Saturday, January 17, 2009

Charlotte Preview

Tonight’s game against the Bobcats is the last of our 4 game road trip back east. With a win tonight the Blazers would complete another successful long east coast road trip over .500. Steve Blake is out again for tonight’s game and Nate said he didn’t want to rock the boat, and will stay with Sergio as the starter. DJ Augustine is out for the Bobcats, so we will see a heavy dose of Raymond Felton tonight.

Keys to the Game

1. Limit Our Turnovers
This was huge in our victory over New Jersey on Thursday. Our guards need to have another solid performance tonight.
2. Our Big’s Need to Stay out of Foul Trouble
Oden and Przybilla need to stay out of foul trouble tonight as they go against Okafor tonight. We need them to board up tonight.
3. Play With Energy
If we can get to the foul line like we did against New Jersey, I think you can pretty much wrap this one up. We can’t relax because of Charlottes record.

Gamblers Corner

Portland -2.5
Over/Under 177.5

I am going with Portland, and the over. I think we are going to take care of the ball and maybe even get out and run a little bit with Bayless playing more minutes. Let’s go Blazers!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Jay Bay Bay!

Jay Bay Bay! Man what an awesome game! Not only was it a great win for the Blazers vs. the Nets, who had won their previous 4 games at home, but Jerryd Bayless showed us why he was a lottery pick and summer league MVP. Bayless shattered his previous career high of 8 points, with 23 points on 6-9 shooting from the field and a perfect 11-11 from the free throw line. And anyone who saw the game saw his amazing dunk on Bobby Simmons with 3:30 left in the 4th quarter. Check it out here. I couldn’t stay up to see if it made Sportscenter top 10 though. Anyone know?

We did a great job containing Devin Harris in this game, and made him work for every point he scored. Even though he had 23 points, he only attempted 4 free throws (he averages 9.6 a game). The Blazers also did a great job of shutting down Vince Carter. Carter only had 13 points. We did a great job of slowing these guys down by being aggressive on offense and drawing early fouls that forced them to sit. During one streatch, Carter hit back to back shots, then picked up his 3rd foul and had to head to the bench. Things like that have a huge impact on the game.

The Blazers also did a great job of getting out to an early start (7-0). Even though it didn’t last the entire game, it set the tone early and it was a good sign to see our guys taking this game very seriously. In the absence of Blake, Portland did a great job of taking care of the ball. They only had 8 turnovers in the entire game to New Jerseys 10. This is only one more then we had in the entire first quarter vs. Philly! Great job taking care of the ball by the Blazers guards.

Individual Performances

Jerryd Bayless – Who else could the game ball go to? Bayless filled that void left by Blake, as the 3rd heat in Portland’s offense. He got to rim almost at will, and made New Jersey pay for fouling him. I am very happy to see one of our two backup points capitalized on Blake being out.

Brandon Roy – Although all the headlines read Jerryd Bayless, Roy once again carried this team. Roy was aggressive early, getting to the line 7 times in the 1st quarter alone. He drew a ton of fouls against New Jersey, and forced them to go to their bench. Roy ended with 29 points, 8 boards, 5 assists, and 2 steals. What was/is amazing about Roy, is that even though he was already playing a great game, when Bayless got hot, he deferred to him. I can count on one hand the number of all-stars in this league that would defer to a rookie like that. That’s the kind of stuff that makes Roy and this team special.

LaMarcus Aldridge – Aldridge had a quiet 20 points and 6 boards (why is Roy getting more boards then Aldridge?). We went to LaMarcus early, but he could not find his touch. In the 2nd half he stepped it up and hit a few open jumpshots off pick and pops with Roy. Nice game from Aldridge.

Sergio Rodriguez – Here is the other side of the coin. Where Bayless shined, Sergio struggled. He had 4 points, 4 assists, and 2 turnovers. He was beat on defense, and didn’t really get us set up in our offense (which is his supposed strength over Bayless). The next week or so should be interesting for Sergio, it could very well make or break his future in Portland.

Greg Oden – Oden had a hard time dealing with Brooke Lopez, and found himself in early foul trouble. He had only 2 points and 1 rebound in 13 minutes of playing time. The rookie roller coaster continues with Oden.

Travis Outlaw – Outlaw shook off the cobwebs of the first half to come back and hit some huge shots for us late in the game, including a three and a timely fadeaway from the free throw line. His fadeaway pretty much sealed the game for us. He also had 7 rebounds, and continues to be one of the more frustrating Blazers on a night to night basis. Why can’t he bring that effort every night?

Rudy Fernandez – Rudy gave us 23 quality minutes on a bum wheel. He didn’t help a ton, but he didn’t hurt us, which sometimes is just as good.

Joel Przybilla – Joel did a good job coming in for Oden tonight and rebounding. He had 11 boards (6 offensive) in just 22 minutes. Good work from the Vanilla Gorilla.

Game Summary in One Sentence: Great, much needed win on the road, and possibly a game that changes the playing rotation for the remainder of the season.


From Jason Quik at the Oregonion:

After spending the first half of the season bottled up with anxiety over not playing, frustration at not performing well in his limited chances, all the while unwavering in his confidence, the 20-year-old said Thursday's explosion allowed him his first NBA chance to sit back and exhale.

"I'm out of the stranglehold," Bayless said.

And perhaps straight into a pivotal role with the Blazers, if anybody listens to All-Star Brandon Roy.

"I think the young fella is ready to go," Roy said. "Throw him out there, throw him into the fire. That's what I say."

Another article from Chris Sheriden at

So do you have to start Bayless now while Blake is out? Is it time to give up on Sergio, or does the 3 year vet get another chance?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

76ers Recap/Nets Preview

Quick note on the contest. I actually went back and checked out your guy's previous posts and matched them up vs. the spread and O/U, so now we have a more accurate read on what your W/L total is. You can see it in the bottom right of the page.

Man that was gross. I am not going to get too detailed into this game review, because like the Blazers, I must look forward. The 76ers jumped on us out of the gate, and after all the talk about Portland and their Sleep Doctor, it sure looked like they were asleep during the game. We had 7 turnovers in the 1st quarter, scored a season low in the first quarter and in the first half. We made a run in the 3rd quarter and brought it within 8 points, but could never get close enough to make it a game. Ugly all around from everyone. Let’s move forward though and take a look at tonight’s game.

Game Preview

Tonight we have the New Jersey Nets. The Nets are a very interesting opponent. For one, they have won more games on the road (10-8) then at home (9-12). They are sitting in 7th place in the Eastern conference, so they have something to play for. Devin Harris is 3rd in the league in free throw attempts per game (9.6) and 2nd in free throws made (8.0). That is in sharp contrast to our leader, Brandon Roy who averages (5.8/6.9) a game. It will be important to try to control Harris and keep him out of the paint, because he opens it up for everyone else, including Vince Carter.

It looks like Steve Blake is not going to be able to play tonight after suffering a separated shoulder in last nights game. It is still up in the air who is going to start, Bayless or Sergio. Who do you think should start? I personally think Sergio should start. He is more familiar with our system and just playing in the NBA in general. Bayless, will get his minutes, but I would like to see Sergio get the nod. It sounds like Rudy is also going to be out for tonight’s game, so Bayless and Sergio should see ample time tonight. UPDATE: Sergio Rodriguez is going to start, and Rudy will play tonight. So that helps our depleted backcourt.

I think the matchup that I am most intrigued by is Greg Oden vs. Brook Lopez. Lopez has come into his own lately. In his last 5 games he is averaging 14.4 points, 9 boards, and 3 blocks a game in 32 minutes. I would like to see Oden take it to Lopez tonight and establish himself early and often. Let’s hope Greg plays smart and stays out of foul trouble.

Keys to the Game

1. Limit Devin Harris’ Penetration
This is easier said then done, but if the Blazers can keep him out of the key. New Jersey shoots 38% from 3 as a team, so limiting their open looks comes down to Bayless and Sergio’s ability to keep Harris in front of them.
2. Limit Our Turnovers
I know this seems silly to list, but if you watched last night’s game it’s not.
3. Come Out Ready to Play
We need to stop spotting teams early leads, then forcing ourselves to come back. It has worked in the (2) games before the 76ers, but it is just too hard to do on the road.
4. Get Aldridge Involved
Aldridge’s overall game goes up if he is hitting shots. He tends to play with more energy and gets more boards and blocks more shots. With Blake out tonight, someone is going to have to pick up the offensive slack and I look to Aldridge to provide that for us.
5. Bayless or Sergio Need to Step Up
Neither one seized the opportunity last night when Blake went out, hopefully someone will tonight.

Gambler’s Corner

The Spread is Portland -2
The O/U is 187.5

I am going with New Jersey and the under. New Jersey plays at the 18th slowest pace and is 15th in the league in offensive efficiency. That’s why I like the under. I am taking the Nets, because I see us having a very hard time handling Harris without Blake, and as he penetrates, I see him getting our big men in foul trouble. I hope I am wrong though…


If you read this far you deserve something extra. Here is a link to a 2009 mock draft that has us taking Stephon Curry. What do you think about that? Would you want him?

And in unrelated news, check out this article from Rick Riley at ESPN about the Beer Pong Championship's. Maybe I still can be a professional athlete?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

76ers Preview

Hey guys, sorry I didn't have time to put together a preview today. I was slammed at work!

But I wanted to get this up so you can post your Gambler's Corner info.

The Line is:
Blazers -2
O/U = 194.5

I am taking the Blazers and the Over.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Contests, Recaps, D Miles, & Trade Talk, Oh My!

Got a lot to talk about today, but don’t worry if you don’t like reading a ton, I will break it down into sections and you can read only what you think is important. Don’t worry about hurting my feelings or anything, I swear I don’t care (single tear). For those loyal fans who read every word that I pour my heart and soul into, thank you. Anyways I hope you got home safely from that guilt trip so we can move forward!

New Contest!

When I started this blog I envisioned a place where people could come to read, then praise, my thoughts, feelings, and knowledge bombs. A wonderful place that would not only inflate your Blazer knowledge, but my ego as well. But over time, I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that you guys are much smarter then me, and have some pretty good ideas. Well, one of those great idea’s was from D-Block, who suggested that instead of having you post the potential score of the game, you post like Goose and I do on the line and over/under. SO, starting tomorrow (01/14/09) please post on the line and over/under and if you want leave a little quip on your reasoning behind your picks. I will keep a tally of the records in the sidebar, and the winner at the end of every month gets to make an honorary post on one of the, if not the, best blog on the web. For those of you who have already won a few games the “old fashioned” way, I will translate those to wins, so Yost will start out 3-0. Hope to see more of you participating now!

Bulls Game Recap

Great win to start our 4-game road trip. It was sloppy early, but as soon as the Blazers stopped turning the ball over and played some D, we quickly took the lead and never looked back. What was impressive, was the other Blazers picking up the slack on a night when Roy and Aldridge couldn’t find their touch. Maybe the Roy injury was a blessing in disguise? Notice that on each of the previous two eastern road trips that we have had success on, we started with a win? (once over Orlando at home, which is only 1 of 3 losses the Magic have at home, and Detroit). We ended up going 4-1 and 3-2 on those trips, I hope we can replicate that on this trip.

Individual Performances

  1. Travis Outlaw - Gets the game ball for shooting lights out tonight. Easily one of his best performances of the year. He scored 33 points in a variety of ways, and also had 7 rebounds and 3 blocks. Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed Outlaw’s effort tonight, but where is that every night? I am not saying that Outlaw can score 33 every game, but why can’t he give us the effort of 7 boards and 3 blocks? Those are pure effort stats, and I am beginning to wonder if he cannot provide the effort every night in his 6th season in the NBA, will he ever?
  2. Greg Oden – Greg also played one of his best games of the season. Despite somewhat being in foul trouble, he still posted 17 points and 13 boards. I obviously like the points, but the rebounds is what I really like. He needs to provide that every night for us. Oden did a great job of scoring tonight, and as I am sure many of you have noticed, he hardly ever is getting stripped anymore. It was only a month ago, it seemed like every time he touched the ball he either got it stolen or traveled. It’s little things like this that you like to see from Greg.
  3. Steve Blake – Steve started off rough early, but came back to give us a solid game. He had 10 assists to go along with 16 points. He did a good job of hitting the open shot tonight when it was presented to him.
  4. Brandon Roy – Looked a little rusty tonight. He was 3-13 from the field, and jumpers that normally fall for the Natural, just weren’t. I think part can be attributed to rust and part to just having an off night. Remember, just because most nights Roy is amazing doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have off nights. I look for him to pick it back up soon.
  5. LaMarcus Aldridge – Aldridge seemed to be deferring to Oden on the block, which was a good move, because that is what got us back into the game. Aldridge has difficulty scoring when plays are not run for him, and that is exactly what happened tonight.
  6. Jerryd BayelssJay Bay, got in and played very well in limited minutes. He attacked the rim, and even hit a pull up jumpshot. He had 7 points in only 9 minutes. What I did notice about Bayless is once he is in “attack mode” he doesn’t see the floor very well. And even though I love Bayless and what he brings to the table, this is one of those skills that you can’t really teach. It will be interesting to see how he develops this part of his game.
  7. Rudy Fernandez – Rudy left in the 4th quarter to go back to the locker room with trainer Jay Jensen. It appeared that he was being bugged by the same sore left foot that made him a question mark against Golden State on Saturday. Let’s hope he will be good to go for Wednesday night’s game.
  8. Joel Pryzbilla – Found himself in foul trouble the entire night, otherwise he probably would have been dunking all over Joakim Noah and co.
  9. Nicholas Batum – Same as Pryzbilla, found himself in foul trouble early and often attempting to guard the likes of Ben Gordon, Derrick Rose, and Loul Deng.

Overall, great win to start a road trip, so lets keep it going!

Darius Miles Update

Some interesting news was broke last night from Yahoo sports. Apparently before the Blazers sent out the threatening email to the rest of the league they attempted to sign Darius Miles off of waivers. Obviously, they would have just signed him and stashed him for the rest of the year, but the NBA vetoed this. This helps shed some light on the email, and to me it makes more sense. This only strengthens the Blazers case against D Miles coming back on the cap. If the NBA declined the Blazers ability to sign Miles because they believed it was going to have salary cap implications, then why is it any different if another team signs him to do the opposite? Who is to decide each teams intentions? Who is the NBA to say that the Blazers weren’t going to play Miles? Who is the NBA to say that the Memphis Grizzles (who have significant cap room of their own this summer), are signing Miles because they are truly interested in his basketball skills?

Do you see my point? Why is the league able to pass judgment and speculate on the motives by different teams personnel moves? So now does the email make more sense to you guys? It sure does to me, and it looks like we might actually have a case (not in real court, but to the NBA and our salary cap room). This will be interesting to monitor going forward….

Blazer Trade Rumors

Moving closer to the trade deadline, there is going to be a lot of trade talk involving the Blazers. Below is from Chad Ford’s chat today on

Jake (Israel): Lovin the chats Chad. How seriously does the Darius Miles situation affect the Blazers? assuming he plays two more games.

Chad Ford: Seriously, which is why the Blazers ended up making that desperate, pathetic threat over the weekend. The plan was to be a major player in the free agent market this summer. While the Blazers will still have room this summer, their better bet, now, is to use Raef LaFrentz's expiring contract (which is really a sweet deal since insurance picks up 80 percent of his salary) and some of his young talent to try to get another big piece or two. Ideally they'd to get a franchise point guard and they need a small forward. There's been interest in Mike Conley and I know they love Luol Deng. All in all, expect the Blazers to be very proactive at the trade deadline. It's the best chance of landing another impact player.

Do you think Loul Deng would be a good fit in Portland? Here is a little trade I put together on ESPN’s trade machine. Just a hypothetical, what do you guys think? Would you do this? I think you would have to if the Bulls would.

Let me know what your guys thoughts are on any of these topics! Thanks for reading!


Monday, January 12, 2009

Bulls Preview

Tonight's game should be a good one as the Blazers take on the Bulls in Chicago. The bulls are only 16-21 but are 12-6 at home and are just getting healthy as they have been missing Drew Gooden, Luol Deng, and Kirk Hinrich for the last couple of weeks. The Blazers are in a similar situation with Roy playing in only his second game back since his hamstring injury. Roy looked a little tight in the first half of the Warriors game on Saturday but looked to be back to his regular form by the second half. I don’t want to count my chickens before they hatch, but assuming the Blazers can pull off a win tonight in Chicago, they could be looking at putting together a pretty solid winning streak with six out of their next seven games coming against teams with below five hundred records. Now time for keys to the game.

Keys to the Game:

  1. Keep Derek Rose in check
    1. Rose is explosive and has proven that he can take over the game at times. It will be important for Blake and the other PG’s to keep him out of the paint and force him to take tough shots.
  2. Hold the Bulls to under 100
    1. The Bulls have been held under 100 points for six straight games and have shown signs of struggling on the offensive end. We need to keep up the defensive intensity and not let Chicago get any confidence on the offensive end.
  3. Repeat Performance
    1. In the first meeting the Blazers smashed Chicago winning 116-74. The Blazers need to play with that same intensity they came out with that night and be confident without getting cocky.

Gamblers Corner

The Blazers are favored by 3 points and the over/under is at 193. I really like the Blazers even with giving up three points. When you look at the first game when the Blazers won by 42 points three points hardly sounds like enough to give Chi-Town. Although this game is @ Chicago, they are also still without Luol Deng. I am taking Chicago and the under.

Kyle is taking the Blazers and the under. I think the Blazers will control the tempo in the game, and try to get into a half court game where they can take advantage of Chicago’s broke front line.