Wow, tough loss. The Blazers, after storming back in the 4th quarter to take an 8 point lead with a little over a minute left, lost on a 9-0 run by the Magic to lose 109-108. It is an odd feeling for Blazers fans as of late, because we are usually the team that does this to our opponents. Definitely does not feel as good to be on the losing side.
The loss overshadowed what was arguably Brandon Roy's best personal performance of the season. Roy ended with 30 points, 9 boards, 5 dimes, and 2 blocks on 50% shooting from the field. The Blazers were successful (relatively) at containing Dwight Howard who ended with 14 points and 7 boards with no blocks. At first glance, it would seem after holding Howard to that statline that it would be a guaranteed win. However in stark contrast to Portland's last meeting with the Magic in Orlando, Rashard Lewis was hitting his shots. Lewis went 9-16 from the field, including 6-9 from deep to score 27 on us. However he was not the hero of this game, that title belonged to Turkoglu. Turkoglu did his best Brandon Roy impression and hit an improbable shot with 0.3 seconds left to put the Magic up by 1.
As a team the Blazers started extremely slow, and dug themselves and early deficit. They looked lethargic and tired. But as they always do, made a run and brought the game within striking distance by half. To me it seemed that we were in total control, and momentum was on our side, then I would look down at the score and find out we were up by 1. This was a testament to Orlando's perimeter shooting. As a team they shot 14-27 (51.9%) from 3-land. THis was quite different then the last time we played them where we mostly hurt by dribble penetration and dishes to Howard for dunks.
Bottom line we did the same thing we have been doing the entire road trip (besides Boston of course), and it came back to bite us. Play with fire too many times and you will get burned, and thats exactly what happened tonight.
Aldridge had a great game with 25 points, 13 boards, 2 steals and 2 blocks. What I noticed most about Aldridge tonight was how active he was. The guy was everywhere. He had two tip dunks, and multiple open looks at the hoop. This is Lamarcus' strength and I wish he would do it a little more. Granted Orlando's interior is one of the softest in the league after Howard. Believe it or not, Tony Battie doesn't strike fear in the hearts of interior players.
Oden was pretty much a non-factor as he found himself in foul trouble early against Howard. It was interesting to see them go one and one, as I believe Howard is the closest player to Oden's ability and skill set in the league. It just reminds us how far away Oden really is. But be patient Blazer fans, because I did some research and Oden's per minute numbers are actually better then Howard's his rookie year. Difference is Howard played 31 minutes a game and Oden is at roughly 21. Granted part of that is due to his tendency to pick up early fouls, but what I am saying is be patient, big men always take longer to develop.
Blake played decent, but was in foul trouble almost the entire game. That opened the door for..
Sergio. Sergio played a solid game and hit a few key 3's. Sergio played almost a season high 25 minutes, and responded with 14 points and 7 dimes. Not bad production.
Rudy did his usual spark plug thing, and I am convinced that no one in the league has more highlights per basket then Rudy. It seems like every point he scores and every pass he makes is SportsCenter worthy.
Game Summary in One Sentence
Lethargic early, aggressive late, need to play all 48 minutes to beat good teams.
Thanks for reading my blog, I hope you enjoyed it and I am open to all suggestions as to how to improve the blog! Looking forward to Thursday, vs. the Jazz on national TV. Let's steal one from them on their home court.