Jan 21

Blazers Limp Home Following Trip

By mikebarrett
The Trail Blazers were given the warnings by the coaching staff, and were very aware of the potential for this being a “trap game.”  I must have heard that term (from Detroit media members) 10 times before the game.  There’s a reason the term exists, but the Portland players weren’t accepting that as a legitimate reason for the loss on Saturday night.  We’ve used excuses, but they haven’t.

This was simply a disappointing loss on the final game of a disappointing trip.  The best thing I heard all night was the captain on our plane say “flight attendants prepare for departure.”

The hope is that you can survive a game, and a situation like this.  Detroit had played the night before as well, but played the game at home, and were awful in the first half.  In the second half, however, they battled back and were looking to use that rally as a springboard to this game against Portland.  Ben Gordon played on Friday for the Pistons, and Rodney Stuckey didn’t.  Saturday night, Gordon sat and Stuckey played.  That turned out to be a bad trade for Portland.

The Pistons haven’t been shooting the ball well, and struggle to score.  Sound familiar?  But, Stuckey provided just enough punch on this night to carry them through their tough stretches.

The Trail Blazers weren’t only on the 10th day of this trip, but were without their energy guy, Gerald Wallace.  Wallace is a guy who can carry you through a game like this, when scrap and hustle mean much more than field-goal percentage.  Wallace injured his right hand late in the Toronto game and sat this one out.  Portland missed him.

There really wasn’t much sense of urgency when the Pistons took the lead early in the second quarter, after all, it was just the second quarter.  Then the lead started to grow, and Detroit’s confidence started to grow.

When the Pistons’ lead grew to 16, it was time to worry.

The Trail Blazers did charge back, led by Raymond Felton and Craig Smith.  There haven’t been a ton of positives that have come out of this trip, but the play of Smith has been one of them.

Portland had the ball and had cut Detroit’s lead to one on two separate occasions in the fourth quarter, but both times failed to convert.  The Pistons held on for the 94-91 win.

If there’s one stat that started ugly, and remained ugly, throughout this trip, it was Portland’s field-goal percentage.  We’ve talked at length about this, but when you’re top-three scorers from your backcourt are all suffering through slumps, at the same time, life is going to be tough.  That’s the main reason the overall field goal percentage has been so low.  Saturday night the Blazers shot 42 percent.  Once again, stuck in that very familiar neighborhood.

Starting with the game in San Antonio (which seems like a month ago), the Blazers shot 41 percent, 41 percent, 47 percent, 38 percent, 40 percent, and 42 percent, respectively.  When you’re struggling like that, your margin for error is simply so thin it makes it tough to win, especially on the road.  You get away with that at the Rose Garden, but not on a six-game trip.

Now, it’s back home for one day off, and then a back-to-back-to-back set.  The first two are at home, and the last game of the set is at Golden State, which is never a day at the beach for the Blazers.

I’ll let the debate begin, as I pass out on this plane on the way home.  If field-goal percentage is your issue (and I think we’ve established that it is), then what do you do about it?  Tweak the offense?  Change the rotation?  Or, just ride this out and assume that someone is going to snap out of their slump, with the others most likely following close behind?  I like the last option, but you tell me.

Talk to you on TV on Monday.  Sunday is for my kids.  It’s been a while.


  1. Has anybody contemplated the idea that the blazers are just not that GOOD? Lol. I mean seriously....all of this rhetoric about how we are going to eventually shoot our way out of this "slump" is really a mirrage to the fact that we just do not have the personell to compete for a championship. Granted, there are some fantastic PEOPLE on this team. But if you look at the last time the blazers were a legitimate contender for the championship, not a pretender, they had some serious toughness inside as well as some outside shooting. Just sayin' that it is high time we quit living in this dreamland and realize that we are headed for another first round exit if we keep replacing players with similar players. It is time for Paul Allen and Co. to step up and make some serious play in the trade market and free agency this coming summer.

    by Jaredtherebel2001 on 1/21/2012 9:39 PM
  2. Hey Mike: I don't know what is wrong with our shooting, and I surely don't know how to fix it. I am at the moment not a Crawford fan, It seems when we got a lead or the score is close, he starts chucking up those three pointers that miss and that leaves the opportunity for the opponents to run back. Even if he made 1 and missed three, the opponents runs down and scores 6 while we are scoring 3. Not a good trade off in my book. If they let JC keep shooting, he may shoot us into some wins, but he is going to shoot us into more losses then wins.

    I actually thought this was a pretty good game, we didn't win, but we kept the game close. The want for home cooking may have been to rough.

    I don't feel any need to hole their heads in shame or have everybody shaming them, the know the goofed up a few games they should have won. the are still confident that they can turn this around as am I.
    Thank you for the blog hope to hear you and that other Mike Monday, I had to listen to Detroit announcers tonight and that was no fun.

    by Hg on 1/21/2012 10:01 PM
  3. i agree with you jared. this team is playing horrific basketball right now. in all six of these road games the blazers played awful defense. they played uninspired because when they came into the arenas of these crappy teams there was no crowd, so guess what the blazers didnt play good at all. mike barrett said during the pistons game that the blazers couldnt muster up energy because there was no noise in the building. they should have been putting their foot on the throats of these teams and if you look at the end scores of these games, the blazers couldve easily won these games. wallce had a hurt finger and sat out, now if your finger is hurting you help your team in other ways, he didnt have to sit out. nate said it clear tonight, "i thought we tried to flip a switch." i dont believe being tired is an excuse, you are making millions of dollars, step up and play when you need to. you guys should be ashamed of yourselves once again.

    by Imwytdashyt Epps on 1/21/2012 10:10 PM
  4. I'm a huge fan and I love watching even when they lose. So great to see Rhino play so well and be able to make a difference. That urgency is missing in most of our starters lately. They have to be more determined to score. Follow your shots, for heaven's sake. How many points did Roy get by tapping in his own misses? I'm with Nate on this, the guys have to flip the switch on early in the game and play with energy. I disagree with Jared's pessimism about lack of talent expressed above. I feel we have plenty of talent and a lack of urgency. PS- Nate sat Aldridge too much in first half and the hole got too deep to dig out of.

    by jsciv314 on 1/21/2012 10:25 PM
  5. Here's what I do...

    1) Bench anyone taking a stupid shot. Why not? In a much needed win, we let Babbitt play while we could have been building a lead.

    2) Have Adlridge be a consistent leader. He was aggressive against Toronto. Tonight, he hardly was.

    3) Stop the "shooters have to keep shooting" nonsense. That's what practice is for. But in games, where there isn't a margin of error, you can't have guys in slumps be in those slumps and keep chucking the ball up.

    This was a must win game to... well.. prevent this. Portland needed this one. The sad thing is 3 games this trip have all been like this, all loses. We lost by 2 against Houston, 3 against the Hawks, and 3 against Detriot. The most pathetic thing is that Portland is a better team than those 3 combined, and still missed huge opportunities to win. We could be talking about a 5-1 trip, a 4-2 trip, or 3-3, which I thought would be a worst case scenario. I didn't think 2-4 was even possible.

    After the Hawks game, I thought "Many thought we'd go 3-3 and be fine with that, but now will people mind going 3-3 with the way the Blazers played?"

    The thing is, I'm getting pretty damn tired taking time out of my day to sit on my computer chair, watch annoying as hell commercials, and seeing the Blazers play as terrible as they do. Maybe it's mental, maybe it's fatigue, maybe it's slump. I don't know. But the energy just hasn't been there. None of those games looked like the Blazers we saw that beat OKC, the Lakers, and the first 3 games. Looked like a completely different team, and now Portland isn't even in the playoff picture.

    Oh well, can't blame them too much. After all, they missed Camby for 4 games. Missed Wallace, Crawford, and Mathews for all 6. Missed Felton for about 3. So, all in all, maybe it was a good trip?

    The thing is these guys are taking jumpshots when all 3 can get to the rim. When I play ball, and I know someone can make a jumpshot, I'm fine with it. But when they miss, and then keep shooting them, I cringe, and it' demoralizing. That likely is happening. I still don't get why Wesley Mathews talks all this talk saying he's not a 3pt shooter, but that's all I see him do. He stands there waiting for the ball on the 3pt line. He needs to attack and be aggressive.

    And, as I've been talking with you and Kass about... DUNK THE BALL. Aldridge blew a huge layup when he could have easily DUNKED IT. It's just frustrating.

    Couldn't be coming home soon enough.

    by Herr on 1/21/2012 10:46 PM
  6. If players' salaries depended on how many games they won, I bet we would miraculously see these guys giving more consistent effort on a nightly basis. Besides physical effort, I think another obvious problem with this team is a lack of mental effort, mainly focus. It's usually stated that shooters should just shoot without thinking. That may work for natural shooters, but we don't have any natural shooters; therefore, our players may need to actually focus more when shooting. Going from 1st place to 10th place in a couple of weeks is something that's rarely seen. As much as I like Gerald's consistent effort at home and Wesley's toughness, I think they may be on the trade block soon if they don't get out of their funks. Finally, I love Aldridge, but he has never been a player that I felt comfortable giving the ball to in crunch time. I'm sure Jamal was brought in to be the closer, but I would feel most comfortable with Batum being the go-to-guy down the stretch, seeing that he has experience in being "the man" on the French national team. In summary, we need to play to our strengths.

    by C. Larry on 1/22/2012 1:11 AM
  7. Once positive out of the last two games has been the shooting of Raymond Felton along with several more assists than turnovers. At least one of our top three guards seems to have rejoined the living.

    Another thing from the Detroit game: it seems Jamal needs to be a little bit off balance in traffic. He made more of those kinds of shots than when he was wide open. One reason could be that there's no time to think when shooting under pressure, and too much time to think otherwise. Two great quotes about thinking during games: "Thinking is what gets you caught from behind" -- O. J. Simpson; and "Nobody can think and hit at the same time" -- Yogi Berra.

    It doesn't get any easier on our tired legs with a back-to-back-to-back one day after a long trip. We're going to need the bench to really step up in a big way.

    It's no excuse but that second foul on LA in the first quarter was one of the worst calls I've ever seen.

    by dgpdx on 1/22/2012 4:57 AM
  8. A big shoutout to CSN for showing us West Coast Conference games! The WCC has been a great basketball conference for as long as I can remember, all the way back to when Bill Russell and K. C. Jones were winning back-to-back NCAA titles at USF in '55 and '56.

    by dgpdx on 1/22/2012 5:03 AM
  9. I think our biggest problem is a comfortable pace. Saying If they could stay in the pace that the whole team could keep up with then they can go 48 minutes, but to go at a fast pace or a series of short sprints, then your lack of oxygen to your legs shows. I have ran a few marathons in my life and when I was in my groove or pace, I could run all day, but to speed up to get a better time even a second faster, took it toll on my energy because of the Oxygen debt syndrome. That is why Nate should open up his rotation and keep fresh legs in the game at all times. Each player can run a few short sprints at a time but to do it constantly gets the player in the best of shape in an oxygen debt. That is why you see a series of runs in a game. When your legs get rubbery, you just need to slow down for a few minutes to get the oxygen back, and then you are good to go again. To play team defense all five players need to be on the same level of energy. If one player has been sprinting for five minutes and another has just gotten into the game, the new player will have the energy, but the other player won't be able to keep up. That is also why in an up-tempo game you mass substitute, the second unit may not be as good with talent, but they would be on the same page with the energy they bring.
    Of course there is the old debate of the starters, most say to start your best five, I say, play them in the unit they serve the team best. If the second unit got about as many minutes as the first unit then what does it matter? I feel Nolan and Matthews would be a better pair then Nolan and Jamal, because Jamal is a chucker and a vet and Nolan along with Batum will always yield to his shooting. Whereas Raymond would distribute the ball where needed. Matthews isn’t the ball hog that Jamal is so Nolan could better contribute the ball. But as said that is argumentive.
    Ancientone best you make a big sandwich with this post.

    by Hg on 1/22/2012 5:08 AM
  10. Don: like you fouls called is not an excuse, but I thought the home court advantage fouls were farther out of line against Detroit. Not so much that we didn't foul, but more to the fact IN THE SAME TIME PERIOD they were not calling equal fouls on the other end. As soon as Detroit got in the teens ahead of Portland, the refs backed off of Portland to make the fouls look even in the game, but as soon as Portland got caught up guess what they couldn't defend without fouling. Detroit won the game with free throws not out hustling of being more aggressive. They would get to go to the foul line on their drives and Portland didn't. Look at what happened when the player got a split lip. He definitely fouled Smith and got a fat lip for his effort but thought the foul should have been on Smith. Anytime you defend with your face you are in deep doggy doo, LOL.

    by Hg on 1/22/2012 5:27 AM
  11. @ jsciv314....We have some "talent". We have enough talent to get in the playoffs and get knocked off in the 1st round. We do not have anywhere near the talent to compete for a championship; that is what I am saying. We do not have an answer for Dirk, Kobe, Durant, Westbrook, ect., ...over a SEVEN game series. Granted, we are "talented" enough to get wins against the best in the NBA at random times in random games during the regular season. But as a fan who lives and breaths red, white, and black, it is astonishing how we do not address our weaknesses after 1st round exits and games during the regular season that shine a bright light on those weaknesses. Injuries happen. They happen to everyone. It does not take away from the fact that we just do not have what it takes at this point to seriously compete for a championship. This blind eye has been an issue for this franchise since 1993. Since that year, this team has made the playoffs 14 seasons. Of those 14 seasons, we have been bounced from the playoffs in the first round in all but two of those seasons....(1999 and 2000). If one were to look back at those teams that have been bounced out in the 1st round (12 of the 14), it is incredible how many of these teams are constructed similar to the current team. The bottom line: We seem to be either very stubborn or just not "getting it" when it comes to personnell. The proof is there, and it is not some mystery as most blazers fans seem to think.

    I know basketball. I know winning basketball. I grew up in Seattle in the 90s when the sonics were tearing up the league went to the finals one time (1996). Those teams were 3 levels better than any blazer teams I have seen since moving here in 1998, and they STILL did not win a championship due to stubborn and wishful thinking by the front office in regards to player personell.

    @ Hg.....As far as the Blazer shooters go it is not that much of a mystery to me as to why we struggle from downtown- We do not have any 3 point shooters on the roster!!!!.....LOL. We have 2 guys in Matthews and Crawford who are capable of getting hot from time to time, but they are NOT shooters...A shooter is someone who consistently is a threat from 3 point land and is a guy defenses have to worry about where they are CONSTANTLY. Matthews and Crawford are not those kind of players. We need to quit expecting them to be more than they are. They are slashers, energy guys, guys who get to the basket, ect. Nice players. But not SHOOTERS.

    Finally, if Mike Barret said that " the blazers couldnt muster up energy because there was no noise in the building," that was one of the most idiotic statements I have ever head from a basketball announcer. Statements like that are part of the reason we have blinders on when it comes to this team and why they are "mysteriously" losing games to teams they "should be able to beat."

    I don't think that is something he would say, but I did not hear him say that so I will give him the benefit of the doubt on that one.

    by Jaredtherebel2001 on 1/22/2012 2:05 PM
  12. I will start with the negative. Bad road trip. 2-4. No matter how you add it up, a poor trip.
    About the shooting percentage. The guards. Jamal- what you see is what you get. He will hoist up a bunch of shots. Some nights he will be on fire, other nights he won't have it. Nate must get a feel for that. Raymond- I like what dgpdx said, "he rejoined the living". (that's funny) Ray is a NC boy. He'll be fine. Matthews- His shooting woes worry me the most. He is the last Blazer I thought would start hanging his head. He is down on himself. He is talking about his shooting mechanics. (not good) At least it is not spilling over to other parts of his game. He does so many other things for the team you have to play him. He'll come out of it, the question is when.
    Now the positives. For the most part they have stayed healthy. (knockknockknock) Except for LA and OKC the Blazers have not played great. Yet they have a winning record and have been in most games. Their team chemistry is good. Their attitude toward success is good. We are not yet 1/4 of the way through the season. It is not how you start it is how you finish. There is a long list of things the team can improve on. There is plenty of time to do it. Get it done. GO BLAZERS!!

    by Divotking on 1/22/2012 2:08 PM
  13. I forgot to mention. Mr. Barrett, you went 6 for 6 on this road trip. Nice work. Thank you.

    by Divotking on 1/22/2012 2:14 PM
  14. Great point about Jamal. The thing we need to realize is that Wesley is the same kind of player. None of these recent games should surprise anyone.

    What does everyone think we need to get to the next level: I'm talking about what we are really lacking...????

    Not any of this stupid crap about pace, chemistry, coaching, shooters who are inconsistent needing to become the next Ray Allen, etc.

    Do you think we will do anything at the deadline of significance? I am interested in everyone's thoughts. The bottom line is that I see an opportunity this year given the Western Conference being a bit down. I think OKC is the clear cut #1 team, with spots 2-8 being wide open.

    I would like us to be proactive for a change. I am tired of early playoff exits and 6th seeds where we have to "steal" games 1 and 2 on the opponents home court. Sick and tired of it actually.

    by Jaredtherebel2001 on 1/22/2012 2:49 PM
  15. Hg. I made a pot roast yesterday so it was roast beef sndwich with horse radish.

    This team could use the title of the old Don Knots movie "The gang that couldn't shoot straight"

    by Ancientone on 1/22/2012 2:54 PM
  16. Divotking - GREAT post! Loved your constructive criticisms and concerns :)

    I must admit to feeling a bit frustrated with the team play. I, like many of you, note the lack of energy, sloppy ball handling, half-measured defensive efforts, the terrible outside shooting, and what is VERY concerning to me personally, the inability to finish around the rim (be that with lay-ups, dunks, or tip-ins). I very much believed this team was capable of going 4-2 on the trip, and even thought 5-1 wasn't a crazy idea :) So, I would be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed.

    The thing is, I absolutely 100% believe the primary rotation is plenty talented enough to top the West. I really do. I also believe their initial chemistry was legitimate, and that some of that early play, where they looked unstoppable, was real and not just a fluke. Something has happened to them, something that started with their first loss at home, to the Magic. I believe it is mental, which seems to be something the Roy-Aldridge era Blazers have been especially prone to.

    Perhaps it has something to do with Nate, perhaps it has something to do with the personnel being primarily "nice guys". Maybe the price the franchise has paid in exchanging good players with terrible behavior for good players with terrific personalities is in toughness. The Jailblazers were nothing if not tough. What's really interesting is that even when they bring in tougher guys now, they are still just really nice. So, as a fan, I try to remember that nice people tend to be more conscientious than mean people. They tend to think more, maybe look at themselves too much. They don't want to be rude, or step on anyone's toes. I can imagine this easily translating into feeling somewhat lost on the court when all of sudden, what WAS working, no longer is. That's how they seem to me about half the time. Lost, tentative, unsure. They know someone needs to be held accountable, but have a tendency to take it on themselves, and in the process, get a little more discouraged every game when they think they're doing better or trying harder and it still isn't translating into good ball. Yes, these guys are paid handsomely to entertain all of us, but at the end of the day, they are human. If you know me, then you know how much I like to emphasize the MENTAL side of the game. That's because most fans ignore it. That's a mistake, if you want to understand what is happening with a team. These guys are clearly in the midst of a general mental breakdown regarding their roles, their performance, and the team. Like everyone else, I sincerely hope it improves. I put it on Coach Nate and Lamarcus to bring this to an end. In my opinion, those are the two guys who are the leaders of the team, and thus are most responsible for the direction the team is headed.

    As for positives, I was very encouraged to see an improvement in rebounding. This is a category they have previously excelled in, but have been terrible in so far this season. I was so pleased to see this change a little bit. As someone else mentioned, it was great to see Ray get a little tighter with the ball and find his shot more often. THAT will translate into better play all around in the near future. Nicolas was so solid during this trip and I was impressed. His level of aggressiveness was much needed and I was thrilled to see it. I hope it continues, though I do worry it won't (Nico has a history of breaking out for a few games, then retreating again). And how about Craig Smith?? What a great, solid pick up. Extremely underrated and much appreciated over here. Whenever I see him under the hoop now, I just assume he's either going to force his way to a bucket, get the foul, or grab a rebound! LOVE him :) Lamarcus' career game was amazing. I don't think he believes it yet, but I know LA can play like that more than he does. LA's biggest weakness is his fatigue. If the Blazers want more success, he is going to just need to push through that tiredness consistently. He's mentioned a few times that he has had to just do that, in order to get the W. That's encouraging, and it's something he's simply going to have to do all the time.

    As Divotking mentioned, I am also become deeply concerned about Wesley. He can be streaky, and has had slumps before, but this is going far beyond that. I can't remember the last time he had a good game...and since he's my favorite player, that is just tough. I believe in him, I KNOW he will break through, but I'm not sure now that it will happen before he loses his starting position. If that scenario does evolve, Jamal Crawford better bring it, cuz so far, his performance has not been up to snuff (how much do you think Nate misses BRoy???). I won't bag on JC though. After following the Hawks for a few years, I know how deadly he can be. Just waiting to see that happen with Portland.

    So, again, another book :) Oh well, I had a lot to say and chose this forum to say it in. Until next time!

    by SisillaRiann on 1/22/2012 3:20 PM
  17. I'd have to say the whole season so far has been disappinting. One big issue Portland has is that they are completely incapable of just putting a team away. Almost everytime they build up a lead, no matter big or small, we keep letting the opponent hang around. And we've been punished for it many times, like against San Antonio or even last night.

    I hope it gets better, if we keep half-arsing it like during most of our games, we won't even make the playoffs, let alone have a prayer at a title. EDIT: I will mention that about all that was satisfying out of this road trip was that win in Toronto (the Raptors probably played their best half of the year) and seeing the Lakers get collectively punched in the face twice in Orlando and Miami.

    by outcast on 1/22/2012 5:48 PM
  18. EowynAmarie: I might believe your "they're just too nice" hypothesis if I didn't remember so vividly the last time the Blazers were on the brink of the conference finals. Anyone else remember the "T" King, Rasheed Wallace confidently taking shot after missed shot to fritter away what looked like a solid lead against the Lakers? It sure wasn't niceness that killed us that year.
    I'm worried about the team too, but I never thought that this year's squad had a chance to do much more than last year's team. The Blazers have played above their apparent talent level the last two seasons, and I assume that's due in part to what the coaches did in camp and the pre-season to get the players on the same page. That wasn't available this year, and with all the new faces, that hurt the Blazers more than most teams. I'm more concerned about the trades and acquisitions. Jamaal Crawford looks like a washout to me. Craig and Kurt are good role players, and I love them, but they do nothing to help our long-term talent supply. Who on this roster has the capacity to improve and make this a better team? LaMarcus, Wesley, Batum, Raymond Felton maybe, and several guys who spend each game on the bench. Now obviously Luke and Chris didn't help themselves much when they got their fleeing chances on this trip. After Luke had missed a shot, committed a foul and let his many get past him I said "He's made his mistakes and he's out of there." But Wesley and Gerald and Jamaal make a lot more mistakes than that every single game they play. If we're going to build with young talent we need to a) get more of it, and b) give the youngsters we've got a chance to make their mistakes and learn. I think that barring a miracle comeback by Greg Oden this team does lack the talent to contend for a championship. I don't much like the idea of trying to win by signing big name free agents, because you're almost always paying top dollar for several years of decline after the one or two near-peak years that will help you. But it's still a better strategy than wasting money on marginal "stars" like Crawford. I believe we've got enough talent to reach the play-offs again, but I wonder if that's really a good idea. If the team keeps stumbling during the harsh test of the next ten days, I'd be tempted to write this season off and start trading for draft picks, saying goodbye to Gerald and Jamaar. I'd re-sign Nic and tell him he's our guy. I'd tell Eliot he's the back-up two, and Nolan that he's the back-up point, so get ready to play every day. I'd also give Chris and Luke a real chance to show whether they're worth keeping around. We'd miss the play-offs, of course, but that would put us in position to get a quality draft pick.
    It seems like Mike's question, "What's wrong with the offense" has morphed into "Is this team really good enough to contend," because one obvious answer is that we just don't have enough real shooters or enough guys who can finish on drives to the hoop. I'd agree, but I'm also worried about our point guard situation. Raymond Felton had a very good game last night, if you judge by the stat line. Good shooting percentage, good assist to turnover ration, 20 points: what's not to like? But if the guy running your offense had a good game, why was your offense as a whole so stagnant? I'd say there were at least six times I watched Raymond try to work a high-pick and roll with Aldridge, or make an entry pass or just figure out where to take the ball to get the action started when he looked slow and confused and frankly lost out there. He completely messed up attempts to set a pick for him three or four times. He kept backing up under pressure, instead of making a move to counterattack. Obviously things were no better with Jamaal "I can get my own shot anytime, and I even make some of the bad ones" Crawford. Yes, a lot of guys were just tired and missing open shots, but if you don't have someone running your offense who actually knows how to run an offense, you won't get enough easy looks to make up for that.

    by Islander on 1/22/2012 5:56 PM
  19. Islander:
    I am a die hard. I am not ready to give up on the season and the players yet. We are still above 500 and have chances to improve. I am not against playing our bench, and I don't know about trading off Wallace and Jamar. That is not close to my call.
    I do agree with you about Ray running the offense, but that too can improve.

    by Hg on 1/22/2012 8:02 PM

  20. Blazers: 9-7, 9th in west (0.563)
    Lakers: 10-8, 10th in west (0.556) (Just lost to Pacers at home)

    2nd through 9th in west have all lost 5 to 7 games each and all are within 2.5 games of each other.
    (3 with 5 losses, 1 with 6 losses, and 4 with 7 losses)

    Sure, everyone, including players would like better, but given the situation, this is reasonable.

    What is Crawford’s and Felton’s career average shooting percentages? Low to mid 40’s? Isn’t that about where the team averaged for this 6 game road trip?

    The biggest problem I see is unreasonable expectations. Remember B. Roy retired, G. Oden return put on hold, creating a scramble to put together a reasonable team. That is what the Blazers are this year. A reasonable team. Just making the playoffs with this group (no dis intended to anyone) would be a gift.

    Take a deep breath, relax a little and do a reality check.

    by NOYB on 1/22/2012 9:48 PM
  21. @NOYB: I agree plus I am just like jsciv314 above; I enjoy watching them play win or lose.

    by Hg on 1/22/2012 9:36 PM
  22. I seem to have started this trend in the last few hours or so of long posts, but I believe this is necessary at this point in time within RIP City. The last few posts have FINALLY zeroed in on some of the issues facing this franchise. I have read this particular blog consistently over the past three years, and this bluntness has been lacking. I don't know why, as this would seem like the forum for uninhibited opinion, but that is irrelevant.

    What IS in fact at hand are a few things:

    (1) First and foremost, the blazers need to figure out where they are going as an organization. This is all needs to be centered around the goal of championships. Whatever it takes, everything should branch off of that one philosophy and that one philosophy only.

    (2) Coming back to the more "current" issues at hand, I have to say that toughness, both within the categories of mental and physical toughness is not there. One above mentioned the "jailblazers" days, so this needs some clarification.
    The "Jailblazers" were comprised of various players who were part of the early 2000s thug culture of the NBA. Those blazers teams between 2001-2005 did not care about winning, save a few of the veterans that were there at the beginning of that little era. They were not so much tough, as they were a street gang that happened to play basketball.

    I reference the blazer teams from 1999 and 2000 way, way to much but I just can't get passed some glaring things that I see from those teams, in comparison to now. And since that was the last conceivable time the blazers were contenders, please bear with me.

    Game 1, Western Conference Semifinals against the Jazz: There is a sequence where Brian Grant flies into the scorers table, saves the ball, and gets it to Pippen. Pippen hits a crucial 3.

    Game 5 of that series: Pippen basically is a one man team, along with Grant. At the end, he hits a big 3 to give us, incredibly, our last playoff series win.

    My point to all of this: We had toughness, some "thugs" but yet, some vetern players that complimented the younger players at the time.

    Killer instinct, inside depth and toughness, those are the things that are lacking. I go back to the 2009 draft when we passed up on Dejuan Blair and Ty Lawson. PG and inside depth still remain a need for this team in my opinion. The only thing I can conclude is that Paul Allen is scared to death of another PR nightmare. I do not even know if those two players I mentioned before had or have character issues, but there is nothing else that makes sense than that there are some issues at the top and in the front office in terms of philosophy.

    LMA is a given. He is staying. Everyone else is up for grabs in my opinion, and is nothing more than a role player in my opinion.

    Simply put, its time to stop messing around. Pick a direction. Make some tough decisions. Lets Go!

    by Jaredtherebel2001 on 1/22/2012 9:55 PM
  23. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=x4of09wfnh4

    I would implore everyone to watch the last quarter of the above game.

    by Jaredtherebel2001 on 1/22/2012 10:05 PM

  24. @Jaredtherebel2001
    There are many things more important than championships and rightfully so should take precedence over a championship or bust philosophy.

    It is a game, an entertainment sport, take a chill pill.

    by NOYB on 1/22/2012 10:21 PM
  25. basketball is more than a game my friend...it is life...

    Why not take compete every year?

    by Jaredtherebel2001 on 1/22/2012 10:19 PM

  26. @Jaredtherebel2001
    Okay, now you're scaring me.
    Double up on those chill pills and see your psychiatrist first thing in the morning.

    by NOYB on 1/22/2012 10:25 PM
  27. I guess that's the difference between a winner and pretender..Some want worse than other's as evidenced by the moves other teams make...We use to have it as well...I'm just wondering where it went...Colin Cowherd (ESPN radio) makes a great point when he states that 'whoever says that winning doesn't matter has never won at anything in there life.'

    Your assertion that anyone that cares about winning needs professional help is an embarrassing attempt at accepting mediocrity. Tell your two above comments regarding championships to MJ or Kobe. See if they agree.

    by Jaredtherebel2001 on 1/22/2012 10:30 PM

  28. @Jaredtherebel2001
    I'm certain MJ and Kobe would not agree. But thankfully they are not the measuring stick for what is important in life.

    Winning is good. But it is not the be all end all.

    Furthermore the Blazers did put together a good and championship caliber team, but it fell apart. So get off their back. It's not like they can just go get anybody they want at the drop of a hat.

    Very glad I don't work and live under your philosophy of the goal is the only thing that matters. Yes the goal (winning, championship, etc.) matters. But not to exclusion of all else.

    You are part of the problem I see and mentioned up above. Unreasonable expectations.

    by NOYB on 1/22/2012 10:46 PM
  29. Good debate on here, and I appreciate all the posts. There is obviously some passion and that's a good thing. Yes, the Detroit loss was frustrating. My two cents goes something like, giving up on the season after a tough six-game trip is just about as fruitless as crowning the team NBA champs after getting off to a hot start and beating the Lakers and Thunder (and some were doing that). Perspective is always our friend here. And, for the record, I don't recall saying "the blazers couldnt muster up energy because there was no noise in the building" in Detroit. We did site the lack of atmosphere (and fans), and talked about how nice it'll be to get back home where the Blazers totally feed off the energy of a sold-out building. But, that's a far cry from blaming a lack of effort on a flat building. I will say that we certainly search for reasons, during games, for why the team is playing well or not so well. That includes all reasons. If mentioning that the team is at the end of a six-game trip, and was missing their starting small forward (and energy guy) then I'd put that down as a factor, and we're going to talk about it. Kind of unrealstic to say that wasn't a factor. I guess there's a fine line between listing all the circumstances that go into a game and being accused of making excuses (we hear both sides of that argument all the time). The bottom line is, if Portland wins that game, we're not even discussing this. And, I also accept, that at times, shooting the messenger comes with the territory in this job. I can take that. Thanks again for all the comments. I enjoy the positive and the constructive (negative).


    by mikebarrett on 1/22/2012 10:58 PM
  30. @ NOYB...If you look at the spirit of my previous comments I actually agreed with you that unrealistic expectations are part of the problem WHEN taken into account the given roster. Keep in mind that I am talking about winning playoff series, not winning games randomly during the regular season (which we have proven we can do, against anybody). In my opinion, I have noticed a trend in terms of personell moves that have both been made, or not made, that do not lend itself towards that goal of a deep playoff run. I never once asserted that we can go get anyone at the drop of hat. No one can, even the Lakers now days.

    However, again, I cite a few obvious blunders by the front office and above that make me question exactly the LEVEL that they want to at, not merely the question of if they want to win or not, as that is an obvious answer.

    by Jaredtherebel2001 on 1/22/2012 11:18 PM
  31. @MikeBarrett
    Did all our commotion wake you up? ;)

    Some of your sentiments about this team maybe just not being all that good. I agree with. But that cannot be changed at the drop of a hat. So lets have reasonable expectations for this team, and expect that the Blazers will improve the team going forward. As I'm certain they will, as I'm sure they understand the team as it is right now will not win a championship. Though they were headed in that direction until some big key pieces fell apart. So give them some credit.

    by NOYB on 1/22/2012 11:28 PM
  32. It cannot be corrected right now, I realize that...I just trace back a few years and have see disturbing patterns...i.e., (using all the cap room we had in the summer of 2009 to acquire Andre Miller, really??? That was the best they could do?....that summers draft, and the lack of urgency the next summer to beef up the team)

    Now granted, while mentioning all that, I must also mention that they have had some horrible luck with injuries and $ tied up to players that were injured, and losing out on Paul Millsap in the summer of 2009...no one seems to mention that at all, but could you imagine how much more energy LMA would have if we had some more depth and muscle on the front line, particularly on the offensive end?

    by Jaredtherebel2001 on 1/22/2012 11:35 PM

  33. @Jaredtherebel2001
    Hindsight is always 20/20. Anybody in position of decision making understands they can't all be right. Sometimes seemingly good decisions turn bad. And sometimes seemingly bad decisions turn out good. You go with what you know and sometimes take a risk and roll the dice.

    Just because they make a few mistakes (in your eyes anyway) doesn't mean they are not trying to build a championship team. They just see it differently than you.

    The team they were building was for championship and it just went sour. But they were headed in right direction so I give them credit. Now they have to begin again. It will take time.

    P.S. Good-night. Enjoy game tomorrow. And no hard feelings. Enjoyed and respect the discussion.

    by NOYB on 1/22/2012 11:54 PM
  34. What are your suggestions on how exactly to begin again..???...

    I think Tyson Chandlier (a Brian Grant sort of player) would have been a great pickup...but I am open to suggestions...

    by Jaredtherebel2001 on 1/22/2012 11:59 PM
  35. I've been lusting for Tyson Chandler in black and red for quite a while. Not likely to happen though, unless the Knicks self-destruct -- which is always possible for that franchise.

    I was living in Edmonds, WA, when those Sonic teams of the late 70s through the 90s were doing so well. Both Lenny Wilkins and George Karl are high on my list of favorite coaches. Don't let Wilkins make personnel decisions though, he was the one who traded away Dennis Johnson, the guy Larry Bird later said was "the smartest player I ever played with."

    by dgpdx on 1/23/2012 1:15 AM
  36. yep, it was very apparent from the end of the lockout that Dallas was not going to re-sign Tyson Chandler. He is the most underrated player in the game in my opinion. Guess it made to much sense. IDK.

    I loved Nate as a player. Him and the "Glove" were fun to watch on the perimeter on those mid 90's Seattle teams. I also like him as a coach for this current team of nice, young, and solid roster. I have my doubts as to how he would fair coaching a veteran, star driven lineup, given his apparent control he seems to have over this current team. But I think he more than deserves a crack at it, considering the job he has done the past 2 seasons +. He should have won coach of the year at least one the last 2 years.

    by Jaredtherebel2001 on 1/23/2012 1:31 AM
  37. @MB: I love your two cents worth, I don't have the BB knowledge that many has, I don't know who we could have gotten and who we couldn't. The front office was criticized for just getting Dre one summer, but I remember we tried for Trukeyglue, and Milsap that same summer, I don't believe Dre was a bad choice at the time.

    As said there were a lot of circumstances left out of the debate. We thought we had Greg and Joel coming back so our bigs at that moment wasn't an issue, BRoy had said he needed help in the back court, and obviously we needed help at the 4 and tried to get it. through Milsap and even the draft with Pendergraph and Dante. Many of the attempt did seem fruitless, but not without trying for better.

    I for one enjoy the Blazers playing and of course I like them to win like NOYB, but the main thing I like is for them to keep their heads in the game and try for each and every game to be competitive. For instance I have heard that other Mike say time and time again that it is very difficult to win on the road, without a list of whys, He also said you just stay in the game and give yourself a chance to win, I feel we did that. We lost four games that could have gone our way just as easy. It was said that Detroit was a rotten team and a high school team could beat them, but I remember years and maybe even this year that we were rotten but got hot with our outside shooting and burnt some very good teams.

    As far as this year goes, this is sort of a make shift team as we only had a week to get players after we found out about BRoy's retirement and Greg's availability. Getting Jamal, Thomas and Craig was not a move for the future, but to give us a team that could compete this year. The front office still has questions about Greg, if he could get out on the floor any time soon as was planned, this would still be a hopeful season. They have hopes for Joel Freeland next year and with using the amnesty on BRoy and with the one year contracts we should be in better shape financially and know more about the players that might need replaced. Remember we only had a small sample size of GW, we still don't know for sure about Raymond. I feel we have a pg of the future in Nolan, maybe a 2 guard in Williams and Wesley as he is still young, Batum as a Tree, of course LMA and a assortment of bigs in Freeland, Craig, maybe Greg, and Camby, Thomas as long as they last and Chris Johnson.
    All these are still unknown to me, and who is available is unknown to me, but I have faith in the front office and faith in the coaching staff and faith in the players to give it all they have. Whether that is enough to make a run in the play-offs or a chance for the ring, I have no idea, but I am going to keep watching, hoping and supporting the cast of players we have right now. True they have a ways to go, true it was asked for opinions in this blog, but they still have time to get it together so I will keep on rooting. OBTW, Have I told you that I am a horrible homer.

    by Hg on 1/23/2012 1:42 AM
  38. To address our needs for a consistent shooter, I would love to get Stephen Curry. We would probably have to give up Wesley and Gerald (at the least); they might ask for Batum instead of Gerald. They could use a small forward, but it would get tricky to make the salaries work. Also, I have concerns about Curry's injury history, and our defense might take a hit. There doesn't seem to be a quick fix for our problems.

    by C. Larry on 1/23/2012 2:23 AM
  39. Yea, some of us got really excited at the beggining of the season, by the way our team has played.

    But still, it's not like our team beats better teams "randomly". Of course, one game can go either way some times (see Washington Wizards vs OKC Thunder a few games back... that was trully random), but we sure had talent and effort to win against OKC and LAL.

    My point is: we are in a funk right now, and we are showing our bad side and weaknesses, but our talent is still there. And I still believe we can get good again and show our positive side again, gain some confidence and be the team we're supposed to be. (Yea, to me we're supposed to be more than 9th place or 1st roung playoff drop offs)

    Call me optimist or anything, but that's what we need sometimes (and the players and coaches too)

    by Tiago Torigoe on 1/23/2012 3:51 AM
  40. jaredtherebe2001, i really appreciate your matter-of-fact observations. i agree, we don't have shooters. we have guys that can shoot but the only problem is they don't make them CONSISTENTLY. hell my grandma can shoot the ball but that doesn't make her a shooter.

    AND the root of our problems can be traced to the TOP. his name is paul allen. he doesn't like to make clear statements. he doesn't like following a clear plan. he doesn't know how to make a plan and he won't ALLOW someone (manager) who has one to implement it. he needs to have a VOICE in the decision making and that VOICE internally, is very loud.

    as for this team, it NEEDS aldridge to lead every night. it's that simple. he needs to establish the tone and make the big shots. everyone else needs to play their butts off and do what they can to contribute and that means REBOUND. how the hell are we getting out rebounded? we are tall.

    and nate mcmillan is holding the reigns way too tight. this is no baby team. it's a team full of seasoned veterans that have talent and need room to breath and do what they do best.

    no positives after this road trip.

    go blazers!

    by thedanman on 1/23/2012 5:01 AM
  41. Our biggest weakness that was exposed was we are not road warriors. the second weakness is our outside shooting, we get criticized for settling for jumpers and criticized for not hitting some outside shots to open up the middle for drives and LMA. So they are in deep if they try making jumpers and in deep if they don't make them. I wouldn't know a pure shooter from a part time shooter. Ray Allen set the NBA record one night for most threes made then the next night he couldn't hit the side of a barn 10 feet away. So give me a list of pure shooters. Although we are a poor shooting team, whether it is two feet away or out at the 3 point line, like Tiago Torigoe, I am confident those shots will start falling as soon as the team gets used to the fast pace they are trying to play Almost a new team, a couple of key injuries, and being on the road is our culprit for a bad six game stance. We will get back to our winning ways.

    by Hg on 1/23/2012 8:16 AM
  42. Permit me a fantasy. If Jamal and our other guards would shoot well enough to bring their averages up to their career averages we would see one impressive hot streak and the post would open up.

    by Ancientone on 1/23/2012 9:19 AM
  43. Ancientone: your fantasy is well taken. Why is our shooting so far off this year? Is it getting use to the supposedly new speed? Is losing BRoy that much of a loss? Did the whole team get the Rudy desease? If we could make shots, half of our problems would be solved.

    by Hg on 1/23/2012 9:36 AM

  44. @Acientone
    Unfortunately you are correct. That very well may be a fantasy.

    2pt / 3pt
    Crawford Career 41% / 35%
    Felton Career 41% / 33%
    Matthews 46% / 39%
    Batum 46% / 37%
    Aldridge 49% / 23%
    Wallace 48% / 32%

    Is that enough to pull defenders off of Wallace and Aldridge and open the post?
    I have my doubts. As an opponent I would require the "shooters" prove themselves, because I don't think they can do so consistently. Play the odds.
    Even Batum shoots better from 3 than Crawford and Felton, and nearly matches Matthews.

    Time to adjust expectations to be more reasonable.

    by NOYB on 1/23/2012 10:06 AM
  45. @NOYB: It is very true that our opponents will keep sagging off the perimeter, dbl on LMA and plug the lanes against the drives until Portland can prove we can hit our shots. but that isn't just outside shots but inside shots also. I am not a stats man because stats only show what players have been, not the condition said player got those stats from. For instance, Batum stats are down because he has been in the game with Jamal, and usually has to take a shot as the clock is running down or a bail out shot. We don't make plays for Nic, or give him the ball where he can be more effective most of the time.

    Nevertheless I don't think our % on making high % shots are too high either.

    by Hg on 1/23/2012 10:19 AM

  46. No one in their right mind would leave a 49% shooter to guard a 41% shooter.
    And remember that 49% shooter includes frequent double and triple team defense. So if you leave him to guard the 41% shooter his percentage goes over 50. Losing proposition.

    The PG's job is not to take lots of shots. Their job is to make the shots they take and to distribute the ball around perimeter and enter it inside, to make the defense move and draw them out.

    by NOYB on 1/23/2012 10:29 AM

  47. Lets talk inside out vs. outside in game philosophy.

    Inside out is fatally flawed game philosophy.
    Get the ball in deep, collapse the defense, and kick it out for a jump shot. May sound good, but in reality is pathetic.
    1) Kicking the ball out for a lower percentage jump shot.
    2) Bails out opponent defense from having to challenge shots inside at the basket and get into foul trouble, leading to easier points with clock stopped.
    3) Opponents know you’re going to kick it out instead of shooting, so they only have to be present, and not really challenge and foul. Bails them out.

    Outside in is much better game philosophy.
    Work the ball around perimeter, take good open jump shots when appropriate, making opponent defense move and prevent them from collapsing in. Move them into a mismatch and strike in deep with high percentage shots. Forcing them to challenge inside shots at the basket and getting them into foul trouble.

    by NOYB on 1/23/2012 11:40 AM
  48. That's exactly what we need to be doing actually, but we do not have the players to do it at this point. LMA is doubled, we kick it out to open shooters, who are erratic at best, and we are somehow surprised when they have these games of late, that are actually in fact consistent with what they have done their whole careers. Then we have these strange questions as to why they are missing....lol...its really quite comical. We need better post play, nit better shooters from 3 land. The 3 will take care of itself when appropriate. This will also take the pressure off of Aldridge, open up things for Batum..etc. Outside in...take the ball to the hole, make the defense commit, win consistently.

    by Jaredtherebel2001 on 1/23/2012 3:40 PM
  49. @Hg: I believe you have to heavily factor stats into the equation when defining a pure shooter. The best predictor of future actions is previous actions. My personal opinion is that pure shooters typically have a career 3 pt. % of 40% or higher. Of course there are exceptions to every rule. A few guys that I would call pure shooters are J.J. Reddick, James Jones, Ray Allen, and as I've already mentioned Stephen Curry. Statistics-wise, Wesley is the closest we've got to a pure shooter, but he's developing a pattern of going through these very extended shooting slumps.

    by C. Larry on 1/23/2012 6:11 PM
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