Full Court Press

I tallied it up last night.  

  • The combined records, as of today, for the 10 teams the Blazers have beaten: 42-83.  
  • The combined records, as of today, of the 5 teams the Blazers have lost to: 43-24.  

Yes, that includes 1-12 Minnesota 3 times in the wins column and the 11-3 Atlanta Hawks 2 times in the loss column.  But even if you average the winning percentages of Blazers opponents, counting each team just once, you're left with...

  • Teams Blazers have beaten: Average winning percentage of .387
  • Teams Blazers have lost to: Average winning percentage of .604

Looking back over the entire record, there's a fair argument to be made that the opening night win over Houston, thought at the time to be an easy must-win, still stands as the best victory of the season.  The other candidates: beating a .500 Thunder team on the road, beating the below .500 Spurs at home without Tony Parker and beating a below-.500 Hornets team without Chris Paul on the road the day after they fired their coach.

Had the Blazers not collapsed in Atlanta and had they decided to show up and take care of business against Golden State, they would be in sole possession of the best record in the league.  And yet, through 15 games, they still feel like no better than a slightly above-average team.  

There are worse places to be; there are better places to be. For now it's safe to say that the jury is very, very, very much out on this team.

Click through so we can go around the internet.  A bunch of great articles out there today...

-- Ben Golliver | (benjamin.golliver@gmail.com) | Twitter

As we noted last week, Jerryd Bayless started a blog. Here's this week's update.

I want to clear up the fact that I am an angry guy who is arrogant. I have heard this so many times the last couple years in Portland and it is the farthest thing from me. Yeah I am in a tough situation at the moment, but I love life way too much to just be mad.

You look around the world and the times that we are in, and for me to just be mad when I've been blessed to play in the NBA is very untrue.

On the court at times, I can agree that I do become very intense, but off the court I could be one of the quietest people you'll ever meet unless I know you. This has been something I have wanted to clear up for awhile.

Jason Quick quotes Brandon Roy about the three guard lineup. Caution: his statements might be painful to read...

"I feel like we tried it (the three-guard lineup), and you could say it worked at times, but me sacrificing hurt the team, so it should get back to me playing full-out and getting some other guys in other areas to sacrifice a little bit," Roy said. 

Privately, Roy has been conflicted. He was never happy playing small forward -- particularly on offense -- but he put on his best face for the team. But as a star, and the leader of the team, he felt like he had too much to offer that wasn't being utilized. In turn, his unrest and reduced production was having an effect on the team. 

"This team is going to go off my pulse," Roy said. "Even if I'm smiling and trying to make it work, if I seem like I'm not totally comfortable, then Martell won't be. And Rudy (Fernandez) will look like he's in a funk. And L.A. (Aldridge) will look like he's in a funk. They have been playing with me for a couple years and if I'm going well, they have more confidence."  

Dwight Jaynes tees off...

Why is Miller the problem, rather than Blake?

Because Brandon Roy deemed it so. Roy this season is slightly down from his career numbers in field goal shooting, three-point shooting, rebounds, assists and steals - and up in fouls and turnovers - and he's pinning it all on Miller. That's obvious. From the very start, he hasn't liked Miller taking the ball out of  his hands and everyone knew it.

Instead of taking control of the situation, McMillan tiptoed around it by using two point guards instead of one. It's been all about placating Roy from the start. Why not spend 20 games with Roy being a more traditional off-guard? Learning to play off the ball, learning to move, set picks, get picks, get himself open - without pounding the ball in a spread court. Why not post him up once in a while?

A very interesting interview transcript from Tim Kawakami of the Mercury-News, who believes Monta Ellis locked up Brandon Roy and asked him about it...

-Q: Can you talk about your defense against Roy?

-ELLIS: I just did what coach Nelson asked us to do. Goad him, crowd him, play to his strength. He likes to go left so I had that cut off.

Really, I was more energetic than anything and really wanted to go out and get this win and I knew he was a big key for them to even have a chance of winning.

So I just took him out of the game and the rest of our players stuck with the gameplan and did what they needed to do with their players. We got out and ran and won the game.

Mike Barrett on Martell Webster...

Webster was undoubtedly the star on this night. But, it didn't start out that way, Martell had just 2 points at halftime. However, in the third quarter he exploded, and it looked as though a switch had been flipped for the entire team. After scoring just 17 points in the second quarter, the Blazers scored 36 in the third, and the rout was on. They followed that up with 30 in the fourth, as Webster ended with 21 points and 13 rebounds for his first-career double-double.

Brian T. Smith quotes Brandon Roy on Martell Webster...

Roy compared Webster being back in the starting lineup to when forward Nicolas Batum held down the spot last season.

Webster and Batum - who is recovering from shoulder surgery - are both athletic, speedy small forwards who are able to turn their arm length and leaping ability into advantages. 

"The game is more simple for that 3 guard. They just catch and shoot," Roy said. "I think (with) the second unit, (Webster) was forced to maybe think a little more and have to create. Where as in the starting lineup, it's just he knows when he catches it, shoot it."

Joe Freeman quotes Martell Webster on his rough season and big night on Saturday...

"It's a long season," Webster said. "And guys get in slumps. You just have to keep doing the things that you did when your shot was hot or when you were playing good. That's what I did. I just kind of took that to heart."   

Brian T. Smith quotes Nate McMillan making an adjustment in his treatment of Greg Oden...

Previously, Oden was limited to two fouls before halftime, and one per quarter for the first half. Once Oden picked up his allotted amount of fouls, he was sent to the bench, no matter how well or poorly he was playing.

However, now that the Blazers are dealing with a lack of healthy bodies and offensive production has been an issue as of late, McMillan said he is considering changing his Oden rule.

Now, Oden will likely receive three fouls in the first half. In addition, McMillan said he plans to attempt to allow Oden to play through foul trouble and learn on the job.    

Wendell Maxey writes about Nate McMillan's recent statement that he "needs bodies"...

"I've got to go with my roster and try to make work with what I have. You have to look at that, because right now we have 11 bodies that can play. If we lose another guy to an injury - you have to look at that scenario. Financial decisions and moves like that, that's not something you can all of a sudden do," McMillan continued.

"We are aware we are missing two guys, two rotation guys. But you find that guy or find someone who is going to come in and play and help you. That's going to be more than you possibly releasing someone. That's going to be some major moves."

Portland is one more injury away from making those "major moves".

David Aldridge has a long feature with Brian Grant on NBA.com...

Grant still has an iPhone. I know because it started chirping just as Fox, the Emmy Award-winning, immensely popular and beloved actor, was in the middle of explaining how his Michael J. Fox Foundation has raised, and distributed, $150 million since its inception in 2000 for research and for clinical trials looking for a cure for Parkinson's Disease. The neurological disorder attacks the body's central nervous system, slowly but thoroughly, causing symptomatic tremors in the hands, arms and legs, rigidity throughout the body and impairing the quality of speech. It is a disorder that has no known cure, impacting the famous -- Muhammad Ali, former Attorney General Janet Reno and boxing trainer Freddie Roach all have some version of it -- and the anonymous.

Grant, who played 12 rugged NBA seasons for the Kings, Blazers, Heat, Lakers and Suns, who threw his 250 pounds into nightly battle with power forwards often taller and usually thicker than he, has all that to look forward to. For now, only his hands shake, because he is a relative newcomer to this nightmare, having been diagnosed with "early onset" Parkinson's last January. At 37, it has thrown his life into a tailspin from which he is only now starting to recover.

Coup from Rip City Project on consistency...

Consistency has arguably been the biggest issue for the Blazers, not just game-to-game but quarter-to-quarter. They are top four in the league in average scoring margin in the first and third quarters. In the second, 12th. In the fourth, 22nd. Golden State was a good example of this, with the Blazers putting up 37 first-quarter points on the defenseless Warriors, then following up with 15 in the next period. Reasons for these numbers could be the general lack of Oden in the second quarter this year and the Blazers many blowouts, resulting in 4th-quarter garbage time, making the second quarter the most concerning. It's not like the Blazers are playing bad defense in that quarter, allowing a third-best 22 points per game in the second, they just aren't scoring, putting up a third-worst 23 points. This may be due to inconsistent play from Rudy and Martell, but they both were better this weekend.

Runyon from Trail Post on the 3 guard lineup...

So, it's finally dead. Thank goodness. The three guard lineup, the greatest fluke of the season, died an unceremonious death Friday night in Oakland, as the 7-man Warriors absolutely destroyed the Blazers by 14 points. Before we take a look at the game, let's just reminisce over the good times we had with Blake and Miller in the lineup simultaneously. Took a second? Are we ready to move on? We beat a few teams by strictly surprise with the lineup, and by the end, it was expected, and we got hit accordingly. Before the season, I asked Brandon Roy if he'll be swinging down to the small forward position as much since he lost that weight. He responded, "I hope not - those guys are big." Well, his hopes weren't answered so far this season. When you have a chance to move your max deal two time All-Star around the lineup to accommodate Steve Blake, you gotta do it. It's like the Superfriends replacing Superman with the Wonder Twins. Just a bit of a talent gap. 

Torrid Joe from Loaded Orygun on the lineup...

What I didn't really address, and what I typically tend to downplay in my reasoning because it's hard to judge if you're not an insider, is how chemistry is affecting the team. It was getting results, but it wasn't working, and a lot of guys knew it.  Regardless of the success, ultimately the lineup was doomed to short term success at best--and maybe that's all McMillan figured he'd get out of it too.

Blazers.com is rolling out some fresh new content, including valuable insights from Blazer Dancer Melissa...

I was so excited for another win I kicked too high:) It happens!     

Pass the prescription meds to Kellex over at Blaze of Love...

 In just 15 games, we've already been through such extreme highs and lows that Lindsay Lohan just called to say, "Hi."

A basic season breakdown would look something like this:  multiple injuries, Dre Miller drama to Dre Miller laughter, the 3-guard lineup successes to 3-guard lineup embarrassments, Brandon Roy happiness to confusion, back to happiness and at least an extra case of wine on our end.  I'm just not sure how much more of this I can take.    

Some Quick Hitters

Power Rankings...

Drop anything I missed in the comments. And, please, frequent the fanshots.

-- Ben Golliver | (benjamin.golliver@gmail.com) | Twitter

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