It’s always sweet to beat the Lakers, but whether it’s sweeter knowing you beat them shorthanded or less so knowing that wins like this will be jewels in what will surely be remembered as a rocky season, I couldn’t tell you. What I do know it that this was a fan’s win in the sense that just about everyone could walk away from it devoid of any analysis feeling good and fulfilled.
Of course we wouldn’t be a very good blog if we did that.
The stat of the night by far, and the shining beacon of Portland’s win, was Brandon Roy’s 32 points on 11 shot attempts and 13-of-14 free throws. There’s efficiency, and then there’s breaking John Hollinger’s PER formula. Roy’s line is even more impressive in the face of Kobe Bryant’s 32 shots on 37 attempts. For reference, that’s just nine attempts fewer than it took Kobe to score 81 points in 2006.
The efficiency comparisons drape cleanly over both sides of the box score. 17 points on 10 shots for Andre Miller. 21 points on nine shots for Jerryd Bayless. 13 points on 13 shots for Andrew Bynum. 39 team free-throw attempts vs. 10 for the Lakers. Those are winning numbers, if not the most sustainable digits given the foul-y nature of the game and the expected number of jumpers.
I could go on about the character of this team and staff and use words like adversity and perserverance, but I don’t want to cheapen the win trying to lay down some memorable lyrics. Beating the Lakers nine times in a row in Portland might not mean much to very mean people nationwide, but that’s why it’s special. No other matchup will be as much about the game taken by itself rather than as part of the season at large. So enjoy it on your own terms, I won’t spoil it for you.
@debra31098: TEAM Basketball is a thing of beauty..that is what I witnessed tonight…
@itsRello: bittersweet for me bc we won, and it shows our depth but it leaves me wondering how good we’d be full strength
@travismargoni: I know I’m biased, but I’ll take Roy the basketball player and Roy the person over Kobe any day. Oh, and where is LaMarcus?
@theblazerguy: Continue to think Dante is key ingredient in good Blazer efforts. His +/- is consistently solid. +16 tonight in just 18 min.
One thing Roy has been increasingly effective at is staying mobile off ball, and there’s surely a correlation between his more efficient games and the games where he can create offense without dribbling. He sure didn’t help Portland do exceedingly well in the paint — just 26 points in the paint — but he’s still surgical when he can get below the free-throw line extended. Bayless better be taking notes.
All that efficiency stuff we were talking about with Kobe, credit Martell Webster. The man went to work making Kobe work. This might have been the first game all season — since he didn’t get the same results bodying up Carmelo Anthony earlier in the season — where I thought to myself while watching, “Wow, Webster is doing whatever the defensive version of ballin’ is”. He moved his feet when Kobe drove. He puffed out his chest and made Kobe shoot fadeaways out of the post. Better yet, he contested every shot and yet came away with a mere two fouls. An All-NBA defensive performance, in light of which we’ll just let that 2-for-10 mark from downtown slide this time.
LaMarcus Aldridge did quite well on defense holding his position in the post and making Andrew Bynum shoot over top of him. You get the sense that he might be still limited physically from the eight shot attempts, but it’s not like it’s completely out of the ordinary for him to fade offensively when the perimeter guys have it going.
Good lord those foot-on-the-line long two’s are just brutal for Jerryd Bayless, who made four such shots in the first quarter. My reaction to Jerryd is similar to Travis Outlaw in some respects. When the jumper is falling, fantastic, but when it’s not we’re all shaking out heads a bit. The difference is the free throws. Bayless might have been bailed out on a drive or two, but refs are going to reward guys who play like they are determined to get to the line. As with Roy, credit Bayless for being active without the ball.
Tip your hat to Andre Miller. The other day might not have been his best moment, but the man is a professional. Not a ton to pick apart from his night. He did most of the right things and had a very Juwan Howard-esque evening in terms of floor positioning. No player on this team benefits more from Roy and Bayless making the defense chase them around. How often do you feel like an open player is missed when Miller has the ball? Probably never. He even found Bayless in the far corner for one of those long two’s with about seven players blocking his vision.
Not sure but I’m pretty sure that Juwan Howard is a robot sent from the future to show David Stern that eventually the mid-range jumper will be perfected and the court will have to be elongated by 45 feet.
Dante Cunningham seemed more consistently calm than in many previous games, which can be seen in his high level of activity on the boards and defense followed immediately by a softer touch on the jumper. Jeff Pendergraph only played five minutes in part because Dante was so solid, but this was still the sort of game that helps shape a rookie’s career just as long as they got on the floor.