I have this thought: I tend to think horrible thoughts about the Blazers after they lose and highly idealized thoughts after they win. And it hit me that that's kind of dumb.
So in order to avoid the overreaction after the W/L column, I thought I'd itemize out a few things I thought were very, very good about last night's game... maybe see if anyone's with me.
- Sergio really seems to be coming into his own. I almost cried when he started to shoot those threes that looked halfway credible. I think he plays a little fuzzy with Brandon still but I loved the way he runs up the court with the ball... I think it even caused Brandon to pick up his pace a little bit when he brought the ball up just out of sheer shame. Really like to see the growth of Sergio.
- Outlaw... God love him. Couldn't stand the guy for a while. Why? Because those "fruit loop" shots he takes weren't going in and that makes all the difference in the world. But you know what? I'm still shivering at that massive dunk he put down near the end of the game and there was another drive right after it. YES!! Go to the hole, man! I've been waiting SIX YEARS for some freaky dunks from that kid and I finally saw one last night in a game-crucial situation. Give me some more of that! I'm tired (fatigued!) of those weird shots... give me some drives! Give me some fouls! That's the Trout I remember from last year.
- Oden! Ah, what can you say. Was it great having him out there or what? He swallows defensive rebounds. We had this giant flaw in the Blazer team and he has absolutely plugged that hole. I like the dunks. I like the offense. I LOVE the FT shooting. I don't know if I'm exactly proud of the Shaq-like calls he's already getting (I was feeling for the GSW a couple of times when they were whistled for fouls... the ghost of Sabonis playing Shaq is hovering over me when I see that) but I'm glad for the team that they're coming. Best of all, I think Oden being able to play has actually dramatically improved Pyrzbilla's play. (Oden is travelling a bit... he's going to have to fix that.)
- And Pryzbilla's actually getting some dunks! Love that too.
- Roy got some dunks! I like it when he dunks.
- I was listening to the GS feed on League Pass... it was really enjoyable hearing the announcers groan every time Portland launched a 3-pointer. Used to be that Blazer fans groaned when that happened... now it's the other team. We made a ton of those shots. Yeah, I remember a few wide open looks that Rudy missed. But the GSW announcers kept saying how the whole team could shoot (they were even including Sergio). They also made the point that--at one instant in the game--Portalnd had taken 20 3-pointers. If those had all been 2-pointers and they made every single one of them, that'd be 40pts. As it happened, we had made 12 of those 3-pointers for 36pts. That is phenomenal! And it scared the GSW guys to death.
- We're settling into predictable minutes for everyone. I think some of those minutes are coming at the expense of Blake and I think Frye is headed for a perm seat on the bench... but I think Nate is finally arriving at a predictable series of substitutions throughout the game. I don't care who you think SHOULD be playing, it's darned nice to see that everyone knows ahead of the time IF they're playing. A very good step.
- Finally, I hate to admit this... but I actually enjoyed watching the GSW play. They are really a fun, exciting team to watch. I really like Biedrins. I like all the fast breaks. This was my first look at the Morrow kid and I liked him. I love the thought of this being an intense rivalry for the Blazers in the future. I'm really looking forward to the next matchup.
Because I can't help it, I hope LMA finds a game, Bayless stays out of the game (I thought he looked bad), Frye finds a defense, and Sergio finds (his own) offense.
So, I feel better looking over everything. This team is really working.
Btw, maybe because I was on the GS feed I didn't quite see the same controversey in the refs. I did think Rudy committed the foul first. I was glad to see Roy called for the lane violation because I don't think rules should be ignored in the final minutes... if anything, they should be more rigorously enforced. I thought there were several calls that favored the Blazers, particularly with Greg Oden. The GS announcers actually said that it was a relatively well-officiated game (prior to knowing the conclusion, btw) and I found myself agreeing with them.
I've seen some brutally officiated games--Addelman's Sacramento Kings comes to mind in the Game 6 Conference Finals when Nadar himself wanted an investigation. This wasn't anywhere near that.
I think everyone should take a breath and examine how the announcers and our own loyalties influence our view of the officiating. It's definitely not the reason we lost this game.