mikebarrett

Mar 02

Back on Track in Sac

By mikebarrett
Following the last two home games, the Trail Blazers badly needed this victory.  I suppose that’s pretty obvious.  They got the win, despite a very good night offensively for the Sacramento Kings, who were coming off a nice win over the Clippers, and were just days removed from a win at Orlando.

On the day LaMarcus Aldridge was named the Western Conference Player of the Month for February, he had probably the biggest shot of the night, in an otherwise tough second half for him.  All was well at halftime, but Aldridge missed 7 of 8 shots before drilling a long jumper from the top of the key to make it a three possession game, and help the Blazers to their 107-102 win.  He ended with 20 points and 10 rebounds.

Wesley Matthews also got back on track with countless hustle plays, on a night his team needed every single one.  Matthews had 21 points, five assists, three steals, and was 8 for 12 from the field.

And, the integration of Gerald Wallace into the fold took another step in the right direction.  Wallace was also all over the floor in this game, and ended with 12 points and five rebounds.  He also had a monster dunk, during an 11-2 Portland run late in the game.  Matthews created a turnover, and lobbed to Wallace in the lane.

I mentioned this on the broadcast late in the game, but don’t forget about what Patty Mills did in this game off the bench.  Playing without Rudy Fernandez, who tried to give it a go before the game before being sent to the locker room with a bad case of the flu, the Blazers were in need of some offensive punch from the second unit.  Mills supplied that, scoring 14 points on six of eight shooting, in his 14 minutes.  It was the most productive night for Patty in over a month, and Nate McMillan certainly noticed.  He has said lately, that regardless of what he does with the rotation in coming days, Patty will be a part of it.

The Kings got a great night from DeMarcus Cousins, who tied his career high of 28 points.  Also off the bench, they got 26 from Marcus Thorton.  But, it wasn’t enough, even though the Kings shot 53 percent from the field.  Yes, that’s a bit of a concern, seeing how Houston shot 58 percent at the Rose Garden on Tuesday.  Just too many open shots for the opponent, once again.

To listen to post-game comments from McMillan, click here.

The Trail Blazers improved to 34-27, and had the scoreboard work out in their favor on this night, as Houston, Phoenix, and New Orleans all lost.  It’s not too early to scoreboard watch, and we do that just about every single night.

It’s back home now for a Saturday night game against Joel Przybilla and the Charlotte Bobcats (wow, that sounds strange).  Then, we’ll leave early Sunday morning for Florida and the big four-game road trip that will take us to Orlando, Miami, Charlotte, and Atlanta.

Previous Story: Hawks Lock Down Portland
Next Story: Off to Florida

43 Comments

  1. Nice to get back to our winning ways. A road win is always a good thing. Good game by Wesley.

    by mgb on 3/2/2011 10:42 PM
  2. Sometimes you have to get the swagger back on the road. Now they can rest up and be ready for Saturday's game against Charlotte.

    by blazerdarren77 on 3/2/2011 11:17 PM
  3. Great game by Patty, Wes and Wallace!!! Yes...they needed this one to get the mental cobwebs cleared out, because we all know the Denver win we got lucky on. We actually should have lost 3 in a row if ya think about it. Hopefully we can take care of business at the RG on Saturday night and take some good positives on the upcoming road trip because it is going to be a tough one!

    peace out,
    daddy

    by daddylogan on 3/2/2011 11:30 PM
  4. Thank you for the blog Mike:

    I couldn't watch the game tonight because it was a black out game. I listened to Wheels and Tone though, but the eye is better and you gave me some ot that.

    I can never tell if they are playing great or if we are playing badly.
    To many Marcus, Lamorcus, Demarcus then Marcus again. confusing when you hear it on the radio

    Great win and thanks again for the blog

    Hg

    by Hg on 3/3/2011 12:01 AM
  5. Nice win. Sactown is improving, so this win looks good, especially since they beat us earlier. I think the two previous games were just a fluke. Teams often don't perform well when they get new additions. New York barely survived Milwaukee their first game after getting Melo, and lost to Cleveland afterwards before beating Miami in a game Miami fell asleep on. Speaking of Miami, anyone remember when they were 8-7? It's a fluke, and I'm sure the Blazers will rise up and get 5th again.

    With all due respect to Joel and his new squad, how about Denver? I'm starting to become a fan. I know their our division rivals and all, but maybe I just wasn't a fan of Melo. It's a nice story seeing a team that everyone gives up on rise up. Sounds a lot like the Blazers story.

    Nice break before we go against Charollette. Call me crazy, but I think we're going to go 4-0 on this road trip. I just got that funny feeling.

    by Herr on 3/3/2011 12:22 AM
  6. Funny how things work out; we were 1-3 since Brandon came back. He sat down again and we won. I'm happy that we broke the skid, but I'm not ready to go crazy about our short-term prospects. By the way, Herr seems to have a shaky understanding of the word "fluke." If it's a pattern for teams to struggle after they shake up line-ups, then it's not a fluke when they do that. What he means is apparently that he thinks this is a normal short-term adjustment. I hope that's what it is. My feeling is that when you take a roster of eight more-or-less-regular players who all know their roles, send two of them away, and add one guy who knows nothing about his new team's system, while simultaneously trying to ease two injured players back into the mix, you can expect some problems. And when your roster is now thinned at some spots and crowded at others, you can't dismiss the idea that the problems may linger. Winning a close game against Sacramento doesn't tell me those problems are behind us. But there were encouraging signs. Against Houston Wallace took and made exactly the same number of shots as LaMarcus while playing significantly fewer minutes. I sure didn't think we brough him in to take chances away from our biggest scoring threat. Tonight LA had a bad game, was awkward on most of his low-post shots, but I'm happy that they kept feeding him the ball and that he kept shooting. Then again, Brandon wasn't playing; I worry that LaMarcus slides back into beta-dog mode whenever the guy who was pack leader for so many years walks onto the court. But tonight Camby took a step forward, Wesley had one of his good games, as did Nic and Patty, and those are good things. I hope the progress continues when we again have to find court time for Brandon and Rudy. I hope it really is a fluke that teams have been shooting over 50% against us lately, rather than a sign of defensive disfunction. I am pretty sure we won't go 4-0 on a three-game road trip. I'll be giddy if we go 2-1, saddened, but not that surprised, if we go 0-3. And I really, really hope Herr is right and the team is getting ready to roll.

    by Islander on 3/3/2011 1:41 AM
  7. Islander:

    VL and I were talking about the same thing of winning when BRoy was out. I honestly don't think it has anything to do with BRoy not playing, but it could, if, the rest of the team rest on their laurels of the past. Either way that surly isn’t BRoy’s fault, he can’t be an impact player, just playing 15 to 20 minutes.

    Matthews has a tendency to go every other game into a funk. I am not sure why, but that was the big difference in the losses other then LMA being flat.

    The last two games was just a bad case of not being able to adjust IMO. We were more tentative and out of focus then playing without compassion.

    In my mind, regardless of the slow start and the adjustment period, we will be a better team with BRoy, Rudy, Camby and Wallace added to the mix.

    by Hg on 3/3/2011 4:12 AM
  8. A famous man said "You'd be surprised what you can accomplish if you don't care who gets the credit.".

    LaMarcus had a bad shooting night. That won't happen often, he needs to continue getting the chances.

    by Ancientone on 3/3/2011 7:01 AM
  9. The headline of the Blog should have read "BACK TO BACK IN SAC, BACK ON TRACK LOL.

    by Hg on 3/3/2011 7:27 AM
  10. hg, you're a nerd. i say that with the utmost respect! :)

    i share the same concern as islander that aldridge takes a backseat to broy and company when they're in the game. we can't have that. we were slightly on tract in this game as we were feeding him the ball but what he did with the ball was weak. he settled for outside jump shots and didn't bang bodies inside like he was. where did the fire go? where's that killer instinct? why does added help cause him to lose focus? only he can answer those questions and i hope it's soon.

    i'm not concerned about wallace one bit. the guy is obviously feeling things out and his teammates are feeling him out too. he will make us better. that's a fact.

    batum is showing y he's an untouchable.

    matthews again is proving his contract is worth its weight in gold. the brains behind his recruitment are brilliant. he's in his second year and look at what an impact player he is. he plays basketball.

    i'm happy to hear mcmillan declare mills is needed in the rotation. thank god! he is a tempo setter and that does not directly show up on a stat sheet but anyone who plays or knows the game understands how important that is. he has energy and fire this team needs.

    overall, tonight's effort was lethargic and sloppy. we're lucky it was sacramento. let's step it up a notch.

    go blazers!



    by thedanman on 3/3/2011 8:24 AM
  11. That was a much-needed win. I shudder to think of how BlazerNation would be freaking out if we had lost that one! I haven't yet watched the game, other than the final quarter, but I am going to guess that we won because we played with more intensity and better flow than the last two games :)

    It IS interesting that the team worked better when they knew BRoy would not be playing with them. I think that it is certainly possible Lamarcus is having some mental conflict about stepping on BRoy's toes, or appearing to be taking the team over from him. He admires and respects Roy, and it's very possible that he doesn't feel that he actually deserves to take over. Roy has had three All-Star caliber YEARS, and LA has had two months. If that IS what is going on, it is something they will have to work out amongst themselves.

    I think things will work out though, regardless. I have faith in this team, and believe Coach Nate will not allow LA to disappear, especially when he knows BRoy is not 100% (and probably never will be).

    4-0?? I really don't think so. We are capable of beating all of these teams, when we play well and play our game, hitting outside shots, drawing fouls, being scrappy, and going through LA. But I don't think we will beat all of them, especially on the road. I am willing to guess we beat one of the Florida teams and maybe Charlotte. Atlanta killed the Bulls last night with the same stifling defense they killed us with. I think that game is a loss for sure. I will hope for 3-1, but believe 2-2 is more realistic, and wouldn't be surprised by 1-3.

    by SisillaRiann on 3/3/2011 8:39 AM
  12. i think what we saw last night was a sign that the new-look is starting to gel. Gerald is fitting in and Marcus showed up with a really solid effort. we only had three bench players enter the game, and two of them combined for 26 points. that's not bad when you look up and down at this roster. sacramento played decent defense on LaMarcus, but there were some shots he took which usually will fall. Andre and Patty were a great duo at the point. Wesley was active and Nicolas was hitting some great shots.

    it was one of the team-effort wins which we lacked in the previous two games. EowynAmarie has a very good point and, as much as i hate to admit it, this year's team seems to play better when they know Brandon is not going to be available. whom ever you want to assign leadership of the team, Brandon and LaMarcus need to work through any trepidation either may be having. they have a great history together and each possesses a high maturity level. i think they'll figure it out.

    the eastern road trip concerns me just because each team has such a potential to light it up on any given night (and you know that seems to happen to us often). i'm guessing 2-2, but right now that's really just a guess.

    first things first, we need to take care of charlotte on saturday. i can't wait to hear the ovation the RG fans give Joel and Dante upon their return to portland.

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 3/3/2011 9:07 AM
  13. @daddy: when you say we should have lost three in a row; i hope you refer to the denver game rather than last night. had we dropped that one, it would have been a four-game skid.

    @Hg: you are a nerd, but there's nothing wrong with that!

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 3/3/2011 9:13 AM
  14. While we could have loss 3 in a row, we also could have won 2 out of 3 because we should have won that LA game.

    I don't get all the blame Roy is getting. He's played team ball since he's been back and to say the team played better last nite because they knew Roy wasn't playing is really a reach. I think the team would completely disagree and wants Roy playing. Maybe they played better because they knew Rudy wasn't playing?

    If you think about it they didn't play that great when they have to win it in the final mins against a team like the Kings with what 15 wins? I'm real happy about the win, but lets not make more out of it than it is. Against any team that is at least .500 they've loss 3 out of the last 4. I want to see them play consistently better against good teams before I'll say they have made it around any corner so to speak.

    by mgb on 3/3/2011 9:25 AM
  15. THE NERD SPEAKING:

    I did not say that the team didn't play better without BRoy playing, In fact I said, VL and I was talking about the same thing. What I did say was IMO, THAT WASN'T BROY'S FAULT. If LMA goes back to being passive because BRoy is back or if Wesley is looking over his shoulder because BRoy is back that is on them not BRoy. Besides all that BRoy is only in the game 15 to 20 minutes, what happens to the rest of the game? I also said the whole team is being tentative whether then being Lackadaisical or laissez-faire, I said compassion actually because I couldn't spell those other 50 cent words.

    If I am a nerd, than so are Kassandra and EowynAmarie because I agree with their post completely. I just don't seem to get my point across as well. Then again maybe I am a nerd because it takes one to know one. Gotcha Kassandra. But rightfully so I am a nerd in the respect that I am a trailblazer geek, and if that is boring then so be it.

    This is all in good humor with no animosity what so ever, well except for the fact that I wished I had Kassandra and EowynAmarie ability to put words done in an intelligent way. That is called jealousy, which I believe could be classified as animosity.

    Love you all

    The nerd

    by Hg on 3/3/2011 10:21 AM
  16. Other then the Nerd part, I also agree with you thedanman well maybe I agree with you about me being a nerd too:). In fact I am a nerd with the whole team. I am hoping it is coincidental that we won without BRoy; I hope it is as EowynAmarie and Kassandra said that the team is gelling. Camby was much more assertive with getting rebounds; rebounds were much of the factor of the last two losses. Wallace is getting better and that was a contribution to the last two losses, because our team was used to Dante. LMA took his man outside whether then fight the double team inside as much and although his shot wasn't as consistent as it has been it was effective in opening up the middle for Matthews and Batum’s drives. That was MGB's point; it wasn't so much the double team that was bothering LMA, but it was where the double team was coming from, the weak side where they could double LMA and the cutters too forcing outside 3 pters that was not falling. This IMO was the Blazers answer to answering that problem.

    by Hg on 3/3/2011 10:41 AM
  17. thedanman:

    OMG, Was you responding to my Joke about the headlines, I forgot I even wrote that. If that is the case, I am a terrible Nerd and my bad.

    The Nerd.

    by Hg on 3/3/2011 11:23 AM
  18. When Nate said after the Houston loss that the team was thinking too much, he put his finger on what has been worrying me. When the team was lean, mean and well-meshed, players often knew what to do without thinking. With new bodies in there, that hasn't been the case. We fans see it most clearly when the offense goes off in a random direction, but I suspect it's at least as bad for the defense. You know something's wrong when teams can cut straight to the hoop and are wide open for threes. Players seen unsure whose job it is to provide help on penetrations, and are a step slow figuring out that it's time to close out on the shooters. We were playing defense like Sacramento, and that won't cut it against good teams. Thinking slows down reaction-time, and I expect to see improvement in the Charlotte game because we'll finally have a couple of practices in a row with the players in their new roles. And I hope that during those same sessions any uncertainty about the team's dominance ladder gets worked out, and alpha-dog Aldridge shows up next game. How did the old song put it? "Badder than old King Kong/And meaner than a junkyard dog." Player of the Month needs to show his teeth, and not just to the other team.

    by Islander on 3/3/2011 11:41 AM
  19. Islander:

    I agree on the thinking part. I just don't know about the other. It is as you say, if you have to think about what to do it is already to late. You can almost see LMA stopping and thinking what to do on double teams, instead of catching and reacting. I think you are saying that individual parts on defense is OK, but the pick and Roll defense or team D is lacking because of not staying connected. If that is what you meant, I am agreeing with you again.

    Just like we use different offensive stints to expose their D they can do the same to us. BRoy, Camby, and Wallace was the new cogs so their rhythm would be easier to expose.

    Hg

    by Hg on 3/3/2011 12:22 PM
  20. Can't wait till the playoffs, with this team I believe we will go deep

    by mbmurr1 on 3/3/2011 1:03 PM
  21. Islander, it was a fluke that we lost to the Hawks and Rockets. We're better than that. But yes, you are correct. We'll be on the right track soon. I'm still aiming at 50 wins. Right now, if we swept the entire rest of the season (I believe there are 20 games left), we'd be where we were 2 seasons ago. If we lose 4 games, we'll be at 50. If we lose 5... well... you know where that puts us.

    I'm still feeling the 4-0 on this road trip. The trick to beating the Heat - be down 20 in the first half lol.

    by Herr on 3/3/2011 1:13 PM
  22. My first time posting here but I just want to note that last night's win was a team effort with guys stepping up when the team needed them. It was an exciting game to follow and I'm looking forward to the Charlotte game on Saturday.

    by julianne on 3/3/2011 1:16 PM
  23. Count me among those who welcome Nate's remark about Patty being in the rotation! I thought he should have always been there. He had a couple of bad games but who doesn't in this league, or on this team? He gives us a huge lift with his tempo and he's not afraid to shoot the ball when he's open. He can be the payback for what other teams' quick guards do to us at times.
    --
    don


    by dgpdx on 3/3/2011 6:56 PM
  24. hg, hahaha.... yes my name calling had everything to do with your rhyming blog title suggestion. and i also know , if it rhymes it ain't a crime!

    by thedanman on 3/3/2011 8:30 PM
  25. Thank you thedanman:

    after I realized what you were talking about I really felt like a nerd. It actually came from Wheels, he kept saying the second night of a back to back against Sac. Then when MB came up with back on track, I just put them together.

    by Hg on 3/3/2011 10:46 PM
  26. Thanx to Twitter,I was able to meet Wesley Matthews in Eugene yeserday.Another way cool and cordial Blazer ,Patty,Nic and Wesley were in town for O of U womens basketball.The picsomeone took from my crappy phone didn't get saved.It was fun anyways.Need a SmartPhone:)

    by DowntownVinnie on 3/4/2011 8:45 AM
  27. Can't wait to see Gerald Crash into Portland Saturday to DOMINATE Charlotte.

    by DowntownVinnie on 3/4/2011 5:33 PM
  28. Oooohh Vinnie, I am SO jealous right now, lol!

    HG: Don't worry about being a nerd! I am a total geek. Look at my name! Does anyone recognize it? Probably not, but it is the combination of two names from Lord of the Rings. Now THAT is pure geek :) Oh, and I love DC Comics, Star Wars, Star Trek, and collect action figures (NIB) and Legos!

    Super excited for the game on Saturday. I have three games left this season and that is one of them. Thrilled to be in the house for Joel and Dante's return, though it will certainly be bittersweet.

    That Miami meltdown last night was a trip! Credit to Orlando, but man, the Big Three should be ashamed of themselves. I don't think they are going to be a good playoff team, not if they can't figure out how to have some composure and incorporate another player into the offense on a regular basis. The Denver-Utah game was really, really good. Denver, I do believe, actually got BETTER, smh. Utah isn't doing well, but I think they have good pieces and have a shot next season at being really good again.

    Go Blazers!

    by SisillaRiann on 3/4/2011 10:07 AM
  29. EowynAmarie: I don't mind being a nerd, my poetry was said to be that of a 5Th graders and that is an advancement in my mind I just got confused with what everybody was talking about. It is bad when you post so much that you forget what you wrote.

    You and I agreed in a past post that Denver, Now renamed Knuggets, because of the Knicks players may be better then they were with Carmello. So it is no surprise to me. I am doing a little smh too, but because it is not fair to us homers. But we did beat them and we will get better. I like Denver as a team much better without Carmello

    OK one nurd to another, thanks for your post. OBTW, Did it upset you that Orlando beat Miami LMAO. I love it.

    by Hg on 3/4/2011 11:39 AM
  30. HG: Yeah, right....NOT! LOVED seeing Miami get beat :)

    by SisillaRiann on 3/4/2011 11:40 AM
  31. Welcome Julianne,Glad to have you.Watch out for that HG guy,he has a little bit of Leprechaun in him and can be quite mischievous at times .And we call Kass- Lebrona the Pirahna.So,Beware :)

    by DowntownVinnie on 3/4/2011 3:17 PM
  32. Vinnie:

    You should not fib about me, everybody knows I am the last of the good guys.
    Vinnie gets to talking in some foreign language that we haven't figured out yet so you must tell him occasionally to translate .

    You don't want to make Lebrona the Pirahna mad or cross AowynAmarie. if you don't do that you will make it fine {:>).


    Welcome aboard Julianne,

    Hg

    by Hg on 3/4/2011 4:58 PM
  33. hg,C'mon,buddy ,you I,and everybody here knows that as good as you are,you do have the ornery leprechaun side:) BTW, Dre rules,Blake drools.

    by DowntownVinnie on 3/4/2011 5:38 PM
  34. Yeah EA,if you only knew how fast I drove from my house .Scary.

    by DowntownVinnie on 3/4/2011 5:48 PM
  35. If Vinnie thinks Dre Rules, Blake drools then Vinnie is fooled.

    Hg

    by Hg on 3/4/2011 11:08 PM
  36. It seems to me like Blake got shipped out on the Last Train to Clarksville:)

    by DowntownVinnie on 3/5/2011 1:37 AM
  37. That run of puns stuns me

    by Ancientone on 3/5/2011 10:04 AM
  38. @Ancientone
    Oh!!!!! funny one LOL. 2YS U R, 2YS UB, I SEE UR 2YS 4ME.

    All:

    Jackson is reported as being injured against LA last Night, Charlette is on a back to back, they will be in Portland, where Joel knows us but we also know Joel, Dante may get more playing time if Jackson doesn't play,with GWallace knowing Charlette and Charlette knowing him It should be a fun game.

    In the end, we win the game.

    Let start the winning streak make it two in a row.

    by Hg on 3/5/2011 10:19 AM
  39. hey guys, thanks for welcoming Julie to the site. fyi, she's my roommate and i've been trying to get her on here for quite a while!

    Jules: glad you finally posted here! this is a fun site and MB always has interesting insights.

    Vinnie: i told Julianne all about the LeBrona the Piranha thing when i put it up on our door.

    Hg, you are certainly one of the last of the good guys ... and that's what worries me! :P

    we had a great blowout win over charlotte tonight. i hope that gives us momentum going into this road trip.

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 3/5/2011 10:33 PM
  40. Kassandra: Did you get to watch the game? BRoy look good crossing over a couple of times and once getting it to LMA for a dunk and once off the back board. Anyway that is the way I remember it. My question is do you think that it is a set play for BRoy to drive to the rim and draw attention off LMA and since he can't elevate flip it to LMA or bounce it off the back board? Clyde was famous for that.

    Another question I have, Do you think the line-up of Dre, BRoy, Wallace, LMA and Camby would get a positive results? Not necessarily as a starting unit but at least a unit that gets time together to gel.

    If I am truly one of the last of the good guys then the world may be in trouble : >).

    Great to hear from you. When does spring break start?

    Hg

    by Hg on 3/5/2011 11:19 PM
  41. Hg, no, i didn't watch the game; i streamed the audio though. i don't know about a set play like that. it could work, i suppose.

    i think Nate has used that lineup you mentioned a couple of times. i think it's still going to be a while before Brandon is going to be starting. i would assume that Gerald will start at some point, but i'm not sure when. i think we could experiment with it and go back to it if it works.

    this coming week is dead week, then finals the following week. spring break for me starts a week from friday. i can't believe i'm almost two-thirds done with my freshman year. time really flies.

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 3/6/2011 12:10 AM

  42. interesting developments


    the blazers could get a chance to continue to get well with their healthy roster after beating the kings and bobcats. they face orlando with no howard, and a heat team that has been on the ropes lately.


    it must be strange for g. wallace to go from being the man the last 7 seasons, to being the new kid at school. once the guys figure out how to get him going, that will change. i think he'll fit just fine. he'll have a few dunks in the game on monday cause without dwight, the lane will be open for flight school.


    you have to like a night where the L-train rolled for a low stress 40min shooting over 61%. if coach nate can get total buy in, our new look blazers could be fresh for a playoff run. can they get LA under 35min in a win?!? it's been over 2 months since that happened. no d-howard = less minutes for L-train.

    by reverse on 3/6/2011 12:21 AM
  43. Happy with the win. Wish LA had got more rest at the end. We obviously didn't get up for the game, but finally took over in the second half.

    Ya, we get a break with Howard out against Orlando, I hope we take advantage. Heats going to be tough on the road as is Atlanta. I'd be really happy with a split on this road trip. 4 games in 6 days with two back to backs is going to be tough. Anything better than that would be so nice, but I wouldn't be surprise if we go 1-3 especially how the bench disappears on the road, but with Wallace and Roy coming off the bench maybe that will change.

    Going to be a important road trip standings wise. We are tied in the 6th spot one game out of 5th and only two games out of the playoffs and the 9th spot. Time for a gut check!

    GO BLAZERS!!

    by mgb on 3/6/2011 1:05 AM
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