What A Long, Strange, Fulfilling Night It Was
I must admit, nationally televised games are incredible--especially when the Blazers are firing on all cylinders. As usual, the crowd was second to none. The announcers were glowing about how great Portland has looked.
Even Charles Barkley, who has always had some level of criticism towards the Blazers, was heard on TNT’s broadcast saying, “That Portland Trail Blazer team is the best team I’ve seen in the West this year.” But Blazer fans weren’t necessarily enamored with TNT’s coverage. Unfortunately, that’s just the way the cookie crumbles .
You see, the Miami-Atlanta game (without LeBron and D-Wade suiting up) went to 3 overtimes…so west coast viewers got stuck until THAT game went final. In other words, Blazer fans got to see one half of basketball. Here’s the good part, they saw the half that mattered most.
Without question, it was the Blazers most complete game yet. Weren’t we fooled when we thought that we’d be seeing bad basketball for a few weeks in this post-lockout?? Seriously Blazers?? Turns out it was one of the best performances I’ve seen from this team in the 10+ years I’ve covered this team.
The stat that stood out most was the 4 turnovers for the game. By the way, the franchise record for fewest in a game is 3. Yes, Portland was that good. They played their game.
Gerald Wallace was oozing with confidence and had his foot on the accelerator all night long. Finished with a game-high 31 vs. LA. Keep in mind, the Lakers were true on 13 of their first 15 shots Thursday. And, I may start buying that Andrew Bynum is the real deal. Pretty amazing how effective he has been without that triangle offense, right? Bynum was able to score at will, hitting his first 8 shots of game. L-A shot 61% in the first half, yet the Blazers were down only 4. It’s almost like they knew when TNT picked up coverage of their game.
Portland kept with what was working for them. Quick outlet passes, smart execution, and tons of energy from everyone on the floor. All of it paid huge dividends for the Blazers, as they outworked Kobe & Co., 107-96. Oh, and for those scoring at home, Kobe is now 6-24 all-time in the regular season at the Rose Garden. Love, love, love it!!!
A couple of other items that I took from this win: For the first time since November of 2003, the Lakers failed to make a 3-pointer. They were 0-11 vs. the Blazers. Great help defense by Nate’s crew. Also, it was the second straight game where the Blazers allowed a grand total of 40 points in the second half (happened Tuesday against OKC too).
Six down folks, 60 to go! But so far, sooooo good!! Bring on the Suns!