I keep saying the Blazers just need to pick up a Millsap/Maxiell type (call him a "Maxsap") to come off the bench, and they'll be OK rebounding-wise. After all, Oden is going to make a big difference on the starting squad, and that'll move Pryz to the white unit. But games like last night's truly worry me. The Blazers keep getting killed on the defensive glass, and you can't win consistently that way--especially in the playoffs.
Last night's rebounding disparity was 55 to 41, but it seemed even worse. The ESPN announcer (Jon Barry, I believe) was truly blown away by the Blazers' inability to grab rebounds. He couldn't understand how a relatively long squad could be so anemic on the boards. I'm starting to wonder too. There was one hopeful play towards the end last night, when Outlaw put a body on Balkman and practically rode him into the stands. But that was just one play after a night of complete rebounding futility.
Granted, the Blazers' forwards are still young. LMA, Frye, Outlaw, Martell--all these guys are going to get stronger in the coming years. But rebounding ability involves much more than strength and length. Even desire is only part of the package. Last night, Nate Robinson had 8 rebounds--as many as Frye and Outlaw combined. Back in my playing days, I was a pretty good rebounder, even though I was 5-9 and couldn't dunk a tennis ball.
There's just a knack to rebounding--involving anticipation, timing, good hands, awareness of where other players are positioned--all of that and more. And my fear is that the Baby Blazers have too few guys with that knack. I hope I'm wrong, but this could end up being a fatal flaw on this wonderful team.