More Road Woes for Portland
The Portland Trail Blazers just watched an opportunity to pick up a game on the Los Angeles Lakers bounce off the side of the rim and out. That opportunity took form of a LaMarcus Aldridge game winning attempt. It felt like that was Aldridge’s only miss the entire night.
Last week’s NBA Western Conference Player of the Week added to his recent superior play with a 32 point 14 rebound performance in a losing effort Monday night.
Next Matchup: Portland (31-35) @ Milwaukee Bucks (33-32)
Venue: BMO Harris Bradley Center
Time: 5:00 PM PT
Date: Tuesday, March 19, 2013
This was a tough loss, but Portland will have to set this loss aside and move on. Game 2 of this 5-game road trip will be just as tough, if not tougher.
Game Notes/How They Match Up
We all knew Jrue Holiday was going to be hard to handle in that last game. Same goes for Brandon Jennings in this one – even more so as they won’t be able to stick Matthews on Jennings for most of the game. He will have his hands full with Monta Ellis and J.J. Redick.
The combination of these three guards can reign havoc on any team.
Portland will have to find a counter to compete with the Bucks. LaMarcus will have to continue to carry the torch. The Bucks are a little banged up down low so I don’t see this being a problem.
What to Watch: Portland
For Portland, they have to keep up this fire and intensity. Losing these close games is rough, but you have to keep fighting. This will be a hard fought game.
Containing Milwaukee’s guards will be key for Portland. They have the personnel to do so.. well, until their bench comes in. Wesley Matthews and Nicolas Batum will have their work cut out for them – these Bucks guards can fill it up in a heartbeat.
Someone from Portland’s bench has to step up tonight. Babbitt made a couple late three’s, only to miss his next two in last night’s game. I could see Babbitt getting some more run in this one as well with the Blazers going small to match up with the Bucks.
Once Aldridge gets going it will allow the Blazers to get some open shots and they will have to knock them down. And believe me, they will get Aldridge going – the guy has been on an absolute tear as of late.
What to Watch: Milwaukee
I like watching this Bucks team since they’ve acquired J.J. Redick. They’re just fun to watch. They will need a great game from Redick in this one.
A key loss for the Bucks in this game will be forward Ersan Ilyasova, who is doubtful with a sore back and hip. He is a guy that can spread the court for these guards with his ability to shoot and keep the ball alive with his rebounding.
Without Ilyasova, it puts more pressure on Ellis, Jennings, and Redick to score. It also puts more pressure on the defense to stay honest, with a banged up frontcourt, the Bucks can’t afford to get into foul trouble.
Wesley Matthews vs. Monta Ellis
Portland has had trouble containing Ellis going back to his Golden State Warriors days. Ellis is Milwaukee’s leading scorer this season. If you slow him down, the rest of the team should collapse around him. Ellis is the type of player who’s going to get his shots, no matter what kind of night he’s having.
Matthews needs to tire him out. Make him work all night. Just completely torment him, stay up on him, in his face all night. If he can do that, Portland has a good chance of winning.
Portland: QUESTIONABLE—Victor Claver and Sasha Pavlovic
Milwaukee: OUT—Luc Mbah a Moute, DOUBTFUL—Ersan Ilyasova
A back-to-back for Portland, on the road? No thanks. I’m taking Milwaukee. Portland will keep it close, though, as it usually does in these let down type of games.