mikebarrett

Jan 23

Blazers Blow Out Indiana to Stop Slide

By mikebarrett Posted in: Pacers
This game not only stopped Portland's losing streak, it also ended many interesting trends- some of them having to do with the Blazers, and others with the Pacers.  Bringing up multiple stats can start to make one's eyes glaze over, so let's get to the most important one first- Portland 100, Indiana 80.  The losing streak is over.

Not only was it Portland's largest margin of victory this season, it was just the fourth time all year they've beaten an opponent by more than 10 points.  It also snapped a string of 10-consecutive games decided by six points or fewer.  We'd gotten so used to one-possession games in the closing seconds, I didn't even know how to act in a laugher.

Going into this game the matchup looked daunting for the Trail Blazers.  Indiana came into the night with the number-one scoring defense in the NBA.  They had only been giving up 89 points to their opponents and 41 percent shooting.  In their last win, at Memphis on Wednesday, the Pacers allowed just 81 points to the Grizzlies.

Not only did the Blazers get to 100 points, but they shot 56.4 percent, the highest percentage the Pacers had given up all season, and the highest percentage Portland had shot this season.  

As we all know, Portland is a team that tends to live and die by the three-point shot.  They take a lot of them, and lately haven't been hitting a lot of them.  For them to go just 2 for 11 from behind the arc in this game, and win so comfortably, tells you the coaches did some serious tweaking to the game plan.  And, that it worked very nicely.

Before we get too carried away talking about Portland's offensive highlights, we need to acknowledge that the Blazers won this game with defense.  Or, perhaps more accurately, won this game by attacking Indiana and both ends.  They were the more aggressive team at both ends, and played with a chip on their shoulder.  That's what a losing streak will do to you.

The one thing (and perhaps the only thing) that stayed consistent for the Blazers in this game, is that they made a huge second-half run.  Only this time the run didn't get them back into a game, it turned it from competitive to a complete blowout.  

There were many more odd numbers in this game.  The Blazers don't outscore teams in the paint very often.  But, due to their attacking nature all night, beat the Pacers in the points-in-the-paint category 50 to 34.  Indiana is also a very good rebounding team, but the Blazers outboarded them 42-34.  

Portland also isn't often as opportunistic as they should be when given free passes by their opponents.  This brings up another unusual number.  The Blazers turned the ball over 17 times in this game, yet only lost 15 points on those miscues.  Indiana, on the other hand, suffered only 13 turnovers, but the Blazers cashed those in for 26 points.  That's a huge ratio, and something we don't see very much.

Without a doubt, from an individual standpoint, LaMarcus Aldridge set the tone in this game and his teammates followed.  David West has always been a difficult matchup for Aldridge, but he simply took West apart in the first half.  Aldridge had 16 points on 8 of 11 shooting in the first 24 minutes, compared to West's 6 points on 3 of 8 shooting.  Aldridge ended the game with 27 points, on 12 of 17 shooting, and probably would have been in the mid-30s if it would have been necessary.

So, while Aldridge carried the load in the first half, Damian Lillard completely took over in the second half.  He had 16 points in the second half on Wednesday against Washington, and put in another 16 in the final two quarters of this game.  Lillard, who went right at the teeth of Indiana's defense all night, ended with 20 points, and added 8 assists.

Despite the losing streak, the Trail Blazers have shown they are a very good fourth-quarter team.  After shooting 12 of 16 in the fourth quarter Wednesday, just to get back in the game, they shot 14 of 24 in the final quarter of this one, and it helped them slam the door shut on the Pacers.

It sounds simplistic, but as we've explained on many occasions, if the Trail Blazers shoot the ball well they are very difficult to beat.  They're now 7-0 on the season when they shot 50 percent or better from the field, and are now 14-3 when they shot just 45 percent or better.

This was a much-needed win, not only because they needed to stop the bleeding, but because of what lies ahead on the schedule.  

Saturday night, the Trail Blazers host the L.A. Clippers at the Rose Garden, and Sunday play the Clippers in L.A.  Yes, Portland has a better record against teams over .500, than they have against teams under .500.

That's the final odd stat of the night.  

Talk to you Saturday.




19 Comments

  1. It's nice to see a win again. It's been too long.

    by Shem on 1/23/2013 11:26 PM
  2. Great recap Mike! Great win for the Blazers and their fans!

    by dockaren on 1/23/2013 11:31 PM
  3. Lillard to Jeffries for the D_U_N_K !! That brought smiles from every man with the word Trailblazers written on his chest. All of Blazer land for that matter. Nice to see.
    Found yet another way to win. Stand toe to toe with the best defensive team in the league and beat them at their own game. How many charges did we take ?
    Every player ended up in the plus column. I'm not sure I've seen that before. Even Nolan was plus 6 in a minute 16.
    Stotts really worked the sideline well. He took every opportunity to go offense / defense. Even early in the game. The timeout he took when we had the ball, a 10 point lead, with two and a half minutes left in the first half was masterful. He protected his players from foul trouble against a big line-up.
    Great win. This team has the it.

    by Divotking on 1/24/2013 1:01 AM
  4. Hey Mike thanks for the update. I stayed home from work until the game was over then had to rush out to do about 6 hrs work; therefore I missed all the post show.

    You have said countless times that the Blazers had to find a middle ground between offense and defense, and tonight they did that. I kept expecting the Blazers would give it all back, but by Jove they kept the screws down.

    by Hg on 1/24/2013 2:37 AM
  5. The most complete game of the year. Defense in the first quarter? Wow. If we saw this every game what could our record be? This was a team effort with so many outstanding individual efforts.

    I wish Myers Leonard wouldn't let himself get pushed under the backboard so much but his tip in from all the way under the backboard was impressive.

    by Ancientone on 1/24/2013 5:56 AM
  6. can't complain a bit about this one. even when the Pacers made a couple of their mini runs in the 2nd half, we answered them right back. it' actually funny to look at some of those stats; some things which you wouldn't expect too, but which very much tell the story of the game.

    as much as many want to give player of the game honors to Damian, i've still got to give that nod to LaMarcus. while he dominated in the first half, i think he also brought it in the second and hit a key jumper which pretty much put an end to one of the Pacers' runs. not to say, however, that Damian doesn't get a lot of credit. the Pacers simply didn't have an answer for him, especially in the fourth quarter.


    JJ is having one of those seasons for us that is going to make me absolutely pissed off if he is not retained. last night was no exception. Nicolas had his usual great all-around game with some really nice defense on the Pacers' wings. Wesley's defense on the other wing was exceptional.

    we often note our bench isn't at the caliber of our starters, but last night our bench guys held their own. MB, i'e seen on this blog and on Courtside where you've said that we aren't asking the bench to win games for us, but to defend and not let the opponent make ground on us. last night , the second unit guys did just that, and did it while scoring 19 points on over 50 percent shooting.

    tough games coming up. it will be interesting to see how the guys respond.

    ~ KMM

    by Kassandra on 1/24/2013 7:21 AM
  7. nice win and great D from the Blazers !
    Best game from Barton so far this season .
    And we will need a big bench against the Clippers who have one of the best if not the best bench in NBA

    by NicoBatata on 1/24/2013 9:16 AM
  8. It was indeed a nice win, but let's not get carried away. As at least one Mike pointed out last night, Cleveland lacked the one weapon that has killed the Blazers night after night: a point guard who can slash past Damien into our soft center. It was nice to discover that when you take away that weapon, and are playing a team that doesn't shoot threes too often or well, this team can play very good defense. And the team deserves special congratulations for figuring out how to score against Cleveland's highly-regarded defense. Once you get in the rhythm of scoring, forcing the other team to work against your set defense and then being able to push up after their misses to keep them from getting set, it's a lot easier to take control of a game. It's a good first step, and we can hope it will lead to better things. I'm oddly hopeful about the Clipper games, because I just don't think that team is as good as their record, and the Blazers have shown that their own focus matters a lot more than the record of their opponents. Let's hope the trend of beating winning teams continues.

    by David Maclaine on 1/24/2013 11:02 AM
  9. Damian has to be one of the purest basketball players to wear a Portland jersey in quite some time. He sees the game in a way few players in the NBA do. He is one of those pure shooters that doesn't swish. He back rims his shot and the ball goes straight to the floor barely touching the net. He has sneaky hops. The kid can get off the floor. Many posters to come over the years. The Blazers have absolutely found a gold nugget.
    Stotts and company has his team very well prepared to play the Pacers. Indiana had a huge size advantage inside. Our bigs fronted. Weak side help, although sometimes late, did come. Giving credit to the players, they executed the game plan and still were able to get good rebound position.
    I'm not sure why Indiana didn't put someone with length on Dame. Harass him all the way up the court. This has been working for teams.
    Hoping for a split with the Clips.

    by the golden ladder on 1/24/2013 11:52 AM
  10. Love Rice as a nice guy but during the Indiana game broadcast I can't take any more of his errors and you having to correct him. You need a new partner so that I can get more out of YOUR excellent broadcasting skills. Schonz had to step down and sorry but it is Rice's time too. Love to watch Lillard time though!

    by jetman25 on 1/24/2013 3:51 PM
  11. jetman25: NOW you can't take any more Rice errors?? Surely the time to break down should have been when we had those full nights suffering through his weird inability to remember the first "L" in Afflalo. Last night was a walk in the park by comparison. You need to chill and learn to laugh; consider him our very own Phil Rizzuto, and just collect the goofier gaffes for the inevitable anthology of the "Wit and Skewed Wisdom of Mike Rice." And despite the recurrent flurries of naming mistakes, the man does still show a keen understanding of how basketball is and should be played.

    by David Maclaine on 1/24/2013 4:09 PM

  12. so does John Wooden but you don't see him broadcasting...

    by jetman25 on 1/24/2013 4:17 PM
  13. Two time all-star. Congratulations LaMarcus. I know you will represent well.

    @jetman25;
    Lets be glad you don't make those decisions. Who do you think came up with phrase you used in your response ? " its Lillard time"
    Love ya Mr. Rice. Keep up the good work.

    by Divotking on 1/24/2013 5:56 PM
  14. Where has this game been??? Tough, aggressive defense and good offensive execution from the opening tip to the final horn! We could be 8 or 9 games over .500 if we'd played like this the previous 6 games.

    Mike wrote: Portland has a better record against teams over .500, than they have against teams under .500. That's the final odd stat of the night.

    Sorry, Mike, but that's not an odd stat for the Blazers. We've played that way for several seasons now: good against the good teams; not so good against the not so good teams. If there's any single constant about the Blazers over the last decade, that's it.
    --
    don

    by dgpdx on 1/24/2013 6:44 PM
  15. @David: The Wild One as our own Phil Rizzuto? How about our own Dizzy Dean!

    @jetman25: That's very likely because John Wooden is dead.
    --
    don

    by dgpdx on 1/24/2013 6:42 PM
  16. congratulations to the L-Train, LaMarvelous, LaMazing ... LaMarcus on his second straight all-star selection! had a feeling he'd be our lone Blazer to make it!

    @jetman25, @Divotking, @dgpdx @David: i find Rice to be very entertaining and didn't have any issues with is commentary last night. i don't know if any of you watch the fox nfl pregame show sunday mornings, but i relate Rice to Terry Bradshaw. sure they can be goofballs, nuts at times and even the butt of jokes here and there ... but when each talks about his respective sport, you listen because you know they've got the background and expertise to tell you what is what, and how it is.

    ~ KMM

    by Kassandra on 1/24/2013 7:41 PM
  17. Here are some highlights of Lillard's performance:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vfiLpDiAlM

    I sent a tweet to LMA to congratulate him for his all star selection. And on RealGM, a lot of Warrior fans are mad that Curry didn't make it and Aldridge did; even though David Lee did. The Warriors have their first all star in 16 years and their fans are upset they didn't get two. Again, they should be lucky to get even one considering that their team has only made one playoff appearance in 18 seasons.

    by Shem on 1/24/2013 8:57 PM
  18. @Don:

    we not only play down to opponents level, but most of the sub 500 teams that beat us are the bottom teams of the Eastern Conference.

    If you think about it we are going to lose many games, but if the Blazers think they are good enough to choose which games to lose by not showing up, the bottom of the Eastern Teams would hurt us less.

    And as far as the Western teams go, other then the top 3 or 4 top teams all the rest are just in the middle of the pack teams. Even Sactown and NOH or now NOP, can play a mean game of BB.

    by Hg on 1/24/2013 9:05 PM
  19. The Clips have lost 3 straight. CP is out. Still this is going to be a stand you ground, put a body on them dog fight. The Blazers need to step on their throat early and often. Let them know right out of the gate, it's going to be hard. Man up or lie down.
    When Crawford enters the game, the RG needs to give him the riot act. He's a player that like's to be loved. I'm so wonderful with my crossover. There's no love here. He was part of the mutiny of 2012. Put Batum or Matthews in his hip pocket. How's your day ?
    Get it done Blazers.

    by the golden ladder on 1/26/2013 12:59 PM
  1. Leave a comment

Most Commented

The most commented posts in the past month

Recently Updated Blogs

    Blogs From Around The Network

Blog Archives