A couple things stood out as I watched the game last night. I'm curious if anyone else had similar thoughts:
1. Officiating. I've watched games before and felt the Blazers have gotten hosed by the officiating. That is not my point here. There were a few instances where I felt the Blazers weren't getting the same calls on both ends of the court, but it was minimal. For the most part, the officiating was consistent. That said, I felt the officiating did play a big role in the game.
The Bulls came out much more aggressive in the first quarter of the game. The officials let the players play, and Chicago was rewarded with a nice first quarter lead. It was nice to see the Blazers match that intensity as the game went along, but when they did, the officials started blowing their whistles - on both ends of the court. There were so many ticky tack fouls and make up calls, it almost made it impossible for the Blazers to make a run. It certainly made the game less enjoyable to watch.
2. Defensive Responsibility. A very simple basketball concept that is taught at a very young age - it is something that I have felt that Blazers have been poor at for a while now. Blake used to get caught on this quite often - being positioned in the corner. Once Roy penetrates and the shot goes up - you've got to rotate back to defense otherwise no one is there to stop the fast break.
I think Chicago exposed this again last night. There were several instances where the Blazers were caught napping that resulted in 2 on 1, or 3 on 1 breaks. One in particular in the 4th quarter led to a wide open break out that killed the momentum. Andre penetrated, kicked out to I think Batum for a 3 pt shot. Someone broke out - rebound, quick long pass, uncontested lay in. Watching it over again, it was clear that Rudy should have rotated back but just got caught up watching the play before it was too late. Don't want to pick on Rudy as all of our wings are guilty of this at times.
3. Rudy Fernandez. Is it just me, or has Rudy disappeared over the last two games - back to playoff Rudy where he just is a non factor in the game. Granted, Rudy made some nice drives to the hoop late in the game, but prior to that he just didn't seem engaged. Where was the Rudy that was flying all over the court during the preseason and the first two games of the season? I couldn't help but connect his play in the last two games to the opponents - Chicago and New York, the two teams that showed the most interest in him during the summer. I hope this is just a coincidence. I want energetic Rudy back - it was nice to see.