Trail Blazers/Jazz Post-Game
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  1. DHawes22
    DHawes22
    Posts: 6488

    Posted 02/22/2010 2:17 PM

    Post-Game Thoughts
    Just another chapter in the Season From Hell, right? Wrong. Whatever that was I just witnessed last night hurt much more than another notch on the Season From Hell's belt. This was a punch to the gut which lingers like the worst of hangovers. In a season which saw Portland field a team of only 8 healthy bodies for multiple games, Roy missing over a month with a pulled hamstring, Greg Oden an Joel Przybilla going out for the season with eerily similar injuries, and more blown home losses than I can remember, it was naive of me to think the season could get any worse. Foolishly, I actually thought something positive could turn out from this 2009-2010 season, which should never be mentioned again after it's completion, and after Andre drove the lane, spun around, an found the L-Train for a flush, the lead was 25, 64-39, and I thought this win was going to spark us an maybe we could land a decent seed in the playoffs. Never believe "it can't get any wore than this", because it can, and as we have all witnessed this year, it will.

    Ever since Roy and Aldridge's rookie seasons, we have been relatively solid at closing out games where we possess the lead in the 4th quarter. For whatever reason, this team just does not learn from their past mistakes. Comfortable leads have been blown late in the 4th at Atlanta, vs. Memphis, vs. New Orleans, and now last night's game against Utah. After each game, the team says the same thing about how they need to quit laying off the gas pedal and becoming too conservative. Through two and a half quarters, the offense looked brilliant. We were holding the Jazz to one attempt on offense, grabbing the board, and running the break. When we got into the half-court set, there were cutters being sent to the hoop once the ball was entered into the post, the ball movement was crisp and quick, and we didn't settle for outside jumpers.

    To me, the game seemed like it took a turn for the worse when Aldridge picked up his 4th foul early on in the 3rd quarter. As soon as that happened, Boozer went absolutely nuts on the offensive glass, with 8 offensive boards, 23 total, and Utah was getting multiple opportunities on the offensive end and found themselves only down 13 heading into the 4th. The defense was so stout through 3 quarters, but we stopped doing what helped hold Utah to around 35% shooting through three periods. The rotations got slower which allowed Utah to penetrate, drop it down low, which lead the big who received the pass to quickly shovel it to a cutting player for an easy two. As porous as the defensive rebounding was, all the offense had to do was muster more than 10 points in the 4th and we walk away with a W.

    I love Andre Miller's game. I was in favor of signing him as a free agent, wanted him to be the starter from Day 1, and have dubbed him the first legit point guard we have had since Rod Strickland, but last night wasn't the most shining moment in his Trail Blazer career. Sure, 17 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds, and 3 steals reads nicely in the paper the next morning, but going 5-18 from the floor killed us. Dre has been more than solid for us this season, and normally I wouldn't mind him attempting the most shots of anyone on the floor, because he is usually getting lay-ups the majority of the time. In another baffling aspect of this game, it seemed like every shot he took was a jump shot, even throwing up three 3-pointers. Nearly every one of his jumpers were wide open, but shooting outside of the paint is not his game. Hopefully he watches the game tape and realizes next time he should pass up the long jumper for an attacking move to the hoop or pass it off to one of our other shooters.

    Like Andre, I really love what Howard has brought to the team this season and he has really played over his head for a lot of games this year but might it be time for him to be more of a mentor and play spot minutes in dire situations like he was originally brought into do? In nearly 30 minutes, he was held scoreless, on 0-3 shooting, and only managed to grab 3 rebounds. Not only that, but Boozer was his man on defense and he allowed Carlos to maul us on the glass way too easily. Juwan has had to log a ton of minutes, much more than he expected, and at 37 is he beginning to run out of gas? Maybe Coach Nate wanted a veteran presence out on the court as sort of a calming for the rest of the players as Utah was making their push. Another option could have been to see Dante get in there to see what he is capable of in the 4th. In only 8 minutes, he had 4 points, on 2-2 shooting, and had 2 rebounds. Even if Dante would have got eaten alive on the glass by Boozer too, his shot was not even hitting rim and could have helped us score more than 16 point in the 4th and overtime combined.

    In the "trying to be as positive as I can be" portion of this post, Nicolas Batum again showed flashes of brilliance. He had 14 points (5-10), all in the 1st half, and a game changing block from behind on Deron Williams that for sure will be a highlight for years to come. Being a small forward, he needed to be much more of a rebounding presence than last year, which he has been. Tonight he pulled down 9 boards and with his length he should be a double digit rebounding threat night in and night out. Along with Nico, Aldridge really impressed me by attacking the Utah big men at will and was on track for a big game had foul trouble not found him. Finally, Rudy seemed to have a nice breakout game. In total he had 10 points (4-11), 3 rebounds, 3 assists, and zero turnovers which is key for his style of play. I've noticed he is the X-Factor most nights when his shot is dropping and he is making plays in the open-court, the team thrives on that and it snowballs from there. If the team wants to finish the year strong, the bench will need to be as on point as they were in the 1st half.
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    Box Score
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  1. DHawes22
    DHawes22
    Posts: 6488

    Posted 02/22/2010 2:40 PM

    I don't care how upset you are after the game last night, this play has to bring a smile to your face:
    Batum Blocks Williams From Behind
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  1. BR7_Fan
    BR7_Fan
    Posts: 399

    Posted 02/22/2010 2:53 PM

    What a "Empire Strikes Back" season the Blazers are having where anything and everything that can go wrong does go wrong. Not much to reflect on this game other than basic basketball fundamentals: Play hard for 4 quarters and box out your opponent during free throws. The road trip looks favorable for us but I have no idea what to expect with this team this season: come out agressive in the first half, lose steam in the second, come out flat in the first, make the amazing comeback in the forth. With a season like this you can only come out stronger in the end.
    I am a fan of RIP CITY > LOB CITY
  1. BR7_Fan
    BR7_Fan
    Posts: 399

    Posted 02/22/2010 2:55 PM

    Blazers didn't get the W but the Block Party was in full effect last night! This clip goes into the yearly highlight reel.
    I am a fan of RIP CITY > LOB CITY
  1. Posted 02/22/2010 3:06 PM

    *sigh* I'm originally from Utah but am now a hardcore Blazer fan - my family is having a field day harassing me! :) They are a tough team, their ability to win road games is rearing it's ugly head. Enough of that - good luck on your 5 game road trip!
    I am a fan of winning.
  1. DHawes22
    DHawes22
    Posts: 6488

    Posted 02/22/2010 3:09 PM

    You hit the nail on the head BR7. On paper, we should easily go 5-0 or 4-1 on this trip, but the team seem to lose all the winnable games and pull out the improbable miracles (DAL x2, PHX, SA,etc).

    It has been SO hard to not get expectations up for this season after some of the huge wins, but last night I told myself, all expectations gone. It is much easier watching when you are thrilled when they win, but not overly emotionally drained when they lose. Whatever happens, happens. I'm fine with either playoff or draft lottery. Last night's loss hurt way way way too much, to the point where I wasn't really paying attention in the 4th, rather looking away from my seat into the crowd.
    I am a fan of
  1. BR7_Fan
    BR7_Fan
    Posts: 399

    Posted 02/22/2010 3:21 PM

    I agree, any expectations are all but gone after last night, just play the games and we'll be where we'll be at the end. 2-2 road trip would be acceptable, but using this seasons crazy emotional formula it will be more like 5-0 or 0-5 no middle ground.
    I am a fan of RIP CITY > LOB CITY
  1. DHawes22
    DHawes22
    Posts: 6488

    Posted 02/22/2010 4:09 PM

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