Mar 22

Wallace Takes the Lead

By mikebarrett
It's clear that Gerald Wallace is getting more and more comfortable as a Portland Trail Blazer.  But, following the 111-76 win over the Washington Wizards on Tuesday night, said he won't feel like he's totally a part of the group until he learns to throw the lob pass to LaMarcus Aldridge.  He was laughing when he said it, but that certainly sounds like something we'd expect him to say. 

The Trail Blazers lead the NBA (by far) in alley-oop plays.  They've hit on 136 of them this season.  The Clippers are second with 110.  Of those 136 lobs, 89 have been finished off by Aldridge.  That's an amazing number.  All Wallace could think about after the game, is had he delievered a better lob, Aldridge would be standing at 90 on the season.

Now, that's getting nit picky.

But, when you blow out a team you should blow out, and still want to talk about things you can improve on, that was an easy place to land.  Actually, there was one other place the Blazers didn't do well in this game, and that was from behind the three-point line.  They were just 5 for 20.

At halftime the Blazers held a 17-point lead, but Washington was shooting 47 percent.  Nate McMillan felt that was too high a percentage.  So, he challenged his defense in the second half.  They responded.  The Blazers held the Wiz to 9 for 34 shooting in the final three quarters, and the rout was on. 

Here is the stat of the night, and something I can't say I've seen before.  The Blazers ended with 62 points in the paint.  They had 15 points from behind the three-point line.  And, they had 26 points from the free-throw line.  That means they only had 8 points, four field goals, from mid range- that is the area outside the key, but inside the three-point line.  I hope you appreciate how crazy, and how rare, that is. 

In games like this though, the stat page can look a little funny.  The best news is they won the game by 35, and picked up win number 41.

Wallace led the way with 28 points (the most for him so far as a Blazer), 8 rebounds, 3 assists, and 4 steals.  And, he had a huge blocked shot in the game.  Also good news was the fact that he only had to play 32 minutes.  Aldridge, who had 22 points and 6 rebounds, only had to play 33 minutes.

Nicolas Batum, who was coming off a season-high 25 against the Lakers, backed that up nicely with 22 points and 12 rebounds.  The points are nice for Nic, but to see him get the 12 boards was very satisfying.

The Blazers shot 50 percent from the field, which was nice, following the 39 percent performance against the Lakers on Sunday.  Obviously, the Wizards aren't the Lakers. 

Given what Portland has ahead of it, in terms of the schedule, this was a must win.  They treated it that way, and stepped on the throats of the Wizards early in the third.

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

Now, it gets tough.

The Blazers host San Antonio on Friday, and then head for Oklahoma City, San Antonio, and New Orleans.  As soon as they get home they have Oklahoma City again, and then Dallas.  That's brutal.

This race in the west is far from over, and nothing at this point is guaranteed.  We've all spent so much time talking about who Portland should be playing in the first round of the playoffs.  Once again, they've got to get there first. 

11 games to go.


  1. Well, I attended my first game the season, and enjoyed doing the wave. I didn't get a chance to chant "MVP" to LaMarcus because I was going to wait near the end, but... I should have remembered we were playing the Wizards.

    Was a great game. I loved Nicolas' effort. He's really starting to get a feel for the game. I don't think he took even one jumpshot in this game besides the and-1. He attacked the basket very well and made it look easy. He did the same against the Lakers. I also loved his rebounding effort.

    Wallace... well... what can I say. We know LaMarcus was the biggest All-Star snub of all time... but is Gerald Wallace the biggest steal of all time? I think one of the most amazing stats in this game was that the Blazers scored 111 points. The highest scorer scored 28. LaMarcus Aldridge and Brandon Roy scored a combined 23 points.

    Back in the day, if we said that those two only scored 23 points, it normally was a result of a blowout loss. To say it was in a blowout win... now that's something.

    Next up is friday. Hanging with my bros and a Spurs fan that day. So, as much as I like to talk on these blogs, it's almost double in reality. Let's win!

    I predict the Blazers to win these next 5 games. Yes, I am crazy. But that's because I have BLAZERMANIA.

    Only game I'm nervous about, really, is the game at New Orleans. We just better beat OKC. That's my 21st Birthday and I've been waiting for that day for ages. It's finally here. I want a win!

    by Herr on 3/22/2011 10:35 PM
  2. @Mike & Mike... During Flip's .20 time out at the 7:25 mark of the 3rd, props to you guys for showing the Hustle Board. The Hustle stat is something all my friends (and I'm sure others do as well) pay attention to, every game. It's shows just how hard our guys are out there, wanting the win, defending their asses off!!! Let's make it a regular addition to the television and radio broadcasts please and thank you?!


    by Randy.Lauer on 3/22/2011 10:40 PM
  3. Nice the Blazers are taking care of the teams they should take care of. I think they are going to do well down the stretch. 8-3 the rest of the way! Make me real happy if they go 10-1 to win 51 like I predicted, but that's not very realistic any more.


    by mgb on 3/22/2011 11:18 PM
  4. Great game by GW! Yes, nice to see Nic with the 12 boards as well. All I can say is it's good to see these performances as the season winds down. IF we get to the playoffs (just to share Mike's sentiment of having to get there first rather than talk about match-ups), I hope GW and Nic can make the same sort of contributions then as well.

    Anyways, nice to get a comfortable win again, against a team we should take care of, as Mr. Rice said on chalk talk, there should be no let-downs the rest of the way, as we can't afford it.

    -Anees, from Prague

    by Anees on 3/22/2011 11:30 PM
  5. It was nice to have another stress-free game, but there were a few spots for a pessimist to pick at. Our starting front line, which was very good against the Lakers was even better, as you'd expect against a weak team. But only one of our guards really improved his play. Rudy, Wesley and Brandon all shot badly again. Andre was deadly efficient in limited minutes; 2-2, 11 assists with zero turnovers says it all. But what on earth has happened to Nate's commitment to Patty Mills? He held him out so long this time it felt like he was sending him a message along the lines of "Don't think for a moment you'll get a meaningful minute in the playoffs." Rice said, "he'll be in there in a minute" but it was a painfully long wait before Nate finally let him on the floor. Is there something happening I don't know about? Did Nate catch him sneaking out of his wife's bedroom, or is he suspected of smuggling koala pelts to black-marketeers? Against the Lakers I figured it was about match-ups, but why would he snub Mills that badly in a blow-out?

    by Islander on 3/23/2011 12:21 AM
  6. Good post Mike . Glad we got GW on the team. Well the eastern confrence teams are over its all about the wild west. with games coming up above .500 enjoy the 2 days off see you and Mike R on tv Friday. Go Blazers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    by jyp on 3/23/2011 2:15 AM
  7. Mike: As you know, bowling night.
    I didn't get any score updates or radio reports, but did get through bowling to listen to the whole fourth quarter. By that time the opportunity time as Tone said opposed to garbage time of Wheels. Therefore in my brief time Chris Johnson was the hero. So I thank you for the update of the rest of the game.

    The answer to Islander question IMO was Mills height and he wanted to do more experimenting with Rudy and BRoy in the backcourt at the same time, opposed to BRoy playing the 3. Remember most teams are pretty much set in their rotations, but Portland is just getting theirs with Wallace, and BRoy and with Camby going in and out of the teams active roster.

    Thanks for the update Mike and fellow Posters, I have a pretty clear picture of what went down.

    With the 9Th seed team 5 wins behind us all we need is a combination 6 wins by us and or 6 losses by Phoenix. That at least makes it sound better.

    by Hg on 3/23/2011 4:03 AM
  8. It's nice we are finally blowing the teams that we should beat.

    Couple of points. The last 14 seconds of the 1st quarter were reminiscient of a recent game that we lost. What's wih Rudy - 5 turnovers and 1/7 on 3 pointers. Roy goes 0/6. Good thing we didn't need them.

    by Ancientone on 3/23/2011 4:16 AM
  9. This was a game of a good team taking care of business of a bad team. I'm looking forward to this tough final stretch. It should give us a good idea of how ready we are for the playoffs.

    Go Blazers!

    by thedanman on 3/23/2011 5:50 AM
  10. Islander,interesting point about Patty.All I can say is ,look how fast The Armonizer fell out of favor with Sarge .He is hard on young players.Always has been.
    Great win for us.Enuff of playing down to lesser teams.
    MB,I would NOT be suprised if Crash is being an influence in the locker room as well as on the court.
    MGB,10-1,Man you are the king of all optimists,brotha.


    by DowntownVinnie on 3/23/2011 7:11 AM
  11. Love a blowout..... GO BLAZERS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    by mbmurr1 on 3/23/2011 8:26 AM
  12. Good Game! Wallace has deffinantly anchored out defense! We do have to make it to the playoff first but heres a *GREAT* article over at the bleacher report you guys need to check out! http://bleacherreport.com/articles/641111-portland-trail-blazers-best-non-elite-team-with-a-shot-at-the-nba-championship

    by AK Blazer on 3/23/2011 9:02 AM
  13. AK Blazer,

    Thanks for the link. I found this interesting:

    The aforementioned Batum, who is probably the defensive weak link on the starting lineup right now is still reliable on the other side of the floor, as he can easily score 10-15 points a game, and gives the team a second threat from three-point land.

    Batum is the weak link on D? He is known for his D and being inconsistent on O.

    by mgb on 3/23/2011 9:42 AM
  14. If we don't make the playoffs, we don't deserve it.

    by Herr on 3/23/2011 10:12 AM
  15. MGB: I was wondering about that too. The author may have got mixed up.

    I will take his aggressive D and 10-15 points to the bank any night.

    by Hg on 3/23/2011 10:19 AM
  16. this was a great game. offensively, we stepped it up the entire game and defensively, Nate's adjustments really worked. it was great to see guys like Gerald and Nicolas to step up again. the funny thing is that if you look only at LaMarcus' point total, then you might think he had an average or sub-par game, until you realize he only played 33 minutes. any time we can get him a few extra minutes of rest, it's going to help. i know it was garbage time, but Chris Johnson did some very nice things when he was on the court. sure, playing against the wizards' deep bench isn't going to get you the best experience possible. however, now that he's tasted some success, i think he's getting hungry for more playing time.

    mgb: you're correct. Nicolas is a defensive specialist who is developing some offensive moves. it's exciting to watch. he definitely has earned a couple new berets the past couple of games!

    Vinnie: Crash went all LTP on the wizards last night! it wouldn't surprise me if he's becoming a postive influence in the locker room at all.

    Ancientone: good point. we should have beaten the wizards big, and we did. we took care of business.

    thedanman: i think these last 11 games will really give us an idea of what we may be able to do in the playoffs. well said.

    Hg: seriously, you're going to have to start fluxuating your bowling nights around the blazers!

    Herr: i hope we have better luck on your birthday than on mine when we lost to atlanta at home.

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 3/23/2011 10:28 AM
  17. Kassandra: only 5 more weeks of bowling, but four weeks of Blazers regular season. We only have two more tueday night games. Golden State and Memphis. With any luck those two games won't be as big a factor as they are right now. I can record the games and watch them later, or listen to them on the radio. The owner of the Bowling lanes is a blazer fan and watches the continueing update's on the game, but he was out of town last night, I couldn't get my little radio to work, so I had to wait until I got to my car on the way home. So I did listen to the whole fourth quarter. OBTW. Tone informed Wheels that at the end of a blow out game isn't garbage time, but opportunity time because he often had to play at that time and he wasn't garbage LOL.

    I am already convenced that we will be a team to be reckoned with in the play-offs, we have not yet reached our potential with the Addition of Wallace and BRoy. In my opinion only, I think BRoy is holding out a little bit and saving it for the play-offs. Then he will earn his title of the sandman, lull them to sleep and then explode on them.

    I missed you on Up and Adam show.

    by Hg on 3/23/2011 10:45 AM
  18. Hg Im sorry to bother you. you bowl so do I a 165 averege bowler . go blazers!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    by jyp on 3/23/2011 12:24 PM
  19. jyp:

    No bother at all, I love hearing my fella Blazer fans. I have a 185 average and falling as I get older my aggressiveness is harder to keep. As teams gets physical with Blazers with no fouls called it has a tendency to make them lose their aggressiveness.

    by Hg on 3/23/2011 12:32 PM
  20. That game last night, aside from the first 6 minutes or so, was EXACTLY what I was hoping and expecting to see from this team. I thought perhaps Cleveland was a fluke, so I was very relieved that we did not play down to our competition for a second time. To me, this is a very good sign.

    The loose locker room atmosphere and increasing chemistry among the team is also a very good sign :)

    My only concern at any time was BRoy's ineffectiveness over the last 4 games. I assume he is just still adjusting, finding his role and getting used to playing less minutes. He doesn't seem to be hurt at all, so it must be something else :) I feel confident he will work it out though!

    by SisillaRiann on 3/23/2011 12:46 PM
  21. Just so folks are aware, I noticed LaMarcus dominating when I was at the game. Being in the 300 section (THIS IS SPARTA!... okay going too far) I was able to get a good look at the hustle board at halftime.

    LaMarcus had 22 points, 1 assists, 3 rebounds. He didn't take a single shot in the second half of the game, he only grabbed a bit of boards.

    My thoughts are that LaMarcus was there to secure the win early (which they did) and to build on court chemistry, just like why there were starters so late against Cleveland. Great choice by Nate. I'm sick of the NBA media bashing him for that thinking there truly is an "injury curse" in Portland.

    by Herr on 3/23/2011 1:11 PM
  22. EowynAmarie:

    Glad to see you smiling again :).

    by Hg on 3/23/2011 1:17 PM
  23. thats right Hg same with me. Good averege . I bowl on wednesdays nights only and I try to watch the games from the bowling alley and its hard to see the scores . But Im looking foward to Friday night play the spurs......... Good luck bowling tonight .....:)

    by jyp on 3/23/2011 1:31 PM
  24. Sometime, when we really need to get defensive, here's a group I'd like to see on the court:

    Marcus Camby (or LaMarcus) - C
    Gerald Wallace - F
    Nicolas Batum - F
    Rudy Fernandez - G
    Wes Mathews - G

    Turn this bunch loose to wreak havoc on the opponents offense and score off turnovers. Could be wrong, but I don't think this group of five great defenders have all been on the court at the same time yet. Nate?

    by dgpdx on 3/23/2011 3:59 PM
  25. I think we need to see patty mills in the line up fast player. That guy can run.

    by jyp on 3/23/2011 4:17 PM
  26. jvp:

    As a bowler, I can see where rhythm and timing is so important to BB players. I can go down to bowl one night and get one strike after another with an occasional 7 pin (lefty). and it seems I've got it all figured out and it is easy. Then on the next night, I couldn't get a strike if my life depended on it. So, I say it is easy to get strikes when you are on, but when you struggle is when you work the hardest, and the more you do the worst you get. the the stress takes over and the game is over. I feel this is the same with BB players, if the defense knocks them out of balance, or interrupts their rhythm then the shots won't fall. Of course if I had the answer to the problem I could be a 300 bowlers and the Blazers would be champions.

    by Hg on 3/23/2011 4:29 PM
  27. Don, I think for an all defensive team Armon would be better then Rudy.

    If you took your line-up of:
    Marcus for rebounding
    LMA for being able to switch on pick and rolls
    Batum because he can guard the point guards.
    Him and LMA can switch on picks and not lose anything. going back on offense off turn-overs any of the five, even Camby, Remember when he drove the full length of the court, could handle the ball off the dribble

    That would leave us without a true point guard, but boy would we have stopping power.

    by Hg on 3/23/2011 4:38 PM
  28. Ya, I would drop Rudy for LA in a sec. Rudy isn't really the best defender though he does get steals and disrupts because he gambles a lot.

    by mgb on 3/23/2011 5:54 PM
  29. I think Rudy's defense is underrated. Granted he's not the best on-the-ball defender (although lately he's been better at that) but he is so disruptive by getting in the passing lanes and his ability to anticipate passes is among the best.

    I feel the group I named could be to the NBA what the old UCLA zone press was to college ball, a way to change the complexion of a game in a hurry.

    Granted the Armonizer can fit that role also and maybe he should be in that unit if the other team has smaller guards.

    by dgpdx on 3/24/2011 12:58 PM
  30. I just like LA's length and speed. Not really a knock against Rudy.

    by mgb on 3/24/2011 1:56 PM
  31. Hate to see it, and hate to say this, but David West is likely done for the season, which is bitter sweet news for the Blazers if there was any concern.

    Watching that game, he screamed in agony for awhile, repeating "oww" like a man that just got hit by a cannon ball. Seeing both Oden's and Joel's injuries, I can tell you that West is done. He had to leave on a wheel chair. Was sad to see. Killed the moment since he scored a game tying dunk with 6.8 seconds left. Milsap got fouled with 1.3 seconds left, and was an idiot that made the 2nd free throw, putting the Jazz up by 2. A long inbound pass to Paul, who tipped it to Okafor who threw a circus shot went in.

    The good news is the Jazz are likely out of the playoffs. I honestly think that if any team doesn't make the playoffs, it would be New Orleans (thats in it now). This was before the West injury. Utah, in a depressing season for them, is likely gone.

    The Bad news is we're now only a half game ahead of New Orleans, who should have lost today, but you can thank Milsap for sacrificing his teams chances in the playoffs for scoring one more point on his impressive statline.

    by Herr on 3/24/2011 7:51 PM
  32. I've thought for two weeks now that you could stick a fork in Utah, they're done. I'm so glad they matched our offer for Milsap, he's no Carlos Boozer by a long shot.

    West being out really helps us against the Hornets next week. West usually plays very well against the Blazers. A win there will be a big step toward the playoffs and staying out of 7th place. No way we want to face the Lakers in the first round.

    by dgpdx on 3/24/2011 10:39 PM
  33. mgb: I understand and would certainly not disapprove of putting LA on our all-defensive team. It depends a lot on who's on the floor for the other team.

    by dgpdx on 3/24/2011 10:42 PM
  34. Really terrible about West. He's a great ball player and a significant threat, especially to us. The Hornets have done well this season and I sincerely hope they make it in, regardless of West's status.

    Going to the game tonight. Down to my last two for the season. Anybody else going to be there?

    Out of curiosity, how does one get down to the floor to say hello to Mike and Mike? I would really like to do that either tonight or at my last game. I likely won't have any games next season, so this may be my last chance for awhile to meet the them :)

    by SisillaRiann on 3/25/2011 7:04 AM
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