It’s getting increasingly more difficult to write these post-game recaps. What I want to see from Portland through the final month of 2011-12 is a Blazer team that looks like they understand the importance of playing with pride. I want to see a Blazer team that doesn’t appreciate getting blown out at home. I want to see a Blazer team that competes on both ends of the floor every night of the week.
What I don’t want to see is a false sense of accomplishment. Meaning, I don’t want a couple of good games (or if not good games than at least wins) to begin to overshadow the fact that this team needs work, and that that work is going to have to be done in the off season.
This conundrum is no more manifest than in the play of Raymond Felton Sunday evening. Felton has not been good very often this season. He’s been the focal point of a lot of heated tweets from media members and fans. He, also may have been the reason Nate McMillan is no longer coaching in Portland.
One of the Blazers’ primary concerns this off season is going to be finding a point guard. If that means trying to draft a point guard, that’s what they are going to have to do. If that means packaging their pick or the New Jersey pick that used to Gerald Wallace to get a marquee free agent (Deron Williams) that’s what they have to do. Re-uping Raymond Felton and riding his one-for-ten effectiveness is not an option.
When Felton shoots 9-of-17 from the field, hits four threes, and hustles so much that in the course of a couple minutes boos turn into cheers, some people (probably Raymond and his agent) might start to think that he could have a future in Portland. Thinking like that will make next season a lot like this season. That’s not what anybody wants.
OK, that’s all the negativity I can come up with. Sunday was a fun game, even if it wasn’t a very well played game. A dude from Hofstra named Charles Jenkins almost doubled his previous career high in scoring, Klay Thompson tried to prove that it is possible to shoot the ball every time you touch it, and the Blazers showed they can win when they shoot 100% from the free throw line and when they shoot 66% from the free throw line.
Those that are pro tanking will no doubt notice and mention that by winning this game Portland failed to jump up another Lottery place, and that these Blazers can’t even lose games right. I get that train of thought. I understand the importance of getting a couple more ping pong balls. But I feel like losing on purpose isn’t a real thing and won’t actually make that much difference. I prefer effort and some level of execution. Even if that means a couple of wins. Even if that means Portland draws the 11th pick and not the 6th or 7th.
Next week the Blazers have a couple of tough home games, which means that we probably won’t have to deal with the kind of issues raised Sunday night. In these upcoming games we’ll get to see if this team actually believes they can compete with the best in the West. We’ll also get to see if Blazer fans will be able to get jacked up for their team when they’re getting their collective clocks cleaned.
Couple of things before you get back to watching the season premiere of Mad Men:
- Here’s a few more Felton stats: Ray is averaging 16 points over his past six games. His 24 points Sunday were the most he’s scored as a Blazer. Sunday Ray picked up seven assists and only turned the ball over once, he also grabbed five rebounds. I’ll leave it at that.
- Charles Jenkins made his 10th professional start Sunday evening.
- I spent the first half of the game in the 300 level with a couple of my friends. One of those friends had never been in the Rose Garden before. After the game I sent a text to this friend, making his first trip to the RG, that he was going to have to come to every game from now on. Or at least until the Blazers lose.
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