Trail Blazers/Jazz Post-Game
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  1. DHawes22
    Posts: 6488

    Posted 01/28/2010 3:23 PM

    Post-Game Thoughts
    Okay Trail Blazers, make up your minds: Playoffs or NBA Draft Lottery? It has been an admirable month-long run, but, as a fan, I can't take the back and forth type of play. One week we'll win three of four on the most outstanding road trip in years and the next we are dropping home games like none other. I realize we have played the last few without Brandon, but the mindset in which we are coming out with is alarming. New Orleans jumped out on us by 16 in the 1st, scored well over 20 points in the paint during that quarter. Last night, Utah got up by as much as 26, shot 70% all the way up through the 3rd quarter and had nearly 30 points in the paint in the 1st period. I am at a loss for words on numerous subjects. First, do we not watch game film of these teams? Its not like either franchise has changed a whole lot over the past 3 seasons and why does it take so long to adjust to what they were doing? Utah ran lay-up drills the entire half. Secondly, where is the passion and fire from this squad that made us Blazer fans so proud at how valiant they were fighting in spite of these injuries. I realize we were bounded and determined to come back down to earth offensively, but defense should always be a constant. Defense is 90% effort, 10% athleticism.

    "To dig a very deep hole and try to fight out of that is tough," Portland coach Nate McMillan said. "There wasn't much defense by us that first half. [The Jazz] just attacked us, and we had no answer. We missed some shots, and that affected us defensively. The next three quarters we fought, but we ran out of gas."

    Too little, too late. It was the slogan of the past two games and could be what fans will be saying come April if Portland misses out on the playoffs. This 10 game stretch is no joke and we are already 0-2, losing both at home. Right now 5-5 seems like a pipe dream and we'd be lucky to get 3 of these next 8. I'm afraid if we free fall too much right now, there won't be enough time for us to pick ourselves back up. With Roy's return still in doubt, the Trail Blazers will need to band together, much like they did once Oden and Joel went out with the "Us against the world" mentality and fight. The Draft Lottery is always exciting...for one day out of the calender year, but the playoffs would be just what the doctor ordered. What this young team needs most is more experience in playoff basketball. I really do not mind if the team loses, if they show fight, but I was pretty upset with the lack of urgency to start these past two home games.

    As the season goes along, I try to temper my expectations so I can just enjoy the game and progress of some of our young, budding stars. Tonight saw Nicolas Batum show off the entire repertoire. He nailed three's, mid-range buckets off of the dribble, finish with authority, take charges, and do most of his damage while defending one of the best point guards in the game in Deron Williams. In the end, his stat line read, 16 points (7-9),including 2-2 from downtown, 4 rebounds, 1 steal and 1 block. If Batum continues to mature and progress as I project him to, he will become an untouchable trade asset, part of the core of this Trail Blazer franchise along with Brandon Roy. Outside of a healthy Greg Oden, Nico possesses the greatest chance of becoming an All-Star.

    Another player who really impressed me in the 2nd half was LaMarcus Aldridge. Although his defense left something to be desired in the 1st half, for the most part he didn't shy away from the ball. With Roy sidelined, we need LaMarcus to take the bulk of the shots. He put up 24 shots, and even though only 10 ripped cord, he was a little more aggressive than usual and finally got to the line more than twice a game, attempting 7 and making 5 and ending the night with 25 total points. Also, without Gregzilla, LMA has upped his rebounding efforts and his 9 tonight were not different, especially attacking the offensive glass for 4 boards. If LMA misses shots, so be it, but the only way LaMarcus will meet his potential is to get aggressive and as the saying goes, "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take."
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