Blazer preview of the next 8 games

This 1/8th of the seasons kicks off on a long, long Eastern Conference Road trip. This trip will tell us a lot about these Blazers. They will need mental toughness to be able to manufacture the energy they need to win games so far from home. 7 of these 8 games take place on the other side of the country so we will get a chance to see what the road wars do for this Blazer squad.

Game 13 Sunday November 25 @ Brooklyn Nets

So the Nets moved to Brooklyn, and they have improved their squad a lot since last year. As we all know they traded the draft pick that became Damian Lillard for Gerald Wallace, in what is looking like a great move for the Blazers, and perhaps not a bad move for the Brooklyn Nets either. The Nets also acquired Joe Jonson from the Hawks. This is going to be a fun game to watch, but the Blazers are at a disadvantage here and will need things to go right to win. Deron Williams is an All Star caliber player and so is Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace is just below that all star level... Brook Lopez is pretty good, and Kris Humphreys is a very good rebounder. I don't think the Blazers will be favored in this game but if they are going to win this is how I think they will do it....

1. Way the Blazers will try to win - Take advantage of the front court, the Brooklyn bigs are not known for their defense, sure Humphreys will crash the boards but he can't gaud LA and Lopez should struggle with the much quicker of foot Hickson. I think the Blazers will have to pound the ball into their bigs to take advantage of the Lack of D in that area.

2. Beat size with speed - Lillard is much smaller then Deron Williams, but he is much faster as well, he needs to constantly attack Williams and try to wear him out with his speed because Deron will try to bully him with his strength. Lillard has faced a lot of top gauds in the league and we have seen him struggle with speedsters, but Williams has a size that Lillard has not yet to deal with, and there is nobody to hide Lillard on so speed vs. strength will be a big match up in this contest.

Key Match up

Nicholas Batum vs. Gerald Wallace

Batum gets a chance to square off against the guy who used to start ahead of him for this Blazer squad Gerald Wallace. I think this will be an interesting match up, and we will see if Nic can teach the teacher some Lessons. I think Nic actually can be pretty good in this match up as we all saw that Gerald was on a downward slope in his last time as a Blazer. I do think Wallace will give it his best against his former squad though so it will be a tough match up and one to watch all night long. The Blazers need production from Batum so this Match up will be key.

Prediction - Blazers lose

Blazer Record - 5-6


Game 14 Monday November 26th @ Detroit

This is a game the Blazers should win, Detroit is not good they have some players that are okay but they are going to be one of the worst teams in the East and most teams will count them as an easy victory. This Blazer team has shown that they can't just count on wins though. The Pistons feature Greg Monroe whom the internet loves, he is a big guy who is known for his passing and Leads the Pistons in in scoring and rebounding most nights. While Monroe is a nice player LA should eat his lunch, and be hungry for more, the rest of the Pistons roster is really old ( Teyshon Prince ) really young ( Andre Drummond ) or not really all that good ( Stuckey ). This is kind of a must win game in that if you can't beat the pistons on the road then the question becomes who can you beat on the road? Still the Pistons have ways to win this game.…

1. Ways Pistons can win this game - They are big and the Blazers are not so big, if Drummond and Monroe play well they can over match the Blazers front line. Rebounds will be important and Portland probably will need to win the rebound battle or keep it close because of the size they are giving up to the Pistons.

2. Ways the Pistons can win this game - This is the 2nd night of a back to back for Portland, they will have been playing the Brooklyn Nets the night before and with how many minutes there starters log they could be worn out by the time this game starts. One thing to keep and eye on is if Terry Stotts manages minutes in the New Jersey game to keep his guys fresh for this game. Detroit will also be on the 2nd half of a back to back as they draw the Knicks the night before so that could certainly even the playing field.

Key Match up

Greg Monroe vs. JJ Hickson

JJ will be giving up size in this match up, and Greg Monroe is the focal point of the Pistons offense so this will be a big match up. JJ does not need to out score Monroe to win this battle but he does need to battle hard and keep the rebound battle close. If JJ can make Greg pay attention to him on Offense that will be a plus as well.

Prediction - Blazers win

Blazer Record - 6-6


Game 15 Wednesday @ Washington Wizards

Another game that the Blazers should win as the Wizards are not very good. The Wizards have been pretty terrible since the whole Gilbert Arenas gun thing and seemingly continue to prolong the problem, trading Gilbert Arenas horrible deal for Rashard Lewis Horrible deal, and turning that horrible deal into Emka Okafor and Trevor Ariza who are okay basketball players who nobody is excited about. The Wizards of course have former number 1 overall pick John Wall, but things haven't been going very well for John Wall he is lighting fast but that is the only thing he really holds his hat on. Nene is another good player who has gotten progressively worse since he got to Washington. However the Wizards posses some spells they could put on the Blazers....

1. Spell - Fatigue this is the third game in four nights for the young blazers and all of the games are on the road. The slate of teams is not exactly a murders row, but with how hard the Blazers lean on their starters fatigue will be a factor here that could cause the Blazers to lose a game they other wise would win. To add to the fatigue factor this Wizards team should be fresh as they will have had the day off, and there previous game is also a home game.

2. Spell - Size!!!!! The Wizards have Nene who is big and Emeka Okafor who is big. These two bigs could spell trouble, plus Kevin Saphrin has been giving opponent’s trouble and he is also big. The Blazers Big men will struggle in this match up. Aldridge and Hickson will have there work cut out for them.

3. Spell - Speedy point guard John Wall could give Damien Lillard fits, one of the things we have seen early in the year from Blazer stud rookie Damian Lillard is that he struggle with speedy point guards. John Wall is as fast as they come and that could be a problem.

Key Match up

Damian Lillard vs. John Wall

Damian Lillard need to win this Match up, I think Hickson and Aldridge can get to at least even in there Match up and I expect Batum and Matthews to win theirs, but John Wall is capable of putting Lillard in foul trouble and creating major havoc with his speed, Lillard needs to produce more then he gives always for the Blazers to get this win. Also how will the Rookie respond to a long road trip is a significant question to ask at this point in the season. If Lillard wins his match up with John Wall then the Blazers probably win the game.

Prediction - Blazers Win.

Blazer Record - 7 - 6


Game 16 @ Boston Celtics

Well this is a game that will be very hard for the Blazers to win. The Celtics are probably the 2nd best team in the East, and while they have only a punchers chance of beating the Heat, they have a Mike Tyson in his prime beating up a sixth graders chance of beating a blazers team on the 4th game of a long road trip. The Celtics have given Portland fits for a long time, and at times they have embarrassed the Blazers. KG in particular has intimidated this Blazer team in the past. I think it would be a moral victory if the Blazers can hold there own and not be intimidated by this squad. That said there is at least one way that the Blazers can win this game....

1. Way Blazers win, is overconfidence. The Celtics are a veteran squad, they are in this to win championships, and surly when they see the Blazers on their schedule they assume a victory [particular at home. However sometimes overconfidence can leads to a loss and that is probably the one glimmer of hope the Blazers have to win this game.

Key Match up

Nicholas Batum vs. Paul Pierce

I think KG vs. Aldridge at best is an even Match up, and at worst a slight advantage Celtics, I think Rondo will probably eat Lillard lunch in the rookie’s first stop in Boston. The ray of hope that this team has is that Nic Batum has a chance to be better the Paul Pierce at this point in their careers. Pierce has not been himself this season, and if Nic can pull out a huge game and the other Blazers can keep up with their oppiste3 number the Blazers may have a shot at an upset.

Prediction - Blazers lose

Blazers Record - 7 -7


Game 17 Saturday December 1st @ Cleveland Cavilers

This is a really intriguing game. Both the Cavs and the Blazers are kind of in similar places, both are coping with the loss of former Number 1 picks with ties to the state of Ohio ( Lebron and Oden ) Both teams never reached their potential of the previous eras. The Blazers are further ahead in the rebuilding process but perhaps only by a hare. The main difference in the roster is the Lamarcus Aldridge; the Cavs do not have a player that is at Aldridge’s level just yet, although Kyrie Irving might be on his way. The Blazers have a rookie of the year candidate in Damian Lillard, and Kyrie Irving won the rookie of the year last year. JJ Hickson and Varijo are both hustle type players who also rebound strongly. The Blazers have better role players in Matthews and Batum, but the Cavs have better young players. I think this will be a hotly contested game, but one the Blazers can win but there are reasons why they can lose as well.

1. Reason they can lose - 2nd night of a back to back and the 5th consecutive road game. This eastern swing is going to really test this thin young Blazer Squad. The Blazer will have to hope they have enough energy to win this game, because the talent level alone is not enough. However this could be mitigated as the Cavs are also on the second night of a back to back and will be traveling from Atlanta which is further from Cleveland then Boston.

Key Match up

Damian Lillard vs. Kyrie Irving

This is an intriguing battle of young PG. I am excited to see how Lillard can fare against Irving who has 1 year of NBA experience on Lillard, but way less actual game experience. I have not ever seen Irving play either so I am looking forward to this game. Irving should win the head to head Match up but, can Lillard keep it close enough that the other Blazers advantages can shine through, that could and should be the key to this game

Prediction - Blazers win

Blazer Record - 8 -7


Game 18 Monday December 3rd @ Charlotte Bobcats

This looks like another winnable game for the Blazers, they are better then the Bobcats for sure. They have a star and the Bobcats have never in the history of the franchise had a star in uniform. Lamarcus will be the best player on the court. The Blazers probably also feature the 2nd and 3rd best players on the court as well which wont be the case for them many other times during the year. I suspect the Blazers will win this game however there are things to consider....

1. Thing to consider - This is the 6th game of an eastern swing, and depending on how the previous games go there might not be a ton of fight, energy, or desire left in this Blazer group by this point.

2. Thing to consider - Over confidence? The Blazers do not go into many arenas as the clear cut favorite, but they will heading into Charlotte will that mess with there heads and there play ?

Key Match up

Nicholas Batum vs. MKG

MKG is a hot new rookie fresh of winning the National Title last year. He is a good young small forward with a bright future. Nicholas Batum is a good young small forward who is currently playing really well and whose future is still bright. I think Batum gets the best of this Match up and if he dose then the bobcats probably do not have much of a chance. If MKG has a better then normal night then he might be the straw that breaks the Blazers Back.

Prediction - Blazers Win

Blazer Recorded - 9 - 7


Game 19 Wednesday December 5th @ Indiana Pacers

Man will this road trip end all ready.... The new Blazers have probably already forgotten what Portland looks like by now. This Pacer team is good. They have a bunch of legit players everywhere in there Lineup. Hibbert is a player we have no answer for. He dwarfs JJ Hickson and really should own the Glass in this game. LA is somewhat neutralized by David West. The rest of the Pacer group is really solid and Paul Gorge might be better then that with increased playing time. I don't think the Blazers will be favored but here are a few reasons they could take this game anyway.

1. Reason they could take this game anyway - Danny Granger is out indefinitely, Paul Gorge might be better long term but short term Granger is the better player and the Pacers are worse with out him. Hopefully the Blazers and Batum Specifically can take advantage of Grangers absence,

2. Reason they could take this game anyway - The pacers will be on there second game of a back to back and mighty be tired. They will be in Chicago the night before. I think any advantage that the Blazer would gain from catching the Pacers on the second night of a back to back will be mitigated by the fact that this is the 7th game of the eastern swing road trip for the Blazers.

Key Match up

JJ Hickson vs. Roy Hibbert

JJ will have his hands full with Hibbert. Hibbert should own Hickson on his height advantage alone. If Hickson can manage to play well and even just slow Hibbert a little, the cracks the Blazers need to get through will open a little wider. I suspect that Meyers Leonard will play allot because Hickson is just so much smaller then Hibbert but whomever is manning the Center position will need to keep Hibbert contained if the Blazers are going to win.

Prediction - Blazers Lose

Blazer Recorded - 9 - 8


Game 20 Saturday December 8th vs. Sacramento Kings

The Kings will be a sight for sore eyes as the Blazers come off a long eastern road trip to face the Kings at home. Before we jump ahead of ourselves and call this a victory because the Blazers won by 20 in the seasons previous match up with the Kings, we need to remember that Lamarcus Cousin will most likely not be suspend for this game. If cousins does play that will change the way these two team square off against each other. The Blazers do not have anybody to match up with Cousins and lesser big men then he have eaten the Blazers Lunch so this could be a tough game. How the Blazer could lose?

1. The awakening of a Giant - If Cousins plays the Blazers are in trouble, he should dominate JJ hicks, Meyers Leonard and or any other big the Blazers send at him. Blazers will need to neutralize him

2. This is the first game after a very long road trip and fatigue could be a significant factor.

Key Match up

Hickson vs. Cousins

I liked this as a key match up in these two teams first encounters, but then Cousins got him self for threatening to do what every no spurs fan who has ever herd Sean Eliot call a game has dreamed of doing. Assuming cousins doesn't try to beat up any other announcers before this game; this match up is a huge advantage for Sacramento and will be there key to victory. JJ may cede time in this Match up to Meyers Leonard, but either what whomever plays center must make Cousins work or it could be the Kings putting 20 point smack down on Portland this time around.

Prediction - Blazers win

Blazers Record - 10 - 8

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