Dec 21

A night after struggling with their outside shots, getting pounded on the boards, and setting an all-time record for fewest assists in a game, the Trail Blazers managed a complete recovery and posted one of their more important wins of the season. The fact that the Blazers won in Miami should have surprised absolutely no one, as their all-time record in this city is amazing. They're now 17-5 all time versus the Heat in Miami.

On Saturday in Orlando, the Trail Blazers led throughout most of the first three quarters. But, after a Magic run that started during the final play of the third quarter, the Blazers couldn't pick themselves up in time to recover. Nothing was falling from the field, and they faded badly in the fourth.

Sunday night, thing looked to be setting up the same way.

Midway through the third quarter, the Blazers were down six and fired back with an 18-2 run. That gave them a 10-point lead. But, Miami then quickly answered with a 17-2 run to rebuild a five-point lead. Unlike the Orlando game, Portland wasn't going anywhere.

Late in the fourth, the Blazers strapped a saddle on Brandon Roy and he led them on a 10-0 run. The capper was a dagger three-point bomb with 28 seconds left, that beat the shot clock, and gave the Blazers a 99-92 lead. The went on to win it 102-95, ending the game on a 13-3 run.

Everything that was missing came back in this game. LaMarcus Aldridge was aggressive, and got the team off to a fast start. He finished with 23 points and 8 rebounds. Martell Webster hit three three-pointers, and ended with 15 points. And, Andre Miller, who was the hot Blazer during the big third-quarter run, finished with 17 points.

Also, once again give Joel Przybilla big props for his effort against the Heat. He scored 8 points, grabbed 12 rebounds, and blocked four shots (including the incredible block on Wade that you can see in the photo above, which was a momentum changer).

When poking through the wreckage of the Saturday loss to Orlando, we talked about how sometimes it's as simple as not making open shots. That sounds obvious, but often times everyone digs too deep when looking for explanations following a loss. Sunday, it was just a matter of Portland shooting 51 percent, going an astounding 11 for 19 from three-point range. And, after getting out rebounded 54-35 by Orlando, the Blazers out rebounded Miami 38-28.

Now, back to Roy. This was perhaps his most dominating performance of the season. The Heat continually doubled him to try and get the ball out of his hands. That's nothing new. Because of this, Brandon's shots were limited. But, he made the most of his attempts. He ended with 28 points, 8 assists, and 4 rebounds. The incredible part of this is that he scored those 28 points while taking only 14 shots. By comparison, Dwyane Wade needed 31 shots to get his 28 points.

Roy has got to be the leading candidate for Western Conference Player of the Week honors. In the four games this week, Roy led his team to a 3-1 record, including wins over Miami and Phoenix. He averaged 28 points per game, shot 52 percent from the field, and 47 percent from behind the three-point line. Of course, the week was capped with an all-star caliber effort against the previously red-hot Heat.

In this game, all this all happened with Miami shooting a very high percentage, and playing a very clean game. The Heat suffered only 7 turnovers on the night, and shot 49 percent overall, including 8 for 16 from behind the three-point line. And, keep in mind, this was the same Miami team that roughed up Orlando 104-86 in their last game.

Things don't get easier during this stretch. Monday we'll fly to Dallas and get set to battle the Mavericks on Tuesday. Dallas, playing without Dirk Nowitzki on Sunday, took care of the Cavaliers and will come into the Portland game riding high. Then, the trip wraps up in San Antonio on Wednesday.

To listen to Nate McMillan's post-game comments following the win over Miami, click here.
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  1. It was great to see the supporting cast step up in this win. Roy was amazing, but the fact that both LA, Miller and Martell all had double-digit scoring helps spread the defense and the burden for Roy. Have a great trip in Dallas!

    by Dan Harbison on 12/21/2009 10:01 AM
  2. I am sorry to have to bring this to your concern Mike Barret but I am getting sick having to listen to your voice while watching Blazer games on Comcast Sportsnet.

    You are so incredibly biased that it is ugly. I wish the settings on my tv were like a video game so I could turn off your voice while still hearing the crowd and court noises.

    Also aggrivating is your lack of knowledge of the rulebook and poor overall understanding of the NBA and the game of basketball in general.

    Please step down from your position in order to make way for a truer basketball voice for the calling of our Blazer games.

    Thank you.

    by nicholaiprosoff on 1/20/2010 4:51 PM
  3. Great piece Mike as always,I feal smarter after reading your blogs.

    by ninjatoker on 2/1/2010 9:10 PM
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