Blazers 111, Lakers 94 Re-Thoughts


Just typing that title put a smile on my face.

Be forewarned, I’m going to continue the route Coup forged in his pre-thoughts by trying my best to not get too Randi Rah-Rah and geeked up over this because it was LA. Don’t get me wrong, this was a huge win and it is always fun to see the Lakers go down in the Rose Garden. But two things hold me back from complete and absolute joy. One is Rudy’s injury. Yes all signs point to him being ok but until I know he’s 100 percent and see him back in uniform ill be dampered. I mean talk about a mood-killer its like having the most amazing meal only you bite your tongue really bad near the end and can’t end up fully enjoying the rest.

The second reason I’m pumping the brakes a bit is because of the challenge that lies ahead. I know, I know I should probably just lose myself in this moment like Eminem taught me but I gotta be realistic. If we lose to Dallas this win goes right down the drain. I might have my feet planted too far on the ground and pardon my realism but this W will mean nada if we drop one to Dallas.

(Sidenote: I don’t know I’m kind of down on rivalry games this year. Ever since I saw Oregon fans charge the court when they beat Oregon State in basketball I’ve been kind of messed up. Sigh)

If you had told me this morning that Portland was going to dominate the Lakers like this I would not have known what to say. And after it happened I still am struggling to find the words. I’m conflicted. On one hand it’s beating the best team in the league at a critical point in the season. It’s beating a team whom you consider to be your biggest rival in front of a crazy crowd. It’s doing everything it takes to win and winning in every facet of the game. On the other hand it is just one win. A win that will be erased with a loss to Dallas. A win that doesn’t make the Blazers 1-13 road struggles against Western Conference playoff contenders disappear. A win that doesn’t make the Blazers any more consistent in the effort or execution department.

Everything Coup said the Blazers would need to happen, happened. The effort and energy in the first half was incredible and really set the tone for the rest of the night. It makes you wonder where that aggression and passion is at every night and especially what rock it climbs under when we go on the road. Defensively the Blazers held LA to a season low 38 points in the first half. And it wasn’t that the Lakers were getting great looks and missing either. The defense was active and pesky and I also wonder where that is night in and night out. LA wasn’t getting anything easy and never got in a rhythm. No third option showed up for LA on a night where their first two struggled.

Offensively, the Blazers were getting in the paint early and often which was refreshing. Honestly what went wrong? LMA and Big Joel were absolute beasts on the night, combining to put up 28 points and 31 rebounds. Good Travis didn’t show up instead Great Travis made a rare appearance. Blake, Rudy and even Channing hit shots. Batum was super active making the first quarter his own personal Nutella fest. Again you look at Coup’s pre-thoughts and everything the Blazers needed to have happen to win actually happened. Well done.

To my thoughts on Rudy incident. I don’t want to spend too much time here but it has to be talked about. I didn’t think Ariza did anything uber-intentional. It wasn’t the smartest basketball play considering his positioning but he did indeed try and make a play on the ball and not just clothesline Rudy. What I liked out of it was Portland’s reaction. I’ve been internally questioning this team’s swagger for a little bit. I was proved wrong. The passion shown there was huge. That sends a message. This wasn’t Joel or Blake getting in a mini-skirmish, this was the whole team rallying together. That was the biggest thing I will take out of that incident. To see guys get a little intense was a nice change. It showed a bit of swagger, something that Portland has kind of lacked since early in the season. I hope it carries over.

I’ve preached this constantly down the stretch but the most important thing to do now is win. This win was huge not just because of BEAT L-A or the purple and gold. We haven’t lost to them in the RG in 4 years. It was huge because of the fact that we got a W that we maybe ‘shouldn’t’ have gotten. Not that we couldn’t but I’m guessing a lot of people weren’t openly banking on a W. You’re supposed to pick up the wins against the lottery teams of the world but to get one against the number one team is big.

Blazer Nation, enjoy this win. It’s much deserved. I know Ill awake to Laker fans dropping the ‘lucky’ bomb and tons of Blazer fans updating their Facebook wanting to go all Rampage on Ariza. That’s always fun. Just know it makes Wednesday night that much more important. If we don’t show up against Dallas, the joy of tonight will disappear faster than the Baha Men.