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

    Posted 02/28/2010 12:08 AM

    Post-Game Thoughts
    It turns out you can not make a field goal for more than 5 minutes in the 2nd quarter and still extend the lead when you play a team as poor as the Wolves. As awkward and lackadaisical as Portland looked in the first half, it would have taken a complete meltdown to lose this one tonight. What really pushed the game into Portland's favor were a few bailout calls the Blazers got just from the Wolves own ineptitude during the middle of the 2nd quarter when both teams were struggling to make a field goal. LaMarcus felt Love's hands on the ball and swung his arms through in a shooting motion to draw a foul, Martell drove recklessly down the lane with less than five seconds on the shot clock only to get hammered by Jefferson, and Rudy threw up a prayer of a reverse lay-up with one on the shot clock only to see Darko get greedy and go for the block but commit a foul instead. The Trail Blazers connected on 28-35 from the foul line which enabled them to escape from the Timberwolves. When you play a team as terrible and young as Minnesota all you have to do is play ball and they will beat themselves.

    The game was won during the 2nd and 3rd quarters where Portland outscored Minnesota, 58-34, and the main cohort for the Blazers was none other than Nico Batum. Batum was nothing short of spectacular tonight, looking like a young Scottie Pippen, doing it all on the court. Whatever the Blazers needed, Nico provided. Whether it was running the break, spot up shooting from 3, hitting shots off of the dribble, or wreaking havoc on defense, Batum was everywhere during those two quarters which put the game away for good. In particular, Batum had 22 of his career-high 31 points (previous high was 16) in the 3rd. Wouldn't it be nice it he could bottle it up and saved for the playoffs? All in all, to go along with his 31 points, he achieved career-highs in assists with 7 and steals with 3 to go along with 7 rebounds.

    "If he shoots the ball like that, he's going to be tough to keep off the floor," Portland coach Nate McMillan said. "His shot has certainly improved and he's taking it with confidence. And we're going to need that from him because he's going to get that opportunity with teams double-teaming and leaving him open."

    "He has worked his way into the lineup," McMillan said. "He's continuing to work hard and is getting confidence with his shot. Tonight was the best I've ever seen him shoot the ball."

    The Blazers bench could have scored about 10 tonight and the game would have still been a W, but they came alive tonight for a massive 43 points, lead by Fernandez's 18 on only 8 shots. What seems to separate Rudy's hot shooting nights from his ice cold slumps are his free throw attempts. Tonight he was a perfect 6-6 from the foul line and not only does seeing the ball go through the hoop automatically raise his confidence, it keeps the defense honest as now they have to play him for the drive and give him that much needed extra space to get free for the 3. As for the other members of the bench, no one really stood out, but Patty Mills doesn't get much court time nor hardly any blog coverage here. Albeit in garbage time, Patty set himself a new career-high with 8 points on 3-5 shooting. He has a silky smooth jump shot and is deceptively quick for how stocky he is, getting to any point on the court at will.

    This was a must win and a much needed win at that, as it ensures the Blazers of a winning road trip, but Trail Blazer fans should not look into this game too much. Anytime you can hold a 30 point 2nd half lead and win by 19 and Roy is held in check to 7 points while Andre only drops 4 it shows just how awful the Wolves are. I don't want to deny the Blazers any credit at all, because they deserved to win, were mentally prepared for the game (now 11-3 on the 2nd half of a back to back), and the best team on the floor tonight. But Minnesota is awful, worse than New Jersey awful. The Wolves handed the game over to us on a silver platter, literally, with 19 team turnovers compared to only 7 for Portland. Many of those turnovers were just careless basketball that lead to cheap, fast-break points which helped break the game open in the 2nd quarter.

    It will be interesting to see how these last 20 games play out. Currently the Blazers sit tied for 7th in the West at 35-27 and would have to play .750 ball (15-5) the rest of the way to reach the 50 win mark. Finally, everyone seems healthy (knock on wood) and Camby's influence on the defensive end is shining brighter and brighter as his time on the court increases. It was no different against Minnesota, swatting away 4 shots and doing so by either coming from out of nowhere on the weak side or defending his man straight up. Aldridge seems to really hitting his stride this past month and Brandon is slowly but surely starting to take the form of the Brandon who was 2nd Team All-NBA in 09. The one aspect missing from this team is consistent play from the bench, which will determine a decent seed (5 or 6) versus almost a guaranteed 1st round exit or missing the playoffs entirely. The Blazers are 4-3 since the All-Star break and like the game in Chicago, beating Memphis would boost the Blazers and help them rise in the standings.
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  1. ClydeFrog
    Posts: 975

    Posted 03/01/2010 11:32 AM

    A must see for any Blazer/Batum fans!

    I am a fan of Watching Elliot Williams Take Flight!
  1. blazer003
    Posts: 27

    Posted 03/01/2010 4:46 PM

    Batum was just on fire.  I can't wait till he starts stepping up and being really assertive all the time.  It's probably not his style to force anything, but he's definitely been more aggressive this year and I look for that to continue to grow.
    I am a fan of Winning in the playoffs despite all odds.
  1. Tobyus Sanchezo
    Tobyus Sanchezo
    Posts: 1669

    Posted 03/02/2010 2:10 AM

    Bayless RULES!!
    I am a fan of multiple All-Stars on the Blazers roster this season!
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