FanPost

First 1/8th of the season in review

As we review the first 1/8th of the season I will take a look were the Blazers main players rank against the competition using the per statistic, I will look at some of the themes of the previous section of the season, I will recap each game, and I will discuss the Blazer actual recorded vs. what I predicted it would be.

Okay so what we will do is track the Blazers main guys PER ranking in a few different categories. One category will be were the rookies stand compared to the other rookies, another category will be how each start compares to the rest of the players in the league at their position, and finally we will see how the Blazers rank against the entire NBA.

Starters PER

Among PG Damian Lillard is 9th in PER, right behind Rajon Rondo and directly ahead of Kyrie Irving.

Among SG Wesley Matthews is 14th in PER, right behind Stephen Curry and directly ahead of Gordon Hayward.

Among SF Nicholas Batum is 5th in PER, right behind Demarre Carroll and directly ahead of Paul Pierce

Among PF Lamarcus Aldridge is 21st in PER, right behind Tiago Splitter and directly ahead of David Lee

Among Centers JJ Hickson is 22nd in PER, right behind Dajuan Blair and directly ahead of Robin Lopez

Rookies PER

Among Rookies Damian Lillard is 4th in PER, right behind Jon Henson and directly ahead of Michael Kidd Gilchrest. Meyers Leonard is 16th in PER, right behind Kim English (who?) and directly ahead of Harrison Barnes.

Team Leader in PER Among All Players Nicholas Batum is 35th in PER right behind John Henson, and directly ahead of some guy named Damian Lillard.

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Themes of the first 1/8th of the season

* The Blazers Bench is terrible, they can’t score and they are not great defenders. The Blazers starters must all play well, a bad game from the starters is really hard to overcome. Any injury to a starter could be fatal.

* Lamarcus Aldridge’s Shot Selection, the birdies are chirping that he is shooting outside to much and that he need to go back inside if he want to be a 2 time all star.

* Lillard Band Wagon, John Hollinger reversed course quickly on Lillard after a week into the season, and every other national write is quick to point out that they had Lillard as the ROY favorite all along. USA today has Lillard atop there rookie power rankings as well, ahead of number 1 overall pick and team USA member Anthony Davis

* Nic Batum living up to the contract, Other then his no show against Oklahoma Nicolas has been very good this year, he has been assertive and varied his offense with drives and jumper and threes. It seems like his play has excelled with more responsibility.

* 3rd Quarter dominance, the 3rd quarter has been strong in the early going for the Blazers, mounting big comeback or extending leads has been the norm for 3rd periods of Blazers games. This point’s to solid adjustments from Terry Stott’s and the coaching staff. Nic Batum also seems to be coming alive in the third period.

* Every starter has to play heavy minutes, because the bench has been very punch less. John Hollinger noted on twitter that last season only five players averaged more than 38 minutes per game and this year four Blazers do. Whether through injury or exhaustion the starters will not be able to play these types of minutes all year.

Game 1 Wed October 31st vs. Lakers

"Damian Lillard's debut lived up to the preseason hype for the Trail Blazers, as he finished with 23 points and 11 assists in a big win over the Lakers. Lillard showed an impressive ability to get to the line and had the best plus/minus of any Blazer in the starting lineup." The Blazers shocked me and picked up a victory over the vaunted LA Lakers, I would love to tell you stories about how I watched every last minute of this game, but I didn’t see any part of this game. I would also love to tell you the reason I didn’t see any of this game is because I am a great father and I was busy taking my daughter trick or treating, but alas we were done trick or treating by 8 and I had the game on my DVR. The reason I didn’t see any of this game is because NBA blackout rules make it so that NBA TV can’t show Blazer games in Seattle, which is dumb.

Key Match up Lillard vs. Nash

Lillard had an amazing debut and was a big part of the Blazer victory. Lillard be came the first NBA player with at least 21 points and nine assists in his first career game since Lebron James. Lillard also did a good job against Nash, utilizing an old veteran trick to take Nash out of the game called the kick to the shin. (Nash would actual break a bone in his leg and miss significant time)

Prediction: Loss

Real Life: Win

Blazer Record: 1-1

http://espn.go.com/fantasy/blog/_/name/boxscore_basketball/id/8579393/james-harden-goes-37-points-houston-rockets-debut-potential-top-5-player-fantasy-new-team

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Game 2 Friday November 2nd @ OKC

1st Half Notes

I actually get to watch this game and I am glad I got to watch it. The Blazers played a great first half considering the only people who could buy a bucket were Lillard and Wesley Matthews. What I liked so much about the half is the Blazers showed a lot of fight. Despite LA having an off shooting half, Nic Batum not doing anything in the half and no other Blazers making a huge impact. Despite missing what seemed like a million close shots, the Blazers fought off two big Thunder runs to keep it to just a 7 point Thunder lead at half. The only bad thing about this Half in my view was Lillard taking some really deep three’s that were not necessary.

2nd Half Notes

The Third quarter saw LA come alive, Lillard stay heavily involved, even Luke Babbitt made a positive contribution! But the star of the third quarter was JJ Hickson whose energy on the boards and with his offense kept the Blazers in the middle part of the quarter. Meyers Leonard is a player I enjoy watching he might not be good yet but he is fun to watch. Blazers played hard in the third and got game to with in one but the bench just doesn’t have any fire power and they are down by 8 going to the final frame. Bench scoring through 3 24 - 6 (I will let you guess which team was which.) Is it weird that Thabeet plays so much for the Thunder, he couldn’t get on the court when the Blazers were tanking last year. This fourth quarter has a few things that make me say Hmmmm

#1 Thing that makes me say Hmmm…. What if LA was not on the bench with 5 fouls?

#2 Things that make me say Hmmm…. What if the Blazers had one dependable bench player?

#3 Things that make me say Hmmm…. What if Wesley Matthews new there was two halves in this game?

Hmmm…..

The Blazers were in this game for three quarters, but it is a four quarter game and the Blazers just didn’t have it in this fourth quarter. The Blazers worked really hard and this game beat just about any of those horrible losses we saw the Blazers have last year. "Damian Lillard is the 3rd player in NBA history with at least 20 points and 7 assists in his 1st 2 career games"

Key Match Up

Batum v Durant

Well Durant was Durant and Batum didn’t slow him down at all, but not many people in the league do. However Batum contributed nothing on the offensive end and that was a huge problem for this Blazers team. One more scorer might have made the difference, Blazers couldn’t over come a Batum no show.

Prediction: Blazers Loss

Real Life: Blazer Loss

Blazer record: 1-1

http://scores.espn.go.com/nba/recap?gameId=400277742

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Game 3 November 3rd vs. Houston Rockets

1st Half - The first quarter was ugly both teams were not shooting well and neither team cracked 20 in the quarter. In the 2nd quarter the Blazers 2nd unit allowed Houston’s 2nd unit to open up a double digit lead.

2nd half - At half time this game was ugly Blazers were playing hard but just couldn’t find any rhythm. The third quarter the Blazers brought energy which is a skill in the NBA, they had four or five highlight blocks, and they attacked the basket hard. The result is they opened up a lead. Batum had a huge quarter with two big blocks and 11 points. The third quarter was nearly perfect until the end were a series of errors and sloppy play led to the Blazers being up only 2 going into the fourth quarter. Harden started off taking over in the fourth quarter getting to the line a few times, this combined with a Blazers cold streak and Blazers were down three under 5 to go. Blazers run it through LA and get the game tied with fewer than three after Harden hero ball stalled the Houston offense. Wesley Matthew pushes the game to over time stripping James Harden who iso’d at the top of the key for the last shot.

OT - Blazer came out with more energy to start the over time period, big time energy on defense led to big time offense back to back 3’s by Lillard and Batum had Portland up 6 with 3min left in OT.

* I just want to take a break from the recap here to say that I love JJ Hickson so far this year he works so hard and fights for every board. Love this guy.

Back to our regularly scheduled program and Lillard hit’s a huge dagger 3 to put the Blazers up 8 with just under 90 seconds left and the Blazers take their first road win, the first win on the second game of a back to back and first overtime win. Great game to watch Blazers are playing a fun brand of basketball

Key Match up

Wesley Matthews vs. James Harden Wesley played great I though, the defensive match up took him out of the offense but he never really let Harden take over. Matthews also had the early Defensive play of the year stripping James Harden on the last play of the game to force overtime. Wesley is having a fine season so far this year.

Prediction - Blazer win

Real Life - Blazer Win

Blazer Record

2-1

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Game 4 - Monday November 5th @ Dallas Mavericks

1st Half - If there was such a things as a good double digit loss, that’s what I would call this game. The Mavericks came out of the gate with smoking hot shooting, and punched the Blazers right in the mouth. Blazers were able to punch back and get right back in the game in the second quarter. A positive development is the weak Blazers bench chipped in 12 points which is the first time the team has got a significant contribution from the bench this year.

2nd Half - Heading into the third quarter the Blazers were still fighting to keep with the hot shooting Mavericks. The Blazers kept fighting hard and pulled with in a position a couple of different times, but couldn’t get over the hump and take a lead. This quarter also saw the Mavericks trap Damian Lillard with two defenders multiple times, and the Blazers had few solutions to this problem and it could become a trend that we see over the next few games as teams see the tape. Going into the fourth the game was still close and Terry Stotts made what I think was a crucial error in sticking with a Meyers Leonard Joel Freeland front court after the first time out in the fourth, a two minute stretch that the Mavs used to blow the game open and collect a double digit advantage, before Stotts was able to get LA and JJ back on the court. Allow me to rant

* Rant - Look I’m not an expert and Terry Stotts has forgotten more about basketball then I will ever know, but this seemed like an egregious error to me. Its not like Freeland and Leonard were hot, they were both playing poorly and the team was staying in the game in spite of them. To not bring back Aldridge and Hickson and try to take this game over was a huge mistake; this is the first one I have noticed from Stotts but something I will be watching for in the future.

The Blazers go on to getting blown out from that point on and lose by 20 plus. This was the first negative game for Lillard. "It was a tough night. I got some good looks, didn't make shots," Lillard said. "That's pretty much it. I tried to stick with it. I got some early fouls and that took the rhythm out of it for me."

Key Match up

Wes Matthews vs. Vince Carter

Well I misjudged this team completely in my preview, Vince Carter comes off the bench and is now playing Small Forward, he was not a factor in this game and I don’t think Wesley spent much time guarding him. OJ Mayo did destroy Wesley Matthews though so Matthews couldn’t win his match up and OJ Mayo led his\ team to a win.

Prediction - Blazers win

Real Life - Blazers Lose

Blazer Record - 2-2

http://espn.go.com/nba/recap?id=400277766

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Game 5 Thursday November 8th vs. Clippers

I attended this game in person, and it was awful. I had a hard time looking my buddy in the eye considering I convinced him to buy 8 game tickets this year, and he made the 3 hour drive to Portland, after the first half beating the Clippers put on us. Honestly we were contemplating leaving at half time. Then in the third quarter the Blazers made the typical NBA surge that got me and my buddy back in the game, the surge didn’t last and the Clippers won comfortably. Chris Paul joked that the Trail Blazers' near-comeback against the Clippers made for good television. "You always gotta make it interesting," he said with a smile after the game.

Key Match up

Damian Lillard vs. Chris Paul

Chris Paul did what he wanted when he wanted, Lillard struggled, but so did the whole team so that might be a write off. Chris Paul was telling people after the game how good Lillard was so that’s a plus.

Prediction - Blazers win

Real Life - Blazers Lose

Blazer Record - 2 - 3

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Game 6 Saturday November 10th vs. San Antonio Spurs

I again could not watch this game because it was on KGW and that channel is not available in the Seattle area. Legend has it though that this was a good game; the Blazers fought hard, and just narrowly missed an upset. Nicolas Batum had a career-high 33 points, but his coach wasn’t happy with his entire game particularly in the end of the game. Blazers coach Terry Stotts, however, wasn't giving Batum the star treatment, not by a long shot. "The last shot he took was for him, it wasn't for a three," Stotts said. "It was for him coming off [the screen], but he caught it and shot it instead of driving." So you wanted him to attack the basket? "Yeah," Stotts said, not missing a beat. "I was hoping for a closer catch, there was enough time for him to attack, yeah."

http://www.blazersedge.com/2012/11/11/3629602/media-row-report-spurs-112-blazers-109

Key Match up

Lamarcus Aldridge vs. Tim Duncan

Aldridge finished with a season-high 29 points, seven assists and four blocks for the Blazers. He joins four players with that many points, assists and blocks since the 2006-07 season: Russell Westbrook, Dwayne Wade, Lebron James and Ginobili. Both guys played well, Duncan’s team won the game so we will give him the advantage since I couldn’t really watch this game to give better details.

Prediction - Blazers Loseal Life - Blazers Lose

Blazer Record - 2 - 4

http://espn.go.com/nba/recap?id=400277808

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Game 7 Monday November 12th vs. Atlanta Hawks

"Portland's run of 195 consecutive home sellouts ended, team president and CEO Chris McGowan announced before the game. The streak dated back to Dec. 21, 2007." Man this game did not start out well, the Blazer just turned the ball over on nearly every position in the first few minutes of this game. The Blazers dug a huge whole and spent nearly the whole half down by double digits. They were able to cut the lead to 9 by Half though. The Blazers fought back hard in the 2nd half even mounting a small lead, but a lack of execution in the final period led to the Hawks winning comfortably.

The game was not all bad for the Blazers; J.J. Hickson had 19 points and 18 rebounds…. But after the Loss Aldridge came under fire from reporter Jason Quick for shooting jumpers and he did not like the accusations "In a salty post game interview Thursday after 7-for-17 shooting night, Aldridge said he doesn't believe he is shooting too many jumpers." I don't,'' Aldridge said. "Obviously you do, you asked the question.'' Sports Illustrated weighed in "its simple math. Aldridge has made 58.3 percent of his shots from the paint over his career, and he's made 41.8 percent of his shots from between the paint and the 3-point line (a far cry from Dirk Nowitzki, who's a career 46.8 percent shooter from mid-range)."

* 1. You know your bench is bad when …. You're daily Blazer bench disaster Tweet: Of the six subs with the most minutes, four have a PER below 2 - John Hollinger

Key Match up

Lillard v Jeff Teague

The box score shows Teague did not have that great of a game but he constantly broke the whole Blazer squad down. Lillard didn’t play his worst game of the season but it was far from his best. He turned the ball over just like everyone else on the team. He also showed some poor shot selection hoisting some Kobe Bryantesq Deep contested threes on more then one occasion. I think everyone agrees that Lillard is going to be good, but he still has things to work on shot selection and driving are just a couple of things he needs to work on still I will give this match up a draw as neither guy set the world on fire.

Prediction - Blazers Lose

Real Life - Blazers Lose

Blazers Record - 2 - 5

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Game 8 Tuesday November 13th @ Sacramento Kings

1st half - "We had lost four games, so this one was really important," Lillard said. "It felt like a game we had to win." The NBA did us a favors giving Demarcus Cousins a two game suspension that forced him out for this game, which is a huge favor to the Blazers as there was not much the Blazers could do to guard Cousins. The Blazers also had a scare as during the warm ups Lamarcus Aldridge’s wrist started to bother him to the point he needed x-rays, but they were negative and he played through the pain. Blazers came out on fire to start this game opening up a 10 point lead in the first half, then in what is becoming a trend this year the bench got involved and the other team starts to look like world beaters. By the middle of the second quarter the Kings fought back to even against the Blazers Bench units, once the Blazers starters all returned they somewhat restored order and went into the break with a four point lead.

2nd Half - The Blazers have been a very good third quarter team all year, whether it is staging a comeback or building a lead the third period has belonged to them. In this game the Blazers built up a big double digit lead going into the fourth quarter. Blazers cruise in the fourth quarter to a comfortable road win; can we play the Kings every game please? Lillard looked legit ""In college he was an aggressive player who was a high-volume scorer," Fredette said." He’s doing that here in this league as well. His game is translating very well to the NBA."

Key Match up

JJ Hickson vs. Demarcus Cousins

Well Cousins got himself suspend or this game probably would have been much different, JJ will win this match up by default. I want to say though JJ Hickson has been gods send to this team, he has brought energy every game and has been a double guy all year to this point. LA and Lillard get the press, Matthews and Batum get lots of credit as well but JJ has been doing all the dirty work on the glass and will take home the Nate McMillan scrapper of the year award if he keeps up this type of play all season.

Prediction - Blazers Win

Real Life - Blazers Win

Blazer Record - 3 - 5

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Game 9 vs. Friday November 16th vs. Houston Rockets

Quarter 1 This game was played even through the first quarter the rockets gained a small advantage when the Blazers only had two starters on the floor ( with how bad the bench has been that’s got to be considered a victory ). Claver showed some real life off the bench with a swat down block and some serious glass crashing which is nice as he hasn’t done much yet. Nic Batum had a really ugly drive in iso at the end of the first quarter, that isn’t his game, but he played well in other parts of the quarter.

Quarter 2 The Blazers threatened to fall apart in the transition between the first quarter and the 2nd; the rockets used turnovers to build up a ten point lead. Leonard still looks lost a little bit at one point flashed to the rim and started blocking out not seeing a perfect Aldridge pass that he should have been able to dunk, then had his head turned as a man waltzed through the middle of the lane dunk. The Rockets had a 15 point lead half way through the period and were shooting 62%. Batum has been killing it on blocks this year had a huge one in the 2nd half that lead to the Blazers first fast break points at the 3:34 mark of the 2nd quarter. Blazers played lazy D all half and have had some lazy turnovers on offense as well. The D started picking up near the very end of the half and the Blazers cut the rocket lead to 7 going into the Half.

3rd quarter - The Blazers came out hustling and scrapping but they are just a step off tonight on D and in transition situation, there near misses lead to big buckets for the rockets and half way through the period the Blazers are down ten. Blazers trying to get off on a run but the rockets are fighting back hard off each big bucket, Blazer struggling to find momentum, as there D is not energized and the Blazers can’t get any 50/50 balls. Batum catches fire at the end of the period and the Blazers close the gap to three with a Lillard to Leonard allyoop that brings the Rose Garden to its feet and the Rocket to call a time out with 90 seconds left in the period. Jared Jeffries is a human charge take and he took two big ones in the period. As important as Batum was on offense Jared Jeffries was just as important on Dfense with to charges taken and strong one on one defense otherwise. Blazers with another strong 3rd quarter and closed the gap to just one heading into the fourth

4th quarter - I really like Toney Douglas, if he becomes free at some point I would really like for the Blazers to look into acquiring his services. Asik is also a really nice player might have been a good plan B from Hibbert that Olshey could have considered but we shall see how that turns out further down the road. Stotts waits until 8 mins into the 4th to bring in Batum, I would have brought him back a little bit earlier, but it didn’t cost the Blazers like it in the Mavericks game when Aldridge and Hickson were brought back in late. Batum and Aldridge have been just a little off all game when running the pick and roll; they need to tighten that up because there are plays there. Parsons has hit some dagger threes in this game including one with 5:29 left in the fourth that pushed the Rockets lead back the 7. Batum had a missed free throw and a missed three back to back but Blazers still cut the lead to 4 with a Matthews three with just over 4 mins left in the period. Myers Leonard is doing well pushing Harden out far in the pick and roll getting crunch time minutes over JJ Hickson. Batum decides he is Kobe Bryant and takes a horrible three, which leads to Harden getting to the line and pushing the lead to 5 with just over 3 left in regulation. Lillard nails a three a body length behind the three point line, but then misses a wide open Batum in transition for an open three and clanks a three pointer, Rockets up 2, the next time down Lillard sees Batum but, he can’t hit the three, Leonard gets the board and gets fouled, how did the rookie handle the pressure free throws? Sunk em both to tie the game. A loose ball scramble lead to Lillard getting fouled how does this rookie do at the line with the pressure on sinks them both Blazers up 2. Wow Rockets go pick and roll with Lin he hits Harden for a huge three Rockets take one point lead, then Lin takes an offensive foul on Batum. Rockets lead by one but turn it over with an illegal pick so Blazer ball down 1, 54 ticks left on the clock what did the Blazers run? They went pick and roll which got an iso for Lillard on Parsons and the rookie took it hard to the bucket for 2. Batum gets a huge block and Blazers get the ball up 1 with 25.3 second on the clock. Lillard takes Lin 1 on 1 and gets 2 putting Blazers up three with 17.9 left. Marcus Morris hit’s a big three to tie the game, and some A-hole at Buffalo Wild wings must have said he wanted OT because that’s were this game is headed. Blazers ran an awful Lillard Iso at the end of the game that led to a step back three for Lillard that missed.

OT - 2nd over time game in as many games for the Rockets Blazers this season. Harden gets the first bucket of OT and it s an and 1. Rockets up 4, 3:30 left in the first OT, but Lillard nails a three to even it up, back to back blocks for Aldridge and Leonard but, they give a tick tack follow to Leonard and Asik sink two clutch free throws, Rockets by 2 just over 3 remaining, and Lillard just sinks a deep two to draw the game to a tie. Lillard has 11 straight Blazers points at this point. The Blazers give it to LA after a couple of scrambles and He draws the foul getting Asik out of the game, Aldridge under pressure on the line can only split the two free throws, Blazers up 1 just over a minute left. Matthews strips Harden on the drive; Blazers got the ball and a 1 point lead. LA makes the lead three with a turnaround jumper, Harden blocked from behind on the other end by Batum. Blazers doge a bullet as Morris missed a wide open three in the corner. Blazers win in over time. TWO GAME WINNING STREAK!!!!! Both Lillard and Batum have new career highs in scoring, Meyers Leonard had his best game as a Pro.

Key Match up

Lillard vs. Lin

Man until like the fourth quarter I thought The Rockets had adjusted well with both Lin and Toney Douglas outplaying Lillard, but then it became Lillard time, and he hit big shot after big shot at the end of regulation and in overtime. I have to give this advantage to Lillard here.

Prediction - Blazers Win

Real Life - Blazers Win

Blazer Record - 4 - 5

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Game 10 Sunday November 18th vs. Chicago Bulls

1st half - I came into this game with just a few minutes left in the first quarter, to see the Blazers close the quarter very sloppily picking up a foul on a three point shooter and not knowing how much time is left on the clock and not getting a final shot in the quarter. Blazers down 32 - 29 is the score at the top of the 2nd quarter, Will Barton is getting a lot of early run and he has not been very impressive, he is just wild, boundless, out of control energy….

Random thought - It is a shame that Rip Hamilton never played for the Blazers and Rip city.

JJ Hickson has not been playing well in the last two games, didn’t play much against Houston, and he was not playing well in the first two quarters of this game. Only really noticeable when he was turning it over, blowing defensive assignments, and calling for the ball before missing the shot. Lillard closes the quarter with a sweet driving Lay-up; early in this game he has been eating Kirk Hinrichs Lunch.

2nd Half - Blazers had a ten point lead to start the third Quarter which has been there quarter so far this season. Batum has looked good as a play maker for others so far this season he had two good passes in a sequence at the beginning of the third quarter one that made Hinrich foul Aldridge on a lob and then a no looker that lead to a Matthews dunk. Lillard loves the deep three and he is making it in this game.

* I really love these new team, new Dream commercial spots. They are really well done excuse me while I Google who is responsible for these ads, Limbo Films is the Ad agency.

Hate to beat a dead horse but JJ Hickson has looked awful in this game, taking shots he shouldn’t. I love Nic Batums game so far this year he is so much more aggressive and confident. The third quarter was not Portland’s this game they had there double digit lead cut in half. They took a 5 point lead into the 4th. Blazers pushed back and a Sasha Pavalich led break lead to a Price and 1 and pushes Blazer lead to 8, honestly is there a more potent fast break combo in league history then Sasha Pavlic and Ronnie Price? Ronnie Price had a good shift playing will into the 4th quarter so Lillard could get a good rest. Jeffries has stepped it up the last few game, he had a big offensive rebound that led to foul shots and then took a charge on the other end Blazers were up ten under 5 to go the 4th. Wesley Matthews comes up with a huge offensive rebound when the Bulls had been fighting back, and then a huge Block on the other end big sequence for him, Blazers up 9 just over 2 minutes to go. Bulls do not quit and they put on a press and cut the lead to 5 with just over 30 seconds left, but Blazers are able to knock down there free throws and pull this game out 3 in a row !!!

Key Match up

Boozer vs. Aldridge

Boozer barley played in this game, and Portland had control of this game, advantage Aldridge. This was the 2nd night of a back to back for the Bulls and the game was not in to much doubt in the fourth which is why Boozer was nailed to the bench I think. However Aldridge played well he isn’t taking over games but he is playing well with in the team, even as Matthews, Batum, and Lillard are taking more and more shots.

Prediction - Blazers Win

Real Life - Blazers Win

Blazer Recorded - 5 -5 (.500 baby)

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Game 11 Wednesday November 21st vs. Phoenix Suns

1st quarter - Well the Blazers got two pieces of bad news before this game even started, first they found out that due to an injured shoulder JJ Hickson would not be active for the game, the second piece of bad news was that Nicolas Batum had a head cold. Nicolas would start the game but the Blazers had to worry how much production they would get from there best player this year. Wesley Matthews was also sporting a new elbow pad complaining about his elbow. With Hickson out of the Game Meyers Leonard got the start. The Blazers came out flat to start the game as well, quickly falling behind 23 - 16 with just 3 minutes left in the game. In three straight positions Matthews, Lillard and Claver got to the line but only produced 4 points. Blazers allow 67% shooting in the quarter but trail by only four thanks to a big end of quarter 3 pointer from Lillard.

2nd quarter - Freeland starts off the quarter by drawing a technical and then a regular foul on Jermain O’Neal but the Blazers get no points out of it.

* There are few players I like less in the league then Scola

Scola gets a technical and that is the second technical of the quarter for the Suns and LA barley makes it. Matthews gets a Jamal Crawford special (fouled on a three pointer he had no business taking or making) Blazers pull with in two minutes into the period. Meyers hit’s a fade away two in Scola’s face. Ronnie Price make a weak foul in transition giving Phoenix an and 1

* I hate when NBA players make weak fouls in transition, either cede the bucket and don’t fouled or foul hard so they can’t make a shot. Don’t just make a weak slap at the ball and give up an easy and 1.

Blazers were sputtering for the early part of this game fight to get it close and then play sloppy and let Phoenix push out leads. Blazers found themselves down 7 with 7 left to go in the half Blazers continue to let the Phoenix push the lead and found them selves down 51 - 38 with just under 4 mins left in the game. Meyers Leonard has really good hands on allyoop. Leonard has 10 points already with just over 2 and a half minutes in the period, but Blazers find themselves down 11 and struggling to compensate for the loss of JJ Hickson on the bench. Blazers are looking rough to end this period and fall down 15 with just a minute left in the half. Portland has clear adjustments to make to get back in the game, and they are rebounding, defense and not turning the ball over but its unclear at the half if they have the will or the personnel to accomplish that, and they are down 57 - 44.

3rd quarter - Move along nothing to see here 89 - 71 Phoenix

4th quarter - BLOW OUT.

First really bad loss of the season

Prediction - Blazers Lose

Real Life - Blazers Lose

Blazer record - 5 - 6

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Game number 12 Friday November 24th vs. Minnesota Timber WolveS I attended this game in person, I was really disappointed that Brandon Roy was hurt and could not play. I bought this particular ticket package with the though in mind that I would get to see Roy’s return to the Rose Garden. Get well soon Brandon. I am glad that Kevin Love was able to play in this game though and it made for an intense third quarter scuffle between him and LA that really sparked a Blazer run that would seal this game for the Blazers. The first half was not very good specifically the 2nd quarter, but the Blazer made there run in the third quarter which has been a theme for this team this year to have strong third quarters. I am surprised and happy that this Blazer team was able to grab a win despite there supposed to be best player Lamarcus Aldridge having and off night combined with there actual best player this season Nicholas Batum having a 2nd straight poor effort as he continues to battle a cold. This was all made possible by a season High 30 points from Wesley Matthews and a new Career High 28 from Damian Lillard.

Prediction - Blazers Win

Real Life - Blazers Win

Blazer Record - 6 - 6

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Alright after the first twelve games the Blazers are sitting at .500, while not quite as good as I had predicted it is still a respectable mark for this team that leans so heavily on a rookie point guard and its starting lineup. There were only two really bad games VS the Clippers and @ the Suns, but there were several very satisfying victories @ home vs. the L@kers, @ and VS the Rockets in OT in particular standing out. I am really worried about this road trip that is upcoming; I cover that in my next post that will preview the next 8th of the season.... Any suggestions on features to add to the reviews?

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