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AdamBjaranson

Jan 24

Playing Within, Trusting Within

By AdamBjaranson
A ‘team’ is defined as this: a number of persons forming one of the sides in a game or contest.  Okay, I’m certain you could have figured that out.  But, following Monday’s 101-89 win over the listless Kings, I’m beginning to feel something is changing.  Not because of the win alone, but how the team reacted in certain situations.   Sure, they were behind the 8-ball early when Aldridge, Camby and K. Thomas all got 2 fouls each with 4+ minutes remaining in the 1st.   But panic didn’t set in on any of their faces.  I said to myself--alone in that lonely Home Court studio--, “It’s all good, not worried”.   Guess I was right after that 32 point outburst in the 2nd quarter.   A 20-2 run for the Blazers created just the separation Portland needed.  

Now, it certainly wasn’t picture perfect for Portland.  But I saw this Blazers bench seize the opportunity.  They steamrolled the 5th best rebounding team in the league, 53 to 36.  In fact, Portland dominated on that offensive glass all night. 

While Nic Batum was virtually invisible (yup, my Pick To Click), others stepped up to pick up the slack.  And I just can’t say enough about the recent play of Craig Smith.  He’s one of those players you love to play with, and not against.  Let’s face it, he’s a bully on the floor.   His 10 points and 7 boards were huge contributions. 

But the (see blog headline) real story was that of Jamal Crawford.   He carried the team offensively.   When the former 2010 6th man of the year is on, he’s fun to watch.   Crawford is as fun to watch as any when he is in that zone.   And he was, to the tune of a season-high 26 points.   Look, he’s not shy at chucking up shots.   But he’s more of a facilitator than people are giving him credit for.  While he had been struggling shooting from the field, he’s second on the team in assists.  He’s getting others involved, and said after the game, “I have to just be me.  When I get going, after that it just clicks.” 

Crawford is trusting guys more, and getting them involved.  His 5 assists were tied for the team-high on Monday.  Confidence breeds success, and I’m sensing that we are about to see this team come together more quickly than first thought.  You hope I’m right, and I do too. 

A nice feather in their cap can come Tuesday when the Blazers host the team that is tied with Houston for the longest current winning streak in the NBA, the Memphis Grizzlies (7-games).  Bring it on say the Blazers!

1 Comments

  1. if you'd have told me that memphis and houston would have 7-game winning streaks, i would have called you nuts! so be it; just means it's time for us to put an end to memphis' run.

    i had been a little worried that we might rely on the home-court advantage too much last night. maybe in the first quarter, we did. the important thing was that we came back and took control of the game. yes, control. we never truly let the kings back into it.

    i've been excited about Craig Smith since hearing his media day interview (if not mistaken, the same day he was signed). he had a look of joyful determination in his eyes as he answered questions. i couldn't wait to see him on the floor. now, i can't wait to see more of him in action. the guy is a monster (well okay, maybe a Rhino).

    i hope Jamal's new perspective in his role leads to consistency. he doesn't have to go for 26 every night, but we need him to contribute. it also says a lot about LaMarcus' growth as a leader to have that conversation with him on the plane ride home.

    let's hope the win over sacramento is the start of an uprise. we're all ready for that.

    ~ KMM

    by Kassandra on 1/24/2012 2:27 PM
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