Apr 11

In was a fun night in the Rose Garden as the LaMarcus Aldridge-less Trail Blazers defeated the Golden State Warriors in high-scoring style, 118-110.

Portland could have mailed it in with their all-star and number one option Aldridge out with a sore right hip, but instead the Trail Blazers stepped up to the challenge of compensating for his absence.. And when I say Trail Blazers I do indeed mean the whole team.

J.J. Hickson stepped into Aldridge’s shoes as best he could to control the post with big-man Joel Przybilla. He racked up a double-double with 23 points and 13 rebounds  on 10-of-17 shooting. His boards coupled with Przybilla’s 14 led the Trail Blazers to a 45-38 rebounding advantage, a feat they’ve struggled to achieve even with a healthy Aldridge.

But the story of the night wasn’t the front court stepping up, instead it was the play of the wings. Led by Jamal Crawford—who put up a season-high 34 points—Wesley Matthews, Raymond Felton and Nicolas Batum gelled together as a group to carry the load typically borne by Aldridge.

“I knew coming into the game we were missing our top player LaMarcus, that everybody had to step their game up,” Crawford said. “LA’s our All Star, our franchise player – unquestioned. He’s done so much already in the season, we just want to see him get healthy. But for now, everybody has to step up. Even though I had a big scoring game, it’s never about me. It’s about our team. Ray quarterbacked us. Wesley hit some big shots. Przy had some crucial rebounds. JJ was great. Everybody that came in played a part in this. You win as a team and you lose as a team.”

Win as a team they did. Matthews added 18 points and four boards, Felton had the team’s second double-double with 16 points and 10 assists and Batum rounded out the scoring wing quartet with 14 points and five rebounds.

When asked if they felt as if they played any differently they all responded with a resounding no. Matthews summed it up best when he said, “Playing how we’re capable of playing, basically. Moving the ball, sharing the ball and having fun out there.”

Now it’s a matter of combining the team effort with Aldridge on the floor as the main option and doing so in a fun and entertaining manner.


  1. Hey Miss Sarah: I haven't watched the game yet, listened to Wheels and Tone though. A little humor, I had my earphones on and turned up real high because I was vacuuming the City Hall which is quite huge, but as Wheels got more and more excited, I went faster and faster with the Vacuum. My wife finally caught up with me and said if I didn't slow down she would take the earphones away. Anyway if it had been any more exciting I would have been sprinting. Anyway had to share that with you.
    Did Adam go ahead and pick JJ to click. It could have been Crawford, but JJ was my man.

    by Hg on 4/11/2012 11:17 PM
  2. Thank god for the starters since the bench was terrible last night. Crawford 34 points scored only managed a +2 plus minus shows how bad the benches defense was.

    by cmeese47 on 4/12/2012 12:46 PM
  3. A fun game to watch. But we did really luck out that the offense held out. Because the defense was not there most of the night. Joel, Nico, and JJ were showing some, but the lack of it was glaringly obvious when we say Joel yelling at Nolan. Joel was right to do it. Someone needed to get mad and demand defense. Had some of these guys been playing the spotty offense they've often had the game would likely have gone down the drain fast. Still a win is a win and it was a good entertaining game to have televised. Hopefully they can finish out the season well for us. :)

    by Niki C on 4/12/2012 2:14 PM
  4. That was a sloppy game to watch not sure if I would call it fun

    by cmeese47 on 4/12/2012 3:54 PM
  5. Niki C: It was because Nolan yelled at Joel to step up and help, but it was Nolan's fault and the rest of the wings were letting their man go by them. It was making our bigs look bad, but in actuallity Joel was pissed because they were asking him to do all the work for them.

    Maybe they will learn before the end of the season that all those points don't mean squat if you don't put in any defense, because any team in the NBA can score at will if not defended, even Jamal and the bad shooting wings of Portland can score uncontested. Can you imagine shooting like that against a well oiled defense, and play a little D on the other end to boot?

    We may find out tomorrow night.

    by Hg on 4/12/2012 4:15 PM
  6. Great blog Sarah. Having seen first hand all that you do, and the pressure of coming up with an angle to write from, impresses me to no end. There is just no way fans can understand what ALL of you do, including other beat writers (like from the Oregonian, Blazersedge, Roundball, etc.), without seeing it firsthand. The game was fun to watch, though I have to agree that D was lacking. Regardless, they walked out with a win and a smile on their faces, so that's excellent. That they did it without LA is just awesome. And I don't care WHO it was against :)

    by SisillaRiann on 4/12/2012 8:46 PM
  7. Hey Miss Sarah:
    I got to watch yours and Adam's whole show today. That was neat. I couldn't keep up with the chat and listen to you and Adam at the same time, so missed out on some of the debate of who to get as PG this summer. I did say in the Chat that No NO No to Rondo; the reason I am adverse to Rondo is that I feel the media over hyped him because he is a Celtic. I also believe that it was the big three that made him better not the other way around. Therefore after this year with Raymond that needs players around him to make him better, I find it is necessary to get a PG that makes the rest of the players better; somebody like Nash or D Williams. IMO, Goran Dragic would be a great choice. He understudied under Nash, He wouldn't cost nearly as much as Rondo, and like Nash he makes everybody around him better. I couldn't get all that on the live chat, but love debates with you.
    OBTW, “The Shining” with Jack Nicholson was my scariest movie. The look in his eyes when he chopped a hole in the door and saying “Here’s Johnnie” made the hair on the back of my neck stand up.
    Just had to get all this in Miss Sarah.

    by Hg on 4/13/2012 2:54 PM
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