There's no point in recapping individual players tonight. This game was a complete disaster for Portland. This was another game that exposed every problem with the current team. They have minimal inside defense thanks to the loss of two of their three rotation bigs, and their elite, efficient offense was finely tuned around their All-Star Power Forward, who isn't playing. And wasn't playing well even before that due to a nagging groin injury. Now the Blazers are trying to manufacture points, but without the players that make it easy to manufacture points. And on defense, offensive-minded bigs can relax and pick apart the D at will, while our center is distracted with all the wings who easily drive around our guards.
However, this didn't expose the Blazers any more than the equally-disastrous games against San Antonio or Memphis in the previous road trip, where both opponents easily held the Blazers at arm's reach all night. If the Blazers have any hope of making noise in the playoffs, it will require two healthy players that are currently sitting on the sidelines in suits. A tough proposition as the season winds down.
And let's give some credit to Charlotte: They wanted this game. If Portland had brought their "A game" on defense (a relative term), Charlotte's hot shooting probably would have given them a comfortable victory anyway.
First Quarter: The road ugliness continued for the Blazers, as their porous defense gave up 70% shooting to Charlotte, while being unable to score at the other end. They fell behind 17-4. It was still 29-15 late in the quarter, after giving up 16 points to Al Jefferson. The Bobcats outshot the Blazers 63% to 36%, and Portland was lucky to be in the game at all.
Charlotte 33, Portland 22
For Bleep's sake. The Bobcats are playing like I expected us to play and we are playing like I expected them to play
Second Quarter: More "hilarity" for Portland, as the bench took over and gave up 7 points in 93 seconds, as the Charlotte lead reached 18, then 20. Then 22, as Blazers Coach Terry Stotts was forced to bring more of his starters back in. Plus Victor Claver, who played small-ball Center. They tried to make a run, but couldn't sustain it. Meanwhile, Charlotte seemed to be hitting circus shots, particularly the red-hot Kemba Walker. They led by 24 at the 3 minute mark. The Charlotte Bobcats, who had scored 100 points in a game 24 times all season, hung 69 points on the Blazer defense (cue "what defense?") in the first half.
Charlotte 69, Portland 46
I came out of the sunshine for THIS? TV off. Shoes back on.
Third Quarter: The Blazer starters cut the lead to 17 by the halfway point, forcing a conservative Charlotte timeout. Afterward, the Bobcats promptly scored 5 quick, easy points to pull ahead by 22, smiling the whole time. Gerald Henderson played like Michael Jordan, scoring at will over any defense. The Bobcats restored their halftime lead with 1:20 left in the third, then pushed it larger.
Charlotte 98, Portland 73
Fourth Quarter: The Blazers stunk, the Bobcats played extremely well, and Portland lost. Let's call it a night.
A day off for the Blazers, then an NBA TV game against the defending champion Miami Heat Monday night. Brace yourselves.
In the meantime, stay tuned for more from Dave about tonight's game.
Gameday Thread Comments of the Night:
Thanks to everyone who participated in tonight's Gameday Thread! Doubly so, considering this game. As always, here are the most popular comments, based on the number of Rec's from their fellow fans: