really don't know how many times i have to go down this road with you guys. no offense, but it's getting quite tiring.

    all: just thought i'd mention that the campus is a giant party right now after my stanford cardinal mauled virginia tech in the orange bowl! congrats guys!

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 1/3/2011 9:36 PM
  21. The win was nice but even nicer was the way we won it. That game showed exactly why I love basketball so much, it was a fine example of team basketball! When we (or any good team) plays like that, there's no need for a go-to guy, anyone on the court can fill that role at various times. It's contagious and I'm sure players like it far better than superstar clearouts and one-on-one, grind-it-out ball.

    It's a shame it took major injuries to get us to this point but props to Nate for seeing the light and installing an offense that fits his personnel. I don't think Rudy wants to go back to France anymore, not when his team is playing this way and he can show his entire game, not just spot-up shooting.

    If Camby and Pryzbilla can avoid further serious injury and Mr. Cho can pick up a nice bench player or two, this team could again become one that no one wants to meet in the first round in May.

    by dgpdx on 1/3/2011 10:53 PM
  22. Mike,

    Loving the enthusiasm and support you give the fans, media and team with your posts. You are never quick to jump the gun or bandwagon, you always point out the obvious flaws and concerns while still giving all of the fans something positive to build on whether by stats or observations; and that's win or lose (which I think would be difficult), and of course during the game the Wild One kicks in his ever knowledgeable points. Kudos! The whole paper towel thing is funny, a strange way to give Rice his due, but altogether I guess some comic relief.

    The Houston game was beautiful basketball. You can call some of it luck and whatnot, but the cohesion was certainly there. I am loving the whole thunder/lightning thing with Miller and Mills and let's just say Andre has been there from the get go and Patty is earning his right to be out there. They both have a slick but totally different vibe, and when you hear Nate talk about BB IQ, they both have their own spice and flavor but it's a good thing and very much appreciated.

    Batum's game was nice, although I must admit he still does not look 100%. But he is more than just a piece no doubt. He could be an All Star in his own right.

    You can never say enough good things about a guy like Camby. I just love his professionalism and lack of quit. He is so smart and could probably be a piece on any club, just glad we have him here. And a great face for the club with his charity work.

    Aldridge is smoking hot and to be honest, I truly believe he will only getter better and wiser. Even when our beloved Brandon Roy comes back, to take the pressure off, it may be smart to keep LA at option #1. I like what I am seeing right now, and revival is a good word to use. And you have to give Mr. McMillan a lot of credit. And I think LA really has what it takes to go as far as he wants. Obviously, Nate and the coaches already know that.

    Mathews is so amazing. Another smart guy that leaves it all on the floor. Putting up 20 with ease and doing the intangibles. How in the World did this kid go undrafted? We got a little gift from Coach Sloan there, thanks Jerry.

    And we all know Rudy has charisma and game. And finally, even in a 'slump,' he is showing he can do things to help this team win. What I have always loved about him is that as wickedly talented as he is, he is an unselfish player. Seeing him mesh with guys that play a different style than he was accustomed to shows his value and like LA, I think his game is still very much on the rise. It's a good thing for Portland.

    The bench, the Cunningham's, and guys like Marks, are playing team ball. Dante has to keep up the 1-2 punch of the slashing high flyer ( still remember that dunk over Amare last year- Reg. Seas. game) and he HAS to keep knocking down that mid range shot. If he can maintain his confidence, which should not be a problem, he will spread the floor and open things up.

    And not to leave a man discounted on that roster 'cause you know what? though before my time, the 77' team won by playing together and within their talents. That's I am seeing here and it's a good thing for Portland.

    Every game doesn't have to be a blow out to cheer for your team. Joel is coming back, we a re not a push over. Maybe not the Heat, Spurs, Lakers or Celtics, but how many teams get Pau Gasol for (then) nothing?

    We are cheering for you. No one can take away from us what we have all learned and endured in the past 3 years. Keep it up guys and Go Blazers!

    by Bull Frog on 1/3/2011 11:03 PM
  23. @ Kassandra. Congrats on making the Dean's List. I never doubted that you would. Also, I hope our Ducks will play as well next week (on my Birthday) as your Cardinal did tonight in the Orange Bowl. Great victory for your school~

    by Pamela Porter on 1/3/2011 11:40 PM
  24. Great post fathorn:

    I will agree with you on all aspect of your post. The team play is what is important to me. When Houston took Wesley out of his game the lanes were opened for Batum. When Houston took Rudy out of his game, Dante had room to score. Therefore my concept of team ball is if they take away one of our key players then we have an other to stand up and be counted. I guess that is where the injury bug can be to our advantage.

    I don't look at individual stats as much as I do the team ball playing. As Don said in the post above yours, when they take away a go to guy we have many that can make them pay.


    by Hg on 1/4/2011 2:48 AM
  25. Andre Miller
    2010-11 Current PER: 18.91
    League Average Comparison: +3.91
    Projected PER: 16.08
    2009-10 PER: 18.18

    LaMarcus Aldridge
    2010-11 Current PER: 19.72
    League Average Comparison: +4.72
    Projected PER: 17.74
    2009-10 PER: 18.30

    With all the problems the Blazers have been through this early season, their still showing some interesting statistics in the advanced metric calculations. The league average PER (player efficiency rating) is about 15.

    With that being said, our value over replacement player is still pretty good.

    Nic, Wesley and Marcus all have 14.4, 16.2 and 16.9 respectively. This gives our starting lineup a total of 86.1. The league average is 75. This being true with Brandon Roy's still 15 PER undoubtedly affecting Mathews and Batum's lower totals.

    For comparrisons sake, the Thunder have a starting lineup of 89.5 PER. The Jazz are 87.3. And the Heat are 97.3.

    None of what I'm citing here makes any point for me or anything like that, but it does show statistically speaking that some teams regardless of there record are a lot closer to them then most might suspect. It also shows just how much better then Miami Heat are then everyone else right now and it's not even close.

    Over the next month the Blazers will get there cream puff part of the schedule, so it'll be real interesting to see how this team progresses in the next 13 or so games. the 3 back to back to back nationally televised home games at the end of the month just might be used as our launching pad to show the world that the Blazers have arrived, and won't let no terrible black plague of injuries stand in there way.

    @Kassandra - Congrats on the Orange Bowl. Unfortunately here in Chico, we don't have a football team. We just get really excited when Aaron Rodgers does something awesome since he went to butte community college (sister school here). I'm sure if we did we could party harder then any of you Cardinals, lol.

    by Devyn Lindquist on 1/4/2011 4:50 AM
  26. Awwww,this is classic stuff,fans gettin started at an early age.

    by DowntownVinnie on 1/4/2011 9:48 AM
  27. Pamela: thank you very much for the compliment. it was a primary goal of mine, and will continue to be throughout my time at stanford. basically, i know why i'm here and i'm determined to take full advantages of my opportunities and resources.

    fathom: nice post, but you left out a player whom i feel has been instrumental in this; Patty. the points were nice against houston, but he's pushing the second unit and making opportunities available for guys like Rudy and Dante. off the court, he's been a great teammate and that's helped bring this team together.

    Devyn: thanks, though except for yelling at the top of my voice at times, i didn't do anything to contribute to the win (though i'm sure i could have made at least one of our missed extra points!). as to the partying thing, i'm not going to get into a competition as to who parties harder. however, i will say that stanford parties smarter!

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 1/4/2011 9:56 AM
  28. Reposted from BE:

    Last summer, LMA while lying in his bed thinking of his game, the thought of what the old veterans has been telling him popped into his head. If you do the same thing over and over, more then likely you will get the same results. He was feeling that more and more teams was pushing him off the blocks and forcing him to go left and therefore taking him out of his game because as the older vets told him he did the exact same thing every time. OK, maybe it wasn't quite like that, but since then he has been working on his total game of going inside with different moves, he hit the wts enough so he could absorb the contact and now even initiate it. He can still hit his bread and butter shot, plus a assorted moves inside and out. He realized that he needed to be a better passer out of a double team and use his speed to pick and roll or slip the pick as Camby taught him (I don't know what that is actually--care to explain)

    All in all, since that day last summer, LaMarcus has been slowly getting a more complete game as to prevent teams from so easily taking him out of his game and helping him to realize his dream of being an All-Star.

    There is probably lots more to it then that, but basically what I am trying to say is he didn't metamorphous a couple of weeks ago, it was way last summer, He has just been up until now getting all those moves down in game time play. Plus he is still getting better and better. Success feeds success.

    So he is right among the top active PF, plus he is getting valuable center experience so he hasn't yet reached his ceiling as say, KG, Amore, Dirk and many others that are just satisfied with the way they are playing.

    This is just all in my opinion of course, but I have been watching him from the start of the season, many of the shots he is making now, he was trying from the beginning of the year; his moves and timing was just not quite there yet. He is getting there and will keep going.

    by Hg on 1/4/2011 9:56 AM
  29. According to this guy, dirk is out for tonight:


    the L-train against shawn marion = advantage Portland!

    by reverse on 1/4/2011 10:46 AM
  30. The NBA where hurt knees happen!!!!!!

    I'll bet you the house that Wheels don't own that The Mavs gets more sympathy then Portland gets from the media. I don't like to see any body injured, but I find it as poetic justice.


    by Hg on 1/4/2011 11:16 AM
  31. Dirk IS out tonight and Butler is done for the season, having had surgery already for his ruptured patella tendon. We know what that's like, right? I never, ever wish harm on another team. I hope Butler has a good recovery.

    Great article in the Columbian about Wes Money. Yeah, I think until I see BRoy on the court again, Wesley has officially nudged my favorite player aside, at least a tad.....I really don't know how to feel about that!


    by EowynAmarie on 1/4/2011 1:48 PM
  32. Kassandra, what's the twitter for Patty, and the other guys? I'd love to follow them \o/

    Go Blazers ^^

    by Tiago Torigoe on 1/5/2011 3:24 AM
  33. Reading the box score we got nothing out of our backups. Mills was the only one that did anything coming off the bench. Our bench has to do better on the road. We can't expect to win on the road if our bench doesn't step up. The starts can't do it alone.

    by mgb on 1/5/2011 7:32 AM
  34. Some times you couldn't spit in the ocean from a small raft.

    I wish that Nate hadn't played LMA so many minutes last night, especially on the first of a back to back. If we keep pushing him this hard he'll be more prone to injury and with fatigue less effective at the end of games.

    by Ancientone on 1/5/2011 9:48 AM
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