Feb 14

Wizards Blow Past Aldridge-less Blazers

By mikebarrett
This was otherworldly.  I guess we should come to expect some of that in the NBA, but not many times do you see something this shocking.  I’m not simply talking about the loss, because we know that anyone can beat anyone.  But, for the Washington Wizards, of all teams, one of the lowest-ranked offensive teams in the NBA, to absolutely go nuts at the Rose Garden and blow the Trail Blazers out, was simply nuts.

First things first, the Wizards completely lost their minds.  But, you do have to tip your cap to Nick Young.  If it wouldn’t have been against the Trail Blazers, I would have actually been entertained.  It was Jeremy Lin-like.  Young averages 17 points per game, and normally shoots 41 percent.  In this game, he scored 35 points on an obscene 12 for 17 shooting, including 7 for 8 from behind the three-point line.

It wasn’t just Young.  He had help.  John Wall was 10 for 14, and scored 29.  Jordan Crawford had 21 points off the bench, and shot 9 for 16.  He normally shoots 36 percent from the field.  And, inside there was JaVale McGee, who went for 18 and 11.

The Wizards, as a team, shot a staggering 60 percent from the field.  They were 9 for 17 from behind the three-point line.  The previous high point total against Portland this season was 111, and it took Oklahoma City overtime to get that.  The Wizards, who average just 90 points per game, scored 124 points at the Rose Garden.  Did you hear me?  They scored 124 points at the Rose Garden, and beat the Blazers by 15.

If you had told me Portland would shoot 47 percent, at home, against this team, there’s no way I’d think a loss was coming.  But, there was one huge factor in this one that punched the Trail Blazers in the gut.

Less than two minutes into the game, LaMarcus Aldridge came down on the foot of some guy named Trevor Booker, and rolled his ankle.  He would leave the game and not return.  X-rays were negative, but there’s a good chance he misses at least a couple of games coming up.  Having not had to play without him this season, the Trail Blazers reacted like a boat that had just had its motor fall off into the ocean.

Nic Batum matched a career high, scoring 33 points on 12 for 24 shooting in this game.  The big news, right before tipoff, was that Nate McMillan had changed the starting lineup and had put Batum at the two-guard spot.  That was news for about two minutes.  Batum’s chance to play the off-guard spot was over quickly.  He still played well, and the Blazers had no trouble scoring.  Defense?  That’s another story.

The Blazers will get killed for their defense on Washington in this game, mostly because you can’t explain this otherwise.  Washington simply does not do this.  Yes, there were lanes to the basket open all night, and for that Portland should be chewed out.  But, their biggest crime was allowing Washington to think it could walk into this building and do what it did.  Confidence in this league is a crazy thing.  It snowballs quickly.  Once Young started bombing away, his teammates started to realize they could do, and it became a feeding frenzy.  By the time the Blazers were getting out on shooters it was way too late.

We’ve said all year that the best thing to do after these games is to turn the page and move on.  That’s a little tougher after this one, I’ll give you that.  It’s especially uncomfortable when you take a look at what lies ahead for Portland.  It’s Golden State Wednesday (you don’t need a history lesson on that one), then home for the Clippers.  After that, it’s the Hawks, Lakers, Spurs, Nuggets, and Heat.

We’re off to San Francisco.  Talk to you Wednesday night.


  1. Same thing different day; pick and roll defense and transition defense killed us. We made John Wall look like a HOFer tonight, and who would've thought that the best J. Crawford on the court would be Jordan? And I'm sorry but a lot of those shots were WIDE open. But like I said, same thing different day. Only thing different is the Lamarcus went down, which sucks worse than the loss.

    by Richard Ackerman on 2/14/2012 10:45 PM
  2. we looked like beat dogs from the get go. really. batum played with authority tonight. well done batum.

    go blazers!

    by thedanman on 2/14/2012 10:53 PM
  3. Mike; It is great to hear from you on such a bad note ans short time. I listened to Wheels and Tone on the radio
    It sure didn't sound good. but then that happens in the NBA.
    I am glad LaMarcus only had a sprain. it will still take a few games to recovr,but it is better than losing weeks of playing time. Batum did great, but it sounded , like the old shooting bugaboo is still ith us.

    by Hg on 2/14/2012 10:54 PM
  4. first complaint is nate went small ball with 3 guards roughly four if you consider nic starting at 2 tonight so either nic ro wallace and camby. second is all year if a team has a three point threat blazers can not find the right defense to contain him. next is letting a random guy go off and other night would play doll and barely get notice look like an allstar against us

    by jamie (guy) on 2/14/2012 10:54 PM
  5. embarrassing...ironic, i was just reading about that game Portland lost to Vancouver back in 2001 the night they retired Clyde Drexler's number at the RG. Many belive that night to be fina turning point into the era of the "JailBlazers." ( We all know what the first two were....(1) Game 7 2000 WCF and (2) letting Brain Grant go

    Props MB, you told it how it was. No injury excuses, no excuses period. Turning the page on this would not be wise, as this should be a wake up call. Everyone, coaching staff, players (except LA)...everyone has GOT to be under analysis after this one. My posts prior to tonight have all centered around the current personell of the team, in terms of their struggles, but tonight, even without LA, this should have been a route! A route win, not a route loss! Somethings gotta give, and give soon.

    by Jaredtherebel2001 on 2/14/2012 11:02 PM
  6. This is getting real old. Batum good job tonight. But were is our D fence and for god sakes play Elliot Williams and Nolan smith more. The guards we have are not winning us games lets see what the benched ones can do. i think Elliot will be great if we give him some dang time same with Nolan. Failton has got to get his head on our starting point guard makes me miss sergio and steve. And really miss Miller. Scratch Failton sign Patty at least he can shoot J/K

    by Avgjoe28 on 2/14/2012 11:51 PM
  7. @jared, man you hit ever thing right on the nail. every player that played out there on that court except l.a. needs to be looked at for potential trades. i mean come on guys l.a. goes down and no one steps up in his absence to help bring us a win. i have been saying this all year, embarassing play by now below average players. i watched players actually standing around, letting whoever came in the lane just drive and lay it in. everybody needs to be held accountable for such a terrible lack of effort, no defense on a team that as mb said "doesnt do this." a team that only scores 90 points per game to come into the rose garden and shoot a high pct. and demolish a blazer team that fans know are way better than they play is heart breaking. im sorry but you cant turn the page on this one because this is yet another stab at the chest of an already fragile group of "individuals." im not going to say team because for a long time now these blazers havent been playing like a team. if guys dont want to play here or give effort on a nightly basis then they need to be shown their trade papers. mb, i saw on trailblazers courtside you and rice were discussing batum's need to be more aggressive. listen if nate is going to be nonchalant about nic's play then nic will continue to be soft and hide. nate needs to get in his face and tell him to play hard or we can find you a different team. if a player is not listening to his coach that is insubordination and he should be traded. what needs to happen to these blazers mb that will wake them up and get them playing like they did in the beginning of the season, trade trade trade, l.a. needs help out there and this group of shells are not getting it done.

    by Imwytdashyt Epps on 2/15/2012 12:08 AM
  8. I think the 7-2 start hid many weaknesses of this team, which, were obvious to anyone watching the games....remember though, it was not that long ago that we had 3 or 4 guys who could shoot the 3, yet we stuggled because as Sir Charles contunually says, "portland does not get easy bvaskets."

    Now defense is all about effort, so that comes down to coaching and accountability. Ironic, as our coach was one of the top 5 perimeter defenders in the league in his playing days.

    by Jaredtherebel2001 on 2/15/2012 6:30 AM
  9. uggghh couldnt even watch the whole thing...no words for this one except OUCH..........This team is either going to step up asap or fall hard into the cellar..Luckily the west is mediocre this year.

    by DowntownVinnie on 2/15/2012 6:49 AM
  10. On the positive side we should have fresh legs for tonights game since we didn't expend any energy on defense last night.

    We are in deep do do guys. These guys appeared disinterested in playing defense and not to really care. Has Nate lost this team?

    by Ancientone on 2/15/2012 6:50 AM
  11. Had I not gone into work after the game, I'd have gone straight to the liquor store, and my hangover would feel better if I didn't remember why I was drinking. This was just flat out pathetic. You can make all the excuses you want, but this wasn't just a "needle in the haystack" loss. This is how the Blazers have played all season besides the month of december. This is how they've been reacting to games. I agree, for once, with Nate. I challenge the pride of this team. I challenge if they give a crap or not.

    I know for one, I came into this season as a fan with my eyes squinted at every team, wanting to beat them all because of the huge missed opportunity against Dallas. The Blazers let that go, and it left a bad taste in my mouth. Their response? Playing like garbage. There is NO excuse WHAT SO EVER to be losing games against teams like Washington when you're in desperate need of a win. No excuse at all. The Blazers played terrible. They deserve all the hate they'll receive.

    I don't care if it's mental. I don't care if you lack confidence. You go out there and play the damn game. The more you hesitate, the worse you get. We aren't going to win tomorrow, at all, so might as well just have the Blazers play and shoot whenever they want. Heck, tell Nate to stay home and rest his head, he's got to have a massive migraine after that pathetic display. I know I have one! And it's been nearly 12 hours since the game was over (and yes, it was over way early).

    The Blazers are too notorious this season, and ironically I'm feeling notorious for saying that all the time. When they get done big because of lack of effort, they're done. They've lost. They've yet to come back and win a game while trailing by double digits. They've yet to really win a game in single digits. And that 1-9 is misleading when games are decided by 6 games or less. Should be 0-9, because the one win was against Philly in the openner, who stormed back after being down big, but was too late.

    If this team doesn't get their act together, there really is no point in watching. Being a fan is about supporting your team, and having fun. That's NOT my team out there, and it's not fun watching them with the way they're playing. I donno if I'll bother watching the game tomorrow. I don't want more stress. I'm sick of yelling at my television hoping the Blazers somehow hear it.

    by Herr on 2/15/2012 6:58 AM
  12. Nate hit the nail on the head, on Sarah H blog she said Nate was saying that the team was playing with not self pride. Could you define the problem better then that?

    ANCIENTONE: I had to chuckle at your post, because I was feeling the same thing. But then you do get tired just sleep walking.

    by Hg on 2/15/2012 7:44 AM
  13. well, that was an extremely disappointing performance on the defensive end. we didn't contest shots and paid the price for it. i wonder how many of the wizards' low-rated offensive performnances can be attributed to their shots being contested or uncontested. i'm sure that's a perceptional thing, but in reflecting upon this loss, it seems pertinent.

    it's shocking to me that this once-heralded team of defensive specialists can play that end of the floor with so little desire, intgent and interest. this certainly is not the team i expected to see this year. we were supposed to be taking steps forward. however, we're going backwards.

    i'm glad to hear that LaMarcus won't be out for an extended time. i know a couple or a few games missed is not a good thing, but injuries in this league happen -- and it could be a whole lot worse. i doubt we'll see the L-Train during this triple-back, but i am hopeful to see him saturday.

    one thing which seems to be overshadowed by this loss is Nicolas' performance, which was outstanding. Casey tweeted after the game that Nicolas had said he felt bad about taking 24 shots. i say when you hit half of those, don't feel bad about it at all. i was very impressed that his offensive game came from all over the place; drives inside, threes and jumpers. Nicolas, in short, played like a team leader. here's a little obscure stat for y'all: Nicolas has started one nba game at sg and is averaging 33.0 points there. not to say we told you so, but how many of us have been calling for Nicolas to start at sg? btw, i'm not saying that's going to happen every night, but Nicolas definitely is the quality of player on our team that we need to have in the starting rotation.

    i thought Marcus played tough (six of his 12 rebounds on the offensive side). Crash had an amazing second half; fourth quarter in particular. Wesley had a decent game, and seemed to be playing some passing lanes.

    Nate put in the Rhino and for nine minutes, Craig was getting it done. then, in true Nate fashion, Craig was replaced and not to be seen again. didn't much care for Elliot taking the threes, but he proved some metal by driving to the basket. i always love the toughness Kurt brings to the floor.

    even after LaMarcus went down, i thought, for the most part, our offense was pretty decent. for some reason, for much of the season, we're just not showing up on the defensive side. i really don't know if that's on the players or on Nate.

    speaking of Nate, what is going on with his train of thought? many of his schemes and substitution patterns are puzzling to say the least.

    point blank: is Craig in Nate's doghouse or something? his minutes were reduced, then he didn't play at all in a couple of games. finally, our best player goes down and, even though Craig plays the same position, he sees just nine minutes of action. can someone please explain the logic to that? am i missing something?

    @Hg: i haven't read Sarah's blog yet (it's next), but i saw the quote about lack of pride. i can only wonder if it''s actually a lack of pride -- or lack of confidence in their coach. i think i'm not alone when i respectivelly submit that it may be the latter.

    ~ KMM

    PS: @Herr: though losses suck big time, glad to see you off the prozac!

    by Kassandra on 2/15/2012 8:59 AM
  14. Does anyone else ever get so frustrated that instead of throwing your remote through the TV and screaming your head off you decide to try and laugh it off and try and see the comical side of it and just go to sleep and try to wake up the next day feeling better? I am so glad i had a slight buzz during the game last night or I might have just came unglued. Waking up this morning though I just have that terrible feeling in my gut that everything that could go wrong, is going wrong once again!

    As Blazer fans i know we are use to the adversity, injuries, and let downs but like you said "herr" i don't know how much more I can take. I am glad nate is calling the guys out, acknowledging this is a pride and effort problem. In the past 2 or 3 years with the team, if their was a big injury during the game, it motivated the guys to play harder with a sense of pride. NOT the case last night as you stated mike. Not only did their engine fall off, but they didn't even try and pull out some oars to row themselves home for Lamarcus who has played his butt off for this team this year!

    OK.. I am off my negative soap box. There was a positive in my mind last night with nate starting nicholas at the 2 guard position. I think his confidence has grown enough to be a solid #1 or #2 option in the offense. Mike me and the wife will be at the game tonight in golden state.. You wouldn't happen to have a couple extra mike and mike shirts by chance would ya? lol

    by CGblazerFAN1 on 2/15/2012 9:56 AM
  15. The only good thing about that game was Batums dunk.
    everything else was a joke. the blazers need to get their game straight especially the guards. inconstant play makers, bad shooting, turnovers. are rookies could get better results and if not they would have an excuse. Nolan, email and the Nevada head band can play if the guards continue to give a lackluster effort. they should get some minutes just to put pressure on felton and Jamal. If you don't play like you mean it the rooks will get all your minutes. Craig (rhino) smith should get more minutes as well. rhino is one of my favorite blazers. hard worker rebounds never have to tell him to get on the floor after loose balls(and he gets them all)runs the floor for a big banger type and scorer in deep.

    i don't mind losing games as long as you give it your all, play your heart out never surrender ect. a handful of our guys can say they are doing that, the rest can play hard or kick rocks. Get it together blazers. GO BLAZERS

    by Miller on 2/15/2012 10:13 AM
  16. PAINFUL to watch. Can you say "lottery pick". Personally I still believe this team can find a personality. Then again, I would have never dreamed this team would turn in a performance like this.
    I am Nate's biggest supporter but something is amiss. To see him get drilled by the media about his line-up was uncomfortable. Nate's stress level is at an all time high. His answers are short and defensive. I think he caved.
    Yes, Batum needs to be on the floor. So does Matthews. WM sets the tone for our perimeter defense. Look at Nate's substitutions. Our power forward/leading scorer goes down. Nate puts in a shooting guard. Tells me he was not committed to Batum at the 2. He caved.
    The second half I said look who is starting, Craig at the 4. I think Nate's coaching staff talked him into that. I'm guessing it wasn't Nate's idea. Nate is losing touch with this team. He made a reference about how good BRoy was as a closer. BRoy is gone Nate.
    What happen to our defense last night was ball pressure at the point. The same as that ugly loss to the Rockets. Instead of our point guard hiring a shooting coach, how about spending some money on some attitude,toughness and desire.

    by Divotking on 2/15/2012 12:48 PM
  17. Ok, I'm gonna be the odd guy (not to exclude Kass) out and say that I found it to be a great game to watch for a BB fan. Not so much for a Blazer fan, to be sure, but let's give the Wiz a little credit for putting on a show worthy of the cost of a ticket.

    Some say there were open lanes, but I saw crisply executed picks that created those lanes and a pair of guards that went thru those lanes like starving man at a free buffet. I doubt there's a quicker pair of guards in the league.

    You play, MB, so you know that when a player gets in the zone, the game becomes easy, every shot goes in, every bounce comes his way. That's what happened last night with the Wiz, they had three or four guys in the zone at the same time. It's a shame it had to happen here, but that's life in the NBA.

    We didn't play as badly as it appeared, we just ran into a buzzsaw.

    Go Blazers.

    by dgpdx on 2/15/2012 4:02 PM
  18. @ Divotking.... you hit the nail on the head there..."how about spending some money on some attitude,toughness and desire"....keywords there are ATTITUDE and TOUGHNESS....I really do not care about model citizens. All that matter's is winning. Now if you are a thug and you do not win, that's a different story i.e., the (2001-2006 "Jailblazers").

    by Jaredtherebel2001 on 2/15/2012 4:18 PM
  19. I just cant really get a correct grasp on whats going on. You hear fans say hey need a better coach...then you hear from other coaches that hes a awesome coach and theres got to be a reason why hes on the Olympic team staff....then you hear how the players are such nice guys...too nice..gentlemen as you will....But yet there not listening to him?

    Something is not adding up...Timeout after timeout Nates gets frustrated, tells his team to play some D and each time they just go out and do nothing. You could tell Nate was upset...told the press straight out his team didnt play defense...they just did not show up.

    Now dont get me wrong..washington played like another team!!..they just threw it at the hoop and it went in..tons of confidence. Batum can keep on starting as for as Im concerned....things are looking grim..gotta play in Oakland? Forget about it...we lose 90% time with all our best players..nevermind without LA....but id loved to be proven wrong tonight ;)

    by whitefeather21380 on 2/15/2012 5:09 PM
  20. I don't know what people are talking about when they ascribe this loss to lack of effort. There was certainly confusion when the line-up had its heart cut out. Stopping drives to the hoop requires organization, effort and someone who can offer a threat at the rim. With the team lacking organization and a key big man (whose absence created that same disorganization) I'm not sure how far effort could go to compensate. It was obvious that the scouting report said to help off on drives and make the Wizards prove they could hit the outside shot. The stat charts said they couldn't make those shots, and tonight they were wrong, and the team got burned. Please don't tell me the open shots explain all the makes. We've all seen the Blazers miss a lot of open threes, and apparently the Wizards have been doing the same thing until they found magic in the Rose Garden rims. I did not see team that didn't care and didn't try. I saw a team that had been built around a single star that struggled to find its identity when he went down. I saw Nic step up and do a great job. I saw Gerald work his butt off. I saw a team that came close to erasing a huge lead, until we decided to let our two least- polished ball-handlers, Gerald and Wesley, pass the ball back and forth on a key possession until they managed to fumble it away. It wasn't our laziness that made the Wizards shoot 60%. Their guys worked hard, passed the ball, got confident when their early shots went in, and found themselves on some ridiculous hot streaks.
    That said, it's possible this season is about to go down drain in the next two weeks. The team does lack confidence, is now missing its All Star, and is heading into a grueling stretch of games. But I'm not sure that a losing streak is the worst thing that can happen to this team. I think we've been kidding ourselves about the team's short-term prospects while doing nothing to build for the future. But I'm hopeful that if nothing else this game will make us understand that the only two significant assests this team has for the future are the guy whose injury left such a big hole, and the guy who stepped up and scored 33 when the team needed him. Here's hoping someone can find a way to move some of the other guys with short-term value to get them more help for the day 2-3 years down the road when we might possibly have a chance to contend.

    by Islander on 2/15/2012 5:12 PM
  21. I am losing confidence in our point guard. When comcast gets a close-up of his eyes, while bringing the ball up, he appears to be looking for the one glory pass. If that's not there, he looks to penetrate. When that's not there he makes a weak little pass to the 3 point line. He is an easy scout.
    I never see him set his man up. Knowing what's going to happen before he gets across half court. All good point guards do this. FOR EXAMPLE:
    If you could hear a good point guard think he would be saying. "Ok I'm going to bring you over to the left wing" "Come on step in a little closer, good right there." "Oh look there's LaMarcus, remember what your coach said" "He said I would dump the ball right there" "Cover that passing lane,GOOD, oh look Gerald at the rim, DUNK see ya"
    Next time down.
    "Ok lets do this again" "Left wing" "C'mon you saw this the last time down" "Little closer" "GOOD" "What lane are you going to cover?" " OK" " I will fake penetration,center the ball, defense is collapsing" "Oh look Batum in the corner" "THREE" "See ya" " Next time down I'm getting LaMarcus the ball" " Lets see if you can stop it" " Don't forget what your coach said before the game"
    Maybe I'm having Dre withdrawls. Is smart basketball too much to ask?

    by Divotking on 2/15/2012 5:46 PM
  22. I have to say....very, very legitimate points made above by "14" and "15."

    by Jaredtherebel2001 on 2/15/2012 6:54 PM
  23. Very well done Portland Trailblazers!!

    by Divotking on 2/15/2012 9:30 PM
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