As the team heads out on the road I’ll share my thoughts on the highs and lows of each quarter and their importance to the game, team and season going forward. Let’s discuss!
Road Review: Three Ugly Quarters Lead To Portland's First Loss
By sarahhecht Posted in: Blazers, Clippers
LA CLIPPERS 93, PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS 88
Loved: Aldridge’s mid-range jumper
LaMarcus Aldridge’s mid-range jumper was smooth through the first few quarters tonight. It’s not just his shooting percentages—they were good but not great—but it’s where he took his shots from. LA was all over the floor, his unpredictability keeping the Clippers guessing. Not to mention, I love his shooting form. He’s got one pretty shot.
Loathed: Zero fast break points
For a team in the process of adopting a running offense scoring ZERO points on the break is a disaster. That abysmal stat paired with five turnovers and 35 percent shooting from the floor told the story of the first quarter. And the second. And the third.
Loved: Wesley Matthews
It’s hard to choose a love when it seemed like the entire game was disappointing thus far. But for the second I’ll go with Matthews, he was the driving force in the quarter. He and Aldridge we’re the two main scorers with seven and eight points each. Matthews also shot 100 percent from behind the arc and the charity stripe. In another ugly 12 minutes it was something...
Loathed: Passing, points in the paint
Was the ball covered in Crisco? Portland couldn’t keep a hold of the ball for anything. From bad passes down the floor to the breaking man to cross court passes that were continuously picked off, the Trail Blazers demonstrated the worst passing I’ve seen so far in this young season.
The Clippers dominated points in the paint outscoring the Trail Blazers 14-4. Portland just wasn’t driving. When shots aren’t falling from the outside you’ve got to get to the rim. Plain and simple. The few times we saw guys drive they added points to the score. Why didn’t they get inside more? Hammer it in fellas.
Loved: Jamal Crawford
In Crawford’s 5:12 in the third he shot 3-of-4 from the floor and knocked down two free throws for eight points. With no other Trail Blazer scoring more than two points, Crawford was key. Even though the final run didn’t really start until the fourth quarter, I’m crediting JC with putting the team on his back to keep them in striking distance.
Loathed: Everything else
Pretty much everything other than Crawford taking over was ugly. Ending a quarter down 17 isn’t fun. Period.
Loved: Nicolas Batum, comeback
Batum came out strong in the fourth. He scored 11 points nailing all for of his shots from the field, including two shots from long-range. His only miss was a free throw, but he made up for the miscue with three defensive rebounds—second in the quarter to LaMarcus Aldridge. Batum’s shooting, defense and his steal contributed to the 36-24 Trail Blazers domination of the quarter. We’ve been waiting for Nico to make an impact and his solid performance tonight wasn’t the breakout we’ve been hoping for, but was clutch to the comeback.
Loathed: Aldridge’s 3-pointer
What was with that shot? With Portland within four and holding the momentum card, choosing to dish to Aldridge in the corner for a three felt like the wrong choice. Especially with just over a minute left in the game. Shot selection is an incredibly important factor when mounting a comeback and that one certainly didn’t make much sense when Batum and Crawford were on fire.
Ugly, ugly, UGLY. This is one of those games where you watch the tape, learn all you can, pack it away and move on.
Over and over we’ve heard the saying “you’ve got to play for 48 minutes.” Tonight the Trail Blazers didn’t come anywhere close to that. Scoring 17 points in the first quarter, 19 in the second and only 16 in the third led to a 17 point deficit after three. Yuck.
The big positive? We saw the team gut it out and continue to push all the way to the finish line. No one threw in the towel.
How are you feeling after the first loss of the season?