sarahhecht

Jan 01

Road Review: Three Ugly Quarters Lead To Portland's First Loss

By sarahhecht Posted in: Blazers, Clippers
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!

LA CLIPPERS 93, PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS 88

First Quarter

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.

Second Quarter

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.

Third Quarter

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.

Fourth Quarter

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.

Overall Impressions

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?

5 Comments

  1. Well Sarah, I think that is a pretty accurate account for the failure tonight but a couple things I would like to point out. First is ball movement...it vanished. It looked like the Blazers falling into that bad habit of just standing and watching the man with the ball. I saw so many times when they had zero movement when Felton or Matthews had the ball and where were the cutters when LA was posting up? Horrible. How many points did Wallace get??? Slash was not slashing tonight! LOL Not to discredit the Clippers Defense, but come on. Then we need to talk about turnovers and Felton. On many more then one occasion this season he tries driving into the timber with nowhere to go (ala Bayless) and ends up either getting the ball poked away or making a bad pass by leaving his feet. Too much fancy dribbling. Just not in tonights game, but all the others as well. this just did not look like the Portland team we saw in the first 3 games and I actually thought they would have more energy and be pushing the running game tonight especially on a day's rest?

    Bottom line though, if we play this horrible and only lose by the small margin we did it goes to show what can happen if we can play a full 48 minutes of hoop! If ya think about it, one bad ref call and one prayer thrown up by CP3 and we "might" have won this game. I must also agree the Aldridge 3 point attempt was the last thing I expected when JC was leading the way and also Batum had heated up. Plus it took away from our rebounding force under the basket.

    I don't like the feeling I have right now because we should have won this game!!! I would have rather won this one and lost at OKC because that would have made sence. Anyhow, still a young season and alot to learn. I am sure the boys will rebound and fix their mistakes. GO BLAZERS!!!

    peace out,
    daddy

    by daddylogan on 1/1/2012 11:19 PM
  2. I'm feeling: Philosophical.

    We've managed three wins when we weren't always playing well and were, at times, damn sloppy. Call this game a "reality check."

    Loved the flashes of brilliance brought by Batum and Crawford --and the fact that it's somebody different who steps up almost every game.

    Despite recent roster changes the Clips aren't that good, even on paper. A really good team like the Blazers won't win against less-talented teams if they can't bring at least 3 quarters of energy and focus. (Okay, two quarters... minimum.)

    Let this game be a catalyst for performance in the upcoming game against OKC.

    by occassia on 1/1/2012 11:20 PM
  3. Hey Miss Sarah: you hit about everything. The big one is Ugly, Ugly, Ugly. That was both us and the opponents.

    You and I had a discussion after the loss to Utah about structured half court performance and ball tempo. We agreed that you need both if the opponents take one away you can fall back on the other. Upon the misfortune of having to watch the game from the Clippers announcers, I was painfully aware that their big game plan was the same as Utah’s second game. Use Nate’s tricks and slow down the tempo with good ball movement and good shot selection.
    I am going to be a I told you so type guy, right now because of all the hatred thrown at Brandon and Dre last year for slowing the ball down and playing a strong half court game. I distinctly remember the debates I had on this blog, Barrett’s blog and many others, although many hate the slow pace and creating your own shot, as Dre, BRoy, and Travis could do, it is essential to our game. In fact until we inserted JC and the boys (pun intended), our structured half court offense was completely missing, our fast pace offense was taken away from us and our offensive rebounds was reduced. Utah did it, the Mavs did it last year in the play-offs and teams will keep doing it until we learn to stop it.

    OK, enough of the belly aching, the good news in my opinion is we have the talent for both fast break and slow tempo offense. Just think about it Sarah, Felton looked great against the fast tempo teams we played, Philly and Denver.
    OTOH, JC looked somewhat out of place against those teams but shined in the Sac game and last night’s game; two completely different type games. I’ll be the first to admit that Felton would have had a much better game if it had not been for CP3. But the reason we had a come back was that JC could create and use Batum where Matthews and Felton couldn’t. Another factor that needs to be brought out, other then LMA 3 point attempt was when JC had us within shouting distance of a win, the Clippers called a time out and CP3 announced that he was going to start guarding JC, because JC would beat them if he wasn’t stopped. Not the Blazers, according to the Clippers, they already had the rest of the team beat, but like BRoy, Crawford could beat them by himself.

    Long short, and I guess it is a little late for that LOL. If the opponents are trying to play up-tempo with us put in Felton and Matthews, if they try to take the fast pace away from us put in JC and Nico.

    by Hg on 1/2/2012 4:25 AM
  4. I am feeling, surprisingly, OK about the first loss. Sure, we had a lot of negatives, but we also had some positives to look forward too in the future. We saw Jamal Crawford be the Jamal Crawford we have heard about, and with that Jamal Crawford we almost came back to win a game where we were down by 15 with 10 minutes to go.

    I liked the line up we had in the 4th. It worked. I loved Kurt Thomas working with Jamal. I also loved Nicolas Batum being in the game in the final minutes. If we just started our run just a little bit earlier. We might have won. I think if we were to play this game later in the season, we would win.

    I was disappointed in Gerald Wallace not attempting very many shots, and getting called for a charge every time he drove to the basket to be aggressive. I talked about this in my blog post, but it seems like Gerald Wallace wasn't getting passed the ball very much. For that reason, he didn't have a chance to be the aggressor that we saw the first 2 games of the season

    by blazerfan8825 on 1/2/2012 7:14 PM
  5. Ugly is an understatement. The 4th quarter was worth watching. No quit in our team. ROLL ON BLAZERS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    by mbmurr1 on 1/5/2012 5:46 PM
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