RIP CITY REPORT:
Starting off the season with a 3-0 record, the Portland Trailblazers opened up their second week of action facing two of the top dogs in the Western Conference, two teams that according to media predictions are going in different directions than the two teams that they would face at the end of the week.
Kicking off four game sched, the Blazers headed out to Staples to battle the Lob City crew. As they have done already in their first few games of the year, the trio of Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and Chris Paul wrecked the rim with a variety of alley oops, backdoor dunks and on the button passes, and that was just the first half.
Holding an eight point lead heading into the second half, the Clips looked prime to give the Blazers their first L of the season, as they extended the difference to seventeen points in the fourth quarter.
After providing his squad with a well rounded stat line for the first three games of the season, Gerald Wallace was almost invisible on Sunday evening, contributing only 7 rebounds and 3 steals, while posting goose eggs in the point and assist column.
So who did the Blazers look to in their comeback attempt?
One of the games most underrated smoking guns, Jamal Crawford. Posting a measly two points in the first half, JC dropped 21 of his team high 23 in the final two quarters, bringing his team to within a single basket.
While this game proved to be enticing from an entertainment standpoint, considering it was once a blowout, but finished in a five point difference 93-88, it wasn’t the LA/Portland matchup that I eagerly anticipate each season.
Two nights later, the Blazers closed out their mini excursion with a trip to Oklahoma to take on the Sonics….err, Thunder. With what seems like the entire basketball world pegging the Thunder to be in the NBA Finals this season, the Blazers, although still early in the season, felt the need to slap a little sense into OKC and the haters.
While Wallace would have his hands full of Kevin Durant, the Blazers were able to counter with LaMarcus Aldridge having a 30 point night against Serge Ibaka. Unfortunately for both teams, neither received significant contribution from their bench (Batum 12pts & 7rebs, Collison 6pts, 9rebs), as the Blazers starters combined for 88 points and the Thunder starting core hit for 79 points.
With the game well in hand for the visiting crew, Kendrick Perkins started to throw his weight around in the final minute, equating to a typical basketball “fight” with Aldridge as the two were mixing it up under the glass.
While no punches were thrown, the Blazers did leave Chesapeake Energy Arena with a 103-93 victory and a message that the rest of the west would be in for a battle this season.
Root beer, check. Popcorn, check. Big screen tv, not so much of a check. Thanks to the good people above, and streaming Internet feeds, the delayed cable feed of the much awaited always anticipated Blazers/Lakers game on Thursday night was not missed.
While the Heat and Hawks occupied TNT with a triple OT match, I was able to plunk myself down on the small screen to catch the first half of my favorite Western Conference battle.
For the first twenty four minutes, it did not disappoint, as while I truly am a fan of the Blazers, I am first and foremost a Laker diehard, so excuse me if this portion is more in favor of the purple and gold rather than the backward high fiving Blazers.
Even though I had a better chance of hitting a shot from my house than Ro…sorry Metta World Peace did from within twenty feet (0-6), my boys still held a four point advantage heading into conversation with EJ, Kenny, Charles and Shaq.
Unfortunately the second half did not go as well as the first for the LA team, more so specifically the third quarter, as the Blazers turned a four point deficit into a double digit lead for the remainder of the game.
For some reason, the Lakers believed that Wallace was a member of their team, feeding the ball to him for transition layups and dunks twice in the third quarter. NEWSFLASH – Gerald Wallace plays for the PORTLAND TRAILBLAZERS, it even says on the front of his jersey!
The final dagger came with 3,4 seconds left in the third quarter courtesy of Jamal Crawford‘s bomb from two feet beyond the three point line right in the eye of MWP.
Maybe I should have seen the writing on the wall at the beginning of the night, I was down to my last root beer, the game was preempted and the Lakers left the Rose Garden with losses in ten of their last twelve visits.
On Thursday night, nothing changed, as they were handed their eleventh in thirteen attempts losing 107-96.
Friday night took the Blazers on a quick one night visit to the desert and a matchup with Canada’s finest point guard, Steve Nash. (Great article on him here by the way)
I am thinking that I should do all the readers a favor and shorten this recap to a couple of sentences, considering the twenty five point mud hole that was stomped into the Northwest squad.
To be fair to the Blazers, they had squared off with the Clippers, Thunder and Lakers, whereas the Suns had a quiet week with Golden State and Dallas.
With fresh bodies and a well rested 37 year old Canadian point guard who other than forgetting his jersey prior to tip off was almost mistake free dropping 17 points and 9 dimes on 7-7 from the field, 2-2 from deep and hitting his only free throw , the Suns looked like the seven seconds or less version more so than they recently have, as they outran Portland 102-77.
So what does this tell us about the week that was for the Portland Trailblazers?
Bookending a pair of victories against one of this seasons favorites and a perennial contender with a loss to the new kids on the block and one to a well rested veteran squad, the answer is that this years Blazer squad has the ability to play with anyone and walk away with a victory, but the need to add depth in the front court before the trade deadline is a must.
NEXT WEEKS GAMES:
Jan 10 vs. LA Clippers
Jan 11 vs. Orlando
Jan 13 @ San Antonio
Jan 14 @ Houston
LaMarcus Aldridge 7 games, 153 points, 21.9ppg
Gerald Wallace: 7 games, 104 points, 14.9ppg
LaMarcus Aldridge: 7 games, 54 rebounds, 7.7rpg
Gerald Wallace: 7 games, 47 rebounds, 6.7rpg
Greg Oden – Out indefinitely – Knee – 12/11/11 Oden is recovering from microfracture knee surgery on his left knee but has recently suffered a setback. He remains out indefinitely due to the possibility that he may require another surgery.
IN THE COMMUNITY
BUDWEISER BIG GAME NIGHT WATCH PARTY
Buffalo Wild Wings
1200 NE Broadway Street, Suite 20.
Portland, OR 97232Join us at Buffalo Wild Wings on Friday, January 13th for a Budweiser Big Game Night Watch Party!
- Trail Blazers vs. San Antonio
- Appearance by the BlazerDancers for autographs and photos
- Raffles during the appearance
- Trail Blazer merchandise
- Tickets to the Budweiser Big Game Night on Monday, February 6, 2012 when the Trail Blazers play the Oklahoma City Thunder