McMillan was none too pleased with Sergio Rodriguez during the Christmas night loss to Dallas. Sure, Sergio finished 4-for-4 from the field and had a nice backdoor pass to Rudy Fernandez, but McMillan played him only 2:05 of the second half. I asked him Friday why.
"Defense,'' McMillan said, a little more than a touch of disgust in his voice.
"Yeah, the pick-and-roll ...'' I said, noting the Blazers' team-wide problem that night. But before I could finish, McMillan was already shaking his head.
"No, just defense period,'' McMillan said. "He has to play better defense.''
This pisses me off so much I can't even think straight. The game against Dallas featured some of the worst defense we've seen from the team in some time, but to call out Sergio is just ridiculous. I watched Sergio's D very closely in that game and his defense was questionable on no more than 3 plays—outside of that he stayed in front of his man and made the proper rotations. Barea didn't make a single play against Sergio, but with Sergio on the bench looked like Michael Jordan against Blake and the starters. Yes, Terry beat Sergio off the dribble a couple times to make plays. But there was soooo much worse going on that court on xmas.
Why Nate would publicly eviscerate Sergio's defense after this game to justify himself for not getting him time in a game where he was performing very well, is just totally beyond me. It seems clear to me, that regardless of the effect, Sergio is giving 100% on D and improving.
I'll never understand the relationship between Nate and Sergio.
BrianfromWA made a comment on O-live that runs through Sergio's actual performance on Xmas. I thought it'd be helpful to have it up here for people who are commenting from imperfect recollections (as I myself was):
Why are you bringing up single-game +/- as a personal stat? Let's dig a bit, shall we?
Sergio comes in at 3:21 left in the first. 24-18 Mavs. He's guarding Kidd for 2 minutes, then Barea comes in at :48. Neither one scores or gets an assist for the rest of the first quarter, and we cut from a 6pt lead to a 4pt lead. Sergio has a 3, the amazing assist to Rudy, a layup and sets up Joel for his 2 FTs. So how does he have a bad rating ?
Then, to start the second, Sergio again scores a layup. Then another one. Then the man he's guarding gets the first points or assists in 7 minutes of play when Barea gets a rebound and layup. Sergio then comes out. We're now down 43-33. How can that be? Well, I'm glad you asked. I know Sergio is the whipping boy right now, but perhaps Nate should rethink his idea of having Frye and Outlaw out there at the forward spots at the same time. B/c here's what happened for Dallas around those timeframes...2FTs by Terry, Howard 3, Nowitzki 2, 2 buckets by Singleton, a Wright 3. AND: Travis 0-3, Frye 0-1, Rudy 1-2, Joel Travel, Sergio Bad Pass. But I'm sure it's all the fault of Sergio and his disgusting defense.
FFwd to the 4th quarter. 80-77 good guys, Sergio comes in, immediately commits the foul on Barea. Then Rudy is 0-1, Travis 0-1, Roy 0-2. Meanwhile, DAL goes miss by Terry, miss by Barea (Sergio's guy), make by Nowitzki, make by Bass. Sergio leaves with it 81-80 them.
So to recap: when Sergio was in the game he was 4-4, 9pts, 1 turnover. The man he was guarding was 1-4 with 0 assists. His teammates were 1-10, 2-4 FTs and 1 turnover, while the other team (aside from Sergio's man) were 6-12. Must've been Sergio's disgusting defense. Couldn't be that teammates were missing shots, getting lit up on their own by leaving their men open (and I'm looking at you, Rudy, Travis and Frye).