Blazers/Cavs Pre-Game
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  1. DHawes22
    Posts: 6488

    Posted 01/10/2010 12:18 PM

    After a dominating performance over the defending champs, the Trail Blazers (23-15) must take their level of play up another notch as LeBron James and the Cavaliers (28-10) stroll into town for a nationally televised affair. Cleveland has taken the previous five games from Portland, including back to back heart breakers the past two games at the Rose Garden. Playing with only an eight man rotation, it will be intriguing to see how the Trail Blazers not only physically, but emotionally, handle this four-game home-stand that feels more like a gauntlet.

    Although LeBron James has career averages of 27.5 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 7.6 assists in 13 games, LeBron will get those numbers regardless as there is no stopping him, only hoping he doesn't go off for 50+ on you. With that all said, Cleveland's bigs, Shaq, Big Z, and Varejao are the x-factor's tonight. In their early December, 104-99 win in Cleveland, those three players combined for 42 points, 23 rebounds, and 2 blocks. Most notably, it was the slip pick and roll ran by James and Varejao all 4th quarter long that was the difference. Portland definitely is not the greatest team at defending the pick and roll, and without a true center in there to defend the paint, it would be foolish of Cleveland to not run this play at will.

    There is no way Martell Webster will be able to stop LeBron tonight, but he can do exactly what he did against Kobe. Force LeBron to take shots he doesn't want to, always leave a hand in the face during the shot, and make him earn every thing he gets. I'm fine with James getting 30, as long as it takes him over 25 shots to accomplish that. On the offensive end, Marty is going to have to be more accurate than his 6-17 shooting performance, including 2-10 from distance, because he is really our only 3-point threat with Rudy, Travis, and Nic out and no one really knowing what to expect from Blake's return tonight.

    In my mind, I really don't think there is a very realistic chance we pull this one out tonight. We have no one to match up with Shaq in the post, LeBron will be LeBron, and if we double, they have all the shooters in the world to make us pay as they are the league's #1 3-point shooting team at 41.6%, and I think we may be a little too emotionally drained from last Friday's victory over Los Angeles. But my heart says, "Blazers Win! Blazers Win!" Cleveland definitely has the more talent currently, but I have never seen a Trail Blazer team, in recent memory, with as much heart and resiliency as this current bunch of guys. Look for Brandon Roy to continue to make his case for his third straight All-Star appearance, Andre to keep running the show, Juwan Howard defying age, and Jerryd Bayless heating up and scoring another 15+ points. The key to the game tonight will be free throws. Portland needs to get Cleveland into early team foul trouble and continue to attack and make a living at the charity stripe. On the flip side, it is imperative to stay out of foul trouble since we only have 10 healthy guys, but really only play eight.
    Game 39 Prediction: Trail Blazers 104 Cavaliers 100
    I am a fan of
  1. BR7_Fan
    Posts: 399

    Posted 01/10/2010 12:39 PM

    The front court will have their hands full tonight for sure, we need all our forwards to play well and i'm looking for Jeff to be a x-factor off the bench. Looking to see how many minutes Marty plays tonight, and what kind of impact Blake will have. Shaq isn't the player he used to be but...he's a big body, a big body we don't have. Should be a entertaining game none the less. If the Nuggets can beat them without Melo at home, we can beat the Cavs too!
    I am a fan of RIP CITY > LOB CITY
  1. DHawes22
    Posts: 6488

    Posted 01/10/2010 12:54 PM

    Good point about Jeff, as he wasn't active in our last matchup against them back in December. He will definitely need to be a terror on the glass tonight. No matter how old or beat up he is, Shaq always seems to get up to play us. Hopefully his age catches up to him and he won't be able to go more than 20 minutes tonight.
    I am a fan of
  1. BR7_Fan
    Posts: 399

    Posted 01/10/2010 1:06 PM

    We can only hope, too bad Joel's out. I love the Shaq/Joel match-up, I think they get in each others head.
    I am a fan of RIP CITY > LOB CITY
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