Contagious Confidence


Only four teams have held the Golden State Warriors to under 100 points this year.

  1. Utah
  2. Boston
  3. San Antonio
  4. Portland

Boston and San Antonio are two of the top three defensive teams in the league. Need I say more?

I will. The Blazers just won their fifth game in a row, their second without LaMarcus Aldridge and this one without Martell for the most part. Tip your hat to Nate McMillan for getting this team to play hard and swerving them in the right direction. Also tip your hat to him for pulling a Phil Jackson and not getting sucked into playing small. Give it up to Joel Pryzbilla for managing to stay on the floor for 30 minutes, pick up only two fouls but have 15 points, 10 boards and 3 blocks. However this 5-game winning streak can be contributed to two people: James Jones and Travis Outlaw. Outlaw’s consistent play and constant attack mode has led to him contributing in a major league way. Jones has given us a consistent deep threat that we need to stretch defenses out and to help our big guns out. During the streak Outlaw is averaging 18.8 points per game and nearly 7 rebounds. Jones is only averaging 12.6 but is shooting 68.1% from behind the arc the last five games. Damn indeed.

At this point in the season we know what the Blazers can do. We’ve seen the good (during the two streaks) and the bad (the losing streaks). We’re and up and down young team but this is a rollercoaster I’m enjoying riding. That being said we still can’t really defend worth a dang but that will come.

Steve Nash handing his chipped tooth to the trainer then doing an interview is tops on my badass moment of the year list. Utah is on a little downward slide as evidenced by this skid they are on. At the end of the day they will be there in the end especially with that Boozer/Williams 1-2 punch. But ss promised here are my concerns with the Jazz who have now dropped 5 in a row (three to San Antonio, Dallas and Phoenix).

  1. Lack of depth at the PG. They have Deron Williams one of the best in the game. But Derek Fisher isn’t backing him up anymore. The dropoff from the experience of Fisher (despite his underrated mediocre statistical season last year) to Jason Hart and Ronnie Price is immeasurable. You don’t have to guard Jason Hart or Price as a matter of fact you’re going to make those guys beat you.
  2. Lack of shooters. Okur (more on him later) and maybe Williams. Then what? Harpring isn’t quite healthy yet (28.6 from behind the arc), Giricek is somewhat buried on the bench and Brewer is shooting 23.8 percent from behind the arc.
  3. The struggles of Mehmet Okur. He broke out in his last two years in Utah averaging about 18 and 8 over a two year span. Maybe it was playing for Turkey over the summer but he has struggled to start the year. They absolutely need him to play well or they become a different team. When he is going that pick and roll becomes nearly unguardable. The stroke is off somewhat (down to 34.7% from 38.4%), he’s not getting to the line (2.9 attempts a game compared to 4.9 last year) and his rebounding is way down to 5.1 the lowest since his rookie season in Detroit (4.7) For Utah to really go somewhere they’ve got to get him going in a hurry.
  4. Defensive struggles. Last year the beautiful thing about Utah is they could slow it down and win ugly (aka the 1st round against Houston) and they could speed it up and outscore you (aka the 2nd round against Golden State). They were like San Antonio Jr. because they had D and O. The D seems to have Disappeared. They got out-toughed by the Blazers at home, something that never would have happened. Not a typical Jazz team.

With all that being said the Jazz are still lethal and should be better as Sloan is giving them a lot more freedom…just some things to consider.

What’s more concerning to a Magic fan: the three game losing streak or the fact that you paid max money to a guy who jacked up 14 threes (out of 18 shots) and shot zero free throws? Is that some sort of record? Had to rag on the Magic for old time’s sake. SVG has to make the adjustment now that people are just saying ‘F-U Dwight you’re not beasting and dunking on us go make a damn free throw’

I will give credit where credit is due: Durant’s debut in MSG was magical. 11/20, 7/8 from the free throw line, 30 points. The type of game the Durant apologists have been promising since he declared. More impressive: nine of those were in the fourth quarter of a tight game. 4/5 shooting in money time…impressive. It seems like he’s at least starting to get on the right track making the adjustments to the game..that’s what I like to see.

Quick note…is it sad that Bill Walton is actually finally making sense? I mean I’ve been up and down with him over the years (peaking with that bad-ass tie-die Walton’s World shirt for the playoffs a few years back) and maybe it is just him being paired with Stephen A Smith but damn he makes some actual sense. Maybe I’m tired from finals who knows.

I’ll be waiting with baited breath on your opinion Coup, I know what’s coming I just want to see it with my own eyes.