Kassandra

Jan 29

      
Numbers can be a strange thing.

If you were to look only at the points scored in Friday night's huge blowout win over Phoenix, you might see one glaring thing. Thirteen guys saw action for the Blazers. Only one did not score. In a 109-71 thrashing, how dare we leave anyone scoreless! That particular player took four shots and none of them went in, but still we won by 38!

Oh wait. Hold on a second. Let's take a pause. Marcus Camby did not score in this game. That's not too big a deal. We have him in there for his defense, right? Now, if you take your eyes away from the points column and go a few spots the the left. Your eyes may get wide.

Marcus snared 20 rebounds to to along with his three assists, two steals and two blocks. He did all that in just under 24 minutes. Marcus was claiming seemingly every miss Friday night. It should also be noted that his backup at center, Kurt Thomas, had nine rebounds of his own.

Twenty rebounds certainly isn't unheard of. Marcus has done it 43 times in his career, including his 22-rebound performance against Memphis last Tuesday. Oh, and for good measure, he pulled down 16 boards at Golden State on Wednesday.

"He's incredible. He does all the little things to help the team win," said Jamal Crawford following the Memphis game in which Marcus also had a season-high five blocks. "Sometimes they show up in the stat sheet; sometimes they don't. But he's the glue guy on this team. He's always there."

For Marcus, rebounding is merely part of the job.

"Just the right place at the right time," he said after the Memphis game. "I've been around for a while. I just try to play the angles and try to put myself in the best position, to read the angles of the basketball. That's what I've been taught."

In fact, Marcus is averaging 19.3 rebounds in his last three games, and 21.0 in his last two home games. After seeing the Blazers outrebounded in nine straight games, it seems Marcus has taken it upon himself to clean up the boards. The Blazers have won the rebounding battle the past six straight -- four of them wins.

Marcus has 170 rebounds in 17 games this season, good for a 10.0 per game average. For perspective, check out these nuggets:

* Marcus' 43 20-rebound games ranks him first among active NBA players in the NBA.

* Only 12 times has the league seen a player record 20+ rebounds and zero points in a game. Marcus did it once before on December 5, 2007 while with Denver. Of the remaining 10 times it's happened, Dennis Rodman owns the honor seven times, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

* Marcus is the first Blazer ever to score record 20+ rebounds and zero points.

* It's been over 37 years since an NBA player has recorded 20+ rebounds and zero points while playing 24 minutes or less (Marcus played 23:40 against the Suns). The last time it was done was on October 22, 1974 by Clyde Lee of Atlanta (21 points in 22 minutes).

Much seems to be made of Marcus' age; that he's in his 16th season. However, he consistently proves he has great value to the Blazers and possesses a team-first attitude. In fact, he seems unimpressed with his personal rebounding numbers, especially after a win like the one over Phoenix.

"I don't care about that stuff (stats)," he said following the game. "We won and have tomorrow off so I'm happy."

Jamal Crawford

Each Blazer seemed to have something to say about avenging the January 6 blowout loss at Phoenix as they took the court Friday night. After a tight first quarter, the Blazers really took control in the second and third quarters, outscoring the Suns 57-21 combined in the middle two stanzas.

The Blazers had one of their better shooting performances across the board (47 percent from the field, 84 percent from the line and 35 percent from beyond the arc), and won every major statistical category. They outrebounded the Suns, 58-41 which led to a several fast-break opportunities.

Wesley Matthews shot 6-13 en route to 16 points. Jamal Crawford took on pg duties when he was inserted into the game and dished out a season high 10 assists. Wesley said after the game that he wasn't surprised by Jamal's ability to distribute the ball.

"He can do that," Wesley said. "He's a great talent in this league and one of the best two guards in it, and he can also play the one. He's a playmaker. He draws so much attention that someone else has to be open."

With the Blazers ahead by over 30 points in the the fourth quarter, many of the starters were allowed to rest, and eventually the bench was cleared. Elliot Williams took advantage of his nine minutes, shooting 4-8 from the field, including a pair of impressive dunks which kept fans' enthusiasm elevated until the final buzzer. Elliot finished with a career-high eight points.

After losing by 25 on January 6 in Phoenix, Gerald Wallace felt the Blazers were focused on what they had to do to avenge the defeat.

"Our main thing is we felt like we owed them, so we wanted to keep the pressure on, keep attacking; keep moving forward," Gerald said. "We stopped looking at the scoreboard in the first quarter and just wanted to keep doing what we were doing on defense and offense as far as attacking on both ends."

Elliot Williams

A few points about the game:

* The Blazers got 49 points from their bench, including 14 from Nicolas Batum. 

* All 16 of Wesley's points came in the third quarter.

* In addition to his eight points, Elliot claimed two rebounds and one block.

* Kurt Thomas scored eight points to go along with his nine rebounds.

* The Suns shot 18 free throws and made just nine of them, including usually reliable Steve Nash shooting 1-3.

* Former Blazer Sebastian Telfair drew two technical fouls after Elliot blocked his shot with 7.3 seconds left in the game and was ejected. Nolan Smith went to the line and made one of the foul shots. He finished with one point.

* At about 32-and-a-half minutes, LaMarcus Aldridge led the Blazers in minutes played, and scored a game-high 23 points. No other Blazer played more than 30 minutes.

* Despite scoring 109 points for the game, the Blazers had just four players score in double figures (LaMarcus 23, Gerald 17, Wesley 16, Nicolas 14).

* Gerald scored 10 of his 17 points in the first quarter.

* Just two Suns players reached double figures in scoring for the game (Grant Hill 12, Telfair 10).

* Both teams went scoreless from 5:32 to 2:25 in the second quarter while the Blazers led, 42-32.

* The Blazers have played 10 home games (9-1) and 10 road games (3-7).

The Blazers stand at 12-8 and are tied for third with Utah in the Northwest Division. Minnesota, at 9-10, is the division team without a winning record. The Blazers are four-and-a-half games behind division (and conference) leader Oklahoma City.

Portland, 3-7 on the road, faces division rival Utah Monday night after having a two days off. The two teams have yet to play this season, but split two games in the pre-season.

~ KMM

In Kassandra's Words features regular blogs throughout the year. Comments and questions are welcome and encouraged. Seasons begin and end; players come and go; our Blazers are forever. Please follow on twitter: @PDXKass
  

7 Comments

  1. Hello Miss Kassandra, with a recap like that there is little to respond too. But of course I found a couple. One was when Jamal was playing PG, Nic was inserted in as the 2gd and assigned to guarding Steve Nash. that was the end of the game. Batum's scoring was terrific, but his defense on Nash was stellar, which shows up on Nash's stats.
    You left out Wesley's double digit score of 16. Oh what would you young-uns do without us old-uns leading you :)?
    OBTW how are you doing? I haven't interacted with you in quite a while because our "Have Broom will Travel" business is getting bigger and the two Laborers are getting slower. How do you like that for sneaking in free advertisement for our business?

    One serious question, you often state that we should not play our players out of position and I agree with you, but Nico has pointed out that he loves playing the 2gd spot because that is his position in France. That tripled with Gerald playing most of his minutes at SF, Wesley has been until the last two games has been in a slump and the last we just have to find more minutes for Nic. do you think the 2gd is his best spot or the SF. In the last game of course it was a team effort, but his defensive energy and Camby's rebounding sparked the rest of the team in joining.

    I have publically critiqued Jamal because he is a ball hog, but in this game the pick and roll with LMA and Gerald, and the dishes to LMA at the rim and finding Nico in the corner was the best PG playing we had this year. What do you think? Let Jamal come in with the second unit with Nic coming in at the 2?

    Don't forget the Rhino, his stats may not have been impressive, I don't remember, but he gave LMA some valuable rest that was important for the win. Some stats just don't show up.

    OK that was more then just a couple of things added, but I am pretty happy about the Blazers getting it all together in a game. For sure, I am hoping for more.

    Part of Nate's coaching heroics is on the fly adjustments and looking for another way to win. His coaching downfall only IMO, is not getting EW in the game longer, but he says it is because he has no practice time to make changes and the wins are to valuable to experiment to much in game play; he did state that he liked the line-up with Nic and Wallace in together with Wallace at the 3 or the 4, and Nic at the 2 or 3. I like that second quarter line-up of Crawford, Batum, Wallace, LMA, and Camby the Canby man. Defense at its best and as you said we didn't score from 5 minute until 2 minutes in the second quarter, but neither did they.

    Thank you for the post Miss Kassandra

    by Hg on 1/29/2012 10:22 AM
  2. @Hg: i mentioned Wesley's 16 points twice. check out three paragraphs after the photo of Jamal, and in the second bullet point about the game. i certainly could have talked more about Nico's defense. i think a lot of the fan consensus is that he should have been guarding Nash. the fact it worked out pretty well for us probably just solidifies that position.

    you know my feeling on playing guys out of position. Nicolas is kind of the exception to the rule. the reason i say "kind of" is that i'm not so sure sg isn't one of his natural positions, along with sf. perhaps it has something with his play in france. usually players have a natural position, but every once in a while you run across someone who has two. that's Nico.

    i don't want to see Jamal play a lot of pg, though it worked pretty well friday night. i think that has to do more with the matchups rather than his ability to play the position. i didn't mention Craig for any particular reason. i had hoped to see him play his regular minutes, but was glad he got in the game to give us a boost in the fourth. even though the game in hand, it was still nice to see us not lose any ground in the fourth.

    ~ KMM

    by Kassandra on 1/29/2012 4:16 PM
  3. I didn't get to watch this game. Thanks for the informative re-cap. Wish I could have watched Ewill play. I think he has a bright future in this league.

    by Devon Malone on 1/29/2012 7:54 PM
  4. Hey miss Kassandra in a rebutal, I was referring to the point "Despite scoring 109 points for the game, the Blazers had just four players score in double figures (LaMarcus 23, Gerald 17, Nicolas 14, Jamal 10)."
    I wa just giving you a bad time to keep you on your toes, you know I love you and would not debate a wonderful blog.

    by Hg on 1/30/2012 7:18 AM
  5. @Devon: thanks for visiting! i didn't get to watch the game either, but was intently listenning and was able to gather other information for the blog as well.

    @Hg: oops, you caught me! for some reason i left out Wesley and gave Jamal another point. i've corrected it.

    ~ KMM

    by Kassandra on 1/30/2012 8:43 AM
  6. All is well Kassandra, Keep up your great work. We will take Utah tonight and Craig will take Milsap to the cleaners or make a sap out of him Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha

    by Hg on 1/30/2012 9:17 AM
  7. Great that you brought up Camby's take on reading the angles. That is the key to a great rebounder.
    Dennis Rodman was a bit of a freak back in the day.He showed very strange behavior on and off the court back in the day, but no one in the NBA could read an angle like he could. Never did much in the scoring department, but no one was going to steal a board from him.
    Marcus is key to this team, and I love all the things he does out there.
    Seems like a really good guy too.

    Nice job on the blog.

    by Albert Hoy on 1/30/2012 11:20 AM
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