Pre-Game Thoughts
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  1. DHawes22
    DHawes22
    Posts: 6488

    Posted 12/01/2009 8:57 AM

    The Heat come into Portland, like the Blazers, owners of a 2 game losing streak. Portland had only one 3 game losing streak all of last season which showed they had a short memory and were able to put previous games behind them and rise to the challenge of the next opponent. It would be a refreshing scene at the RG to see them come out and play with some fire and give us fans hope that the team is not on the verge of imploding. Like Chicago, Miami has a great back-court player in Dwyane Wade, but is very thin up front. Jermaine O'Neal is not the same defensive presence he once was and Udonis Haslem should have no business guarding LaMarcus down low on the blocks, strictly on height/wingspan alone.

    For the Blazers to be victorious, Brandon Roy is going to have to step up and play like the 2nd Team All-NBA player we all know he can perform at. I'd love to see him get back into attack mode, quit settling for jumpers, and create for his teammates. One of his biggest assets is his court vision and great players make life easier for their teammates when they are on the floor. We all know he has to burden such a load on offense, but with Oden and Aldridge down low, Roy can save a little bit of energy on offense and take that saved energy and go all out on Wade. Wade is one of the top 3 players in this league and can single handily win the game alone by himself. If Portland wants to get their defensive mindset back, it all starts with their leader. If he shows more of a commitment to defense, the others will follow suit.

    Although Wade can take over at any moment, it seems like the Heat like to sit back and watch him too much at times and it shows on their -.87 assist differential, while the Blazers are 6th in the league at +3.36. The Blazers need to quit dribbling the ball into the floor and make a quick decision with it, whether it be shoot, pass, or drive to the hoop. As Steve "Snapper" Jones always has said, "There needs to be ball movement, player movement." Why not run Rudy off of some curls and let him nail that 15 ft. jump shot? Dump it down low to the big men and run some back cuts to the hoop. There are a plethora of things Portland could be doing on offense and they get stuck dribbling out the clock waiting for something to happen. Start being proactive instead of reactive.

    Do I think everything is kosher in Blazerland right now? Not by a long shot. There are still a lot of kinks that need to be worked out, but I get the feeling the group meeting between Nate and the Big 3 will iron some of the wrinkles out. Also, the boys finally got more than 1 day off between games which doesn't feel like has happened at all this season and even with the 2 days off have still played the most games in the NBA. I'm really unsure as to how this game will turn out, as I could see any outcome be plausible, but Portland needs to do 2 things and they will win. Win the rebounding battle and defend the paint! No more giving up 50+ points in the paint.

    Game 20 Prediction: Trail Blazers 96 Heat 93
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  1. Dan Harbison
    Dan Harbison
    Posts: 219

    Posted 12/01/2009 9:25 AM

    Miami is 24th in the league in scoring. We're 22nd.

    Miami is 8th in defense, we're 2nd. That could mean a grinding game. We need that. (did you guys do the score predictor? What did you pick? I have 98-95 Trail Blazers) The way the past two teams have been shooting on us, DWade could go for 40. But the front line have been hurting us the last couple of games:

    Utah: Okur/Boozer- 38 points combined
    Memphis: Gay/Randolph/Gasol- 54 points combined
    New Jersey: Lopez/Hassel- 42 points combined

    If other teams are shooting well from the outside, that opens up the middle.. but our interior D needs to be better, especially on help-side defense.

    Tonight, Beasley and Jermaine O'Neal will be in the front court. Hopefully we'll clamp down on them a little tighter than the past couple of games. Both are tied for the second leading scorer on the Heat with 14.5PPG each. If we keep them a little below their averages, I think we have a great chance to win.

    Speaking of Jermaine O'Neal, here's him talking about Portland.
    http://www.iamatrailblazersfan.com/ArticleDisplay/tabid/120/ItemID/820/Default.aspx
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  1. DHawes22
    DHawes22
    Posts: 6488

    Posted 12/01/2009 9:31 AM

    We just need to start putting some hands up on shooters. We were very lazy in our rotations on Boozer and he is cash from the foul line extended. If we give Mike and Udonis those looks, they'll make us pay as well.
    Defense wins championships!
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  1. Dan Harbison
    Dan Harbison
    Posts: 219

    Posted 12/01/2009 9:37 AM

    Also, if you're struggling at times in the offensive side of the ball, defense will both keep you in the game and create easier opportunities through turnovers, steals and blocks.
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  1. DHawes22
    DHawes22
    Posts: 6488

    Posted 12/01/2009 9:42 AM

    Very true. I'm not sure where I heard this before, but "The best offense is a good defense." If you can get stops and get out on the break, it will lead to easy buckets, something this team is not known for, but will need to improve on in order to take the next step.
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  1. Dan Harbison
    Dan Harbison
    Posts: 219

    Posted 12/01/2009 9:52 AM

    It will also keep you active. I think Outlaw was a great example of this. If he was able to get active on the defense with a good block, or just locking down on his guy, it would translate to a more active offensive series for him. Running off picks, calling for the ball, getting more confidence. If he became complacent on defense, his offense was lackluster (standing around, waiting for the ball on a spot up shot, not his strength). I always felt that offense is about talent, defense is about heart. Your shot might be off, or the spacing is wrong, but you can make up for that with hustle on D.
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  1. DHawes22
    DHawes22
    Posts: 6488

    Posted 12/01/2009 6:03 PM

    Aldridge is now listed as OUT for the game tonight and now Dante Cunningham will be getting his first NBA start. We must keep our big men out of foul trouble, because without Trav and LMA, we are paper thin up front at the 4 spot. Maybe we see some GO & Joel in there at the same time?
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