mikebarrett

Nov 25

Shorthanded Blazers Trip in Brooklyn

By mikebarrett
The Nets came into Sunday's game against the Blazers 5-1 at their shiny new home, were coming off a 86-76 win over the Clippers, and were facing a Portland team playing without it's all-star, LaMarcus Aldridge.  

The Blazers, who travelled across the country on Saturday, knew that starting a trip against a very solid opponent, in an early game (noon Pacific Time), would be a stiff test.  They played well enough to stay in the game, and even held a seven-point lead in the third quarter, but simply seemed to run out of gas down the stretch and fell 98-85 to the Nets.

With Aldridge out nursing a sore back, J.J. Hickson did what he could to make up the difference inside.  He was effective, posting 19 points and 10 rebounds.  And, Wesley Matthews had another solid game for Portland, scoring 20 points, but the Blazers got handled in the rebounding department and that proved to be a big reason why they came up short.

The Nets, a big, physical team, out rebounded Portland 48-34, including 17 offensive rebounds, and held a 52-34 advantage in points in the paint.

The most intriguing matchup to many, before the game, was at the point-guard spot.  Damian Lillard was coming off a 28-point game on Friday, and did his best to hold his own against Deron Williams.  Through three quarters they basically cancelled each other out.  But, in the fourth, Williams, who had gotten Lillard into foul trouble, effectively carried the Nets to the win. Williams ended with 15 points and 12 assists, while Lillard carded a respectable 13 points, 7 assists, and 6 rebounds.

Bench scoring was a big advantage for Brooklyn as well, as their second unit outscored Portland's 31-9.  With Lillard, and Meyers Leonard, who started today in place of Aldridge, in foul trouble, the Blazer bench did what it could to hold down the fort.  But, the offense that was missing when they were off the floor was too much to overcome.

Leonard tied his career high with 12 points, and that was just in the first half.  But, in the second half, partly due to the fact that he had picked up his fourth foul, was less aggressive and less effective.  He ended with 12 points and 3 rebounds.

Even though this would have been considered an impressive upset nationally, the Trail Blazers certainly felt this was a game they could have had if they had played better in the fourth.  The Nets, loaded with high-priced veterans in their starting lineup, played like the more experienced team down the stretch and that's usually the difference in this league.

Following the early start, we headed for the airport expecting it to be a quick trip and an early arrival in Detroit.  But, due to nasty traffic in the New York area, and because of the fact that we had to head back into lower Manhattan to catch the Holland Tunnel to Newark, that short trip turned into a two-hour stop-and-go drive.  Thank goodness it was an early start, as we still arrived at our hotel in Detroit before midnight Eastern.  But, it was a tough way to open a 7-game trip.

Monday night the Blazers take on the Pistons, who lost to the Knicks at Madison Square Garden Sunday afternoon.


Previous Story: Backcourt Saves the Night

12 Comments

  1. Mike: thanks for the update.
    I want to tell you, that although my homerism is showing, I thought we played a terrific game with out LMA. Some of the rebounds were fifty-fifty balls that could have easily landed in a Blazer hand.
    I thought Leonard did a great job as a rookie, Lopez is no easy matter to deal with. As long as him and Lillard keeps growing, we can take these loses.

    by Hg on 11/25/2012 9:59 PM
  2. I heard the refs were pretty nasty in this one. Doesn't surprise me if that's the case. Unfortunately I had to miss this game due to it being at noon and noon for me is basically midnight.

    I'm impressed though that we were able to get back on track. I caught the first minute or two, and saw us down like 5-14 early. Felt like another game where the Blazers start slow when they really shouldn't.

    by Herr on 11/25/2012 10:32 PM
  3. During the game you said 16,000 were in attendance. What is the capacity at The Barclays? With all the hype about new team new arena why couldn't they sell out a game on a Sunday afternoon? In an area with that population.
    You also mentioned there were an extra ordinary amount of fans wearing red. Who are these people? Transplants? Travelers? Or is there something about our team people connect to?
    Good game. I thought our boys played well. The Nets are stacked. So is their salary cap.
    Travel safe. See you in the motor city. GO BLAZERS!!

    by Divotking on 11/26/2012 12:14 AM
  4. To win without Aldridge is something to learn. A good team is still a good team -must be- without its main player.

    by sopadeajo on 11/26/2012 2:10 AM
  5. had a chance to listen to most of this game s i was driving back to school during the game, though i had to keep flipping radio channels through Eugene, Roseburg, Medford & so forth.

    it's like you said, MB; we battled pretty well through three quarters. then we went through another our droughts. maybe that shows some promise. i honestly wouldn't expect much more this game given quality of opponent, travel distance, missing our best player, etc.

    Stephen referenced it above, but it bears noting that something sounded fishy with the officiating. my car radio began to fade with around eight minutes left in the fourth quarter (got a little too far south). that was right after the Nets were called for their FIRST foul of the entire second half. it doesn't take a Stanford student to tell you that's a huge load in the pants. i'm really not going to get further into it than to say you'll never convince me that a big and physical team like the Nets can go 16 minutes (likely longer if you count the last bit of the second quarter) without committing a single reach-in, holding, blocking or loose ball foul. that's absolutely atrocious.

    of course, it's common sense there is absolutely no parity in officiating in the league whatsoever. Therefore, i can't say i'm surprised in the least. however, that makes it all that much more sad.

    on a forward note, we need to beat teams like the Pistons tonight if we're going to make this road trip look respectable; to come away with a good record from the trip.

    one quick question, MB. Is there a specific reason the nba doesn't schedule road trips better from a geographical standpoint? i would think having a team like the Blazers on this trip playing the Nets one game, Knicks the next, then Boston, Philadelphia and Washington would cut down on some travel expense. certainly, it would lead to more profitability. my sister tweeted you that question yesterday, but i don't think you got a chance to respond.

    ~ KMM

    by Kassandra on 11/26/2012 7:25 AM
  6. Kassandra,

    You're correct in thinking there should be an easier way to set up these trips. Playing the Knicks and Nets in the same trip to New York would be ideal, but it never seems to happen. It's odd because we always play the Magic and Heat (usually back to back) in our trip to Florida. Not sure I have a decent answer, other than set up an entire NBA schedule is a huge and difficult job. So, I defend them a bit there. It seems like it would be doable for us to make one trip to the SE, for example, and play the Heat, Magic, Hawks, Bobcats, Grizzlies, and Hornets, and save a ton of miles, money, and time. But, it never works that way. Trips to NY are tough, for a lot of reasons, and the crazy part is we head right back there in a month to play the Knicks. As it's been well documented, no team travels as many miles as we do. Obviously, that's just a geographical issue, and I can accept that. But, I also think there is a much better way to do it than the way we always see it play out. And yes, I felt the officiating yesterday was bad. We didn't spend a lot of time on it during the broadcast, because it doesn't do any good, but for the first time this season, I really felt it was one-sided.

    Divotking,

    We try and point out on many broadcasts how many Blazer fans show up for road games. it always amazes me. Our PR guy yesterday took a walk up on the concourse and said he saw so much Blazers gear he thought he was at the Rose Garden. This was perhaps because it's so expensive and so tough for Portland fans in the NY area to get into a Knicks game, and this gave them an easier way to see the Blazers. It's not always this way, of course, but in some cities there just seems to be a lot of Blazer fans in the stands. New York is one of them. If i had to list (just using the eyeball test) the top five cities where I see the most Blazer fans, I'd say Washington D.C. is by far number one. New York is two, Sacramento three, Chicago four, and Dallas is five. I don't know why this is. There is always a handful of Blazer fans in every arena, but in some, like Washington, you can actually hear them. Yesterday, for whatever reason, was also one of those days. Pretty cool.

    MB

    by mikebarrett on 11/26/2012 7:41 AM
  7. Kassandra and Mike: I had to listen to the opposing officials, and they commented on the technical foul coming from being pushed out of bounds. The All-Star treatment and physical contact from Brooklyn players. I did the eye ball test on our drives to the basket, that were definitely fouls that were not called then a few touch fouls on our defense that was called. Without LaMarcus, putting Lillard in early foul trouble was certainly a way to free Williams in the fourth. That is why I said we played a great game.

    The All-Star treatment that Love got in the Minny game was almost impossible to over come, but to give Brooklyn that many freebies without balancing it is impossible to over-come.

    by Hg on 11/26/2012 9:53 AM
  8. @MB: thanks for the response, and i like your idea of the southeast road trip. perhaps someone out there should create a computer algorithm to include the data we've both mentioned! and while they're at it, how about a simple little three-game road trip to consist of the Clippers, Lakers and Suns? i had surmised that it was a matter of scheduling by the league, but to think of the miles, time and money which could be saved (the third of those should catch the league's eye) over the long haul, turn out to be worth it. alas, it likely will not happen soon.

    @Hg: only had Wheels & Tone's references as i was listening and i think even they would admit to being homers at times. it's when i talk with those who actually watched the game who tell me is was as bad as it sounded is when i get frustrated. it seems as if there were few, if any, calls which seemed to go our way. i'm not saying that some straighter officiating would have garnered us a win yesterday but, then again, i'm not saying it wouldn't have.

    i know both sides of a contest often think the calls are going wrongly -- and sometimes rightly -- for them. i saw evidence of this during the Stanford-Oregon game where our tight end caught a touchdown pass which was close, but eventually ruled a touchdown rather than out-of-bounds. several Ducks' fans to this day claim it was not a touchdown (a couple got so beligerent that i had to block them on twitter). however, after the seemingly countless replays, i feel i can objectively say, according to the rules, that it was a touchdown.

    my point it is, i've been trying to keep more of an open mind when it comes to officiating; not to jump on every horrible call i see in any sport at any level. it's difficult, however, when it's so absolutely one-sided that it makes the game hard to watch.

    ~ KMM

    by Kassandra on 11/26/2012 12:30 PM
  9. Kassandra: my biggest complaint about the referering was the Kicked ball that they let Brooklyn pick up and score after the Blazers had quit on the play because of the rules. Their announcers proclaimed the reason they didn't call a kicked ball was because it was thrown against a foot whether then the player just kicking the ball. I say BULL CRAP.

    by Hg on 11/26/2012 3:45 PM
  10. Hey Mike,
    I'll stay on the positive side.
    LaMarcus had good energy. Showed some quickness. Like Micheal Holton said at the half, "you miss the game when you're a basketball player".
    Early minutes for Will. He had a little something going. A transition basket. One under the rim. A couple outside shots. He's a baller. Next time out throw 5 boards in with that and it's a stat line. One possession he showed some clock awareness. With the clock running out he got the shot off, missed but LMA made the put back. Out of a timeout I saw three guys say something to the rook. He said ok three times. That's good talk.
    DLill and Nic will bounce back.
    GO BLAZERS!!

    by Divotking on 11/26/2012 7:14 PM
  11. Hg: To be called, a kicked ball must be intentional in the eyes of an official. I think they are called too often as many times the ball/foot contact is unavoidable, not intentional. As for the Blazers stopping because they saw the "kicked ball," that's taught in Sports 101, never stop until the whistle blows!
    --
    don

    by dgpdx on 11/27/2012 6:21 PM
  12. Could there be a problem with our defensive scheme.. Just saying that we have to look at the design as well as the players.

    by Ancientone on 11/27/2012 6:33 PM
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