mikebarrett

Jan 15

Blazers Drop First OT Game

By mikebarrett Posted in: Nuggets

What stings about this loss is simply the fact that you just don’t get these opportunities in Denver very often.  Well, that’s not the only thing disappointing about it, but that’s the first thing that came to my mind after the final buzzer sounded. 

But, it’s hard to be too awfully dejected when you use some perspective and consider what the Trail Blazers did down the stretch of this game to give themselves and opportunity to win.  They battled back from nine down in the final quarter, and the ball was in Damian Lillard’s hands with the clock winding down in regulation with the score tied.  I’ll take those odds, especially in Denver, where the Trail Blazers haven’t won since December of 2007.

The rookie, who has come through in so many situations like this so far this season, had this game-winning attempt rim off, and the Blazers went on to lose in overtime 115-111.  It was their third-straight loss by fewer than six points.  Coming into this stretch, the Blazers had been 11-2 in such games.  Rather than believing that the law of averages would eventually catch up, I’d rather focus on the fact that this team continues to show the fight and resolve necessary to be a playoff contender, and have shown the ability to do it in some very hostile environments.

Denver is one of the hottest teams in the NBA, winners of 9 of their last 11 games.  At home, they’ve been even better, boasting a 15-2 record, which is the second-best home mark in the NBA.  At home, they’ve been absolutely dropping the hammer on opposing teams, like they did to Golden State their last time out.  The fact that they couldn’t ever put away the Trail Blazers is a positive sign for Portland.

Back to that last play of regulation, I loved the trust Terry Stotts had in his rookie point guard by not taking a time out to set up a final look.  The Blazers know what they do in those situations, and by not taking the time out didn’t give Denver’s defense a chance to set themselves.  Instead, Lillard, already so comfortable in these situations, missed a shot that we’ve seen him hit time and time again. 

Then, in overtime, the Trail Blazers fought to get the game tied after Wesley Matthews drilled three.  Then, they were ultimately done in by a three pointer from a guy who had hit exactly four on the season coming into the game.  Give Wilson Chandler credit, he dropped the huge shot.  The Blazers had a chance to tie, but Lillard missed a contested three.  That was a play that was designed for Nic Batum, but Andre Iguodala simply wouldn’t let Batum get the ball. 

I always talk about the averages, and the numbers, during our broadcasts- perhaps a little too much.  But, this game bucked a lot of the trends we’ve seen so far this season.  When the Trail Blazers shoot over 45 percent, they win.  Coming into the night, when they’ve got 45 percent or better they were 13-1.  They had also been 12-2 when scoring 100 points or more.  And, Denver had been a so-so 8-8 in games decided by six points or fewer. 

So, the Blazers come through this stretch of four games, four that we had circled, at 1 and 3.  They beat Miami, and then lost at Golden State, fell at home to Oklahoma City, and lost in overtime in Denver.  All three were decided in the final minute. 

Now comes the chance to protect the home court and get things back on track.  Even though the upcoming schedule isn’t as daunting as what we’ve just gone through, nothing is going to be easy.  First up, they play the second of a back to back on Wednesday night at the Rose Garden against Cleveland.  I hate using the term “trap game,” but that’s what this is.  The Cavs were watching our game from their hotel rooms in Portland and will be very well rested. 

You never feel satisfied after a loss, especially when you’ve had such a great chance to win it.  But, all things considered, this Trail Blazer team showed me a lot in this game, and through this stretch.  The final result wasn’t what they wanted tonight, but things are trending up.  That’ll have to be enough on this night.

19 Comments

  1. Hey Mike: yes it was my bowling night and I haven't had a chance to watch the taped version, so thank you for the Blog.

    I know everybody says a moral victory does nothing, but IMO, the three games we lost we were in it to the end and all three games we had a chance to win. I am sure we will learn from these games, One thing is we know we can compete with anybody in the league.

    by Hg on 1/15/2013 10:40 PM
  2. So close...but still very proud how this team has fought. Now we just need to win the games we are suppose to win and get the confidence back again. We are competing at a high level right now so I still see nothing but good things ahead ;-)

    peace out,
    daddylogan

    by daddylogan on 1/15/2013 11:17 PM
  3. Mike me again;
    I just watched the game from my VCR. I tell you that was a great game by both teams; it was a very exciting game. If I had watched it live, I would not have any fingernails left. It was anybodies game from start to finish. I could tell our starting 5 was getting tired. but nevertheless, as you said, Chandler making that three was the clincher.

    I don't see anything in this game that would shake the Blazers confidence, they had a chance to win it. I believe the Blazers are contenders, Now as daddylogan says win the games we are supposed to win starting tonight.

    by Hg on 1/16/2013 6:49 AM
  4. I agree with what you've said.
    They played hard and well and it just didn't fall our way this time.
    They're good and really fun to watch.
    Love me some Trailblazer B-Ball.

    by allie-oop on 1/16/2013 8:01 AM
  5. After losing 3 in a row, tonight is less of a trap game. The starters will be a bit tired but they are fighters. We absolutely need some help from the bench tonight. Not sure where it will come from.
    They are missing their pounder in the middle.
    What is Meyers ETA ?
    One of these games before the end of the season, we are going to see all 5 starters get hot at once. They are going to light somebody up. I hope it comes against an elite team.

    by the golden ladder on 1/16/2013 8:38 AM
  6. This team seems to have an aversion to starting the ball game and the 2nd half when the ball is put in play. If they did maybe so many overtimes wouldn't come our way. We can play good defense and play smart offense as shown by all the come backs.

    One thing I worry about is how much we play the starters. Are we going to ride them like this until they begin to break down?

    by Ancientone on 1/16/2013 11:33 AM
  7. MB,

    @the golden ladder: Wouldn't it just be so nice if that happened? We'd really get on a run! Although, I'm leaning toward all of our bench getting hot instead. I know...I can dream...

    Anyway, I'm not as mad about this loss as the OKC loss at home. What can I say? We fought and played our hearts out in the final 8 minutes. However, the bitter truth is that in order to beat Denver at their place, in most cases, you have to play a complete 48-minute game. That didn't happen.

    The third quarter was just as sloppy as the second half against OKC! Even most of the fourth quarter was off-target until the 3-minute mark! It amazed me how long it took Wes and Nicolas to finally take mid-range jumpers after they couldn't buy any threes after the first quarter! And then they starting hitting those!!!

    At one point, I said to the TV, "How bad do you guys want to win? SHOW ME." Well, they finally showed me, all right! That three by Wes at the end was huge! I also loved Stotts' decision not to call timeout right before the horn. At the end of regulation, I wasn't panicking since we were undefeated in OT coming in. I thought we had a chance to steal the victory away.

    Just give credit to Chandler...and Liggins for OKC! If it weren't for their unexpected threes given their season stats, we might very well have gone 3-1 instead of 1-3. Chew on that!!!

    Anyway, my hope is that all of the players are tired of losing. Nicolas was frustrated at least cause he still hasn't won in Denver. Somehow they're going to have to convert that frustration into made shots and aggresive, relentless defense tonight against the Cavs. I'm expecting us to beat them, Milwaukee, Washington, and Indiana, because they're all beatable in the RG.

    At the very least, I'm desperately hoping we beat the Wiz after they DESTROYED US last year and spelled the beginning of the end for Nate as coach. And finally...I hope Meyers comes back healthy soon. We're getting beat on the boards and in the paint as of late and I hope he starts showing clear signs of improvement with more learning experience and minutes.

    -Max Milander '14

    by linfieldrunner on 1/16/2013 3:31 PM
  8. @Ancienttone: You're right! I don't know what it is!!! And yes, as I've said before, Olshey needs to shop around for a proven sixth-man scorer, otherwise we just may be sunk after the All-Star break.

    by linfieldrunner on 1/16/2013 11:41 AM
  9. Last night after the game LaMarcus had words for his team. He tried to rally his troops. He called tonight a must win. Well done. Is it a must win ? No. Is it a good time to turn up the volume ? yes. A home stand with winnable games.
    When Matthews addressed the team on a road trip, the team responded well.
    I have a feeling Stotts or Kaleb nudged LaMarcus in that direction. No matter. Results do matter.

    by the golden ladder on 1/16/2013 1:26 PM
  10. Yup, and he's the perfect guy to get his teammates pumped up to get a winning streak started. Should be an exciting homestand to watch!

    by linfieldrunner on 1/16/2013 3:30 PM
  11. To all, We are all concerned with not being so uptempo in the first qtr, but we play our starters long, long minutes in a fast tempo game. There is a need to pace yourself for the end of the game. That doesn't mean it is likable, but it is fact. the human body can go just so long no matter how well you keep care of your body.

    At the beginning of the year, being completely honest, did anybody think we would beat Miami, beat the Grizzlies, San Antonio, and keep stay within 6 points of OKC and almost winning in Denver, IMO, we are doing great, and there is no reason to hang their heads,

    by Hg on 1/16/2013 4:09 PM
  12. Luke. Having trouble getting clean looks. His shooting is on scouting reports. It happens to every player with special skills. It is now up to him to elevate his game and make teams pay for closing too fast. Either putting the ball on the floor or improve his passing skills or both. It's up to him now. This league is too good for one dimensional players.

    by Divotking on 1/16/2013 5:14 PM
  13. I've come to trust coach Stotts. He is trying to win ball games and at the same time develop young players. He appears to pick his subs before the game begins and sticks with them. I will try and forget the cavs game.
    But COME ON Nolan Smith. Really. First of all Smith cannot make a jumper, can't finish at the rim and is a turnover waiting to happen. Second, Smith is not a rookie. Extra floor time is not going to suddenly cause him to blossom.
    I'll stop there.
    My only hope is there is a master plan that I'm not seeing to cause us to give that game away in the second quarter.

    by Divotking on 1/16/2013 9:47 PM
  14. The Cavs game is one for the garbage bin. Double clothes pin as Ancientone would say.
    If Nolan needs some run, send him to the D league. This is the big boy league.

    by the golden ladder on 1/17/2013 9:23 AM
  15. the golden ladder: Good call.

    by Ancientone on 1/17/2013 12:00 PM
  16. Rested started starting 5= win.

    by Ancientone on 1/19/2013 11:42 AM
  17. We are due to get back on the winning pony.

    by the golden ladder on 1/19/2013 12:12 PM
  18. 2 minutes left first quarter. Down by 18. Nolan Smith again. Are you kidding me ?
    If the Blazers are trying to bring up Nolans trade value, it is back firing.
    This will be bad for team chemistry if they stay with this strategy. Cut your losses. He's not worth it.

    by Divotking on 1/19/2013 7:37 PM
  19. Like you've always said Mike, it's a game of confidence. When we use the wrong personnel early in the game and the other team gets a good feeling going it's an up hill battle from there.
    If I were the coach, which I am not, I would only use Nolan in "have to" situations.
    Same mistake two games in a row. Identical games. Only different mascots.
    It's not too late. Get back to what was successful.
    GO BLAZERS!!

    by Divotking on 1/19/2013 9:58 PM
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