I feel bad for Chris Paul. I feel bad for Hornets fans. I just feel bad (but not for Jeff Bower).
I watched this game on TiVo, and having heard about what happened before hand it was like watching Shawshank Redemption just waiting for Brooks to carve his name into wood. Not a good feeling.
I don’t know what’s worse, being a fan of the Hornets, with a great player surrounded by mediocre talent followed by said great player getting injured, or being a fan of the Kings, with young players who just kind of stink sometimes but play hard. Probably the Hornets, but I digress. It was similar dance, same song for the Blazers, who started slow — verrrrry slow, like the beginning of Apocalypse Now slow — and eventually pulled away in the second half from the team that just isn’t very good, before their star player wiped out. Hey, it’s not perfect, but you’ll take three wins on a five-game road trip every day.
The two best things about Portland’s offense were as follows: they kept going back to the hot hand in the third quarter (LaMarcus) which is not something you can say of their other efforts this season, and they didn’t panic when the hoop started acting like the miniature golf clown hole from Happy Gilmore. They stuck to their game plan, went inside a little bit more in the second half before Aldridge got hot from outside, and that was all it took. Just like against Memphis. Just like against Minnesota. Still really great to see, still not going to work as well with the slow starts against teams that actually have a home-court advantage.
The two best things about Portland’s defense were as follows: Greg and Oden. Footwork. Check. Intimidation. Check. Timing. Check. Intelligence. Check. Mr. Oden, we will now send you back in time to destroy all offense as the world knows it.
It doesn’t seem like we’ve been able to accurately judge Portland’s defense for about a week, and Charlotte probably isn’t helping with that tomorrow night. We’ll see how they do against Atlanta.
Just a couple individual notes tonight. Mostly how impressed I am with Aldridge’s recent effort on the glass — and how we’d like to see it keep up for, say, the rest of the season — and how irked I am by Rudy Fernandez. Something just isn’t right with him, and with each passing game that he avoids the paint like Fargo in February, I get a little more worried. His minutes are going down, but I can’t really say I disagree with Nate there. Rudy certainly hasn’t shown the improvement we expected of him, but hopefully it’s just a slow start. Hopefully.