As Game Five winds down, I wanted to record a couple of my thoughts about the game here.
First of all, does anyone else wonder why Batum doesn't play more? He's a great defender, and he's guarded 1-3 in this series. He's also capable of switching picks to guard Stoudemire. I guess I don't understand why McMillan doesn't give him more minutes in the regular rotation.
Also, everyone will point to Channing Frye coming in in the 1st quarter as the point when the Suns started to get hot. The way I saw it though, the reason the game turned was Marcus Camby coming out of the game with his 2nd foul at around the same time. The Blazers completely rely on him for his rebounding and defense. When Juwan Howard comes in the Suns are able to get too many offensive rebounds and easy baskets.
As I write this post (with ~5 minutes left in the 4th), the plus/minus stats from tonight support the idea that Camby and Batum should play more. They are the only Blazers with positive plus/minus, and most other Blazers are -10 or lower.
A couple of assorted thoughts:
Rudy looks lost. I almost wonder if he hasn't decided that he wants to go back to Spain. He hasn't really showed any mental toughness in dealing with adversity this year. He's kind of folded under the pressure. I wonder whether he really deeply wants to play in this league or not. It seems like he'd be more than happy to make a similar amount of money play in Spain where he's a superstar.
I know that Juwan Howard is a fan favorite, but is anyone else watching him on defense? He's perpetually too slow, and get's out-rebounded constantly. I admire him for his contributions to the team this season, but the fact of the matter is that the Blazers get pounded every time he comes into the game. I understand that Camby gets into foul trouble, but I wish McMillan would play Camby more minutes and minimize Howard's time on the floor.
Feel free to chime in with differing opinions in the comments section if you want. Also, any writing tips are appreciated! I'm always looking to improve my writing...
There apparently have been a lot of people complaining about the refereeing this game! Now, I truly believe that the Blazers have the best fans in the NBA, and that's not hyperbole. Portland is a unique city in that there is only 1 team, and the town really comes together to support the Blazers. Having said that, I've noticed that Blazers fans frequently blame the refereeing when things go wrong for the team.
So much whining about the officials tonight! Yes, Joey Crawford left his imprint on the game. He called a bunch of what I think were dopey touch fouls, going both ways. But to assert that the refereeing had a significant impact on the game....? That's not the game that I watched. A free throw disparity in and of itself is in no way evidence of bad officiating.
Now, don't get me wrong. Camby picking up a quick 2nd foul was a huge turning point in the game. I'm just saying that the quality of the officiating wasn't particularly questionable.