Sunday, March 15, 2009

Thoughts on Atlanta 98, Portland 80

Another craptastic start to an important East Coast road trip. Portland flew in to Atlanta last night and had an early game today and it showed. They came out with little energy and allowed Joe Johnson to shoot from just about anywhere. Johnson is a Roy-, but Portland allowed him to be Roy++.

The bench did little until garbage time and Batum had one of his worst games as a Blazer. He was in foul trouble most of the game because he had trouble keeping Johnson out of the lane. Aldridge played well in the first quarter, but didn't really see the ball much until the end of the third quarter. I don't understand Portland's game plan most of the time. You always should ride the hot hand. Atlanta had no answer for him so pound it into him until they start to double.

Portland's PG played poorly and didn't help to set up the offense. Portland needs to get aggressive in the offseason to find a PG who can penetrate, a PG who can play defense and a PG who can distribute. I doubt all these qualities are in one dude, but maybe they can find a vet and draft a promising young guy. I know they drafted/acquired Bayless last year, but he's a short combo guard and that isn't going to get it done.

Blazer highlights: Przybilla had 14 boards, Aldridge had 19 points and Roy had 29 points.

Blazer lowlights: Too many to count, but Przybilla had an uncharacteristic 5 turnovers and Fernandez was held to 0-4 shooting for 0 points in his first game back from the Trevor Ariza mugging. Portland only had 11 assists for the game. Steve Blake had 14 in a quarter against the Clippers last month.

Crikey. It was a fairly ugly game in the second half. Portland needs to dig deep for some energy to salvage a couple of wins on this road trip to stay in the playoff race. Phoenix is fading so Portland should make the playoffs, but they might back in.

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