mikebarrett

Feb 06

OKC Exacts Revenge in Portland

By mikebarrett
Of all the painful missed opportunties the Trail Blazers have suffered in close games this season, this was the most gut wrenching yet.  The final result greatly overshadows what could have been one of the grittier performances of the season by Portland, who was without their starting point guard on Monday night.

LaMarcus Aldridge scored a season-high 39 points, and was simply brilliant through stretches of this game.  The Blazers rallied from 12 down in the second half to grab a six-point lead with 2:18 left in regulation.  They then went ice cold, and had several bad offensive possessions.  They still nearly survived and pulled out the win.

Trailing 103-101 in the closing seconds, Oklahoma City gave the ball to Kevin Durant, who drove down the right side of the lane, hoping to tie the game.  LaMarcus Aldridge followed alongside Durant and blocked the shot against the backboard with 6 seconds to go.  The blocked appeared to preserve the win for Portland, as the sellout crowd went nuts. 

Referee Scott Foster then, after the ball had been knocked out to midcourt, called Aldridge for goaltending.  You know all of this, and if you're a Blazer fan you were (are) likely furious.

It is very difficult, when calling a game (especially on a broadcast that's being carried nationally on NBA TV), to keep emotions in check at a time like this.  I haven't always done that, but in this case I did my best.  We waited for the replay before issuing much comment.  That's not easy.  And, if you check in with this blog much you know that I don't spend time bashing referees.  It's just a waste of time, and being I know many of them, I understand that's a brutal job.  I can't for the life of me figure out why they do it.  

I will also say that Foster is one of the best referees in the NBA.  That's why you see him consistently work deep into the playoffs each year, and is regarded as near the head of his class.  I can tell you that I'm sure he wishes he had this one back.  After wading through the mass of angry Blazer fans to get to the officials locker room, I'm sure the first thing he did was rewind the tape and look at the call over and over and over again.  As many times as you have watched the replay, you can bet that he's watched it a whole lot more.

Because it was Foster, we waited (on our broadcast) well after the in-house replay, and crowd reaction, to attempt to make a judgement.  I certainly felt he deserved the benefit of the doubt.  But, in the end, I certainly agreed with everyone else that this was not goaltending.  It took guts for him to make that call, and know he was about to feel the wrath of 20,559 fans, but that doesn't mean that in this case he was correct.  This may sound strange, but I get the human element of all of this, and I actually felt bad for him.

Referees don't enjoy deciding the outcome of games, and that's why many times you'll see them do their best to let things go in the final seconds.  Foster, again, is usually one of the best at this.  I also think that 99 out of 100 times he doesn't make that goaltending call.  This was a bad break, a rough moment for him, and a blown call at a very bad time for Portland.  But, that doesn't totally change the way I feel about Foster.  I know you may disagree, and that's fine.  I'd still rather have him in these situations than many others.

And, I know it's cliche, but the Trail Blazers had other chances to win this game.  They're the first ones to admit this.  It probably shouldn't have come down to that final play, and that final call.  But, it did, and that's what hurts.

Portland will get this figured out at some point, and that doesn't make anyone feel any better right now, but the team is now 1-8 in games decided by six points or fewer.  Considering the recent history of this team, this is a mind-boggling number.  This team has been so good in recent years at coming up big in tight situations.  They just can't get over the hump in these games.

It snowballs too, and the next time they're in this situation it won't be any easier.  Cracks start to develop in your confidence.  We could go back and talk about dozens of other situations in this game, but the fact is we're still talking about coming up short in a huge, pressure-packed moment.  That's what separates the elite teams from the good teams.  Yes, it's a good thing that most of your losses have been winnable games.  They have been right there, so many times, and could so easily have won a good number of the games they have lost.  But, at the end of the day, a loss is a loss. 

When you're struggling through a time where you can't catch a break late in a game, things like this, and calls like this, seem to happen.  It's a cruel reality of this game.

It's such a fine line, and I know I've said that so many times after so many games.  If Batum's lays the ball in for the win, or Aldridge isn't called for goaltending, perhaps everything turns around for the Blazers.  As it is, we're left searching for answers, and the noose is just that much tighter the next time we're in this situation.

That next situation could come on Wednesday night, and the Trail Blazers simply need to be better.  Houston is in town, and if you missed it, they just won in Denver.  They won't give a darn if Portland feels it got jobbed on their own court.

Turn the page and move on, as difficult as that is to do after a heartbreaking loss like this.

57 Comments

  1. at some point, when do we realize we need a closer? just being a master of the obvious here, but time is not on our side

    by Jaredtherebel2001 on 2/7/2012 12:17 AM
  2. BTW, LMA is doing above and beyond what he can do, being doubled constantly....we need B-Roy back...or someone like him

    by Jaredtherebel2001 on 2/7/2012 12:18 AM
  3. A power failure robbed me of seeing the last ten minutes so I didn't see the controversial stuff. As we were missing free throws in the 1st quarter though, I kind of thought the game may turn on those few points. It was pretty clear that free throws, turnovers, and rebounds were going to decide it.
    --
    don

    by dgpdx on 2/7/2012 12:56 AM
  4. Mike: Sad day at the least. If that was goal tending, then they have missed thousands of gaol tends.

    Heart breaking as this game was it will not make either team stagger much.
    Great jog by the team I thought.

    by Hg on 2/7/2012 1:02 AM
  5. When a 58% shooter like Kurt Thomas plays 21 minutes, he should get more than 3 shots. He's so reliable, we should run plays for him -- not just use him to set picks and rarely get the ball back.
    --
    don

    by dgpdx on 2/7/2012 1:03 AM
  6. Keep it classy fans. It was a bad call. Interesting string of runs by both teams but we were playing from behind a lot. We had heart. We had the desire. We made good shots. Stay positive. I want to performances like this, only even better come playoff time. OKC gets to feel good for a minute. Now is as ever good time to be a true fan as when we blow out the Bobcats. Here's one for the guys: Stay positive and work together, Make each other better. Great game, on to the next. Man do I miss Brandon right now but we can get better.

    LaMarcus = All Star
    Blazers = contender but we gotta have a better record than this in the end.

    Go Blazers.

    I am not implying that there was a conspiracy by any means but it really did appear that those officials had a soft spot for OKC. I believe you MB, and hope they officiate with integrity but it sure did look lopsided tonight. I guess can only judge from what I saw on TV and replays.

    You Decide....

    by Bull Frog on 2/7/2012 2:47 AM
  7. You guys all know how I am about officiating. Like many, I often use to put all the blame on them. Now that I've calmed down, set the switch to be more real, I 100% agree with you Mike. You said it perfectly that we'd likely have Mr. Foster instead of some of the other officials in this league. I don't blame him for this loss, although it was a 99.9% chance that the Blazers would have won had the call not been called.

    The Blazers need to do better. To all those that said, "Amnesty Roy!" over the season before he announced retirement, this is exactly what you get. The reason this team has 11 loses is because the lack of a closer. I don't blame Foster because the game was sent to overtime, not straight to a win for the Thunder. Portland had the chance, again, and couldn't connect.

    I love Aldridge, and he had a fantastic game. But he straight out isn't clutch, and is hardly a closer. He's an All-Star for about 43 minutes of the game, and then he either gets shut down by the defense (who denies him a shot or the ball) or he misses shots he's been hitting all night. I'm not bashing Aldridge, but he has yet to develop that part of his game, and honestly, I don't think he ever will. Closing games is something you are just straight out born with. Portland will be a first round exit unless someone can step up and be the closer, and we all have to admit that it isn't going to be Aldridge. Batum, Crawford, and Wesley I believe have that potential, and it's their job to step up in that situation.

    I think this game really showed how much Felton also means to this team. I didn't hear anything from Quick or Hollinger on Twitter, but Felton deserves a shotout just for not playing this game. He's very valuable to this team. All you Andre lovers, who happened to hate him when he first arrived in Portland... well... you are doing the same thing now. You'll ALL love Felton, and that emotion will start soon.

    The worst part of this all, is I now work graveyard, starting at 10pm each night. My job is a simple task all day, so I get a lot of time to think. Just imagine how bad this was eating me up. But, since I've developed this new attitude, I simply switched the page. Win or loss, we've got a game on Wednesday, and we've got to bounce back. It was simply just a regular season game. This isn't the first time this has happened, and it won't be the last.

    by Herr on 2/7/2012 6:57 AM
  8. Jaredtherebel2001....I was going to post the same........CLOSER....the Blazers last night in the end of the game ,looked like they were playing " hot potato"..You shoot, no you.....thats why we had loads of posessions that ending in waining shot clock desperation heaves.
    Just looked like no one wanted to take the shots.
    I could have sworn that we signed Jamal Crawford for that very pourpose.
    Maybe he isnt wanting to step on toes ,because he is unselfish.I don't know,but someone has to be the finisher,All good teams have one.
    granted the one bad call killed us ...But,OKC played pretty damn good D blocking shots and stealin the ball in the end of the game.tough loss

    by DowntownVinnie on 2/7/2012 7:41 AM
  9. We didn't deserve the win. We shouldn't have been where a bad call made a difference. Any team out rebounded like we were didn't earn the win. One of two things.
    1 We don't know how to block out.
    2 We don't want to put out the effort to do it. Apologies to Marcus.

    by Ancientone on 2/7/2012 7:45 AM
  10. Herr....I am impressed , my man....

    by DowntownVinnie on 2/7/2012 7:50 AM
  11. People, the bad call is not what cost us this game. It was the abysmal play during the second and third quarters, and then blowing a 6 point lead in the final minutes that created this situation in the first place.

    As I mentioned in my previous comment yesterday before the game, it was very disturbing to see certain elements of the Blazer's atrocious road game creep into the Rose Garden. Well, last night the floodgates were open. They were missing freethrows, not getting to the line as much the opponent, allowing themselves to be greatly outrebounded. Sound familiar? It should, this is how they play on the ROAD. That's right, instead of playing like they do at home on the road, they instead DEVOLVED into playing at home like they do on the road. Maybe this will be a wake up call that if they continue to refuse to put in something close to 48 minutes they won't win too many games.

    @Herr: Missing Felton had nothing to do with this loss either. The Blazers did not put their full effort into this, period. Even with Felton they've been playing like this all the time on the road, which is the real reason they lose. Allowing a team that isn't as good at rebounding as Portland to outrebound Portland by 20 shows only one thing: Laziness. The problem has nothing to do with the lack of a "closer", the problem is the team is not willing to play for 48 minutes. Good things happen when they do, and loses happen when they don't.

    And I really don't care about how talented they are, if they won't play like winners they will not win. I'll give a compare and contrast: Denver and New York. They both have lots of talent and a lot of potential, but Denver (in spite of their recent three game skid) has a winning record because they usually play for the whole game and play like winners. Compare that with the NYK who usually plays like losers and as such they lose most of their games. Portland has much more in common with NYK than it does with any winning team.

    by outcast on 2/7/2012 7:53 AM
  12. yeah ,we defintely missed Felton, Big time.

    by DowntownVinnie on 2/7/2012 7:53 AM
  13. outcast,Ancientone,......Not one of a Nate coached teams weaknesses ,as a rule....rebounding,
    But, Straight up, OKC OUTWORKED us last night ,thats why we lost....Forealz

    by DowntownVinnie on 2/7/2012 7:58 AM
  14. all of the above, the lack of rebounding, the lack of inside scoring on a CONSISTENT and CLUTCH basis...all of this is a complete unwillingness to sign a touch, mean, hardworking, man down low to help LaMarcus...I think Zack Randolph would be perfect of we could trade for him, OR a player LIKE him.

    Our guard situation is a mess, so I don't even know where to start there, except that Jamal and Wesley would be coming off the bench on any championship caliber team...

    by Jaredtherebel2001 on 2/7/2012 11:00 AM
  15. you know what something ... we played well enough to put ourselves into a position at the end where all we needed was one blocked shot and we win the game. do i blame Scott Foster for blowing that call? hell yes i do. i'll get to why in a second.

    now sure, we could have held our own on the boards to lead to the win. we could have shot a little better than 25 percent from three-point land and that could have done it. we could have avoided the dribbling off the foot turnovers and held on for the win. sure, there's are any number of things which could have made the difference.

    however, what we're left with is that when we put ourselves in the position to defend the last shot by Durant. and you know what? thanks to LaMarcus, we got the job done on the defensive end. that is, we got it done until Foster blew the call.

    now we all know a couple calls get blown every game, but how many blown whistles were there in this one? five? ten? 20? how many times are we the beneficiary of a blown call? this kind of thing happens in every game. i understand, MB, that you may want to give Foster the benefit of the doubt, but i'm not willing to give him a pass on such an important call in the game, and a blatantly obvious one at that.

    it's no secret that the nba officials are pretty much considered the worst of any sports league. whether it's superstar or llarge market favoritism, league directive or just plain ineptitude; the nba officials are an incredibly weak bunch. with all due respect, MB, calling one of them good, is like pointing to a field across the street from your house and saying "that field has the cleanest dirt."

    we could have changed our fate by changing any number of facets of the game. but our fate could have been changed by making the right call. am i mad at this? yes, i'm downright pissed. i'm extremely tired of expecting a fair game to be called in the nba. i seriously question whether it can happen. Foster's obvious miscue last night is only further evidence of that.

    ~ KMM

    by Kassandra on 2/7/2012 12:58 PM
  16. Backup point and rebounding. Sound familiar?
    I wrote this one down on the schedule as a loss before the game. As I watched the game, it unfolded in a way that started me to believe the Blazers would get it done. The Blazers were doing some nice things. OKC got themselves into early foul trouble. Portland should have came away with a W. Even though I penciled this game in as a loss. It hurt bad because I was teased into thinking the Blazers would pull it off.
    I like what is going on with the Blazers right now. LaMarcus looks to be on more than just a roll. He is unstoppable. Batum is playing more aggressively than I have ever seen him play. He penetrates, posts up and will take a jumper without looking at Nate for approval. His defense has become a little more physical. Our free agent signings are all doing more than we thought on paper. Camby looks like he found the fountain of youth. Keeping Marcus vertical is the key to this season.
    This Portland team will be ok. They have been saying they need to get it figured out. Sooner or later they will stop trying to "figure it out" and grow tired of losing games they should win. Hopefully sooner. When it happens, they have the manpower to beat anyone. Comes down to who wants it more.

    by Divotking on 2/7/2012 1:01 PM
  17. i'm kind of tired of hearing about how great an official scott foster is. the guy was very close to tim donaghy and was investigated. there was a lot of suspicious activity between foster and donaghy and maybe there wasn't enough evidence to indict but i encourage blazer fans and all those who have foster on a pedestal as a great NBA ref to research this. i would bet my money that foster has bet on games (that is a fact) and manipulated the outcome of games he's officiated. i wish the league (or FBI) would further investigate this clown.

    by jwood on 2/7/2012 2:03 PM
  18. @Downtown Vinnie: Sure OKC outworked Portland, but that's because Portland wasn't trying, as they have been constantly outrebounded in nearly every loss including last night. We see this all the time on the road. Is it any surprise that if Portland spends 24 minutes of a game playing like a bunch of lazy losers that they would lose against the number one team in the west?

    @Kassandra: The officiating has always been against Portland. That will not change until they start racking up championships. But there's no substitute for hard work, great teams don't need favorable officiating to win, it only helps. When Portland figures this out they will win, until then they will keep playing the same lazy way and keep losing games they should win.

    Last night's game was also on NBATV, and Portland embarrassed itself. Houston's game is also supposed to be on NBATV, so lets hope the Blazers doesn't keep humiliating itself on national tv........

    by outcast on 2/7/2012 4:54 PM
  19. Outcast: Where did you get the information that the Blazers are lazy. Is that your opinion, or are you assuming it is a fact.
    IMO, they played hard. In my opinion OKC has a deeper bench and more consistent shooters or scorers. IMO, they have nothing to be humiliated for on national TV. If, in fact, you are embarrassed by the Blazers play then you have a choice of watching them or not.

    Me, I am very proud of the Blazers for fighting to give themselves a chance against a stronger team

    by Hg on 2/7/2012 5:10 PM
  20. I agree with Kassandra. If you are going to use hypotheticals to say the call doesn't matter, that they had other opportunities, that they wouldn't have been in a close position if they just played better, you cannot reasonably argue against the likelihood Portland wins that game if the goaltend had not been called. The argument doesn't work both ways. Sorry, it just doesn't.

    As for effort, I don't buy that. I'm supposed to believe that GW, LA, Wesley, Nico, Ray, and Jamal just aren't TRYING hard enough?? These guys want to win. They are far more frustrated than ANY of us. It's them out there losing the games in the final few possessions. I think it's incredibly naive to assume you know exactly what is going on out there, when you don't play at an NBA level.

    I'm gonna say this about rebounding and closing:
    When Marcus Camby, who routinely rebounds out of his mind, is on your team, guess what? Most likely, you subconsciously assume he's going to go get it, so you just aren't geared to do it. Have you ever seen Camby literally RIP a rebound out of another guys hands, even his own teammates? Of course you have. He's incredibly competitive out there about those boards. The ONLY one he defers to AT ALL is Lamarcus, and that is rare. As much as Camby is golden for the team, he is also a little bit of a liability. The same could be said for BRoy back in the day. He was such a transcendent closer, no one else ever tried to be or even thought they needed to be. Quite frankly, I feel embarrassed for those of you who are lamenting the closer issue. You didn't see this coming? Give it some TIME. I'd love to see how quickly any of you just suddenly become something you are not or have never been before. They aren't machines, no matter how well-paid they are. They are just people. I also feel ashamed for those of you who are doubting Lamarcus. Two seasons ago, he was widely regarded as LaMarsha by a fanbase that now calls him La-AllStar. You think he can't become a reliable closer? I absolutely believe he can. Thing is, like rebounding, this teams needs 2-3 players it can rely on to get the job done (kinda like OKC has.....). At least, that's my opinion.

    Would love to see the league adopt a stance where anything out of the ordinary that affects a possession or results in points occurring in the last 1:30 or even 1:00 of the game can be challenged by a coach or is automatically reviewable. I have seen SEVERAL games over the years where a game was absolutely lost because of a bad call in the final moments. And occasionally, those losses had deeper implications than just another L in the column.

    by SisillaRiann on 2/7/2012 5:25 PM
  21. wow, portland embarrassed itself? just goes to show you some people don't know good basketball when they see it. that was a hell of a game with both teams battling it out all night long. lamarcus played like a beast but the one knock on him is his unwillingness to make the big play in the end. he's our best player and he needs to take the shot and not defer. it's that simple. the good news is aldridge shows continual growth so i trust he'll learn to take the big shot. and how about that stingy defense batum was playing? i have never seen him play so nasty. that is how good defense is played folks!

    kassandra, you hit it on the head. nba refs are the worst in professional sports. anyone who watches professional sports knows this. that poor call cost us the game and no one can dispute that.

    all in all portland played tough and i believe they are oklahoma's toughest opponent in the west. i'd love to see us matched against them in the playoffs. wouldn't that be a fierce contest? there would be blood!

    go blazers!

    by thedanman on 2/7/2012 5:28 PM
  22. I must say, it's damn nice seeing NBA make a statement on NBA.com. Although it doesn't change anything.

    @Kass - I agree with you, although I don't think this blown call was anything controversial than just a blown call. I missed the last 6 minutes of the game, (or 11, since it went to OT), and I didn't have many problems with the officiating. That is probably because I expected this to be an 8v5 game like it is a lot of the time with OKC.

    The NBA has some absolutely terrible officials. I don't recall any grudges I have against Foster, but he did make the call after the Thunder players on the court were signaling "Goaltending". As tough as a job as it is, it's incredible how these people are always so easily persuaded by superstars that look like drama queens in their faces.

    I have respect for Kevin Durant, but his flexing after the call lost some of that respect. It also made me laugh a bit, since those arms are tiny.

    by Herr on 2/7/2012 5:29 PM
  23. : / yeah tough loss. bad of the blazers to allow the officials to have a chance to make a call like that. great block.
    but anyone who has ever played/coached/knows anything about basketball. will tell you. you get a rebound you seal the victory. that block came on the thunders THRID possession of that series. get a rebound seal the victory and dont allow the refs to make a call that could cost you the game.
    that's the bottom line. wallace/batum/camby/LA/crawford. get a rebound and you win. 100% that's where the game was blown by the players.

    the blazers didn't play a perfect game by any means but they did enough to win if they get that rebound... so heres hoping they put this effort into playing teams they should beat.

    39 CLUTCH points through double and triple teams. yeah not clutch by any means. nope nope.

    by Brandon Weinant on 2/7/2012 5:50 PM
  24. A lot of talk about the Blazers of needing a closer, but it's not just in the 4th quarter! Look at how many easy buckets OKC got at the end of the 1st and 2nd quarters. It's almost like we mentally head for the bench or locker room a minute or two before the horn sounds. We have lots of physical talent but I'm starting to wonder about between the ears.

    Right now, we are leading the WC in point differential per game at +6. Wouldn't we love to trade one of those 30-point blowout wins for two or three wins in close games we should have won!
    --
    don


    by dgpdx on 2/8/2012 1:02 AM
  25. And I completely agree with VInnie that we lost because OKC outworked us. Letting a PG get 11 boards is just one example.

    by dgpdx on 2/8/2012 1:13 AM
  26. Don, I don't know about out worked or out hustled, but that is what Westbrook does. it takes so much attention keeping KD from shooting out all the lights with Harding and Westbrook waiting to get the ball to score that it is rough to play that intense on D and get rebounds too.

    With all that, I give the credit to OKC for being an offensive machine, nevertheless we stayed in the game found a way to out score them and slow them down even if we couldn't get the rebounds; then to have it taken away by a ref is very heart breaking.

    There are many teams that try to do what you and Vinnie are asking of the Blazers, and fail. that is why they are leading the Western Conference. IMO, it wasn't so much we were outworked as it was that we were working our behinds off in other areas.

    EowynAmarie, says it better then me read her post.

    Kassandra also has a great read although she like me is little bias against refs LOL.

    Many elite teams run up against hot shooting from the opponents in a game and have to give extra help on the shooters only to be out of position to rebound. Or just have a bad night on the free throw line, maybe from being worked hard on D. I don't know the reason's. but I do know that those elite teams with good closures find a way to stay in the game and find a way to win.

    I am not debating so much with you and Vinnie as I am saying there is a reason for a good rebounding team not to rebound well.

    by Hg on 2/8/2012 4:24 AM
  27. Hg, et al: It's very true that OKC has lots of offensive weapons, but so do we! For some reason other good teams seem to make better use of their weapons over 48 minutes than we do.

    Sometimes the breaks decide a game, for example long rebounds favor the shooting team. But OKC's rebounding domination wasn't due to freakish rebounds -- it was due entirely to hustle. Many times we had inside position but they beat us to the ball anyway.

    Everyone knows how Westbrook plays, so why isn't stopping his board crashing game a high priority? You can't stop both he and KD, but stopping one could be enough.
    --
    don

    by dgpdx on 2/8/2012 6:59 AM
  28. Very well said, I don't have the answer, Also our outside shooting woes is our Achilles tendon for sure. We don’t have the luxury of having played together for a long time, and we lost BRoy who was an important key to utilizing our weapons. And we also don’t have the luxury of a good PG yet, and we don’t have the luxury of a deep bench, especially with Raymond being out. Maybe it was because we had to fight so hard to get back in the game that we didn’t have the legs. None of these are answers just thoughts.

    As I said, I am not debating with you as much as looking for the reason. They were supposed to keep an eye on Westbrook, but kept losing track of him. I agree entirely that we were out rebounded, and maybe out hustled, but many of those rebounds they got when we had position was almost like gang rape. As I have said many times when push comes to shove Portland gets exposed, but that is not necessarily from not working hard. Are you saying a woman that gets raped by tougher, more men is only raped because she didn't work hard enough or fight to stay out of position (pun intended).
    All that aside, we still lost the game with one call.

    by Hg on 2/8/2012 7:41 AM
  29. Being a former HS basketball official I understand the enormous challenges the NBA officials have. The game is much more upbeat with the speed of the NBA players of today say from the players 20 years ago. In reading the Blogs I for the life of me wonder why the officials can stop the game to see which player last touched the ball before it went out of bounds. The officials can be at the monitor for several minutes before they can make the correct call. Most of the time the original call was right....soooo I think it is time for the NBA to start reviewing calls like the won that was incorrect on the Aldridge. With the technology as it is, that play should be reviewable. The NFL reviews all plays in the last two minutes of a game. It is just a shame the way this game ended. Some fans think a super star will always get the call. I don't believe it! Scott Foster is an arrogant NBA official. His ties to Donaghy (banned official for gambling) made me question why Foster was cleared from all wrong doing. My beef is that Scott made the call from the outside position and I believe he now realizes that it was a "no-call" play... and let play go on!!! Blazers Win! Or lets ck the monitor and let the "slow-motion" be the determining factor. My biggest complaint against the Blazers is their passing skills. What ever happened to the "bounce pass". We have way to many turnovers resulting in "air-passing" the ball in traffic....bounce pass the damn ball fellas....Thats why players like Nash and Paul have high assist numbers.

    by Darr on 2/8/2012 8:15 AM
  30. It's called boxing out...just do it ......espec w Westbrook.......like was posted by dgpdx.....Thats what he does..everyone knows that.One of the best rebounding guards in the game.
    Big Props to LA ,he has been straight beasting.

    by DowntownVinnie on 2/8/2012 8:05 AM
  31. Darr..those late game turnovers just killed me as a fan.....grr..It's like handing OKC a game on a silver platter...goaltending call or not.

    by DowntownVinnie on 2/8/2012 8:08 AM
  32. Win some lose some...there are a number of factors that need to be addressed in close games. First you have to realize 99% of the time officiating is not going to be the deciding factor who wins or loses. It is culmination of many factors. Rebounding (boxing out)...turnovers....stupid fouls...keep your man in front of you...don't let him drive the lane, if you do...it often results in a stupid foul. We need to realize in close games you have to believe you can finish with a win...The Blazers lack that mentality at the present. Let's see if they rebound tonite against the Rockets. BOUNCE PASS THE DAMN BALL AND BOX OUT!!!!

    by Darr on 2/8/2012 8:33 AM
  33. I agree that it was terrible officiating. We have to look to the future. We know how Ibaka and Westbrook play. They crash the boards. It's no secret. You have to get between them and the basket. On defense you should have started there so maintain that position. Sounds simple but when you are playing against motivated players you have to determine you are going to do it. As in real estate it's location, location ,location. My favorite rebounder of all time Moses Malone strained to jump over a toothpick but was a tremendous rebounder.

    We can't change the bad call or keep future bad calls from happening. We can change our rebounding. We have the horses but they have to do the ugly job of rebounding. Even with our serious problem at the point we can go deep if we will just do the dirty work.

    by Ancientone on 2/8/2012 8:35 AM
  34. Hg: Sorry, did yo have to go get a snack to get through that?

    by Ancientone on 2/8/2012 8:37 AM
  35. remember game 4 against dallas in the playoffs? of course, who will soon forget that! so now that i've got your mind on it, how many of you recall the rebound/out-of-bounds play involving Gerald and Chandler with 49.4 seconds to go? that play was reviewed. now would someone like to tell me how that kind of "judgement" can be reviewable and the goaltend "judgement" Monday can not be? before you respond, take note that yes, i know according to league's list of reviewable plays the goaltend is not there. however, answer me this: is that any more or less of a judgement than Gerald and Chandler's out-of-bounds play?

    @EowynAmarie: thank you for understanding my point. you could pick any one play -- including the goaltend -- which would have turned things around. it's not limited to that play but, if the rules of the game are followed, that being called correctly likely gives us the win (if i'm not mistaken, we did get the rebound on the play).

    @Herr: i too kind of figure against superstars and large-market opponents that we are going five on eight. history seems to dictate that. what i don't expect is for such an obvious blown call to be made by the official the furthest from the play.. that's the perplexing thing. perhaps i should read up on officials' responsibilities for making calls, but common sense would seem to dictate that the closest official(s) make the call. but then again, i think many of us don't often believe using the terms "common sensse" and "nba officiating" in the same sentence is applicable.

    @Outkast: there may not be another fan who comments on MB's blog who is more of an nba officiating conspiracy theorist than i am. believe me, i've seen plenty of "blown" calls and non-calls which have benefitted the opponent. there have actually been times that while watching the nba, i've felt as if i were watching pro wrestling. sometimes it's just so blantant, and one-sided it's beyond imagination.

    @thedanman: being the beneficiary of having a father and four brothers very much into sports, i've seen plenty of other games. it seems leagues such as the nfl and nhl are constantly trying to improve their officiating, and their failsafes to get it right. sure, we hear the nba reprimands their officials, but i never hear of them really taking serious measures to correct it. i consider myself to be quite observant, but i just don't see the nba taking the same measures. who knows, maybe i missed something.

    @Hg: this so-called bias i have against the officiating is a simple matter of science; specifically, Isaac Newton's third physical law which forms basis for classical mechanics: to every action there is always opposed an equal reaction. the league, it's administration and it's officals have provided the action; i am merely providing the reaction. then again, i always appreciate you pointing out my comments here. :)

    ~ KMM

    by Kassandra on 2/8/2012 10:25 AM
  36. our ability to avoid turnovers seems to be as inconsistent as our home vs. road performances. for one, i don't know that i've ever seen so many occurrances of us dribbling the ball off our feet. Ray and Jamal seem to be doing this more and more. this is something which really can be avoided through higher concentration.

    our passing has been suspect in a lot of cases. most of this has to do with laziness. a long time ago when my dad tried to teach me and my sister how to play basketball, he told he that no matter what you do, make your passes crisp and direct. it''s a fundemental thing (though when my passes kept hitting Jessica's feet, it was quite comical!). we really need to sharpen up our passing to cut down on the turnovers.

    then again, i doubt anything i've said would come as a surprise to any of the guys. hopefully, we can tighten up our game over the next few weeks.

    ~KMM

    by Kassandra on 2/8/2012 10:20 AM
  37. i'd like to address the closer issue. yes, i do consider it an issue. as EowynAmarie said, it should come as no surprise that without Brandon we would run into this problem. i don't know if it was Rice on twitter or not, but i recall a tweet within the last couple of weeks about who should be the closer. it said: LaMarcus doesn't want it and Jamal is too inconsistent. Nico.

    if we need to appoint a guy to that role, and i think we need to, the natural choice would seem to be Nico. now, it's not going to happen overnight. what Nate needs to do is draw up the play for Nico in those situations. he did this against utah, but suffered the bruised bone injury. for my take, i say if the injury doesn't occur, we have a more-than-decent shot with the ball in Nico's hands. i think he would relish those opportunities.

    i think the lack of a closer is an issue, but not one we can't work our way through.

    and, as dgpdx mentioned, we need a guy to help us close out each of the four quarters. i haven't looked up the particulars, but we've been horrible at closing out quarters and halves. coincidentally, Nicolas is a guy who is usually in the game at those points anyway.

    i hate to put all eggs in one basket, but grooming our own closer is just what we're going to have to do.

    ~ KMM

    by Kassandra on 2/8/2012 10:20 AM
  38. Kassandra: I agree with essentially everything you said. I think Nico has it in him if given the task. He has to understand tag you're it.

    by Ancientone on 2/8/2012 2:58 PM
  39. One final comment on the officiating fiasco before we get another game to gripe about. What made the goal-tending call especially frustrating was that not long before that we had two straight out of bounds calls go against the Blazers, which were both called for OKC and which turned out on replay to be too close to call, or at least to overturn. Had the initial call gone our way on either we'd have had an extra possession, and very likely, the win. Then came the block. It was a close call too, and again OKC got the benefit of the doubt. It's hard to win at home when the visitors are getting what's usually considered the home team edge on calls. There's no doubt the league has been pushing OKC and Durant, and the officials have to know this. I doubt they're consciously going for their bosses' favorites, but it sure looks bad when every time a fifty-fifty call comes up the coin-toss goes to the same team.

    by Islander on 2/8/2012 6:53 PM
  40. @Darr: Nice to have you here with your experience! I'm also a big bounce passer but bounce passes can be hard for bigs to handle. Maybe that's a good practice issue...

    Add officiating: It has changed so much since I used to play. I watch today's guards palming the ball on every dribble and most players travelling on every move. They just aren't called in today's NBA. For example, on one up-and-under move against OKC, LA dragged his pivot foot at least six inches right in front of a ref.
    --
    don

    by dgpdx on 2/8/2012 7:02 PM
  41. I hear what all of you say but really...
    the refs spent a lot of time reviewing who last touched the ball when it was pushed out. Why not spend a minute to review a play that is game changing in the last 9 seconds? Otherwise, why have all those cameras and recorders. The Blazers worked too hard to have that game taken from them.

    by allie-oop on 2/8/2012 10:35 PM
  42. I'd say tonight was a terrible loss, but this is how I see it.

    Team effort on defense - F

    Team effort on Offense - B-

    Aldridge on Defense - B-

    Aldridge on Offense - F

    I'm not hating on LA. Believe me, ask EA. I made a HUGE effort as a fan to try to get him into the ASG. I've convinced many haters that LA is actually a top PF if not the top PF. Now people are saying, "wow" because of me (and because of Aldridge for doing so). Now that that is out of the way...

    I wouldn't call this recent loss to the Rockets as a hangover loss. No one seemed to let them bother them. The problem with this team is not emotions, but consistency. The offense, outside of Aldridge, seemed consistent. We had enough offense to win the game, but not nearly enough defense. Allowing your opponent to shoot over 60% after 3 quarters, and 60% behind the arc after 3 quarters is not going to win you ANY ball games. The fact the Blazers didn't get completely blown out surprises me. They looked terrible on defense. It was like they didn't read the scouting report AT ALL. My dead cats skeleton that passed away when I was 3 could have played better defense than the Blazers did last night.

    Then there was the lack of Aldridge. I know Dalembert has been able to shut him down before, but Aldridge looked completely lost in this game. I saw a few times where he'd catch the ball after a pass and it'd take him about 3 seconds for him to realize that he has the ball. Maybe the All-Star nominations tonight kind of slowed him down, as he had that on his mind.

    Blazers biggest problem this season has been consistency. We have absolutely no idea which team is going to show up any night. We SHOULD be able to beat the Hornets, who are 4-22, but does anyone here have any confidence that they will? After that, it's a back-to-back... in Dallas.

    Blazers need to solve their issues soon, or they'll either miss the playoffs or be a first round exit. If you're hoping for a 2nd round appearance, you should start looking elsewhere.

    by Herr on 2/9/2012 7:09 AM
  43. Outcast,I have a hard time believing players just quit playing.I played a lil ball and I know if you are competitive enough to b in the NBA, there is no "quit" in effort.The better team won.

    by DowntownVinnie on 2/9/2012 8:54 AM
  44. Not making excuses,but this is a new team ,with zilch for training camp,learning on the fly w no practice time to speak of.That being said,When Camby isn't in.We are not that big.I think we have been doing a poor job boxing out.for sure. ,We are like night and day on the road ,but at home,shoul be TCB. As far as scoring points on the road,like Nate says ,gotta make shots...

    by DowntownVinnie on 2/9/2012 8:59 AM
  45. Wow, I miss out on one day and get miles behind.
    @Ancientone; I did not go to the frig for a snack. All teasing aside, I was too intrigued by your comments. So maybe that is the answer, no one is willing to do the dirty work besides Camby. Back to teasing, I was amazed that you gave us more then one sentence of your vast knowledge of BB. Oh I know keep it simple, but you know I have to explain my explanation. It was Kassandra's posts that make me go to the frig LMAO.
    @Kassandra; I have the luxury of knowing you have a good since of humor so I do tease a lot, as you know, I love all the BB knowledge that you give me.
    All joking aside, if you talk about action and reaction in mind and physics, Keep in mind that goaltending call, the ball bounced off the back board and ricochet past half court, Now you tell me how could a ball get that ricochet if it was pinned against the backboard. Nobody had clear possession of the rebound as I remember it, but one of the OKC's players was in chase of it going over the half court line which since the basket never touched the rim, a shot clock violation would have been in play, unless of course the refs would have taken that away also.
    Furthermore, I agree with you on Batum being a closure not only in the game but at the ends of quarter, also, because all teams puts extra pressure on LMA at the close of quarters to narrow the gap or expand the gap, they do that because they know we will go to LMA because he is our only go to guy. If Batum was that man, that would at least take away some of the dbl teams and gang bangs on LaMarcus.
    It has also been said, by many, that making a post player your closure isn’t really smart BB, because teams can sag and make it too difficult to make a clean shot.
    Of course in my humble opinion LOL, our biggest problem is no help with consistent shooting for LaMarcus. When opponents know he is the only scorer, they can cause havoc. When they know Marcus, is the only rebounder to do the dirty work they can keep him off the boards and cause havoc.
    In short, too late for that huh :).Where is this team play?

    by Hg on 2/9/2012 10:24 AM
  46. Loss to the Rockets. Good. Thats two home losses in a row. Now all the talk should end about " figuring it out" on the road. Weaknesses have been exposed. Home turf has been invaded. It is no longer about "energy" or "shooting slumps". Time to get your hands dirty. Stick your foot in the ground and say "NO MORE!". Rebound the damn ball. If you have the shot take it and make it. Play some hard nose D. If you foul, foul hard. I see too much high 5ing and slapping to the other team before the game. They are the enemy. They want to hand you a loss.
    This is a major turning point in the season. You are getting beat at home, can't win on the road. What are you made of. Time to get nasty. Take what you want

    by Divotking on 2/9/2012 12:42 PM
  47. First half Rocket offense was a clinic on how to play the game. Were they a half step quicker or were we a half step slower? Whatever the reason, they were clearly the better team last night.
    --
    don

    by dgpdx on 2/9/2012 2:18 PM
  48. That was a down right embarrasing effort. True LA was sick. Hesitant to take open shots and timid on defense. Our point gaurd had one fo his better games only 5 turnovers to 6 assists.

    When you lose to a better team you pat them on the back and try to get better . When you are the better team and lose anyway what do you do?

    by Ancientone on 2/9/2012 3:15 PM
  49. Anchientone:
    Are we the better team?

    by Hg on 2/9/2012 3:54 PM
  50. Hg:Our parts are better but the sum of the parts comes up short.

    by Ancientone on 2/9/2012 5:38 PM
  51. Our parts may look better on paper but, unfortunately, the game isn't played on paper. A team is either greater than the sum of its parts or it simply isn't a good team. Right now, it's hard to tell which we are.
    --
    don

    by dgpdx on 2/9/2012 10:28 PM
  52. I hope we don't find out tomorrow night.

    by Hg on 2/9/2012 10:38 PM
  53. Question: How many Blazer players make the other players on the floor with them better?

    Marcus Camby for sure. Any others?

    by dgpdx on 2/10/2012 8:09 AM
  54. Don: Jamal when he wants to.
    Batum when he is in the game.
    Felton is supposed to.

    by Hg on 2/10/2012 8:55 AM
  55. Unfortunately that statment is all too true. Felton is supposed to. I haven't seen it yet.

    by Ancientone on 2/10/2012 1:40 PM
  56. Well, there are many things that could be said about the predicament the team is in now. None of them are surprising. But the number one thing I have noticed thus far is: Where’s the defense? I know that the teams from the Brandon Roy era weren’t the greatest defensive teams. But, they weren’t that shabby compared to what is going on now. Is Camby the only one playing defense out there? All I can say to the team is pick up the intensity!!! Even if it means getting in foul trouble. Fight, bite and slap the straw out of your opponent. Make them not want to play you!
    Another is Felton. If you look at my earlier responses to blogs, you will see that I had my doubts. It is now worse. Why? Because the offense has settled back into the way it was playing the last few seasons. Half Court styley. Dribble the ball to the three point line and pass it to Lamarcus. How boring is that and how easy is that to defend? That may have worked better when B-Roy was around because he was always a threat to take to the basket. Even Miller with his bad shooting ability had to be “guarded”. Felton and Matthews need to attack more. They are just standing around!!
    Wallace attacks some days and other days just looks too tired to do anything. As great as he is and as much as I like him. I think he might be better coming off the bench.
    Crawford has also been inconsistent. I once favored him in the starting line up. But, I think it might be killer to have him and Gerald as the nucleus of the second team. They would kill!
    So, my newest starting line-up would be Camby, Felton, Matthews, Aldridge, and who? No, not Batum,(but that wouldn’t be a bad idea) no not Babble, Oh, I mean Babitt (that would be an incredibly bad idea) it would be none other than Mr. Johnson. We get more defense and more muscle in the starting line-up and we get a more energetic bench that could be a starting line-up in their own right.

    by T on 2/10/2012 3:20 PM
  57. T;
    You say Johnson for muscle? Which Johnson? If you are talking about hammer, that would move Matthews to the 3 and Armon and Felton in the backcourt. If you are talking Chris Johnson, I think they will have to build a weight room in Blazer One. Somehow I think you mean Craig Smith. Thats interesting.

    by Divotking on 2/10/2012 4:23 PM
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