Game 8 Recap

Team Observations

--We didn't find out anything about the team tonight that we didn't already know.  It was all just exposed more.  The Wolves came out to exploit our weaknesses and for the most part they did.

--The tone of the game was set in the first couple of minutes.  They started out very intentionally going at our weak spots on defense:  Magloire and Martell.  After a couple buckets to keep us honest (and to keep us from doubling too quickly) they forced it to KG in single coverage.  He scored a ton.

--We went to the zone early and often to try and contain them.  But the zone doesn't automatically work just because you throw it out there.  The main idea (at least against this team) is to make it harder to penetrate or dump the ball in deep.  But if the outside guys in the zone--in this case the guards--don't pay any attention to stopping penetration then it's no more effective than man-to-man.  It's worse in fact because it leaves gaping holes.  Basically Minnesota would drive down the lane unopposed, we'd compensate by collapsing on the driver with 3 guys, then it was an easy, easy kick to the weak side for an unopposed shot.  We need so much work on our team defense.  Or better yet, we need Roy back badly.  The perimeter "D" just isn't the same without him.

--Here's another mantra that just needs constant repeating:  jump shots without penetration first are BAD.  Want to know why we shot 15% in the first quarter or so?  Rewind and count the number of long shots without the ball having moved first.

--Next count the number of turnovers when we did penetrate into the teeth of their defense.  That'll show you why we couldn't recoup from the poor shooting until much later in the game.

--After that count how many cutters we had and how many off-ball screens we set or used.  That shouldn't take long.  And there's your ball game.

--We did have a few good instances of ball movement, some in the first half and even more in the second.  I do like the unselfishness of this team.  For the most part they really don't care who scores, they just want the open shot.  That will eventually carry us a long way.

--We took Zach out at the beginning of the 4th, presumably to save him for tomorrow.  Even though we ended up putting him back in near the end when it looked like we had a small chance to pull it out, it was still a good move.  By contrast Minnesota left KG in until 1:10 remained in the game.  Take solace in this:  we've earned at least that much respect.

--Don't sweat this loss too much.  Just look for a better performance tomorrow.  Another hallmark of good teams is that they bounce back from losses.  I don't expect us to bounce back with a win against Cleveland, but I do want to see more concentration and energy.

Individual Observations

--Zach had another good game with 50% shooting, 13 free throw attempts, 9 boards, and 26 points.  Last year a lot of things didn't get pinned on him that should have.  This year maybe some things will get pinned on him that shouldn't.  The loss wasn't his fault.  The only thing I'd say negative is that someone has really got to sit him down in front of his 103-inch plasma screen and make him watch tapes of the NFL, specifically what happens to quarterbacks who try to throw off their back foot across the field.

--Jarrett had a horrible night shooting because he took a few long jumpers.  Most were against the clock so we'll give him a pass.  He did get to the free throw line and dished out 6 assists.  Again, he really needs to work on not jumping before he passes.

--I was pretty impressed with the energy of Stephen Graham.  He grabbed 8 boards and scored 9 points while playing pretty good defense and throwing himself all over the court.  He also displayed some nice hops by almost throwing down a dunk that would have made ESPN.  I didn't think he'd stick with the team, but from what I've seen so far I was wrong about him.

--Outlaw showed some impressive energy, but not until the second half.  Even though he only shot 3-for-9 he got 4 rebounds, 3 steals, and a block.  That said, he's turning into a veteran now and he does need to bring it more consistently, not only game to game but within each game.

--Juan Dixon scored 15 points and shot well but did absolutely nothing else.  I like his offense as usual but I'm not sure we can live with zeroes across the board in the rest of his stat line.

--Lamarcus played to his strengths, grabbing 4 rebounds and blocking 3 shots.  His first half was so impressive (and Magloire's so nondescript) that Nate started him for the second half.  To say he was shining out there would be exaggerating, but he did play better than Jamaal.  When he started getting some interior passes he showed how good his hands are, which in itself makes him really valuable to this particular team.  Everyone else at his position has hands of stone.

--Speaking of interior passes, the buzz of this game is going to be the first significant Sergio sighting of the year.  The kid played 12 minutes and got 8 freakin' assists.  He penetrates well.  He also sees the court very well and appears to be able to get the ball to guys in the right places, especially if those places are on the weak side or cutting near the hoop.  If Jamaal Magloire could catch the ball or had any kind of move to the hoop we might have been a lot closer in the game than we ended up being.  Also...FINALLY a guard who actually GIVES UP THE BALL ON THE BREAK!  I wouldn't want to go too far out on a limb for Sergio just yet.  He was, after all, playing in what amounted to garbage time.  But if he has another outing or two like this he just may get a few of Dickau's minutes and postpone that trip to the NBDL.

Miscellaneous Observations

--Excuse me for a second, but there might be folks who are only skimming.

TRADE RUMOR ALERT!  TRADE RUMOR ALERT!  IF YOU'VE BEEN DOZING OFF TIME TO TUNE IN AGAIN!

The Minnesota broadcast team dropped a mini-bombshell by referencing rumors of a Portland-Golden State exchange.  I don't know where they got it and keep in mind broadcasters often get names and details mixed up when they're not talking about their own teams, but the reported deal under discussion was Jamaal Magloire and Juan Dixon for Adonal Foyle, Ike Diogu, and Monta Ellis.

Obviously Golden State would be dumping Foyle's contract, which  runs through 2008-09 at about $9.5 million per year.  (Assuming nobody picks up the $10 million team option at the end of it.)  They'd be getting Magloire's expiring and Dixon's short term contracts in exchange.  Diogu and Ellis are both talented young players, Ike rebounding and in the short game and Monta scoring with dazzling footspeed.  It seems like a lot of talent to give up for just contracts.  The only real drawback is that they're both undersized and we just got away from a lot of undersized players (much to our benefit).  Still, that deal would have to make us look twice.  If this is any example of what Magloire is worth on the open market I'm impressed.

I ran this deal through the trade checker and it does work under the cap. I will talk with our Golden State affiliate to see what they make of all this.

Update [2006-11-15 3:48:35 by Dave]: Here is the official response to the trade rumor from Golden State of Mind:

No and NOPE. That has to be one of the dumbest rumors I've ever heard. Even the worst GM's in the league (Hello Danny Ainge and Kevin McHale!) wouldn't make that trade if they were running the Warriors. Monta Ellis is having an excellent season so far (few doubt he's a rising star) and Ike Diogu, although he's battled some injuries in the early going, is still a very gifted scorer in the low post with some potential. Jamaal Magloire had an very unimpressive outing the other week in Oakland and he isn't a player fit for Nellieball, so it would be somewhat shocking if Coach Don Nelson was eager to add him to the Warrior roster. Juan Dixon would make a solid backup guard, but I find it hard to believe that he excites the Warriors that much that they'd give up two young talents.

The Warriors are rumored to buy out Adonal Foyle's ridiculous contract though and they'd probably trade him to the first team that asked, so moving him isn't too far fetched. Maybe the Timberwolves' broadcast crew just goofed and didn't do their homework and threw in Monta and Ike's names since they don't follow the Warriors or the NBA closely (that's probably why they're working in a small market like Minnesnowta). From the Warriors standpoint it would be a major win to move Foyle's contract in a package deal for Magloire's expiring contract. But, I have no idea why the Blazers would make that deal. Part of me would feel really bad for you classy Blazers fans if a Foyle for Magloire trade went down. (Haha, but I'd get over it fast!) I mean you guys get the "pleasure" of watching Foyle play 4 times a year. You know what kind of NBA player he is. Great man, but he's nothing more than a 3rd string big man at this point.

--Dave (blazersub@yahoo.com)

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