Trail Blazers 119 vs Timberwolves 106 Game Thread
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  1. DHawes22
    Posts: 6488

    Posted 04/01/2012 12:58 PM

    Who was the player of the game?
    LaMarcus Aldridge: 26 points, 10-17 shooting, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block (10)
    Nicolas Batum: 24 points, 4-9 from 3, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks (2)
    Ray Felton: 10 points, 11 assists, 8 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 turnover (3)
    J.J. Hickson: 15 points, 6-10 shooting, 9 rebounds, 1 block (0)

    April 1, 2012
    6:00 PM | Rose Garden Arena | Portland, OR
    Trail Blazers (24-28) vs Timberwolves (25-28)

    For the third time in a span of 29 days. But over the course of those 29 days, a lot of has changed for both teams. While we know the moves the Trail Blazers made around the Trade Deadline and shortly after, the Wolves have been battling injuries left and right. Rookie sensation, Ricky Rubio is out for the season with a torn ACL and it's really had a negative affect on this Minnesota squad. Since going down with an injury on March 9th against the Lakers, the T-Wolves are just 4-9 and like the Blazers, have failed to win consecutive games over that span. Prior to Rubio going down, the Wolves were the Cinderella story of the league, knocking on the door of the postseason for the first time since 2004. They were 18-17 and were just peaking at the right time, winning eight of 11 before the injury against the Lakers. Along with Ricky being on the shelf, the Wolves have battled injuries to multiple key players. Here is the injury situation via the Timberwolves scouting report:

     The Timberwolves know a thing or two about injuries, as center Nikola Pekovic (bone spurs in his right ankle), forward Michael Beasley (sprained great toe in his left foot) and guard JJ Barea (right thigh contusion) all have missed time over the past two weeks. Pekovic is currently listed as out indefinitely, and Barea said Friday he was unsure if he would make the West Coast trip. Beasley is day to day with his foot injury.
    Despite the injuries, the one constant for Minnesota still remains Kevin Love who has does his best to take his game to the next level without his teammates. Over the last 10 games, Love has been in another stratosphere, averaging 29.7 points, including 43.5% shooting from beyond the arc, 14.6 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block. And the first key to beating Minnesota starts with stopping Kevin Love -- something the Trail Blazers have failed to do twice already this season. In the past, Love struggled against his home-town team, posting career averages of 12 and 10 before this season. But the tables have turned and Kevin has turned it up, going off for an average of 35.5 points, on 54.5% field goal shooting, including 8 3's in just 13 attempts, 13 rebounds, and 3.5 assists in two wins this season against the Trail Blazers. Unfortunately for Portland, LaMarcus Aldridge missed Friday's game against the Clippers with a sprained left elbow, this occurring after he experienced hip soreness against the Hornets on Thursday. As of about 1 PM this afternoon, there has been no official word about LA's playing status. If LA can't go that means that J.J. Hickson must not only provide the scoring punch but also be the one to set the tone defensively against Love.

    It was only one start without LA, but Hickson proved to be more than capable as the go-to option in Aldridge's absence as he scored a near career-high 29 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and put on his own personal highlight reel for the Staples Center crowd. Not DeAndre Jordan nor Blake Griffin could stop Hickson's offensive arsenal which saw J.J. score in any and every which way. Love, while the best offensive power forward in the game, still isn't known for his defense and Nikola Pekovic isn't quick enough to keep up with Hickson should he play him tight,  which would allow J.J. to drive past him. But it is all predicated on his jumper. If J.J. can't find his jumper, Timberwolve defenders will just sag off him and dare him to shoot. And if he hits a jumper or two to keep the defense honest, it could be Friday night all over again for Hickson.

    Both teams are missing key pieces they each had earlier in the season. Whether those players were lost to injuries or through trade, they aren't there. And without the additional depth, it puts an onus on the bench unit to keep up the pace set by the starters. Whichever bench is able to score at a consistent clip tonight will get the win for their squad. For Portland, Luke Babbitt has been simply en fuego, making 16 of 31 three-point attempts in the month of March. Jamal Crawford has had a year to forget and somewhat broke out of his slump Friday but still hasn't been a consistent option off the bench, so the scoring load off the bench really falls on Luke's shoulder if Hickson is forced into the starting lineup once again.

    The final and most important key is first-quarter scoring. Minnesota has scored 40 and 37 points in each of the last two opening periods against Portland which set the tone for the rest of the game. Portland must set the tone defensively in the opening 12 minutes and hold the Wolves under 30 points. Since Coach Canales took over, we've seen that when the defense gets a little lapse at times, it affects the offense and the game, at times, gets away from the Blazers.

    Preview: Trail Blazers vs Timberwolves
    The Trail Blazers (24-28) have failed to hold the Timberwolves to under 100 points in their previous meetings, both of which were 12-point losses. Much of that damage was done by Love, who has 42 and 29-point games against Portland this season.

    "I think the biggest part of his game that makes (Love) tough to guard this year is that three ball," said LaMarcus Aldridge. "He's shooting it with confidence and shooting it with a two step jump behind the line and that's where he hurt us. It's not him in the post, it's not just pick and rolls, it's his three ball." 
    Trail Blazers vs Timberwolves Highlights

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  1. log1011
    Posts: 22

    Posted 04/01/2012 3:30 PM

    I think in order for the Blazers to win in Aldridge's absence Batum, Matthews and Hickson especially have to put up reasonable stats. Aldridge and Hickson somewhat have the same role, if Aldridge is out again I think JJ will have another monster night. It seems to me that Matthews shines against the T-wolves, hitting them with that pump fake of his to charge into the middle for the layup or the jump shot off the glass. Batum will have to have one of those aggressive nights, hitting the three ball and taking it in hard to the hoop. Another player that has played a key role in this match-up is Wallace, who apparently is not here any more. All the Blazers have to do is majorly D up Love, and trap him where he doesn't want to shoot. This is no east task, but if the Blazers' manage stop him it will be a much easier ball game to win. However, the Blazers don't have a very good history of stopping Love as of this season.
    I am a fan of GOOD roster decisions
  1. Tobyus Sanchezo
    Tobyus Sanchezo
    Posts: 1669

    Posted 04/01/2012 4:59 PM

    Wolves are up 24 points on us between the two losses. So a 25 point victory today, is an acceptable payback.
    I am a fan of multiple All-Stars on the Blazers roster this season!
  1. freddead
    Posts: 321

    Posted 04/01/2012 8:14 PM

    anyone else feel like they'd like to see flynn start at the point for the rest of the season
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  1. freddead
    Posts: 321

    Posted 04/01/2012 8:28 PM

    id love to keep hixon and flynn when this seasons over thabeet felton and crawford can go somewhere else
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  1. DHawes22
    Posts: 6488

    Posted 04/01/2012 8:43 PM

    I like Hickson but he'll be an unrestricted free agent at season's end (we don't keep his bird rights as we picked him up off of the waiver wire.) Again, I like him but for one he has to continue to produce the rest of the way. I've been burned before by one month wonders playing for a contract (Miles, Darius.) And no, I'm not comparing the two but it's always a dicey situation when you're evaluating a player in a contract year. And finally, I hope no team offers him a ton of money because I'd like to keep him in the big man rotation at a reasonable contract.
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  1. freddead
    Posts: 321

    Posted 04/01/2012 9:17 PM

    hickson didnt when he was in cleveland as well nun of this is new
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  1. freddead
    Posts: 321

    Posted 04/01/2012 9:17 PM

    did it*
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  1. Tobyus Sanchezo
    Tobyus Sanchezo
    Posts: 1669

    Posted 04/01/2012 9:30 PM

    I think every time Sacramento cuts a player, we should immediately grab him.
    I am a fan of multiple All-Stars on the Blazers roster this season!
  1. DHawes22
    Posts: 6488

    Posted 04/01/2012 9:44 PM

    Post-Game Quotes:
    Coach Kaleb Canales on the team effort-

    “6 guys in double figures. Luke had 8. We’re sharing the basketball – 22 assists. Just fun basketball tonight.”
    Coach Canales on Hickson-

    “JJ was terrific again. We felt that he’s a good complimentary player to LaMarcus. We like finishing the game with him down the stretch. Not only JJ, but we thought all the combinations we had out there tonight – we played with flow and we played with pace and tempo which is what we want to do offensively.”

    Jonny Flynn on getting the team involved-
    “I think passing is contagious. When you see people passing up open shots to get somebody else and open shot, others look at and say, ‘That looks a little fun.’ We like getting people involved. I always thought that – passing is contagious and I just try to push the ball up the floor and get other guys shots.”
    Nicolas Batum on the win-
     “We knew that we had a good game last game and LA was back tonight, so we just played a good game. We played a good game, we played sound defense, we controlled the rebounds, we controlled Kevin Love. And then on offense, Ray and Jonny did a great job – I think Ray got 11 assists and Jonny got 7 or 8. So when your two point guards get 20 assists almost, that’s pretty good.”
    J.J. Hickson on playing with Aldridge-
    “LA is more of a pick and pop guy and I’m more of a pick and roll guy. With me and him in the game, if I set the pick and roll, I know I’m ducking in and I know I’m rolling to the basket. And vice versa, he’s a pop guy. You have to pick your poison. And in the post, I’m just playing off of him. I understand that he’s our go-to when he’s on the court and I’m just playing off of him and the point guards are doing a great job of finding me.”
    Hickson on the balanced attack-

    “I think that’s the beauty about our team, we have balance. Wes had a good game – like you said, everybody had a good game. Everybody plays their part night in, night out, on any given night anyone can go off for 20 plus or 10 or more rebounds. So we just have a balanced attack.”

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  1. Niki C
    Niki C
    Posts: 12

    Posted 04/01/2012 9:49 PM

    Good team effort. Finally some chemistry. Hopefully they try to keep some of it going, going into next season. But I guess only time will tell. It is nice to see everyone shining. Should be an interesting end of the season. :)
    I am a fan of Keeping the Lakers out of the playoffs. And the EPIC Kobe fit that ensues.
  1. Tobyus Sanchezo
    Tobyus Sanchezo
    Posts: 1669

    Posted 04/01/2012 10:12 PM

    Rockets lost a close one, but the Suns and Nuggets both won their games. We're gonna need a bunch more losses from the teams ahead of us. Regardless, the Blazers slowly but surely creeping up into the playoff mix.
    I am a fan of multiple All-Stars on the Blazers roster this season!
  1. dgpdx
    Posts: 8

    Posted 04/01/2012 10:16 PM

    LA's defense on Kevin Love was a much a factor in the win as any other. He wasn't going to let Love embarrass the Blazers a second time at home. 
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  1. Blazer247
    Posts: 591

    Posted 04/01/2012 10:30 PM

    Tobyus at least we play Utah tomorrow, so hopefully should be able to close that gap just a little more...
    I am a fan of BLAZER BASKETBALL. Not drafts, not business, not trades, not David Stern. Just BLAZER BASKETBALL.
  1. Posted 04/01/2012 10:41 PM

    Im not sure anyone noticed but again portland was called for almost twice as many fouls as their opponent! This time they threw the crap right in the refs faces by taking the game anyway, Very nice play by an entire team awesome job guys keep up the good work! JJ Hickson was a great addition to this team even if he is only here for the last part of the season and I love the way flynn plays he fills what Felton fails even though we are finally ( too late ) seeing a Felton that can play for the blazers instead of our opponents. Hickson your definetly not invisable and I love your efforts and energy please keep it up. Would love to see you and flynn both signed for a couple years. I see tallent and chemestry in this group, what a releaf after a dissapointing first half of the season.
    I am a fan of the NBA fining referee's for obvious stupid calls and HARD AGRESSIVE DEFENCE FROM START TO FINISH NOT WAITING TO DIG A 10-30 POINT HOLE
  1. lrac
    Posts: 29

    Posted 04/02/2012 3:56 AM

    i think we should bring jj of the bench because he will produce better with la out i think. anyway best thing  about last nights game besides the chemistry and the w? i think it was aldridge being physical, aggressive and defending love pretty well. i think he sees hickson crashing the boards on both ends and feels like he can do that too would be awesome if he keeps up his aggressiveness
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  1. BDawg
    Posts: 1593

    Posted 04/02/2012 5:39 AM

    Posted By lrac on 04/02/2012 3:56 AM
    anyway best thing  about last nights game besides the chemistry and the w? i think it was aldridge being physical, aggressive and defending love pretty well. i think he sees hickson crashing the boards on both ends and feels like he can do that too would be awesome if he keeps up his aggressiveness
    Agree.  LA's aggressive play is essential to this team having success.  Like every other variable this season involving the Blazers, consistency from LA in terms of his aggressiveness, has been absent.

    I am a fan of players that play with PASSION and PRIDE
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