Thoughts on the Blazers/Cavs game...
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  1. S. Diamond
    S. Diamond
    Posts: 22

    Posted 12/11/2009 9:19 PM

    Ok, so I nearly called the game, but then again at 104-100 Blazers, you can't have everything, right? =)~

    So what's with Steve Blake? My goodness... 0-4 from the field, and 0-3 from behind the arc? And he's starting in front of Andre Miller?

    WTF?!?! The guy's been averaging only 5 points a game, if that! Can someone explain what Dean Demopolois is thinking? I'm not following him...

    Speaking of Andre Miller, 20 points off the bench is impressive, notwithstanding his 18 points against Miami, and 24 points against Houston. This guy's heating up, if he's not on fire already.

    And how about Juwon Howard? What a way to step up tonight, even if we came up short like 5 Danny Devito's. 15 points ain't nothing to sneeze at!

    And even if Martell Webster went 0-6 in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th quarters, he at least hit double digits tonight with 13 points in the first quarter alone! That merits some consideration, for someone who usually is luke-warm...

    Lebron and Shaq had been effectively stopped for the first 2 quarters, and for part of the 3rd. But what the heck happened in the 4th? They pretty much just gave'em the game on defense, in my opinion... Even if Blake had 8 assists this game, he's supposed to at least have some skill at stealing. 6 steals in 5 games is not all that impressive when you're normally supposed to be averaging at least 2 to 3 steals a game.

    Cunningham and Bayless needed to step it up for the ice-cold Blake, and unfortunately couldn't do it. Yeah, they're young and still getting their feet wet, but you can't expect B-Roy and L-Train to carry this team by themselves... Not for long at least. The Fernandez injury certainly didn't help matters either.

    Hopefully, they'll pound Milwaukie into venison meat tomorrow...
    I am a fan of Greg Oden getting healthy and shutting up his critics. Period.
  1. S. Diamond
    S. Diamond
    Posts: 22

    Posted 12/11/2009 9:21 PM

    For those wondering, yes, I know we lost 104-99. What I wrote up top wasn't a typo.
    I am a fan of Greg Oden getting healthy and shutting up his critics. Period.
  1. DHawes22
    Posts: 6488

    Posted 12/12/2009 11:17 AM

    Post-Game Thoughts
    Portland played about as good of a game as I thought they could have last night. With my new revised expectations, all I want to see is heart, hustle, and keeping the game competitive. I truly thought this one could have got ugly, but in the first half, we dictated the tempo and behind 13 1st half points from Webster an over 10 points from Howard, the Trail Blazers held a 9 point lead at the half. The game really turned around as soon as Andre Miller checked in. He found crafty ways to score and his ball movement was amazing, which lead to a bunch of Howard's buckets down low. His 20 point, 6 rebound, and 3 assist performance off of the bench is just another reason why I think he should get a chance to start.

    One of the main keys to the game was forcing Cleveland to be a perimeter oriented team. The Trail Blazers did a nice job of not allowing wide open 3's and held the NBA's 2nd best 3 point shooting team to only 3-12 from downtown. We also did about as good a job as you can on James, as he had to shoot jumpers for nearly every basket he got and rarely got to the foul line (6 times in 38 minutes), which is always a plus when you are playing a player of his caliber. The main reason we lost was our inability to defend the pick and roll. Anderson Varejao has no business getting 22 points on any night, yet he was their go to guy in the 4th quarter off of the slip pick and rolls. The Knicks abused us with his last year with David Lee and it looks like the Cavs found that game tape, because it was the same play over and over and over.

    With the game tied going into the 4th quarter, and LeBron sitting on the bench, Portland had their chance to strike quickly out of the gate and take an early lead in the quarter. Instead, we got extremely stagnant on offense, draining down the shot clock on nearly every possession within the first 4 minutes of the quarter and not scoring. The Cavs on the other hand showed excellent ball movement/player movement and got easy buckets in the paint. They got the lead up to 8 and Portland could never respond. When you are under manned on the road and playing against one of the elite teams in the NBA, even the smallest drought or drop off in play can be the difference.

    Brandon had 23 points, but on a very inefficient 9-25 shooting and never really could match James bucket for bucket down the stretch. As soon as Cleveland made the switch and put James on Roy, we should have looked to run some pick and roll to get the upper hand on the matchup, instead our play was to let Roy drain the clock and force a jumper over his hand. By no means am I blaming Roy, he played his heart out and found time to hand out 6 assists, but Aldridge had it clicking (22 points on 8-13 shooting) and we rarely fed him the ball down low. I know Varejao is a tough defender on the blocks, but our players must become better at throwing entry passes. He was the one player they had no answer for and he only gets 13 shots?

    In a game that really impressed me and gave me hope for the rest of the season, I came away very upset with two aspects of the game. First and foremost, what does Jerryd Bayless have to do to get playing time? His minutes have decreased the last 4 games from 17 to 14 to 11 and now 8. In his short stint, he was one of only two Blazers with a positive +/- rating at +6(Cunningham +9) and again, showed a willingness to attack the hoop, which we lacked during the 2nd half. You could tell by the look on his face, in the 4th quarter, that he was beyond ticked off and I really can't blame him. We have 9 healthy bodies and we are only playing 7. In the NBA, it is extremely difficult to only play 7 guys on a night in and night out basis, because their bodies are going to wear down and I saw it during the 3rd when Cleveland upped the tempo and pressured us and we really didn't have the energy to attack it. Secondly, we need Martell Webster to shoot the ball well. The team looked amazing in the first half, and it was mainly due to Webster's 13 points and three 3 pointers. In the 2nd half, there were a few 3 point looks that would have been more than huge, but they didn't drop as he went 0-4 in the half from downtown. On the positive side, he looked fantastic in the 1st half and is having the courage to take the big shots down the stretch. It really is only a matter of time before he is dialed in from downtown. All in all, a great game and effort by the Trail Blazers. If they play like they did last night against the Bucks, I have no doubt in my mind that we will get a win.

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  1. S. Diamond
    S. Diamond
    Posts: 22

    Posted 12/12/2009 10:05 PM

    I agree that Varejao during the 4th quarter got too much leniency in allowing to slip through the defense as a whole. Varejao normally only gets low to mid teens in the time that he plays.
    He should've been stopped cold by Howard on the Switch from Przybilla. What I noticed out there was a bit of miscommunication between players as to who should pick up who on a switch, such as in the case of Varejao.

    Certainly Andre Miller should be getting his kudos, along with Juwon Howard for stepping up. As for Bayless and Cunningham, having the available time to perform might help them, but the question is shooting consistency and opportunity, regardless of +/- rating.

    Heart and Hustle is all well and good, but playoff opportunities are based on solid win/loss records, or at being at least .500. You know like I do that almost only counts in horseshoes and hand-grenades, and tonight's double-OT loss to Milwaukee tonight proves that. My concern is not just that we gave this game to Cleveland, or for that matter Milwaukee... My concern is that down the stretch in the playoffs, when the games do count, and things like this start springing up again... Then what?

    Even without Oden, we can still get deep into the playoffs, as soon as everyone gets healthy. I still think we have a shot of taking it all. Maybe not a great shot, but one still all the same. I just hope I'm not proven wrong.
    I am a fan of Greg Oden getting healthy and shutting up his critics. Period.
  1. DHawes22
    Posts: 6488

    Posted 12/12/2009 11:08 PM

    What a tough game tonight. We got a huge game from LMA, but we just ran out of gas. They hadn't played since Wednesday and we were on the 2nd of a back to back.
    Honestly though, I really feel like this game was stolen from us. How on earth could they reverse that call. There was no indisputable evidence...oh well, that's life in the NBA. Unfortunately, this was a must win considering our tough stretch coming up. We are going to have to claw and scratch if the playoffs are in our future this April.
    I am a fan of
  1. S. Diamond
    S. Diamond
    Posts: 22

    Posted 12/13/2009 3:27 PM

    The difference in my opinion, between a contending team and a top-tier team, is how we react when the crap hits the fan. Although I'm hopeful for this team, if this team keeps on faltering at opportunities to play through adversities, we won't stand a chance in the playoffs.

    Sure L.A. and B-Roy put up good numbers last night, but its teams that win championships, not individuals. If the team collectively chokes at crucial moments, then how can we expect to get out of the first round?

    I'm going to the Kings game tomorrow, and I hope the team doesn't buckle under pressure like they did on Saturday. I paid good money for my seat, and I wanna see a butt-kicking, dagnabit.

    I am a fan of Greg Oden getting healthy and shutting up his critics. Period.
  1. DHawes22
    Posts: 6488

    Posted 12/14/2009 11:31 AM

    Well, right now, we need a consistent 3rd scorer. Travis and Rudy provided sparks off of the bench, but Oden was becoming that force in the middle, getting about 15 a night. If we want to have any chance at making the playoffs, we need someone to step up and get us 15 a night. Roy and LA, as great as they are, simply can not do it by themselves every game. I really think Miller or Bayless could be that 3rd scorer though. Only time will tell.
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