mikebarrett

Jan 05

Game Slips Away in Dallas

By mikebarrett
On Sunday, the Trail Blazers won a game despite shooting 43 percent.  That was at home.  Having an off night offensively on the road is an entirely different challenge.  On Tuesday night in Dallas the Trail Blazers shot just 42 percent, and that wasn't enough to get the job done.  The defense and rebounding were fine.  But, sometimes it's as simple as hitting outside shots.

It was an inspired effort by the shorthanded Mavericks, and we expected as much.  As the Trail Blazers know very well, sometimes nothing gets you as focused as being without your star.  But, even with their improved energy, the Mavericks were simply allowed to hang around in this game.  That's what had the Blazer players very upset after the game.  This was an opportunity to get a nice road win, and they let it slip away.

It was similar, in many ways, to the game they lost in Dallas three weeks ago.  This time, instead of watching Dirk Nowitzki go nuts in the final two minutes of the game, they watched Jason Terry come alive and hit everything he threw at the rim in crunch time. 

Terry scored 7 of Dallas' final 10 points, and led them on a 12-4 run to end the game.  While they were efficient late, and capitolized on every possession, the Trail Blazers didn't look sure of where they wanted to attack the Mavs' defense in the final minutes.  They fought the shot clock repeatedly in the final minutes and didn't get many decent looks at the rim.

You don't have to look too long at the stat sheet to see where Portland came up short in this game.  It certainly wasn't inside.  You can't ask any more of LaMarcus Aldridge and Marcus Camby.  But, they need help.

Aldridge had 28 points and 10 rebounds, and Camby was all over the floor, scoring 10 points and pulling down 20 rebounds.  But, the starting backcourt was just 7 for 21 shooting, and the bench was 5 for 13.  Add the fact that Portland, one of the league's better free-throw shooting teams, was just 11 for 17 at the line, and you have a recipe for a road loss.

What always concerns me, after a loss like this, are the lingering effects.  This Porltand team was very down after this loss, and it was a huge blow to the momentum they have built lately.  When you start a key road trip with an emotionally-draining loss it has the ability to knock you off track for the entire trip.  We've seen so many examples of that over the years.  It's the same as winning the first game on a trip, and that's something we always talk about.  That sets the tone, just as losing the first game does.

Tonight it's a rematch with the Houston Rockets, who were beaten soundly on Sunday in Portland.  They had to play again on Monday night, and lost in Denver as well.  They'll be very, very hungry for a win tonight, and they'll be doing it in a building where Portland has had very little success over the years.  

Even though the Trail Blazers aren't probably in the mood to take a big mid-term exam at this point, they're going to get one tonight.  

You can take it from here.  Road back-to-back situations leave us very little time to prepare for the upcoming game.  And, I'm getting back to that right now.

 

17 Comments

  1. thanks for the blog about the game, Mike. i didn't get to follow the game as i had other plans, but it sounds like we just missed out on too many opportunities which could have gotten us the win. if any of those factors were improved then we might be talking a whole different outcome here.

    i completely agree that our bigs did the job last night. the game would have been a disaster without them. LaMarcus continually amazes me this season; it's certainlyall-star worthy. i've asked this question before, but i have to pose it right now ... is Marcus 36, or actually 26. if i didn't know otherwise and after a performance like last night, i would swear it's the latter.

    you mentioned the bench shooting (5-13), but it should be noted that Patty was 4-7, leaving the remainder of the bench 1-6. we need those guys to step up if we're going to beat the better teams in the league.

    i could tell from twitter that the guys were down, but i think that'll make them hungry for houston ... at least that is my hope.

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 1/5/2011 9:57 AM
  2. Mike: thanks for the Blog.

    Like Kassandra, I didn't watch or listen to the game as Of course I was bowling. I have it recorded and will watch it later today, after I get through WORKING.

    We have been inconsistant in our out side shooting all year. So this doesn't suprise me. but it sounded like we stayed in the game and gave ourselves a chance to win.

    Thanks again for the blog. We should win tonight.

    Hg

    by Hg on 1/5/2011 10:12 AM
  3. Yeah,we played em str8 up for three quarters.the fourth quarter Dallas D was the difference.We did not have any open looks the last 6 minutes.And Jason Terry did prove that he is one of the most clutch performers in the fourth.Tough loss.

    by DowntownVinnie on 1/5/2011 10:36 AM
  4. It seems like the Blazers just don't see the rim well in Dallas. There were a lot of what we would normally call good shots that didn't go in, and for the second straight game we missed too many free throws. The defense broke down on occasion, and we gave up too many offensive rebounds. The effect of the usual home court tilt by the officials might have been slightly magnified by the fact that they were calling it tight. It was a bit disheartening to lose by the margin of the fifty-fifty call that ended the first half. But sometimes it really does come down to luck. Sportwriters tend to make close games into tests of character, but people who study statistics generally conclude that your record in close games is mostly a matter of chance. But it's not much fun to be in one of those streaks where you keep losing the coin toss.

    by Islander on 1/5/2011 11:27 AM
  5. watching that game was brutal. lots of yelling at the tv and multiple heart palpitations. i just hope that they will recover from this one and move on.

    by Cristi on 1/5/2011 11:33 AM
  6. tyson chandler was the difference in the game. he took LA away from the hoop, and pushed camby to get an oh so important rebound that turned into terry's 3pointer. that's the way it goes on the road sometimes. it wasn't a devastating loss, just one where they seemed a bit off & couldn't get on a roll. shots weren't falling. hopefully tonight in houston will be different.

    the post-game radio show commented that developing patty mills seems to have become a priority. i'd agree. the andre miller trade rumors also seem to keep popping up. if the front office makes a move, i hope it is one that keeps the team headed toward the playoffs, not away from them. tanking to get a #10 pick is no where near worth it (unless that #10 pick ends up being the next brook lopez;).

    it might sound crazy, but i think that with a tired camby alongside him, LA might need to get 35pts & 15rebs tonight. hopefully joel can give 10-12min too. the rockets don't have any bigs, so the blazers need to take advantage. the L-train is going to roll in houston CHOO-CHOO!!! (ha)

    by reverse on 1/5/2011 1:22 PM
  7. That was a tough one. We had it. That's all I can say. Lot's of positives to draw from it. Just a tough loss. Let's have a good game tonight. I know Texas is always tough on the road. Go Blazers!

    by Bull Frog on 1/5/2011 2:32 PM
  8. Talk about a draining loss. Anyone have Twitter? Patty, Nicolas, and Rudy were all frustrated with the loss. Rudy even dropped the F bomb in his Twitter.

    Speaking of Twitter, I learned something new today. I always wondered why Rudy and Patty called Nicolas "Nicola" on Twitter. Turns out you don't pronounce the "S" and it really is pronounced "Nicola". The league should learn that. Being named Stephen and constantly being called Stefan or have my name spelled "Steven" gets annoying after hearing it for nearly 21 years.

    About the loss. Well, I hate Dallas. Kind of sucks that we lost there. Jason Terry is probably the leagues biggest drama queen and Tyson Chandler's picture is in the dictionary near a cuss word that ends with "hole", so it really sucks losing. But, you've got to move on and play to win.

    We SHOULD have blown this team out (really we should have), but the Blazers had a tough one. It happens. If this surprises anyone, they obviously have never watched an NBA game in their life. I'd also comment on the horribly one sided officiating in which Terry was allowed to hit "Wide open" jumpshots, but again, you see that BS every game that is close. Ask anyone that's played the Thunder if you disbelieve me.

    We move on, we play hard, and we get a win against Houston. The only real bad news is that Denver and New Orleans are rolling. But again, they still aren't that far behind. Even Memphis is rolling too, so the time to mope around and lose petty games is NOT now, nor is it ever. Just ask the 4th seeded Lakers.

    by Herr on 1/5/2011 2:54 PM
  9. Stephen, have you not been reading my comments? yes, i have twitter and i've been following six or seven guys, and Patty follows me as well. i have a brief direct message conversation with him last night, and i could tell he was very disappointed with the game.

    i hope the team is upset, mad, angry and livid at the loss, then turns those emotions into motivation. i have a feeling they will. i'm looking for a solid win here.

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 1/5/2011 3:11 PM
  10. Also that foul at the end of the first cost us well...the game. Not to complain, it's not my style but Wesley did nothing the game was decided by 3 points.

    The fast break with Patty and Camby (I think finishing) was sweet. Rudy's lone field goal is definitely what we need to see more of from him. There were so many 'flashes' that reminded me of the Houston game. Just a few of the positives I wanted to throw out there because it was not a horrible game.

    It's very interesting what happens in the NBA when key guys are out on teams. I mean, I know we could guard Jason Terry better than that. We weren't respecting him for whatever reason and I will be the first to admit that with a depleted roster, stamina and hustle can become an issue. IMO, Dallas really mirrored out style of play. Stevenson reminded me just a little of Brandon Roy with his shot chart/selection. That being said, it further validates my belief that sure, some teams are just flat out better than other teams, but with injuries and adjustments, that no game is guaranteed for either side.

    What I am hoping to see tonight is the Blazers spirits up, having fun out there and letting last night go. I know Nate will have them ready. Confidence, execution, hustle, rebound and don't give up! Let's go Blazers.

    by Bull Frog on 1/5/2011 3:34 PM
  11. Kassandra:

    I remember back at a post you made, without details, of playing every game on Tuesday, and I thought it was because you wanted to see me cry (Bowling night LOL).

    But after the last two Tuesday's (the Nuggets and the Mavs.) I am ready to go on record of playing any day but Tuesday.

    I watched the game finally and I think it was just a rough played game. players running into each other knocking each of stride and kind of like a free for all. There is no disgrace in the lost, but I agree with you the bench has to stay focused and play well for us to win games.

    Hg

    by Hg on 1/5/2011 3:34 PM
  12. We shouldnt ask more of LA and Marcus, unfortunatley we have to with the roster as it is. Pryz is not back at 100 %.

    Pretty easy for Terry to hit everything he threw at the rim with a Blazer back court of Miller and Mills. That stretch put the writing on the wall for the end of the game.

    I just hope LA and Marcus have something left tonight.
    Will help ever come Mr Cho ???

    by Kim~ on 1/5/2011 4:21 PM
  13. Tough game, tough loss. I thought we were leaving the lane open early in the first and at points throughout the 2nd half, too. We've had trouble defending the 3 all season, so I wasn't terribly surprised to see Dallas finally get hot and start hitting their shots out there (and us not really defending it). There WERE some iffy calls, but that can't be an excuse. Imo, this loss is at the feet of the bench, and perhaps lies a bit with Dre and Wesley.

    And I told them as much. I too have Twitter and follow them. I congratulated Camby on his solid game and told him to get on his pups. I gave Nico positive notes and expressed concern about his ankle. But I told DC, Patti, and Rudy that they need to step up if we are to be successful. I saw a lot of fans offering them encouragement, and that's fine, but I thought they needed to hear from at least one fan directly that I thought they stunk it up out there, too. They were pretty upset, and they should have been. At themselves more than anyone. That was our game to win and we just let it walk away.

    I am with Mike. I have been saying all day, "go get 'em!", but I think it is far more likely we lose in Houston than win tonight. Just sayin'.....

    by EowynAmarie on 1/5/2011 4:36 PM
  14. Great post Mike. We need to immediately turn this around with a win in Houston. C'mon bench, let's get it rolling!

    by teradasan on 1/5/2011 5:02 PM
  15. A tough loss. We really need to find that leader who can step up in the 4th quarter - very evident Roy is missed. Aldridge or Matthews can be that that leader with time. We also need to find someone who can consistently strech the D.

    by Napoleon7 on 1/5/2011 5:39 PM
  16. Thanks for the entry, Mike.

    I normally truly enjoy you and Rice, but, MAN! (an I'm talking about several games lately) you two gotta quit being so negative these days!

    Like the game that's on right now...against the Rockets. Yeah, the Blazers're definitely struggling (TERRIBLE coming out of the half and the 3rd and now into the 4th), but I actually had to mute it for a bit there cause you two were making it worse! It's painful enough without you two jumping the gun on the horribleness and rubbing salt in the wound!

    Just sayin'.

    Anyway, I hope this Rocket game works out. They've just cut it to five, but HAD to write asap cause it was startin' to bother me and I was thinkin' maybe you two didn't know you were makin' it worse.

    Thank-a you, SIR!

    by monk3ysuncl3 on 1/5/2011 7:25 PM
  17. very tough loss. had this been at the rose garden, things may have been different. one of those games where home court played a factor.

    by blazerdarren77 on 1/5/2011 9:16 PM
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