sarahhecht

Feb 01

Trail Blazers Heal From Road Woes At Home

By sarahhecht Posted in: Blazers, Bobcats, geraldwallace
It’s not news that the Trail Blazers have struggled on the road so far this season. Winning just three of eight games, leaving the comforts of the Rose Garden has become perilous for Portland.

Home is a different story. After obliterating the Charlotte Bobcats 112-68 the Trail Blazers now hold a 10-1 record in the Rose City, second in the Western Conference only to the San Antonio Spurs who are 11-1 at the AT&T Center.

You’re probably wondering why there’s such a glaring difference in how the Trail Blazers play based on location. Welcome to the club.

There’s no rhyme or reason for a team to have such wildly skewed results based on venue, but regardless of logic that’s the case this season. There are only three teams in the West with winning records on the road. Three. So Portland isn’t alone. The Spurs and the Trail Blazers are identical on the road at 3-8 while being the two best home squads in the conference.

With such a confounding trend defining the season thus far, it’s become ever important for Portland to capitalize at home and use the Rose Garden as a recovery center of sorts. A place they can come to and count on a win.

“Anytime you get a win after a tough loss, especially a game where you pretty much controlled the whole game, it’s always kinda like a healing,” Gerald Wallace said of the win over Charlotte after the loss at Utah. “That’s something that we gotta take on the road and I think it starts with me out on the road. I don’t think my performance is as up to par on the road as it is at home, so I gotta figure out a way to get us going on the road.”

The team’s struggles are staring them in the face. They have a crystal-clear understanding that they’re not playing anywhere near solid basketball in opposing arenas and the time for a change is near.

This Trail Blazers team is too strong at home for their wins to be a fluke or just luck. Instead it’s the road woes that are the outlier. Six of Portland’s losses on the road were five points or less. Such a slight differential speaks volumes. They’re right there, they’ve just got to get over the hump.

Following the Bobcats shredding point guard Raymond Felton spoke about the return to playing at a faster pace, an aspect that brought the team success early in the year but has been lacking as the Trail Blazers have been challenged on the road.

“It was good to be back playing the way we can play, pushing the ball up and down the court,” he said. “The Bobcats is a team that’s struggling this year, but at the same time the way we beat them really showed our character of our team. The way we tryin’ to move forward.”

When asked if tomorrow night in Sacramento could be the first step in mending the road woes Felton nodded emphatically, “I think tomorrow can be that game.”

We’ll know then if getting back to pushing the tempo at home is just what the doctor ordered for the road.

4 Comments

  1. the problem they had in Utah was their letting off the gas. they stopped being aggressive and settled for outside shots. lets hope they can learn from that and put the full throttle on Sacramento until the final buzzer.

    by blazerdarren77 on 2/2/2012 6:34 AM
  2. Hey Miss Sarah:
    It is great to hear from you. I have been thinking and debating on BE about our road woes, and some light on the cure, Guess what? I joined the club other then some vague opinions and the fact that this is not the year for road warriors.
    My vague opinion is up until yesterday our shooting has been somewhat of a annoyance at home as it is on the road, therefore that is not the real problem. The fact that GW's way game scoring and home scoring is somewhat of a factor, but we have other scorers. But our over-all shooting is down whether it is at home or on the road.
    IMO, our defense is adequate at home or on the road, but at home it is much more smothering. So that could be a factor to a small degree, but not the reason to lose all the close games.
    There are three things that IMO is the difference,
    1. We are definitely guilty of playing the teams record opposed to playing with our intensity. BRoy said it best, it is somewhat relaxing to know we are getting good enough that we don't have to play our A game all the time and still be able to win. This year with games so close together and most players being a little our of game shape because of the late start and no training camp, this tends to be the # 1 factor of not just us but most of the teams in the league. As you have said that there are only 3 teams that are good enough to win on the road and not have to bring their A game.
    2. It is not only us playing better at home, other teams play better at home, so when we play any team we have to play at least solid because of their added energy and home pride, as in not in my house pride. Therefore, I stipulate that the only games we really play bad in are the games that we are supposed to win. We play lots better as underdogs and that is a fact.
    3. Is the slight Refs bias; it is IMO, that the refs get caught up in the fans excitement as much or more then the players do. That not only gives the home team an edge, but also frustrates the visiting team as to feeling they are not treated equal. Our players were clearly frustrated in the Utah game, and that is why Nate is always preaching about getting caught up in the refereeing and just plays your game.
    None of these would be the difference between a win or a loss, but putting them all together with the fact that we haven’t had good luck at closing and playing with intensity for 48 minutes gives the home team the edge.

    If I thought I was close to being good enough to win that contest this is about what I feel for the first 20 games
    Sorry for the long post but I do like talking about our Blazers.

    by Hg on 2/2/2012 7:27 AM
  3. OBTW, I have publicly criticised Jamal for his play, but last nights shooting was an A+. We need that kind of shooting when we are struggling on the road not when we are 40 points ahead, but that just may be another factor, maybe players are guilty of hamming it up at home where they get noticed as opposed to on the road where the crowd is definitely not impressed. At any rate Jamal's shooting was terrific last night.

    by Hg on 2/2/2012 7:35 AM
  4. i've heard some analysts talk about home and road records and most say, with a few exceptions, that it's a byproduct of the conditions of the condensed season (i.e. limited training camp, very few in-season practices and player change adjustments). my own theory is that the teams who made fewer player changes are playing better on the road in general. granted, that doesn't quite explain denver or minnesota, but that's my feeling nonetheless.

    last night's game was a good win for us. we didn't polay to the level of our competition and we slowly and methodically kept building our lead. i really like what Elliot did in his 17 minutes. i think he's making a strong case for some on-the-court time going forward.

    just want to repeat what i said in the chat last night; i think the news on Nicolas is terrific, all things considered. let him sit a couple games and come back even that much stronger. it's also kind of egg in the face of those in the chat during the utah game who, just seconds after Nicolas went down, were claiming it was a torn acl and he would be out for the season. it also proves we need to get all the info before making snap judgements. i'm happy for Nicolas that it's not any more serious than a bone bruise.

    as for the kings tonight; we've got to wonder who will show up. i'd love it to be Crash with another strong game against his other former team. yeah, i think that would be absolutely wonderful!

    ~ KMM

    by Kassandra on 2/2/2012 3:19 PM
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