In a Nutshell
Please folks, just keep driving. Move along. Nothing to see now. We're getting a clean-up crew in here but you've got to move on so they can get through. Keep moving.
Two astonishing things happened at the outset of this game.
1. TNT started the broadcast on time. Not a full quarter late, not 8 minutes late, not 2 minutes late...we actually saw a tip-off on TNT.
2. On the very first possession of the game Raymond Felton rose up with perfect form and totally squared up beyond the three-point arc and canned a trey. BLAM!!!
As it turned out, the latter was like a kid throwing a snowball at a guy with a bazooka. Portland played decent defense for about three possessions--the equivalent of the kid saying, "Oh crap!" and trying to dodge--then...
The Lakers pushed the ball inside to Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol, grabbed approximately six billion offensive rebounds, used Portland collapsing to free up distance shooters, then took advantage of the spread floor to let Kobe Bryant operate. When the Blazers stood up, stunned and likely near deaf from the impact, they were down 30 points. Yes...30 points. In 15 minutes. All the Blazers could offer were weak jumpers which kept missing. The drought got so bad at one point in the early second period that the Laker crowd actually applauded when Nicolas Batum made a bucket to end L.A.'s shutout run. Following a 7 point first quarter the Blazers rallied to bring their total to 30 at the half. A third-quarter barrage of three-pointers coupled with L.A. laughing so hard brought Portland back a little. They closed within 10 against the Lakers bench in the early fourth. So Mike Brown brought Kobe Bryant back in and Kobe took the safety off the bazooka again by scoring a couple times and looking meaningfully at the Blazers. That was enough to scare the kid away for good. The final score says an 11 point loss but eyes, heart, and common sense call this one of the biggest blowout losses of Portland's season.
Forget this game.
Nobody gets them in games like this. If a guy played poorly, well, everybody did. If a guy played well it was against a defense that pretty much stopped caring once the lead reached 25. Individual accomplishments don't matter when the loss is that big. As a salve to Portland fans we'll say that Nicolas Batum impressed the TNT crew and doubtless everybody in the building. The pin prick there is that he's no doubt driving up his summer contract offer value.
Fun With Numbers
- Remember the team that destroyed the Hawks on the boards Saturday night? Where was that team this evening? Los Angeles had 51 rebounds, the Blazers 37. And it could have been worse.
- Portland shot 12-23 from distance.
- Part of that may be because the Lakers held them to 28 points in the paint. The Blazers should have that in the first half in a good game.
- Portland had but 7 fast break points and shot 5 fewer field goal attempts than did the Lakers. They're not going to win against this team that way.
Forget this game. And pray that the Blazers don't take vacation early, as San Antonio comes into town tomorrow on an 11-game win streak.
The good news: I have a feeling the Blazers are going to end that. But not, of course, if they play like they did tonight.
Silver Screen and Roll should probably not be visited tonight unless you're a masochist.