Saturday, February 21, 2009

Thoughts on Portland 108, Atlanta 98

Atlanta has a pretty good team and plays Portland tough or at least they did last year. Atlanta is a fairly small team, but Oden is still out with a knee problem. The first quarter started off like every Portland game - little defense by Portland and the lead by the opponents thanks to hot Atlanta three point shooting. Portland clawed its way back in the second quarter thanks to an aggressive Aldridge. I've been screaming at him to drive to the hoop rather than shoot those stupid fadeaways and he finally listened to me. Heh.

Portland pulled away in the third quarter and coasted a bit in the fourth. Portland's defense sucks, but they grab nearly every defensive rebound which limits their opponents' scoring. Portland was much more active this game and seemed to have more flow.

Individual observations:
  • Brandon Roy had a typical game with 27 points, 7 boards, 5 assists, 2 steals and no turnovers. He even played respectable defense and didn't complain too much to the refs. He is an awesome player though I wish he'd pass more in the fourth quarter.
  • Steve Blake played his second game after a long absence due to a shoulder injury and steadied the ship with 14 points and 5 assists. He shot poorly from beyond the arc, but keeps the team on an even keel and solidifies the rotation. He is underrated by most folks.
  • Joel Przybilla got the start in Oden's absence and responded with 6 points, 10 boards and 2 steals. He seemed to hurt his hand and didn't really play much in the second half.
  • LaMarcus Aldridge finally got aggressive and drove to the hoop. It led to some easy shots and 24 points and 11 boards. He needs to have this kind of energy every game and Portland will then be in every game.
  • Nicolas Batum shot poorly, but had a lot of energy and two really cool blocked shots. He needs to work on his shot and should drive more in the meantime.
  • Travis Outlaw only took 5 shots, but still scored 12 points and more importantly, grabbed 6 boards. He even had a nice rejection of Smith. He didn't try to do too much and let the game come to him. I think he's happy he didn't get traded, but I don't know anything about anything.
  • Rudy Fernandez finally got on track with 19 points and 4 assists. He took and missed a lot of three pointers, but was more active around the basket and made some nice cuts. He's only going to get better as he gets used to the American game (go and watch footage from last year's Olympics).
  • Channing Frye is now the backup center with Oden hurt so he got some playing time. He didn't do much and scored 2 points and grabbed 3 boards. He's 6'11", but likes to shoot from the outside and does not play great post defense. He probably won't be resigned this summer.
  • Sergio Rodriguez only got 11 minutes of playing time and didn't really find a rhythm.
  • Jerryd Bayless goes back to being the third string PG with Blake back and only got 2 minutes of burn. He needs to continue to work hard in practice and shoot a million jumpers over the summer to get ready for next year.
  • Michael Ruffin, the newcomer, got 17 seconds of action. Woo hoo.
Portland played a lot of the second half without a traditional PG and it seemed to work out since both Roy and Fernandez can handle the ball.

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