The Blazers did it again.
Love, single people who won’t have to get dragged to that movie (or smart boyfriends who built up enough points to get to skip this one)
Joking aside…how unreal has this season been? I have never been a fan of a team that just keeps surprising you with how gutsy they are. But the 09-10 Portland Trail Blazers keep finding new ways to overcome the odds. It’s funny when you look back to the beginning of the season, when we had all the talent in the world but lacked the type of heart that we had been accustomed to seeing from these Blazers. And now after everybody and their mom got injured, this team just goes out and fights its way to victories. Will this ever get old? Absolutely not. It’s also funny when you consider that this version of the Blazers will end up being the first Blazer team to sweep the San Antonio Spurs in a season since forever. And by forever, I believe the 1996-97 season. The impressive part about tonight’s win is they went out and beat a good Spurs team, in a not ‘must’ win situation but a ‘hey we really need this one’ win situation after getting stomped by Utah.
At this point it feels like a broken record…depleted Blazers team overcomes the odds to win a game. It’s just astonishing the amount of tough wins this team has had this year. And I’m not just trying to blow smoke around, it’s just blowing my mind. Tonight, Portland found another way to gut out another win. This time overcoming not only their depleted roster and their All-Star in dress clothes but a 10-point deficit against the San Antonio Spurs in the 4th quarter. Say what you want about the Spurs struggling but rarely do they blow leads in the 4th quarter, let alone one of the double-digit orientation.
First off, what can you say about LaMarcus Aldridge? (Calm down Coup, I’ll get to your boy in a second) LaMarcus Aldridge putting up 28 points/13 rebounds in 41 minutes definitely should get a lot of people to order a big, tall glass of shut up juice. It feels like he’s playing some of the best basketball of his career. I feel like that might be a bold statement, but I’ve never believed in LA as much as now. If there is one reason I wish we had no All-Star Break, it’s because of the way LaMarcus Aldridge is playing. You think about LaMarcus coming into his own with Roy returning to the lineup shortly and Batum giving us a spark and things are looking up (knck on wood). It was great to see him just steadily play very well over the course of his entire game. His 6 points towards the end of the third were huge to keep Portland right there (before Manu went three-happy). Obviously the go ahead jumper was huge, but his other two baskets in the 4th kept the Blazers afloat.
Martell Webster? Gee whiz. 21 points, 6-for-9 shooting, 5-for-5 from the three point line. I should just let Coup right this paragraph to truly do it just, but very well done sir. For the first time in a very long time, when Martell was open for three I was hyped and ready to celebrate a make. I was not hoping the shot would fall, I knew it would fall. It was just good to see him with the kind of swagger he had out there. The hesitation was gone, it felt like all of his moves were made with aggression. Sometimes I questioned the purpose on a couple drives, but at least he was doing something. With me, I always want to see Martell do MORE than do less. I’m glad he did not just flounder out there. This was a huge game for his confidence, proving that he can play well with Rudy and Batum in the lineup and even play well with Batum in the lineup. Now it will be interesting to see what happens when we have the full Roy/Rudy/Martell/Batum/Bayless family playing together. Kind of a crowded van, eh?
I have to give props to the guy who will fly under the radar in this one: Andre Miller. 11 points, 10 assists, 0 turnovers in 35 minutes is a hell of a ballgame. I mean are you kidding me? Some of those passes were great. I really enjoyed him knowing when to push it and when not too. Also that veteran saavy and savoir-faire came out tonight. Key example was from the biggest play of the game, aka Martell’s three pointer. You can give a head nod to Martell for knocking it down or to Batum for making that pass. I give props to Andre Miller. It was clear the Blazers were trying to get the ball to LaMarcus Aldridge. Antonio McDyess did a tremendous job of fronting him and not allowing the entry pass. Miller, seeing McDyess fronting him realized two things: a) McDyess can’t help any penetration and b) he can use McDyess as a sort of screen on his defender. He did, got the penetration and kicked and the rest is history. Just an awesome play.
Other thoughts….I liked that lineup in the second quarter with Batum/Cunningham/Miller/Rudy. Things just feel so much smoother with Batum back in the lineup. We can run out more, the defense looks better. Dante Cunningham kind of showed me he has some glimpses of veteran Antonio McDyess with that mid-range jumper. I felt he gave some big minutes in the second, with energy on defense, his ability to run and that mid-range jumper can only get better. I was really impressed by him tonight. Juwan Howard almost became the goat with that turnover on the in-bounds. It would have been double as bad because he’s been playing basketball since I was an embryo. It’s pretty clear that Jerryd Bayless is hurting as he did not look like himself last night…Richard Jefferson’s goatee has to go.
Topics: Blazers Spurs, Brandon Roy, Dante Cunningham, LaMarcus Aldridge, Manu Ginobili, Martell Webster, Nic Batum, Portland Trail Blazers, Richard Jefferson, Rudy Fernandez, San Antonio Spurs, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker