Game 4 Recap

Team Observations

--The Trailblazers fought hard for rebounds as a team almost the entire game.  They did a very credible job against a good rebounding team.  That's encouraging.

--We kept our turnovers reasonably low.  Also encouraging.  The culprits responsible for the turnovers we did make were the big guys, not the guards.

--For much of the game we controlled the tempo.  Fatigue, youth, and just bowing to superior talent meant that wouldn't hold up, but we hardly got blitzed or taken out of it.  We got beaten, not throttled.

--We started out the game with a concerted effort to post.  This is not our best offense.  Zach gets doubled too easily and, despite a couple of nice passes tonight, for the most part can't make a play out of it.  At least we should not be standing around while he posts.  In general I like our high pick and roll or guard penetration much better.

--We break so seldom that we don't know what to do with a number advantage.  The wing runners aren't spacing right and the ball-handlers are making ludicrous decisions.  Saturday night it was Travis drawing the charge.  Tonight it was Juan pulling up for a 14-footer on a 4-on-1.  Next time that happens, suicides for everyone involved!

Individual Observations

--This was Zach's game.  He tried to lead us but he didn't have enough help.  He had some great garbage-type offensive rebounds and putbacks.  Also we see that when he plays deep he get a ton of free throws.  That's what leads to these 30+ point nights.  Let's hope he understands that as the key to any eventual All-Star hopes.  Also there was one play in the 3rd where he really ran back on defense to stop a streaking Elton Brand.  It was wonderful hustle.  He was rewarded by getting a poke-away and then lumbering down for a solo fast break layup.  Let's hope we see more of that hustle more often.

--The other guy who came to play was Jarrett Jack.  I think this response to his disappointment Saturday night tells you all you need to know about his character.  He was aggressive all night.  His shot was really solid and yet he didn't fall in love with the jumper exclusively (as so many do when they're hitting).  He penetrated like nobody's business for a nice array of shot attempts and dishes.  He has become a master of stripping people under the basket too.  Is he going to get 3 steals every time he plays?  (If so, WOOHOO!)  He had any number of nice passes but one thing he has to learn is to stop jumping as he delivers the ball.  Eventually that will be trouble.

--Brandon only played 13 minutes because of a heel problem.  Let's hope it's both minor and temporary.  He did have a couple nice individual plays including a beautiful pass out of a double team (were you watching, Z-Bo?) and a nifty little half hook with his back to the basket from just inside the free throw line.  Is there any way this guy CAN'T score?  (Besides three-pointers, for now anyway.)

--Dixon took most of Roy's minutes.  I don't mind his 3-12 shooting as much as him getting burned on defense.  I mean, you'd expect the Clippers wing players to burn a lot of people but it's particularly noticeable with Juan.  He's also not a ball handler at all.  I don't see how they don't call carrying on him every time he touches it.  Still, he's providing a veteran presence that we need for now.  He was steady out there which is part of what kept us from getting blown out.

--This was not Martell's night.  He was missing shots too and getting burned on defense even worse than Juan.  What they did to him off the dribble and off cuts is a shame.   He also missed three free throws in a row on a three-pointer foul.  Ouch.

--Ime Udoka showed why Nate has confidence in him.  He kept the team steady too.  Plus he shot 50%, scored 11 unobtrusive points, and nabbed 10 rebounds.  Double-double baby!  

--Travis Outlaw's game was a few really good moments (a couple rebounds, a few sweet turn-arounds, and a spectacularly missed dunk) punctuating long periods of not really noticing him.

Miscellaneous Observations

--Those Adidas Blazer road warmups look damn cool.

--Chris Kaman needs to invest in some body-enhancing shampoo.  He looks like a half-assed wrestler who should be wearing a mask.

--Corey Maggette is a freak!!!  He's more cut than David Robinson ever was.  Standing next to him Travis Outlaw looks like Dilbert.

--Clipper broadcasting ran a feature on Quinton Ross, who said he wears #2 because he has two daughters.  Hey, isn't that also why Shawn Kemp wore #40?

--Sam Cassell should have been T'd up at least once for all the complaining and gesturing he was doing.  I guess everybody figured if Dick Bavetta wasn't going to whistle him for it they wouldn't either.

--I generally like Ralph Lawler, but he misidentifies opposing players more than most announcers.  Little homework please?  (Likely he'd retort with, "They're Trailblazers.  Half of those guys will be out of the league in two years anyway.")

--Not only did Martell have a tough night on the floor, he also screwed over our friend Henry Abbott.  Henry had a bet going tonight with a Clippers blog. (This was an idea we had going with Golden State of Mind, by the way.  We were saving it until later in the season.  I guess we shouldn't have, because it's been stolen now.  Oh well...)  The bet was that if the Blazers beat the spread the Clips guy had to write a nice paragraph or two about them on Henry's blog.  If not, the reverse.  The spread was 11.  Remember that senseless foul with 1.8 seconds left that Martell threw on the Clips...the one the crowd booed him for?  At that time the Clippers were up by 11, which presumably would have caused a push.  They missed both free throws, but then Corey Maggette grabbed the offensive rebound and rammed it home at the horn.  Clippers by 13.  Happy writing, Henry.  And curses on young Mr. Webster.

I've been told an eyewitness report is forthcoming tonight or tomorrow.

--Dave (blazersub@yahoo.com)

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