Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Rockets Recap/Spurs Preview


Just another reminder that we posted another podcast, you can download it here, thanks guys.

BREAKING NEWS: Tim Duncan will be out tonight versus the Blazers.

Game Recap

Man these back to backs kill me. I have to write a recap AND a preview in the same day. Man life is tough. That was my “e-vite” to my pity party, don’t worry you don’t have to RSVP if you don’t want to. But let’s get to the goods.

Last night’s game was a very interesting one. The Blazers seemed to come out focused and determined to not fall behind early like they have so many times this year on the road. We led by as much as 7 in the first quarter, but then we gave way to a huge Houston run (23-3) that spanned the mid 1st quarter to the mid 2nd quarter. It was very frustrating to watch, as the Blazers settled for jumpshot after jumpshot. Granted Houston plays very good defense, but come on! 23-4! We went into half time down 17.

The Blazers came after halftime ready to go, and in typical Portland fashion never quit on this game. They managed to bring the game within 3 points with about 2 and half minutes left in the game. But that’s where the magic stopped, the shots stopped falling, and Houston hit all their free throws. A play that stood to me in particular was LaMarcus Aldridge’s wide open jumpshot with about minute left, that he clanged off the back iron. I thought about all the talk from him about how he wants to be in the limelight more, and be one of the big 3, well that was your chance! Roy is there cause he steps up! Where are you?!? Now maybe that is a little too harsh, but he talks about being a go-to guy and a pillar of this team, but he needs to walk the walk. Another killer was back to back offensive rebounds given up to Houston late in the game. Portland was going with an unusual lineup of Roy, Rudy, Travis, Batum, and Aldridge. Batum just couldn’t handle Scola who secured both boards for Houston. When you are on the road, those are the kinds of plays we need to make.

After that loss, we moved from 4th to 5th place in the western conference, and more importantly lost the season series to Houston giving them an advantage in any sort of tie-breaking scenario. It will be interesting to see how we bounce back tonight.

Individual Performances

Brandon RoyRoy ended with 24 points (10-23 FG), 5 boards and 5 assists. Houston was very physical as expected and we didn’t get a ton of calls. Roy managed to somewhat fight through it, but he seemed to settle for a lot of jumpers. Tonight was one of those nights that we needed someone else to step up.

LaMarcus Aldridge – Aldridge had a confusingly bad showing. Although he ended with 21 points and 8 boards, he was only 37% from the field (7-19). I was expecting a big game from him due to the fact that he was in his hometown state, and he had a combination of Scola, Chuck Hayes, and Carl Landry guarding him. I thought for sure he would have a great game, but he struggled with the physicality of the Houston defenders.

Steve Blake – Blake played very average after a spectacular game versus Clippers. He ended with 9 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists with 1 turnover in 40 minutes. While this isn’t a horrible stat line, we needed him to step up tonight offensively, to negate his struggle on defense against Aaron Brooks (20 points, 5 boards). Brooks had an easy time going right around Blake, which in turn opened things up for everyone else.

Nicolas Batum – Batum caught fire in the 3rd quarter, and was the key component to the Blazers bid to get back into this game. He had all 14 of his points in the 3rd and was 3-3 from deep. It was an encouraging sign to see from him considering his shot has been off for some time now.

Joel Przybilla – As always it is hard to measure Przy’s impact by looking at the box score. Przy played amazing D tonight against Yao who ended with 15 points (6-15) and 5 boards to go along with his 5 turnovers. Bottom line, Przy made sure Yao didn’t beat us.

Travis Outlaw – As some of you know I tend to harp on Outlaw quite a bit, but last night at the end of the game, why were we not going to him!?!? He was the only one who was having success scoring, but instead we go to a pick and pop with a double teamed Roy and a somewhat broke Aldridge? Doesn’t make sense to me. As Batum did in the 3rd, Outlaw kept us close in the 4th, but we couldn’t quite deliver a dub-a-ya.

Bayless/Sergio – Both combined to only play 11 minutes, this could be a sign of things to come as Nate tightens his rotation for our stretch run.

Game Summary in One Sentence – If we can play with the urgency and energy we did in the 2nd half for an entire game, we would have homecourt advantage for the playoffs.

Game Preview

After a disappointing loss to the Rockets last night, we have another tough game against the Spurs of San Antonio. I am beginning to think Gregg Popavich hates us. First he rests all his starters versus our division rival Nuggets, and last night sits Tim Duncan out to presumably get rested for tonight. Now it is not for sure that Duncan

will go tonight, but if I was a betting man I would say that he is a go.

Tonight’s game looks to be even more challenging then last nights game. After a somewhat rocky start to the season, marked by injuries to their key players, the Spurs have bounced back to solidify themselves as the Lakers main rivals out west. It is the same story as in years past, they play a tough, physical style defense with crisp rotations and move the ball well on offense. We must bring our A game tonight if we want any chance at beating these guys at their place. A bonus for us is Manu is out for tonight's game, so that is one less threat for us to worry about.

Greg Oden is out again for tonight’s game and we are keeping our fingers crossed that he will be available for Friday night’s game against the T-Wolves. This again hurts us as we go against one of the leagues premier bigs in Duncan. Let’s hope Przy can have as much success tonight against Ducan as he did last night versus Yao.

Keys to the Game

  1. Stop Tony Parker’s Dribble Penetration
    1. It all starts with our on ball defense. If our PG gets beat then we are at a disadvantage as we scramble to rotate and cover open guys. The Spurs have too many good shooters and are too good of passers for us to survive too much Tony Parker.
  2. Hit Our 3’s
    1. After going just 5-15 last night from 3, Portland needs to bounce back and shoot closer to 40% tonight for us to have a chance. We need to make up points somewhere, and the 3 point line and free throw line is where it’s going to come from.
  3. Run As Much As Possible
    1. San Antonio is a great defensive team, and if we let them get set in their half court defensive you are going to see a lot of the same thing as you saw in the first half last night versus Houston. We must get out and get some easy baskets.
  4. Play Through the No-Calls
    1. We have to expect that we will get next to no calls in our favor tonight, accept it, and play through it. It seemed like last night our guys tended to get a little too caught up with the no-calls/physicality of the game. We cannot let that happen again tonight or this game will be over quickly.

Let’s see if we can take advantage of our youth tonight and bring more energy off a back to back then San Antonio. It will be interesting to see how the Blazers respond after last night’s tough loss.

Gambler’s Corner

Blazers +1.5

Over/Under 179.5

I am going to take the Spurs and the Over. I see it as a tall task for these young Blazers to get a win over a savvy veteran club like the Spurs coming off a back to back. Also, I think the Spurs will dictate the tempo of the game, and that will keep the score low as we are forced into too many jumpshots. Oh I am also taking over +4.5 times they show Eva Longoria in tonight’s broadcast.

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