I’ll admit, I’m a bit geeked up about the Blazers, my hometown franchise that hasn’t been to the playoffs in a few years. Without fail, I end up talking to my friends about the most recent game, so it just makes more sense to do a quick write-up, make my friends read my thoughts and then go from there.
The Blazers got a prime-time ESPN game against the defending World Champion Cs, and things didn’t go so well - the Blazers lost 98-73, with the game being mostly decided midway through the 3rd quarter. By then, the Celtics went on a run of about 21 straight points. The Blazers, to some extent, got exposed. I wouldn’t say they’re completely fradulent, but it was demonstrated that they’re just not physically and mentally tough enough yet. They are, after all, the second youngest team in the league with an average age of 24.
In bullet point format:
- LaMarcus Aldridge finally went hard to the rim. Unfortunately, it was in the second half when the game was already decided. I’ve caught significant portions of about 5-6 of the first 20 games of the season, and this is the first time I actually recall him trying to dunk despite inevitable contact. Way to remember you’re 6′11″ … when you’re down 20 and KG has out-yapped and out-muscled you all game.
- The Blazers offense in half-court sets, to some extent, been like the Suns offense in the D’Antonio and pre-Shaq era, as described in the book Seven Seconds Or Less by Jack McCallum. [Disclaimer: I didn't read the book - I don't read books, I read reviews.] In any case, it involves floor spacing, making open shots and somebody getting into the lane. Playing the starring role of Steve Nash has been Brandon Roy, who has done it brilliantly, though at times during this particular game, there was very little motion and it looked like both teams were content to see if Roy could break down the defense with everybody staring at him. Tonight, he couldn’t.
- Steve Blake was exposed as being way too slow to stay in front of Rajon Rondo and not fast enough to challenge him on the other end. While Sergio Rodriguez and Jerryd Bayless didn’t exactly look good defensively, they both got into the lane.
- Speaking of Bayless, he is the only reason I watched the 4th quarter. I was remarking the other day to a friend and fellow Blazers-fan that of the 4 rookies the Blazers have on their roster, the only one not in the rotation was Bayless, after averaging an unheard-of 29.8ppg in the Vegas Summer League.
- More Bayless hype - I was remarking to my roommate about how I love his balance, jump and release. Within a minute, Bayless made a quick dribble move and dropped a picture perfect 17-footer. I really enjoy it when players cooperate with my comments. I have really high hopes that he will be a very good defensive player - he certainly has the size, the feet and (seemingly) the coachability for this.
- The two question marks going into last season for the Celtics were Kendrick Perkins and Rajon Rondo.
- After watching the game, I checked into YardBarker and saw that somebody had written the game up already. The first line? “Perk definitely won this round with Greg Oden.” This is the reason I never wrote about sports on my blog before - sports bloggers are insanely good at watching a million hours of game and having no clue. This is why I never got involved. There should only be two types of sports writers - professionals and bloggers that make the crass comments that respectable journalists can’t. WithLeather does this well.
- Honestly, I like Perkins and always have - his blocks/48 minutes have always been blistering - but you’re comparing two players that are role players at this point in their careers. The difference is that Oden has a chance to be more than a role player and Perkins really doesn’t.
- Rondo on the other hand, is the new media darling and sudden king of playground-esque cool. He did this really tacky head-bob thing before he made a move against Rodriguez. While he has exceeded expectations, he does have a certain amount of, I don’t know, HALL OF FAME talent surrounding him. I’m not convinced that Rondo is substantially better than other super-fast penetrating point-guards that have a reputation of not being able to shoot - say Sebastian Telfair or Rafer Alston. I’m kind of curious what God Shammgod would do in this system.
- [First God Shammgod reference, not the last.]
- The announcing was awful.
- I liked Mark Jackson as a player. He successfully stretched out the usefulness of his never impressive body, but as an announcer he sounds completely distant and clueless.
- Jeff Van Gundy is a complete buffoon, going off on a really useless diatribe about how the only field goals in football that should be attempted are those of 50+ yards. I now envy Marcus Camby for having “accidentally” punching him.
- Mike Breen - guilty by association.
- On emphatic teammates…
- I think it is really funny how Kevin Garnett seemed to bring Glen “Big Baby” Davis to the verge of angry tears. What do you call it when something is so fitting that it doesn’t seem like it should be happening? Is that irony or unironic irony? I can’t decide.
- I think it is awesome when people suck up to KG for yelling at his teammates. You know who yells at his teammates? Rasheed Wallace. You don’t see the announcers sucking up to him…
- On other double-standards…
- I recall one particular instance when Tyler Hansbrough ran at a shooter at the top of the key and fouled him on a 3-point shot. The announcers, possibly involving Vitale [I don't exactly recall] commented about his intensity and ferocity. I never hear this same type of reaction when a black guy runs at a shooter out of control - the announcers usually label that as a lack of discipline.
This ended up being a bit longer than I thought it would be - all this text and no pictures. I’m going to have to get my video capture device working.