Scattered thoughts from the last two games...

New Orleans

The Tivo broadcast went crazy with this one, so I estimate I saw less than half the game.  First DirecTV didn't show the whole first 20 minutes of the game (by the game clock).  Then there was a huge gap between the middle of the 3rd quarter and the middle of the 4th.  Nonetheless it was good to see us hang on for the win.  You know you've played a great game if you take the other team's strength and do better at it than they do.  Without CP3 the Hornets were all about rebounding, especially offensive rebounding.  We ended up getting 16 offensive rebounds to their 14 and 48 total rebounds to their 41.  That not only shows that we were into the game but that we were well prepared for this game.  The coaching staff should get some credit when stuff like this happens.  It was also good to see Joel Przybilla get some meaningful minutes.

Philadelpha

--Brandon Roy really needs to develop a mid-range jumper from places besides the top of the key.  Everyone is playing him to drive now and it's killing him.  He's also showing his experience level by driving straight into doubles.

--In general I like the flow of the offense better when Zach isn't taking all the shots, but he has to take some shots.  Last night was like a group conspiracy to keep him from shooting.  First Philadelphia was guarding him hard and double or triple teaming him constantly.  Second Zach himself wasn't establishing firm position.  And when he did get position the guards were often looking him off.  After a while it ended up that he was a weak-side option on most of the plays, and you just can't have that.  When Zach takes 20 or more shots this season our scoring average is 95.5, well above our season average of 93.3.  When he takes 14 or fewer shots our average dips to 91.8.  (Oddly enough our record is similar either way, .500 when he shots a lot and one game shy of .500 when he doesn't shoot much.)  Last night he took a season-low 10 shots, and it showed.

--We got completely outhustled and outmuscled in the backcourt.  The latter you expect.  I've said this before but it strikes me nearly every time we take the court:  we're taller than many teams we face but we're also much more slight of frame.  ALL of our guys need to hit the weight room big time.  But the outhustling shouldn't happen.

--Piling on, the guards just made some flat out dumb decisions last night.  Apparently this game was check-your-brain-at-the-door.

--Mike Barrett talked about Travis Outlaw's poor (2-9) shooting night, but his defensive night was worse.  Oy.

--Sergio came to play!  I think hitting that end-of-quarter halfcourt heave started his engines.  He only had one assist but he had 3 rebounds, 2 steals, and 5 points in 16 minutes.  This was as much energy as I've seen from him and it should earn him some more minutes soon.

 --In a way the fans were right to boo the non-call on the Brandon drive at the end of the game, but all the indignation in the world can't disguise that it was flat out a bad play.  Roy drove into Zach and a double-team, got stuck, and I'm sure the referees will argue that he jumped into his man to draw the contact.  The problem wasn't the play itself, rather how it looked, namely like the whistle would have bailed him out.  The broadcast crew's assertion that the call is "automatic" in the NBA is only partially correct.  It's a near-sure whistle most of the time, but not on the game's decisive play, not for sub-par teams, and especially not for a rookie.  Right or wrong, that's just the way it is in the NBA.  (Since how things are in the league is the criterion we're using.)  If you're upset, take heart.  In another couple years we'll get that call.  But then in another couple years I hope we're able to run a better final play than that.

--Dave (blazersub@yahoo.com)

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