First off, last night's game had great intensity. From the opening tip, Portland controlled the pace of the game. Early on the ball was fed into LMA, and I believe he had the first 3 shots. True to last year's form, he hit open J's. It did seem like he was not as aggressive driving to the hoop, but that recent hip injury probably had alot to due with that. Still, he was able to get his shot off anytime he wanted and showed great use of his body and long reach under the basket. While he didn't neccesarily power his way around, his finesse was noticable even on the double underneath. His consistency opened the court up for Jarrett.
Jack handled the ball well, along with Blake, showing no sign of the constant turnovers that plagued the team last year. From the get go, we pushed the ball when appropriate and ran good half court sets when the opening was not there. Jack also ran the fast break well and even took it to the rim in traffic a few times. Nice to see that so early this year. Looks like all the hard work this summer did something for his handles.
The Blazers were out running the lanes and pushing the tempo at every opportunity and it seems to catch the Clips off guard at first. It looked like they were ready for the old Z-bo Blazers of last year. Both Blake and Jack did well with distributing the ball and feeding LMA on the low post. LMA did a decent job of back to the basket bump and grind when he was on the low block. When he was not in a good position he kicked the ball out efficiently.
Webster was quiet in the first half, but he was not just sitting in the corners like last year. He did well running off of screens through the middle to each wing, ala Reggie Miller. Even though he was not a huge part of the offensive load in the first half, I think that motion allowed others to pop off of screens and go to the hole.
In the second half, Webster backed up all the talk of his changed attitude and newfound confidence. He ran screens and hit shots. He took control of the game from the outside. He was unstoppable for (I think) a good 7 minute stretch that included at least 6 shots in a row and (I think) only one miss. He ended up with 28, 22 of which I believe came in the second half.
Outlaw was honestly disappointing. He seems to have some kind of confidence issue from the look of his hesitation on the court. He did crash the boards well, but consistently settled for weak fade away jumpers from 10-15 feet out. When he did go to the hoop it was not with the authority that someone with 5 years and HUGE hops should do. He could have thrown it down, instead (like last year), he just let go of the ball and it bounced off the rim and out. First game jitters perhaps. Still he did an excellent job on the boards.
James Jones was hit and miss. Nothing really stood out as good or bad, he played decent ball, and was good at stopping the penetration from the corners. One thing to note, he did attempt to drive to the hoop from the left wing and was quickly doubled and trapped. It did not look like he is comfortable or good going into traffic or the lane. All in all, a good first game for being a newbie (Blazer).
Surprisingly (to me), Sergio did a great job of not rushing the fast break and only pulled one BAD maneuver at point. He hit a 3 on the previous trip down the court and immediately hoisted another ill adviced three with absolutely no one under the hoop or in rebounding position. Hmm. Then Green was quickly subbed in for him. Other than that, he did a good job. I think that fire that was lit under Jack by Blake being here, might be similar to the one Green is inevitably going to light under Sergio.
Speaking of Green. His full court defense is stifling. He constantly wore the opposing guard like a glove. He almost created a few turnovers in the backcourt that were either tipped out or narrowly missed by our other players, including Martell with multiple dives to the floor. Chalk up the hustle board. Green showed his 3 pt range as well hitting one for the corner and (I believe) another from up top. At one point, he missed from the right baseline and ran through a double screen to the left baseline and popped one in. No hesitation, plenty of confidence. Great stuff. Great drives to the basket that included the typical rook no call from the refs. Plenty of good things here. Our point guards showed excellent decision making and great distribution tonight.
Joel was well, Joel. One dunk, several bogus fouls on attempted blocks. He did nothing spectacular but held down the inside well and even took a charge that was called on him. Looks like he's over last years abdominal injury (to put it mildly). He did miss some close passes that were in traffic.
Frye played well exhibiting his outside jumper and surprisingly decent post up game. He even had a great hustle play running the length of the court to prevent a dunk on a steal on the wing. He narrowly missed the clean block with some contact underneath but it was nice to see such hustle when we already had the lead and it's still preseason.
I think at one point we had La Frenz, LMA, Frye, Outlaw, and Sergio on the court. They continued to push the ball and were active on D.
OK... that's about it from me for now.
I will say that Nate did an excellent job of substituting players in and out and seemed to have Dunleavy adjusting to his game. This is great to see the Blazers controlling the pace and making other teams adjust to our game.
sidenote... Dan Dickau played well and it was nice to see him playing consistent minutes in the Clips lineup behind Sam "big-mouth" Cassel. Man, that guy is loud. I could hear him jibber-jabbering away in the nosebleeds. Someone needed to shut him up... I can see why he has back problems with that HUGE mouth he has... And, Ruben Patterson received Boos all night long. Gee, Ruben, maybe you wished you weren't such a hot-head in Portland, huh? He was ineffective.
Phew.... Time for some coffee. Hope you all enjoy my bits and pieces.