It would be easy to chalk this one up to injuries: knees, shoulders, backs, ankles, a hamstring. But these Blazers have been winning, anyway. No, the Blazers lost this one to a part of the body you never win without: heart.
15 fouls on Washington, 23 on Portland. FTs: 25-28 vs 15-16 for the Blazers. That's 10 points. It wasn't all lack of penetration. It was clear that the refs were ready to blow the Wizzle on the Blazers at a moments notice.
Real Bad D
Here's how to beat the Blazers' "defense":
1. Have a player set a pick
2. Watch the Blazers switch
3. Exploit the mismatches
4. Do it! Do it! Do it all night!
It doesn't help when you let them stay in the game off first-half putbacks, but switching every time? That makes it too easy. A coach can go big -- especially with Andre Miller the Refs' whipping boy. Even with him in, it was worth a try.
3-17. Really? Whatever. The only Blazers making the low post work were Miller and Aldridge. Maybe we should have called their numbers every time down.
Kudos to Aldridge and Miller.
Kudos to the rebounding edge.
Nate's strategy would have worked if Bayless and Rudy were in stride, but they weren't. So with all the penetration we gave up and lack of rebounding, why not try a big line-up like this to stop the bleeding? They should have tried Webster at SG and Cunningham at the 3 alongside Juwan and LaMarcus.
Even looking at his 8 phat assists, Bayless is not ready to start. The generic scouting report has him figured out: guard shot at rim, collect ball, run it back while JBay jaws at ref. For my money, start Blake alongside Miller next game if Brandon isn't back yet. I would start Rudy, even for limited minutes, but his shot doesn't look right ... yet.
Ugh! Tough one.