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Batum recorded his first career triple double with 12 points, 11 assists, and 10 rebound. Throw in 3 steals and 2 blocks, and the Blazers end up with… another loss (98-95) to the Washington Wizards. It would have made all the difference if Batum hit one of his three, 3 point attempts, but he was doing so much that there’s really nothing to be critical of. He was simply amazing. And yet somehow, Portland inexplicably lost again to the 9-30 record Wizards.
Blazer team defense was porous and provided very little resistance in the post. The Wizards punished Portland over and over, and over with wide open corner three point buckets. Portland simply could not come up with many defensive stops. And critical mistakes proved extremely costly. Hickson with 2 painful turnovers (3 of his 4 turnovers were traveling) in the 4th quarter alone, and followed by Lillard getting striped by John Wall gave the Wizards 6 fast-break points.
No, the bench wasn’t the only problem tonight. Fifteen bench points and only 2 turnovers. How is this loss not entirely on the bench? The bench production has been so bad this season that a game like tonight actually makes me feel like they played really well. Then I look at the box score: aside from Leonard going 3/3, the rest of the bench went 3/12. Babbitt and Claver both shot 1 for 5. So, this wasn’t on the bench? Not so much. The bench does not start the game, and the Blazer starters consistently start slow, on defense, on offense, and sometimes on both ends - tonight, it was on defense. It is as if they are prepared to play the entire 48 minutes, and are conserving their energy - stock piling for the big comeback. Hickson was abused inside the paint, as Nene went 6 for 6 to start the game. JJ didn’t take up much space and wasn’t a threat to block shots. That forced the rest of the team to pick up the slack. The Blazers simply could not get a stop, as both teams scored over 30 points in the 1st quarter. That trend continued in the 4th quarter. Jared Jeffries provided some sage veteran advice in the locker room after the game, that Portland allows guys to get comfortable early in the game and by the 4th quarter they are playing free and easy. You end up with Jordan Crawford feeling invincible and getting dog-piled after the buzzer from draining a ridiculous game winning three. Hopefully that strikes a chord with the Blazers and is something the team will fix moving forward.
That makes it 10 consecutive games now decided by 6 points or less, 19 on the season. That doesn’t include the first overtime win in Houston where Portland finished the game ahead 10 points. Having started the season 10-2 in games decided by 6 or less, Portland is now 10-9. They also lost 2 additional games by 7 points. It is absolutely baffling the Blazers were sitting on cap space and did nothing with it. What one single player could have done for this team… what one single player could DO for this team. Olshey?
Additional Info: With only 6 rebounds in 28 minutes tonight, while LA grabbed 12 and Batum 10, this game is a prime example why it’s hard to disagree with advanced stats that show Hickson is an overrated rebounder, taking rebounds from teammates rather than actually increasing team rebounding. Leonard had 4 in less than half the time. Hickson was bullied in the paint by a real center in Okafor and the big bodied Nene.
Well I know not to get on a boat with Olshey because by the time he throw me a lifesaver I would of already drown :) kidding but, it's the only thing I can think of when it comes to what's going on, this team needs a lifesaver right now and it's looking like Neil not gonna give them one until next year and with that our chances of winning are drowning. I agree it been long enough to see what he needs to do to get the statrers some help they don't deserve this lack of help. I also agree with you about Hickson he needs some gloves STAT and one player who starting to get to me is Price I don't know how many time I seen him jump passing he jumps with nowhere to go and turn the ball over it's bad to watch, the only positive besides Batums play and other things was Leonard he played well.
@ CalJ1, I hear ya :( Price as a person, I like him (he's well spoken, seems intelligent, good character guy, he's taught Lillard a lot on/off the court, etc.) & he's shown us some good lobs & things @ times but yeah, the jump passing drives me nuts too! Jumping & making a pass is > a rookie mistake. I actually think Olshey will make a move soon but the chances r very strong that it's not going 2 b a power move (which I will accept IF he DOES make a "needle moving" deal when the season's over).@ BlazerFanatic & every1 (this INCLUDES Blazers FO!), what about this: earlier 2day, Cavs & Mem made some moves (Mem got themselves under the cap & Cavs got a 5 & then some to replace Varejao); Cavs r WAY under the cap (b4 trade: $10,208,642; after a few days, ESPN's trade machine should show what they're @ after) & in the deal, they also got (there's more to the deal but this is all that should concern us ;) SG Wayne Ellington (he's age 25 & is a $2,083,042 expiring contract); we should make a deal to get him AND Mosgov from Den. (4 team deal: Por gets Ellington & Mosgov, Cavs gets S. Hawes & Corey Brewer, Den takes back no1 & now under the cap, & Phi gets JJ; this is yet another deal that IS successful on ESPN's trade machine).
Now… why would the other 3 teams do this deal?
Cavs would do this because they’ve already got D. Gibson, Dion Waiters, AND sF C.J. miles ahead of the new guy Ellington (he’s of good character & a good SCORING player getting better that needs PT!) coming in +, he’s an expiring contract for $2,083,042 (he’s worth more than this; therefore, u he will ask for more when the season’s over & the Cavs won’t pay so they should just trade him now AND build a good relationship w/ us as a future trade partner). Also, Cavs get Brewer in the deal & he’s an expiring that they could chose to keep (pay him more $ in offseaon & a long-term contract) or cut (taking Brewer gives Cavs options to evaluate/upgrade w/ regards to bang 4 the $).
Den would do this because they’re $5,926,222 over the cap, they shed Mosgov (they want to get rid of him because they don’t play him & he’s an expiring & will want more $ & long-term contract) & Brewer (he still plays even w/ W. Chandler back BUT Chandler’s getting healthier & will soon start again; Den should give him up in a heartbeat if it can help them avoid paying what they owe in luxury tax; they’d cut ~$6million to save themselves from $6,244,584; ALSO, Brewer is yet another expiring contract & will want more PT,$, & long-term contract) & now they r under & don’t have to pay the luxury tax they were to owe.
Phi would do the deal because they get & could use/want JJ! Bynum is almost back so Spencer Hawes gets marginalized, so why not get something (aka exactly what u want v. just a reserve) for him? I think it’s easy 2 c that Bynum & JJ would play well 2gether; he’d actually fit & benefit Phi! Phi wants 2 b a playoff team, currently they r 4 games back of Bos for the 8th spot; JJ & the Bynum’s return would get them into @ least the 8th. I know JJ has veto pwr but I think if the pt. were driven home to him about how Phi is a good place to b (for endorsement deals, contract, etc.), I think he'd b on board w/ this.
ps sorry every1, I tried to put spaces between the some of sentences to make it easier to read/look @ but it didn't happen :(
Another excellent post. Just very well-done.
@ Carl That lifesaver would look like a piece of candy as well. The Blazer can't allow themselves to feel like that, but I couldn't agree more with that analogy. And Leonard did have a very nice game for his first game back. He has to get out of that nasty habit of leaning in on pick and committing a foul, but he played well, no doubt.
@ Simpson - I appriciate the response, but I feel a bit like I just got hit in the face by an encyclopedia with that trade stuff. I don't use the ESPN trade machine or get into the puzzle workings of how to, or who to aquire in a trade. I do think we're on the same page of a guys like Brewer, Hawes. Clearly Olshey missed a great opportunity with Hawes. There are a number of guys not getting play time on other teams that would get a ton here in Portland. I'm looking right at Olshey tappin my foot with my arms crossed waiting.
@ linfieldrunner Thanks!
@ BlazerFanatic, hahaha! Cool ;) Sorry, didn't mean to hit u in the face w/ that thing; I just wanted to place it on ur desk ;p I definitely hear ya on the no trade machine stuff; I know I'm spittin' out major hypotheticals ;) Yup, we're on the same page w/ some o' the potentials that could/should come here :) As for Olshey... I'm gonna say that catchin' the ire of BlazerFanatic isn't somethin' u wanna have happening! Hahaha! ;)
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