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Eyewitness Report

Here's a first-hand report from Sean.  You can also read USMCR3049's report in the diaries to your right.

Sean writes:

Here is my eyewitness account.  A few provisions first:
  1.  I thought it started at 7:30, so I missed all but the last three minutes of the first.
  2.  I'm getting better, but I am only so-so at taking in everything going on on the court, esp. nuances, esp. when there are so many switches as its preseason (I doubt I'll see Outlaw for Blake during the regular season.  Maybe; we are pretty versatile).
Onto the recap:

Two things come to mind immediately.

First, I would pay the same money, and be just as excited at games, to see this team if we didn't have Oden and Roy.  It is a very fun, hustling bunch of guys.

Second, 40%+ of LA's boards were offensive.  We will lose a lot.  It seems outlandish enough of a problem that it won't be going away anytime soon, though Roy's five or six a game should help.  Also, we only had 5 offensive boards ourselves, which is disappointing, because Aldridge was at least good at those kinds.

Following that:  Martell was amazing.  The boxscore doesn't tell the whole story.  He was hustling (on both ends), catching, spotting, and shooting.  Didn't remember him standing around all that much.  You could just see him oozing confidence, and smiling in a couple of the reaction shots after he made a three or a big bucket.  These were NOT T.O. end of year shooting spree/lost season/contract year points; this really could be Martell's year.

Speaking of Outlaw, he was disappointing.  Still a bit of trouble finishing, still too much of a jump shooter, had a bit of a problem with ball-handling, it seemed, but it might not have been all his fault...

There were some of those dropped passes Nate mentioned during training camp that showed up.  It wasn't too bad, but it spoke a bit about the pg situation...

Jack looked the best out there.  He ran the break, handled the ball, and was on his man, as far as I could tell.  Green showed some of that talent he showed at Florida: tenacious D, good handle and passing, and a shooting/driving touch.  Sergio hit a couple shots, but couldn't finish around the rim to save his life.  His D looked improve; it's not that great, but he didn't seem lost during it.  Blake kind of surprised me.  I don't know if it was the players, but he threw some errant passes; I kept having to check and see if Sergio had come back in and I just missed it.  He probably was responsible for 3-4 turnovers, unless my memory is indulging in hyperbole.

Jones looked good; he was a solid shooter, and had a monster block.  We all were like "who was that!?"  It was that good.  I forget who he blocked, but he came weak side and leapt out of the building to block a lay-up/put back or some such play said Clipper tried to make at the rim.

There were a couple of plays that Frye had inside that makes me think that being soft won't be much of an issue, but it is early and all...

Joel looks bigger than I remember.  Plays better, too. Nothing spectacular, though.

I missed most of Aldridge's points (i.e., the first quarter), so I can't speak too much about him directly.

As far as the game overall, it seemed like all Aldridge in the first (he had 12, and we were tied at 21).  He came out, and we were hit with a 9-2 2nd q run.  The team adjusted, and despite a more quiet presence the rest of the way, Portland led by two at the half, and kept building the lead until near the end of the fourth.  Those points and that win were a team effort.  A couple of nice banks from Fry, Martell shooting intermittently, getting to the line, etc.  I can't really name one player who had to shoulder the offensive burden after that first quarter.  I know Martell scored a lot, but it seemed so in rhythm and unforced, that you got the idea someone else would have stepped up with a hot hand.

I noticed too, that as the game went on, there were less mindless jump shots (a problem from last year that got us into trouble early in the 2nd q).  The team seemed to playing honest to goodness offense not too long after LA went up 30-23.

As a team, the shooting was great; 45% FG, 43% 3pt. 100 points were scored with 6:39 left in the fourth. Free throws were made.  Everyone seemed to be trying (except the rebounding; too many times it seemed that no one wanted to crash the lane).  Team defense saw effort, not coordination.  Too many times, there'd be a double, and the loose man would get the ball and score or dish so someone else could score.  It wasn't as bad as some other people at the game were shouting it was (several rows behind me); to be fair, LA just hit a lot of tough shots, and Thomas was stroking the three.  It definitely seemed streaky, and the bottom fell out near the end of the third.

As far as the Clippers: Thornton looked good from what I remember; I was paying attention to Portland more. None of us could figure out where Maggette was.  Did myself and several others completely miss something?

The new jumbotron was great, mind-blowing compared to the last one.


Thanks for the recap Sean!  Anyone who has one, pre-season or regular season, can always e-mail it to me or post it in the diaries.

--Dave (