In a season where the Blazers are showing us a new way to win almost every night they gave us yet another one this evening. And wake up Blazer fans...this was a good one. Our young little Blazers came out, got on top of the Warriors from the very start, and never let them close. It was never a contest. It was almost...boring. We played some fantastic stretches...we were up by 25. We played some rough stretches...we were up by 20. This, my friends, is what very good professional teams do. This is not our regular habit so you can't say we've become a great team yet, but when we do become a great team there are going to be a lot of nights like this.
The most impressive thing was how we attacked the Warriors inside early in the game before we put it in cruise control. As James Jones said in the post-game interview on TV we perceived a weakness and we exploited it. The first eight minutes of the game were a dunk-fest. That got the Warriors back on their heels and they never recovered.
A close second for impressiveness was how we moved the ball. It barely ever stayed still tonight. Now the Warriors for some reason came in flat as my granny's nightgown but teams have done that before and we've not taken advantage. Tonight we did. You could probably count the bad shots we took on one hand. How's this for a stat: we had 32 assists on 40 made buckets. That's an 80% assist rate. Wow.
We outrebounded the Warriors by a bunch, which is not necessarily a surprise but is something we purposely focus on, so it's nice to see. We also beat them at their own game, notching 10 steals to their 7. We shot 46% to their sub-40% night. We held them (or they held themselves) to the perimeter all night long. We beat them there too, canning 13 long balls on 46.4% shooting to their 8 on 27.6% shooting. And check out these stats: Baron Davis 4 points in 14 minutes, Stephen Jackson 5 points in 17 minutes, Monta Ellis 10 points in 25 minutes. In the preview to this game I said it's guaranteed that somebody from the Warriors would go off big time. Darned if they didn't make a big, fat liar out of me. Golden State will win zero games when their three scorers combine for less that 20 points. Normally that's a really good half for Davis alone. Holding the Warriors to 91 points is a feat worth celebrating.
The Warriors came in with the energy of a slug in an ice tray and we played against their B and C team most of the night, but who cares? This game still counts towards the standings and if you want to be in the thick of it in the West you have to win games like this. No mercy, no remorse...just take the "W" and prepare for Toronto on Sunday morning. That's more than the Warriors will be leaving Portland with, and that's the only thing that matters.
--Steve Blake apparently borrowed some of Martell Webster's underoos tonight, as he scored 24 points, terrorizing the Warriors with his shooting. He was 8-10 for the contest, including 5-6 from beyond the arc. Every once in a while something gets into him. I wish it never came out. 20+ points on 10 shots every night would be amazing.
--Brandon Roy had a scary night, first with the back and then with a twisted knee right before the half. When he went to the floor and clutched his knee you could have heard a pin drop in the otherwise-boisterous Garden. The camera caught Paul Allen looking like he was getting a prostate exam...with a periscope. Brandon was fine and played in the second half. It was hardly his best game but we hardly needed it. He ended up with 8, 8, and 8...the dreaded triple snowman.
--If Lamarcus Aldridge had started the game any more off he would have needed jumper cables. Have you ever gone bowling and you're releasing the ball in the right spot but it's just going wide for some reason? That looked like Lamarcus tonight. It was sad because we were obviously trying to feed him inside. Also had he connected on a reasonable number of shots early we would have been up by triple digits. Nevertheless he came around somewhat late in the game to finish a respectable 8-15 with 19 points and 5 rebounds. And that was an off night.
--Other than handling the ball like a junior high kid dancing with his Social Studies teacher at the Winter Formal Martell had a reasonably impressive night. He shot 6-9, 4-6 from distance, for 16 points. Again that kind of point production on limited shots is solid gold for this team. It allows us to control the tempo and still put up a ton of points.
--Joel Pryzbilla got an amazing 10 points and 10 boards in 22 minutes. His eyes light up when he sees Golden State coming to town. Andres Biedrins owes Joel big time. He'd better be all about making Joel his personal lapdog when the Blazers travel to Oakland or he's going to end up seriously in debt for the season. Honestly Biedrins is a much better player than he appears against us.
--James Jones' good games are so de rigueur that they barely merit mentioning anymore. Oh...he shot 5-8 and scored 16. Say, can you pass me the peanuts?
--Travis Outlaw didn't have the best offensive night but he didn't really need to. He did get 8 rebounds and 3 steals in his 22 minutes. And he didn't shoot every time he touched the ball. Super Trout would have been overkill tonight anyway. It was a nice night for the kid.
--Channing Frye grabbed 7 rebounds in 20 minutes on a night where he couldn't put the ball in the ocean with a Howitzer. That's what we need. If you're not hitting, do something else.
--Jarrett Jack had an amazing 6 turnovers in one of his worst outings of the season. If he follows form we should be seeing an upswing from him soon.
--Sergio had 4 nice assists and 2 rebounds in 13 minutes. He also hit a three so the fans could "Ole". Update: And isn't it nice to hear "Ole" when he scores instead of when he's defending? --Dave
--Taurean Green got 6 minutes of play and missed 4 shots. That means he came in with six minutes left in the game though! Blowout substitutions are fun no matter what.
One Sentence Game Summary:
I hope the washer fluid is full because that made a real mess on the windshield.