Blazers/Magic Pre-Game Thoughts
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  1. DHawes22
    Posts: 6488

    Posted 12/19/2009 12:38 PM

    The Trail Blazers (16-11) head east to take part in, arguably, their most devastating road trip of the season, starting off with a giant test against the Orlando Magic (19-7). Although the Trail Blazers have had success down in Orlando, including last season's 106-99 victory, but Portland also got 20 points each from Blake and Outlaw and Rudy chipped in 16. I doubt Portland gets that type of production tonight from their role players, considering Outlaw and Rudy are both out with injuries an Steve has only scored in double figures in 6 out a possible 27 games this year, with 18 being his season-high so far, but that was back in early November against the Thunder.

    Surprisingly, Orlando is only 8th in the NBA in points per game at a little over 102 a night. When you factor in all of their offensive minded weapons, getting only 102 a night is a little sub-par if you ask me. Although Portland won last year in Orlando without Greg Oden and Joel Przybilla played only 9.5 minutes, it is usually a recipe for disaster and we will need Joel to stay on the court for a sustained amount of time tonight to have a chance. With averages of 18 points, 13 rebounds, and 2 blocks, Dwight is going to get his, but he must be contained. The key is to not allow a 30-20 type of game and keep him off of the offensive glass. The best time to shoot a 3 is either off of the fast break or offensive rebound, and with the Magic shooting the 6th best 3 point percentage in the NBA at 37.1%, teams play with fire by giving Orlando extra opportunities to burn them with shots from downtown.

    Yes, the Trail Blazers are 9-2 with Andre Miller starting, but he hasn't really been the reason why that stat has held true the past two games with totals of 8 points, 8 assists, 3 rebounds, and shooting an awful 3-13 from the field. If Portland wants to shock the league with in a win tonight, guys like Webster, Bayless, and either Blake or Miller need to give us the type of performance we got from Trav, Steve, and Rudy last season. I liked what I saw early on against Phoenix where Andre took Dragic down on the blocks and abused him in the post. Jason Williams is known for a lot of things during his tenure in the NBA, but defense is not one of them. Hopefully he gets a few post-up buckets, eventually drawing the double team,and kicking it out to open shooters or dishing it to cutters slashing down the middle.

    Outside of the game at Dallas, this is the most difficult game during this upcoming five-game stretch. If we had more of a bench, I could see us pulling it out, but Orlando is a very deep team that I think will eventually wear us out. Look for the Trail Blazers to keep this one close through halftime, but I have a feeling a few offensive rebounds will lead to some back breaking 3's. Ryan Anderson, Matt Barnes, Vince Carter, Mikal Pietrus, and Rashard Lewis are just too many three point weapons to have on one team and for all of them to be ice cold is highly unlikely.

    Game 28 Prediction: Trail Blazers 96 Magic 108
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