Mar 12

Blazers Give One Back

By mikebarrett
We are now in Atlanta, and are getting set to wrap up this four-game road trip.  We got in very late last night, and this being the second of a back to back, this will be a short blog. 

As you know, it was a very disappointing night in Charlotte for the Trail Blazers.  Your fears don't always come true in a situation like this, but that's exactly what happened in this game.  We spoke of a let down, following the huge win over Miami, and even discussed that with Nate McMillan before the game. 

This wasn't what I would term a let-down game.  That's not what got the Trail Blazers on Friday night.  This was the almost unavoidable reaction to having beaten Charlotte easily six days earlier, and having most everything come to you pretty easy early in this game.  Your natural reaction is to relax, and that's exactly what the Blazers did.

During the third quarter, the Bobcats had a huge draught.  They went from the 11:09 mark to the 5:10 mark without scoring a point.  Obviously, this is where the Blazers should have absolutely buried them.

When we went to the fourth quarter, and could see that Portland's lead was only going to be six points, that was scary.  We said on the broadcast at that time, the Blazers were playing a very dangerous game.  It was kind of similar to the game at the Rose Garden less than a week ago.  The Blazers toyed around with the Bobcats, and them slammed the door in the fourth.  There was one major difference, however, on this night.  Charlotte had Stephen Jackson back in the lineup.  He's a guy who can get very, very hot, and can turn out your lights if you let them hang within striking distance.  That's exactly what the Blazers did, and Jackson was brilliant in the fourth.

Wesley Matthews, of course, felt awful about missing a free throw in the closing seconds that would have tied the game.  But, this wasn't about Wesley.  This was about Portland thinking they could downshift, but it on cruise control, and live to tell about it.  Again, that's a dangerous way to live, especially at this time of the year, and especially on a road trip.  Lesson learned?  Let's hope so.

It's a costly loss, and time will tell just how costly.  Yes, you could look at this with the idea that the Blazers probably weren't expected to win in Miami, so we're even money heading into the final game.  But, you want to get greedy after a win like that, not relax and give one back.  That's exactly what happened.

Now then, the Blazers find themselves in a position to completely reverse the awful feeling that followed last night, with a big win in Atlanta tonight.  A long flight home will follow this game, and it'll feel a lot longer if the Hawks have their way with the Blazers again, and the trip ends as a 2-2 split.  All won't be lost, of course, but the Blazers are going to really feel the loss to the Bobcats, if they don't get the job done tonight.

I'm off to prepare for tonight's game.  It's the second of a back to back for the Blazers, and it's the same deal for the Hawks.  They lost in Chicago last night.  And, the Blazers know that this Atlanta team had a very easy time at the Rose Garden almost two weeks ago.  The fear of being embarassed again should be a very good motivating factor in this game.

Talk to you after this game.

Previous Story: A Statement Win in Miami
Next Story: The Sweet 16


  1. Mike: caught you on the Up and Adam show yesterday well part of the show. That was great hearing you. Oh did I ever tell you that you are my favorite announcer. Now don't blush.

    There is not too much to add to this loss, unless the team cannot put it behind them. And of course losses is as infectious as wins are healing. So hopefully they can put it behind them and start healing tonight. And I think they will.

    I wrote in your last blog and you echoed part of my concern about the Blazers play last night; I was more scared of losing that game then the Atlanta game tonight. The Blazers trend is to lose to easy teams after a big win. Also, the trend, if you shut down LMA you can make life difficult for the team. Also, although we were scoring easily in the first quarter and part of the second quarter, our half court offense was pretty bad. We missed many of our shots and only were on a roll because of forced turn-over’s. Once the Bobcats overcame that is was a more even game.

    Often is the story as you said, playing a coasting game, somebody can get hot and burn you. I felt Portland was not only coasting, but possibly being conservative of energy for tonight’s game. Also we don't play good when we come back from having some needed time off. Rust?

    All in all there were many little things that added to the loss, and this is the one game we were supposed to win. If in fact we win tonight, we will lose the game we were supposed to win and win all the games were felt we would lose. I can take that OK. Worst scenario is we split the trip 2-2 and we beat down Miami, swept Orlando and got more playing time for BRoy and Wallace and only set our chances to make the play-offs a little.

    If we can win the games we are supposed to win and win one or two of the questionable games we can still control our own destiny, nevertheless each loss makes it a little tougher in a tight race.

    Thank you for the blog; I am still stroked with our team and stay very optimistic.

    by Hg on 3/12/2011 9:23 AM
  2. Elite teams never coast they always keep it in high gear. Is LMA becoming a peripheral jump shooter again?

    Whats with Rudy? What's he shooting the last three games- 3 for 20? He gets into slumps. We need his energy and passing on the floor but when you drag down the offense that much it does'nt work. Is he spending extra time shooting in practice? I don't care for Kobe but you have to respect what he did in Miami the other day. A little pride should have him out there shooting and shooting. If he shoots 40% the fisrt wins are easier and maybe you get a third.

    by Ancientone on 3/12/2011 10:46 AM
  3. This was a painful game to watch. It has to be said that just as there are "team wins" there are also team losses. This was one. Wesley had a solid game, but he missed the crucial free throw. Gerald had a decent stat line, except for the five ugly turnovers. LaMarcus had a bad game overall, as did Rudy, and Brandon and Patty had key misses too. And lest we forget, there was Marcus Camby's odd decision to start the game with some improvised offense before we had even tried to get the ball to LA. I agree with Ancientone that Rudy's recent shooting slump is worrisome. I have three hypotheses. A) He still hasn't adjusted to the length of the NBA season and is just wearing down. B) His back is flaring up again. And C) The bad vision that inspired the original creation of the "three-goggles" has become a serious liability. The worst part is that there's no real solution for any of the three right now. In the off-season he can try to treat his back, get his vision corrected and pick up some rest. But now he's becoming a liability. In fact, in the very game where our intrepid broadcasters pointed out his abysmal shooting in March, and the large number of fourth-quarter threes he had put up during the season (with the latter offered as proof of the coach's confidence in his game) Nate chose to trim his minutes sharply, especially in the final quarter. And did everyone notice the strong statement Dante made in his own limited minutes: 5-6 shooting on some moves we never saw in Portland? Isn't it odd that the guy we had been playing at back-up power forward has been playing the "3" in Charlotte, while the small-forward we picked up, who had previously voiced his dislike of playing the "4," has mostly been filling that slot for us?

    by Islander on 3/12/2011 12:36 PM
  4. There was no excuse for last night, none at all! Just when it looked liked the team had reached a turning point, they lay a rotten egg for all the world to see, and smell.

    My biggest question is why is the new guy, who is supposed to be a rugged, inside scorer, launching threes at every opportunity? Granted he has made a good share of them, but that isn't what the team needs from him. Our inside game completely disappeared just when it was needed most last night. We looked like a one-trick pony whose trick wasn't working.

    I hope they can right the ship today and salvage a good road trip out of one that started as a great road trip.

    by dgpdx on 3/12/2011 2:06 PM
  5. @islander: Yes, I noticed Dante's strong contribution last night also. I hated losing him just when he was beginning to shine in our rotation. I hope we don't come to regret that move...

    by dgpdx on 3/12/2011 2:09 PM
  6. I still think officiating helped doom the Blazers. Bobcats flopped so many times and some of the "And-1s" they got were weak contact it was a disgrace to watch.

    However, it was easy to see the Blazers were saving their energy for this one today. I expect revenge, and I'm confident revenge will be had!

    by Herr on 3/12/2011 2:09 PM
  7. it's ironic that we lost this one. i think of all the road games, most of us predicted charlotte would be the win. we seemed really flat during most of the game, and we never fully recovered from their 14-2 run to start the second half.

    it's unfortunate we couldn't pull this one out. it's kind of like were coasting. not much else for me to say here.

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 3/12/2011 3:35 PM
  8. I watch all of the Blazers games on TV and must tell you that I am really tired of you rehashing negative aspects of prior games. You are becoming a huge whiner. So many of your comments are basically, "Blazers are screwing up again..." Give it a rest!!!

    by kertman on 3/12/2011 5:40 PM
  9. Well we finish the road trip 2-2 which I said before the trip I would be happy with, but why do I feel so disappointed now?

    by mgb on 3/12/2011 6:22 PM
  10. yeah, mgb, i think we got spoiled by the orlando and miami wins. it feels like a letdown. the first two wins raised our expectations, but the losses brought those expectations back to reality.

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 3/12/2011 7:05 PM
  11. Just when we thought it couldn't get any worse...

    From ecstasy to misery in two games.

    by dgpdx on 3/12/2011 7:16 PM
  12. I wouldn't mind losing the past 2 games if the Blazers at least showed up. The worse kind of loss is a loss when you don't even bother to get effort. I don't think I've ever seen a Blazer team play that lazy and flat footed in my life. No excuses either. Pathetic display.

    by Herr on 3/12/2011 7:40 PM
  13. agreed, Steven. especially last night's game. we just didn't show up. i really don't think fatigue could have been a factor. sure, it was the second game of a back-to-back, but we had two full days off prior to the charlotte game. we just weren't there mentally last night. physically, it should not have been an issue.

    another note of concern; i'm worried about Nicolas' ankle. he's got a couple days to rest it, but if he only plays 13 minutes because of injury, then there's cause for concern. MB, any word on Nicolas?

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 3/13/2011 8:35 AM
  14. Kassandra:

    I heard on the post-game show that they would know more in 24 hrs of rest to see if the swelling goes down. I hope that helps.

    I seen him injure it and he played for a few minutes after he turned his ankle and it just seemed as it was a sprain, which by the way takes longer to heal up if the ligaments is stretched enough. In fact, I would rather have a break then a sprain.

    I am not upset for losing the last two games, I think it may have been hope and expectation, but for me it was the lack of intensity or forcing their will.
    I have often said that some losses are unavoidable, but if we go out and play our game with purpose and fight then I can see the losses. As you said, not to show up is not on my agenda for a fun game.

    by Hg on 3/13/2011 9:02 AM
  15. OUCH,Blazers,WTH was up w/ the end of the first quarter? Haven't seen that many turnovers since I left da Safeway bakery.

    by DowntownVinnie on 3/13/2011 10:12 AM
  16. True Vinnie:

    That took the steam right out of Peppermint Patties game. Or maybe he had too much starch in his drawers.

    by Hg on 3/13/2011 10:30 AM
  17. I'd make a comment but I don't want kertman to think I'm being negative.

    by Ancientone on 3/13/2011 11:22 AM
  18. So, right now the Blazers need to win their games. They have an easy 3 games after the Mavs. If we drop any of those I'm going to go insane. A lot depends on Denver. I'm confident we can beat OKC in the first round, and give it to the Spurs in the 2nd.

    by Herr on 3/13/2011 11:59 AM
  19. Wallace needs to start.
    WHY? Because he has more SWAGGER than Nic.
    Other than that,I'm not sure what to make of the last four.Lose the ones I thought we'd win,win the ones I thought we'd lose.Curious.
    The last 16 games ,I figure we will go 8-8.,that puts us at 45 wins,tenuous at best,so I hope we step it up after these last few PITIFUL games.11-5 ould be way better:).

    by DowntownVinnie on 3/13/2011 10:37 PM
  20. Wallace needs to start.
    WHY? Because he has more SWAGGER than Nic.
    Other than that,I'm not sure what to make of the last four.Lose the ones I thought we'd win,win the ones I thought we'd lose.Curious.
    The last 16 games ,I figure we will go 8-8.,that puts us at 45 wins,tenuous at best,so I hope we step it up after these last few PITIFUL games.11-5 ould be way better:).

    by DowntownVinnie on 3/13/2011 10:37 PM
  21. Vinnie;

    If Nic's ankle is still bothering him a lot then I think GW will start. IMO, Nate has been pondering this move anyway; Wallace has been playing starter minutes anyway with LMA needing some bench time.

    If Johnson pans out and give LMA some relief and use Collins more at the 5, maybe we can only use the small ball when it works and not against giants like the Lakers.

    I think the main thing with Nate is trying to keep a unit together that has been playing will together.

    by Hg on 3/14/2011 1:56 AM
  22. hg,I'm all about Chemistry, but we need Wallace's toughness.

    by DowntownVinnie on 3/14/2011 7:57 AM
  23. Johnson was impressive in his previous 10 day. So many skills and activity inspite of his slight (may I say Twiggy) build.

    by Ancientone on 3/14/2011 8:28 AM
  24. DTV:
    Oh!!, believe it or not I agree with you, I was just stating Nate's concern.

    I gave you a shout on the Up and Adam show since the broadcaster from Eugene was the guest. a Tom somebody. A poster wrote back and said you were also a great musician. Props to you my friend.

    Ancientone: Johnson isn't as skinny as Twiggy was, is he? She caused an outbreak of anorexia; oh, I guess you know that.

    by Hg on 3/14/2011 9:05 AM
  25. hg,wow, too cool,Now that the gardening biz is going good,I have been missing that show.I saw 1 w/ MB.He gave a shout out ,too,
    Thanx for the Props.I love playing music even tho I don't promote it here.It's my 3rd love after my Wife and the Blazers.(See what I did there:) ).
    Good to feel the love.Gracias

    by DowntownVinnie on 3/15/2011 3:30 PM
  26. Wow, I don't know if it was the best game we played this year, but it was great to watch. You can't take anything away from Dallas, they played great and we played great. It is great to have BRoy and LMA scoring like that.

    What a win.

    by Hg on 3/15/2011 10:30 PM
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