Feb 02

Road Review: Hard Times Continue In Sacramento

By sarahhecht Posted in: Blazers, Kings
As the team heads out on the road I’ll share my thoughts on the highs and lows of each game and how they impact the team and season going forward. Let’s discuss!


First Half

Loved: LaMarcus Aldridge’s All-Staresque dunks, shooting 61 percent

How about shooting 61 percent in the first half? That's a huge gauge of control in that department. Raymond Felton was hitting, Aldridge was on fire and Kurt Thomas wasn’t taking no for an answer. The spot on shooting was the perfect compliment to the early defense by the Trail Blazers. They were active, reading their marks well, getting blocks and being all around disruptive for the Kings. All good pieces to begin competition back on the road.

Add to that the beast that is LaMarcus Aldridge. You don’t even need words. Just watch.

Loathed: Allowing Sacramento to close the lead

Up thirteen. Cut to three. Back to nine heading into the break. Yikes. That’s a roller coaster. Not only on the scoreboard but in the minds of the Trail Blazers who are already battling the mental pressure and performance anxiety of playing away from home. Adding a lack of control and playing like a yo-yo does nothing but exacerbate the mental tension. Get control and maintain it for your own piece of mind. And of course ours too.

Second Half

Loved: Jamal Crawford’s fourth quarter

Plagued with horrendous shooting, 38 percent from the floor to Sacramento’s 53 percent, the semi-saving grace of the fourth quarter was Jamal Crawford. It’s an odd statement to make since he shot 3-of-8, but his 9 points were the most of any Trail Blazer in the final frame and they came at important moments. The guys weren’t taking shots, a trend we’ve seen in the last few games. They’re are getting wide-open looks and refusing to pull the trigger. The hesitation is crippling.

Crawford doesn’t do that. He shoots and shoots and shoots. Some may fault him for it but on a night like tonight he was exactly what the doctor ordered. Get buckets to try to swing the momentum to your favor. It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it.

Loathed: 13-point third quarter, fast break finishing, complete meltdown

It’s easy to dissect this second half, so much went wrong. Being outscored 24-13 was the beginning of the meltdown for Portland in this one. It started with fighting the shot clock early in the third and getting poor looks at the basket. A shooting drought ensued, the Kings closed the gap, put the pedal to the metal and didn’t look back. The momentum shifted in that third quarter and the Trail Blazers couldn’t get enough footing to take it back.

The second half rattling was a slippery slope for Portland who seemed to let the frustration of their previous road woes creep back into play. It’s like a bad jinx. So odd in fact that simple fast breaks, 3-on-1 style were botched. Twice. It was another road meltdown to add to the list.

There has to be a break-through sometime, right?

Overall Impressions

It may be naive of me, but I honestly thought the Trail Blazers would pull off a win in Sacramento tonight. Yes, we were on the road, a treacherous place for us, but we’d also seen this Kings team twice already this season. Of all the road games so far this year this would be the one I’d imagine us to be the most prepared for.

Instead we encountered the same problems that have plagued us all but three times in our ventures away from the Rose Garden. The scary part here is how difficult it is to narrow down the problem to something specific. Numerous issues haunt the Trail Blazers whenever they make camp in a visitor’s locker room. Shot selection, momentum, playing the opponent’s game, take your pick. To me the most glaring is the inability to close out.

Tonight marked the seventh time Portland has lost by five points or less while on the road. The seventh! Setting the pace and controlling the first half MUST carry over into the third and fourth quarters and more importantly the final minutes of a basketball game. There are no excuses. The guys need to figure this out before it’s too late and serious damage is done with potential playoff implications.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, no time to dwell. On to the next, Denver in our house.


  1. Hey Miss Sarah:
    I too am Naive, at thinking this was the away game that we would win because we played them twice. It could be that because we had it easy the first half we thought we could coast the second half. The Blazers didn’t count on the Sacs youth and learning to play together and the change in defensive plans. I had to listen to the Sacramento announcers and the half time court interview was about the first half they were so concerned about Jamal’s shooting that
    They left Thomas and LMA open on the high pick, but that was apparently a mistake so they would revert back to what everybody else does, bump and grind with Aldridge, sag to the middle and let Crawford take his shots. Guess what, it worked. You are right in the fact that he made some crucial shots, but since he was the only one making any shots from the outside, that isn’t going to hold water.

    Therefore, it turned out to be the same old story, plug the middle to slow down or stop GW, Rhino, Kurt, and LMA and dare the perimeter shooters to beat them. That will be the biggest plan of the opponents for the remainder of the season until Portland learns to stop it. That is of course as you said being a better closing team. We can’t use Aldridge as our closure as many wants because they can jamb him up and stop his accuracy. Our outside shooters are not consistent enough to open the middle as Nate hopes, so what is the answer?
    I wonder if we had Nico if that would have been a ton of help, but we have to play with what we have.
    I thought we played a good game; we had many of chances to ice the game, but didn’t get the job done.
    You said no time for dwelling; we need to prepare for Denver tomorrow night; that may be the problem, we haven’t time to find out how to fix what is broken, before we have to do it again.

    I do think you hit the nail on the head with the fact that it definitely shows how frustrating the Blazers get in the second half for whatever the reasons

    by Hg on 2/3/2012 5:39 AM
  2. Okay, so they had a players only meeting to talk about what exactly? I will guess, maybe how to choke on the road and give up a 13 point lead, maybe how not play the entire 48 minutes, or how about how to embarass your coach. i think all of these choices fit the crime for the blazers. I mean, who is going to start taking responsibility for the team's lack of performance in crucial times of the game? I watched the game til about the 3rd quarter because they seemed like they had sacramento put away. I check the final score of the game and sacramento came back and beat us by 3. Hello, are you guys awake? Why the hell is there solid play for about 2 quarters, but everyone fizzles late in games when they need to be putting the foot on the gas and wrap up the game. Aldridge was playing good, jamal was hitting his shots, gerald was active, camby was being camby, then it fell apart. You guys need to start putting teams away, nate has told you guys to stop getting laxed late in games and you arent listening.

    by Imwytdashyt Epps on 2/4/2012 1:09 PM
  3. @Imwytdashyt Epps;

    There you go with that embarrassing crap again, The Blazers has nothing to be embarrassed about.

    by Hg on 2/4/2012 9:27 AM
  4. @HG, honestly loser, do you have anything else to do besides stay logged in to this site waiting for me to "comment" so you can attack me? before you post, it clearly reads post comment, it does not say wait til other ppl "comment" and then attack their "comments" with your lame, tired attempts. okay, i figured it out, you are an idiot and because you dont want to wake up and see that the blazers play better at home and do 360 degree changes on the road and become shells of themselves. watch every road game and home game and tell me different, otherwise shutup. its embarassing to play excellent for nate in the comforts of home then tune him out on the road and go away from the game plan.

    by Imwytdashyt Epps on 2/4/2012 1:08 PM

  5. @Imwytdashyt Epps;

    The Blazers has nothing to be embarrassed about.

    by Hg on 2/4/2012 2:54 PM
  6. @HG, Grow the hell up.

    by Imwytdashyt Epps on 2/4/2012 3:28 PM
  7. Okay, stepping in. Let's keep this a place for civil discussion. No need to get down on someone if they disagree with you.

    Thanks, Sarah

    by sarahhecht on 2/4/2012 6:49 PM
  8. Miss Sarah: Sorry, about the problems I create, it is the HOMER in me, I will behave, Thank you

    by Hg on 2/5/2012 8:20 AM
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