Mar 25

Recent Close-Game Success Boosts Portland's Morale

By sarahhecht
The Trail Blazers took another step forward tonight in their 90-87 defeat of the Golden State Warriors on the Rose Garden floor. They tallied another mark in the win column, but more importantly they eluded a stat that’s been tackling them all season and achieved a victory within the margin of five points or less.

Since the changes of the trade deadline the Trail Blazers have shown marked improvement the category. The pre-trade deadline record was an abysmal 2-11, but in the two games since decided by the 5-point margin Portland is 2-0.

“I don’t know our record over the last six games with 5-points or less, but it’s a lot better, I’m sure. I think we’re getting more comfortable,” Jamal Crawford said. “We have a clear plan of what we’re doing at the end. Even if you look, the other team at the end couldn’t even get a clean shot off. We were switching and we knew exactly what we were doing. And that’s all it takes sometimes. It shows you can win in any situation.”

With a successful new plan in place the squad has also been able to adjust their attitude towards the tight games. There’s no denying confidence is a factor and confidence gets bruised when you continue to fall despite your best efforts, as the Trail Blazers have this season.

But tonight, the mentality was different. The Trail Blazers bench stayed positive during crunch time in the final minutes, always believing they would push through.

“We like ‘okay, we don’t want to lose this one,’” Nicolas Batum said. “We get down five, we ONLY down five. Not like down ten or down 15. We down five, so we score, get a stop, we score, we back in the game. And that’s what we did. We tie it up, we back in the game.

“Then in the last minutes we get some good stops, we made the free throw and the last twenty seconds we switch everything and give nobody a chance cause we play pretty good defense.”

What do you think of the turn around? Do you chalk it up to defense, mentality or both? Is two games even enough of a sample to see a change?

Now it’s on to Oklahoma City. A team the Trail Blazers have battled with all season, one of the outcomes being decided by five points or less, another by just ten.


  1. Hey Miss Sarah: Believe it or not I really never thought we were going to lose. I was getting angry in the third quarter for all those 3's that was shot and missed. We were falling right into GSW game plan, tempt them to shoot out side and take it and run. And it almost worked.

    I have to say the biggest change in winning close games is Raymond Felton. And somebody else shooting besides Jamal.

    IMO, we beat OKC twice and lost once. If our outside shots are falling at all we will beat them. if not. We won't be able to shut them down completely because they have to much fire power on us know, so we need to score to stay up with them.

    by Hg on 3/25/2012 9:50 PM
  2. HG, I agree with you. I have noticed that Jamal slows the game down too much in the fourth and tends not to pass, if he's not hitting, don't continue to give him the ball at the end of games when we can't make up for the missed shots. He was in 28 minutes tonight and had 4 points. Probably played a bit too long since he is not really our best defender.

    by Mieke Appel on 3/25/2012 10:07 PM
  3. I'm with HG. Never really felt they were gonna lose. Definitely gotta stop getting ice cold for significant amounts of time though. There would be a lot easier wins if they did not fall into these non-scoring slumps. But there is definitely a change. A better attitude/confidence/defense that is holding them together better at the end of games. Two games is a small sample, but considering they were 2-11 before the trade deadline it is a fair hypothesis.

    by Niki C on 3/25/2012 11:51 PM
  4. Do not want to mess here, since i am not watching games any more. But the situation is bad and looking at the statistics there are not many reasons to feel optimistic: 33,3 % in three pointers, with 33 tried (indeed too many) and 36,5 % field goals: you cannot win an average good team with it. I do not know what´s wrong, but something is not working in the team.

    by sopadeajo on 3/26/2012 1:12 AM
  5. sopadeajo: The low % Was mostly due to shooting nothing but 3's the second and fourth qtrs. When we got behind Portland tightened up the defense with made for better scoring. Last time I heard Jamal was 2 for nine and didn't make any shots after that. and everytime he missed GSW got the rebound and was off to the races. I call it live by the three die by the three.

    by Hg on 3/26/2012 1:49 AM
  6. Yes. You live and die by the three, and if the team is not in a really good moment/situation, then you´ll die most of the times by the three, against the average good teams.

    What must be considered : first try the two, then the one -as a following of the two (having a very good % of ones is never bad)- and finally, but only finally, when things go well, try the three. It is difficult to clearly see where the balance line is. But too many threes are always bad.

    Though it´s easy to admit that "three" is bautiful to watch and public might demand it. But three is also harder and useless if you cannot make closer and easier and classical twos. And the reason is, of course, when you miss a three, the chances they get the rebound are higher, and they might get a two with almost 50 % chance. You might lose at least 4 points with each unsuccessful three.

    by sopadeajo on 3/27/2012 6:21 AM
  7. I mean you might lose at least 4 points : the two (or three) you could have gotten but missed an the two (or three) they might get. That is a potential and very dangerous, indeed, 4 point difference between both teams.

    by sopadeajo on 3/27/2012 6:28 AM
  8. And i will add this is a particularity of basketball. It does not happen in (European) football. Because, in the football european game, the average goals/score is less than 2 goals per team and game. While in a basketball game the average comes near to 2 points per team per minute.

    by sopadeajo on 3/27/2012 6:35 AM
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