mikebarrett

Mar 28

Blazers Survive San Antonio

By mikebarrett
This was the very definition of a trap game.  Gregg Popovich knew it, and so he decided to go all in.  He can be unconventional, and even though this was a loss for them, this may end up helping this San Antonio team in the long run.

With Tim Duncan out, and Manu Ginobili injuring his quad on Sunday night in Memphis, Popovich decided to rest Tony Parker and Antonio McDyess and put all of the pressure on Portland.  It not only did that, but took absolutely all of the pressure off his team.  And, it gave him a chance to test his young players, and potentially pick up a team-galvanizing win. 

It nearly was.

The Trail Blazers, who weren't expecting to see a Spurs lineup that they hadn't at all prepared for, had to try and avoid letting down, knowing they weren't going to see anything close to the Spurs team they saw on Friday in Portland.  This is tougher than you might think.  How do you maintain the same edge playing guys like Danny Green and Chris Quinn, that you would have naturally had against Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili?   

Nate McMillan told us after the game he told his team they weren't changing anything, despite the surprise.  He had to preach the same game plan, same intensity, same desire.  But, again, that's easier said than done.  It went from a game you would feel great about winning to a game you'd feel awful about losing.  That's pressure.  That's exactly what Popovich had in mind.

The Trail Blazers had a six-point lead after one, and a seven-point lead at halftime.  It probably wasn't the advantage they were hoping for after two quarters, but hey, they had the lead and everything was going okay.  In the third quarter, the tables were turned.

Everything was difficult in that third, and the pressure appeared to be getting to the road team.  Everyone knew the longer the Spurs stayed in the game, the tougher it would be.  The crowd, sensing the chance to record a huge win, stayed in the ballgame as well, and got louder and louder as their Spurs stayed in it.  Portland scored just nine points in the third quarter, and went to the fourth trailing San Antonio by five.

The Spurs, on the season, were 47-2 when leading after three quarters.  Clearly, this wasn't the same San Antonio team, but it was the same system.  That's what you're playing when you're playing the Spurs.

What the Blazers needed was a chance.  A chance, in this case, came with a big San Antonio draught.  The Spurs had the AT&T Center on its ear when they took an 80-72 lead with 9:18 left in the game.  But, they didn't record another field goal until the 1:44 mark.  That gave Portland the opportunity it needed.

The biggest shot of the game came with about six minutes to go in the game.  The Blazers missed a shot and the loose ball was grabbed by Gerald Wallace.  That second chance ended with Nicolas Batum drilling a three pointer that brought the Trail Blazers to within two, at 81-79.  But, mostly, even though it didn't give them the lead, it gave them momentum.

It was part of a 15-1 run that carried the Blazers to the 100-92 victory.

Andre Miller is a reluctant scorer at times for Portland, but has an incredible sense of knowing when he's got to step up and get aggressive.  He scored 26 points in this game, shooting 9 of 15 from the field.  Wallace, who hit some big buckets down the stretch, had 14 points and 7 rebounds.  And Batum, along with the huge three at the six-minute mark, had 10 points and 13 huge rebounds.

All the matters in the end, on a night like this, is that Portland got the win.  They beat the league-leading Spurs for the second time four days, and clinched the season series 3-1.  The Spurs have only 17 losses on the season, and three of them have come at the hands of the Blazers.  It doesn't matter who was playing, and who wasn't, that's impressive. 

The Blazers have now won 8 of the last 9 meetings with San Antonio.  No other NBA team can say that.

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

Again, you feel good winning this game, but it doesn't compare to how badly you would have felt if you had lost it.  That, is a trap game.

We're off to New Orleans on Tuesday, and Wednesday night take on the Hornets.  The Blazers can move a season-high 13 games over the .500 mark with a win.

Talk to you from the Big Easy.

Next Story: Seven To Go

61 Comments

  1. Hate to bring it to you Mike, but we trail the Hornets 2-1. Winning would tie the season series, unless we win in another category. Regardless, the win is huge. We need it badly. I think this is the game the Blazers were most focused on.

    Nice analyst for a trap game. Being an avid fan, I wander places and all I heard was "if Portland loses, that'd be incredibly embarassing". Regardless of the traps set, I thought the Blazers played very poorly, and I'm a bit concerned. They looked incredibly tied, but yet again, that could be set in Popovichs trap since he played fresh legs.

    I'm liking our chances. This game may not have been a huge win, but it's a win, and it's huge when it comes to the standings. I like our chances against the Hornets as long as we can play defense. The Hornets have a killer defense, so a win would be a great accomplishment.

    After that, it's April. And yes, we are still sweeping the month of April.

    by Herr on 3/28/2011 10:03 PM
  2. Nice catch Herr. Fixed it. Writing in my sleep again.

    MB

    by mikebarrett on 3/28/2011 10:10 PM
  3. Awesome game mike. Its funny watching Popovich getting mad with the refs but hes a good coach and so is Nate . Nate is the best . after this road trip 2 road games left Utah and Warriors. I have to bowl wednesday so I will watch it from the bowling alley.

    by jyp on 3/28/2011 10:52 PM
  4. I was really hoping that the Blazers would not under estimate this short handed Spurs team. It appears they they did, the game was fairly ugly, but a win nevertheless. This last stretch is not easy, gonna be a tough fight. I would ve satisfied if we came out of this road trip 2-1.

    One thing I have noticed, is LA has been alittle off latly..missed shots, and much more pasive. He is either passing up open shots, or not taking it to the hole as often. Specialy when hes had quite a few miss matches in the last few games, I know the Spurs started doubling LA in the 4th, but previously he should have ZERO prabs. with Bonner and Splitter. All Im saying is with Wallace taking over big offensive duties and Roy back, I dont want to see the old LA, who thinks he can let the other guys get the points, man hes soooo humble and giving...but that attitude sometimes holds him back.

    Anyways enough of that, maybe its just a bad stretch for him. Wallace..wow..guy is getting it done!....and Miller...Portland pg, thats all I can say. Go Blazers.

    by whitefeather21380 on 3/28/2011 11:42 PM
  5. It was nice to see this team come back and win a game they seemed ready to give away. But I wonder if any of you noticed how we got in the hole we climbed out of?
    Remember my last rant about Nate refusing to play Patty? I was gratified to see Patty get in the game tonight. He played five minutes and thirteen seconds in the first half, hit a big three, and made no turnovers. But most importantly, he was the only Blazer all night who worked smoothly with LaMarcus. They worked the slip-a-pick and pop play twice in a row and got LA wide open looks both times. He hit one of them. Would you believe that turned out to be 20% of LaMarcus' shots in this game? The Blazers struggled to get him the ball in good positions, he missed a couple of good looks inside and a couple outside and they mostly gave up trying to get him the ball.
    Now, cut to the second half. We came out cold after the break and at the 6:50 point had given up our lead and were tied. That's when Brandon Roy came into the game. He stayed in until the 7:05 point in the fourth quarter, at which point we were down by seven. Patty never got back in the game, because Nate was going back to his no-real-point-guard line-up. Brandon provided what some of us would expect with a shooting guard running the offense. He made three shots and turned the ball over four times. Our offense bogged down. To start the fourth we went to Rudy at the point, and he promptly turned the ball over too. Andre came in and we still struggled, but then Roy left the game and the team made a 180 and won going away.
    I hate to confess it, but I was happy last night when Brandon hurt his back and left the game. I really, really hate the "stand-around-and-watch-Brandon-work" offense. I do not like the fact that the team now forgets about LaMarcus for long stretches. Yeah, we beat the Spurs practice squad once we finally got our former All-Star off the court, but if we don't get our priorities sorted out quickly, we'll be lucky to win one of the three tough games we have coming up this week.

    by Islander on 3/29/2011 12:04 AM
  6. Mike:
    Great blog as usual. I had eight hours work to do after the game, but it was worth it. Although we had a let down period, it was a hard fought game. Regardless of what Islander says, BRoy was a big factor in the game last night as our starters played big minutes the night before and we were playing, as you said a fresh team with Pops system. That, IMO, was the big let down in the third and beginning of the fourth. If Islander had looked closer, BRoy drew a big crowd and kicked the ball out to open shooters that couldn't hit their shots because of heavy legs. How is that BRoy's fault. But, most of all it gave Dre a good break and he was able to finish the game very strong. That was good strategy on Nate's part, and we will need everybody in the play-offs, BRoy's biggest problem is rust, getting back to game form, adjusting to his injury and his new role. All that takes time and playing time is the only way to over come all of that, which as of yet he is not allowed.

    Islander, this was not meant to attack you for your opinions, your opinions just manipulated me to express my opinions. No harm intended.

    The main thing is we got a win on the road, which is hard to do against SAS, as Mike said, it is still Pops, system and those guys are pretty good as their bench is most of the reason they are the NBA's best team. I thought Portland coasted in the middle of the game to give their legs a chance to finish strong in the end, and it worked so it is not my call to disagree. It was aggravating to see.

    A win is a win and I am proud of the gut check our team showed.

    by Hg on 3/29/2011 6:08 AM

  7. EowynAmarie: from your comments on the last blog.

    I won’t complain about the loss. Just cry a lot:).

    I wonder the same thing about LMA, but IMO, It is the strategy of the opposing teams to keep the ball out of LMA’s hands while he is down low and force him to shoot over the top on the perimeter. Surely, he is not playing with the same intensity that he was playing with, but that could be like Kassandra says, most of his PT comes from playing PF 2 and not his natural position.

    IMO, our biggest problem is our perimeter shooting. My theory is live by the three die by the three, but with Nate’s system outside shots are needed to open the inside for LMA.

    I agree with you on BRoy, he really hasn’t been an impact one way or another while in the game so a loss is not on his shoulders or LMA’s lack of aggression is not on his shoulders, Every player has to be responsible for their play regardless of what his team mates do. The big thing is that BRoy is just a role player now, coming off the bench to give relief to the back court. If Nate wants to develop him into a PG, that is not on BRoy, that is on Nate. Come play-off time that might be a valuable asset. Again like Kassandra says, he should be getting his minutes at shooting guard, his natural position.

    OBTW, I think the reason for LMA’s struggle is the double teams LMAO.

    by Hg on 3/29/2011 6:51 AM
  8. I have to agree with Islander about Brandon. Maybe the blazer brass should consider changing his bobble head doll to bobble-hands. In my line of work, if I don't shake the rust off after a month, guess what?, I don't have a job any more. He had a bad game, I don't think there's anything more to it than that. Now that Joel's gone it seems that Wallace is the designated charge taker. If I ever find myself deep in the bush with a charging rhino coming my way, I'm hiring Wallace as my tour guide. I had hoped his selflessness would be contagious to the rest of the team but it seems his mates are content with sacrificing him as road kill on every other possession.
    P.S.: The only time I want to see Patty and Rudy out on the floor together is after a blazer victory. Patty can take his shirt off while the streamers flow, ala Isaiah Rider, and three-goggle the crowd into a frenzy while Rudy shows us his trick of jumping into the air with the ball with nowhere to go.

    by Phi Slamma on 3/29/2011 6:56 AM
  9. Phi slamma: IMO, It is hard to shake the rust off, learn a new role, play through rehabbing a injury and coming off the bench instead of starting all in about 15 minutes a half. I also have to agree with EA in the fact that BRoy is really a non-factor in most games other then giving rest to the starters. I have to agree with you that the turn-overs is a problem.

    by Hg on 3/29/2011 7:05 AM
  10. for a while, i really didn't think we were going to step up and pull this one out. that's not being fair-weather, that's being realistic. regardless of who was on the court for the spurs, we should have been able to put this game away early. i don't know if the guys were tired from the thunder game, but this should not have been as much of a challenge as it was.

    as far as i can tell, we've pretty much abandoned our game plan of feeding LaMarcus inside. that's too bad since that's primarily the reason we are where we are this season. yes, it's a win. however, it is also an indication that we are no where near where we need to be.

    i give a lot of props to Andre for keeping us in it. on this night, we needed the cool, crafty veteran. more props to Nicolas for fighting through the quad injury and grabbing those 13 boards. we needed every single one of them. our bench scored 24 points which, if you think about the personnel, might seem low. yet they shot 9-12 from the field combined, including 3-3 from behind the arc. Marcus snagged eight rebounds which helped a lot as well.

    i think Nate has tightened up the rotation a bit too much. we need nine guys; not eight. even if Patty plays the five minutes that he did, or if Chris comes in to help out for a few minutes, we need that ninth player.

    Hg and i discussed this after last game and i still think it holds true. Brandon is not a point guard. Rudy is not a point guard. Andre needs to be backed up by someone who is a point guard. this out-of-position-pg-by-committee is not working. seriously guys, Hg and i can't be the only ones who see that, can we?

    just want to take an opportunity to congratulate the "other" team who won last night. that's right, the stanford women's basketball team thumped gonzaga and earned a trip to the final four! go cardinal!

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 3/29/2011 7:09 AM
  11. It was a great team effort on a night when L.A. was not on to say the least. way to fight. ROLL ON BLAZERS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    by mbmurr1 on 3/29/2011 8:16 AM
  12. OK Kassandra, you're right.

    It really concerns me that this team would still get a 9 point 3rd quarter. Playing your A game from the start allows players to get more rest as subs get to play more with big leads. Splitter badly outplaued LA last night. Worry, Worry.

    by Ancientone on 3/29/2011 9:20 AM
  13. Brandon made some good plays, shot a good percentage, got a big steal, and during his entire second-half stint the Blazers were behind. He left, and they turned things around. Our record this season is better when he's out of the line-up than when he plays. I agree with Kassandra that Roy should log his time at shooting guard, and there are certainly times I would rather have him in there instead of Rudy. (I'd play Nic or Gerald at small forward with Wesley or Rudy in there for the brief occasions neither is available). But a part-time back-up for Wesley is all I see right for Roy right now. I think Brandon is a slow player with superb one-on-one skills who makes the Blazers a weaker team, because when he's not working one-on-one, he's not as good as the other guys at passing or playing D or running the break, and when he is working half-court with the ball, everyone else pretty much stops working. I think that a lot of what makes for star-player stats is opportunity, and that it entirely possible to have a "star" who makes the team worse. I'm not saying that Brandon at his peak did that, just that he has always had some weaknesses his key skills made up for. It's not Brandon's "fault" that the team plays often worse with him in the line-up, but it is a consequence of his skill set. Four turnovers in that ten-minute second-half stint would not have happened for Rudy or Patty or even Wesley, because Nate would have taken them out after any of them made the first two. He chose to let Brandon keep trying to scrape off the rust, and it didn't work out. His presence out there did indeed let some other guys rest; my point is that they'd have had the same rest with Patty or even Armin out there, and a team that kept running its offense instead of kicking the ball away might not have left those rested players to climb out of a seven-point hole.

    by Islander on 3/29/2011 9:34 AM
  14. It definitely appeared that we changed our game plan to add more focus on Wallace. It seemed that most his contributions on previous games were from hustle and individual play, which was great. I didn't like to see so many call sets for him last night. It seemed to be disorderly, a lot of congestion in the paint with him and Aldridge.
    That said, Novak was guarding Wallace and it was still a tough time. I think a view days rest and going getting back to what got us to where we are now, like Kassandra said, playing through Aldridge is going to take the Blazers the farthest.

    by coreymjr on 3/29/2011 9:52 AM
  15. Islander:

    Wasn't it the Lakers game, when Dre had untimely turn-overs. you can pick one example game size if you choose, but I feel it is unwise to pick on any one player when the whole unit is not playing good. Our second unit has been weak all year and that is the only comparison I make with our without BRoy, and he is no worst then Patty or Rudy.

    I am not making excuses for BRoy or taking away from Patty or Rudy, they are all a part of the team. If you are going to show the faults of players, you should go from 1 through 14, not just the one that you want to pick on.

    I am not a coach, and I can't say what players should play together and which ones shouldn't. But the whole team won the game and if we hadn't pulled it out the whole team would have lost the game. If the team looks worst while BRoy is in then it maybe that you just don't like half court and ISO. but if the rest of the team chooses to stand when BRoy is in than you should be questioning their commitment and energy not BRoy's. It is a lot easier to stand and let BRoy do your work for you. You don't see Wallace doing that. He helps BRoy out as much as he helps Dre out. That is what a team commitment is about.

    by Hg on 3/29/2011 10:06 AM
  16. Hg: hahaha...seriously needed your cheekiness after spending the morning throwing up (with more to come I am sure)

    Islander:.....?? I will never understand how people can witness the exact same event and yet "see" entirely different things. Other than Roy's terrible ball-handling (which isn't the norm for him), I have no idea what you are talking about. Oh well (shrugging shoulders)

    I understand (doesn't mean I agree) Nate's decisions regarding his players and having them in positions that might not be natural to them. I sometimes see the benefit and sometimes see the cost of it. I have to agree that it is best if players can be in their natural positions as much as possible. Keeping LA at the 5 is beginning to bother me just a bit, as is seeing Roy and ESPECIALLY Rudy at the PG. I get what Nate is saying about spreading the floor and I think having alternate line-ups that play to the competition can be a strength, but I would like to see LA get out of the Center position.

    Last blog, I kind of ranted about what is wrong with LA. After reading some opinions and listening to some of those closer to the situation, I am going to step back and consider fatigue as the primary problem for Lamarcus. Of course, fatigue is going to affect his mental aggressiveness and it really could explain his increasing passivity. Having Wallace at the 4 puts LA at the 5, where though he does a good job, he also has to work much harder on defense along with getting the normal abuse on the offensive end. Additionally, despite reinforcements, he is still playing the most minutes on most nights. He's playing harder, bigger, and being more productive than he ever has in his career and it makes sense he is tired and perhaps backing off a bit, especially when he sees Crash and Dre picking up the slack if you will.

    So, though I don't necessarily feel better about it, and remain concerned about LA, I am satisfied that LA is not really regressing. Of course, in light of further evidence, that perspective may change, lol :)

    So, I thought we would win the two games before the road trip and then go 2-1. We won at home and are one Hornet squashing away from my prediction :) I could care less how ugly that win was. A win at this time of the year on the road is extremely important and I will take one against anybody!


    GO BLAZERS!

    by SisillaRiann on 3/29/2011 10:09 AM
  17. Mike:

    Adam says you are going to be the host on the Up and Adam show tomorrow, I can't wait as you are my favorite announcer. And BTW, I had to listen to the Spurs announcers last night, I think you have me spoiled Shawn Elliot leaves a lot to be desired. Sure he knows the Spurs, but not much about the rest of the NBA. My opinion only.

    I will give you a shout out. and I am sure I will have many questions for you LOL.

    by Hg on 3/29/2011 10:13 AM
  18. EowynAmarie:

    I agree with you on all aspect of you analysis. Sorry you are up chucking maybe it is the brandy or you are PG. or MAYBE it is food poisoning, but what ever the case is it is no fun at all upchucking.

    On LMA, When he is not playing the 5 they insert Camby and he moves to the 4. With Camby not being a scorer they abandon him and double on LMA which just adds to LMA's load. I realize we don't have lots of go to guys to take the load off LMA, but working to the ground is not a good idea this close to the play-offs. That is why GW is so important, he attacks and takes lots of the wt off LMA's shoulders. Some players like packing the team and other players just like playing their game. BRoy and Wallace likes packing the load so it is natural and maybe necessary for LMA to slack off and let other players be key to a win.

    I guess I don't make much sense, but if Camby was more of a scoring threat and we had another 5, I would like to see LMA just play the four and get the rest he needs. Of course we don't have a play-off seed guaranteed yet so we have to keep digging and playing with what we have.

    I thank you Miss EowynAmarie for you insightful post again.

    by Hg on 3/29/2011 10:27 AM
  19. Man i'm glad we won but i feel concerned deep down. I love the offensive plays with crash getting it to the rim but we have also got to get our outside inside strategy back to where it was before. what i mean is that we need to get Aldridge back in a position where he can deal with double teams again.

    we should defiantly keep using this new found crash tactics since i feel it opens up a whole new group of plays but i feel like we also lost some old ones these last few games. I truly believe the best way to give Aldridge more operating room is to hit open looks from the outside and we have not been doing that. Another factor is it seems Aldridge is less hungry and is faltering when that double comes, granted its nice that he still attracts the double consistently but we still need his scoring close to the rim. Come on big guy we need more beast!

    by Lapinnoir on 3/29/2011 10:42 AM
  20. Although I'm sure no one cares what I think here goes. Our best starting front line would be LA, Marcus and GW. Patty should be PLAYING the backup PG.

    That's for what it's worth. It lets people play their best position.

    by Ancientone on 3/29/2011 11:08 AM
  21. Hg, was right with you there. I use league pass, so I had the Spurs broadcasters too. I believe he said Camby wasn't a good defender and that Novak was more athletic than Wallace. Lol. We're all entitled to our opinions I guess, so my opinion is that they're idiots.

    by Herr on 3/29/2011 11:47 AM
  22. Acientone: i still can't believe the nine points in the third quarter. my three-year-old sister could have scored 10 against the roup the spurs had out there last night (okay, but you get my point!). i think you're lineup is pretty true to accurate. the problem seems to be the personnel. we basically have two true sf's and three true sg's. something has to give. Patty should be in the rotation. i understand that he's in a bit of a funk, as Scott Zachry said on 'up and Adam' last week, he's a change of pace guard who can help us when it comes to tempo.

    EowynAmarie: i was going to regurgitate some things, but it seems as though you've had enough of that today! seriously speaking, though, i'm going to hold off evaluating LaMarcus completely until the season is over. i can only imagine the rollar coaster he's been riding this season (professionally and personally). he's gone from being the second option to the first, to playing a lot of center, to having to adjust after Brandon's return, to having to adjust to the addition of Gerald. i agree that fatique may be a factor in his lower output last night, and in recent nights.

    Hg: ask a question for me, as i will be in class during the show. my friend, it looks like we've started something here with the playing-in-position discussion, only this time, it's a good thing. with all being said, i think there are times we can go small (LaMarcus at center, Gerald at pf), but just because we can do it doesn't mean we have to do it.

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 3/29/2011 12:03 PM
  23. is it just me, or is Nate's new rotation just a tad tight? we've got eight guys in the rotation and it just seems like we're overextending some guys. as Ancientone alluded to (and yes, several of us care about your opinion), Patty should back up Andre. that puts nine guys in the rotation which is just about right. we also have Chris who can give some spot minutes here and there if needed. it really seems that Nate is reverting back to the old days when he was unchangeable with rotation matters.

    Herr: i saw you mention that in the chat last night and i thought you were joking. then a couple of others had reaffirmed it. i really don't know what those announcers could be thinking. Marcus was defensive player o the year in 2006-07 and has been named to the nba all-defensive team twice. the spurs' announcers, as you said, are idiots!

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 3/29/2011 12:29 PM
  24. HG: Every player on the team has strengths and weaknesses, and I could go on at great length enumerating them all, but I go way too long as it is. My point is that Brandon's minuses loom large when he's not at his best and is in the wrong role. An important part of the art of coaching is using players so as to maximize their strengths and minimize their weaknesses. Some of my uneasiness about the Wallace trade is that it's now harder to do that. He's a great player, but we lost our back-ups at center and power forward, so we end up playing LA at center and Wallace at power forward and that's not the most efficient use of their abilities. With Brandon back we've got a logjam at the shooting guard position, and when we are able to use them at small forward it just means Batum is on the bench and Wallace is playing the 4. So Nate tries to get the spare guards in the game at the point, and lately that hasn't been working. Maybe Roy was just tired; it was a back-to-back, though he didn't play many minutes the night before. I just think we've got enough on our plate trying to find out how to mesh with Wallace, and adding Brandon to the mix seems to create extra confusion about how we're going to run our offense. I think we have a tendency either to let the weaknesses of star players slide (hero worship) or to bash them mercilessly for not being perfect (tarnished idol). I don't want to bash Roy, but I think his star status has led to more indulgence for his weaknesses than is appropriate. I don't like the way Nate yanks rookies the second they make a mistake, and I think think he sometimes cuts veterans too much slack. And I'm happy to see that I'm not alone in the belief that Patty belongs in the rotation. His extra minutes would come at the expense of Brandon or Rudy. We all know the arguments against Rudy; I just want to make sure we don't ignore the different set of problems (and pluses) that come with Brandon. One last point and I'll shut up. I notice that we've been talking a lot about the recent problems LaMarcus has had getting good looks. I pointed out that Patty had done a very good job of getting hims those looks when he was in the game. The two things we need to get LA back on track are players who are committed to making him the first option, and players who can take advantage when the double comes down on him. Brandon fits the second criterion, but not the first. Andre seems to forget about LA for stretches, and his inability to shoot the three makes him a liability as the kick-out option. Patty, Nic, and Rudy are my favorites at feeding LA in the post-up, because all three are good passers (Wesley is not quite as good) and all can shoot the three. But with Gerald and Brandon on the floor we seem to be focusing on other options, and the best guys usually aren't in position to feed LA.

    by Islander on 3/29/2011 1:21 PM
  25. Hg,
    Yes, tomorrow morning at 9 am pacific I'll join Adam from New Orleans, via Skype. Rice will be on with Casey at noon.

    Kassandra,

    You are rolling today. I just got into the hotel a while ago, and have read your comments. Great stuff, as always. You could take over this whole thing and I'll get some sleep. If you're still in the Bay Area on April 13th, you should come to our game at Golden State. Last game of the regular season, as you know.

    Ancientone, I care what you think.

    MB

    by mikebarrett on 3/29/2011 1:52 PM
  26. i could never fill your shoes, MB, but thanks for the compliment! my brother, who lives in san francisco, is working on getting us tickets for that game. can't wait!

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 3/29/2011 3:30 PM
  27. It's painful watching BRoy struggle out there but I'm not going to go as far as some here. His best chance will come next season when he has a full offseason to work on his knee muscles and work on being a different kind of contributor to the team. I do agree his minutes should be at SG though and reinstall Patty as backup PG.

    As for starting Wallace at small forward, his natural position, I can't see taking Batum out of the starting lineup, especially now that he's starting to show why he's a big time keeper. If we want to go big up front with Camby, LA and Wallace, maybe Nic should start at SG. He mostly guards the opponent's toughest guard anyway be it PG or SG.
    --
    don

    by dgpdx on 3/29/2011 6:10 PM
  28. Yeah, I haven't wanted to make too many conclusions about LA either. Of course, then Freeman at the Oregonian, wrote an article in which he notes LA as saying that he is just straight worn out. So...there you go. It seems that for the most part, the problem for LA right now is simply too many minutes for too long.

    http://www.oregonlive.com/blazers/index.ssf/2011/03/lamarcus_adridge_shows_signs_o.html

    by SisillaRiann on 3/29/2011 6:42 PM
  29. Two upsets tonight.

    The Cavs upset the Heat. Boy was that a fun game to watch! I'm not a Heat hater, but I almost cried for the Cavs after we beat their butts!

    And Golden State gets a win stolen by them. They took more shots, hit more shots, played better defense, and made more 3 pointers... so how did they lose? Thunder took twice as many FTs. SMH. When is this team going to play real basketball? The officiating was horrible! OKC had 20 PFs, GSW had 23. So why such a huge difference? You play actual defense on Durant or Westbrook and they get to the FT line, but when you get hit by Perkins or Ibaka it's a "Thunder block party". Sigh.

    Sorry for the rant, but people question why I'm such an "OKC hater". I don't have OKC. They got some nice folks there, and their team isn't full of trash talkers or show boaters, but I hate that they get so much media attention for how crummy they are and how much the officials help them out. Golden State deserved to win that game, and as a fan of real basketball, it hurts to see that happen to them. They played the better game, but get a loss because the NBA wants ratings. I bet if Durant held GW to 5-18 shooting and scored 40 points he'd be number 2 on the MvP rankings behind Rose (imo, Howard should win it), even if the Blazers won the game. But nope, the NBA playboy poster child gets protected from his embarrassing preformances except for unknown sources.

    Anyways, I got a question. Since the Rockets won tonight (Thanks Nets), is the Magic Number still 4 or is it 5?

    by Herr on 3/29/2011 7:02 PM
  30. 4. It's any combinations of wins or Rockets losses. Of course if we both loss all our games and the Suns won all of theirs they could catch us too.

    by mgb on 3/29/2011 7:30 PM
  31. Herr: The Thunder have been anointed as future champs. Remember when we played them at home early in the season? The TNT announcers had all but given the Pacific Division title to the Thunder even then.

    Clearly Boston helped OKC considerably with the trade of Perkins for Green. Boston must have been thinking of Green as the eventual replacement for Pierce but they sure screwed themselves for this year.

    by dgpdx on 3/29/2011 7:54 PM
  32. I think Nate is trying to follow the unwritten rule amongst NBA coaches that you play your best eight players going into the playoffs. I love Patty and don't think he would actually be intimidated by the playoff atmosphere, but I don't see coach giving him that many minutes. If we match up against the Lakers or Thunder, Roy, Rudy, and Batum will probably be our bench. I hope LaMarcus isn't too tired because he and Gerald will be doing double duty position-wise. I think Gerald will match up just fine one-on-one against just about any back-up power foward. If we match up against the Mavs, Roy, Rudy, and Camby will probably be our bench.

    I think Roy's recent struggles have been due to a lack of explosiveness and also playing out of position. He's obviously not a natural point guard. He is a playmaker, but only when he is a threat to shoot first. Playing at point guard, he hasn't demanded a double team like when he was playing shooting guard. Therefore, I would play Rudy at point guard. Roy is a more confident shooter, and Rudy is a gifted passer.

    by C. Larry on 3/29/2011 8:46 PM
  33. Agreed, C. Larry. Rudy is better at the point than BRoy. Rudy can push the ball up the court, Roy has always been a half court player unless there's an obvious fast break at hand.

    The playoffs tend to be more of a grind it out half court game, but the old BRoy who excelled at that just isn't here anymore, at least for now...

    by dgpdx on 3/29/2011 10:43 PM
  34. OKC is a solid team, but they do get alittle more attention than they should. I do not believe thier crummy team, they got alot of good players and Brooks is decent coach. I dont think thier better than the Blazers though, and hope we can get a win @RG so they dont sweep us this year.

    I really dont wanna get on the broy hate wagon or make him a big deal this year..It hurt watching him fumble the ball vs SA like 5 times. Right now I see Roy as role player, get those points off the bench that we need and draw attention from defenders, thats it...my expectations for him this year is not high..next year will be different story, once this team can gel even more, and Roy has a very good idea by then which direction his career is going.

    Yeah Kassandra...100% agree...they need to feed LA the ball again. One thing ive noticed ALOT..is that LA will post up fairly deep ready for the ball, and they wont pass it..they wait till the defender pushes LA out, or for LA to come up for the pick...give him the darn ball!! sheez. One thing LA does need to correct is once getting ball..either go to the basket or start banging quickly for little jump hook or something, stop waiting for the defense to dictate what your gonna do.

    Love to see me more Patty...yeah he sometimes messes up, but all in all im impressed with him this year, making some key baskets,adding energy to the game, not bad for a young player whos career is just begining. Crash has been amazing...really nothign else to say on that, just playing 100% solid basketball, super hard worker.

    Well see...this team has the talent..we got a good coach..but Im not seeing anything right now that makes me confident we could advance to 2nd round. Iam currently seeing a Blazer team that on some nights can play very well, and other nights not so much...thats ok for a team that stays in the "middle" of the pack. But teams that go further, push themselves everygame,execute and play defense. They kill teams off in the 3rd quarter when the win is clearly in thier hands.

    by whitefeather21380 on 3/29/2011 10:50 PM
  35. Good comeback win after a tough loss in OKC. It's been a few weeks since I've posted a comment on here, I'm slacking! I've been watching every game though. I'm really enjoying watching Gerald Wallace mesh in with this team. Yeah, there's a few turnovers that happen due to him being newer, but that's expected. His athleticism and energy is unbelievable. Reminds me a lot of (not sure if I hate to say this) Ruben Patterson. Anyways, I hope we can go in and take care of business against New Orleans. Aldridge should be able to have his way in the post with no David West playing. Let's hope Batum's length bothers Chris Paul. Riiiiip Ciiiiity!

    by Mark on 3/30/2011 12:31 AM
  36. Huge game tonite! The Hornets are one game back so a win will put them two back while a loss ties us with a couple tough games coming up. I think the Blazers will be up to the task. I can understand them having a problem getting up against the Spurs team sitting so many starters. It was a no win situation, we beat them and we should have done it anyway while if we lose it's a big deal. I think though the Blazers will be charge up tonite and play with a lot of intensity.

    GO BLAZERS!!

    by mgb on 3/30/2011 3:11 AM
  37. whitefeather21380:

    I read in one of the blogs that I read daily that PDX has talent, and with veteran play we are now getting skills at many positions. That is why "Crash" is good, he has the talent and has played long enough to have many skills. So, we have to be patient to wait for the younger players development. :

    It isn't that Nic's getting more talent, but he is starting to develop skills to up his game. I am an old bowler, I haven't the talent or energy of the young bowlers, but with age, I have developed wisdom and skills that they have yet to get, so often, I can knock their socks off. I tell them that I don't have more talent I am just more experienced so hang in there you are gaining experence with every game and practice sessions. Like making free-throws, you just have to develop the skills to be repetitious. So hang on whitefeather21380, the skills are coming--maybe by play-off time.

    by Hg on 3/30/2011 5:59 AM
  38. Mark, GW has been compared to Ruben Patterson with good attitude. Ruben had the skills, but just was a bad apple.

    by Hg on 3/30/2011 6:02 AM
  39. Just want to seriously give kudos to HG and Kassandra for getting real recognition from Mike Barrett today. HG is probably the most loyal and regular poster on this blog and is unabashadely a homer :) He deserves to be acknowledged and I hope he can get to the RG one of these days. Kassandra is also very loyal, is here most of the time, and plainly overflows with straight-forward basketball analysis that rivals most. Her blogs are pretty good too. Hope you get the passes MB mentioned and are able to meet the Mike's! And of course, hope the Blazers win that one!!!

    by SisillaRiann on 3/30/2011 9:09 AM
  40. EowynArmarie:
    I thank you for the shout out. Do you remember that you took the biggest homer title away from me when you started posting.

    After our rocky misunderstandings at the start, I find that you are among my favorite posters.

    I have been to the Rose Garden in the past, but being from the blue collar working class I can only go for the nose bleed section and the altitude is rougher on us oldies. I do miss the Rose Garden crowd, but I get so emotional I tear up and can't hardly see the game. OK so I cry a lot!! LOL.

    As High up as I have to sit, the players look like ants down there, so I have to watch it from the big screen, therefore may as well watch it from my living room, run to the potty when needed, cry all I want, curse and yell at my TV at will. Most of my 41 years of Blazers, I had to listen on a static interrupted game or not at all, so I feel very good about putting my antenna up on the burns highway in my 5Th wheel to watch all the games on the NBA package. (out of com cast jurisdiction). The only problem is like tonight I will have to listen to the NOH announcers instead of Mike and Mike. That is much better then no TV at all.

    All in all, I would love to get to the Rose Garden, but I am pretty happy with just being able to watch almost every game.

    by Hg on 3/30/2011 10:01 AM
  41. HG: Thank you for the compliment. I think the conflict and the resolution between myself, you, and Kassandra demonstrates how easily misunderstandings and misconceptions occur and how just a tiny bit of genuine effort on all sides can make a tremendous difference. What is truly remarkable is that through the internet, a 19-year old female college freshman, a late 30s housewife-mother-student, and a 60+ blue collar rural resident with vastly different life experiences can find a common bond and form relationships that are just as damned real as many of those outside the cyber world :)

    And oh yes, you crack me up sometimes, truly. Crying and cursing at the TV! Shoot, you can do that at the RG, it's so crazy there no one would even notice. Besides, I think you'd find yourself in like company :) So, I guess if MB is to ever get you there, he will need to make sure you are in the lower bowl, preferrably in the green, blue, white, gray, or club level. That's good to know!

    MB: If you are serious about getting HG there sometime, even if it's next season, I would like to help him do that, in whatever way I can. If anyone deserves it, it's Harold.

    GO BLAZERS!

    by SisillaRiann on 3/30/2011 10:16 AM
  42. Hey, Hg has a standing offer from me for tickets to a Blazers game in the 200 level that is even handicap seats so lot of leg room. I think he just doesn't want to pay me the beers he owes me! :)

    Ask Vinnie, though, they are nice seats.

    by mgb on 3/30/2011 10:58 AM
  43. EowynAmarie: You Kassandra and I have something special like the Blazers, we over came adversities by being determined and growing from the beginning. I feel any problem can be dissolved by true honest communications and the want to go forward. My wife and I are great examples of that. We where both coming out of very distasteful marriages and I could spit further then I could trust, and I can't spit over my chin, Well I can spit all over my chin. We liked the friendship and need the comforts of companionship, but that was it. after many knock down drag out fights we started seeing the light and now I would compare our marriage as successful as anybodies, but it all started with adversities and the want to make our lives better. In our case also, it was actually just a case of misunderstandings and mistrust.

    I am glad we were able to over-come and probably in your case toward me, biting your tongue, our rocky start.

    I see myself as a leach off of you and Kassandra, not in a bad way, I pick your brains and get better understanding of the game, opposed to 10 guys trying to thump each other, although I stll like that aspect of the game.

    I have never been to the Rose Garden when I didn't start crying as the Star spangled banner was playing, then when they announced the team I would lose it. I only cry when I am happy and overwhelmed with greatness, never while I am in turmoil. VL, my wife, says she hopes to make me cry often.

    3 years ago at the fan-fest and I was new to Mikes blog, I got a seat about ten feet from Mike and right behind the players. I got up about 10 times to go shake both mikes hands, but MB was stacking papers at the end of his desk and I was afraid of disturbing him and I was to shy to go through with it. James Jones, the year he played for us, kept telling me to go ahead he wouldn't bite me, but I just couldn't. I have kicked myself a thousand times for that and hope someday to get one more chance.

    by Hg on 3/30/2011 11:04 AM
  44. MGB: I keep thinking of those beers I owe you and thought I might have to ship them with U P. Maybe someday, I will figure out how to win them back.

    by Hg on 3/30/2011 11:32 AM
  45. HG: I cry when they do the national anthem too....shhhhh, don't tell anyone :)

    by SisillaRiann on 3/30/2011 11:34 AM
  46. Miss EowynAmarie; That is great that means you are guided by emotions. I have studied the three parts of the human that guides them, their brain the thinking part that can analyse, which you are great at, the emotional, divided into two the parent and the child, The child that wants to go out and do the things you want to do and the parent that refuses to let you do it. Oh those emotional conflicts. My child wants to cry because its happy and my parent beats me over the head because men don't cry.
    The third of course is spiritual, and I ain't going there.

    by Hg on 3/30/2011 11:54 AM
  47. Good article by Joel Freeman today about LA being "gassed." There is a real problem with overworking players and that is nagging injuries can begin to appear. Things like overuse injuries and even stress fractures happen more often when a player is not given enough rest between games or is repeatedly used to the point of exhaustion.

    Granted, as Nate says, we need LA now, but is it worth the cost if LA gets hurt?
    --
    don

    by dgpdx on 3/30/2011 1:12 PM
  48. You've said it many times, a good or in San Antonio's case a great team that you are prepared for is sometimes easier to play against than a team you don't know as much about. Specially in this case, looking at the rosters the Blazers should have swept the floor. But in any case, you take the win.

    by coreymjr on 3/30/2011 1:25 PM
  49. May NO trip over their shoe laces. Landry can be a load.

    by Ancientone on 3/30/2011 2:22 PM
  50. MB: i have to be honest; i was in class during 'up and Adam' and didn't quite hear all of what you guys said (i was paying attention in class!). i just finished watching the show again and i was blown away. that's an incredible offer! i'll do my best to come and see you guys at the game.

    gotta say also that we've got to get Hg to a game. he's been a fan from the beginning and surely deserves to be treated to a game with this particular group of players. just make sure Patty doesn't tackle him like he did the bulls mascot before the game in chicago!

    thank you, MB!

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 3/30/2011 3:01 PM
  51. Hg & EowynAmarie: it's strange to think of where the three of us were on this blog just one year ago. each of us are from different walks of life going in separate ways, but we always seem to be led back to the blazers. these internet relationships, like those in real life, have had their ups and downs, but through understanding and tolerance, we've broken through the disagreements and i think our blazers blogging relationship is pretty healthy.

    when i began telling Julie about the blazers, i used the website to illustrate a lot to her. at first, she couldn't fathom that a professional sports team would have it's own version of myspace (her words), but she saw the interactive aspects of the site and that impressed her almost as much as the character of our players. ironically, since i began converting her into a blazers fan, the team has added two new websites (bloggers netword and TBtv). that really helped her fall in love with the team. we all have our opinions about where the team is headed, but we're all (well, mostly all) blazers fans first.

    i know after every win, Wheels proclaims "it's a great day to be a blazer." well, as far as this team and its community, it's always a great day to be a blazer!

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 3/30/2011 3:10 PM
  52. Miss Kassandra: thank you for all that. You have to tell me about Patty tackling the mascot in Chicago.

    I am listening to the pre show game so my attention span is a little off, but I would almost, well maybe, would try to convence you that you are not playing second fiddle to a bunch of BB bouncers :D. OK, so I don't lie well.

    by Hg on 3/30/2011 3:27 PM
  53. Big, big loss. That one hurts. Drops us into a the 7th spot because the Hornets have the tie breaker and only a game from the 8th spot.

    We need to rebound from this because we have some tough games ahead. Still are not guaranteed a playoff spot. Again, tough loss.

    by mgb on 3/30/2011 6:37 PM
  54. very tough loss. seems all too often that we stray away from our bread and butter; failing to go through LaMarcus. we've been our best when we've done that. not sure what's going on there.

    we've got five of the last seven at home, and i think it's time to seriously protect our house.

    Hg: i think Patty's tackle is on TBtv, but i want to say i've also seen it on youtube. i'll try to get you a link tomorrrow.

    ~ Kassandra.

    EDIT: here is the youtube link of Patty tackling Benny the Bull: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D16gZ8DHQaE

    by Kassandra on 3/30/2011 7:22 PM
  55. Hg...You misunderstood what I said earlier, but thats ok. I said we are talented..meaning we have the "skills"...but we need to put it together. Were losing close games, cause were letting teams get back into,getting lazy on defense when it counts, not executing when it counts..Those are my points. Yes we have a wonderful team with great players, but untill we play like a killer instinct team, we wont go far in the playoffs, and Ive been Blazer fan since 1987, I am patient..Ill be ok ;)...Im just stating some obvious things that this team needs to improve on.

    Anyways moving on....yeah another tough loss..soo soo close..we made some good plays, but just come up short. Need to get better finishing games. Least we went to LA tonight, just wasnt enough. NO always is tough match up for us due alot to Monty's knowledge of our team for the most part. I didnr care for the refs in this game, just seemed alittle lop sided..but ohwell...time to move on and drive on.

    by whitefeather21380 on 3/30/2011 8:16 PM
  56. Kassandra: watched the video of Patty tackling Benny the bull, that was cute.

    It seemed to me, when Camby went out our 10 pt lead evaporated. But we were also in the penalty so NO could be aggressive. Anyway it was a tough loss.

    by Hg on 3/30/2011 11:17 PM
  57. Mike B glad your home at Portland like u said tough road games . Now another game against OKC . and Dallas. Memphis has home games coming after they play NOH on Friday . I dont bowl Friday so Im on the couch.

    by jyp on 3/31/2011 12:31 AM
  58. Disappointing. We had this one. Too often we beat ourselves by loosing focus I can't say that it wouldn't be hard to do, but this time it's very costly.

    by Ancientone on 3/31/2011 9:43 AM
  59. We also make strange plays at bad times. To wit: What the *#@$^#* was Wes Mathews, our best 3-point shooter over the past month, doing passing up a wide open three late in the fourth so he could pass to Rudy for a three (which missed)?

    Dammit, Wes, shoot the *%@^#** ball in that situation -- every time!

    by dgpdx on 3/31/2011 1:51 PM
  60. We went back to square one with this game, same with the OKC game. We cannot finish on the road. We do a nice job at home most the time, but we just absolutely cannot finish on the road.

    Personally I think the officiating was absolutely horrible in this game and the only way New Orleans got back was from free throws that were earned on our side of the court because of cheap loose balls. We got like 9 personal fouls in the 2nd quarter to NOH who got about 2 or 3. For a playoff atmosphere, that's what killed us. Also, we need to finish better at the rim, but since they called it only one way, I guess we didn't get the FTs we probably should have. I saw a lot of pushes from NOH players on our guys at the rim. Who knows, maybe the NBA wants to see the Portland vs LAL rivalry rekindled. I also do not get why Aldridge got a foul, which sent Landry to the FT line, when Landry fell out of bounds. Weakest foul call I've EVER seen in my entire life. That changed the game to a 2 possession game with less than a minute left, and Landry had no where to go. Talk about total bail out.

    13 less FTs? You would have never guessed that from this type of game. Blazers WERE aggressive, and earned more than that. Problem is, the officiating was so awful. I wonder why they had all 3 of the officials be normal lead officials in games. Tony Brothers, Danny Crawford, and Violet Palmer all play lead officials in most games. Really makes me scratch my head on this one.

    Problem with this team though is they do horrible in the early 4th quarter on the road. We're looking at a first round exit regardless of who we play if we cannot fix that. I'm sure we won't get swept by any team in the playoffs, and probably go to 7, but we aren't winning a game 7 if we cannot close quarters, halves, and cannot start the 4th quarter.

    Last but not least, I guess this comes with youth but Batum and Wesley need to remain consistent and work on that. Batum had a great stretch, but once he got that game winner he's been absent. Wesley has been absent since Ron Artest stopped him.

    Also, we need to move Roy to the starting position. Some players just do awful on the bench, even if they play 40 minutes. Starting is a whole different ball game than coming off the bench. I'd like to see Roy start a game or two, in Wesleys place unless Wesley can step up and play like he normally does.

    by Herr on 3/31/2011 4:07 PM
  61. Herr: Not even touching the officiating :) BUT...you got me with what you said about Wesley. Something about it seemed off, so I had to look at his numbers (u know how I am). Here they are for the month of March:

    @ NOH (L) 3 - 7 for 7pts 43%
    @ SAS (W) 4 - 8 for 19pts 50%
    @ OKC (L) 2 - 9 for 4pts 22%
    vs. SAS (W) 6 - 14 for 15pts 43%
    vs. WAS(W) 5 - 15 for 15pts 33%
    @ LAL (L) 0 - 4 for 0pts 0%
    vs. PHI (W) 9 - 15 for 28pts 60%
    vs. CLE (W) 5 - 10 for 14pts 50%
    vs. DAL (W) 5 - 7 for 18pts 71%
    @ ATL (L) 7 - 12 for 19pts 58%
    @ CHA (L) 7 - 11 for 20pts 64%
    @ MIA (W) 3 - 7 for 10pts 43%
    @ ORL (W) 4 - 8 for 13pts 50%
    vs. CHA (W) 1 - 6 for 5pts 17%
    @ SAC (W) 8 - 12 for 21pts 67%
    vs. HOU (L ) 2 - 10 for 9pts 20%

    I wouldn't say Wesley has been ABSENT since that Laker game, but his FG% is certainly down a bit. His scoring is not really much lower. These numbers make it look like perhaps his confidence was shaken, but he is certainly still contributing. His game is less efficient, and this is probably what is hurting us. He is taking the same amount of shots, but hitting less of them.

    I also think Wesley is far more vulnerable to playing poorly off the bench than Roy is and because of Roy's lack of contributions, it's difficult to tell who is the better risk at this point. I do think Wesley is a far better defender and that counts for a lot though.

    by SisillaRiann on 3/31/2011 4:56 PM
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