mikebarrett

Dec 03

An Epic Comeback in Charlotte

By mikebarrett Posted in: Bobcats
After this marathon road trip comes to an end the Trail Blazers will have played 12 of their first 19 games on the road. Right after the schedule was released last summer we talked about how it would be a baptism by fire during that first stretch. It has certainly been that. But, we’re also learning a lot about this team, as they are going through this stretch of learning to play together, learning to play in an entirely new system, and discovering they can be deadly in close games. Most importantly, their confidence is on the rise.

Back-to-back overtime games will put some hair on your chest. And, they won both. In fact, they’re now 4-0 in overtime contests this season.

It’ll be tough to top Monday night’s come-from-behind victory over the Charlotte Bobcats. That was straight nuts.

To save space, and because I’m running on fumes as well, let’s go right to the five-minute mark of the fourth quarter. The Trail Blazers trailed Charlotte 97-79. Some of the fans inside Time-Warner Cable Arena were searching for their coats and were getting set to head out into the night. Even my wife admitted to me later on the phone that she turned the game off, and started the bedtime routine with the kids. Thank goodness for the DVR.

With 4:58 on the clock Nic Batum hit a three pointer for Portland and that started a tidal wave. The Blazers would close the game on a 23-5 run, to send the game to overtime tied at 102. There were too many shots, and too many heroes to mention in that final run, but obviously, Luke Babbitt, who wasn’t even in the rotation in the early part of this trip, stuck a gigantic three pointer with 23 seconds left that knotted the game at 102. Of course, Babbitt wouldn’t have had that chance if Nic Batum wouldn’t have a grabbed an offensive rebound and shot a bullet pass to Babbitt to create the opportunity.

Let me stop right here and give some serious props to coach Terry Stotts. How crazy is it that his last substitution of the night came with 5:31 left in regulation? He gambled, coached by feel, went with an unconventional lineup, and then rode it out with that group.

Charlotte substituted five times during that stretch, searching for a way to match what Portland had on the floor.

In overtime, the Trail Blazers grabbed the first lead with a Batum three pointer, and they would never trail again. LaMarcus Aldridge would score after an offensive rebound, Babbitt hit another big three, and it was free throws from there. The Blazers went 8 for 8 from the line in the extra session and that was that. Portland won it 118-112, and became the first NBA team since 2000 to come from more than 15 points down inside five minutes to play and win.

After being down 97-79, the Blazers outscored the Bobcats 39-15 the rest of the way.

Aldridge, who looked like he was about to fall over during my post-game interview with him, ended with 25 points, 13 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 blocked shots. He’s the first player in the NBA this season to post numbers like that, in each category. Damian Lillard, who simply continues to put up amazing numbers for a rookie, finished with 24 points, 9 assists, and 3 rebounds. Wesley Matthews, who hit four clutch free throws in overtime, posted 19 points and 7 rebounds. And, the hero from Saturday night in Cleveland, Nic Batum, had one of his most complete games of his career, posting 17 points, 13 rebounds, and 7 assists.

I realize I can make your eyes glaze over with some of the stats I toss out on the air, but here’s one that’s better explained in writing. I’m not really sure how to explain why this was the way it was tonight, or how it effected the game, but it’s kind of crazy. I walked up and sat by Stotts on the plane on the way to Indianapolis and shared it with him and he studied it, and then studied it again.

Here it goes. The Trail Blazers, in the first half of each quarter (almost to the second) were dreadful from the field. In the first six minutes of each quarter the Blazers went 2 for 11, 2 for 9, 3 for 10, and 1 for 7, respectively. However, in the second six minutes of each quarter they were a combined 32 for 49, which is just silly. Again, I’m not even sure what to make of all of that. Maybe you can make sense of it. See, this is what I do on these flights- pour over numbers. Yep, I’m sick.

So, this road trip that started with a tough loss in Brooklyn, an ugly loss in Detroit, an embarrassing loss in Washington, and a blowout loss in Boston, has suddenly flipped around. It now has a chance to be, at the very least, a solid road trip. At this point 3-4 on the 7-game trip would be considered very, very good. More than that, this team has its belief back, and that, as we found out in Charlotte on Monday, is a very powerful thing.

Talk to you Wednesday night. Then, we’ll head for home. Finally.

37 Comments

  1. Blogging from 30,000 ft. Love it.

    by sarahhecht on 12/3/2012 9:27 PM
  2. LaMarcus played like a man. Nic 13 boards. Free throws in the clutch. Amazing game. And DLill. He is an old man in a young mans body.
    Here's a stat for you Mike. It's been 20 years since we've had 4 OT games in an entire season.
    GREAT GREAT game. Had to see it to appreciate what they pulled off. MJ sat through that. Ouch
    Thanks Mike. That was fun.

    by Divotking on 12/3/2012 10:07 PM
  3. So i might be going out on a whim but Lillard reminded me of Miller tonight. I remember when Miller used to put the team on his back and drive to the whole when nothing else was going on. That was a very professional move by liilard to notice its time to make something happen. Loved the game tonight i have to be honest though i turned the game off got in my car and went to the gym. By the time i got to the gym we were only down by 4 then it was a tie then overtime. Went into gym stood in-front of TV in my street cloths for the rest of the game with about 3 others at the gym exciting win guys. But i need one like the Lakers game just to give my blood pressure a rest.

    by Avgjoe28 on 12/3/2012 10:10 PM
  4. i don't want to diminish LaMarcus, Damian, Nicolas and Wesley's contributions, but i've got to give huge props to Luke. he's quiet, humble and a total team player. tonight, he was clutch. i'm glad he got the chance to be out there with the opportunity to make a difference. i'd just note that he not only played the last five-and-a-half minutes of regulation, but the entire overtime period as well. there are a couple things i'd add to that.

    the first is that i've always felt if you put a bench guy with four guys in the starting unit, that guy has the opportunity to play like a starter; that's what i believe we saw tonight. the second is that it wasn't just those three 3-pointers which made the difference. he was a monster on the defensive glass, especially in the final minutes of regulation. as much as i love those threes, i also love those five boards, the assist, the steal and the block. great game.

    i hope, at least for a couple days, that his critics will take a break from their criticisms. the guy has skills and has something to contribute to this team. i will continue to stick up for his abilities. oh, and my Stanford dormie Julianne still has a little crush on him!

    i would also mention that it's nice to see Joel gaining confidence, and Will as well. the effort is always there; now we're seeing the results of their promise and our patience. we had 31 bench points and rookies scored 41 of our 118 points. in other words, everyone contributed. how about we continue to see those contributions in indiana.

    ~ KMM

    by Kassandra on 12/3/2012 10:39 PM
  5. We had to hold our breath for a long time. Terrific win tonight Portland! I can finally breath normal now.

    by Tobyus Sanchezo on 12/3/2012 11:07 PM
  6. I've gotta give credit where credit is due: Luke came up HUGE 2night! It's crazy but despite ALL the great performances/heart from OUR GUYS (they know who they r ;), we wouldn't have won this game w/o Luke!

    As many of u know, I've been for quite some time, so to speak, a "Luke Hater (I never hated the man; I just hated all that he couldn't/wasn't do/ing);" on a night like this... u DEFINITELY CAN'T hate on this guy; this is his night & he should b rewarded & praised! :) Luke was 3/5 from the field (ALL makes were 3's @ CRITICAL CLUTCH moments!), he had a block, a CRITICAL steal, he played EXCEPTIONAL defense, AND he was a +19 (I think +/- can be deceiving BUT in this game... it might tell the story best!), etc. all in 15 MEANINGFUL minutes of play! THIS IS the Luke that we've all been waiting for! Luke, u wanna make ur mark, u wanna play big/MEANINGFUL minutes, u wanna earn the respect & love of us fans out here, u wanna make the SERIOUS coin... from here on out, play like u did 2night & you'll have all these things! :)

    by Simpson on 12/3/2012 11:23 PM
  7. Mike, you forgot to mention that 3 of the 4 wins on the road this year were in overtime. You even re-tweeted my tweet about it. ;) Just giving you a hard time. LOL Good stuff as usual. :D

    Some things to add is that Joel Freeland continues to look more comfortable out there. During the first month of the season, Freeland just seemed mentally a step slow out there and didn't have much confidence in his abilities. I'm glad he was given a no pressure situation in Boston to help with that confidence.

    Even though Lillard struggled from the 3-point line in this game, he still played great. One thing I've noticed is that Lillard has quit doing those pull up mid range shots. The last time I checked the other day, Lillard was 53% from 16-23 feet. That's an excellent number. Yet, he's passing up some of those wide open looks from there to try to take it into the trees during this road trip and it doesn't always turn out so great. Hopefully someone from the coaching staff points that out to him as that will help keep the defense honest if they knows he won't only takes 3's and layups.

    by Shem on 12/3/2012 11:36 PM
  8. Just to second Kassandra's praise of Luke's rebounding, I would point out that he had more rebounds per minute than the two Blazers, LaMarcus and Nic, who had huge nights on the boards with 13 each. Speaking of minutes, I wonder if we're starting to get an idea who the coach blames most for the poor team defense. Joel Freeland played more minutes tonight than J.J. Hickson. So did Luke Babbitt. Is it just a coincidence that J.J. was the only starter who was a minus in the plus-minus, or that the team has started games and halves poorly, which happens to be the one time we know J. J. will be on the floor. Of course it's not remotely all his fault, but it looks like he may be the one the coach is tired of telling what he needs to do better. Anyway, I'm tickled to see Joel and Luke out there instead of Jared, and I wonder how many more of these short-minute warning shots the coach will give J.J. before he loses his starting spot.

    by David Maclaine on 12/4/2012 12:21 AM
  9. Great Mike; I had to go to work right after the game, so I am a little late. Everything has been pretty much been said. A great win, but I was almost out the door when Batum hit his three. Then was hoping Batum would get on Gordan and stop his 3 pts shooting.
    The Bobcats announcers pretty much had the Bobcats winning the game. Surprise, surprise.

    by Hg on 12/4/2012 1:30 AM
  10. Some days I shake my head and laugh wondering how you keep it together with Rice as a wingman. And days like today...

    4:20 mark in the 1st quarter, down 24-12, Mike Rice bolsters, “You can come back on this [CHA] team"....

    you'd think he had invented the Mayan calandar.

    by Blazer Fanatic on 12/4/2012 12:23 PM
  11. Loved the rebounding, points in the paint..
    keeps the opponents guessing...
    makes the 3-point possibilities more open

    Leave JJ alone...

    by allie-oop on 12/4/2012 8:56 AM
  12. I agree with not slamming JJ, He is playing with a sore shoulder, but he plays with fire and energy, I have no idea whether he will be replaced by someone else in the starting line-up as you earn your spot and it is true that Freeland and Leonard is catching up, but that is different then saying it is JJ's bad play that puts us behind in the first part of each quarter.

    by Hg on 12/4/2012 9:09 AM
  13. @ Hg, nice! Hahaha! How does that song go...""don't count ur [home wins] b4 they hatch, b4 they hatch; don't count ur..." ;p

    Gotta give some love 2 Joel here also! :) There r certain guys that u can c from the beginning ~ what they can become (I like 2 think I've pretty real expectations BUT LOVE it when they go beyond! :) & IMO, Joel IS 1 of these guys (i.e another is Valanciunas of Tor.; he's gonna b good ppl; watch out 4 him!). U can tell he's got a mind for the game; he's just gotta get used to NBA ballin'; dude can play AND he's got solid offensive moves! :) I'm VERY glad we FINALLY (I understand the reasons why ;) brought him over; the British Tiger has landed! (I'm gonna say that last bit again when he just REALLY puts the hurt lock on an opponent! :)

    I've agreed w/ every1 that we've needed more production from our bench BUT I've NEVER hated on the entire bench; IMO, ppl shouldn't have been throwing them under the bus; u gotta be patient & @ least give them a chance/time to produce (AND like they said, their mindset this whole time has never been to b the the ones to win the game; their jobs r plug holes & support starters). The starters play/ed HEAVY min. by design; so on the flip side, our bench didn't therefore, our bench couldn't get much experience/b in long enough to get a rhythm (+ do we have to talk about age, learning plays on-the-job, & amt. of playing time together? I thought not ;). We're starting to get through enough games/experiences (sort of a 1st for some & DEFINITELY the 1st for FIVE of OUR guys! NOT just talkin' bench here, as we know. What other team's in this situation? ;) to have seen the majority of what can happen & how situations feel; the growth IS happening! :) Last night was just a glimpse of how our bench will b used; in the near future, starters will all have their minutes reduced slowly to much more comfortable 1's as our bench proves 2 b more & more capable. I believe eventually, we'll return to a black team & a white team (my only suggestion r name revisions, kinda like they do in the military w/ companies, platoons, etc. but whatever they change names to, let the guys choose/vote) v. starters & bench (I've always been a fan of this approach; some may argue the importance of semantics but I say, there's no debate ;). ps PLS, NO JJ bashing, this guy fights for us like crazy!

    by Simpson on 12/4/2012 9:23 AM
  14. We all noted the offense of Luke but I was watching his defense. Earlier he was a defensive liability. Last night he not only showed hustle but was in the right place at the right time for defense and rebounds.

    I note that inspite of his physical attributes Leonard doesn't rebound well at all. Note how both Freeland and Babbitt rebound better than he does. I guess that's what only 2 yrs. of college ball get you. Hopefully he will start to learn positioning and timing on rebounding and defense. If we can see the improvement from him that we've seen from Luke on that he could be something.

    by Ancientone on 12/4/2012 9:15 AM
  15. Hey Ancientone: I agree with you on Leonard rebounding.It was said by Mike or Mike that Leonard waits and sees where the ball is coming off the rim before he reacts and that makes him easy to box out. Whereas he needs to learn to be moving around all the time not to be box out then react to the ball with his great lateral movement. Anyway, I watched him last night solely for that purpose and what was said is true. he stands and waits which takes him out of the play whereas JJ fights to get the rebound, but I am sure he will learn then watch out.

    by Hg on 12/4/2012 9:22 AM
  16. Great Post Simpson, I also like the maturity of BARTON☺, and inserting him instead of Price. Not that I am down on Price, but Barton is the future and in a short time will be better then Price. In fact he already has more talent that the Blazers need then Price, except for maybe defense????, he just needs the experience and the taming of the U. His hustle is really needed for the change of pace. Price is a type player that won't hurt the team when he plays but won't win any honors either. Barton will be a sixth man type player very soon.

    by Hg on 12/4/2012 9:35 AM
  17. Very good article. The whole bench stepped up and it was an amazing, thrilling game. I've never been a Babbit fan but if he can play like he did last night he'll get my support. Again, it was an amazing effort of heart and unselfish work. I love the Blazers and Terry Stotts may well be a genius! To Luke...well done young man! You earned your paycheck last night for sure! To JJ...everyone has an off game, you'll be back to your double doubles soon! Go Blazers!

    by riverman on 12/4/2012 11:51 AM
  18. I am really happy to see the younger players on the bench get most of the bench playing time on this road trip. Jeffries, Pav, & Price are not long term players on this team, while the younger players are. Olshey's vision I think has been pretty good and the longer we follow the Blazers, the more we can see it developing. Next year I think all three or at least two of those three veteran bench players will be gone and not only will Olshey find us some more young promising players that fit his mold for our team, but our younger bench players will be much better than they are now. So Go Blazers

    by rakcool on 12/4/2012 11:59 AM
  19. We all knew Luke could hit the 3, props for Stotts keeping him in during crunch time. That will boost his confidence going further and maybe help him develop. I think the win had alot to do with Damian Lillard taking the ball to the hoop and getting fouls, which stopped the clock and let us gain some ground quickly. Freeland, Babbitt, Batum, and Aldridge all rebounded well, getting the boards was important. Im not sure id jump on the wagon slamming JJ Hickon he is #8 in rebounding in the entire NBA that alone is worth something. But here is what i think: Having LA and JJ on the court at the same time quite possible be causing confusion on the defensive end, both player play the same position naturally, so it could be the timing is off and the guys arent hitting their rotations when they should. We allow more points in the paint than any other team, and the only way to stop that is by rotating and picking up the right guy, you cant prevent in low baskets with blocks alone you gotta get in front of guys before they in restricted area.

    by Tyler Brennan on 12/4/2012 12:57 PM
  20. Wow we won 2 in a row !!!!! I like the line up

    by LA 2012 on 12/4/2012 3:14 PM
  21. @David: appreciate the comments. too many people think of Luke as only a shooter and don't, can't or won't take into account some other things he does. he's greatly improved his defense and rebounding at the nba level over the past two years. that was a great comparison you pointed out with the per-minute rebounding; excellent. too many people evaluate a player by ONLY looking at their points scored. personally, i'm big on fg percent. Luke entered the game shooting .286 from 3-point land. after the game, he was at .389.

    @Tyler: i hadn't thought about LaMarcus and JJ on the court together creating defensive confusion. it's possible, but i'm not sure. on the other hand, i would hope no fickle fans are bashing JJ after last night's game. so, he had a bad game and we won. how many good games has he had? i am absolutely blown away as to why anyone would criticize JJ given what he's done for us this season (and last season as well). i happen to look at it as a blessing in disguise. if JJ were on it last night, Luke never would have gotten those crunch/overtime minutes and contributed the way he did.

    @Shem: just when i think i know it all (well actually, that never happens but go with me on this), you point out that 75 percent of our road wins this season have come in overtime. i know i can always count on you to bring the numbers!

    @Simpson: give Luke meaningful minutes, especially on a consistent basis, and he will contribute. i've been saying that very thing for a couple years now.

    ~ KMM

    by Kassandra on 12/4/2012 5:49 PM
  22. To me, one thing has emerged from this extended road trip. Some may view it as a problem. Some may view it as a blessing. There are now fewer minutes to be had. Players in reserve have stepped up and made positive impacts on games.
    I'll say it's a good problem to have. When Stotts calls a name off of the bench, the players know it's an opportunity. They also know if they don't bring their A game right away, Stotts has other names he can call on. That's healthy competition.
    Keep fighting boys !!

    by Divotking on 12/4/2012 8:41 PM
  23. @ Hg, thx my friend! :) U r right in what u r saying about Barton & Price ;)

    @ Kass, w/ Luke, it's just 1 game but I c promise there that I'd never seen b4 (I remember/saw him last yr.; the way he played this 1 game & those games themselves r all different from this 1; from the opening tip, there was nothing to lose aka entire games were garbage minutes). Throughout his entire NBA career, I'd never seen (I may have watched them all but on the safe side I know I've watched almost every single Blazers game that he's played in) him DEFEND (EVERY1 IMO is capable of defending; those that don't... just don't care/r lazy/r out of shape) & have such lateral quickness; THESE r the things equally as important to me me as FINALLY CONSISTENTLY (albeit again it's just 1 game BUT he FINALLY came in & INSTANTLY looked confident aka NEVER LOOKED lost for once AND was continually active EVERYWHERE :) knocking down shots (again, none of us dispute the fact he can shoot BUT if he can't hit shots in games, what good is he?). My biggest beef w/ Luke has been that if ur shot isn't falling then u HAVE TO do other things to make up for where you've just made ur team deficient; Luke's past failures hurt the TEAM & I'm ALWAYS against ANY1 who destroys OUR team from either the outside OR from within the organization.

    So FINALLY, to reply to ur comment about just giving him meaningful minutes, it's not so simple to just do that. B4 getting a lot of meaningful minutes, some1 MUST prove that they can EFFECTIVELY play non-critical traditional bench minutes (it's the way the league works w/ the few exceptions being the superstars; of course & Luke wasn't & never will b a superstar) 1st. For 1 night, Luke was our savior (I actually serious when I say that); we wouldn't have won that game w/o him. Luke has to NOW prove consistency w/ ALL that he did in that game whatever time it is that he's coming in; anything less now is failure (it may sound harsh or expectations set too high but this is what he's suppose to have BEEN doing for a long time now); we've now seen TRULY what he's capable of (the ceiling MAY b higher BUT we DEFINITELY know the floor of his potential now :) This 1 game was HUGE for Luke, NOW Kass, I believe there was enough actually shown in this ONE game to warrant putting Luke in to future games w/ similar moments/situations ;)

    by Simpson on 12/5/2012 12:12 PM
  24. @Simpson; thanks for acknowledging my learning process.
    On Luke, Stotts has said that Luke has earned playing time because of his performance against Charlotte. So I am thinking some primetime in regular rotation.
    Now on my personal belief and from self analysis of having the same problem, Luke is suffering from performance anxiety. So afraid he is going to fail, he does fail. The best way to get over this is through flooding. the same as stage fright if you have already figured that out, or deer in the headlight syndrome. If you have this problem the more you do the thing that causes you fear the less effect it has on you. So IMO only for the sake of Luke, either play him quality minutes and enough to get over the jitters or don't play him at all. That may not be BB correct, but it is emotionally correct.

    by Hg on 12/5/2012 12:14 PM
  25. @Simpson: lmao ... one game? seriously? how long have you been watching the Blazers; a day and a half? sorry, not trying to be adversarial, but your analysis of my comments could not be further from the truth! got a couple questions: did you see any of the last 22 games of last season after the coaching change? Luke was playing in the regular rotation -- for really the first time in his career -- and contributed. (he averaged 13.4 minutes per game for the season, but quite a bit more than that during that stint). he finished the season at .430 from three point land. he definitely has contributed in many, many games.

    what i find curious is that you only mentioned Luke's scoring and shooting. there is much more to basketball than that. he's really expanded his game to include rebounding and defense. we saw that monday night, and i think we saw it tonight as well. in each of these games, he's had 5 rebounds in 15 minutes. that's a per-48 of 16 rebounds per game. that's not bad at all. another aspect is that opposing players and coaches know what Luke is capable of from the outside. he's good at spreading the defense and that's not always going to show up in scoring and shooting. look, i don't look at Luke as our savior, but i do see a guy who is capable of doing that in any game. the thing is, as long as you look at just scoring and shooting, you simply won't see it. Luke shined in that win at charlotte. i say, let him have his moment in the sun.

    if you want a better insight on Luke, you should check out the blog Casey wrote a couple nights ago. it's really good and it tells you where Luke is coming from and his dedication to being a team player. i highly recommend it.

    i don't expect Luke to make headlines game in and game out but, as i said in my original post, given meaningful minutes on the court, he can produce. he's done it before (and yes, he has), he did it monday (and had a pretty good game tonight as well) and he is certainly capable of doing it again (in fact, i fully expect him to). the notion that he's only done it one game in the 75 (now 76) career games he has played is absolutely ludicrous. simply put, if he had not had impactful games within his first two seasons, he would not have made the cut in training camp. by the way, ask me for a player in the league who sometimes hurts his team and i'll give you a list of all active nba players; period. i understand you have a bias against him, and that's too bad; however, don't let that bias blind you to the fact that Luke belongs in the nba, he contributes and he makes a difference.

    as hard as you try, your bias against him will not convince me otherwise.

    ~ KMM

    by Kassandra on 12/5/2012 9:41 PM
  26. @Kassandra:

    Did the LeBrona the Prianha just broke out of her cage or what?

    @Simpson: I don't know what your age is, but like the young Blazers, you have just gone through a learning experience when locking horns with the former LeBrona the Prianha you must be prepared to fight, as her study in being an attorney at large, will give her a leg up on you.

    Speaking of learning experience if the Blazers are still on their leaning the game mode, in which I believe they are, Indiana just showed them what Stotts has been trying to teach them; what good D can do to mess up a good O. In fact, IMO, the Pacers D is what all the fans has been shouting about. OTOH, the Blazers O did a lot of damage to Indy's D, so a it also proves that a quality offensive game is important.
    In the end through, it is like the song of Love and Marriage, ""You can't have one with out the other;" nevertheless, I will keep loving the Blazers until they develop their D which is coming along nicely.

    A big supporter of Lebrona the Prianha has spoken LMAO, but like U, Simpson, I am bias so my vote don't really count

    Peace everybody, and keep commenting,

    by Hg on 12/6/2012 4:32 AM
  27. @ Hg, I like what u said w/ the psychological breakdown stuff :) I like spirited feisty women! Hahaha! ;)

    @ Kass, right now, I'm not trying/not gonna argue w/ about Luke, u know OUR Blazers well (I've always said/believe/d this ;) but I'm STILL gonna say/believe he wasn't ready for certain minutes b4 (yes, I saw the last 22 games or @ least most of them & of course he put up better #'s & I explained why that didn't mean too much to me; this is the NBA where EVERY1 ACTUALLY CAN PLAY but when we speak about who sucks/not, we're ACTUALLY speaking about relative to other NBA players ;) Since the Char. game (& the Indy game), NOW, I've seen from him the little things on how I evaluate players that makes me feel A LOT more comfortable w/ him being a contributor (w. the Indy game, he went under a pick & got burned on a 3 AND THEN he came RIGHT bak & ATTACKED; I like that he made the bucket but the point IS that he COUNTERED!). #'s don't ALWAYS tell the truth (sometimes this is all u SHOULD b looking @ other times... this is all we've got ;) we've ALSO gotta couple this w/ what we SEE (it's NOT all about the scoring to me; it's HOW they do it & how they move, & carry themselves). I KNOW good players when I c them; I KNEW Brandon Jennings, Paul George, & Gortat (just to name drop a few ;) were gonna b awesome (I usually couple the #'s w/ how they get things done BUT for these guys, I actually ignored the early #'s ;) AND I'm telling every1 right now that Jonas Valanciunas (provided he's able 2 stay healthy) is AND will b a better player v. Drummond; he's ALREADY MUCH more skilled v. Drummond (if u look @ the #'s ppl wouldn't know/say this but if u watch the 2...).

    Last thing Kass, u need to read my postS more carefully, I MENTIONED Luke's DEFENSE AND PRAISED him for it (amongst other things; if some1 else has said something that I agree w/, I'm not going to go into great detail about it BUT by the same token, I'm NOT going to comment on everything that I disagree w/ either & like I've ALWAYS said, I AGREE w/ u on stuff MOST of the time ;).

    @ every1, did any1 notice the complicated offensive set the Blazers ran to get Wes open for a shot in the paint (he didn't make it BUT execution was awesome! :) ~1/2 through the 4th? Wow! THAT was fun 2 c! I know some plays but IDK what that 1 was called! :) If ppl know the play that I'm talking about, then u too may just b a believer in Stotts! :) GOOD/CONNECTED offense is coming! Just b patient; stuff this complicated takes much practice; just the "taste" was ggggggooooood! :)

    by Simpson on 12/6/2012 9:21 AM
  28. I'll throw in on Luke. Everyone around the league has a firm grasp of what a dead eye shooter he is. The guy has a gift. Used at the right moments in games his shooting could actually turn a game. I believe Stotts is going to get a good feel for that. It doesn't have to be when we are down 15 with 5 minutes to go. (had to relive that fun for a moment) It can be at other times. Certain matchups, finishing quarters, offense/defense. Stotts will get a feel for it.
    Luke's defense has improved. He's a solid rebounder. Only the freaks like DLill come into this league and do everything well from the beginning. Luke has worked on other parts of his game and it's starting to show. The next step I would like to see him take is putting the ball on the floor. Defenders are closing on him fast. If he goes around them one time, they will have to play more honest. Luke can be a nice piece in this Blazer puzzle.

    by Divotking on 12/6/2012 10:34 AM
  29. Simpson;
    I did notice the play you are talking about. Stotts ball is so much different than what we were used to seeing. I believe it's one reason we are seeing balanced scoring. Patience yes. They haven't clicked for 48 yet. A lot of players are going to benefit from his style offense.
    I usually skip your post because it's hard to read. That modern grammar is difficult for an old guy like me. Just saying.

    by Divotking on 12/6/2012 11:26 AM
  30. @ Divotking, well said sir (I don't say that just because u agreed w/ me on some stuff! Hahaha!). No worries 'bout usually skippin' out on reading my comments; I see where you're coming from (my comments turn out looking like my texts & emails to my friends; I'm just used to getting out my thoughts fast that way). I'll keep in mind in the future to cool it w/ the emoticons, text talk, & such when talking w/ u & Hg (he had a similar comment. Hahaha!). We'll see u in here/chat another time!

    by Simpson on 12/6/2012 3:03 PM
  31. Anyone think that Luke is similar to Matt Bonner.

    by Ancientone on 12/6/2012 3:56 PM
  32. @Ancientone; Yes inded.

    by Hg on 12/6/2012 4:14 PM
  33. Hi Mike,
    Some well deserved rest for you and our guys. Nice home stand coming.
    I hear Will and Victor will play for the Stampede a couple of games. How does that work? Can they be activated to the Blazer roster on short notice? Do they have to wait for a period of time to put a Blazer jersey on?

    by the golden ladder on 12/7/2012 10:44 AM
  34. @the golden ladder: they can bring them back at any short notice.

    Once, They brought a player back while he was on a plane to play, he had to get off the flight at the landing and book a flight to where the Blazers were playing.

    by Hg on 12/7/2012 10:58 AM
  35. Thanks Hg;
    I like Will getting some floor minutes. However I want him to stay in the big boy league. Victor needs some run too.
    Nice to have our guys back in town. They learned some good lessons on the road. Some toughness. Haven't heard anything about Batum's shoulder. We sorely missed him at the end of the Indy game.

    by the golden ladder on 12/7/2012 11:13 AM
  36. nba.com is running a great story on Dam. Has him mic'd up. Showcasing a little of the Barrett/Rice show as well. Check it out.

    by the golden ladder on 12/7/2012 11:53 AM
  37. Early before the season began I thought the Blazers were headed back to the lottery. Now that Dam has become a dream come true, I don't think so. Now what? End up in the middle of the pack or make a push this year?
    My vote is stay the course. Develop the rooks. Make the move next year. The plan is have money available next year.
    Any thoughts?

    by the golden ladder on 12/8/2012 2:00 PM
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