I wasn't sure what to expect tonight with the change in the starting lineup. But I did like what I saw. Though I don't think you can continue to start both Blake and Miller all season, it clearly worked against San Antonio. Having Blake, Miller, and Roy on the floor is a good lineup if they want to push tempo which is what they should do against a team like San Antonio. The Spurs are old and they won't want to run all game. Though the Spurs made it close. I don't think the Blazers ever lost control of this contest.
While pushing the tempo tonight the Blazers finally did what I've wanted them to do since the season started and that's pound the ball inside to the big guys. It seemed like every night Portland had a mismatch on the inside that they didn't take advantage of. Though tonight they fed the ball inside to Oden and Aldridge. Though Duncan on Oden is not a mismatch, Oden did way better then I expected. He made a couple great power moves to the basket and had those two jump hooks. He even hit a nice face up jump shot.
I'm not going to get too excited over Oden's performance, though I really want to. Oden will have games like this here and there but I don't think the Blazers will continue giving him touches. I don't think there's a big man in the NBA that can guard Oden 1 on 1 and that got shown tonight as the Spurs didn't double team Oden.
Another positive for Oden is that other then the first couple minutes, he stayed out of foul trouble. He looked like he figured out how to not foul. Nate should sit Oden down, show him the tape of that game and say "you see what you did. Do that every game for the rest of your career." If Oden plays defense like he did tonight he'll really help the Blazers. If he goes back to fouling, it will really hurt them. I think Oden was the reason the Blazers won tonight. Maybe I'm wrong. But from what I was watching it looked like Oden was controlling the game in the second half.
The guards played well tonight. Andre Miller had his best game as a Trail Blazer tonight I think and Steve Blake made shots he needs to make. Brandon shot the ball well and I hope he can continue to do so. But I did want more production out of Rudy. But I guess I can't get greedy. Portland did win so I'm happy.
One last thing. I know Oden may not need help defending in the post but I noticed something on a couple of possessions that I'd like to see the Blazers do more on defense. When Oden had 2 fouls and he came in late in the 2nd quarter, Duncan was looking to go right at him but the Blazers doubled Timmy. They did it a couple more times throughout the rest of the game. I think if you want to keep Oden out of foul trouble you should double whoever he's guarding in the post to get the ball out of their hands so they can't attack Oden. Even though Oden did a spectacular job tonight on Tim Duncan.
Overall it was a great win and I hope this will get Portland back on track.