Apr 01

Balancing Act Pays Off In Big Win For Trail Blazers

By sarahhecht Posted in: Blazers, Timberwolves
Sunday night the Trail Blazers soundly defeated the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves 119-106. Post-game stories often focus on a single player and their contributions, but tonight the story isn’t LaMarcus Aldridge and his battle with Kevin Love or Jamal Crawford breaking out of his shooting slump. It’s not even Raymond Felton’s near double-double. The highlight of the game on this night was the unselfish and team-oriented basketball played by nine guys to get six of them into double-digits on the scoreboard.

All five Portland starters—Aldridge, Nicolas Batum, Felton, Wesley Matthews and J.J. Hickson—and Crawford put up strong offensive numbers. Aldridge gutted through some pain to lead the team with 26 points and 8 boards after missing the dogfight against the Clippers on Friday with a left elbow sprain.

“It was a great balance,” Crawford said. “Obviously, getting LaMarcus back makes things a lot easier on everybody else. We were able to support him.”

But it wasn’t just about team leader Aldridge. Batum had a great night with 24 points and five rebounds, Matthews added 18, Hickson went for 15 on 6-of-10 shooting and Crawford and Felton rounded out the six Trail Blazers in double-figures with 12 and ten.

“I think that’s the beauty about our team, we have balance,” Hickson said. “Wes had a good game – like you said, everybody had a good game. Everybody plays their part night in, night out, on any given night anyone can go off for 20 plus or 10 or more rebounds. So we just have a balanced attack.”

That balanced attack wouldn’t have been possible without the unity we saw as the team shared the rock. Twenty-two assists on 46 made baskets is a darn good ratio. The best part was 18 of those dimes came from Felton (11) and back-up Jonny Flynn (7.) When your point guards are passing well and the team is moving the ball the open looks become more frequent and confidence grows.

“I think passing is contagious,” Flynn said. “When you see people passing up open shots to get somebody else an open shot, others look at and say, ‘That looks a little fun.’ We like getting people involved. I always thought that – passing is contagious and I just try to push the ball up the floor and get other guys shots.”

After a successful offensive night at the Rose Garden, now comes the challenge. Replicate the cohesive performance of tonight to win two in a row and do it tomorrow against the Utah Jazz.


  1. Flynn and Hickson made our team stronger thats all i got to say.

    by Avgjoe28 on 4/1/2012 9:23 PM
  2. Hey Miss Sarah: Great to hear from you, great to watch the game, I didn't get to watch any pre-show as I got home from work at tip off. Where was Joel tonight? Was he Hurt? He probably couldn't have chased Love around all night any way. That is the beauty of acquiring JJ.

    I have said time and time again this week that I wanted to see what LMA and JJ could do together, Boy, I wasn't disappointed. The only flaw I saw in the game tonight was Jamal dribbling so long before taking a shot, leaves the rest of the guys not able to move.

    BTW, I thought the Clipper game was exciting. We should have won that, and my heart says we did. I don't think about the final score as much as I liked the way we played.

    Is two games in a row of over 50% a record for the Blazers this year? Mike and Mike was talking about it.
    I would say that JJ will be a keeper, and I am not sure about Flynn yet, but he sure looks ready to play.

    I will miss your show tomorrow, will be working to get home in time to watch tomorrow night.
    Thank you Miss Sarah for your information. I love a team win.
    Now it is happy dreams for me.

    by Hg on 4/1/2012 9:49 PM
  3. Hey Sarah. Looking forward to seeing both Hickson and Aldridge as starters. Felton had a near triple-double tonight though: 10pts, 11 assists, and 8 rebounds.

    by newellbrian on 4/1/2012 9:49 PM
  4. Good game. Good team win! What we like to see. :)

    by Niki C on 4/1/2012 10:18 PM
  5. I STRONGLY 2nd that Avgjoe28! :) I say that when draft time rolls around, all we need 2 do is trade picks & $ (this SHOULD b all we need 2 get this guy ;) to get Bismack Biyombo (rising athletic big in the league; get him while we CAN/cheap; this guy's the ONLY smart move Jordan's made 4 the Bobcats! Haha! Let's fleece Jordan again! :) from Charlotte (a very possible deal bc they most likely will have the #1 pick that they can use on Davis); IF we can do this... w/ Flynn & Hickson playing how they r (+ more familiarity w/ Blazers/system & along w/ what the rest of the guys r doing) our Blazers WILL b deadly! I HAVEN'T even factored in the BIG $ (some will b used to retain current players)/flexibility that the Blazers will have to sign a good FA(s)! :)

    by Simpson on 4/1/2012 10:37 PM
  6. Portland won last night because they scored in the paint and rebounded. 50 points in the paint is way above their season average. They were also able to win the rebounding battle because people like Felton crashed the glass. With Pekovic on the floor things would have likely been different last night but he wasn't and we got a good win.

    by cmeese47 on 4/2/2012 8:59 PM
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