Friday, December 30, 2011

Blazers Start Season 3-0 With Big Win Against Denver

The Denver Nuggets rolled into town last night to match up against the Blazers and with both teams having started their seasons 2-0 it was someone's time to put a 1 in that loss column.

Starting Fives:

     Portland                                         Denver
Raymond Felton                         D. Gallinari
Wesley Matthews                       Nene
Marcus Camby                           T. Mozgov
Gerald Wallace                          A. Afflalo
LaMarcus Aldridge                   T. Lawson 

Can we start off by completely applauding the hot starts the Blazers have been getting off to? In each game so far the Blazers have been RED hot on both ends of the court. First they completely abuse teams on defense and then use speed and precision to outplay and outsmart their opponents on the offensive end. Tonight we saw electric play from everyone but most notably my pick for player of the game: Wesley Matthews. 

O-LEY! Don't get me wrong, Raymond Felton was also outstanding but I have to pick Wesley because of his clutch play late in the game. Matthews put up 4 of his 5 three pointers in the 3rd quarter (he went 5/8 from beyond the arc) and hustled on both ends of the court. We saw him lose the ball on a messy turnover only to hustle back on defense and steal the ball back. After a somewhat slow start to the game, Wesley was a big part of bringing the Blazers to a win after the team faded in the second half. 

Box Score Look Back:

The Blazers had three players score 20+ points with our player of the game, Mr. Matthews as the high scorer with 25 points, shooting 9/15 from the field with 5 rebounds and 2 assists. Raymond Felton put up 23 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists with Jamal Crawford following closely with 22 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists. LaMarcus Aldridge and Gerald Wallace fought fatigue late in the game and ended with 13 points a piece but don't count either out as each posted 5 and 6 rebounds respectively. LaMarcus fought the difficult post play by dishing out 6 assists tonight as well. Also of note: Marcus Camby's defense. He may have only scored 2 points but he recorded 12 rebounds and 3 MONSTER blocks that came at crucial points in the game. Speaking of blocks: apparently Nicolas Batum had the goal of denying Andre Miller a shot tonight because 3 of his 4 blocks were on Dre. 

This new Blazers team is so exciting to watch. We're finally running the floor and playing with intensity on both ends of the court! The Blazers (despite having a scary 25 turn overs compared to Denver's 7) were able to come away with a win 111-102 holding Denver to 23 points in the 4th quarter. It was an exciting game with a great finish as Portland remains undefeated at the Rose Garden. However, I will not completely applaud the Blazers as there are clearly some areas that need to be improved upon. 25 turn overs? Not acceptable guys. We got so lucky tonight that we were able to scrap our way to a win despite that ridiculous number. Also, we definitely need to continue working on closing out games! The guys still are working on getting their game legs, which is understandable but we can't keep letting teams  back in the game during the second half. It makes for exciting but really terrifying games. All in all though, we've seen some amazing game play from this team so far and I for one am really excited to see where we go!

Photo of the Night:
I'm sorry......but it's just perfect. Ex-Blazers Andre Miller and Rudy Fernandez who were looking to get a big win on the road against their former team......were simply CRASHed into a loss so to speak.....Eh? Get it? Crash! Cause...Gerald Wallace.....yeah. 

Looking Ahead:
The Blazers next go on the road for a two game road trip starting in the city of Angels to face the Clippers who are currently 1-1 on the season.

  • Portland has won nine of the past 10 games and 12 of the last 14 against the L.A. Clippers. 
  • The Trail Blazers have defeated the Clippers in five straight Rose Garden meetings and in six of the past seven contests at STAPLES Center.
  • The Clippers have managed to score 100-plus points just once in the last 10 meetings, with Portland hitting triple figures six times in that span.
  • Portland swept last season’s series, 3-0, giving the Trail Blazers their fourth consecutive series win over the Clippers and 21st series victory since the Clippers moved to Los Angeles in 1984-85. 
  • The Trail Blazers outshot the Clippers from the field (45.5%-41.6%), the 3-point line (44.9%-30.4%) and the charity stripe (79.5%-62.8%) in three games last season.
  • In three series games last season, Portland outscored Los Angeles, 102.0-90.7.
  • Despite outrebounding the Clippers in last season’s three-game series, 135-123, including a 46-42 edge on the offensive end, Los Angeles outscored the Trail Blazers in second-chance points, 53-40.

  • Points in the paint - With the addition of Chris Paul and the continuing improvements from Blake Griffon we will need to keep tight defensively when it comes to letting the Clippers set up post plays. On the other end however it would be so lovely to see LaMarcus Aldridge ABUSE Griffon in the post and get some nice hook shots in the paint.
  • Resist the Third Quarter Burn Out! - So far we have had serious lulls in intensity right before the half and mort importantly later in the third. We take these huge, beautiful leads early in the first half only to get sloppy and allow the opponent to come back and tie. The Blazers won't have the support of a home crowd behind them to will them to a victory. The Clippers are looking at a sell-out crowd who would love nothing more than to see their Clippers get another home win. 
  • Keep It (Not) Sloppy Stupid K.I.S.S! - We have to reduce the turnovers in this game. If we play anything like we did last night with 25 TOs it will simply lead to a Griffon dunk show. We need to take care of the ball on offense and go for the steals and get some runs going from the defensive end. 
The Blazers will take on the Clippers January 1, 2012 at 6:30 PM. You can catch the game on Comcast Sportsnet in the Portland metro area or you can catch the live stream on! Starting January 1, the Trail Blazers will be streaming games for free on their website so you can catch the action regardless of where you live! 

Here's to 4 - 0!

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