Crawford Gets Offensive
It doesn't really matter that it wasn't perhaps as easy as it should have been. You never spend too much time being critical of any road win in the NBA. Considering how the Trail Blazers have struggled away from home this season, it was only about getting the W in New Orleans and running for the airport.
Thanks to Jamal Crawford's offense, and Gerald Wallace's defense on Friday night, the Blazers were able to run past the Hornets 94-86. As we said in our pregame show, it was a win Portland badly needed.
I do feel bad for Monty Williams, and also admire what he's getting out of this makeshift lineup. They were coming off a very good season, including a playoff appearance, and then lost David West to free agency and Chris Paul to a trade. It was impossible to get value for value in that deal, and the guy they did demand in the deal, Eric Gordon, has been injured all season. Now, Carl Landry is out with a knee injury, Jason Smith had a concussion, Jarrett Jack sat with a sore knee, and Chris Kaman has a sore ankle. Yeesh.
The lineup Monty did put on the floor against the Blazers fought and scrapped. They led the Blazers by nine points, and were outrebounded them by 10 at halftime. Then, the Trail Blazers turned the screws defensively, and started to turn the tide.
With the Hornets doubling LaMarcus Aldridge most of the night, someone else had to step up offensively. Crawford was that guy, as he scored 20 of his game-high and season-high 31 in the second half. Jamal was back at his natural shooting-guard position, but was able to continue to faciliate as well as score. He had eight assists to go along with his 31 points.
Ray Felton, who has taken his lumps this season, put together another solid game, scoring 18 points, on 6 of 10 shooting, and hit four-straight clutch free throws to put the game away.
Aldridge, who took only 12 shots in the game, hit 7 of them, and finished with 14 points. Gerald Wallace also had 14, but did most of his damage at the defensive end, where he was his disrupting self, and also blocked three shots.
It was just the fourth win of the season for the Trail Blazers and lifted their overall record to 15-12.
Now, we're in Dallas, where it'll be much tougher than it was in New Orleans. The Mavs played, and won, in Minnesota on Friday night.