Mar 25

Felton Keys Victory over Warriors

By mikebarrett
Well, that was unusual.  

Let me explain that by tossing out a few numbers from this strange game at the Rose Garden on Sunday night.  The Trail Blazers shot 37 percent from the field, and hit 10 of their 30 three-point attempts.  They managed only 24 points in the paint (Denver had 94 points in the paint one night this season).  They were out rebounded 44-42 by a team that doesn't rebound, posted a season-low 14 points in the second quarter, and got 6 for 25 shooting from their bench (their reserves were outscored 28-16).

But, they won.

Before the game even started, this game had a weird feel to it.  We always say this, but it's the unknown that kills you in this league.  Scouting and game planning is so vital.  That's why I always toss up red flags when a team is missing a star and a player you've never heard of is dumped into the mix.

For Golden State on Sunday, there was no Monta Ellis, no Steph Curry, no Nate Robinson, and no Andris Biedrins.  Instead, they went with players like Charles Jenkins, Mickell Gladness, and Keith Benson.  I pride myself on being overly prepared for games, but even I was scratching my head at times with the lineups that were on the court.  So were the Blazers.

Everything seemed to start okay for Portland, as they jumped on top, and the outside shots were falling (at least a decent amount of the time).  But, in the second quarter the Trail Blazers seemed to either get bored, or got overly comfortable with the idea that they'd roll to an easy win in this one, and a YMCA game all of a sudden broke out.  The hard work and the scrap gave way to quick outside shooting and standing around.  The Warriors held Portland to just 14 in that second quarter, built a lead as big as eight points, and carried a seven-point lead to the locker room at halftime.

The Trail Blazers got serious in the third quarter, and mounted their charge.  They outscored the Warriors 29-16 in the quarter, things got back to normal, and the Blazers went back to sleep. That's when things got scary.  

It almost looked like the Trail Blazers kept waiting for the Warriors to roll over and die, yet it never happened.  Behind 27 points from Jenkins, almost doubling his career high, the Warriors hung tough and grabbed a 87-86 lead in the final minute.  The Trail Blazers then went back to their bread and butter, and LaMarcus Aldridge gave the them the lead with a turnaround jumper, and then hit two free throws to make the final margin three, and 90-87.

As much as it looked like Aldridge saved Portland's bacon on this night, it was actually Raymond Felton who unlocked the cell time and time again, and let this team out of jail.  Felton, in his most complete game of the season, scored 24 points (on 9 of 17 shooting), dished out seven assists, and committed just one turnover.  He also led the team in hustle plays on this night, getting a hand on several loose balls, and popping two rebounds loose that the Blazers went on to recover.

Again, odd to see this kind of a game between these two teams.  For all the strange stats I gave you above, the Blazers actually outscored the Warriors in fast-break points 12-4, and beat them in points off turnovers 20 to 4.  

The margin for error is so razor-thin now for Portland, this was one of those games that could have serious put a nail in their coffin, as far as their chances to make the post season.  The chances still aren't very good, but this was a must-win.  It wasn't a work of art by any means, but they did win, and now move on.  

It goes without saying that the Trail Blazers can't bring any of this same kind of a game to the Rose Garden on Tuesday and live to tell about it.  Oklahoma City is coming back, and it'll take Portland's best effort to make that a contest.  They can do it, as we've seen.  But, OKC is locked in now, and will be out for blood.  

We'll worry about that when the time comes.  For now, take the win and turn the page.  Might even want to burn the box score- unless, of course, you're Raymond Felton, who will tape this one to the fridge.



  1. Hey Mike glad to hear from you. I had the GSW to contend with. They said that the reason Felton lined up on the same side of the court that LMA did and if they or when they double teamed LMA it was a quick and easy outlet pass and Felton was in a good spot to score. This was about the best the trailblazers has done in punishing opponents for doubling LMA

    Well I have to give the devil his due, although I don't like to, but Felton is still a Blazer and he did seem to be the big factor.
    Did I ever tell you that if you live by the three you die by the three. I thought for sure we were going to our grave LOL.

    by Hg on 3/25/2012 10:04 PM
  2. Wow. crawford stats of late are HORRIBLE. i cant count how many 1-11 or 2-13 or 3-14 games he's had this season. everynight its someone dissapearing but crawford has been specially bad. This is made worse by the fact that he doesnt play defense.

    weird win. ill take it though. if we lose to OKC on tuesday we're done. im happy babbit made a couple shots. maybe he's due for a breakout game where he'll shut all the critics (including myself) up.

    first game ive seen this season where LMA actually put the team on his back late in the game. god for him. i hope he thinks about how good that felt.

    by sudelander on 3/26/2012 1:10 AM
  3. sorry. i meant to say "good"

    by sudelander on 3/26/2012 1:11 AM
  4. sudelander:
    I think the OKC game is important, but not the end; we are already nearly at the end anyway.

    OBTW: you can edit your own post and change god to good without reposting.

    by Hg on 3/26/2012 3:02 AM
  5. My family went to dinner last night so we didn't get a chance to watch the game but I am writing this comment with my sister sitting near me. She said two things which I thought were interesting. The first is that games between the Blazers and Warriors are always strange. There just is always something about misleading stats or runs or a player unexpectedly stepping up to make a difference in the game. It seems like that way to me too. The second thing Kassandra mentioned was that since the trade deadline and coaching change, Felton has been one of our best players. I have to agree with that too. I think it is like she said: McMillan's micromanagement of Felton. You have to let Felton play loose. I think Canales is doing that and now I think Felton is showing us what he can do. We probably got lucky last night because we did not bring our A game. Maybe that is good since we will need our best effort against the Thunder.

    by Angi on 3/26/2012 6:16 AM
  6. Angi We did not play for 48 minute either, as one of Kassandra's pet pieves.
    I think Felton is finally getting in shape, and realizes that he has to play for a contract in the NBA, because before the All-Star break his value was 0. Of course everybody thinks that he lead the mutiny against Nate and won, so now he is playing good and will win again. I don't think the Blazers will resign him for next year
    Tell Kassandra we miss her and love her here on Mike's Blog.

    by Hg on 3/26/2012 6:30 AM
  7. Angi: Oh Kassandra always gave your dad the credit for her wisdom, so are you getting yours from Kassandra and or your dad? you seem to be taking over nicely, but better yet, get your dad to post also.

    by Hg on 3/26/2012 6:33 AM
    As of 3/25/12
    4th worst record
    16-34 .320
    Games left- 9 home 7 away
    They visit Portland April 4th
    Do we throw that game?

    Mike Rice aka Merlin, Felton was his pick to click. Please.

    The only good thing I can find to say about the Blazers is the way they are finishing games. The last 2 minutes last night they brought it. LMA defending the 3 point line. They ARE trying to win games. I agree with you Mike, the margin for error is razor thin.

    by Divotking on 3/26/2012 6:45 AM
  9. The positive is we found a way to win.

    The negatives, the number of deprecatory adjetives about our defense and rebounding are abundant.

    by Ancientone on 3/26/2012 6:51 AM
  10. Hg: I get my information from both of them but more my dad on a regular basis. Kassandra is home this week for spring break and we have been talking about a lot of things. As you know she is a great source of information. One of our nicknames for her is the Human Computer. She really is that smart.

    My dad has an account here but he does not post. He reads a lot of the stories and blogs. Both he and Kassandra have said that Mr. Barrett's blog is a must read. I have already told her she is missed around the Blazers sites. I might get her to comment on here soon.

    I would not like to think there was this huge revolt that some people are talking about. I think it has more to do with McMillan's coaching style being too constricting to some players. Sometimes I think that just happens without it being really anyone's fault.

    by Angi on 3/26/2012 8:20 AM
  11. Sorry I double posted.

    by Angi on 3/26/2012 7:10 AM
  12. Angi; I hope you are right about Felton, I have to watch games with opposing announcers, they are always saying that Felton and Nate continuously fought and him and Jamal lead a mutiny because Nate chewed them out at a team meeting.

    Anyway I will quit bashing Felton, that is not my style anyway. I am just glad he helped us win last night.
    your upgraded profile shows a lot of resemblence to the Most Famous Kassandra McIntosh; she is kinda cute too LOL.

    by Hg on 3/26/2012 8:44 AM
  13. I kept waiting for the blazers to turn it on, and a couple players did, but the rest of the team didn't. It was rather scary in the closing minutes of that game. To say the blazers dodged a bullet would be a huge understatement on this one I think. But a win is a win and we'll take it. On the bright side, the next few games look to be a bit easier (aside from OKC and the Clips in LA on Friday), at least until april 6. If they can win 5 of those next 6 games (4 of which look very winable to me), they'll enter the more difficult final stretch at .500, which might give them the confidence they need to win some of the more difficult looking games during the last 3 weeks of the season.

    by soulseeker on 3/26/2012 10:21 AM
  14. Hg: I thought there were a couple meetings over the course of the season between Felton and McMillan that were considered positive. I hope it is just a matter of those guys not being on the same page as the coach. I am pretty happy so far with how Coach Canales is coaching the team.

    There are four girls in my family and we all have brown hair and brown eyes. Our mom does too. I think each of us looks a little like each other.

    by Angi on 3/26/2012 10:23 AM
  15. soulseeker:
    Some of the players may not have any turn on buttons in them. They play one way and that is it, no switches to turn on or shut off.

    I have a feeling that we will win tomorrow night game against OKC, It is at home and we are playing better. We have lots of vengeance build up and OKC has problems with our defense if we bring it. I could be very wrong, like maybe my feelings is basically hope.

    by Hg on 3/26/2012 10:24 AM
  16. Angi, I have a picture of Kassandra as a partial blond, does that count as being a dumb blond LMAO.

    by Hg on 3/26/2012 10:26 AM
  17. Hg: That was from a long time ago but I do not think the words dumb and Kassandra will ever go in the same sentence no matter what color she makes her hair. She usually darkens it from her natural color though.

    I think we will beat Oklahoma City too. It will be a tough game but something tells me we will come out ahead. That would go a long way to giving our players more confidence for the rest of the season and into the playoffs.

    by Angi on 3/26/2012 10:44 AM
  18. Angi: It may have been a long time ago to you since Kassandra did the Blondie streaks, but it seems like yesterday to me, time goes by so fast when you hit 70.

    You are right dumb and Kassandra shouldn't be in the same sentence, but the reason I love her so much is she doesn't get mad when I tease. I do tease her a lot.
    We had a rough time last night because we played down to their game. But I think we will get it together tomorrow night on KGW, that I get to watch at the bowling lanes, and beat OKC out of the revenge for the NBA and OKC.

    by Hg on 3/26/2012 1:40 PM
  19. Hg: I think she did that the summer after she graduated from high school. She didn't like it and very quickly it was back kto brown! She is pretty thicked-skinned and knows you were just teasing. The girl has no problem standing up for herself though.

    It seems like we often play up to our opponent or down to them. I would like to see us play more consistently against every opponent.

    by Angi on 3/26/2012 3:22 PM
  20. Angi: I to would like for the Blazers to play up to their potential every game. I am not sure how good we are or how bad we are anymore.

    by Hg on 3/26/2012 3:39 PM
  21. Interim Head Coach, Interim GM. What a mess.
    Your job is solid right Mike?

    by Divotking on 3/26/2012 3:57 PM
  22. GO NETS!!!

    by Divotking on 3/26/2012 3:57 PM
  23. Hg: It really is hard to tell how good or how bad we are. My hope is that we'll find that out over the rest of the season.

    It was just brought to my attention that we do not have a first round draft pick in 2013 because we traded it to Charlotte. That kind of makes me not care whether we get New Jersey's pick this year. It might just be better that we get it next year.

    by Angi on 3/26/2012 4:50 PM
  24. Angi: It seems to me that we have great individual players, but only about two show up at a time. Maybe we need to develop more synergy.

    If we draft good and use free agency this year, we might be good enough to not need the draft in 2013

    by Hg on 3/26/2012 8:28 PM
  25. Felton was simply great last night, but I just can't shake the feeling that it's fool's gold. In the post game interview with Michael Holton, Felton talked about being able to "play his game" and "shoot whenever I want to." That doesn't sound like the kind of PG we need to get to the next level. We need a team oriented guy in that position.

    The team says it's still focused on making the playoffs, but that might be fool's gold also. There are several players who should get serious looks before the end of the season in order to make best use of the draft and free agency this summer. Seems to me that's job one right now, figuring out who the keepers are among the bench players. Some guys are better gamers than practice players, so practice alone can't really tell all that much -- gotta see them in game action, and not just mop up time either.

    by dgpdx on 3/26/2012 8:57 PM
  26. Hg: We might not get New Jersey's pick until 2014 or even 2015 depending on how they do over the next couple of seasons (Kassandra is a wealth of information!). A lot of things can happen between now and the end of the season. We might even make some trades involving our draft picks. As my sister says, It would not be a Blazers draft day if no deals were made. I just wonder how we are going to use three second round picks this year. To me that is more interesting than the first round picks.

    by Angi on 3/27/2012 10:33 AM
  27. Angi: Thanks for the info, I don't follow college BB much so I wouldn't have a clue who to get and who not to. We may have quite a bit in cap space money so may pick up somebody in FA. Chad said they are going after a All-Star of elite player this summer in the back court to go along with LMA

    by Hg on 3/27/2012 2:37 PM
  28. we still desperately need a strong backup 4. We also need another veteran 5. The problem is good true centers are very rare in this league nowadays. Don't get me wrong, I love the potential I see in Rhino, but he still looks like he needs a little more time to develop. But he's 29 years old. Usually by 29 we've seen as much development as we're going to see out of a player. And he actually posted his best stats as a rookie. So I'd strongly consider packaging him into a trade deal.

    by soulseeker on 3/27/2012 3:46 PM
  29. Barrett, I'll see you tonight for the OKC game. Do we have the money to go hard after Deron Williams? It would take 5 year/100+ to get him. Cap be damned. We need an aggressive take on free agents over the summer.

    by vern70 on 3/27/2012 3:57 PM
  30. Soulseeker:
    Do you think JJ would be a strong back-up four? He seems to be OK in my book. Then get a 5 in the draft and get Deron William with FA.
    Do you think Thabeet will ever be a good center? Chad thinks he is a project player because he played Soccer until he was in college.

    Vern70 I think we have enough money for Deron Williams, the question is will he come to Portland to stay? We may be OK with Flynn and Nolan as PG if we get a All Star 2gd. Just to many ifs.

    by Hg on 3/27/2012 4:26 PM
  31. It looks like JJ Hickson has played his way into a future backup 4/5 role. Right now he's the best around-the-rim guy we have. Needs work on making free throws though.

    As for using the draft picks, another route has been mentioned a couple times now by acting GM Buchanan, the possibility of trading one (or both) of them for an established veteran who can step in and help (or start) immediately.

    One way or another, it's crucial that we get a big leap forward in talent this summer. Otherwise, it could be a long time before another opportunity like this comes along.

    by dgpdx on 3/27/2012 9:15 PM
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