mikebarrett

Jan 27

The East's Beast is Still Boston

By mikebarrett
When you play the team that boasts the league's highest shooting percentage, you don't have to match them in that category, but you can't get away with shooting 36.7 percent from the field.  When you're playing the best team in the Eastern Conference, that is also one of the league's best defensive teams, and don't have anyone get red hot from the outside, you're likely dead meat.

Losing another player to injury didn't help the Trail Blazers either.  

Nicolas Batum, who has become this team's second offensive scoring threat, left the game in the first half and hobbled to the locker room.  The TNT broadcast never showed a replay of where the injury might have taken place (our crew would have found it), and didn't address it after it happened.  Batum, who talked briefly after the game, sounded very concerned.  He'll have an MRI on Friday, and we'll know more after that.  Clearly, he's not someone the Blazers can afford to lose (I know, I know, we say that all the time).

Without Batum, the Celtics were able to concentrate fully on simply stopping LaMarcus Aldridge.  That isn't something that's been easy for anyone to do, but they were able to keep him to 17 points and 16 rebounds.  With no one else able to heat up in the game, Boston was able to grind the Trail Blazers into the ground.  

To Portland's credit, even though nothing was going right offensively, they managed to cut Boston's lead to five in the final minutes.  But, it was too little, too late.  The Celtics ran off the floor with an 88-78 victory, and a great start to this western road swing.

Boston didn't have to be great offensively, and they weren't.  But, they always seem to do just enough.  Ray Allen led them with 18 points, and Paul Pierce had 17.  They shot just 47 percent, which is actually below their seasonal average.  And, they won despite turning the ball over a season-high 21 times.  That's the main reason Portland was able to stay as close as it did.

Outside of Aldridge, who was 8 for 20 from the field, the rest of the starters were just 13-39.  The bench was 12-31, and the team ended 4 of 16 from behind the three-point line.  Three of those makes came in succession, in the final two minutes.

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

The Celtics improved to 35-10, and are without a doubt the team to beat in the east.  Miami lost at New York earlier in the evening, and appear to be playing at a level below the C's.  After seeing the two teams in person over a three-week span, there's no doubt in my mind Boston is the well-oiled machine, and in control of that conference.

For the Trail Blazers, they're now staring at the prospect of yet another starter being out.  It's mind boggling, and fate has been so incredibly cruel this season.  The margin for error was already so paper thin, it's hard to imagine a scenario where Batum is down for a significant amount of time.  Hopefully, that's not the case.

The only good news is that Portland now has four days off in this strange break in the schedule between January and February.  When things do resume, it won't be easy.  San Antonio, the best team in the Western Conference, will be here Tuesday, and then it's a back-to-back at Denver the next night.  None of the six home games in February will be easy.  It's San Antonio, Chicago, New Orleans, the Lakers, Denver, and Atlanta.

One other quick topic, while we're rolling through these things.  It's made some news in NBA land.  

Forbes Magazine released it's annual NBA franchise valuations.  It was terrific to see the Trail Blazers all the way to #14 on the list of most valuable franchises, up from last year.  It was also great to see that we're 4th in local TV ratings, which is of particular interest to me, obviously.  Cleveland is still listed at #1 in local TV ratings because they're taking into account 2010, and not yet this season's numbers.  

They've also factored in last year's totals when talking about player salaries.  But, it's still such a positive thing to see.  The Trail Blazers have been responsible with their salaries, and owner Paul Allen has continued to make aggressive investments on players.

Again, it's important to remember, when looking at these numbers, that when the numbers were totaled some of this team's key guys were still on their rookie contracts- including Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge, who were extended.  So, that's why the numbers look the way they do. This was also before Marcus Camby got his new deal, and before Wesley Matthews was signed.  

I just think it should be pointed out that while being responsible, and with running a profitable business as a goal, Mr. Allen has cut some awfully big checks in the process.  And, showing the passion that he always has, we can, of course, expect him to continue to use his resources to put a winner on the basketball court.  

On to February we go.  

55 Comments


  1. let me hold my breath until that mri comes in from nic's knee.

    if it is serious, trade for gerald wallace immediately, knowing he could play some 4 alongside LA even when batum returns.

    hopefully it will only be 5 games until marcus comes back.

    after the all-star break, maybe our team can catch a break or two.

    i missed most of the games while i was at work.

    of the 9 games until the break, 5 are winnable even with all these injuries.

    stay a couple of games above .500 until the break, and then go from there!

    go blazers!!!

    by reverse on 1/28/2011 12:11 AM
  2. That was the most maddening part of the evening, where they couldn't break their non-stop blather on all things Celtic, just for a minute or two, to talk about Nic's injury. Of course, these were the same guys who were so busy chatting about what a nice guy Perkins is that they couldn't bother with a call on Batum's earlier monster dunk, couldn't bother to show free throws being made because they had up graphics on the Celtics, or bench shots of the Celtics or something, anything except the play of the game at hand.
    The game itself wasn't too suprising, except the worrisome non-news about Nic's knee. LaMarcus had another bad game in the post, and again kept his numbers from looking too bad because he got a lot of boards and a lot of hustle dunks. But this time Andre was as bad as he looked--the announcers were busy talking about what a great experienced pro he was at the very moment he dribbled the ball off his foot--and Wesley again showed why the will to make a play isn't enough. There was also way too much of Rudy driving into traffic, leaving his feet and then looking around for an outlet. We played good, tough defense, and it was great to watch Joel and Dante knock the bully boys around, but with a key player going down, and our shots again not dropping, there was no reason to think we'd actually win the game. The team played hard and kept it close and lost because we couldn't crack their defense, and I think that's what everyone expected as a best case. That Luke Babbitt would get minutes when we weren't ahead or behind by 20 was a surprise. I had been wishing he'd at least get enough time to put the rookie nerves behind him and get his shooting percentage up somewhere close to where it should be. I guess that's another case of "be careful what you wish for." Now I'm hoping he can again rest comfortably on the bench, as he will if Nic's knee injury turns out to be minor.

    by Islander on 1/28/2011 12:39 AM
  3. Have I ever mentioned the fact that I hate the Celtics. It is not because they beat us, it because they dish it out and they know the refs won't call them on it. Then when we retaliate they act so innocent. Of course the TNT crew was worst then ever with all the YADA, YADA, YADA about how great the Celtics was and how unfortunate they were with all their injuries and If they were just healthy for the remainder of the season they couldn't be beat. PUKE, PUKE, PUKE. Did I ever mention that I hate the Celtics. I was almost stoned out of town and off this blog last year because I was rooting for LA. Rooting for LA almost made me puke.

    Back to BB, I don't think anybody was surprised that we lost. We took the Bullies from the east without enough man power to be competitive and played tough to the end. For that I am proud of the Blazers.

    I know every body is concerned about Batum, and we won't breathe easy until we know. He said that he was on crutches just for precautionary reason's and he knew he wouldn't need surgery. The TNT crew didn't mention it at all until the half time show that he wouldn't be back and then they didn't show what happened.

    Well the national televised game wasn't about a basketball game it should have been the Boston Celtics show. I was very disappointed in the broadcasting. Did I ever mention that I hated the Celtics?

    Hg

    by Hg on 1/28/2011 4:03 AM
  4. Hg: It sounded like a Celtics infommercial.

    We missed a lot of open shots. If those shots fall then it gets much easier in the post for LMA.

    Rudy appeared hesitant on his shot and passed up open shots that resulted in 24 second violation and others taking rushed shots.

    If we had played with this energy every game we would win a lot of games. I must admit that they remind me of the Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight.

    I the 4th there were a lot of panic shots
    Got to sign off they're here to take me to surgery.

    by Ancientone on 1/28/2011 6:39 AM
  5. we had our chances, but couldn't take care of the ball. i think the depleted roster is starting to take its toll on the team.

    by blazerdarren77 on 1/28/2011 6:49 AM
  6. SON OF A.........It is just uncanny these last two years with these injuries.We played great defense last night,and considering how bugly we shot,we hung in there.This team could be competing for the title,their defense was stifling, for sure.We just got beat by a superior team.

    by DowntownVinnie on 1/28/2011 8:28 AM
  7. well, Nicolas just tweeted that he was on his way to have the mri done, so it's probably happening right now. i'm really hoping it's nothing serious. i just don't want to hear the word meniscus when learning of the results.

    it was a really sloppy game on both sides (i would be willing to bet both coaches would agree with that). every time we would make some headway, either boston would beat us on the next play or we would just do it to ourselves. i hate to use officiating as a crutch, but last night's calls were simply lousy. i swear my three-year-old sister could call a game better and more failry. Hg, mentioned the tnt broadcast being the "boston celtics show" -- my perception as well -- and apparently the officials were in on it.

    of course, it wouldn't have hurt us to make some shots. MB, you really hit the nail on the head when you talked about the 36.7 percent not getting it done. when we shot poorly in the first half and were only down by four at the break, i was optimistic that our shooting touch would find us in the second half. it didn't, except for one brief moment when Wes hit a couple threes and Rudy added one of his own. by then, it was too late. all in all, it was just an ugly game.

    positives: Dante shot 4-8, had nine points, five rebounds and a block. while obviously not according to plan, Luke played nine minutes and ended with two points on 1-2 shooting. Joel was 2-3 from the field. the blazers outrebounded the celtics, 49-42, including 19-8 on the offensive glass.

    my hope is that these four full, non-game days off give the guys to heal a little bit. we know LaMarcus has the sore hip, Rudy has a recurring back issue and Nicolas' status is uncertain. hopefully they can rest up and be ready for the spurs on tuesday.

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 1/28/2011 8:31 AM
  8. MB: i was curious to know whetehr you think the blazers' value will have anything to do with the cba negotiations and Stern's talk of contraction of the league. is seems to me that this would be an excellent example that portland is a valuable team in the league, something i believe the commissioner has completely either forgotten or ignored.

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 1/28/2011 8:33 AM
  9. Kassandra, If there's an endangered species list of NBA teams (and I'm not saying there is), the Blazers aren't on it. Storied history, a great owner, a huge and loyal fan base, solid market, great TV ratings. Because of all of you, we're one of the league's healthier franchises.

    by mikebarrett on 1/28/2011 9:10 AM
  10. Ancientone:

    I supposed by now you are in and out of surgery, I hope everything went well.

    Do you supposed that without a Gallbladder that the trips to the frig when reading my long post might change. Maybe the strawberry short cake from reading Kassandra's post will have to cease.

    I hope all is well

    Hg

    by Hg on 1/28/2011 9:18 AM
  11. Miss Kassandra:

    Will you let me know the minute you get word from Batum. I am jumping all over the Internet to find the results.

    Hg

    by Hg on 1/28/2011 9:21 AM
  12. Batum's MRI is NEGATIVE. Just a bone contusion, and he's listed as day-to-day. So, good news.

    MB

    by mikebarrett on 1/28/2011 9:49 AM
  13. Love the new format! I can read your blog a lot easier! :)

    Hoping the best for Batum!

    by mgb on 1/28/2011 9:50 AM
  14. Great news, Mike, thanks!!

    by mgb on 1/28/2011 9:50 AM
  15. Thank you Mike: I just read that on BE and was going to relate it here. I should have known you would be Johnnie on the Spot.

    This turns out to be a terrific time to have a break with LMA, Batum, and Rudy needing time to heal. Sounds like practice today is going to be more of a sick bay treatment.

    Thank you for the update.

    Hg

    by Hg on 1/28/2011 10:02 AM
  16. Opps forgot Wesley's ankle. Plus he needs to throw away those training glasses.

    Hg

    by Hg on 1/28/2011 10:04 AM
  17. That's two positive MRI results in a row for us. A season high, and a new record. Congrats all.

    by mikebarrett on 1/28/2011 10:09 AM
  18. I'm scared for this month's matchups! Even during our recent 6-game winning streak we were having to pull together double digit comebacks against very sub-par teams. Teams like San Antonio and Denver are not going to let you back into a game if you fall behind like that. It doesn't help that we're physically beat up and our starting core seems to be dropping like flies. Please basketball gods, cut us some slack and quite tormenting our poor knees!

    by dreezabubb on 1/28/2011 10:44 AM
  19. mb,

    when we get on the plus side in MRIs, this team will be dangerous. can we get that put on the hustleboard in the arena right under chagers taken?

    by reverse on 1/28/2011 11:12 AM
  20. that should say charges taken ;)

    by reverse on 1/28/2011 11:13 AM
  21. thanks for the response, MB, i'm not aware of any endangered list as well (well, like i would know more than you!), but ever since Stern said that word, it's stuck in the back of my mind. glad to hear your reaffirmation.

    great news on Nicolas. this is pretty much what i'd been what i'd been hoping for. hopefully, some reast over these four days before the spurs game will go a long way in improving his situation.

    Hg: strawberry shortcake from reading my post? i'm not sure i should like that so much! what can i say; i'm an optimist.

    Ancientone: i hope your procedure went well. given all the exclamation points in your posts there, i get the feeling that it did! :)

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 1/28/2011 11:22 AM
  22. Wowie-zowie, that was ugly. I learned (confirmed) three things last night at the RG...

    1) McMillan has made his contribution to the team by teaching them solid defense and the value of maintaining possession (grr, turnovers), but must move on after this season. His defensive gifts are negated by his offensive shortcomings. This team now needs a coach that can impart a hunger for scoring in these guys.

    2) Cho's highest priority should be acquiring a great PG. I look at the starters and I see 5 components that haven't formed a machine. As the "coach on the floor", it's the PG's job to create some sort of unity out there and André hasn't been able to do that. He's a very good player, but has proven to be no more than a much-needed mercenary. Now Cho needs to find the Keeper.

    3) There are a lot of Boston fans in Portland. I'd say 20% of the crowd was wearing green and when they scored, the roar was louder than when the home team did. I've been to about 15 games in the last couple years, and I have never witnessed anything like it. The BOS/POR match-up I saw last year didn't have nearly this kind of turnout for the away team. Every shot on the Jumbotron had some Celtic green poking in. I bet Roy and Oden going down lightened up the Blazer bandwagon a bit, sewing the seeds of defection.

    Oh well, there's no shame in losing to a great team and the Celtics have proven that they are that by sleep-walking their way to a win over a Portland team that had a lot of motivation to pull an upset.

    You can point to a lot of things to explain this loss (BOS attempted 20 more FTs), but it all comes down to an easily-defended offense. Swinging the ball around the perimeter and hoping to catch a turned-head will work on average teams, but will not fly against a quality team like Boston. Likewise, isolating LMA in the paint will work against average defenders, but will get ground to a pulp by KG and a little help from his friends.

    Time for a revolution, Blazers. My 5 Keepers are LMA2.0, Nicobella, WesMath, Dante, and Armon (who went to the Stampede today--I approve); everybody else is close to my heart, but expendable. Who are the 5 Keepers for y'all?

    by 500Dogs on 1/28/2011 11:37 AM

  23. 5 keepers

    L-train
    Flying Frenchman
    WesMoney

    after that, i'm really not certain. the questions and variables are so great.

    if we knew that greg could stay healthy for a season or two, he makes it easily.

    if brandon can get back to 85% he makes it easily as well.

    my personal view had all along been that the blazers could challenge for the title in 2012.


    in other interesting info:

    http://espn.go.com/blog/TrueHoop/post/_/id/24200/the-truth-about-kobe-bryant-in-crunch-time

    the "with the game on the line" chart has b-roy tied for 3rd right behind carmelo and cp3.


    as for boston bandwagoners, the party is over soon for those old dudes. they can jump to the l.a. bandwagon next, or choose the next fake toughguy to glom onto. they're sure to turn into knicks fans if carmelo joins amar'e. that bandwagon is about to get big again in the big apple...

    by reverse on 1/28/2011 12:10 PM
  24. I missed this game, but something is making me concerned... We lost by 10 points, and shot 20 less FT attempts than Boston. Boston missed 10, we missed 5.

    Take out the 6 that they shot when we purposely fouled them, and that's still a HUGE 14 FT advantage.

    We also outscored them in the paint, especially in th first half where nearly 95% of our points scored were in the paint. We didn't get our first FT's until 33 seconds left in the first half.

    Biased officiating, and to only lose by 10 to a great team with no Roy, Batum, Oden, Camby, Pendergraph, Williams? That's pretty impressive.

    We may not have got the win, but we're looking forward, and that's always a good sign.

    Nice to have a 4 day break. LaMarcus looked incredibly tired from what I hear.

    What do you know? Another back to back at freaking Denver. I swear, that team would not be a playoff team if they didn't get all the advantages they get at home. Don't they have like a league worse road record for a playoff team?

    by Herr on 1/28/2011 1:19 PM
  25. I can't pick just 5! I mostly hate trade talk right now. =) This team is pretty frickin' sweet.

    I mean, I understand there's business cases and some needs, etc., but Portland hasn't *really* seen for any consistent amount of time what we have now with the injuries and all that jazz...

    I am with travisd above that it would help GO's case if he could get (an stay) healthy for a bit...Camby, him and Pris would mean we would be powerful inside striking fear in the hearts of opponents! ...I'm also curious to see how Roy will meld with the team - insert and assert - himself when he's back.

    Anyway, just for the purpose of the discussion, here's 5...

    Batumshakalaka (I'm waiting for him to have "the click" like LA did)
    L-train (CLICK!)
    DC (his energy and toughness and the way he seems to improve all the time are amazing!)
    Rudy (He rawks. I never jumped off the bandwagon. He struggles, but if he ever really CLICKs as well...)
    Pris (keep gettin' stronger and back to your former self, Joel!)

    by monk3ysuncl3 on 1/28/2011 1:20 PM
  26. Thank you Mike for the update. Good news for sure ladies and gentlemen. Well any of us who really follow the nba outside the Blazer games, know this...certain teams seem to "get" away with foul calling. The Celtics are one of them. I dont work inside the nba, I dont have brunch with David Stern, I dont play golf with the refs. But ive watched enough basketball to see, that there is some politics involved and certain players get "star" status treatment. We didnt lose the game because of the refs. We lost due to 2 things. Boston defense, hey its great...their one of the best if not the best in the league. And poor offensive execution. I think we should have played even tougher, bruied them up more, if you cant beat em, rough em up, so they know when they play Portland, thier not gonna turn the other cheek to their bullying tactics.

    I really wish they could have gotten the ball deeper to LA. Yes yes I know they played really good D on him, but if they can get the ball in there fast, that would help. Also LA needs to work on his fadaway more, he gets that down 100% and your not gonna stop him. His inside game is strong, hes got nice outsideshot,just work on that fadaway when the defense likes to "push" him outside the paint, and done deal hell be a 25ppg player everynight. Games like this is where a Marcus or Oden would really Help!!.....Batum seems good to go, so lets do something many teams have not done this year...Beat those Spurs!

    by whitefeather21380 on 1/28/2011 1:36 PM
  27. What I'd like to know is why there were so many Boston fans at the game? It was so weird!

    by cybrarian on 1/28/2011 2:40 PM
  28. Tough game ,tough team.hate to say it ,but they will be in the finals.
    So,The Armonizer is going to the D.At least he will get some PT now:) how fast they fall from Sarge's favor.

    by DowntownVinnie on 1/28/2011 5:15 PM
  29. First, Mr. Barrett: Great new format, really cool how when you reply, it shows up on the other side. Does this mean you will be replying more often directly? That would be cool...I always feel like I missed the boat, lol!

    Second, I was one of the many Boston fans in the House last night. I was dressed in Red and Black though, since the Blazers are my #1 and I would never disrespect our players or fans with other colors, no matter how much I admire Rajon Rondo and the current incarnation of the Celtics. Let me tell you something, I was so irritated by the Boston fans cheering when our team was going down by 13 or whatever in the 3rd quarter, that I left. This was my most anticipated game of the year, the one I spent extra money on and forced my husband to go to (he hates games that aren't on the weekend, cause of his work schedule), and I couldn't stand it! My broken foot was buggin' me, and maybe that lowered my patience level, but I am sorry...that was terrible.

    Third, to cap off my irritation, I came home just in time to see McHale slobbering all over the mighty Celtics. I mean, seriously, the bias in letting Kevin-freaking-McHale commentate on a CELTIC game is ridiculous! Heck of a way to repay the "best fans in the NBA". I was actually missing Charles Barkley!

    Fourth, we lost this game cause we aren't as good as they are. Not the refs, not the missing players, not anything outside of pure skill. They are champions and we are not.....yet.

    Finally, to answer 500 Dogs:

    Agree about Dre 100%! My 5 Keepers are: Wesley, Lamarcus, Nicolas, Brandon, and Marcus. If I could keep just one more it would be DC :)

    by SisillaRiann on 1/28/2011 8:16 PM
  30. BLAME THE OFFICIALS
    I don’t typically care to make that statement.. .but every once in awhile… it’s accurate..

    To say that at halftime, we have something like a 20+ Difference in FT’s attempted… against the Celtics… that ALL but ONE of our attempts were clean blocks/swipes/turnovers?!

    hmm.. and right there, you have not only a game winning score difference.. but also, a different mentality and approach to the second half..

    so.. PAT YOURSELF ON THE BACKS.. YOU WEATHERMAN EQUIVALENT TO ACCURACY, IN THE NBA…..

    so.. PAT YOURSELF ON THE BACKS.. YOU WEATHERMAN EQUIVALENT TO ACCURACY, IN THE NBA…..overpowered refs… underpowered coaches….well.. at least most… another point comes to mind… OFFICIALS…. TWO POLAR OPPOSITE COACHES….. you DARE give a T to McMillan with GREEN on the floor?!?! The Gall…


    BTW... Did anybody else enjoy Cunningham Roughin them up as much as i did?!?!

    by Blazermaniak on 1/28/2011 9:08 PM
  31. So, with travisd, EowynAmarie, monk3ysuncl3 and my votes in, the top 5 are...

    Batum (4 votes)
    LMA (4 votes)
    Mathews (3 votes)
    Dante (2 votes)
    and Roy (2 votes)

    These are probably safe bets for players that will stick around past the deadline. Batum and Aldridge are the new core, Mathews is a new investment that the team will likely want to explore for a bit longer, Dante is a very affordable bench player that has the ability to play bigger than he is, and Roy is a contract that will be hard to find a suitor for (he also owns some choice real estate in Paul Allen's heart).

    The other names mentioned (Armon, Rudy, Oden, Joel and Camby) are all good dudes that anyone would be happy to have on their team, but are either too young, too old, or too risky to be Untouchable. I'm high on Armon, but at this point his future is uncertain and if a team was offering the right piece, he could be moved. Joel and Camby are both on the wrong side of 30 and are starting to show signs of deterioration; their contracts and skill-sets make them tempting in a trade and it's time the Blazers looked for a more sustainable option at center. Oden...is Oden. Rudy--while exciting--hasn't proven an ability to be that double-digit-scoring 6th man (a la Ginobili), and I've got a hunch that his upcoming contract negotiations are going to get dirty; if another team is willing to take that slog, you've gotta pull the trigger.

    If the rest of you Barrett's bloggers out there wish to vote (that includes you, MB), I'll do another tally next Saturday. If any of y'all that already voted want to change your Top 5 in light of any new evidence that presents itself over the week, feel free.

    by 500Dogs on 1/29/2011 1:27 PM
  32. 500dogs
    I'm willing to bet Oden is #2 just below LA. I can't understand all the anti Oden people. The guys a beast! You don't have monsters like Oden come around too often. He will be an impact player for the Blazers and we don't stand a chance to win it all without an impact player like him. Blazer management knows the full potential that Oden can bring to this team. He's willing to work hard to be a star in this league, thats half the battle. Besides, there isn't anyone we could trade for him that would have the potential upside that he has!

    by Gavinfan on 1/29/2011 4:30 PM
  33. Cho called Wesely and Nicolas "critical components" of the team. Cho also seemed to make it clear that they could pick up a PG and make moves that would help the team "right now", but, "But we would have to give up a guy like Nic, who is a big part of our future. We don't want to do that. And we could go out and get a young point guard, but it would cost L.A., and we're not going to do that." (Quick article, The Oregonian - http://www.oregonlive.com/blazers/index.ssf/2011/01/trail_blazers_big_changes_on_t.html)

    I don't know, but it seems to me that Cho really has LMA, Nicolas, and Wesley as key pieces he either will not let go or would really, really like to keep.

    He also indicates that we should expect to see a move by the deadline! Now THAT'S exciting :)

    by SisillaRiann on 1/29/2011 4:42 PM
  34. If Roy, Oden, LaMarcus, Camby, Batum, and/or Mathews are traded, I'm done being a Blazer fan, and I'm already borderline for saying Cho is the biggest disappointment of the Blazer season.

    We need to see how this team does when completely healthy. We can compete when heathly, and it appears Roy and Camby will be back fairly shortly.

    In 2008-2009, we had our best season by far. In 2009-2010, we almost repeated that without Oden. With Oden, and him playing consistently, the Blazers will win a championship. We need to trade Patty and Rudy though. They aren't quality players we should keep on the team. They're good for maybe getting 10 points between the two, but costing us tons of possessions with poor shot selection, confusing turnovers, and simply getting outworked everywhere else. Mathews alone is better than our current bench with those two running the show.

    by Herr on 1/30/2011 12:18 AM
  35. When your guards shoot 17 of 51 (33%), you haven't got much chance of beating anyone in this league much less a team that defends the inside like the Celtics.

    I'm also a bit disappointed so far in Mr. Cho. He hasn't done anything, and that's exactly the problem as I see it. He wasted the Oden exception for one thing. When Orlando decided they had to make some moves, they made some moves and strengthened their team.

    Is Cho a basketball man? Clearly neither Paul Allen nor Larry Miller are real basketball men and maybe that's our real problem, not enough NBA knowledge in the front office.

    by dgpdx on 1/30/2011 12:42 AM
  36. Good news on Batum. Unfortunately Batum has been inconsistent and is still not a night in and night out contributer. Until he evolves, this team will struggle this season. He lacks the ability to create his own offence. While Batum is a better defender than Outlaw and Webster, he lacks the same abilities they did. Still, he is a youngin and he holds promise. I hope it comes this year. Blazer nation holds it breath as the deadline approaches.

    by LTG on 1/30/2011 1:52 AM
  37. HG, I totally feel the same way you do about Boston. I hate those guys. Not because they're good but because they're cocky and dirty. But I will say, they make the league more interesting which I do like.

    Who saw the cheap shot Garnet pulled on Frye the other night? First there was the undercut, but the shot to the nuts was completely uncalled for. That's a dirty move and I feel that type of thing warrants an immediate ejection. A nut shot is asking for a fight and if the NBA wants to avoid punches they better treat a nut shot the same as a punch. Those of you who play basketball, particurally men know what I'm talking about.

    I'm glad Batum's injury isn't more serious and I think Cho is doing the right thing. Sometimes I get impatient and want things to happen sooner but the big picture is far more important than acting on impulse and improving a little presently.

    Go Blazers!

    by thedanman on 1/30/2011 2:38 AM
  38. Some posts seem a bit premature to be so critical of Cho. It takes two to make a trade and we have no idea what has been offered for what. I'm happy that Cho didn't trade LA or Batum for some short time fix. I'm very happy he's thinking long term instead. I'm not sure what happens behind the lines, but I know for a fact no matter what Cho does he'll be critize for it. Heck, he could trade Mills for JL and someone would critize him. Lets wait until at least after the trading deadline or even this summer before saying he's the worse GM ever.

    by mgb on 1/30/2011 4:25 AM
  39. With Sactown beating LAL and the NOH, it doesn't make a mediocue team look so bad getting beat by them

    Hg

    by Hg on 1/30/2011 8:22 AM
  40. There's three things that this team has over the average NBA franchise.

    1. A strong and devoted fan base, probably the best in the NBA, which has seen the team through some very dark and dismal moments, and which has the fortitude to withstand the immediate situation,

    2. A smart, analytical GM, who has the courage to make the tough decisions to remold our team, by salvaging what he can from the existing shell, and laying the foundation to better prospects moving forward.

    3. An incredibly wealthy owner, with unimaginably deep pockets, who has stuck with the team through thick and thin, and has not lost his fascination for building a winner,

    Regarding our existing roster. First. there's BRoy, as much as we admire him for his athletic abilities, is not worth the bloated max contract that the team signed last summer. Everyone realizes that he is untradeable. Then there's LMA, as well as he played for a 1.5 month period, is not the elite baller we would like him to be. Nic Batum has tremendous upside, but I don't see him blossoming for a few more years. Matthews has shown spurts of greatness but has a ways to go. GO will be our fulcrum in the coming years but can't help in the immediate future. Some of our other pieces, as likeable as they are, will not be the core of a contender. I have nothing against any of our current role players, but I don't think they will provide the path to the team’s success in coming years. We need to be patient, hope that Allen’s money and interest in the team never flags, and depend on Cho’s wisdom to establish the foundation for a winning product. I'm sure it will get worse, before it gets better.

    by Gavinfan on 1/30/2011 10:57 AM
  41. Gavinfan: I agree completely with #1. Although I hope #2 is correct, it has yet to be proven. I hope #3 is still correct but with Allen not being in the best health and his Vulcanizers waiting in the wings, it's hard to have a lot of confidence about the long-term prospects for the Blazers.

    Jason Quick said in his column today that Cho considers LA, Nic, and Wes to be the foundation going forward. He shows smarts in not counting on BRoy or Oden until they prove they can come back.

    by dgpdx on 1/30/2011 2:11 PM

  42. imagine if our starting line-up came to be as such this time next season:
    Wesley
    Brandon
    Nicolas
    Lamarcus
    Greg
    with a bench of:
    Patty
    Rudy
    Dante
    Marcus
    Joel
    That was the vision not too long ago. If it were able to happen next season, it would be quite the story.

    It most likely will become something that could never happen.


    On another note, every team above the blazers in the Western conference lost today! Whenever I publicly wish for that to happen, it doesn't so I was pleasantly surprised...


    and, the kings beat l.a. in l.a. a few days ago, and not the clippers. no excuse for the loss, but sometimes when a team gets hot...

    by reverse on 1/30/2011 10:14 PM

  43. i just wanted to share an observation that was relayed to me. a friend who is a 60year basketball enthusiast went to the clippers game with me. as i was coming from work, i arrived just before tip-off. my friend however arrived well in advance. he pointedly told me a few days later that he saw the clippers do something the blazers didn't. the lowly clippers spent a half hour stretching. the blazers barely did any relatively speaking. he said that it must have something to do with the injuries the blazers suffer.
    after the camby injury (yet another non-contact injury very early in a game), it made me wonder very hard.
    recently, on 95.5 the game, the training issue came up yet again. while in my car, i wondered to myself. if the ownership of the blazers were to change, is there any chance at all that the training staff would be retained?!? while people focus on whether or not coach mcmillan should go, should there be a different question asked? in my mind, coach nate should be extended almost immediately, but i am not an expert. on the issue of training i am not an expert either, but i had guessed previously that the blazers were not coming out warmed up enough. this evidence supported by their frequent slow starts, and frequent early game injuries. is it possible that they are not stretched and/or warmed-up enough before games?

    anyhow, i HATE to stir the pot, but if anyone has thoughts on stretching and/or training in general, let 'em rip. our battered blazers might belong in the hawthorne fish house compared to the spurs who are as fresh and healthy as could be.


    and, did anyone ever hear from "eclectic spider" ever again? i could swear that was kp. the timing matched way to well.

    by reverse on 1/31/2011 12:45 AM
  44. Travisd:

    I am no expert on stretching except for my two bionic knees, therefore I do know that with injuries it is almost a necessity to stretch and warm up before any strainiest exercise. Nate said he was going to bring down some bikes to keep the bodies warm at half time, that should be extended to before games.

    When I bowl in league the perpietor gives 10 minutes of warm up. That is very important to warming up my bionics.

    by Hg on 1/31/2011 5:00 AM
  45. an article on BE just came out that may interest many posters
    http://www.blazersedge.com/2011/1/31/1965639/transcript-truehoops-henry-abbott-talks-portland-trail-blazers-on-b-s

    I agree for a change.

    Hg

    by Hg on 1/31/2011 6:19 AM
  46. I'd be very surprised if the Blazers don't stretch. Most likely they do it in the locker room before they come out or something. I haven't made it early to a game for a while, but back when I use to go early I remember both sides stretching. Perhaps not always a team stretch, but players were.

    by mgb on 1/31/2011 8:12 AM
  47. I did agree with BS about Oden.

    by mgb on 1/31/2011 8:14 AM
  48. travisd: I'm not always a fan of The Bald Truth but he did have an interesting point about training for the Blazers -- let Nike do it. Nike has tons of experience training athletes and it couldn't get any worse for the Blazers to turn to them concerning the physical health of the team.

    by dgpdx on 1/31/2011 8:24 PM
  49. Mike, you did an awesome job hosting the Portland Music Awards the other night! Thanks so much for the nice words about our band (The Strange Tones). We've always been big fans of the Blazers and of you too! On a good night (victory over the Lakers, for example) we'll even play the Blazers theme song live. Here's our tribute to the team......
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K1sIHWaesQs

    by Guitarjulie on 1/31/2011 8:41 PM
  50. @Travisd.. I'd take miller over Patty anyday... he doesnt seem to be on your list...

    @thedanman.. I agree with you about that Balltappin thug.. the fact that he DID NOT get a game suspension is beyond retarded..

    http://probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/01/29/kevin-garnett-wont-be-suspended-for-hitting-channing-frye-in-the-junk-because-that-makes-sense/

    As this article clearly states.. it's about WHO commits what.. and what game is next.. Imagine if Rudy had done that to Ray Allen?!?! Really think there'd be no game suspension?

    Suspended: Getting up off the bench and walking towards a teammate.

    Not Suspended: Intentionally hitting someone in the testicles.

    Gotta love the NBA...

    by Blazermaniak on 1/31/2011 8:49 PM
  51. Nice to get the personal touch of hearing from MB.
    In the immortal words of Steve Carrel in"Dinner for Schmucks".......DO IT.
    Here is some good stuff about Rudy.I'm not mad at him any more,he has imbraced his role here and is contributing nicely.

    Comment on HoopsHype forums

    You don't think about leaving anymore? Rudy Fernandez: I'm feeling real good here in Portland and I don't want to think about any trade. If everything continues like this maybe I would want to be here for a lot of years. I've feel that I'm blessed and now I'm more mature. The way the summer went... that made me open my eyes and realize that I'm playing in the best league in the world and I want to cherish the moment, enjoy the NBA. And I now that the NBA is a roller coaster, but I feel it's the best year after coming here.

    Rudy Fernandez: Now I enjoy playing, coach is giving me freedom. It's true that this situation is in part because of the injuries but the truth is I'm comfortable on the court and that makes me happy on and off the court. Now I have more friends in Portland, the family and people come to see me more often and I'm very focused on my job.

    by DowntownVinnie on 2/1/2011 9:19 AM
  52. Armon Johnson had a big night Saturday, shooting 10-11 for 23 Pts and snagging 6 Rebs with just 2 TOs. He also put a pretty sick spin move on some dude at the 34 second mark of this video (he's #6)...

    http://www.nba.com/dleague/games/20110129/FWNIDA/gameinfo.html#nbaGIboxscore

    by 500Dogs on 2/1/2011 11:38 AM
  53. Excellent win! Great game by LA! Wesley, Miller, and Rudy all had very nice games. Got to love the team play. Nice to see a rested LA.

    by mgb on 2/1/2011 9:33 PM

  54. WOW!

    The next blog should be titled:

    LAMARCUS ALDRIDGE RULES

    by reverse on 2/1/2011 10:09 PM
  55. If Popovich doesn't vote for LA as an All-Star reserve, he should be horse whipped.

    One more thing, if the refs are going to let DeJuan Blair shove and elbow like they did tonight in the first half, he'll lead the league in rebounds for a long time. One play caught on camera from below the basket showed him grabbing a rebound and elbowing Joel P. in one motion, then laying it in knowing Joel had no way of blocking it. Clear as day on the video -- I hope the league takes a good look at it.

    by dgpdx on 2/1/2011 10:58 PM
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