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Unwinnable Games and the Appropriate Response

Remember March 9th?  You and the Blazers at the Rose Garden, hosting the L*kers?  Remember how the Blazers crushed the top conference seed, leading by 20 to 30 points through most of the second half?  Do you recall how the L*kers seemed powerless to stop the slaughter?

Does that game remind you of a game you have seen more recently?  Maybe one that left a bad taste in your mouth?

Sometimes an entire team catches fire.  When that happens, that team can be all but unbeatable for a night.  It's not necessarily a reflection on the team that got beat.  What adjustment could the L*kers have made to stop the Blazers on that night?  Get the ball to Kobe more?  Less?  Double team Roy more?  Aldridge?  Try to kill Rudy Fernandez?

The answer: nothing.  The Blazers were going to win that game.  They would have beaten any team in the leaghe tuat night.  The L*kers probably didn't spend 30 seconds figuring out how to adjust in the next game.  They didn't take it as a sign that the Blazers were a better team.

Now that the Blazers have just undergone a similar experience, let's not go overboard on the reaction.  The Rockets were rolling on Saturday.  They had everything going for them.  They would have beaten any team in the league.  There was no adjustment that was going to beat them.  Does that mean we shouldn't make adjustments going into game 2?  Of course not.  But let's try to avoid panicking.  We're a 54-win team.  Changing up our entire approach or lineup in response to a bad outing is just not warranted.

And if you're looking for a positive out oa 30-point loss, it's this: the Blazers went into this season and this series as a naive, happy Cindarella team.  Well Cindarella just got pumpkin-jacked and left for dead on the side of the road.  If you want these young guys to be successful for the next decade, then you had to see this happen.  Cindarella isn't winning any championships.  Win or lose the series, the team that lines up for game 6 will be a different group of guys than those that lined up in game 1.  They'll have sneers on their face and a little hair on their chests.  And if they continue to learn as quickly as they have so far, they may just take this experience and gut out the 4 wins they need to move on.

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