Blazers’ fire not enough, love’ em hate ’em
The Headline: Portland finally settles down on their perimeter defense, but that’s still not enough for a win against.
Atlanta Hawks vs. Portland Trail Blazers
When: 10:00 ET, Monday, November 12, 2012
Where: Rose Garden (Portland)
Officials: Marc Davis, Courtney Kirkland, Kevin Fehr
1. Perimeter defense finally shows up
After allowing opponents to shoot 57.3-percent and score at least 100 points in each of Portland’s last three games, they finally showed some life on the perimeter.
The Hawks scored just 95 points in this one, shooting 44.3-percent from the field. No on on the team had over 20 points. Josh Smith came close with 19, but needed 22 shots to do so (he only hit 9).
It’s still not great, and it still led to a loss. But after how things have been going, this is a huge improvement for Portland.
2. Hickson has huge game
After what can only be described as a pregame open declaration of war to all his haters on Twitter, J.J. Hicksonbacked up his big mouth—I appreciate the attitude, but not the drama queen act.
The Blazer’s big man had a carrier game, shooting 8-14 for 19 points and 18 rebounds. He added 2 steals and a block to a surprisingly solid offensive effort—he held Al Horford to 15 points.
A somewhat out-of-position Hickson remains aggressive on the boards, and he continues to hold his own against opposing bigs. Here’s hoping he keeps it up.
1. Dragged down by shooting
While Portland found a way to slow down their opponent’s shooting, they found issues with their own.
While Wesley Matthews was a perfect 10-10 from the line, he was 1-6 on threes. He struggled to finish with his 17 points.
After their strong shooting over the weekend, I expected more from Portland in this one.
2. Sell-out Streak comes to an end
It was a sad night in the Rose Garden, as Portland’s 195-game sellout streak came to an end.
The streak dates all the way back to the 2007-2008 season. It’s been going strong ever since, even after Portland’s fire sale last trade deadline.
With the expected direction of this season, it’s not surprising that the streak would inevitably came to an end. The Rose Garden still looked—and sounded—alive and well. Just not as strong as usual.
None the less, Blazer-mania is still alive and well in Rip City!
3. L.A. looking sluggish with shots
Something seems off with LaMarcus Aldridge. It’s not hugely apparent, but it’s still there.
L.A. is having a great season, averaging over 20 points per game. He entered Monday coming off a season high 29 points against the Spurs.
But Aldridge only hit 31-percent of his shots against the Hawks, tying his season low of 14 points in a game.
Portland’s star has yet to shoot above 50-percent in any of the games this season, which is something he was able to do very consistently last season.
L.A. also has 20 assists in his last three games, which is pretty high. It’s hard to tell if he’s just finding open men, or opting for others to take the shot over himself.
Either way, let’s hope he gets it figured out sooner than later.