caseyholdahl

Apr 28

Not to sound greedy, but 4,249 minutes of basketball, the duration of the Portland Trail Blazers' 2010-11 season, isn't enough. Sometimes, like when you're sitting alone in a hotel room in New Jersey or when you're leaving the office at 2 AM knowing you have to be back by 9 AM, it feels like it's never going to end. But when the final buzzer sounds on the season, as it did Thursday night for the Trail Blazers, you wonder where those 4,249 minutes of basketball went.

Now the season is gone, and the future is uncertain, just as it always is. We look at future dates on a calender and tell ourselves that events will happen as scheduled, but there are never any guarantees. We convince ourselves that there are certainties, but there are not, or at least very few.

There will be time to remember the highs and lows of the 2010-11 season, and equal time to look ahead, but let's wait on that for a little while. I'd rather let the players and coaches, who sacrifice more than most people realize, give their initial thoughts on the season now that it's over.

Nate McMillan


"I thought we fought through a lot of adversity this season and we had an opportunity to do something special this year. The goal was to certainly get back to Dallas. I felt like if we could get back to Dallas, we could win that game. But we didn’t and we end the way we’ve ended the last two years, so we get in this summer and try and improve the team and get ready for next season.”

Nicolas Batum

"It's tough. Very, very tough because my first year, got no experience. Last year we got a lot of injuries. This year, we've got a team. We've got a very good team. We were ready to beat this team and that's tough. That's very, very tough."

"Very disappointing, especially that way. Our goal was to get past the first round this year and we got a team to do it. We've got a team to do it. We struggle in Dallas. Game 5 we should get it, we lost it. That's very, very tough to end it that way."

"We do some pretty good things. Maybe the organization try to improve this team for next season. I hope we can finally get out of this first round because those fans deserve a team to win something. They deserve it. Even though at the end when we're down eight, six, they keep cheering for us. This town, this city, those fans, those organization struggle too long right now, so we've got to do something to get past the first round next year."

Wesley Matthews

"We went through a lot of adversity, fought hard, came up short. Great group of guys, great team, great city, great fans. We've just got to make sure that next year we take care of what we need to in games that we need to throughout the 82-game season. Put ourselves in a better position in the postseason."

"I had a better season than I had last year. That's the goal. So next year, have a better season than I did this year."

Brandon Roy

"I'm just thinking about the loss and... what could we have done differently to give ourselves a better chance to get our of this round."

"I'm just thinking about this team. So much has changed and so much is going to change. Every time a year comes to an end you think about your teammates, your friends. You build bonds with guys. I just think about not seeing them. Seeing them tomorrow then everyone kind of goes home. It always takes about three weeks to say 'Man, we ain't got tomorrow' or 'I'm not missing anything?' Just kind of going through that feeling, like it's over. It's over. There's no more chances at it this year."

Marcus Camby

"Ask me tomorrow Casey. Ask me tomorrow."

LaMarcus Aldridge

“Definitely got better. I think I definitely got better this season. I grew as a leader this season and as a main option on the floor. Definitely have a lot of growth left in me to get better and come back better next year. I think this season was a big change for me as far as mentally becoming more of a dominant player, taking a big step and being that main guy every night. I felt like I got better this season but I want to get a whole lot better.”

Gerald Wallace

“I’m excited. To be honest with you, when the trade happened, I was disappointed, didn’t know what to expect coming here. I knew they were a good team. They had all-star caliber players on their team. I didn’t know how I would be accepted as far as the players, but I think they did a great job of welcoming me, making me feel wanted, and inviting me into their family. This is all positive for me – gives me something to look forward to next season, a whole year with these guys."

11 Comments

  1. Get blog Casey, cant wait til next season! #ripcityforever

    by Lkiki503 on 4/28/2011 11:49 PM
  2. Thanks Casey. I think the players' words speak volumes as to what it feels like for all this to end. As I said on Sarah's post she just put up - its hard for us fans, as you alluded to, to finally see that all those games and everything that comes with it, all gone and completed. No more road trips to look forward to, or to talk about some upcoming match-up, etc.

    We had a lot of positives this year - LA's season was just amazing - something I think we had all been waiting for, so we know we've got a start to something special there, which will hopefully last the remainder of his career with us.

    We did fall short of our goal, but I sincerely hope, that even more than at this time last year, the determination and drive will be even stronger.

    For now though, guys need to get away (after the exit interviews) and reflect, enjoy their families and then come back really strong. Just as the last 3 years have been, I think we will be in for another special season.

    GO BLAZERS!!!

    by Anees on 4/28/2011 11:50 PM
  3. Casey: The year was great. The players gave us lots to cheer about. You wrote some great articles, And with Blazer TV, I felt altough I was over 150 mile away, a part of it all

    by Hg on 4/29/2011 7:47 AM
  4. It was a great season but there are a lot of changes coming to Portland in this off season between the draft, free agency, and 1 or 2 huge trades that may rock the fan base but it is needed. Uprise and Roll On Blazers !!!!!!!!!

    by mbmurr1 on 4/29/2011 8:31 AM
  5. I too am looking forward to watching a full season with the Blazers. I absolutely love the show of love given to Gerald . He was made to feel welcomed and comfortable with the guys and it began to show in his work on the basketball court. I hate that you guys are soooo far away from Alabama, but we are working on getting to a home game next season, just to be a part of the sell out crowds....

    by MissyMarbury on 4/29/2011 10:13 AM
  6. Great Season and with all the adversities we faced I won't complain about the outcome. I attended 8 games and spent more than I maybe should have this year, but I was well entertained (only had to sit through 2 losses including the last - and 6:2 is the best W:L ratio for games I've attended any year). I was there for the wins over DAL, SAS, NOH, MEM, & ORL.
    Even with the same round 1 exit again, I still love my Blazers as if they were my own brothers and will root for them even if we are down by 100 pts in the 4th! Thanks guys! :)
    Looking ahead...
    Unless there are MAJOR off-season moves, I'm looking forward to seeing a stating lineup of Oden, LA, Crash, Wesley and Dre next fall...and it would be nice to see Nic in the running for the 6th man award, he has room to improve and will do so if he stays healthy LA will be an ALL STAR if he stays healthy. I'd love to see Camby still here backing Oden and if we don't resign Joel then CJ is a a nice 3rd option with lots of potential. Brandon and Rudy need to be more consistent but I love these guys too much to even consider trading them and know what they are capable of, I say give them another shot! All in all, I think our guys just need more confidence, they have so much talent and chemistry that the only thing beating them is their own fears.....and then a hot hand from an opponent and some bad calls from the refs doesnt help, but even with that stuff, a focused confident hard-working gritty determined mentality can allow the Blazers to prevail. After what I've seen this season (BRoy Game 4, and Nic vs SAS just to name a few), I know they can overcome anything if they set their minds to it!

    by DPR Rip City on 4/29/2011 12:04 PM
  7. So many great quotes, it's hard to choose a favorite. I do like Nic's though. He sounds upset, which will only drive his determination in helping us get out of the first round. We have the best fans in the NBA and it's super cool to know that the players believe that is the case as well. Rip City!

    by DHawes22 on 4/29/2011 12:20 PM
  8. thanks for the insight, Casey. i can't add to much else, other than to say i echo Marcus.

    by Kassandra on 4/29/2011 12:48 PM
  9. Thanks for sharing more of our Blazers with us Casey. You do such a great job getting them to chat with you and I love that u can share some of that with us. It never feels like reporting, as it does with nearly EVERYONE else outside of you and Sarah :)

    Your mentioning of the number of minutes of Blazer basketball during the season, and the sudden ending of it, was a nice touch.

    I am rather disconnected in real life, with real people. Aloof, reserved, cold, etc. I don't enjoy being emotional and am loathe to let anyone think they can affect me. And for the most part, they don't. But I am a crier when it comes to fantasy. I sob in movie theaters (even happy, corny ones - Disney/Pixar are the worst for me!). I re-read books I have read twenty times and cry on the closing page. I was seriously depressed when my favorite TV show went off the air two years ago after 15 seasons. And losing the Gloved-One wrecked my mood for about six months. So...as I find myself crying about LA not getting picked for the All-Star Game, at hearing the news that Greg needs surgery again, sobbing when I see the entire team tackle Brandon after the most incredible 4th quarter performance I've personally witnessed, and straight bawling as I read our teams' words and see their closed faces during exit interviews....I realize that Blazer Basketball is perhaps my biggest fantasy world. At the end of the day, whether or not the team wins or loses, it has zero tangible affect on my daily life.

    But for the guys who play this game...it can't be more real. I think sometimes, we fans are able to be positive, and optimistic, because we all know that for us, it's just entertainment. But for Brandon, Lamarcus, Wesley, Gerald, Dre, Marcus, Nicolas, Rudy, Patty, Earl, Chris and Armon....this is what they do. They spent thousands more minutes working outside of games to get better than they did in them. They sacrifice their bodies, their minds, their emotions, their families, and a host of other things just to get one more win, to get better, to achieve the ultimate goal. That they hurt, that they are disappointed, that they don't have words is wrenching to see. That they have to speak publicly about it must really, really suck. Yet they do it. I have nothing but respect for these men who leave it all out there on the court, and then, to top it all off, talk to the likes of you, for the sake of us. I know Nico said we fans deserve to see them win something, but for me, after all the adversity, after all the changes, and after two straight playoff appearances that defied odds and nearly everyone's expectations, I think this team deserved to win something too. Maybe more than anyone. No, for sure more than anyone.

    And no, financial compensation doesn't matter. Not really. And certainly not for this group of guys (well, at least probably most of them).

    by SisillaRiann on 4/29/2011 1:15 PM
  10. Its certainly a bit sad that it's all over this year and that we were close...very close to that next level, but I certainly am excited about next year. I hope the guys spend the time wisely getting right and doing what needs to be done to improve:

    LA: Back to the gym like last year, no need to add as much muscle as he did from the year prior, but cardio cardio cardio. You log the 2nd most mins for the season in the whole NBA...as a 4!!!... yeah...your're going to be tired. If he's going to transition into a beast then this summer needs to be about conditioning and more/faster/dominating post-up moves (Spin baseline and the Up-n-under)

    Wesley: 2nd year in the league and looking good. I would say consistancy is the biggest thing. Get the consistant form for the 3-ball and free-throws and perhaps develop a few 'harder' finishes at the hoop. For most of the season he finished plays well, but at the end (whole team included) the layup wasn't working and was just too weak to get it done.

    Nicholas: Bulk up and get the attitude that comes with it. I don't care if that even includes some choice french-fast-trash-talkin while on the court, but a few more lbs on that frame and a beast-mentality would go a LONG way to get consistant production from him.

    Brandon: Get it right. Get the head right, get the body right, and find that inner balance. Starter or bench it shouldn't matter. The body will be what it is, so find the limints, embrace it and train to the full capacity of those limits. Staying healthy AND productive will keep him in a good place on this team.

    Gerald: This guy already is beast...has the bulk and the agressivness. I would say a more solid back-to-the-basket game (so we can get more sets where he gets included) so he can muscle down smaller guys and facilitate on cutters up the paint (ok ok...we need cutters first...lots of em)

    Rudy: I love this guy, but I cringe everytime he has an off night. Consistancy and a return to the rookie-year approach i think would help a lot. We _had_ the spanish connection, Sergio facilitated to Rudy AT THE RIM a lot of times...since he left, Rudy rarely finishs there. Bring that back and get the 3-ball under control and our bench then looks like something to fear.

    Patty: More control in the open court and take some lessons from (aka train with) Andre. I see Patty becoming Andre2.0. A tripple threat in a leader of fast-breaks going coast to coast, An assist machine making the correct pass/ally-oop, and a Transition 3 guy. Portland doesn't pull up on the transition 3 hardly at all...but Patty can do and throw of some defenses.

    Guys like Andre and Camby have it under control and thier big thing will be to just stay healthy and keep up their conditioning. I hope...really hope we can get Odin back...else get a differnt true Center who can fill in for Camby, so we don't have to work LA at the 5 or swing Nic/Gerald to the 4.

    Overall though, good season and I was really happy with what they were able to do. Could have had more sucess and agressivness in the playoffs but it seems like the tank just dried up. Dallas steped up the Defense and we were just outplayed. I still like our chances come this next year and can't wait to see/hear/read about how they are progressing over the summer. Go Blazes!

    by Prue on 4/29/2011 1:22 PM
  11. Good fun. Shout out to the Blazer family. Love ya.

    by Divotking on 4/29/2011 2:49 PM
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