I watched most of this yesterday though I missed the early portion of the first quarter. It was a mishmash of stuff and hence a bit hard to focus on one particular area so here is just the stuff I noticed.
- Damian Lillard: Can now split a double team with decent results. HALLELUJAH. This DESTROYED us last year. Try to double Kyrie or DRose and they make you pay at times. Now Dame can do the same fairly well. The problem is that the rest of the blazers were surprised by it and ended up just standing around at times. This is big time though. I also liked his mid range attack. He wasn't amazing at it but he certainly has worked on it. He was one of the few Blazers that actually wanted to attack the rim. His defense sucked. Both Collinson and Paul worked him over in the PnR. Not a great game for him but I certainly saw some differences. Needs to work on a vertical mid-range jumpshot. His fade is nice but straight up will give him a better %.(Westbrook does this now quite well). I think our lack of talent and scheme forced him into a bit of Hero Mode and hence his shot selection had a higher degree of difficulty to it. I'll give him the benefit and say he was just rusty.
- Nic Batum: Decent game I guess. Shot 50% which was great. Terrified of attacking the rim and hence generated little FT opportunities. He can't shoot great every night. We need a rim attack at the 3 at least SOMETIMES. His curl jump shot has way to much fade to it. Needs to be up and down. Will increase his %.
- Meyers Leonard: Kind of didn't notice him that much on defense, which is probably a good thing. He isn't driving with the headlights out anymore. Not amazing but certainly better on both sides. Pretty comfortable on offense. Looking great there. I think he is moving without the ball better too. Not a lot of post of defense (DJ doesn't do that). His help defense wasn't great. The guy BLOCKED OUT. At least once. Oh he did a Mozgov dunk that was huge. There was no Mozgovee though to get dunked on. Awesome dunk. No "hulking" either.
- DJ and Trail Blazers Pick and Roll: DJ had a good game of playing NBA Jam 2014 but lets not act like he single handedly dominated. He was VERY opportunistic and great at it. He ran the court hard too. It wasn't the lack of D on our bigs. That was a very small portion of the problem. The Trail Blazers are still worse than awful at defending the Pick and roll. It was pathetic. Our guards just suck at this. Yeah our bigs aren't great at it either but they are playing 2 on 1 and its Chris Paul. So Chris picks off Damian or whomever else easily, our big slides in the middle and Chris makes the lob to DJ. Blake did this too. It was an open freeway to the rim because of all this. Coaching problem.
- Allen Crabbe: Still can't make a shot very well but looks pretty. Guy rebounds well via hustle! The guy is long and fairly athletic. Defense seemed decent. I have been down on him but he seemed decent in game.
- Will Barton: I liked will this game. He has clearly stopped playing basketball with his eyes closed. He also knows he can't shoot from deep. Rebounds well, plays decent defense. I didn't think he was terrible or out of control the whole time. I was a bit impressed.
- Dee Bost: I know he did some decent things in this game...but really he has Nolan Smith disease. Can't run the point under pressure. We literally could not get in our offense later in this game when he was running it. Some nobody PG was guarding him and destroying him. This caused awkward passes and zero offense. It was frighteningly bad. Really really bad.
- Joel Freeland: Could have been worse. He is active now and seemingly trying hard. Nothing jumped out at me here.
- TRob: A very Meh game from him aside from him striping and stealing the ball from Blake. Exciting to see him in there.
- Wes Matthews: Good grief. Everyone knows this guy can't do anything on offense besides shoot. Hard close out on him and offense stalls. Dare him to dribble right...turnover. Couldn't shoot so how did he effect the game? By doing nothing else. 1 assist/1 turnover/1 rebound. Some decent defense I guess...? Wes has a big problem in that he doesn't work off the ball very hard to get himself clean looks. If you can only shoot...that is how you hurt people. He doesn't put in the effort but I'm guessing it's because he isn't quick enough. Still...at least push off on your man or something, geez.
- Lopez: He was killing the boards at one point. Just destroying the clippers O-boards. Very impressive on that front. He was pretty out of sync in our poor team defense. I credit Stotts for that. Not saying Lopez couldn't be better here but our terrible guard defense of the PnR had our bigs way out of position all the time with Chris Paul, DJ and Blake all circling like sharks. There was no post attack either by the Clips so couldn't see Lopez do big man work here. His offense was impotent unless it was from an O-Board. He got beat down the court a few times too. Our sloppy play causes that kind of stuff too. Not entirely on him though I wish he was faster/quicker.
- Claver: This dude looked damn good. Not sure why he didn't play more. Maybe I missed him sucking it up. He hit his shot and played good on both sides. He looks like a baller.
Overall it was a fun game and we were hanging in there until the third quarter. Everyone was shooting poorly. Our cohesion looked awful on defense though. Stotts needs to get his act together because this was a debacle and it starts at the top. Our scheme was just terrible. The clippers are obviously a great team and most of our good players were sitting out so we'll take a pass on this one for now. Glad basketball is back, certainly fun to watch and I think once we get our people back and our defense dialed in, we could be good.