Game 71 Recap: Blazers UGH, Sonics YAY

(The score was 97-84 them if you must know.)

Boxscore

Wow.  I know tonight was supposed to be all about the Sonics and their fans, but I think the Blazers may have overdone it a little!  We weren't supposed to get that much into the spirit.  I guess one of the signs of a true rivalry is that records don't matter.  I suppose that makes this a true rivalry.

This game didn't come down to the usual culprits of fast break points and points in the paint.  We got outrebounded but that wasn't really the story either.  The basic gist is short and sweet:  when you shoot 39% while allowing your opponent 51% you're probably going to lose.  I don't think the Sonics could have beaten us many other ways.  But we obliged them by hoisting jumpers through the entire second half.  Lamarcus going out really hurt us badly.  We didn't have any inside presence whatsoever.  Plus we played defense so ridiculous it should have been a Disaronno commercial.  We double and triple-teamed some guys and left others wide open through slow rotations.  And no, that wasn't the game plan as drawn up, I'm sure.  We just got discombobulated, didn't work it out amongst ourselves, and never found our footing.  That play with 6:00 left to go in the fourth where Damien Wilkins saved a ball near the halfcourt line with less than 3 seconds left on the 24-second clock for Seattle and then managed to get a shot up at the rim was emblematic of how haywire we went.  We were moving.  It wasn't really laziness.  It was more like spasticity. Letting 6 Sonics score in double figures means you pulled the goalie after the first period.  And that's pretty much the end of the story.

Before we head to individual notes, an observation.  Despite my best attempts to explain how individual game plus-minus statistics are misleading we still get people who will quote them as examples of who played better and who belonged on the floor or not.  So...I want to hear you tonight.  Where's the chorus of people asking for much more playing time for Jarrett Jack and James Jones, who were a paltry -2 each?  Who's ready to writing scathing critiques of Martell Webster who was -10 despite his 22 points, of Steve Blake who was -10 despite his 9 assists, of Brandon Roy who was -11 despite being our All-Star, and of Joel Przybilla who got 13 rebounds and 3 monster blocks but was worst on the team with a -15?  

Individual Notes

--Lamarcus had a nice first half.  His post moves looked quick yet unhurried.  It amazes me how far he has come since the beginning of the year.  However we do have to remember that it's the entire season that counts, not just a great two-week stretch.  Still, I loves me some Lamarcus.

--I wrote down in my notes as Martell was in the midst of his 14-point first quarter, "These are nice, but I would trade them all for 14 points a game, spread out for four quarters, with consistency."  I must admit I wasn't expecting him to miss nearly every other shot he threw up the rest of the game.  He did get 5 rebounds and 3 assists to go along with his 22 points, which is good for him.  He was into this game.

--In many ways Joel played like a man among boys again tonight.  Is there anything sweeter than watching him block dunks?  I wish his offensive torrent would have continued, but he couldn't quite keep his mitts on the ball.  You have to fire a perfect pass to him, which is part of the challenge.

--This was likely one of the worst games we've seen Brandon play this year.  29% shooting, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 4 fouls, and 11 points total.  He just couldn't get it going.  Maybe it was the homecoming.

--Steve Blake couldn't hit his open shots either, but at least he got 9 assists.

--Travis Outlaw took almost every shot he could tonight.  He did hit 5 buckets for 13 points but I'm looking at 3 turnovers vs. 2 rebounds and 1 assist and I'm thinking he didn't score enough to make it a good game. From what I can see it looks like he's resumed an early-season habit of rushing things a little too much. When he gets the ball he looks a little hyper instead of composed and confident. I'm not as fond of that Trout as I am of the guy who destroys opponents singlehandedly in the fourth.

--Jarrett Jack drew a team-high 5 foul shots and made them all en route to 10 points with 3 assists.  Considering how he's played the last week or so, that's a decent game.

--James Jones played 14 minutes but only took 1 shot in a game where we shot nothing but long jumpers.  You can't have that.  It's like saying the weapon of choice tonight will be swords and then leaving your Scottish Claymore at home.

--Channing Frye had 5 rebounds in 17 minutes.  That part of his game is solid.

Three-Sentence Game Summary:

We were the first team with a winning record Seattle has beaten since we were the last team with a winning record they beat 17 games ago.  That's 2 against us when they've only had 3 other victories against winning teams (at the time) all season long.  Oy vey!

--Dave (blazersub@yahoo.com)

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