Mar 01

'Big Two' Blow Through Rose Garden

By mikebarrett
There is one very good piece of news that came to mind as Thursday night's game ended at the Rose Garden- we only have to deal with this team once this season.

The Miami Heat, who had to storm from behind to beat the Blazers in Portland last season, came in even more prepared, and more determined to make a statement this time.  No comeback was necessary, as they built a 25-point lead over the Blazers, held off a minor rally in the fourth quarter, and won the game 107-93.

Chris Bosh didn't play for the Heat, and at this point I don't think he'd need to play again this season for Miami to still accomplish its goals.  Surround Dwayne Wade and LeBron James with just a few other players who can grab a few loose balls, hit the occasional three pointer, and work hard on defense, and that's all you need.

Playing their first game after the all-star break, and wanting to set a tone for the second half of the season, the Heat won their ninth-consecutive game (all by double figures).  LeBron had 38 points, 11 rebounds, and 6 assists, in yet another brilliant performance at the Rose Garden, where he averages over 30 points per game.  Wade was just as good, scoring 33 points, and dishing out 10 assists.

I, like many others, have been caught up in this debate about who stands out among the elite teams in the NBA.  For me, considering this recent Miami run, there is no debate.  Chicago will make it slightly interesting in the Eastern Conference Finals, but they don't appear to be a match for a healthy and motivated Heat team.  And, at this point, I don't care who comes out of the west, they won't beat Miami.

As many have said, if the Heat do stay even moderately healthy, and do win the title this year, watch out.  This group has dynasty written all over it.  Just ask Scottie Pippen, who had a courtside seat for this one in Portland.

As impressive as Miami is offensively, they are better at the defensive end of the floor.  Their rotation on defense, and the speed in which they cover and adjust, is a thing of beauty.  It's a machine.  Then, they turn it over to James or Wade, take your pick, get a bucket, and then get set on defense again.

Here's the amazing thing- I don't think Portland played a bad game.  The Blazers shot 47 percent, and had 21 assists on their 36 makes.  They got 20 from Aldridge, 18 from Crawford, and 17 from Batum.  But, they brought a knife to a gunfight.  Yes, they did toss a solid rally at the Heat, and cut the lead to 10 midway through the fourth, but the outcome was never in doubt.

Miami is now 28-7, and is probably actually better than its record indicates.  Scary thought.

For the Trail Blazers, they now sit at 18-18, and are about to enter an absolutely brutal stretch of the schedule.  You don't want to toss out the term "must win" with 30 games left, but that's what they face heading into Saturday's game against Minnesota, and even Monday's against New Orleans.  After those two, it's a monster 7-game, 13-day road trip that is frightening to consider at this point.

A quick recap of this game wouldn't be complete without mentioning Joel Przybilla.  The Blazers didn't want to activate him until Saturday, but due to Kurt Thomas' concussion at Denver, Przybilla was pressed into action in this game.  He looked very good, considering he hadn't played a game in a year.  He had four points, six rebounds, two blocks, and isn't even in game shape.  His presence, and what he could mean to this team, is reason enough to keep the faith.

But, this was a night when Portland faced a motivated Miami team, showing a national TV audience it is indeed in a category of one, and it simply would have taken more than Portland currently has.


  1. I didn't expect us to win this game, but I am happy to see the effort put forth, just wish they had taken better care of the ball. The real highlight for me was the play of Joel. I hope his defensive effort rubs off on some of the other players.

    by dockaren on 3/1/2012 11:29 PM
  2. Joel gives me hope. I like Kurt Thomas but i think he would be better served at the back up 4. And leave the scoring in the second unit to the guards if i were Nate i would play this rotation


    Crawford (30 min)
    Nicolas (30 min)
    Wallace (30 min)
    Lamarcus (35 min)
    Camby (24 min )


    Felton (18)
    Elliot (18)
    Mathews (18)
    Kurt (13)
    Joel (24)

    This is just what i would do. And you could slide Nolan in the second unit. But I see a trade coming before the deadline I wont speculate who but we could see a couple people go i think. I feel like Paul will not settle for a non play off team. So i think he is going to push for something to change. We do have a lot of expiring contracts. Problem is i don't know who we could get. Nash maybe i guess but that would be a very short term solution However he seems like and energizer bunny. Also i think the blazers should lock Joel up for 3 years i think that's about all he has left and let him retire a blazer he deserves it and so do the fans. I do think if we had a healthy Joel or Greg at the beginning we would not be in this situation of 18/18 some think Joel cant make that big of a difference but i saw a huge difference on the difficulty level of Miamis shots when he entered the game as supposed to when he wasn't in the game. As soon as Joel cam in there shots got a lot harder when he sat it was like get to the rim at will. And i counted more blocks than what the stats say for him but oh well.

    And Reggie Miller you owe Joel an apology his name is not Jo el Its Joel numb nuts never did like u.

    by Avgjoe28 on 3/2/2012 12:59 AM
  3. It was a disappointing loss right after losing to Denver, but I guess there was not much that could be done against this Heat team. There is little chance of saving things when LeBron and Wade get going like that. Still I was happy to see Joel out there being aggressive. Hopefully he will rub off on the other guys. If he can get in there and push those guys around after a year off the rest of the team sure can too. Here is to a more aggressive, more determined, more consistant, and tougher Blazers team from this night on.

    by Niki C on 3/2/2012 2:14 AM
  4. You've got the two best players in the league, with no doubts (and if you do disagree, you better have some solid evidence. They are the best players in the league, without question). You allow them to score whenever they want, and do whatever they want. They did. You can't beat that. Portland didn't have a bad offensive game, but their defense was terrible. If it wasn't for Joel having some big defensive plays in the 2nd quarter, we'd be lucky to lose by only 30 at that point.

    This team will win the championship. Dallas was a fluke. You can talk all you want about how Chicago and OKC and whoever have a decent chance, but you're only fooling yourselves. The only thing that can beat Miami, is Miami. They did that last year.

    Now I'm starting to see why the rest of the league was so mad when they joined forces. It truly is unfair. Here I am getting excited that we can land Nash (which we should trade Felton and Wesley for), and then it's time to realize that there isn't much of a point.

    I like LeBron and Wade. Despite them trying to be the criminals last season, they are both very humble players. But really, this team is ruining the NBA.

    by Herr on 3/2/2012 2:41 AM
  5. apparently i"m the only one here who isn't ready to end the season and crown the heat nba champions. they certainly were in sync last night and their nine-game winning streak was quite an accomlishment. on the other hand, if they peak now rather than in the playoffs, then chicago will be rignt there to take the eastern conference away from them.

    as for the blazers ... well, we played great the first six or seven minutes, attacked the basket, got a hand in the face of heat players' shot attempts and rebounded well. then, we went back to the team we truly are; a jump-shooting team. as i mentioned in the previous blog, we simply don't shoot the ball well enough for that. we also stopped denying the shot and boxing out.

    essentially, i don't think we played all that well at all. often, looked like we were not playing together. that"s been a problem all season. we're 36 games into the season and our new additions have not fit in. that"s a huge problem.

    but you know something; last night i saw someone who wants to be in there and fight for us. Joel was outstanding in his return as a blazer. the rebounds, blocks and all the other things are great, but i've never absolutely enjoyed watching anyone play defense nearly as much as watching Joel do it. he was on his man, across the key for the double team, in the key, back to the ball side ... well, he was active and intelligent. if he's not yet in game shape, i can't wait to see him when he gets there!

    welcome home Joel!

    ~ KMM

    by Kassandra on 3/2/2012 7:10 AM
  6. Joel was great. He plays basketball in a way that is refreshing. He blocks out on rebounds, rotates to the right spot on defense, clogs the middle, sets amazing picks (our gaurds need to learn how to use them), shots he doesn't block he changes. Note that wide open layups stopped when he was on the floor. Well I decided to do a positive blog today so I guess that's all I can say.

    by Ancientone on 3/2/2012 8:40 AM
  7. Mike: I posted here giving you and Herr heck about King James and Wade this and King James and Wade that. Did I make you Mad or did something else happen to my post.
    Anyway I am in Kassandra's group, I thought we played good offense, but until Joel came in I thought our defense really sucked. sure I know it was King James and Wadey boy, and nobody can stop them. But we don't have to step aside and roll out the red carpet for them. That hard foul from Joel opened his eyes a little, yea he became an outside shooter and facilitator after that, but if Joel was patrolling the paint, he didn't waltz in too the rim.

    Oops sorry Ancientone I didn't read all your blog but that was what I was saying, any lay-up they got after Joel was in was set up and earned.

    by Hg on 3/2/2012 9:16 AM
  8. @Avgjoe28:
    You are on a roll today, keep it up. I think we will still see LaMarcus playing center as Nate likes that small line-up, but Joel will definitely make a big different in the center rotation. Also, Camby didn't play with any determination last night, although he was peeved with lack of playing time at Denver, because Nate went with his small line-up. that was no reason to dog it last night, so as Joel gets into better game shape it is IMO, that Joel may eat into more of Camby's minutes as Joel brings it every night and Camby is part of the problem with inconsistency. If you think about it our fast pace depends on us getting rebounds, and if Camby is producing the team produces If the whole team (No offense Ancientone) stays back for rebounds we have no body to lead the break. With Joel bringing it every night, might make the difference.

    by Hg on 3/2/2012 9:26 AM
  9. Blazers did play better in this game, then they did against the Nuggets. Did they play good enough to beat the Heat? Apparently not even close.

    by Tobyus Sanchezo on 3/2/2012 11:24 AM
  10. another note on Joel: miami's backup center, Dexter Pittman had an effieciency rating of minus-13. Joel had an efficiency rating of plus-10 (team-high). pretty impressive for his first game back after a year.

    ~ KMM

    by Kassandra on 3/2/2012 11:55 AM
  11. wow, after watching the okc-magic game and the blazer-heat game. Okc is a really good and gifted team. Must be lucky if you live in Oklahoma. Hey, heres a team its already good, dont worry we got Durant, Oden is injury bug. Oh Jeff Green? Yeah we got rid of him before his season ending enjury. Yep Perkins is fitting nicely, thank you. Maybe okc has a crystal ball..maybe their arena is built over a 4 leaf clover forest.. I dont..but they just are so fortunate. And did big basket after big basket, they simply shut Orlando down..and I thought to myself..WHY cant we do that?

    On paper were a very good team. In reality...well were 18-18...hmmm. Yes the Heat are very good..wait..hold on...Lebron+Wade are very good. dont get me wrong, the heat reserves and supporting cast do end up playing fairly strong, but I would have to say its mostly because Lebron+Wade make others around them better. Humble players? Maybe..sometimes I see that..other times I see Lebron look into the seats pound his chest, give that look after a dunk, walk with that arrogant swagger and I go hmmm..maybe not? But regardless, yes the Heat is just a bad image for the nba. When 2 of the best players combine forces, this is what happens. It was only a matter of time for them to get insinc with each other.

    Now as Kassandra said about already crowning the Heat champs, Yes we might be jumping the gun "little" bit lol...but if this Heat team stays healthy and keeps gelling, then I honestly dont see a team beating them..I just dont. Weirder things have happened, but if this was a Vegas bet, Id have my money on them.

    But I do agree...we did not play that good...people want to say wow look at Miami...well I didnt expect us to win this game, cause Miami is sooo good right...but we could have won!...The RG "used" to be tough place to play..this season, too many teams are having a good time here. We started off great..quick each buckets, and rebounds..attacking. The defense was never there..except joel...bless his heart..he reminded me of the old Blazer teams. Help Mathews out on Lebron!!...seriously..double team him or Wade..specially when its just one of them on the court...Id rather lose to them by saying well shoot..Haslem had a awesome game..Miller was just killing us..Not well we decided to let Mr Wade and Mr James run and gun at will and play their type of game. If you do..u lose 99% of the time.

    Maybe next time the Heat come to Portland, The Blazers should be allowed to go have dinner with the Heat, bs with them for while...get autographs..get that all out of the way, so when its game time, its down to business. No more star gazing. Why couldnt we play the whole game like we did most of the 1st quarter? why..good teams do it..why cant we. LA...yes he had 20 points..but only 18 fga...in games like this...hes needs like 25 attemps..needs the ball more, cause well we only have 1 all star.

    I honestly dont know what to say for this season...its looking grim....we got time to get up in the standings and be very good no doubt..but that comes with change...the way we play the game..if that means with different players..fine..different coach fine..people blame Nate..people blame the players..I dont know..Im not in that locker room..I just know that if this team is going to be considered one best teams in the west, then we cant keep playing like the way we have been playing!

    by whitefeather21380 on 3/2/2012 2:02 PM
  12. wow Whitefeather ... i started reading your comment, then graduated from college, then law school, began my legal career, got married, had two kids, put them through college, then my grandchildren began being born ... then, i finished reading that!

    there are many problems with this team. overall, it comes down to one: we don't play 48 minutes a game. at this point, we don't seem capable of it. what we thought is chemistry, is not.

    you're right though, to be considered one of the best teams in the west, we surely can't keep polaying the way we've been playing.

    ~ KMM

    by Kassandra on 3/2/2012 3:22 PM
  13. @whitefeather:
    When I post like you did Ancientone puts on weight because he has to go get many snacks to make it through the post LOL. For me I say keep posting like that because I enjoy reading good post, you just had a lot to say.
    Good job.

    by Hg on 3/2/2012 4:09 PM
  14. That was a great barometer game. Miami is the real deal. The big three and a cast of solid support players. They are playing great defense. Very focused. Unbelievable transition game. Should win the title if they remember Wade is their closer. Last year they got confused about who should finish.
    As I said, a barometer game. Portland played one of their best games. Had good energy. Fought the whole game. That impressed me. They could have caved at any time. If the Blazers show that much fight every night they can beat a lot of teams. Don't be blinded by Blazer pride, Miami is that good. I don't have to like their arrogant a@#$$$ but I respect their game.
    Joel you are a stud. Played your butt off.
    Dangerous with a capital D Minnesota team coming. What a wonderful job Adelman is doing. The Wolves are my second most favorite team.
    Then the road trip from hell. C'mon Portland. There are good things to come yet this season. We are behind you. GO BLAZERS!!

    by Divotking on 3/2/2012 6:27 PM
  15. Yeah I did tend to kinda go out there on that post. I usually keep it to couple paragraphs...but I am so frustrated with this team and this season, so I guess I let a little too much out that time. At least Kassandra graduated college and had a law career, thats a good start in life! But your grandchildren were born...cmon now, wasnt that long! lol

    On sidenote we need a pg and rumors are flying everywhere that the Blazers want Nash bad...Hes getting old..hes not the future..go after Dwill!

    by whitefeather21380 on 3/2/2012 7:43 PM
  16. MB, you already said most of what my reactions to the game were:

    Great Miami defense won this game as much as their Fab Two did. There were times when I swear they were double teaming one Blazer yet no one was open. By the time a pass got to an apparently open man, he was covered. When a team with a great offense works that hard on the defensive end, they're nearly impossible to beat.

    The Blazers played well enough to beat most teams in the league. Another case of playing up to the level of their competition. Now, if we can stop playing down to the level of not-so-good teams, we'll be OK. But that's been a hallmark of this team for a few years now :-(

    Charles Barkley said on the TNT postgame that there's something wrong in Portland. He couldn't (or wouldn't) be more specific but I agree with him. Nate's body language hasn't looked good to me lately. I wonder if he's losing (or already lost) some of his players. Two years ago Nate was begging for a veteran or two to help lead his young team. Now he's got several vets yet nothing much seems to have changed: same inconsistency, same rebounding and defensive problems, and same overall results.

    Looking forward to the trade deadline...

    by dgpdx on 3/2/2012 11:58 PM
  17. @Don;
    I never heard Charles on the post game show because by then I was so fed up about hearing about how great Miami was that I shut TV off. But I have commented several times that their is something wrong. Not so much with our poor shooting, but just the body language of Nate and actually the whole team

    Something is entirely wrong with line-ups. OR-live says that Camby is being rebellious and playing poor because he doesn't want to be traded, or his health or his age. Of Course Raymond is a mistake, and he blames his bad play on everybody else, but you heard the Miller Brats blame it on to Felton's poor conditioning. Then there is Crawford, as angry as I get at him because he is a ball hog and for every big game we get, we get two or three bad games from him, he is about the only closer we have that can dribble, pass, shoot and create; nevertheless Batum is getting there fast.
    It was suggested to start, Joel, LMA, Batum, Matthews and Nolan, and bring in Thomas, Craig, Wallace as he still plays tough D, Williams and Jamal

    by Hg on 3/3/2012 5:08 AM
  18. Want to see an exciting gome with hustle and effort? See my starting lineup for tonight.

    PG Nolan Smith
    SG. Elliot Williams
    SF. Nicolas Batum
    C Joel Pryzbilla
    PF. Lamarcus Aldridge

    C Chris Johnson, Kurt Thomas
    PF Smith, Thomas
    SF Babbot, Wallace
    SG Mathews
    PG. Crawford, Felton

    Let them play win or lose at least they will leave it on the floor.
    Wallace's mind is elsewhere. I have never seen so many missed layins by anyone over 5 ft. tall. Crawford is not a point gaurd. Felton is a headcase. Camby has either had his body quit on him or he's not williing to block out or rotate on defense and move his feet. I kinda hope it's the former not the latter or he loses my respect.

    Sorry for the verbosity of this but this dysfunctional group has me very frustrated.

    by Ancientone on 3/3/2012 6:22 AM
  19. @Ancientone:
    I like your line-ups, Although I have been pondering on some of our problems. Like is it Felton's play that makes the rest of the team under achieve. Last year Dre made almost everyone look better. this year maybe Felton makes every one look worst.
    I remember at trade deadline last year that Camby did his disappearing act so no other team would want him. I have an inkling this may be the problem again this year, Nevertheless, Joel in the starting line-up and Nolan to learn to contribute and set up the plays is almost a must.

    One thing for darn sure, we could identify our problems much better with your line-up and we can't depend on the current line up to win games anyway.

    by Hg on 3/3/2012 7:38 AM
  20. Hg: Yes Felton is a big part of it. But Crawford is a second string streaky shooting shooting gaurd. I don't know if Wallace has real small hands like Jerome Kersey had, but he muffs a lot of passes, mishandles the ball a lot, and misses layins. He seems to have his thoughts elsewhere than on the game lately and is so inconsistant, never blocks out and makes bad decisions. Camby i've already discussed. Trade um quick if they don't want to play for us. Mathews is an energy player who seems overwhelmed by his team mates I don't care attitude.

    by Ancientone on 3/3/2012 8:12 AM
  21. Ancientone:
    Wallace depends solely on energy and disruption. The schedule may have robbed him of his niche. He has a torn ligament in his finger that is slow at healing because of not taking time off to let it heal. Oops I don't need to tell you that since you are the doctor, sorry, I forgot. Nevertheless, that may be the reason for butter fingers and missed attempt.

    Jamal is a pain in the butt, He is always a hero or a heal. but a PG he is not, since he is a ball hog. In that respect he is the only closure we have, until we develop Nolan and maybe Batum. My identification of a closure is someone that can dribble, pass, create his own shot and shots for others. LMA is limited on his dribbling and passing, plus he is easily dbled because of lack of dribbling skills. That is another reason your line-up is great, Nolan is untested, Williams in small example sizes looks great and We already know about Camby's loss of inspired play,
    So my man, I say bring on the new line-up, at least we would find out. I am for sure ready to trade Felton and now Camby with Joel's return.

    by Hg on 3/3/2012 9:10 AM
  22. Hg: Did you notice that Miami had so little respect for the rest of the team that they at times triple teamed LMA?

    by Ancientone on 3/3/2012 9:32 AM
  23. Ancientone: yes I did notice that, more or less sag to the middle and not only let us shoot from the outside, but hoping we would because when we miss they can almost always get the rebound and run out on us for a quick two. that is their game plan. And they execute to a T. Their coach and our coach went down to watch the Ducks at the same time and both came up with a 15 second Offense and solid D, I don't know what happened to our plans. but it sure works for Miami.

    by Hg on 3/3/2012 10:14 AM
  24. Ancientone:
    And did you notice that after Miami beat us they went to Denver and got beat.
    I bring this up because it seems that I remember last year when they whooped us good they went on a 4 or 5 game losing streak.

    by Hg on 3/3/2012 10:13 AM
  25. From ESPN Trade Fixes column:

    ... could leave Toronto's Jose Calderon as Portland's best option. He's not a big-time scorer, but knocks down a high percentage of his looks and is one of the best passers in the league. His decision-making would be a key for the Blazers when things get tight. You could send Felton and Wallace to Toronto for Calderon and Linas Kleiza. Portland gets its new point guard, one who would allow Crawford to play off the ball down the stretch and might also boost the game of struggling Wesley Matthews. Batum steps into a 35-minute role as Portland's full-time 3 and inherits Wallace's job as the go-to perimeter stopper. Kleiza is a versatile bench scorer, better suited to that role than either Batum or Wallace, and is one of the league's top-25 per-minute scorers this season in clutch situations.


    by dgpdx on 3/4/2012 1:30 AM
  26. Don, I read this same thing on Blazers Edge, I for one like Calderon. There seems to be some mixed emotions about Kleiza.
    With Wallace's on and off again play and Felton just not being our PGofTF. It may be a good trade, although Calderon has another year on his contract and he is expensive, If we don't get value out of him he would still be a asset for trade.

    If may be the different in making the play-offs or not. Getting Joel back is going to help our rebounding and interior defense because Camby isn't getting it done. We need GW to bring his energy every game and he is not doing that, We need a PG with the Talent of Calderon because Raymond isn't getting the job done. This trade would help with three or four of our big problems.

    by Hg on 3/4/2012 3:15 AM
  27. Rick Adelman and his sons, Terry Porter, T.R. Dunn, Bill Bayno, Martell Webster, Kevin Love, Luke Ridnour.
    I didn't understand all the hugs and kisses after the game. That's for the off season. We play them again in 3 or 4 days for crying out loud.
    I keep thinking this team will get tired of losing and get mad.

    by Divotking on 3/4/2012 7:47 AM
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