mikebarrett

Mar 17

Blazers Step on the Gas

By mikebarrett
Thursday night at the Rose Garden reminded me a lot of the Mike Tyson/Marvis Frazier fight back in '86.  I bought the pay-per-view, had the food spread all ready, and in 30 seconds Tyson had Frazier on his back in the middle of the ring.  See ya.  My pizza hadn't even arrived yet, and my friends were still on the way over.

Fortunately, for paying customers of the NBA, these games run on a clock.  So, we still got to watch quite a display of Trail Blazers basketball for the 46 minutes after this game ended.  And, following the nail-biting drama we saw on Tuesday night, I'm not sure anyone was complaining.

Nate McMillan did his best to preach over and over again about the dangers of a let down, following a big win like they had over Dallas.  He had very recent evidence to use in his argument- the Charlotte game.  How ever else he chose to make his point, his players obviously got it, and responded to it.

This game was tied 2-2.  That's about all the drama we had on this night.  What followed, was a 22-0 Portland run.  After that, Cleveland scored another basket.  Then the Blazers went on a 9-0 run.  So, it was 33-4 and we thought we could see chalupas handed out in the first half, for the first time ever.

The Blazers shot 70 percent in that first half, going 16 for 23.  But, that's not what was impressive.  What really made McMillan happy was the end-to-end, scrappy defense the Blazers slapped on the Cavaliers.  This is what Nate had in mind when he put Gerald Wallace in the starting lineup.  He disrupts, he hounds, he frustrates, and it's contagious.  You want to be a fast-break team?  Play defense like this.

Cleveland was smothered off the jump in this game and shot just 2-14 in the first quarter.  They simply couldn't get an open look.  After being held to 31 percent shooting in the first half, the Cavs weren't let off the hook in the third quarter.  The Blazers jumped all over them again after halftime, and held them to 4 for 18 shooting in that third.

It was 89-45 after the third.  A 44-point lead for the home team, and time to coast to the finish line.  What's strange is, we were just talking before the game about how this Portland team really doesn't blow many teams out.  Their largest-margin of victory, before this game, had been a 26-point win over Milwaukee.  They won this one by 41, the second-largest margin of defeat for the poor Cavs.  They fell to the Lakers by 55 this season.

One of my favorite lines from Harlem Nights is when Jack Jenkins, the heavyweight champ, tells Kirkpatrick, the challenger, before the fight begins, "don't take this *ss whoopin personally."  In other words, this wasn't about the Cavaliers, and their struggles this season.  This was about the Trail Blazers proving something to themselves.

LaMarcus Aldridge, who wasn't even a huge part of the early barrage, finished with a double-double, scoring 20 and grabbing 11 rebounds.  Wallace had 17 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists.  Most of what made Wallace so dominating doesn't even show up on the stat sheet.  Nicolas Batum had 14, and Wesley Matthews had 14 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists.

The best news, other than the final score, was the fact that Aldridge only had to play 29 minutes.  Brandon Roy played just 14, and Andre played 26.  Rudy Fernandez, who played 27 minutes off the bench, had another great game, scoring 13 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds, and 3 steals.

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

It isn't this easy most nights, so take this for what it was.  Saturday night, the Blazers host one of the hottest teams in the Eastern Conference, the Philadelphia 76'ers.  Then, on Sunday night, Portland takes on the Lakers in L.A.  That makes Saturday night's game huge.  But, I guess they're all huge now.

Lastly, I need you to vote on something for me.  Click here, and you'll see what I'm talking about.

Talk to you Saturday night.

47 Comments

  1. Incredible, the Blazers scored more points in the first quarter than the Cavs did in the first half! Nice to have a blow out like this. Now on to the Sixers. Hope we saved something for them and don't over look them because of the Lakers game the next nite.

    Go BLazers!!!

    by mgb on 3/17/2011 10:33 PM
  2. hey MB, great game! you know, i said this after last game, but i always feel the key is to play 48 minutes. even though the first few minutes of this game determined the outcome; our play the rest of the game sealed it. a lot of guys pitched in and we took that 25-pt lead from the first quarter and turned it into a 41-pt win.

    during chat, i said the most important LaMarcus stat was the 29 minutes. it was wonderful how he didn't have to play in the 4th (when has that happened at all this season). all the guys were great, even if the majority of the game was "garbage time."

    we do have to keep in mind, however, that cleveland is the worst team in the league. Philadelphia will be tough, and the lakers will be tough too (though, i hope we have GW guard Bryant or Artest; imo, neither will have much success against him). we need to take this win for what it is -- a win.

    let's get another against philadelphia on saturday.

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 3/17/2011 10:34 PM
  3. I voted for the 'Best Duo Ever'. Mainly because the second one reminds me of the saying 'Liquor in the Front, Poker in the Rear'. The way you got it just sounds wrong!

    by mgb on 3/17/2011 10:41 PM
  4. Thanks Mike, as always. Ahhh, a nice, healthy beat-down! We needed a game like this I think, always nice to put the team away early if possible. Yes, let's have another nice game vs. Philly.
    -Anees, from Prague

    by Anees on 3/17/2011 11:18 PM
  5. Mike: I am not late, you are just early LOL.

    Kassandra: Sacramento is the worst team in the NBA. This game wasn't about how much we won by, but like you said playing Blazer ball from start to finish. Not to let down because of playing an inferior opponent and keep the intensity up for the duration of the regular season.

    You are right about LMA getting some time off being over-worked all year.

    As for the rest of the games, starting Saturday, I have no idea how the games will come out, but I do know that Portland is a much better team now then they have been all year.

    THEDANMAN: This was what I was talking about when I said; wait until the new team gels. I can't predict the wins or the losses because of the fighting intensity of other teams, but I can predict the play of the Blazers being of high intensity for the remainder of the season.

    Thanks Mike for your early update. Wasn't it a wonderful boring game on the win part, but an exciting game on the Blazers performance? I don't care what the score was at the end; I just never get tired of the Blazers playing like that. I guess I would love practice at the practice facility too.

    Hg

    by Hg on 3/17/2011 11:49 PM
  6. With each game won gives us more of a chance to stay in the play-offs. It doesn't matter to me how high we go, since we will more then likely stay in the bottom 4, and I don't care who the opponent are, I just worry abut staying in the play-offs. After such a hard fought season, it would be a shame not to finish in the top 8.

    Looking an NBA.com, I see that Fri, Sat and Sun games are full of high impact games as the play-off race continues. I can't wait to read Sarah's blog on the play-off picture after Sunday night because I think by then many of the questions will be answered. The big one is can Portland continue to play with intensity game after game without the scary let down. I want to beat LA in LA so bad, but mostly I want us to play like we are capable of doing and play them for 48 minutes as Kassandra keeps preaching.

    by Hg on 3/18/2011 12:22 AM
  7. Well, Mike, I guess you're going to have to give it a rest for a little while on the old refrain that the Blazers have trouble putting other teams away. They put these guys down early and just kept driving them deeper and deeper. The ball just kept zipping from side to side and then to an open man, and the defense stayed in their faces and on the ball. Guys (well, Gerald) were taking charges late in the third quarter with the lead approaching 40. LaMarcus got his numbers on 9-10 shooting, by the way. We had a few too many turnovers, mostly after the game was decided, but Gerald finished off his steady improvement in that category during the last four games. In the Charlotte loss he had 5, against Atlanta 4, against Dallas 3, and tonight he skipped a couple of steps and moved on down to zero. It was indeed odd to watch a Blazers game that was all spectacle and no drama, but we all needed the break. I'm sure there'll be a bit more suspense against Philly.

    by Islander on 3/18/2011 12:58 AM
  8. MB: You were driving me crazy each time you mentioned that the Blazers play Memphis two more times this season. Actually the Blazers play Memphis only one more time this season and that is for the whole pie in terms of the season series.

    by Shem on 3/18/2011 12:58 AM
  9. Jeez. I'm not so happy about this win, simply because I feel so bad for the Cavs and Cav fans. In their defense, they made things worse by getting Baron Davis and having no Jamison or Verajao, and they are a bunch of role players to compliment LeBron, who obviously wasn't there.

    One thing I got to say is that I'm loving Wallace starting. He brings the energy early, and that's been the hardest part of this Blazer team. It also starts us small, meaning we have to play good defense and the Blazers know that. That gets them running, and that sets the tone. As you said, it's contagious.

    Anyways, I was mainly watching to see if the Blazers could have an opponent low for points in the first quarter. It was 6 for the longest time, until the Cavs hit back to back 3 pointers. After that, I went out and hung with friends. Came back with about 10 minutes left and enjoyed our bench warmers have some fun.

    Now, this intensity NEEDS to keep up. I don't want a letdown after this blowout. I hope the Blazers aren't taking this as a "okay we listened to coach, now we can sleep on Saturday". I expect a big win over Philly. They are red hot and playing well, but they aren't near the Blazers in talent.

    by Herr on 3/18/2011 1:51 AM
  10. We're all on the same page tonight about this win. This was maybe the most boring game of the season and I say that happily. Remember the "Taking Care of Business" song? It was blaring loudly in my mind as I watched this game.

    HG: Good job on your forecast about the gelling. And Nate seems to have found an excellent line up and rotation system that sustains a darn good rhythm. Kudos to Nate for continuing to improve as a coach.

    Go Blazers!

    by thedanman on 3/18/2011 2:13 AM
  11. I am not knocking any of the line-ups tonight; I think it is very important to start GW though. It was great when GW, LMA and Camby were in the game together. The rebounding was so much better. I am not knocking Batum one bit, he is my man, but he is not a Gerald Wallace quite yet, but boy when he gets that good watch out, Maybe the line-ups will change according to the bigs of the opposing teams. In the LAL game, I like Camby, LMA and Wallace against Bynum, Casal, and Kobe. When Bynum goes out of the game, if Gasal moves to center, and they put in Odem at the four, I like LMA, GW and Batum. How is that for analytical jibber-jabber?

    With that being said, I am glad Nate is the coach instead of me, but Wallace will definitely stops opponents from keying on LMA.

    by Hg on 3/18/2011 4:53 AM
  12. Nice that we finally didn't play down to their opponent.

    Hg: You're right, the line up with Wallace wouldn't work against a team like the Lakers. Wallace would be overwhelmed by Gasaul's height. I think that any team with a big power forward would be would be a problem since Wallace really is a small forward.

    by Ancientone on 3/18/2011 5:40 AM
  13. shem,
    You're right. Don't know what I was thinking. It's OKC we play two more times.

    MB

    by mikebarrett on 3/18/2011 7:48 AM
  14. Mike: You wasn't driving me crazy, I love your broadcasting and I allow you to make mistakes. Isn't that big of me? I knew you were thinking of Lakers, SAS, or OKC.

    by Hg on 3/18/2011 7:56 AM
  15. Hg, cleveland has the worst record in the nba at 13-54. sacramento has the worst record in the western conference at 16-50. so i am sticking my tongue out!

    simply put: when we play 48 minutes, we win. we almost got there in the home game against miami, but we only played 46, leaving the last two open for a miami comeback (not counting overtime, of course).

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 3/18/2011 10:05 AM
  16. Kassandra:

    I stand corrected. Darn woman do you always have to win. Maybe I should think before I talk, but VL keeps telling me thinking gets me in trouble. Ohhh, what to do~~~

    I agree with your 48 minutes of play, You have to keep repeating yourself so much, I just thought you may be taking up preaching LOL. If my memory serves me correctly, we also have to learn to make our free throws. How many close games have we lost because of free throws down the stretch?

    I have no idea how we will end up, but I do feel we are doing good and I am like you very proud of this team.

    You are a terrific Blazer fan, but I think Adam is a great Kassandra fan, he sure talks you up on the Up and Adam Show. Just remember in all your glory I was a fan first. Well maybe through your dad fan {:>). Glad you have good feels about your finals. You took the test so you almost know if you knew the material or not.

    The next 3 days in the NBA are going to be critical and many of the answers may be answered as soon as Monday.

    by Hg on 3/18/2011 10:48 AM
  17. Hg: seriously, you were the first i really conversed with when i began commenting regularly; don't worry, i have a very good memory. my point with the worst-team-in-the-league line was that we can't coast against anyone, especially not during this stretch run (and the playoffs, for that matter). every team has talent and can show up any night. we need to play as we did last night against everyone, regardless of our opponent's record. side note on the game: we've commented on resting LaMarcus, but i'd like to note that Brandon played just 14 minutes. it was nice to get him a few extra minutes rest when we can.

    Adam is great; it's unfortunate that i'm usually in class when the show airs. i'd like to be able to watch it more consistently. one of the things i love most about this site is getting all the different perspectives, and shows like Adam and Casey's provide me a chance to do that. usually, however, i'm left with watching it in the evening or on the weekends.

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 3/18/2011 11:07 AM
  18. Back from the desert after 9 days or so, after missing some of the best (and worst) games of the season, and got to enjoy what was perhaps the most entertaining first quarter of Blazer basketball I have ever witnessed :)

    Hope we keep it up against a surging Philly team and even more, that we battle the Lakers as hard as we possibly can.

    Go Blazers!!

    by SisillaRiann on 3/18/2011 11:18 AM
  19. I love it when the blazers blow teams out. just a little bit of flexing before the playoffs. like webb said nobody wants to see the blazers. keep it up

    by Miller on 3/18/2011 12:03 PM
  20. Kassandra: I understand what you mean by no coasting time. I just went through the schedule and being as how GSW gives us a tough game every time we play them and Washington comes after the LAL game and just before the SAS game, I don't see one game that is easy pickings. That is why last night that I was glad the Blazers kept up the intensity on defense and execution on offense. I felt sorry for the Cavs, but not that sorry, they were just victims of what happened in Charlotte.

    Everybody is worried about who we are going to play and I am just worried about staying in the play-offs. I can see how good we can be and I can see how bad we can be. Is those lazy games all behind us now?

    by Hg on 3/18/2011 12:49 PM
  21. EowynAmarie: Welcome back.

    I live on the high desert of Central OR, with hot days and cold nights, but we haven't had to many hot days, but those cold nights are very common.

    All we can do is play as well as possible and trip players on the other team to stop them from doing the same. Oh, I suppose the refs would interfere with that plan. The Lakers game is not a must win to stay in the play-offs, but the more wins we get the easier it will be to stay ahead of NOH and The Grizzlies. Therefore lets make it easier and beat the Lakers come Sunday.

    by Hg on 3/18/2011 12:55 PM
  22. So appears Andre Miller is questionable for Saturday's game due to family reasoning. Hope everything is okay.

    by Herr on 3/18/2011 1:12 PM
  23. Interesting we scored 111 in both our matchups against Cleveland.

    by Herr on 3/18/2011 1:20 PM
  24. i got to go to this game...it was sooooo awesome!

    by dancegirl on 3/18/2011 5:16 PM
  25. I had this game blasting on the radio at work. Guy walks up and asks me, "Blazer fan?" I respond with a yup. "Good man, good man! What's the score?" 33 ta' 4. "Wait, what..." I repeat the score and his eyes get all big. I tell him I gotta' lady at home who's pregnant and over-hormoned. She felt like crying for the Cavs. He burst out laughing.

    That was a fun shift. Since I've taken to playin' Blazer games on the radio at work I get a lot of comments. I work in a hotspot in Newport which is a bit of a coastal tourist trap so I see people from all over the place every day. It's always cool when somebody from out of town asks the score or feels like bsin' about the Blazers while I got a game goin'.

    I think outside of being 10 years old during the Drexler and Porter days this has been the most fun I've had as a Blazer fan. Kudos on the Harlem Nights quote, MB. Cracked me the hell up, man.

    by shynz0r on 3/18/2011 8:34 PM
  26. The next few weeks will be tough but Portland is up for the challenge. GO BLAZERS !!!!!!!!!!!!!

    by mbmurr1 on 3/18/2011 8:58 PM
  27. If yesterday made you feel good then I got better news. Andre Iggy is expected to be sidelined with an injury, so he likely won't play. Doesn't mean the Blazers get to sit around, but doesn't hurt their chances either.

    Also, watching the Wolves nearly upset the Lakers (probably would have if Rambis didn't put bad defender Love in the game), Andrew Bynum gave an elbow and arm to Michael Beasley, who left the game a few moments later with an injured hip. Bynum was ejected with a Flagrant 2. Further review could *POSSIBLY* suspend him for a game. Their next game? Sunday... against Portland.

    So, not that the Blazers need it, but they're getting a little help from the source that's been hurting them for the past two season... and the fact Bynum is an immature idiot (like most Lakers eh?)

    by Herr on 3/18/2011 10:43 PM
  28. Herr:
    Although i don't like to see injuries to anybody, injuries are part of the game. I like to beat teams when they are at full strength, but Portland hasn't been full strength in a stones age, therefore, I will gladly accept all the help I can get.

    It has been said that Odem and Gasal playing together is not as effective as when Bynum is in because they play the post so much alike and it becomes either or. The same as many fears when BRoy and LMA is in the game together as being either or. I think with BRoy's new mind set and GW's play it is BRoy and LMA and GW and LMA.

    Otherwise, Team BB will prevail so in actuality we don't need help, although it surely doesn't hurt at the time, we are fighting to stay in the play-offs and only a short time to stay there

    by Hg on 3/19/2011 7:49 AM
  29. Mike and Mike I love your shirts . Rip city time . Its time to beat LA hopefully we wont play LA in the first round.

    jyp

    by jyp on 3/19/2011 4:28 PM
  30. i really liked how we played tonight. we played scrappy and put a good effort out there. wallace is so fun to watch. he PLAYS basketball. he isn't a guy you can ever say is just going through the motions. i love his focus and intensity he brings every night.

    defensively, we could have done better. our rotations and switches looked a little slow but not terrible. we'll need to do better against la.

    overall, great win tonight.

    go blazers!

    by thedanman on 3/19/2011 11:39 PM
  31. Bynum shouldn't be allowed to play. Got to love the NBA eh? Oh well, full strength is a test. I hate to say it guys... but I'm expecting an upset. Only reason I hate to say it is because my prediction of going 4-0 on that previous road trip didn't exactly go as... planned.

    by Herr on 3/20/2011 1:43 AM
  32. thedanman:
    I don't know if it was that our switching was slow or they were just that fast. They looked like speeding bullets until the last and they ran out of gas. What a game.

    We match up with LAL pretty good, it is a little different type of game though. I think they will push the tempo because we played last night, but that might be better then grinding in out laying on LMA. If we come out and play like we did the last three games, win or lose I will be happy. Also, the Lakers defense is tougher then Phillys, and Dallas, so I think it might be a low scoring defensive battle.

    I am guilty of thinking of the last two games against the Lakers. The last one we should have won, but we didn't have Wallace with either of them; it may be exciting just to see how we do with him in the mist.

    Playing in LA is a bad place to play since the refs gets star struck. Nevertheless, I am looking for an exciting game.

    by Hg on 3/20/2011 4:12 AM
  33. Most of the theories I read here I can compare to the nuclear reactors in Japan. They just don't hold water. I will agree with thedanman's observation about Wallace. He is the kind of player that will win fans over. He plays with heart and leaves it all out on the floor. He's officially become my favorite player on the team. Hopefully I can enjoy a similar blazer/Laker duel tonight, but I fear some nasty side effects from the potassium iodide tablets I'll be downing beforehand. Anal leakage is nothing to mess around with.

    And on a side note, It's official: They found enough drugs in Charlie Sheen's system to kill two and a half men.

    by Phi Slamma on 3/20/2011 9:57 AM
  34. I just read on BE that Bynum got suspended for 2 games. That means our tall small ball will work.

    There was a clip given that showed his elbow to G Wallace that looked almost exactly like the elbow he throw last night. Maybe Bynum did that on purpose so he would not have to face Wallace tonight.

    by Hg on 3/20/2011 10:29 AM
  35. @HG Bynum is the one that collapsed Wallace's lung! He's a dangerous player, I'm glad he'll be sitting out.

    by sarahhecht on 3/20/2011 10:31 AM
  36. Phi,my brotha,Crash is definitely the kind of player we need right now.He is a garbage man who can score.He gets steals, he does it all.He also brings some SWAGGER.I think he the type of player whose play is contagious to other guys like Nic.No Bynum tonight,that doesn't hurt.
    Phi,baby,little TMI on that last post,but hey,thanx for sharing:)
    Philly got WesSlapped hard,hopefully he keeps it up for the Lakers.
    BLAZERSROCK

    by DowntownVinnie on 3/20/2011 10:32 AM
  37. Nice to see so much new blood on the new site.I've been slacking as an overposter.I know you all miss those 8 paragraph long mindless rants.As the TERMINATOR said,"I'll be BACCCK "

    by DowntownVinnie on 3/20/2011 10:37 AM
  38. Glad to see you back Vinnie. I was thinking of starting a rumor that you were really Pritchard/

    by Ancientone on 3/20/2011 1:48 PM

  39. it should be a pretty interesting game tonight. kobe is going against batum, roy, matthews, wallace & fernandez. if he scores a lot, they'll probably lose.

    by reverse on 3/20/2011 2:54 PM
  40. good to see you here, Vinnie! ancientone: really, you think he could really be Pritchard?! lol

    solid win last night. philadelphia has given us some problems over the past few years. they're a plus-.500 playoff team. we should have beaten them and we did. good outing, especially for Gerald, Wesley, LaMarcus and Nicolas.

    Bynum is out tonight, which could make the matchups interesting, given Odom will likely start for the lakers. our new starting five probably matches up with the lakers better. should be an interesting game.

    home for spring break to spend time with the family, and brought the dormie with me to show around portland. going to watch the game tonight at home!

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 3/20/2011 3:15 PM
  41. VinniedowntownPritchard, glad to hear from you, I never minded the 8 paragraph rants, but sometimes that foriegn language you use gets me confused. and I get tired of looking up you words.

    Kassandra, tell your dormie hi and welcome to OR. Glad you made it home.

    Lets take it to the lakers

    Hg

    by Hg on 3/20/2011 4:22 PM
  42. Aren't KGW games streamed online?

    by DowntownVinnie on 3/20/2011 4:43 PM
  43. Don't make me PritchSlap you:)

    by DowntownVinnie on 3/20/2011 4:44 PM
  44. travisd,you nailed it re: Kobe.

    by DowntownVinnie on 3/20/2011 4:45 PM
  45. I know this blog is not for tonights Laker game, but i needed to get out my frustration right away. Kobe shudve been T'd up two times in the last few min of this game. He went crazy at one play (i forgot which one) then after Artest's T, Kobe went after the ref. Any other person gets a T, its just stupidly ridiculous Kobe gets treated differently. Oh and btw - that makes it 3 if u count the one from last time we played the Lakers, when kobe shudve been T'd up there too. Like cmon, i know he's kobe, but seriously refs, why shud we lose out cuz ure all in love with the guy (who deosnt stop yelling at u all night long) I dont like the new Tech rules, but i can deal with them. What i can't deal with is people getting treated differently abt the rules... seriously - it's just unright. NBA do something abt it cuz ure just being inconsistent and it makes the game unfair, and quite honestly, dumb..

    Sry mike, that wasnt to you - but do me a favor and send that to the powers that be in the NBA, this is just ridiculous

    by joe.k on 3/20/2011 7:51 PM
  46. Sorry, blazer baby, but tonight's loss was no way the fault of the refereeing. I'm getting sick, sick, sick of watching the Blazers lose won games by not being able to make a play in crunch time. Also, not being able to finish at the rim in tonight's case. The Lakers didn't win that game but maybe their aura did. We were walking the ball up all night which plays right into their hands. Granted Artest's defense was terrific as usual and Gasol owned the boards for much of the game, but there were enough opportunities for us to win this game, we just didn't take advantage of what was presented to us on a platter.


    --
    don

    by dgpdx on 3/20/2011 9:24 PM
  47. Ya we missed enough free throws to win the game. I think the Lakers is one team that can intimidate us

    by Hg on 3/20/2011 9:35 PM
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