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

    Posted 01/15/2010 11:44 AM


    The 2009-2010 season has finally reached the half-way mark as the Trail Blazers (24-16) take on the Magic (26-13) to end their five-game home-stand. The last time these two teams met, Portland lost a 92-83 grind-it-out affair in which the game was tied heading into the 4th quarter, but the iron became unkind for our Blazers. A lot of this game rides on the injuries to each team's superstar. Brandon Roy is listed as questionable with a sore hamstring and will be a game-time decision, while Vince Carter is also questionable with a shoulder injury. Roy scored 33 points last meeting, while Carter shot a dreadful 1-14 from the floor.

    For Portland to have any chance at a victory tonight, LaMarcus Aldridge needs to come to play the same way he did against Milwaukee by coming out aggressive and never taking his foot off of the gas. He had quite possibly the worst game of his season against Orlando back in December where he tallied 3 points, on 1-6 shooting, and managed only to secure 1 rebound, while Dwight Howard gobbled up 20 of them. I realize no one should ever expect LMA to stop the league's best rebounder, because Dwight is just that dominant on the boards, but a -19 differential is unacceptable, and without Joel and Greg in there tonight, he will really have to focus hard on hitting those boards. If Roy does play, look for him to only try to do things in spurts, but Aldridge will be their horse for the majority of the game. I have no doubt that he can dominate Rashard Lewis in the post as long as he fights for good position and the guards make the correct entry passes.

    The game for Portland will come down to the battle of the boards. Each team is top 6th in the NBA in rebounding differential, Portland #5 (+2.72)and Orlando #6 (+2.46). To no one's surprise, Dwight Howard is leading the NBA again in rebounding at 13.2 per game and he has the ability to change the course of the game on the glass alone by gaining second chances for his offense, stopping any fast break chances, and keeping the Trail Blazers from getting second opportunities. Lately, it seems like whenever the Blazers can win the rebounding battle, they find themselves with a W at the end of the night.

    Defensively, I would play Howard straight up. He's quicker than Shaq, but doesn't have the brute size or force O'Neal possesses. Howard doesn't have any go-to post moves, so if he makes a hook shot or two, so be it. I'd rather take my chances with Howard in the post than doubling down and giving the 6th ranked three-point shooting team (.367) free reign on open trifectas. Orlando occupies six players on their roster who are shooting over 35% from downtown with at least 75 attempts on the season: J.J. Redick (.407), Jason Williams (.405), Rashard Lewis (.399), Ryan Anderson (.391), Jameer Nelson (.371), and Mickael Pietrus (.363). Not to mention the Magic acquired Vince Carter, if he plays, and Matt Barnes, two players who have the ability to go off on any given night. What is boils down to is outside of the two centers, Howard and Gortat, at any given time, the Magic could have four three-point threats on the court at one time.

    Orlando has lost five of their past seven games, including their recent 97-115 performance at Denver, and are on the road for the third game of their four-game road trip. Surprisingly, Orlando is a poor road team by their standards this year, racking up a 14-9 record, compared to back to back 27-14 records in the 2008 and 2009 seasons. I really had a great feeling about this game until I heard about Roy potentially missing the game tonight. I do realize we pulled one out in San Antonio by giving the green light to Jerryd Bayless, but I'm not sure Portland can go another game without Roy's 23 points, 5 assists, and 4 rebounds. Yes, Rudy is back, but most likely is in no shape to play any more minutes than his 15 played on Wednesday night. Assuming Roy can't go, the offensive burden goes onto the veteran shoulders of Andre Miller and second-year spark Jerryd Bayless. An X-Factor to think about is holding Orlando to under 100 points tonight. The Trail Blazers are an unimpressive 2-11 when they allow their opponent to break the century mark. When it's all said and done, Aldridge steps up big time and starts his post All-Star torrid play earlier than usual and a combined team-effort, just like the one against Milwaukee, paces Portland to a win before they head back East for a four-game road trip.
    Game 41 Prediction: Trail Blazers 97 Magic 92
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  1. BR7_Fan
    BR7_Fan
    Posts: 399

    Posted 01/15/2010 12:26 PM

    Lucky for us Howard has been in a scoring funk the last few games, but our decimated roster might motivate Superman to start scoring. We can only hope to limit Howard's touches on offense and get any boards out of his general area. (crash them boards guards!) If Roy is a no-go tonight Bayless will most likely have to carry the scoring load, Rudy should find his 3 stroke tonight as well. Howard/Aldridge/Pendergraph will have their hands full in the front court again, I look for a low scoring game in the high 80s/low 90s.
    I am a fan of RIP CITY > LOB CITY
  1. Dan Harbison
    Dan Harbison
    Posts: 219

    Posted 01/15/2010 12:30 PM

    Go for a gimmicking defense. Front and back Howard. Play LA at the 3, Pendergraph and Howard it with Dante and LA spelling them. Thow Shav in for 6 quick fouls and make him shoot free throws and pray for an off shooting night from 3 for Rashard.
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  1. ClydeFrog
    ClydeFrog
    Posts: 975

    Posted 01/15/2010 5:17 PM

    The only way I would Hack-A-Dwight is if we are already in the penalty, because if we get into the penalty early, it will be over.
    Before I try a gimmick defense, I want to make Dwight actually use a legit low post move and score.  I don't think he is good enough to warrant a constant double team, but if we just front him solely, they will throw the lob over the top. Maybe try a Box-1 Zone on him?
    I don't know, just pray they are off their 3's tonight.
    I am a fan of Watching Elliot Williams Take Flight!
  1. DHawes22
    DHawes22
    Posts: 6488

    Posted 01/15/2010 6:19 PM

    B-Roy is out for tonight's game against Orlando. Jerryd Bayless is making a start in his place. This season just keeps throwing curve balls our way. Let's hope Bayless has another amazing performance on national television, ala the Phoenix game!
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