As Brandon Roy said post-game, the Trail Blazers weren't really out for revenge tonight after losing to the Bucks in double-overtime a few weeks ago, but there's a level of focus that comes along with playing a team you should have beaten previously. Do the Trail Blazers overlook the Bucks if they win that game back on December 12 in Milwaukee? Probably not, but there was no way they were going to drop two straight to a team they could have swept, especially days away from an important and extended road trip.
So the Blazers came out and handled business the first three quarters, building up a 33 point lead at one point before giving the Portland coaching staff and the Rose Garden crowd a mini-scare by letting the Bucks get to within 11 in the fourth quarter, but a few makes here and a couple stops there and they were on their way to a 120-108 victory. Not much fuss, very little muss.
Quite a few highlight-worthy performances tonight as one would expect in a relatively easy and high-scoring affair. First up, Andre Miller and LaMarcus Aldridge playing a little hot potato in the open court.
This type of fastbreak play would have scared the bejesus out of me not too long ago. Seems like a dribble off the toe, a travel or ending up behind the backboard and having to force up a bad shot would have been an all-to-familiar finish in days of yore, but not any more. Andre Miller doesn't mess those up.
Plays like the one below have never been a problem. You get Martell Webster with an open lane to the hoop on the break? That's buckets. Extra kudos to Brandon Roy picking up one of his three steals by way of ripping the ball away from the much bigger Andrew Bogut. Good thing Patty Mills wasn't here to see his fellow Aussie get out-muscled like that. USA! USA!
Steve Blake looked like he's put the pneumonia pneu-behind him, going for 11 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists with no turnovers in 28 minutes. Blakey was pushing the tempo all night, which is great to see from a guy recovering from a serious illness. Heck, it's good to see from anyone on this team, recently hospitalized or otherwise.
The Bucks made the classic mistake of not stopping the ball, which is a poor decision at any point in the game, but especially perplexing with 4 seconds on the clock. There are four Bucks under the basket when Blake puts up the floarter, which you like to see if your Scott Skiles, assuming of course that there's any time left on the clock. But preparing to get the rebound after time expires is meaningless, at least as I understand it.