The Portland Trail Blazers got exactly the kind of game they needed, setting a franchise-high with 12 first-half threes and tying a franchise record for 21 in the game, cruising to a 134-104 blowout win over the hapless Charlotte Bobcats. With the Oklahoma City Thunder losing to the Brooklyn Nets and the San Antonio Spurs losing to the New York Knicks, the 26-7 Trail Blazers again have the most wins in the NBA. Woohoo!
This game was characterized by video game-like shooting from Blazers both familiar and rarely-seen. The Bobcats’ usually-reliable defense was no match. When Allen Crabbe and Earl Watson get more than a few minutes of playing time, you know you’ve seen a blowout. The Blazers broke a number of offensive records, and boy, did it feel like it. It was just a damn pleasure to watch, and you got the impression that they had earned a nice, easy blowout win (no starter played more than 29 minutes) after a series of difficult wins and losses.
Damian Lillard was simply stunning, hitting 9-13 and a perfect 6-6 from downtown for 24 points and 7 assists. In a theme that spanned many Blazer players, the game just looked too easy for him. It would have been frightening to see him pull it out of third gear and throw it into fourth, knowing he could dig deeper for a fifth or even a sixth if needed. A fun, fun game for him, and well-deserved.
Wesley Matthews was hot, going 8-11 and 5-6 from three for 25 points. He looked like he knew what he was doing, as did pretty much every other Trail Blazer.
LaMarcus Aldridge never really got it going, and they didn’t need him to. At all. That’s both a rare and welcome sight, as Portland’s offense usually relies on getting LaMarcus his looks, and even moreso because every superstar deserves a night off. He had just 10 points, but did corral 15 rebounds.
Nicolas Batum filled the stat sheet, offering 8-7-7 and a block. He could have done more. In another common theme, he didn’t need to.
Robin Lopez had another nice shooting night, contributing 14 on 7-10 shooting. His midrange jumper is a very nice weapon for the Blazers to fall back on when their perimeter shooting goes cold, and it almost always looks like it’s going in even if it doesn’t.
Mo Williams had a rare semi-restrained game, going 6-9 and 3-5 from three for 15 points and 10 assists. He sure does look a lot better when he’s not forcing the issue. The funny thing is… he doesn’t have to. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it now: just his being on the court is a threat.
Meyers Leonard is looking better every game. Was part of it because it was a blowout? Sure, but he’s boxing out and looking totally unrestrained on offense. He finished with 8 points and 10 rebounds, the latter being his season high. After a few games of questioning Leonard’s promotion, I am beginning to see the method in Stotts’ madness.
Will Barton got some run and took full advantage going 4-5 from the floor and 2-2 from downtown for 10 points. He even chipped in 3 rebounds. A nice outing for him in garbage time.
Allen Crabbe hit a three, Dorell Wright hit two of them, and Joel Freelend had 6 points with 3 rebounds. That means the only Blazers player not in street clothes who failed to hit a shot was Earl Watson. In Watson-esque fashion, he did have 3 fouls and a turnover.
- Tonight marked the first time in NBA history that an NBA team has had two games with 20 or more threes in a season.
- It also marked the first time in franchise history that the Blazers have gotten 8 threes in 8 straight game.
- The Blazers’ ball movement for much of this game was like watching water flow. Mesmerizing.
- Matthews had a three in the first half that was six inches behind the line, but the referees called it a long two. I think that Blazers TV announcer Mike Rice turned off his headset long enough to tell the officials their replay showed a three. I wonder how often he does that…
- Mo Williams got a flagrant on Roman Sessions halfway through the second quarter while trying to prevent a fast break. Williams immediately helped him up, but the call was correct.
- Sessions also tapped in a Blazers bucket near the end of the second quarter. Oops.
- Lillard got a dunk! It had been a while, and it was nice to see.
- In one of the more comical plays of the year, the third-string Blazers got a steal late in the game and took off for the easy fast break. The problem was that nobody bothered to pick up the ball, and the Bobcats were fouled on the other end.
- Will Barton got his first three of the year, and ended up with two. Good for him for making the most of his opportunity.
- Meyers Leonard took a few threes, but they didn’t stay down.
How can you recap this game? It was like watching your high school varsity team go up against your middle school’s B-squad. To that end, the game was pretty much over before it started, as the Blazers darted to 39 points in the first quarter (a season high) and took an 18-point lead into the second. It was more of the same as the Blazers led by 21 at the half, and 23 after three. It should be said that there was a little bit of ebb and flow… the lead was right around 20 pretty much the whole game, but at points in the third the Bobcats chipped it to 17 or 18, making you think they might be capable of putting on a run. But they weren’t, and the Blazers’ second unit stormed into the fourth and got this game to 30 as Charlotte looked longingly at Michael Jordan, wondering when they could put it all behind them and become the Hornets again.