mikebarrett

Jan 10

Balanced Attack Sinks the Clips

By mikebarrett
It was a tight, physical game, which, as expected, stayed fairly close throughout.  In the end, the Trail Blazers hit bigger shots, played better defense, and defeated the L.A. Clippers 105-97.

During the broadcast we made the comment a few times that the Clippers are a veteran team, and know how to play crunch-time basketball.  They are sneaky, and crafty, and are very good at working officials.  That's not to suggest that last part worked, but they're good at it.  The Trail Blazers though, have shown that they're pretty good at playing with poise in tough games as well, and are now 7-2 on the season, and a perfect 6-0 at home.

It took 51 percent shooting, and some pressure makes at the foul line late in this game, but the Blazers were able to put the game out of reach in the final minute.  They held the Clippers, who came into the game second in the NBA in field goal percentage, at 48%, to 45 percent shooting on the night.

For the first time this season, the Trail Blazers placed all five starters in double figures, and used a very well balanced attack to win this game.  In previous wins we've talked about how the front court dominated, or how the team held on despite poor shooting from the guards, or how the Blazers survived an off night from the bench.  In this game they demonstrated what they've been talking about all along- they don't care about stats, they care about wins.

Gerald Wallace could run for mayor of the city of Portland and win right now.  No question in my mind about that.  He feeds off the fans at the Rose Garden, and is so difficult to contain on the home floor.  He had 20 points, on 8 of 12 shooting, and had his usual number of hustle plays.  But, it's his attitude that is the most valuable asset to this team.  You're not going to bully him, and you're not going to out work him.  That's contagious.

The rest of the frontline was impressive as well.  LaMarcus Aldridge had 18 points, and was very solid against Blake Griffin.  Aldridge carried the Blazers for a stretch in the third quarter, when the Clippers got hot from the field, and played great defense.

Then, there is Marcus Camby.  Oh what a difference a healthy Marcus Camby means to this Portland team.  His presence inside, even at 37 years of age, is so valuable.  Not only did he put up 12 points and 11 rebounds, but he made sure Lob City ended up with exactly ZERO lobs.  DeAndre Jordan had one impressive dunk, but that was it. And, if you know anything about the Clippers you know that one dunk is about 10 below their average.  Camby had a lot to do with that.

The Blazer backcourt was very solid as well.  Wesley Matthews played scrappy defense, hit 5 of his 7 shots, and ended with 18.  He also hit some clutch free throws down the stretch.  Raymond Felton outplayed Chris Paul in this game.  He had 17 points and 8 assists, bettering Paul's 14 points and 4 assists.

Felton is a better shooter than what he's shown so far this season.  In the clutch, it's so nice to have a point guard who can dial it in from deep, and doesn't hesitate to pull the trigger.  We saw him do that against Denver, and we saw him hit a huge three pointer in this game.

It felt like the Clippers were starting to build momentum for a final charge with just under six minutes left.  They had closed to within six points, when Felton dropped in a bomb to push Portland's lead back to nine, at 89-80.  Wallace also had a big three with two minutes left, that again put the lead at nine, at 99-90.

We've talked so much about the importance of this three-game homestand, given what lies ahead.  The Blazers have won two of them, with one to go.  That'll be Wednesday night against Orlando, a team that's been sitting in Portland since Monday morning.  Thursday morning we'll head out on a 6-game, 10-day road trip.  Getting one more at home, and heading out on that trip at 8-2 would be a very solid 10-game start to the season.



15 Comments

  1. The more ways a team can win, the better. We've shown we can win by running and we can win by playing solid in the half court. We can win with a couple of big scorers or we can win by spreading the scoring around. As Marcus Camby said in the post game, we've got a lot of weapons.

    The Blazers could create a lot of grey hairs on opposing coaching staffs this year -- and a lot of enjoyable evenings eating chalupas for the fans.
    --
    don

    by dgpdx on 1/11/2012 12:33 AM
  2. That was a good basketball game. Both teams battled to the end and the Blazers won. Can't ask for more.

    There was no hero in this game. Just a solid effort by the entire team. This team is so balanced and smart that opponents can't afford to double or overload anywhere.

    I could sing praises for every single Blazer that played tonight but I'll stick to one. LaMarcus Aldridge!!!! He didn't do anything spectacular but as I was watching tonight, I couldn't help but think about how much his game has improved and changed over the last 2 years. He doesn't settle for jumpers, he reads when he's overplayed and makes sweet reverse drop steps for alley oops, he bangs down low, and he keeps his defenders honest with killer jumpers. His game is so much more complete and it's what I always hoped for. Kudos to McMillan for recognizing the potential and keeping the faith.

    great game.

    go blazers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    by thedanman on 1/11/2012 12:49 AM
  3. Hey Mike:
    Great post, I haven't watched the game yet, but listened to it on the radio. I will have to watch it soon to see if it was as exciting to watch as Wheels and Tone made it sound.

    Thank you for the update.

    by Hg on 1/11/2012 1:50 AM
  4. Thanks for the quick blog, Mike.

    Nice W. I should say that Clippers had a balanced attack too, and did play well. That sweetens even more our Win, because both teams played well and we came out winning (and we are 6-0 at Rose Garden).

    Just two things: 1- Our bench players did not play many minutes, Batum specially. He still managed to do ok with 9 points. 2- How about Marcus Camby? Consistently giving us two digits in Rebounding (much needed), some blocks all games, and we never ask him much to contribute offensively, but he does alley-oop passes all the time, and this game he did double digits on points too. Gotta admire that fella, I do admire him since he came, and I hope he stays with us some more years before retiring.

    by Tiago Torigoe on 1/11/2012 2:39 AM
  5. I just woke up after going to sleep nearly directly after the game (and watching the Warriors beat the Heat), so mind you I'm grouchy. That being said, I absolutely cannot stand the Clippers anymore. I had much respect for them in the past as being, you know, the Clippers. Then they somehow sneak in the draft to land Blake Griffin (after a Hollywood goes to Hollywood, and after Washington and Cleveland getting the 1st pick when they badly need something new to start up on doesn't seem just like good fortune to me). They then land Paul. DeAndre improves, and they sign Billups and Butler. Now, all those people that sat by the Clips through their misery (oh about the entire length of the franchise) are starting to think they're the best ever, and any team that is "better" is just because the Clips aren't doing what they're suppose to. I understand some homerism, every fan has that, but I can't take straight up BS. Being on league pass, that is all I heard since I had to listen to the two Clipper broadcasters (that, and seeing CP3 and Griffin try to flop their way with wins). These guys were known for being a pleasant duo that knew the game well (or so rumors say). And yeah, they're not the Spurs broadcasters or the Celtic's broadcasters and they're not all THAT bad, but jeez... it just goes to tell you how much having quality broadcasters that aren't full of garbage help make the game so much better. The one thing that made me facepalm was when they said Aldridge and Felton were not good FT shooters because of THIS season stats.

    Anyways, maybe I'm just hating on the Clippers, but I do not see them as a real team yet, especially if Billups opts out. In fact, at this point, I don't see CP3 as the best player on that team. Maybe he needs time to gel, but I always thought he was the best point guard (skill wise, for sure not attitude wise), but now I'm having second thoughts and might just throw Rose up there at the top spot. But every time that Billups had the ball last night, I was nervous. Same with Butler. Everytime CP3 had the ball last night, I was like "alright sweet" and almost started chanting defense while sitting in my room with my new pet birds sleeping.

    Now let's cut the negativity. There is nothing I really see wrong with this team besides missing shots, but that's going to happen even if you have a lineup of all prime Micheal Jordans. Once Crawford finds his shot, and Felton feels more comfortable, and LaMarcus has his legs, I think this team is going to be ready for that next step. I'm not thinking just a first round win this season, I think this team is better than that, or at least they've shown. With the Lakers being full of themselves with an easy schedule so far (Which gets tougher so we'll see their true form), and every team except the OKC Thunder (oh how that win is looking better and better every day) has dropped off. Memphis doesn't look nearly as good, the Clippers... well... we saw them twice and should be 2-0. The Mavs... yeah, they're a championship team, but they lost a lot more than they gained, and I don't think Dwight Howard throws them up to be championship material instantly again. Spurs are old and for some reason losing to Milwaukee. Houston no, Utah no, Phoenix no, Denver no. Portland can only rise, and I think we could beat OKC is a 7 game series. We're the better defensive team and more balanced team, and around that time Aldridge will be either dead tired or in his basketball form ready to kick some tail.

    Anyways, probably getting too far ahead of myself, but it was a great win last night, and I'm ready for another W tonight. Magic are a tough team, but it really depends on which Dwight Howard you get, and it really depends on if they hit their shots. Unless the Blazers are too tired again, I can see us winning another game and going 3-0 like I thought they would. I think it's very important we leave for the road after a Rose Garden win.

    by Herr on 1/11/2012 3:36 AM
  6. great win and the players didn't have to use so many minutes on key players so they should be rested enough tonight against Orlando and pull off another win at home.

    by blazerdarren77 on 1/11/2012 6:37 AM
  7. Crawford should recognize that while he is shooting off balance circus shots he has team mates wide open watching. If he gets his stroke going fine, so far Billy Ray Bates he aint.

    by Ancientone on 1/11/2012 8:31 AM
  8. All I am going to say is that the Blazers played a good "solid" game. Still not as much movement on offence as I would like to see, but everyone seemed to be involved and I like the fact that JC was more involved in running the offence then throwing up bad shots...when he get's his stroke back though, fire away!

    peace out,
    daddy

    by daddylogan on 1/11/2012 10:55 AM
  9. @ANNCIENTONE:
    I feel the same way, that is why I said he has taken Batum out of his game.
    Nate plans on using Smith as PG some, that will at least give someone else a chance to touch the ball LOL.

    by Hg on 1/11/2012 11:02 AM
  10. The guys I ragged on in my last post had big games, and I thought, "Okay, I'm very happy to be wrong." Then down the stretch Felton has two straight turnovers, and Wallace commits a silly foul and suddenly we need to hit free throws to eke out the win, and I think "No, don't prove me right now." I hope we can see the awesome home game Gerald when we hit the road for this first testing trip. I'd also love to see more of the sweet Jekyl side of Felton instead of the hideous Hyde face that appears without warning at times. And, yes, I'd love to see Crawford pass the ball, or at least make more of his shots. Seems like he passed more in the first game or two, and even now he sometimes makes a good pass when he first enters the game, then quickly forgets that there are other players on his team. I think we're going to need a lot more bench minutes tonight, unless our starters have finally crossed the back-to-back conditioning hump.

    by Islander on 1/11/2012 1:05 PM
  11. it was a solid win last night, but not a "great" win. don't get me wrong; we need to beat average teams, especially at home (yes, despite Griffin and Paul, the clippers are still an average team). glad to see we didn't give it away at the end. in fact, the lapse at the end of the first quarter was really the only time i thought we looked lost. as Nate said afterward, we played about 40 minutes. we are still looking for that 48-minute game.

    got to hand it to the old man (but Kassandra ... which one?); Marcus. anyone who has been reading my comments knows that of late, i have been obsessed with fg shooting. when you shoot 6-9 and snare 11 rebounds, you're doing a lot of things right. and that's not even mentioning hs work on the defensive end where he led the charge to basically take Griffin out of the game in the first half. Marcus had it going on last night! i only wish Nate hadn't played him 35 minutes on the front end of a back-to-back when we face the league's best center on the second end of said back-to-back.

    the bench players didn't shoot out the lights, but they did a lot of other things and seemed to be rolling pretty well when the starters came back in. one thing i'd love to see more of is the Craig-Nicolas tandem at the forward positions. i think their contrasting styles could prove to be beneficial against some opponents' lineups.

    i'm gonna give Raymond some props here. he shot 50 percent and more than doubled Chris Paul's assist total. when Ray does that, he's often going to get the better of the opposing pg.

    i feel like we're still not clicking like we need to. wins at home against average teams are one thing, but putting it together on the road is something eltirely different. we've shown we can do it -- do you guys realize that our only road win is against the only team who sits ahead of us in the conference standings? food for thought, to say the least. i'm still waiting to see that elusive consistency this season. i hope it comes soon; perhaps even tonight.

    ~ KMM

    by Kassandra on 1/11/2012 3:01 PM
  12. 2nd of a back to back, I just really enjoy reading the blogs thanks Mike. Rose Garden, let's give our Blazers a boost and help them stay perfect at home. What a great year it's been already and last night was a hard fought win for us.

    by Bull Frog on 1/11/2012 4:34 PM
  13. Thanks for mentioning Cambys game. He is doing everything for us. Did you you see him start to bring the ball up the court? He realized what he was doing and passed off. That was funny. Holten should have won the pick-to-click, picking Marcus. Camby set the tone in the game. Rebounds, defense, scoring and drawing a foul on CP.
    Orlando is a team that I been curious about. Really any team with a big strong center. This should be an interesting game. Marcus at the high post should help pull superman out away from the middle. On defense Marcus is going to need help from his friends.
    GO BLAZERS !!

    by Divotking on 1/11/2012 5:19 PM
  14. No one has mentioned it yet and maybe its a no-no but the officiating was just awful. The worst I have seen in awhile. I loved being at the game and how the team kept their focus in spite of it all and how 6th man got really loud but please, where is the officiating report card. I loved how all the players contributed. It was totally cool.

    by allie-oop on 1/11/2012 5:24 PM
  15. I'm going to try and reiterate a lot of things kass, herr, the danman posted already (they are great commentators and really know what their talking about after every game and really good analysts, and i'm just giving credit where credit is due ;). By that i prolly won't match and for sure will not do any better cause my comments hold much bias, anyway! Everybody should be really "appreciating" like Steve Smith twittered about Gerald Wallace's work ethic, about what this team is doing because it seems that every game (well almost, except one which we lost against suns, what happened there?) this team is growing, improving and learning by each game. It's like the Blazers are perfecting their craft and by the end of the season when the playoffs hit the corner, the blazers are finally right there where they want to be. I'm no Nostradamus or wizard like Mike Rice but you can kinda fortell what the future may be like with passing games like the 9 we've seen so far.

    Next I'd like to point out a few players in particular like those few bloggers aforementioned before did in their comments. First, Marcus Camby (note i didn't see the game, just highlights and then here). I'm starting to think about where we might have been if we had him earlier in his 20's when sheed, damon, brian grant were around and being able to back up the aging Sabonis. I think we would have been much more like this team right now. That's why i think we are going to have our best season ever! But Camby, you know the media spews a lot of bad things about this team and a lot of the times they point the finger at a few players, especially Camby. He is so under-rated for everything he does. They said that he's slow and washed up and doesn't move well on the court.. well duh, you're gonna get little lapses from him because he is aging but he is far from being washed up and slow. But if the media ever watched any of our games in full, they'll know he's actually one to be running up and down the court. He really tries and has a good mindset about working hard! He wants to play and help his team! And for a 37 yr old? what more can you ask for. He's been great!

    Another player. Nicolas Batum. I've been wanting to say this for a while but haven't really put it out there. Those bloggers put it out there though so i felt no need but with each passing game with him on the bench (like HG and a couple others pointed out) you're taking him out of his rhythm and game. 9 points? This is one negative that needs to be turned into a +. I see a star in the making. Remember what we heard about him in france? Shouldn't he get more of a real supporting role. He's going to end up like last years batum and i think that's why we got out the first round, his presence wasn't really felt. Right after that series, and i remember he said that he didn't want to take time off and really wanted to continue to work because he couldn't get over that loss. So he went to France and worked hard getting ready for this season. How are we paying him? Bench. I'm sorry but he needs to start. I love Matthews but i know Matthews will be comfortable in replace of Batums supporting role. He did it with the Jazz with ease in that little playoff run in 2010 he can do it this season, btw i think Matthews loves being with the blazers more than anyone on this team so i don't think he would care much about the role he would get here, other than the obvious fact that if you give him 3 minutes, then he'll re-think the situation here but let's be real. By all means, start Batum Nate! please.

    I think that's about it, i'm drained already from this comment. 2 more things and i'll hang it up. That clips team is so over-rated, what's their record? their close to 500 right? well that's saying something of an "elite" team. The term the media over-coins them. This is how we should have beat them in that last game. Matter of fact, i don't think anyone should be scared of this duo in Blake/Jordan and the facilitator in CP3. Their not scary after this night. Camby proved that. I think it was herr that said he's more scared every time Billups or Butler has the ball. Me too. Because it's those two guys that really know how to fight their way to a win. And it's because they have that championship pedigree. I think that's one of the more better reasons you can't point to the Clippers being a dangerous team. Not much so for CP3 and Blake. Billups is my favorite pg btw behind Rose of course. If he opts out and felton doesn't do so well here, we should get him! Ok, Magic. This should be a stroll through the park if distractions are holding up Dwight, 3 pointers aren't going in for them while they keep ignoring #12 inside. Or it could be like the Rose bowl in which only a few possessions could determine the game, but Oregon was still destined to win. Why? because they only had "2 losses" hehe. I look forward to a win, an opportunistic one blazers! go get em! Phewww, had to copy & paste a few times in case a lost this. lol.

    by Ballinrotation365 on 1/11/2012 5:48 PM
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