‘It’s Like Point Guard Heaven’
Thirty-one. Twenty-eight. Seventeen. Sixteen.
That’s the number of points scored by each of the Trail Blazers who hit double-digits in tonight’s 107-96 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.
That’s the number of assists Portland point guard Raymond Felton doled out as those points were scored.
Felton may not be the first to jump out from the stat sheet tonight—he shot 3-of-14 from the floor and scored eight points—but his impact on the triumph over the Lakers goes far beyond just a shooting percentage.
Over the last six games the Trail Blazers have visibly bonded as a team. With that we’ve seen them play more cohesively and we’ve seen Felton’s true potential in Portland begin to blossom. His unique court-vision is complemented by his uncanny knack to find players nobody sees coming and complete passes that can only be described as circus-like. It’s an ability he says will continue to improve as the season rolls on.
“People who watched me over the last six years understand that that’s what I have in my game,” Felton said. “I’m the type of person, I see passes before they even form. I see things happening before my teammates do. So now that we starting to get that chemistry they know it’s coming.”
Felton knows his role on this Portland team. Surrounded by a roster built to have four or five guys score 15-plus on any given night, he’s proud to recognize the shift his play has, and will continue, to take in Rip City.
“I averaged 18 in New York, I had to. I ended up averaging 15 for the year. This might be a season where I may not average that,” Felton said “I might average 11 to 12 points a game, but I’m gonna be in the elite, the top, in assists because we got so many scorers my job is so easy.”
After a performance like tonight it’s easy to see what he means. His game-high ten dimes were seconded by Derek Fisher’s six and followed by fellow Trail Blazer Marcus Camby’s four. On a night when your team racks up 20 assists, owning half of them is definitely a success.
But it’s not just his assist stats that have Felton beaming, it’s also how those leads were executed. He didn’t hesitate one bit to gloat about the abundance of scoring opportunities his teammates present him each night.
“You got guys that can score at all kinds of angles,” he said. “You got slashers, you got three-point shooters, you got post-up guys, you got pick-and-pop guys, you got roll guys. It’s like point guard heaven.”
Watching Felton capitalize on the talent of his teammates while doing the same with his own skill-set is giving Trail Blazers fans the same feeling.
We’re in point guard heaven.