Nov 13

Portland's Big Run Flattens Kings

By mikebarrett

It doesn’t matter who it came against, the Trail Blazers wanted a win.  It was a very quiet flight to Sacramento following the loss to Atlanta on Monday night.  As the coaches always say, it was a teaching opportunity (a very positive way to put it) and the hope was the players learned that this team is not going to be able to win unless most of the pistons are firing.  And, digging yourself a nine-point hole early in a game is not going to cut it.

Evidently, lesson learned.

Against the Kings in Sacramento on Tuesday night, the Blazers jumped out to a 25-10 lead.  The Kings would battle back, and even claimed a four-point lead early in the third quarter.  The Blazers led 57-56 with 5:15 left in the third, and then things completely turned in Portland’s favor.  They closed the third on a 17-2 run, and stretched that run to 28-4 early in the fourth and it was game over.  The Blazers picked up their second road winof the season by a final score of 103-86.

Sacramento has struggled on offense this season, but they’ve been a decent defensive team at times. In fact, coming into this game they ranked third in the NBA at defending the three-point line.  Ironically, that’s where Portland did most of its damage.

The Blazers shot 52 percent from behind the arc, going 14 for 27, led by Damian Lillard, who was a big reason why Portland got off to such a hot start.  He scored eight points in the first 12 minutes, and ended the game with 22, leading all scorers in the contest, and going 5 for 6 from three-point land.

In my post-game interview with Lillard (who was playing in front of his mother, who made the drive from Oakland), he basically took responsibility for the last few losses and said that is what motivated him in this game.  Not only did he score 22, but he also dished out 9 assists. 

LaMarcus Aldridge has taken some heat as of late, but against the Kings he was very solid. Twenty minutes before the opening tip we weren’t sure if he was even going to play.  He came down hard on his right wrist against Atlanta, and it was bothering him enough before the game that he went for x-rays.  They were negative, and he decided to play through the obvious pain.  Aldridge ended with 19 points, and was much better about fighting for low-post position and working for higher-percentage shots.  He got to the free-throw line 10 times, and made 9.  That has been missing.

We knew J.J. Hickson would be motivated to play in this game against the team that waived him last March. Hickson picked up another double-double, scoring 10 and grabbing 13 rebounds.  Hickson becomes just the seventh player in the NBA to post five double-doubles so far. 

Wesley Matthews did his usual job of disrupting the opposition’s backcourt, and held Tyreke Evans to just 10 points.  Matthews also scored 18 points, and his 6 of his 9 shot attempts.  Nicolas Batum was especially big during that big run, and scored 15 points, grabbed 7 rebounds and dished out 5 assists.  It’s nice to see Batum continuing to fill up all the stat catagories.

And, the Blazer bench was much better in this one, combining for 19 points.  That’s not normally a huge number, but considering how it’s been lately, that’s a huge improvement.  Ronnie Price led the way for the reserves, scoring 8 points and grabbing 6 rebounds.

It’s not very often we’ve been able to say Portland has more road wins than home wins, but that’s the case right now.  Most importantly, the confidence got a boost with this victory. 

Now, they’ve got two days off before hosting Houston on Friday night at the Rose Garden.


  1. A very nice "get well" win. Bench helped on both offence and defense which was nice. Keep it up Blazers!!!!

    by daddylogan on 11/13/2012 11:36 PM
  2. Hey Mike:
    Well as you know Tuesday night is my bowling night, but I did listen to Wheels and Tone. A very good win. I will comment more after seeing the replay of the game.

    by Hg on 11/14/2012 12:08 AM
  3. Nice win and great blog post as usual. I still find it hard to grasp how Sac could let a guy like J.J. go without getting anything in return...the Kings aren't exactly what you'd describe as a "stacked" team. Not knowing the history I assume something went bad between J.J. and the Kings management but what a pickup by the Blazers! And he's only 24, or 6 years younger than Gerald Wallace!

    by airwolfe on 11/14/2012 12:13 AM
  4. Great to get a win and on the road!

    by dockaren on 11/14/2012 12:57 AM
  5. LaMarcus was a warrior tonight! Two days off are just what he needs to let his wrist heal. JJ Timex just keeps on ticking. I loved the balanced scoring in this game -- everyone contributed something to a well deserved win.

    by dgpdx on 11/14/2012 1:35 AM
  6. i'd say this was a pretty satisfying win. certainly, we should have beaten a battered Kings team by 17 or so, but we did and that says something. it was a balanced win at that. the thing i think which set this game apart was the combination of getting to the basket and outside shooting. we all know one sets up the other, and it was nice to see those two areas of the offense working so well together.

    i just have to wonder if Sac and maybe S are going to be for Damian as Texas is to LaMarcus. regardless, i'm happy his mom got to see him for the first time as a pro just seven games into his career. he put on a great show for her.

    props to LaMarcus for toughing it out with his wrist last night. saw a tweet from Chris Haynes last night where he quote LaMarcus saying his free throw shooting was like doing the shot put. at 9-10, i'll take that any time. J.J. ... i may just have to write my own blog about him soon. he's been just plain inspirational as of late!

    the bench played better, which is what all of us have been waiting to see. they didn't shoot the lights out or anything, but it was a marked improvement. Ronnie seems to be getting more and more comfortable. Joel hasn't been shooting well, but i'm confident that will come in time. from all credible accounts, he's doing a lot of the same type of dirty work as ... well, as another Joel of our recent acquaintance.

    anyway, as we not, you never blink at a win. you continue to do the things which will allow you to win some more.

    ~ KMM

    PS: Hg, why is is we always seem to do well on your bowling night?!

    by Kassandra on 11/14/2012 7:23 AM
  7. I need to stop watching games. When I miss the game, we win.

    I completely forgot there was a game on tonight, so I cannot comment on anything but to say it was a good win, and we need more of them. It's nice to see that playing on the road doesn't seem to quiet Lillard at all. Not sure about Meyers. Anyway we can possibly get more information on his game? How has he been looking? Due to my schedule of working graveyard, in which I need to get things done on my morning which is around 5pm-9pm, I haven't had much of a chance to watch a game this season.

    by Herr on 11/14/2012 7:58 AM
  8. Loved the win!!!
    I wish we could work on points in the paint, beginning with LA and his fade away. Still looking for him to drive to the hoop. Three pointers are good but variety is good! Loved the bench playing time and substitutions. Beginning to build a team.

    by allie-oop on 11/14/2012 8:14 AM
  9. Kassandra: Maybe we should enlist Hg in several leagues. Naw, at our age he'd wind up on the injured list.

    I hate to get down on any player, but I'm beginning to cringe when Nolan takes the floor. With the personel in this game for the Kings Myers appeared lost.

    by Ancientone on 11/14/2012 10:18 AM
  10. Can we just show people's tweets after the game, during Trailblazers Over Time, rather than during the game? That is what the Mariners do. I understand that the Blazers want to do what they think will make them edgy and current, but it eats up precious television real estate while I am watching the game.

    by PannyAttack on 11/14/2012 10:20 AM
  11. Hey, Maybe I should be like Herr, if I don't watch, we win; so maybe I should just quit watching, Naw I would rather take my chances of winning while I am watching

    Ancientone: Myers does get lost a lot, but he is coming along. You cringe with Nolan, I cringe with Babbitt.

    Kassandra; I think our starting unit is as good as any in the NBA, but our bench needs to get better, so we may sacrifice a few wins now for a lot more later; We did great on a back to back; We got to give a little time for the bench and we don't play again until Friday. Practice time will help; I don't feel our d is as bad as everybody says, we go for a lot of steals and if we miss a steal that leaves somebody open for a shot, OTOH, if we get a steal and score, we are up in points, but give away a high %.

    by Hg on 11/14/2012 10:58 AM
  12. J.J. Hickson has been so underrated this season. He's at 11.9 rebound-per-game, which currently is 4th in the NBA.

    by Shem on 11/14/2012 2:17 PM
  13. One of the problems with the NBA super structure viewed from a European point of view is we; poor lonesome fans and a farway home, get only 3 big known players left the year after; team is not the same team in our old fashioned way to look at facts and history, friendship and sports. Not a Portland problem though; a continental american matter i suppose. You always change everything so that, at times, nothing changes. Not that the opposite - to change just a few main things such that a lot is done- should be a better making. But where is a room for poetry, continuity of spring, redudancy for fall ? Where are all these flowers gone ?

    PS: Do not pay too much attention to me. But yet a team is made of more than a bunch of dollars we change every year. I do, nevertheless, wish you a real good luck, a good sports achievement. Sorry for my lame english, i wish i could be a better and yet friendly speaker.

    by sopadeajo on 11/14/2012 3:10 PM
  14. The moment in the second half when Stott's called a time out. Steam dispensing from his ears. Next up, Blazer explosion. It's a good sign.
    What's wrong with Will ? Did I see him in street clothes ?
    My take on the flagrant foul by Luke. "Was that a flop".
    I'm out.

    by Divotking on 11/14/2012 5:15 PM
  15. sapadeajo: You're doing fine.

    Hg: I meant that Leonard looked lost because the 4 gaurd offense that the Kings through out there didn't leave him any traditional player as a big man to gaurd. Another growing experience.

    by Ancientone on 11/14/2012 6:34 PM
  16. @ancientone: wasn't Hg on the injured list for white a while a couple years ago?! can't have that again! i haven't been happy with Nolan's game this year either. Luke can play; he's just not getting minutes to truly show what he can do.

    @Hg: i advocate making changes now, when we know we're rebuilding, rather than when we've reached the next level. sometimes timing can be everything. no one move is going to suddenly take us to the next level. however, each move will - hopefully-add another piece to the puzzle.

    @Shem: that's a stat i never would have predicted, but it's very awesome. J.J. has been amazing so far this season. just think, the guys he's outrebounding are taller than he is!.

    @Divotking: it's my understanding Stotts wanted to activate Victor, so Will was deactivated. i haven't heard any injury news on him.

    RE Meyers: his strongest game wasn't against the Kings, but he's making progress at a higher rate than i may have expected. i'm not too worried about him.

    ~ KMM

    by Kassandra on 11/15/2012 7:22 AM
  17. Kassandra:
    I can't dispute your case for making changes now against later changes. I do however feel that Wesley with our new players learning is important showing the newbie’s his work ethics and never quit attitude. I believe he would be a sensational back up for the two or the three because of his defense and energy, just not necessarily a starting 2; which brings me to the subject of Elliot Williams, I would stipulate, if he could ever get healthy enough, that he would be the starting 2GD and Wesley, with a lot of growling would be a back up 2 and 3, but that is before we know what we have in our rookie arsenal. Maybe Barton can replace Wesley as a back up???? Maybe Nolan, as this IMO, is his rookie year will make an efficient back up PG, and backup 2GD.

    Therefore, IMO again, we really don't know who to keep, who to trade and who to just throw away yet, so I am advocating to wait until more stats are in. but not debating with you on the issues. Maybe by trade deadline we will have a bigger and better picture of all the players.

    Although my heart bleeds for Babbitt, my mind tells me with this modern NBA, I have to be an advocate with the ones that says he will have to go, because he only brings one main course to the table.

    by Hg on 11/15/2012 8:42 AM
  18. @ Kass, I agree w/ u most of the time w/ the things u say but Luke CANNOT play (he CAN shoot given pretty ideal conditions; no1 disputes this); I wish he could & giving him more minutes hurts our team in a variety of ways. Mark my words, either mid-season (most likely) or DEFINITELY @ the latest right b4 next season, Luke will not b a Blazer; IF he's still in the NBA next season... I would b shocked.

    by Simpson on 11/15/2012 1:30 PM
  19. I was really happy about the way we finished the game last night. Ronnie played his 2nd healthy game with marked improvement. Sasha hit a couple of 3s. JJ Hickson is slowly becoming my farvorite player as well. What a motor he has! I need to apologize from the Hawks game about LaMarcus choking at the end, I had no idea he was shooting with a sprained wrist that night. I think Will Barton may benefit from some Stampede time until he learns the sets we're going to run. Talented as he is he's not a quick study and talent alone won't get him playing time until the sets are second nature to him. I say wait until mid season to make any roster moves and have a better idea of who gets it and who doesn't. To early to tell. We need a scoring 6 man and it's painfully obvious Nolan is not that guy...too bad about Elliot. I had high hopes for him in that role. 3-5 is not bad considering the competition we've faced and the trial by fire that comes with a new coach and roster. Win 2 more in a row and we'll be back at 500 which is where I think we'll stay all season.

    by riverman on 11/15/2012 1:46 PM
  20. Luke's problem is he just can't defend NBA level 4s. He also needs a lot of space to hit his long 3s. I'd like to trade him to Israel for the Rhino! I hear the Rhino is lighting up the Euro league playing in Israel. I think Luke would be a star in Europe but not in the NBA. Hope he proves me wrong but I really don't count on it.

    by riverman on 11/15/2012 1:49 PM
  21. There's a lot that I could have said/added above to what I said/haven't said but I needed to get in/out quick (gonna do it again ;)

    @ riverman, AGREED; actually that's more precisely what I meant w/ Luke. Luke WOULD c the floor A LOT more (Stotts WOULD put up w/ his fg% remaining EXACTLY the same IF= ) IF he played D but he can't & never will get it in the NBA.

    by Simpson on 11/15/2012 2:01 PM
  22. @Hg: i don't think i'm the 1st to say this, but maybe close; i don't think Elliot will ever get on track. that's painful to type, but it just seems to be that he cannot stay healthy. i give him a pass on his rookie season since i feel his surgery was more preventative than anything. it's also difficult to rely on a guy with injury issues who is so athletic. that usually leads to more injuries. i would love to see Elliot come back and school the more established guards in the league. however, at this point, i'm skeptical of that happening (i also think the team's decision to extend his contract shows this).

    ~ KMM

    PS: i will refute all the Luke Babbitt bashing in a few moments.

    by Kassandra on 11/15/2012 6:58 PM
  23. @Kassandra:
    I believe you are right about EWill, but I still hope.
    I am not really bashing Babbitt, I just think he will be on the block. For me he can stay.

    by Hg on 11/16/2012 12:06 AM
  24. okies, maybe more than a moment. Luke is one of those guys who needs to be in the flow of the game in order to really get going. his defense is vastly improved as is his rebounding. i was going to post some numbers here, but i'd challenge anyone to go look at them for themselves. prior to the Kings game, Luke had an efficiency rating of plus-3.00. it turns out, the Blazers do a little bit better when he is on the court. It's really hard to challenge that, isn't it? Luke may be on the block, but i think with the exception of Meyers, the entire bench may be considered as tradeable. my point is simple: don't judge Luke on just one part of his game; rather, look at the big picture.

    ~ KMM

    by Kassandra on 11/16/2012 6:28 PM
  25. I will take your statement to heed. I don't know who is going, who is staying, but we do need bench players. In actuallity it is way to early to decide and we are doing great in my eyes. so I am willing to table the discussion whether then go up against the caged LeBrona the Prianha

    by Hg on 11/16/2012 10:55 PM
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