Feb 10

Crawford Gets Offensive

By mikebarrett
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.


  1. It amazes me that you work the game, fly, and take the time to do a blog before you get some rest! Dedication :)

    I can't sleep, so have the honor of commenting first. I barely watched the game tonight, but didn't feel too encouraged when the Blazers couldn't get the lead and keep it in the first half. I hoped they'd come out in the 3rd and get serious. I was in the Blazer chatroom, so caught some of what was happening that quarter, which did indeed involve some seriousness from Jamal Crawford, but got distracted. Next thing I knew, the Blazers had like a 5 point lead with a minute to go. I was thrilled. SO glad for them that this was not a loss.

    However, it is difficult to really feel any relief, or maintain much optimism at this point. I know you guys will take it, no matter how ugly it was, but I remain concerned. I really want to believe they are turning a corner. And I'm the first one to note that change is not an event, but rather, a process. So, even as I see Jamal steadily improve, and Ray appear to get a slightly better stat line, recognizing there may indeed be a change occurring, I am mired in doubt. The disappointment has been pretty bitter so far this season, even as I have preached patience and adjustments and cheerleaded to keep the faith. I hope you can understand that I would just really like to see another win on the road before I start to get hopeful again. A string of wins, home and away, would do wonders. I'm sure it would for EVERYONE, lol!

    Dallas WILL be tough. But, they played tonight, in Minnesota, and won't be any more rested than the Blazers. There was not much energy from Wes, Nico, and LA (my three core players btw), so maybe they can best the aging Mavericks, who are sure to be at least a little bit tired. I won't be surprised to see them lose this one, but will really hope they win instead :)


    by SisillaRiann on 2/11/2012 12:02 AM
  2. Hey Mike: I know this was an ugly win, but I will definitely take it. I am usually down on Jamal, but he sure came through tonight. It kind of looked like LaMarcus was saving himself for the second half so he could be a closure.
    At any rate I was not happy the way they played, but am mighty pleased that they won.

    by Hg on 2/11/2012 12:09 AM
  3. Let's see if my theory of playing against a team that the Blazers respect will make them play better on the road. I just hope they played so poorly in NOH because they were looking forward to this game against Dallas.

    by Herr on 2/11/2012 2:15 AM
  4. Patience shield maiden, You have to understand this is a team with a lot of new members, it does not happen over night. Also, this is a whacky late start season where the entire league is having issues. I know we want the magic from the las t2 or 3 yerars, but this is a new look and it will take some losses to get them going. It may not even happen until the season ends. Use this year as a gauge and a sharpening for those who are staying. I have every confidence that it will not only get better, but next year will be what you were waiting for and expecting. Rome was not built in a day, nor will this roster. We will still be competitive and have some great games and memories this year.

    by L.T.G on 2/11/2012 3:17 AM
  5. I have been waiting for the real Jamal to show up. Now that he is here, lets hope he can keep it going. I would still like to see the Blazers go after Nash! What a team that would be with Marcus, LA, Wallace, Jamal, Nash. Omg that would be a team. Not to mention our back ups being Thomas, Rino, Nick, Smith. whoaaaa

    by mfre1111 on 2/11/2012 4:37 AM
  6. mfre1111: IMO, the real Jamal Crawford is a inconsistent streak shooter, but I will have to learn to take the bad with the good. He did come through tonight with no one bumping and grinding on him, but lets face it, the NBA knows the way to slow our shooters down is to rough them up a little and get them out of their compfort zone.
    Raymond driving to the rim was very impressive, and I hope that is the real Felton showing up; his outside shooting is an improvement, but may be the same as JC's more time and room to operate. Felton did hire a shooting coach and hopefully that helped and he can show others what he learned or the Blazers might hire another shooting coach.
    Of course Nash would be a short term fix, but because of his age, he might be a long term distruction as was BRoy. Saying that if we got Nash, there would be many of those that you listed as him playing with would be missing as Nash would come as a very expensive loan.

    by Hg on 2/11/2012 7:25 AM
  7. Mike:
    As you said, a road win is hard to come by, but good teams and coaches learn on the run; I have been saying as well as others, we do better starting slow and keeping the score close then use our energy at the closure. Thinking back BRoy did that, Kobe, James, and the aging Spurs does just that. You and that other Mike has told me that when you are on the road just hang with the opponents than put the pedal to the metal at the end. Maybe that is the secret that is needed.
    True, we should have kicked in the after burners got way ahead and then coasted, but if coasting the whole game and jumping on them at the end works, I will not complain.
    I am somewhat in EowynAmarie camp though, as we were not impressive at all with our lack of rebounding.

    by Hg on 2/11/2012 7:35 AM
  8. I liked the win, too, Mike and others. However, I want to know what it will take for Nate to give some of the younger players a chance. I've always been supportive of Nate in past years, but this year I'm exasperated that he refuses to give young players a chance to prove themselves, especially because I see other coaches doing it and having success ... Lin wouldn't even step on the court in the Rose Garden, nor with Parsons. I could name others if I took the time. I was glad to see Elliot get some time, but what about Nolan and Chris getting time too. Development can't just happen in the practice facility. Being drafted by Portland is the kiss of death for college players.

    by DeVinMzM on 2/11/2012 7:45 AM
  9. oops, "nor would Parsons"

    by DeVinMzM on 2/11/2012 7:46 AM
  10. it seems for the longest time this season, we've been waiting for Jamal to be a consistent contributor. i have to say, he's put together a string of pretty decent games. last night, when we needed him to step up, he did. that's one of the things i wanted to see going into this season.

    as MB said, Crash did most of his work on the defensive site, but i would note that his 14 points came on 6-9 shooting. that's not too bad at all. hopefully, we can see the same things going forward. i think we'd all like to see LaMarcus shoot more (then again, when you have another guy who is hot as Jamal was, you've got to feed him the ball). the fact that LaMarcus made the most of his opportunities says a lot for the all-star (that feels so great to type!). Ray contributed well, but still had too many turnovers. he's got to clean that up, but i like that he's doing more on the offensive end.

    as ugly as it looks, a win is a win. i hope we've got enough in the tank to take care of dallas tonight. we owe them.

    ~ KMM

    by Kassandra on 2/11/2012 10:33 AM
  11. oh, and i don't supposed there's any chance the mavs got snowed in last night in minnesota ... nah, didn't think so! however, it's safe to say our guys got to dallas before their did. here's hoping that means something.

    ~ KMM

    by Kassandra on 2/11/2012 10:36 AM
  12. I heard Mike say how poor NO is on offense and found it ironic that they were ahead at that time. Then I heard Rce say that is a block out rebound that was missed. I get the feelong he is getting as frustrated as I am.

    Nice to see Jamal come to the rescue. Ray is pushing out of control to much.

    by Ancientone on 2/11/2012 10:41 AM
  13. Why has LA become so tentative with his shot. Several times he passed up shots and teammates then had to scramble to get a shot off.

    by Ancientone on 2/11/2012 10:42 AM
  14. Both Nate and Rice seemed down on Nico last night, but 5 boards, 2 assists, 5 steals, 2 blocks, and no turnovers in 27 minutes is not something to cry over.

    There's more to the game than scoring...

    by dgpdx on 2/11/2012 10:52 AM
  15. Hey Miss Kassandra:
    I know I don't interact with you as much as I used to, but been mighty busy. I still read all your post. And I agree with them up to 99.9%:)
    I too, hope Jamal has found his touch, but as with most outside shooters you become streaky, as Batum is showing.
    I think it may have been planned for LaMarcus not taking so many shots, because it was obvious that Monty was trying to deny LaMarcus the ball and the shot. As with other teams the way to beat Portland offense is to shut down LMA, we try to go to him continuously and the opponents gang bang him as soon as he gets the ball, now that much bumping and grinding after 3.5 quarters plums tuckers LaMarcus out and he is so tuckered he can't even make a free throw. It seemed as though last night instead of playing inside out, we played outside in. We shot good from the perimeter and when they finally had to come out on Raymond and Jamal, then we took it inside to LaMarcus. LaMarcus had a good shooting percentage, but most of his shots and free throws came in the fourth quarter during closure that was an improvement. Shooting 20 or 30 times a game is great, but when he fights double and triple team on the road, where the players could conceivably get away with murder on the court and the refs would call it a incidental contact.
    We are in need of another rebounder and lessons on how to run a 3 on 1 fast break.

    Later Kassandra

    by Hg on 2/11/2012 10:54 AM
  16. Shot clock at 2, shot clock at 4, shot clock at 3. What happened to getting the ball up before the defense sets. The pace the Blazers play has slowed.
    Rebounds. Put a body on somebody. If the Blazers continue to get outrebounded, they will make it tough on themselves to win.
    On to Texas. GO BLAZERS!!!

    by Divotking on 2/11/2012 12:37 PM
  17. Start of 2nd overtime. The outcome of this game does not matter except in the win loss record. Thank you Portland. I personally needed to see the Blazers play with some conviction. Show some b@#&$. Toughness. Thank you again. Back to the game.

    by Divotking on 2/11/2012 8:15 PM
  18. We lost, to the team I hate more than anything, but oh well. It was a great game, and a great watch. I thought the Blazers were in great position to close the game in the first overtime, but that "foul" on Wallace had me scratching my head. Officials showed some favoritism for the M**s, much like they did all playoffs long when they handed them the trophy so Cuban would stop crying so much. Blazers were clearly the better team. Good to see some of the woes stop, but we really need to start setting tempo on the road. Tempo creates consistency, and creates better shots. Blazers can't compete well in the halfcourt if the game isn't in their tempo

    by Herr on 2/12/2012 3:56 AM
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