Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Rookie Update/Cavs Game Preview

David Thorpe’s Rookie Report came out today and he mentioned 3 of the 4 Blazer rookies. I thought it was interesting enough to post. I especially like his thoughts on Oden.

Greg Oden:
It matters not that Oden had his huge game -- 24 points, 15 boards, 2 blocks and 2 steals -- against the Andrew Bogut-less Bucks. If 80 percent of the game of basketball is mental, like some coaches (including me) contend, then 50 percent of that part is sheer confidence. And Oden, who is a perfectionist in some respects, simply needs positive things to happen for him to help him realize that he can truly be a franchise player.
It does not matter if his coach believes it. Or his teammates, fans, the media or the "experts" watching the NBA. At least, not until he believes it first. And after games like Sunday night, when Oden dominated most of the action in all 35 minutes he played, he can think about what happened and smile (inwardly at the very least). Then, he'll want to go out and do it again.
When he starts expecting to be that dominant and can brush off momentarily failures while staying focused on the big picture, these types of games will appear with more frequency.
Rudy Fernandez:
Fernandez made six field goals Sunday night. The significant part is that only one of them was a 3-pointer.

It was the first time he made more than three 2-point field goals in a game since Dec. 18, and just the fourth time all season. The five 2-pointers were one off his season high of six, set way back on Nov. 1.
Jerryd Bayless:
Bayless finally had his coming-out party, which seemed inevitable after watching him destroy the competition in the Vegas Summer League. He scored 23 points on just nine shots against New Jersey last week, thanks in large part to his 11-for-11 showing from the free throw line. He displayed a knack for getting to the line (a lot) in Vegas, too.

In his next game, he went 6-for-9 from the field but took just three free throws. Given that he's only 1-for-10 from 3 this season, adding points from the line is imperative if he wants to become an efficient scorer.
Game Preview

Tonight’s game versus the Cavs will be another one of those “Measuring Stick” games. It will test our offense and how many guys are ready to step up. Cleveland is a great defensive team (#1 in Def. efficiency), so you can bet our sometimes stagnant offense will need to be firing on all cylinders for us to have a chance tonight. That means Outlaw, Oden, Bayless, and Rudy need to bring their six shooters tonight.

After their hot start, Cleveland has only won 6 of their last 10 games, including a loss to the Chicago Bulls on their home court. However, they are coming off a loss to the Lakers on Monday, so I fully expect them to be motivated in the first meeting between these teams this year. Cleveland’s starting center Zydrunas Ilgauskas is out as is one of their key bench players, Delonte West. With Ilgauskas out, I am hoping Oden can replicate his dominant performance that he had on Monday, versus the likes of an aging Ben Wallace and undersized Anderson Varejao. If we can somewhat limit Lebron’s penetration and Oden can do a good job of knowing when to go for the block and when to let it go, he will stay out of foul trouble and be able to help us secure a win. Here are my keys to the game.

1. Aldridge & Oden Must Play Well
We need both of our starting bigs to contribute a ton tonight. They should have an opportunity to relax somewhat on defense guarding Ben Wallace and Varejao, so they need to crash the boards extra hard tonight.
2. Keep LeBron Out of the Key
WAY easier said then done, but if we can keep him from penetrating and getting into the lane for a layup or kicking it out for an open three, I think it will bog down their offense somewhat allowing us to snatch a win.
3. Be Quick, but Not In A Hurry
We must move the ball well on offense and take advantage of the open looks we do get. We must play with urgency on offense, but we need to stay calm. We cannot have one of those offensive dry spells in the 3rd quarter or we are doomed. Must take and make open shots tonight.
4. Everyone Must Contribute
There is no way we win this game unless everyone who steps on the court contributes. It will take a total team effort, and there is no room for error when playing against one of the top 5 teams in the NBA.

Gambler’s Corner

Blazers -1
Over/Under 183

I think having Blake out for tonight’s game is the difference, so I am going to take the Cavs and the under. I think it will be a slower paced defensive minded game.


  1. I freaking wish the Blazers got enough respect to get obvious foul calls. We get hacked so often and nothing is called. I just saw Lebron James run over our defense with a "no call", it had to be a charge or a block. No one wants to blame refs for any outcome of a game, and thats not what I am trying to do, but we need some more respect.

  2. I think the Blazer's get a little more respect then you think, it's just glaring when you play against Lebron, cause he never gets any bad calls against him. And that was definitely a charge on Lebron. I wish the NBA would just call it even for everyone, but unfortunately it doesn't work like that.