I’m going to try my best to make this game make some sense. There may be some rambling but just stick with me on this one. If I start rambling like a reality TV star in some sort of confession room than feel free to X out.
It’s time to be brutally honest here. Before I say anything else, everyone give it up to the Sixers. They’ve been playing really well as of late and tonight was no different. They definitely went out and took this game from the start and you can see how they beat LA the other night. Tonight’s game was a complete head-scratching rollercoaster ride. In my opinion it was a baffling, near-miracle that the Blazers were in a position to win this game. I will gladly give the home team a pat on the back for finding ways to stay in this one and figuring it out in the second half. But by then the odds were far too great and to be honest they didn’t need to be. Not enough things happened for the Blazers to win this game. They did some really good things in the second half but it was too much to overcome. This is the type of game Philly wants to play. We didn’t really dictate or take them out of anything. We didn’t shoot the ball well which let the Sixers get into transition which is what we all know they do best. We let them get to the paint and the line far too often. You can’t make it easy on teams and the Sixers got a lot of easy points. Portland struggled with the athleticism and length of Philadelphia on both ends all night long. Philadelphia was the aggressor from the start and it set the tone for the entire first half in which they dominated. I mean their first three buckets were dunk-dunk-layup. Dunks and layups and free throws, OH MY! You have to give credit to Philadelphia tonight they came out and won the game. Don’t believe me? Check out these statistics:
- 31 first quarter points, 58 first half points, 51 % shooting from the field for the game and 39 free throw attempts.
Those are all numbers that Portland allowed to happen in the Rose Garden. When you look at those numbers, can you really feel that bad about us coming out of tonight with an L? I’m not too sure you can. However, one thing I know for sure is that you cannot give up those kind of statistics to any team in the NBA and expect to win the ball game. You just can’t. Also, as I said earlier, Portland just gave up way too many easy buckets tonight. Against a team like Philadelphia who cannot shoot well (they only took 5 three’s for a reason folks) you have to make them earn everything. 39 free throws? Yikes. Igoudala and Miller made a living there which allowed the rest of their game to flow easily. Iggy started making jumpers, Miller started making jumpers. Yeah. Thaddeus Young was making a living in the paint. We really didn’t do that if you look at the amount of dunks, layups and free throws the Sixers got. I tried to count but I lost track, I think they had 23 points off jumpers. No bueno.
Before I get to anything else, I have to address #7. Tonight is completely different if Brandon Roy doesn’t have an extremely un-Brandon Roy like performance. I would not dare call him out because of how well he’s played but night’s like tonight show just how important he is to this franchise. He had an off-night, it happens. His 12 points tonight was his lowest point total since dropping 14 in that loss in San Antonio. Adding to his shooting misery (5-for-18) was the fact that he was only able to get to the line 1 time. Again, very un B-Roy like. Superstars have nights like these so no pinning the blame on B-Roy. I do wonder if he settled a bit too much and didn’t have that attack in him tonight. I think you can judge that off the free throw attempt, that might just be me though. But not all his fault. Offensively as a team, EVERYBODY struggled. And I mean that. Check out these statistics.
- 40.6% from the field including an ugly 10-for-34 from beyond the arc.
Here is a not-so-fun-fact people. Philadelphia made 35 free throws while we attempted 34 three’s. I almost want to say enough said or dropping the ‘settling’ bomb, but I think I’m a bigger person than that. Everyone struggled. We can go right down the line. I feel like I’ve said this in every post the last week but you don’t want to see your FGA’s exceed your PTS. Happened too much across the board. It’s funny we’ve been getting on LMA about crashing the boards all year long and I can’t even enjoy his 24 point, 12 rebound performance because he went 9-for-25 and shot a lot of jumpers. Blake couldn’t get it going. And yes I know he hit 3 HUGE three’s in the third quarter…but those were the only ones that he made and he shot 12 of them. No bueno. 9-for-20?!?! Bless Steve Blake’s heart but if he’s taking 20 shots, I’m guessing the other team is pretty happy and something probably has gone awry for us. He is going to have to make shots for the Blazers to make noise and I think tonight illustrated that even furthur. With Roy and LMA struggling this was a game where we needed Travis…nowhere to be found either. He had a rough night dealing with the athleticism of Philly on both ends and struggled only managing 4 points.
Who I would have given the game ball to tonight had we won…. Oden and Rudy without a doubt. It’s a shame that one of Oden’s better performances of the year got squandered. Personnally I don’t know what to make of it or him. I’m content to just let him play out this year and grow. I’ve struggled talking about him all year but tonight he deserves some praise. Tonight was great but we know by now he’s going to go through severe ups and downs. Either way tonight was a great sign and we can all only hope that he is on the upward swing. I really liked his activity and aggression but I also was impressed with the fact that he managed to have a good game in spite of his foul troubles. Usually when he gets 2 in the first and has to sit, it spells doom for getting any production. Not tonight. So that made me happy. Rudy had a great fourth quarter. I mean he was bananas and single-handedly almost won us this game with that personal 8-0 run he had. 11 huge points in the fourth and a big three to open up OT for the Blazers. That’s the Rudy we drooled over all summer. You have to hope this means he’s getting over the wall.
On the bright side of things, Denver lost. I know that’s low on the consolation prize scale, kind of like nearly any nice thing a girl tries to say after she dumps you. But if you’re into staying positive, while we might have fallen to #7 in the standings, the gap remains the same. I’m not sure I should have to say this but this is a very important week. If we take care of business the rest of this homestand than this loss gets absorbed. But this was not the way to kick this week off. This loss was kind of like starting your day by stubbing your toe or pouring spoiled milk on your cereal. And now after that we’ve got two huge games with Phoenix and Utah coming to town. This loss tonight just made those even more important. We’ll see how this team bounces back.