caseyholdahl

Nov 20

Don't Play With The Game

By caseyholdahl Posted in: Warriors, Blazers
The current iteration of the Portland Trail Blazers have never won in ORACLE Arena. Nate McMillan, Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge: none have won as Trail Blazers at Golden State. Only Joel Przybilla and Travis Outlaw were on Portland’s roster the last time the Blazers beat Golden State 78-75 at ORACLE on November 3, 2004, though neither played. That was the season opener, by the way.

Why so much trouble at ORACLE? Who knows? Could be that the home team gets the boost when teams that play wildly different styles, as the Warriors and Trail Blazers do.

Looking at their statistics this season, it’s hard to imagine two teams more dissimilar. Trail Blazers allow the fewest points per game in the NBA (87.5), Warriors allow the most (113.3). Trail Blazers opponents take the fewest number of shots per game (32.2), Warriors opponents take the most (42.6). Warriors tally more steals per game than anyone in the league (9.55), while the Trail Blazers rank 25th (6.23). Basically Portland and Golden State ends up on opposite ends of any pace-dependant statistic.

None of this should matter tonight. The Trail Blazers have more talent and better chemistry. The Warriors are playing their first home game after 1-4 Eastern Conference road swing, which should help tilt the scale in Portland’s direction. The Warriors don’t really have the size to make the Trail Blazers pay for playing a three-guard lineup, though someone else besides Brandon Roy is going to have to take a turn getting run into my Corey Maggette. Ronni Turiaf is day-to-day, CJ Watson has the swine flu, Raja Bell may or may not have season-ending wrist surgery, Kelenna Azubuike is out for the season after tearing his patella tendon and Andris Biendrins is battling some sort of back/groin injury that has kept him out of all but four games this season, so Don Nelson will likely have only eight players available. On paper, this should be a win. An easy win even.

But there seems to be no such thing as an easy win Trail Blazers win in Oakland, at least not recently. If the Blazers are to get their first win in the Bay since 2004, they’ll have to take to heart the directive Coach McMillan gave them after the near-loss to the Pistons on Wednesday: don’t play with the game.

Another win on the road is there for the taking, but not if the Trail Blazers play with the game. They have to approach the Warriors like they’re the best team in the league, the only team. If the Blazers jump out to a big lead, they need to keep the pressure on until the final whistle. Finish out quarters strong, especially the fourth. It’s not exactly calm waters in the Golden State locker room, so don’t give them anything to get excited about. Make it about business, get back to Portland and get ready for a homestand with four winnable games.
Previous Story: Outlaw Out But Not Down

4 Comments

  1. I think it was the first contest in Oakland last year that Greg went 22-10. So here's to Greg having a monster game.

    Also, I think it was against the Warriors in the second meeting that Greg knocked knees with Corey Maggette right before the All-Star game.

    I'll take the first of the two options.

    by Dan Harbison on 11/20/2009 1:32 PM
  2. Oden could very well be the key to tonights game. The Warriors don't have anyone who can check him in the key, so if he can stay out of foul trouble, which could be hard with Maggette, he's in for a big night.

    by caseyholdahl on 11/20/2009 1:34 PM
  3. Alas, that was the issue. You could tell our game-plan before the game was just that. Go inside to Greg to exploit them underneath. When he went out, so did a lot of our spacing on offense. And then when Greg came back in, we went to him a couple of times, with decent results, but eventually we strayed away from that.

    It'll take time for us to get into that habit of exploiting down low if it's there since we haven't had that sort of low post presence in quite a while. We, as most teams, revert to what they know... and for us, that's outside shooting off the pick and pop, or drive on the pick and roll.

    by Dan Harbison on 11/21/2009 9:57 AM
  4. Well, it turned out Oden was a major factor. He seems to match up well against Golden State. Is it time for conspiracy theories to start in terms of the NBA becoming more like the WWE? Don't get me wrong, I trust the players and the coaches to not be in on any conspiracy, but I think you catch my drift. You play with the team you have and the officials shouldn't give a team a break because they only have eight players and four are in foul trouble. There were some really botched and seriously missed calls during that game.

    by RipCityRevival on 11/22/2009 11:15 AM
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