Half-Baked Game Recap: Portland 102, Atlanta 89

Here's another game recap attempt just going from the Boxscore.  As always, take with a grain of salt.

This looks like it could have been our best game of the pre-season so far in terms of playing winning basketball, even though it probably wasn't as flashy as the Clippers game.  We shot well (45.7% from the field), held our opponent to under 40% shooting, made 56% of our three-point attempts, made 92% of our foul shots, outrebounded the opponent, had assists on just more than half our buckets, and stayed out of foul trouble.  You'll always have a chance with that kind of lineup.

A couple of things didn't look as good.  We gave up 19 offensive rebounds, which is far too many.  The most prolific team in the league last year, Cleveland, averaged under 13.  We also turned the ball over 17 times which is not a disaster but probably needs to be lower.  (Baby steps, I guess.)  

A look at the shot chart shows us that only about half of our shots were from free-throw line distance or farther.  Also compared to the last couple of games those jumpers were much, much closer in as a whole.  That's probably a better plan for us than launching deep.

The points against us appear to be minor while the greater portion of the effort deserves praise.  This will be the style of game we have a decent chance of winning in the regular season.

Individual Notes:

--Lamarcus Aldridge came alive again.  It was good to see him with only four fouls.  It was even better to see him take 18 shots and hit 10.  Best of all he also drew 10 free throw attempts and hit 9.  He had 3 steals to balance his 4 turnovers.  By the way, we should expect to see a reasonable number of turnovers out of Lamarcus this year as he negotiates being a primary option in the offense and receives a lot of defensive pressure.  It'll take time to learn what to do with the ball.  I don't expect this will be a career-long issue but it's one of the things that we'll have to put up with in the short term.

--Martell had another encouraging game, this time showing a different side of himself.   He didn't score 20+, only 12.  The boxscore only shows 4 field goal attempts.  But he also got to the line 6 times and made all 6.  More importantly he had 6 rebounds, 3 assists, and no turnovers.  Realistically when Brandon Roy starts playing this will probably be a more common stat line for Martell than the scoring explosions we saw in the first couple of games.  But this is a good stat line!  This is just what we've been asking:  hit your shots, be aggressive, draw fouls, and contribute in other ways when you're not shooting instead of just drifting.  If he could keep his average around 15 with these other stats besides I think everybody would be encouraged and floored.

--Travis Outlaw's line was more pedestrian.  I'll be watching to see if the game recaps mention him playing good defense or something.  Otherwise this seems like a less-than-stellar effort from him following the shot-fest in Denver.  Travis and Martell have shared this in common so far:  they're different players when they shoot a lot.  It looks like Martell is breaking out of that and figuring out how to contribute.  Travis needs to also.

--Joel Przybilla notched another double-digit rebounding effort with 12.  He also had 4 blocks.  He even shot 4 times, scoring 6 points total.  It looks like he's ready to play.  Also it strikes me that if Greg Oden were tallying these kind of numbers early we'd be plenty happy.

--Channing Frye shot 6-14 and had 6 rebounds and 14 points in 29 minutes.  Not bad numbers if you're thinking of a bench player.

--The guards were a mixed bag.  Steve Blake had 6 rebounds and 5 assists but also committed an uncharacteristic 4 turnovers.  He ended up with 9 points in 33 minutes.  Jarrett Jack played 38 minutes and only shot 33%.  He scored 13 but also had 6 assists.  Taurean Green played 14 minutes and scored 7 on 50% shooting with 2 assists.  It was nice to see him have a bounce-back game of sorts.  Sergio only got 5 minutes and had 1 assist and 2 points off of 1-3 shooting.  I don't know whether the short stint was planned, an afterthought, or he just got yanked for something.  I assume he'll get more chances this pre-season though.  You can't tell much from 5 minutes.

--Raef LaFrentz got 8 courtesy minutes and tallied a couple points and a rebound.

Overall it looked like Nate subbed like this was a regular season game and not exhibition.  Seven players got 24 minutes or more and only three others played...basically an eight-man rotation.  One of the group of Jack, Blake, Outlaw, and Webster is going to lose a large portion of those minutes when Roy comes back.  I guess part of the reason for pre-season is to figure out which.

--Dave (blazersub@yahoo.com)

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