Trail Blazers/Suns Post-Game Thoughts
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  1. DHawes22
    DHawes22
    Posts: 6488

    Posted 03/23/2010 1:24 AM

    Trail Blazers/Suns Game 71 Post-Game Thoughts

     Post-Game Thoughts

    In a game the Trail Blazers just had to have if they wanted any shot at catching the Suns, they fell just short. The shooting eye deserted them the entire night, shooting a combined 32-88 (36.4%) and missing half of their total missed free throws with under five minutes to go in the 4th to seal the deal for Phoenix. Defensively, Portland couldn't have played too much better, outside of fighting through more screens, as they held a high-octane Suns offense to a miniscule 93 points and only allowed 7-23 from three-point range. Portland outplayed Phoenix in all other facets of the game, committing six less turnovers (10 to 4), stealing four more passes (5 to 1), blocking four more shots (7 to 3), and even winning the points in the paint battle by six (42 to 36). In the end, it was one strategic move by Coach Gentry which had Portland on their heels.

    For about 42 minutes, Portland controlled the tempo by playing ugly and taking advantage of mismatches on the offensive end of the court. Andre was the catalyst to jump start the Blazer offense and tallied 22 points (7-2)),including 8-9 from the stripe, 9 assists, and 3 rebounds for the contest, doing most of his damage on the blocks against Stave Nash. As the jump shots weren't dropping, scoring in the interior was the only way to generate offense. Roy found his way to the rack a few times, Howard scored at least six of his eight in the paint, and the L-Train did most of his damage (16 points) by running the break or picking us loose balls for put backs. Through three quarters, this strategy was working, as the Trail Blazers lead, 68-64, heading into the final period. It was still a back and forth affair until Alvin Gentry caught the Blazers off guard by switching up his defense from straight man to man to a 2-3 zone.

    Portland ended up only shooting a dismal 2-17 from three, which is why the zone was so brilliant. Really, the only way to break a zone is to shoot out of it. Portland seemed utterly unprepared for such a change in defensive strategy and failed to adapt on the fly. Instead of trying some high-low or flashing cutters to the open areas of the zone, the team got stagnant on offense and ended up forcing up contested jump shots as the shot clock winded down. While we struggled to muster any sort of offense in the 4th quarter (19 pts), Phoenix rode the hot shooting of reserve forward Jared Dudley for I believe eight straight points at one juncture of the 4th quarter to give the Suns the lead for good.

    "Our defense was great; their defense was great," Suns coach Alvin Gentry said. "We did a great job in the zone. For the most part, we made them take tough shots."

    What is most alarming/upsetting about this current groups of Trail Blazers is their philosophies on offense compared to their actual strengths. As a team, I'd say our biggest weakness is our outside shooting. Honestly, I think we lost three of our top four long-range shooters off of last year's team in Channing Frye, Steve Blake, and Travis Outlaw. Batum has become pretty accurate and has a beautiful stroke, but Webster, Rudy, and Aldridge seem to have taken a step back in consistency this season. Essentially, we are a jump-shooting team without any real sharp shooters. I know I harp on this a lot on this blog, but please, can we attack the rim a little bit more? Our guards especially, Roy, Miller, and Jerryd, are much more suited to get to the cup than simply stroke jumpers throughout the game. I'd rather see them initiate the offense by driving and setting up our more spot-up shooters in Marty and Rudy.

    Notes: As mentioned, I did attend the game in Phoenix, AZ and must say that we, as Trail Blazers fans, should feel very blessed about our team, fan base, arena, and everything about the Blazers. The atmosphere inside US Airways Center was sporadically mediocre at best, as fans only stood for a few seconds when the jumbotron told them so. They have no Todd Bosma and their game operations during timeouts and halftime were uneventful. Even the famous Suns Gorilla hardly did any tricks at all and wasn't present for much of the game. Their fan shop was larger and much more roomer than ours and I love the fact they have an open concourse inside the arena for any fans, even ones without tickets, to use and take part in activities before the game. Finally, do not take for granted the stat board! While the RG has stats for both players and teams at your every disposal, in the US Airways Center, there were many boards, but they cycled through the different stats, meaning it took a while to see what you're looking for. Although, their out of town scoreboard knocks ours out of the park as it was much larger, easier to read, and actually provided the top performers for each team as well as the time and quarter. Overall it was a fun experience seeing a different venue, but it only made me appreciate the Rose Garden that much more.

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  1. BR7_Fan
    BR7_Fan
    Posts: 399

    Posted 03/23/2010 8:24 AM

    As always D, you make some good points and the same observations that I see when watching games. We have some horrible shooting funk going on and going into this game knew that they needed to shoot better to win. On a night that saw OKC get blown out by the Pacers AND the Spurs losing in OT The Blazers really needed this win and makes the loss sting even more. The D looks really good and dialed in, I think Howard did a really good job when Camby took a rest, disappointed in Martell for not stepping up when his number was called to bust that zone. Thank god for Miller who has been steady these last few games for us. How was the Blazer fan turnout at the US Airways Center?
    I am a fan of RIP CITY > LOB CITY
  1. daddylogan
    daddylogan
    Posts: 188

    Posted 03/23/2010 11:05 AM

    Yes...very good points. I was really proud of the way they played up until those final dreadful minutes. Also remember we were missing Rudy that night so one of our weapons was not in uniform! However, BR7_fan is correct. What has happened to Webster? Sure his minutes have gone down, but he should be prepared to make the most of the minutes he does get and he is not. Webster also has some size and strength to him and why he does not take it to the hole more is a curious question? The only thing I can think of is maybe it's because of his ball handling skills (or lack thereof)? In any case I just hate when I see 3 blazers just standing in the corners doing nothing while they watch the other 2 blazers try to break down the zone alone. You can't do it with movement and at least some decent shooting. (I think they all need to watch film of our 77-78 boys...the movement on offence was like poetry!)

    Next thing is consistancy in our bench. For the most part we are good enough to get by, but now that will not cut it any more as we head to the playoffs. If things stay the way they are, we will get KO'ed in round 1 with no question. Bayless is my big gripe and has been for a while now. Yes...he has had a few good games this year so I have not forgotten, but his OVERALL preformance needs to be stepped up. He is at times to selfish and you can almost see when he is going to take the ball and not give it up. Very predictible. His jump shot is poor and had gotten worse lately. And, it makes me cringe when I see him drive to the hole with no plan at all. It results in blocked shots and turnovers and the refs are not going to give him the calls if he fly's into the paint all out of control. He needs to see the court better and think ahead of the game. He has so much potential and brings so much energy into the game that if he could play "smarter" basketball he would be a huge asset in this team growing.

    As for Miller, what can I say that has not already benn said! Just incredible. Where would we be without him this year? Well, I think you know the answer to that one. When you need an example of consistancy, just look to Miller. I hope he stays a Blazer for many years to come.

    I alos think we need to get Cunningham into the games a little bit more often for not only is he a great asset on the defensive end, but man he has a nice stroke when he shoots! (alot nicer then Cambys stroke!!! LOL)

    Anyhow, it was a dissapointing loss especially since we had control for 40+ minutes of the game. The good news is that it WAS winable and we never let The Suns really blow by us like they could have considering their offensive preformance as of late! The positive is we had a great defensive game. Unfortunatley the Suns did too...

    peace out,
    daddy
    I am a fan of THE LITTLE GIANT...DAMIAN LILLARD!!!
  1. DHawes22
    DHawes22
    Posts: 6488

    Posted 03/23/2010 11:37 PM

    The Blazer turnout was very nice in PHX. In fact I had a fan right behind me and in front of me. I think the person behind me and myself were the most vocal out of all the people in our section.

    As for the game..yikes...our shooters have abandoned us. I still prefer we attack more, but we need to make a ploy for a dead-eye shooter in the offseason. As I am still in AZ, I watched the Suns/Warriors game last night and I think we should definitely raid the Warriors for a shooter. With DLeaguer Reggie Williams looking amazing, it may be a phenomenal time to snag Anthony Morrow on the cheap. I love Marty but I question his consistency night in and night out and I think Rudy has too much talent to be relegated to standing in the corner waiting to shoot treys.
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  1. ClydeFrog
    ClydeFrog
    Posts: 975

    Posted 03/24/2010 12:06 AM

    Anyone see Amare Stoudemire? Can someone please send his film to Aldridge and tell him, this is how a POWER forward gets it done! Good Lord, STAT is a beast and impossible to stop when he gets the ball. He plays with a chip on his shoulder, an anger of some sort and is just relentless in getting to the hoop. He is exactly the type of player I want to pair up with Roy. I love LaMarcus, really do, and he has moments when you think he has turned the corner, then games like last night where he simply looks perfectly content being 2nd or 3rd fiddle, chillin on the perimeter shootin jumpers. As a team, we couldn't hit the broad side of the barn from outside, and LA is one of our best players inside, and when we need buckets the most, it just doesn't seem to happen. Like Webster's consistent stroke from outside, I don't think we'll ever see Aldridge play with that fire in his eye all the time.
    I am a fan of Watching Elliot Williams Take Flight!
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