Another One for the Books
Sometimes games go exactly as you would expect. In fact, most of the time you can pretty much at least predict what the flow of a game will be like, and come close to predicting whether or not it'll be a high or low scoring game. But, not all the time.
There is one reason why this has been difficult lately, when talking about the Portland Trail Blazers- they keep re-inventing themselves. I'd hate to have to put together a scouting report on the Blazers right now. Just a couple of weeks ago we said they can't shoot, rely on offensive rebounds to stay in games, and have to slow the game down to crawl to have any chance to win. Well, that's not really the case this week. It certainly wasn't the case on Monday night at the Rose Garden.
Against one of the best defensive teams in the NBA, the Trail Blazers shot 52 percent, racked up 18 fast-break points, and scored 109 points. The Chicago Bulls normally hold their opponents to 92 points and 42 percent shooting.
The win over San Antonio Spurs last Tuesday was impressive, and was enjoyable. But, it had nothing on this game. The Rose Garden was rocking again on Monday, the Trail Blazers were shorthanded again, and found a way, again. After being tied at halftime at 50, Portland never trailed in the second half, and beat one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference 109-103.
LaMarcus Aldridge had his best game as a professional. Haven't we said that a lot this season? He keeps placing the bar higher and higher. Aldridge (again, against a good defensive team), torched Chicago for 42 points, on 15 of 23 shooting, grabbed 8 rebounds, and blocked two shots. The 42 is a new career high.
If Aldridge was Batman on this night then Andre Miller was Robin. And, I don't mean that Andre wasn't spectacular in his own right. He was. Miller had his
best game of the season, scoring 27 points, grabbing 6 rebounds, and dishing out 11 assists. Andre was also 13 for 13 at the free-throw line.
The Trail Blazers, as a team, were 37 for 40 at the free-throw line. They made
21 free throws in the fourth quarter. Chicago attempted only 18 in the entire game.
There are couple of places where the numbers were very misleading in this game. Stats don't normally lie like this, but this is a good example of a time when they do. The Blazers attempted 21 fewer shots than Chicago in this game. That almost never happens to Portland. They were outrebounded 41-31 by the Bulls, and they were beaten in second-chance points 26-2. That's absolutely nuts. To win on a night when you're beaten like that, in a catagory you normally dominate, just doesn't make sense.
Huge, huge, huge win for the Trail Blazers. We got home in the wee hours on Sunday, got a little time off on Sunday afternoon, and then played again on Monday. Dante Cunningham didn't play, so the rotation was out of whack again.
Rudy Fernandez, who's become one of this team's most consistent players (you never thought you'd hear that), got 34 minutes because of the rotation issues, and had 18 points. He was active, as always, and played another very solid game.
How about Wesley Matthews? He played 46 minutes in this game. It wasn't a memorable night for him offensively, but he's been so important to the Blazers in wins like this.
To listen to Nate McMillan's post-game comments, click here
A couple of quick notes, and then it's your turn.
You may have heard our news regarding Brandon Roy during the game. I walked into the arena on Monday afternoon and immediately saw Brandon shooting, and going full speed. He then told me he's going on the road trip and plans to play in Toronto. I knew he was getting close, but this surprised me.
Marcus Camby, who joined us on the broadcast during the second quarter (second career when he ever wants it- he's fantastic), has also circled the Toronto game as when he'll try and return. So, not only was it a great night in getting the win, but perhaps the tide is turning in the injury department.
Being 28-24, despite all the crap that's happened, and coming off home wins over San Antonio and Chicago, and now getting Roy and Camby back... I know. Every single time it appears the sky is clearing, another storm begins. And, this has been painful at times, but it's been memorable. And now, if they really are starting to get healthy... well, let's leave it there.