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AdamBjaranson

Jan 08

Old Habits Die Hard, Or They Should

By AdamBjaranson Posted in: Blazers, Cavaliers
As we bask in the glory of this 98-78 rout of Cleveland on Sunday, we know that this season will be one long, strange trip. In other words, don’t get too high, and certainly don’t get too low. The players are working through the mental side of this, but the physical part will catch up too. We’ve (as Blazer fans) seen it already. See LA, then Phoenix. It was ‘Jekyll meets Hyde’ at its purest. And every team will endure it at some point over the next 4 months. Yes, even the Miami Heat.
 
What impression have the Blazers left on me thus far? Well, that’s a loaded question. First off, I’ll go with the ‘off court’ stuff. This isn’t lip service here, but I’ve NEVER been around a group of more likeable guys. Sometimes it’s hard to believe, given some of the egos that pro athletes have. But I will assure you this, you won’t find any of that at One Center Court in 2012. Secondly, I can’t say enough about the new style of play. If it results in wins, I’m all for it. Right now, at 6-2 on the young season, I’m a big fan. If you’ve got the horses, you got to go out and race them. Right? And lastly, I’m encouraged by the unselfish play by this team. Look, they still haven’t played a complete game. And, who knows, they may not this season. But when each player says that “it’s not about me, it’s about this team”, I get a little excited. Not often do you hear the words “I” during the post-game interviews. Win as a team, lose as a team.

And remember this. As a group, Blazer guards have yet to shoot the ball at a high percentage this season. It will change, and when it does, we will welcome it. Two Blazer newcomers--Raymond Felton and Jamal Crawford--are each shooting less than 35 percent through eight games. And make no mistake, they’re a big part of what this team wants to do.   These are a couple of vets still trying to learn their teammates, but I’m confident that they will get it going soon.

So, Portland now enters a very difficult stretch. Again, it’s where the mental side takes on the physical side. Starting with Tuesday’s game vs. the Clippers, the Blazers will play 13 games in 20 days. Eight of those will be on the road. Feel it now? The players surely will.  Hey, some wins will be pretty (see Lakers). Others, really won’t be pretty (see Cavaliers).   All that matters to Blazer Maniacs is winning games. Sunday was that night. LaMarcus had all-star numbers with 28 pts, 8 rebs, and 4 steals. That led four Blazers in double figures.   The best part of this win, I believe, was how the Blazers got stronger offensively as the game wore on. Saving the best for last. Scores by quarters were 18, 24, 27, and 29.  Numbers can explain it most times, and this backs it up for me.

Bring on the Clippers! It’s payback time for the NBA’s newfound darlings. As much as I want to still ‘think’ they are the usual punchline to a joke, they aren’t. We find out Tuesday! See you then.

7 Comments

  1. for the last part i think its gona be that clipper team in which they have a good season liek sam cassell year and then this team will blow up due to championship hopes trading good peices for hopes and dreams and will find it self on the buttom of the pack in due time.
    i think nate needs to load the bench and bring in 1 guy to vets four, like nolan with ray or wesley, need premeter power and a pass first point, jamal nto hogs the ball but theres no movement so id liek ot see nolan out with ball movers, cj naturally out with LA that way CJ doesnt feel pressure to shoot but more defend and rebound, and i really like the batum and wallace tag team nate should go big with batum at 2 and wallace at 3, nates gona need fresh legs and mix matches players will do that for you he needs to find a good nitch in bringing just one guy from the young squad to give them a unscouted change of pace style with still having the the core vets in there, we cant have the tired legs liek we did in phoenix
    my question didnt get asked in the homecourt section, but both loses wallace averages .5 ppg, i wouldnt mind nate in the upcoming triple backs to the lesser of the threee teams start nico and rest wallace and bring him in off the bench not to belittle his presense but to bring nico out and give him confidence while at the saem time let wallace relax adn rest for the grooling schedule and tired legs but we need wallace to have good games of 10+ more ppg games
    lastly ray jamal need to find the lobs to LA, seriously its a momentum changer and it wont make LA as tired as when he has to bang down low the only one to throw La the lobs is marcus camby, and you notice when the lob is thrown he sprints more, less tired legs of banging or you just woke up the beast, i know they need to learn the other players but they need to knwo number one option is LA, (nto hating in there game, but saying its a big plus when LA has fresher legs own the stretch and those guys are the essential quarter backs)
    and ps good blog

    by jamie (guy) on 1/9/2012 10:58 AM
  2. Hey Adam; 1st, thanks for asking my question on last night's pre-game show. 2nd, if they can hold serve these next 2 nights at home, I believe they can go 6-2 maybe even 5-1 on this road trip. Not bad for a team that no one in the national media will give them any respect.

    by blazerdarren77 on 1/9/2012 5:17 PM
  3. hi Adam. i've been thinking and even through the first half of last night's game, my confidence level in this team took a hit after phoenix. i thought we were at one point in the progression of the team, but we clearly are not. i am completely aware that teams have bad games, but against phoenix not a single player did anything to impress.

    flash forward to cleveland; on paper and in reality, a team we should absolutely dominate from start to finish, we simply didn't. what many are calling it a "great" second half when it's really the kind of half we need to be accustomed to seeing consistently.

    i guess what you could say is that this team has more to prove to me than betore. there are too many lapses, too many easy inside baskets being allowed on defense, and too much horrid shooting. our game needs to be cleaned up.

    i'm not trying to knock the guys nor what they're trying to do. i'm merely saying they still have a ways to go. consistency can be elusive, and in several levels, it seems to be eluding the team right now.

    ~ KMM

    by Kassandra on 1/9/2012 8:58 PM
  4. @darren no prob, thanks for taking part. Yes, this next roadie will be wildly important. A 5-1 mark would be VERY impressive. Hope your right brother.

    by AdamBjaranson on 1/10/2012 11:39 AM
  5. @Kassandra Keep the faith sister. Remember, this isn't your normal season...and guys are still in that 'feeling out' process with their teammates. Remember, 6 new players on this team (counting Elliot). I would hesitate to make a total analysis at this early point of season. All that matters right now is that we are 6-2. 'Bout the wins...whether they are good (Lakers) or not so good (Cavs). Talk at you soon.

    by AdamBjaranson on 1/10/2012 11:43 AM
  6. @jamie Geez brother...where should I begin. Quite the novelist you are :) Love the passion you exude. And you have a bunch of solid points. I'm getting you an interview to be an assistant coach :) Shows about to start...more later.

    by AdamBjaranson on 1/10/2012 11:46 AM
  7. Adam: lack of faith it is not. i simply have come to the realization that i fell into the trap of overvaluing the squad. it's certainly early in the season, but this is the time we need to take advantage of the schedule. a couple of our additions have proven capable and reliable (Kurt and Craig). the others (not counting Elliot since he was around to learn last season) remain to have not sold me. as i said, much of our game needs to be cleaned up.

    ~ KMM

    by Kassandra on 1/10/2012 4:31 PM
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