Merry Christmas! I hope everyone is having a great day with their families! But, it’s time to take a break and catch up on some Blazer news. First off I want to say sorry to everyone, I have been extremely lazy lately, and as I am sure you have noticed, I have not posted I the last couple of days. But I am back baby! First off let’s touch on some links, and general Blazer news.
David Thrope is a writer for ESPN and issues a weekly rookie report and rankings. He has Rudy Fernandez rated #3 and Greg Oden at #6. Here is what he had to say about both of them:
On Rudy: “When Fernandez sets his feet and holds his follow through, he's a top-notch 3-point shooter. When he doesn't do those things, he's not. Electing to shoot step-back 3s off the dribble is not smart. If he's dribbling, I'd rather see him attacking the rim or pulling up for a midrange jumper.”
On Oden: “Two season ago, I watched Nene give Tim Duncan fits in the Spurs' half court offense because the Nuggets' center is long and strong. So seeing Greg Oden getting open and maneuvering with ease for some post buckets over Nene on Monday night was a special sign. Oden is still lost on defense sometimes and he is a long way from being totally comfortable on the court (he air-balled a simple, 7-foot jump hook in Denver), but his low-post offensive game is showing signs of resurfacing. He has hit 22 of his past 33 shots (66.7 percent).”
I like both of these thoughts, especially on Rudy. It is always nice to hear a neutral opinion of someone who analyzes rooki
es and talent for a living. I think Rudy is still trying to figure out what his role on this team is. At the beginning of the year Rudy was looked at as more of a 3-pt. specialist. I feel that Rudy is much more then that, and we have seen flashes of that. As he gets more and more comfortable, he will start to expand his game into other areas.
Oden continues his inconsistency, especially with the foul trouble. His learning curve seems to be a little slower then expected. I still think that it will take until at least February for us to figure out what exactly we have with Oden.
After a rocky start, Dallas has come back to achieve a respectable
16-11 going into the New Year. They have won 7 of their last 10. However only two of those teams were over .500 (Phoenix and Atlanta). They lost to San Antonio, Denver, and New Jersey. So do not let the last 10 games fool you, I am still skeptical that Dallas is for real. I definitely think Denver is a better team then Dallas, so if we can replicate our win the other night, then I think we will be in luck.
So what do the Blazers need to do to get a win over Dallas tomorrow? Well lets see…:
1. Score 100 points.
a. The Mavericks are a lowly 1-10 when allowing 100 points or more. This is going to be fairly difficult to do, as the Mavericks are 11th in the league in defensive efficiency. What helps is they play at 13th fastest pace in the league. We need to take advantage of that and get some easy baskets.
2. Brandon Roy Needs Help
a. It is no secret that Roy is the key to our offense, especially late in games. Teams are sending doubles at Roy continuously these days, so someone else needs to step up and keep the defense honest. Roy also needs to keep being patient and not feel like he has to shoot, just because he hasn’t in a while.
3. Crisp and Quick Ball Movement
a. Even though we won the game against Denver, we had a ton of lazy passes. What I also noticed is when Roy would pass out of a double team, the receiver of the pass would hold the ball rather then keep swinging it and making the defense pay for doubling Roy. This cannot continue, otherwise we become a very easy team to stop.
4. Win the Rebound Battle
a. Dallas is only 2-4 when facing one of the top 10 rebounding teams in the NBA. If we dominate them on the boards it will help tremendously.
5. Aldridge Needs to D up Nowitzki.
a. Aldridge needs to make sure and at least get a hand up on Dirk, and block out. If he spends all his energy on D, that is fine as long
as he takes care of Dirk, he is the key to Dallas, and is their leading rebounder. Let’s hope LaMarcus boards up. We need to put Dirk in his place just like LeBron did.
Even though many people have written Dallas off as a legit contender, it does not mean they are not a dangerous team. Jason Terry is having one of his best statistical years in his career, and Josh Howard is always dangerous. If we limit Dirk and suppress Terry off the bench, I think the Blazers will have a great shot at winning.
A side note, Dallas starts Eric Dampier at center, so it should be a good night for Oden (foul trouble wise), and let’s hope he takes advantage of not having to go against a top tier center. I would like to see him stay out of foul trouble and be tough on the boards. Let’s see if it happens!
The spread for the game tomorrow is Blazers by 4.5 and O/U of 193.5. I really like the Blazers in this one. I think Vegas’ expectations have come down a little for the Blazers and are a little closer to what I think they should be. I look for the Blazers to come out with a lot of energy tomorrow night on national TV and win by 7-9 points. I am going to take the under, as I think it will be a slower paced, half court type game.
Goose is going to take the Blazers and the Over.
Kyle vs. Spread 2-1
Goose vs. Spread 2-1
Kyle vs. O/U 1-2
Goose vs. O/U 2-1
And Yost won the score for the Phoenix game, so he is the only one on the board so far, post what you think the score is going to be tonight, and see who gets the closest! If you have the most wins at the end of the month, you can either write your own entry on the blog or pick a subject for Goose and I to discuss, good luck guys!