The Portland Trail Blazers got destroyed by the Milwaukee Bucks tonight. There's no gentle way to put it. At no point were the Blazers in this game. Heck, at no point were the Blazers in the same area code as this game.
The Bucks jumped on the Blazers from the get-go, using pressure defense to befuddle Damian Lillard and force multiple turnovers and late-clock possessions from the Blazers. Portland's only open looks were jumpers, which they missed. Milwaukee dominated the boards on both ends. Samuel Delambert, subbing for an injured Ersan Ilyasova, scored 10 in the period off of short jumpers and put-backs. Only 8 points and some nifty three-point shooting from Wesley Matthews kept the Blazers close. Portland trailed 27-23 after one, looking like they might pull another one of those "play like crap but use mystery voodoo to stay close enough to make a comeback" efforts.
The second period was pure Shaka, when the walls fell. Milwaukee ripped off a 17-0 run to start the quarter. They hit the threes that Portland missed. They ran. They scored inside. The defensive pressure got more intense. Portland's rebounding got worse. The Bucks scored 31 in the period. The Blazers scored 8, hitting exactly 2 field goals in the process. Another way to look at it: The Bucks scored 31 in the second quarter, the Blazers had 31 for the half.
Portland made a couple of "make you feel better about life" runs in the second half but never closed within striking range. Aldridge scored. Matthews continued his offensive assault from the arc. Luke Babbitt hit some threes. The defense never made it matter. The Blazers never interfered with Milwaukee's ball movement, never rebounded securely at the defensive end. They disguised their poor play with those Matthews threes. Any pretense to victory was illusory. The Bucks kept the Blazers at arm's length as this game mercifully wound to a close. Portland loses 102-95.
The full-game stats which you'll find in the boxscore don't do justice to the story. At the half Milwaukee was shooting 52% from the field to Portland's 29%. Three-point percentage: 50% (5-10) Milwaukee, 33% (3-9) Portland. Rebounding 27-19 Milwaukee. Assists 17-7 Milwaukee. Turnovers: Milwaukee 4, Portland 10. With trends like that and a 27-point lead, you can ask whether the Bucks cared what happened from that point on.
I never do much with individual stuff in a blowout. 90% of it doesn't matter. A few mentions...
Wesley Matthews used this game as his own, personal scoring parade, wowing his old Marquette fans and providing 28 of Portland's 95 total points. He shot the Slurpee from the arc, 7-11.
LaMarcus Aldridge continued his strong statistical showing, scoring 21 on 10-21 shooting and adding 15 rebounds.
J.J. Hickson had 11 boards but basically got squashed tonight.
Damian Lillard had 11 assists but shot 2-10 under serious pressure from the Bucks. Lock up Damian and you lock up the Blazers.
The bench was so bad tonight they couldn't be played much. 4 out of 5 reserves logged fewer than 10 minutes on the second night of a back-to-back. The lone exception was Luke Babbitt who continued his three-point spree, hitting 3-4 for 9 points in 13 minutes.
And that's all I have to say about that. Here's some value-added material though. Ben has several takes on LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard in late-game situations. Click here to see them.
BrewHoop will relish this night like it was a big ol' brat.