Cannot complain about a W. It’s like when MTV hit me with an extra hour of Jersey Shore last week…actually no because that was an awesome surprise. Road wins are always great and should always be celebrated. Pretty, ugly, whatever, a win away from home is a good thing. People may want to bemoan a lack of energy from the red and black, I won’t. Why? Its hard to have energy when you’re playing in Philly. I’m pretty sure I made more noise yawning than the Sixer fans did early tonight. Road wins are great, especially when your star does not play in the second half. This was a big one, a loss here and the Blazers are going to Boston 0-2 on the trip with their heads way down. Definitely not needed.
I don’t feel much of a need for overanalysis of this one. In my eyes, Portland went out and took a 50-50 game in the 4th quarter. It wasn’t pretty but it was big. LaMarcus carried it early, Andre Miller carried it in the third and then it was J-Bay time. Bayless scored 10 of his 18 in the 4th, essentially doing his best Brandon Roy impression. Not only that but he had 10 of the first 14. And his jump-floater almost made Coup explode. Its simple simon why Portland won. What impresses me the most about Miller and Bayless’ performances, is that they did it when the team needed them the most; in the second half with Brandon Roy out.To have those two step up like that is only good news for the Blazers (well everyone except Steve Blake).
Looking back at Coup’s pre-thoughts, his keys to the game can explain a lot of the reasons why Portland won. And yes I feel like Doug Collins looking back at his keys to the game right now. Don’t ask me why. Anyways. The rebounding battle was relatively even (37-36), thus eliminating the Sixers dominance in the paint from last game. That same dominance that led to the Blazers picking up that L. The Blazers took care of the ball (only 5 TOs) which took Philly out of their ability to hurt us in transition by fast breaking, one of their major weapons. And the Blazers found scoring options with monster performances from Andre Miller and Jerryd Bayless. In essence, Portland took care of business and did what they needed to do to win.
Andre Miller is basically telling everyone ‘shut the f up please’ with his play. 24 points off 8-for-17 shooting is nice. Scoring 14 of Portland’s 24 points in the third quarter is even better. Miller picked up a lot of the slack that came with Brandon Roy sitting out the last 24 hours. It’s hard to make an argument against Miller at this point. And to be honest with you I’m not sure what trading him would accomplish other than waste half a season.
Very efficient performance from LaMarcus Aldridge. I will take 23 points, 9 rebounds on 8/13 shooting and 7/8 free throws 9 times out of 10. That was a lot of numbers, my apologies. He set the tone early with 8 first quarter points and then helped shut the door with 9 in the 4th quarter, including three key buckets while the game was very much still in doubt. If LMA can find ways to be efficient and sustain his performance, watch the bleep out. Of course that’s a lot easier said than done but a very encouraging performance nonetheless.
Let’s thank goodness that the Blazers don’t play Philly anymore, for Martell Webster’s sake. Another rough night for Webster against the Sixers. 1-for-9 is no bueno. It would be a shame to see him take steps back with the return of Rudy and Batum. Speaking of Rudy, I reserve judgment as he continues to work his way back into shape. Glad he knocked down a couple of threes, lets just hope he stops kicking it with Channing Frye on gamedays.
Brandon Roy…4-for-6, 10 points in 18 minutes. You tease. Just kidding, please don’t play until you are completely healthy. Please. My heart can’t take too many limp offs and wondering ‘OMG WHERE IS B ROY’.
Juwan Howard continues to just do all the little things. His contributions go way past 8 points and 8 rebounds. If you don’t appreciate what Juwan Howard does for this team, you’re probably one of those people who won’t admit that Jersey Shore is entertaining. I hate those people.The Pendergraph/Cunningham combo continued to do its thing. Cunningham was solid as Pendergraph seemed to sit on the bench after the fouls.
Steve Blake is starting to play more and more like the Steve Blake in my 2K10 dynasty. Assists (5), a couple points here and there, being outshined by Andre Miller and Jerryd Bayless.