Blazers 102, Spurs 84 Re-Thoughts


The first word that popped in my brain to describe tonight’s win: encouraging. Very, very, encouraging.

There are probably some other words that come to mind, but that was the first for me. No question about it, a blow-out win against the Spurs will put a smile on your face. It’s guaranteed. Just like the majority of girls will get giddy at the thought of shopping, I start cheesing when we can spank the Spurs. Back to my original point. Why am I encouraged? I’m encouraged for a couple reasons. One to see Portland bounce back after dropping one in San Antonio. Also, I’m encouraged to see this kind of win come against such a high quality opponent. It goes back to the past week. I think the easy way out for most people after the Blazers stumbled on that darn Texas Two-Step was to say “we’re not ready yet.” I’m saying this because I thought it in my brain for a nano-second. I’m not so sure I’m ready to commit to that statement today. Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying we’re knocking on the door to contend for a championship. Just know that window is going to bust wide open sooner than later. It’s nights like these that show you what this team can do. There is no question that the talent is there. I don’t think there is much question that this team belongs where they are at in the standings right now. It’s easy to forget that this is a Team in Progress with a very high ceiling. One of the consequences of being a young talented team is inconsistency. Portland may not be able to consistently show up and play at an elite level but when they do, the results are stunning as tonight showcased.

This one might as well have come out of the Kill Bill playbook the way Portland got revenge for their loss the other night. The intensity, energy, effort and determination was there from the start. The aggression was there. We jumped on them early and never looked back. Not only that but the run to start the second quarter was a sight to behold. Watching the game I got the feeling that Portland was looking for blood. There was just a different tone to tonight’s game. It’s one thing to get this kind of win against Minnesota and another to do that against the Spurs. It was fun to see this team be the more physical team and the aggressor to start. I point to the Blazers 29 free throw attempts as a sign that they were super aggressive tonight. This number is double impressive when you consider that one of the great things about the Spurs is how they play defense without fouling. I was also encouraged to see this team make the correct adjustments. I always hesitate to talk about the ‘p’ word but a huge key to success in the post-season is being able to make adjustments from game to game. Obviously it helped that we made shots early but clearly there were different thoughts. We weren’t going to let Tony Parker or anyone for that matter get into the paint. We were more focused on executing offensively to get great shots which was shown by a lot better ball movement.

I know, I’m gushing a bit but you have to let the good times roll, right? Sometimes? It’s extremely rare to get a blowout win over the Spurs so I’d just be nitpicking for negatives at this point. Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge played at an unreal level tonight. LMA seemingly couldn’t miss and Roy was determined from the jump to score on the Spurs tonight. I’m obligated to point out Channing Frye because he’s been making shots. And the only time he’s useful is when he’s making shots so that’s a bonus. Blake rebounded big time from last game and Batum absolutely Nutella’d all over Bonner.

It’s funny because in San Antonio we didn’t do any of the things we needed to do to be able to win that game. Tonight, it was the opposite where we pretty much did all of the things we would have to do to win this game and some. That’s some Alanis Morrissette-type irony right there.

More important than any of this was picking up a W. Any W is a good W as we come down the stretch. Looking at the schedule things get a little bumpier as 3 of our next 5 games are against playoff contenders. Sandwiched in there are Indiana and Minnesota but there’s no avoiding the fact that Denver, Dallas and the Lakers are on the horizon.

Let’s enjoy this one while we can.