Thursday, March 5, 2009

Pacers Recap

What is the mark of a good team? Most coaches, players, and analysts will tell you that the mark of a good team is pulling out a win even when you don’t play your best game. Well that is exactly what the Blazers did last night versus the Pacers. While being badly outrebounded for most of the first 3 quarters, the Blazers seemed to pull it together just enough to muster a win to break their streak of 9 consecutive losses to the Pacers.

What I found most baffling is the stark contrast between our play on Sunday versus the Spurs and our play last night. Portland was not doing any of the things they did so well against the Spurs. They were not getting out on the Pacers 3 points shooters, and that lead to the Pacers shooting a blistering 7-8 from 3 long line in the first half. It seemed like every time the Blazers began to make a run, it would be killed by giving up an offensive board, or leaving one of their shooters open.

It’s a good thing we are a 4th quarter team, because I can’t count the number of times that has saved our butts this year. After being held to only 4 points in the first half, Roy exploded for 24 in the 2nd half, and 13 of those in the 4th quarter and 10 in the last 2 minutes of the game. It also helped the Pacers finally cooled off from deep, and let us crawl back into the game. With that win we are now only ½ a game behind Denver for the lead of the northwest division. With a win tonight, we would be in first place, and my, oh my, wouldn’t that be nice.

Individual Performances

Brandon Roy – Is there any question who the most valuable player on this team is? Roy Wonder does it again, and saves us in the 2nd half. Brandon ended with 28 (10-19 FG), 6 boards, and 3 assists. He hit clutch shot after clutch shot in the 4th quarter, scoring 10 points in the last 2 minutes of the game. Roy is turning into one of the top closers in the NBA.

LaMarcus Aldridge – LA had another good game, and continues his streak of solid play with Oden out. LA ended with 21 (8-17 FG) and 7 boards. He had somewhat of a difficult time scoring on the more physical players on Indiana’s front line like Foster, and Murphy. It was nice to have big games from our two best players.

Travis Outlaw – Outlaw was the only one who kept us in the game in the first half, where he scored 17 of his 21 (9-15 FG). He also added 6 boards, a steal and a block. Good game from Travis, and he did exactly what we need/expect him to do when our starters are sputtering on offense.

Steve Blake – Blake wasn’t every effective against the quickness of TJ Ford, but managed for force him into a difficult shot late in the game when it mattered. Blake ended with 9 points (2-9 FG) and only 2 assists. We’ve definitely seen better from Blake, let’s hope he matches up better with Billups tonight.

Rudy Fernandez – Rudy continued his streak of average play with 8 points (2-6 FG) and 4 assists. He wasn’t much of a factor either way, you can really see him hitting that rookie wall.

Joel Przybilla – Przy played through some flu like symptoms and ended with 12 boards (8 offensive), and 10 points. Solid game for Przy, despite feeling below average physically.

Nicolas Batum – Batum continues to look for his shot more then in the past, and although he only ended with 5 points, it is good to see him gain some confidence to take the ball to the hoop.

Bayless/Sergio – Together they only played 18 minutes and ended with 5 points and 2 assists. Not much of a factor, and I expect it to continue this way through the playoffs.

Game Summary in One Sentence – Out-worked, out-hustled, and out-played for 3 quarters, but the Blazers pull one out of their ass in the 4th again.

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