Blazer break down-
In the blazers first 20 games, preseason was a split with Utah one to one. Blazers get a great win at home then lose by 3 at Utah. That should speak to how the season would go, win at home and have trouble on the road. First three games of the seasons were wins and then team seem to gel and come out and really looking like a playoff team, then January hit and teams were slightly more competitive and the schedule became more daunting, as this is a condensed season so a lot of teams face the dreaded back to backs, and a lot of 4 games in 5 nights and the grind of 6 games in 9 nights. This also being the first time teams are facing the crazy back to back to back in which three games in three nights.
After starting 3-0, the team now face there first lose on the road. But a healthy team in their first 10 games come out with a 7-3 record and really created a buzz around the league as they had a top 4 team record in the west. Writers and analyst wrote that the blazers were the surprise team out west and should made a splash in the playoffs, but they really haven’t been challenged away form home. After the first ten games they face the dreaded road trip of 6 games in 9 nights and this is where injuries and slumps became the factor of some tough losses. Blazers already feeling a huge lose in phoenix, losing by 20+ points and after playing a great game on tnt, where the Lakers came out shooting a high percentage but fell short and the blazers with their defensive presents came back to wallop them, only to have a espn game the next night in phoenix. The late night flight left them arriving at almost 4am. They came out flat and tired legs and find themselves out worked and lost by half time and by then phoenix had the go ahead to push and build a lead of 25 points, at this point coach Nate McMillan decided to waive the white flag and put in the young guys to see what they could do, they showed heart, but with that big of a deficient, they couldn’t persevere.
Now the road to face the spurs, in a nail biter. The teams seemed to find themselves in that same old story on road woes. They fought as hard as they could only to come up short and fight another day. Then came Houston, which didn’t seem like a true test, but with an injury plaguing camby, the team found themselves with the daunting test of no center down low to keep the paint guarded. Next was the hornets, they have had the plague of the injury bug and find themselves with out their main scorers, so as sloppy as the game came out the blazer persevered and got the W. blazer now faced the Hawks, Jamal Crawford’s last team and as the guards were having a very slumping season shooting, Jamal wanted to come out in his old home crowd and show his old team what they are missing, Jamal ended the nights with 21 points, but got his shot blocked 3 times in that game by his old teammate Joe Johnson, and Johnson went out doing what he does best, putting his team on his back and pulling out the victory. The next two games, while this team always plays down to their opponents; they now face Toronto and in that game they lose Batum to an eye injury (who had to be rushed to the hospital for x-rays) and Batum had been coming off a hot shooting spree. Then a dismal lose in Detroit Nate tried using his bench earlier and it cost him dearly as they let Detroit get confidence, and Nate later quoted the main reason was we gave them “confidence” and you cant do that against a team that should be a “should win” team.
Back home to play 3 of the last 4 at home, the blazers get 2 wins, go on the road against a team who’s not having the best season, new coach and learning his system, but blazers historically have a hard time in Oracle arena. Blazers fall, and find them selves questioning what they can do on the road. But last game of the 20 is a familiar team, as they faced them already this season. The phoenix suns come into the rose garden and with payback on the mind of the players, stuck it to them early and in the words of Mike Barrett “stepped on the neck and didn’t let go.”
Lastly id like to leave you with my thoughts of the season. The guards need to step it up not only for the rest of the season, but heading into the playoffs, this team has not got out of the first round in the last past 3 seasons, fans are questioning if this team will ever push in the playoffs. On paper this team should beat any team, but you have to play the games to get the W’s. this city is waiting for this team to go out and show the rest of the nba why they have the best fans. LaMarcus Aldridge has put this team and should and has to lead this team to the promise land. People have noticed how hard LaMarcus works by inviting him to be a Team USA nominee to go for gold in London. Aldridge also is well known as he was snubbed in the All star team last year, he is well deserved to make that team go for gold and give this team the push it needs to go far in the playoffs.
Craig Smith AKA the Rhino, has been the steal of the free agency, Kurt Thomas and Craig had came in the back up role as the front court wall, with Kurt’s unstoppable jump shot and sacrificing his body to take charges, leading to more opportunities. And rhinos new pound down low, and if you get in his way he will throw the Bow’s or in other terms “Horned”, he vastly became the new fan favorite, with his smile charm and great style of play. New recruit Jamal Crawford who was recruited from fans (I personally sent out tweets as well) to lure him in for his late clutch shooting, and bench scoring, he’s starting out the year slow, but has picked some point opportunities to score big and come out and help this team to big victories.
Lastly I’ll leave you with a little interesting note that through 19 games of the season, this year blazers have came out with a winning record compared to last season in which the team only had a 8-11 record.
I asked a few people around the organization, in your opinion how has the team looked so far and here are their answers...
NdotSmitty Nolan D. Smith: things are going pretty good... But obviously could be better! We have what it takes to be really good tho!