I caught glimpses of it flitting around the arena when it thought most people were looking the other way. Bayless dragged it on court for a little bit of a cameo, but for the most part, the Blazers played without pride last night.
Pride is the missing ingredient in LaMarcus Aldridge's game. Pride was the missing factor for Rudy although he found it again last night. Pride seems to be missing from Nate's post-game analysis. The coach is calling for focus, but when you lose your perspective on where you are and what you went through to get there; those accomplishments should mean something to you and without those, focusing on the moment isn't going to give you the edge necessary to make the play in the face of a double-team.
Seriously LaMarcus, you use the excuse that you were double-teamed? What else do you expect? Its not supposed to be looked at as a detriment, its supposed to be a compliment man! They think you're that good even if you obviously don't. Play with a little speck of pride and take the ball inside! Push Amare' out of the way. Shove him onto his backside and go straight through him on your way to the hoop! At least attempt to draw the foul.
Focus helps, but focus doesn't cut it. Phoenix responded to Portland based on the fact that in the first game they were embarrassed. Steve Nash isn't going to be embarrassed again. Amare' may not be capable of feeling embarrassed, but he wants to win and he's just brash enough to do what it takes.
Unfortunately the players on the Blazers that do have some pride and believe they are capable of winning even if they have to win uncomfortably, are not getting the help they need. Andre, Howard, Camby & Bayless need LaMarcus to come out of this self-induced funk and stop allowing himself to be punked by just another blowhard in the mold of glass-jaw Garnett.
I'm satisfied that Martell knows what's up; he's taken his lumps and won't settle for self-indulgent excuses. I'm satisfied that Bayless knows no limit to his pride and Rudy remembered who he is last night.
But if I don't see something more from LaMarcus this next game, then I'm going to have a hard time believing he's even capable of stepping up.
LaMarcus: You earn respect it is never handed to you. No one cares about your sensitivities or your inexplicable predilection towards fade-away jumpers when things aren't easy for you. We want to see some fire, we want to know if you've got pride.