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Game 20 Recap: Blazers 117, Bucks 113 (OT)

Sorry this is so late.  It really, really screws me up when I can't get online at night.  Jersey scores will come later.


Team Observations

Yesterday we tried our best (during regulation anyway) to see what it was like winning a game with shooting alone.  I didn't like it much even though we eventually managed to take a lead.  The offensive display was stunning.  We were hitting jumpers and spinning leaners we had no business hitting.  Yet we turned the ball over and let Milwaukee pound us on the offensive boards.  The result was they put up more shots than we and our shooting advantage pretty much went for naught.  This is the fallacy I see in pinning our losses on "missing shots we should have hit".  Our shots going in is not necessarily the best barometer of whether we're playing winning basketball.  (It's counterintuitive, but true.)  We can be a great jump-shooting team and still not prosper.  Those turnovers, offensive rebounds, driving the lane, drawing fouls, getting aggressive on defense and loose balls...those will define this team more than shots made or missed.  We'll always have hot and cold nights.  Those other barometers are far more bankable.

Fortunately as the game waned we started manning up and playing real basketball.  It was nip and tuck but we pulled it out, which is the important thing.  It would have been a crime to waste a 56% shooting night.  We ended up even in points off turnovers, ahead in foul shots, and not as far behind in rebounding as it looked early on.  We also followed the game plan to a "T" in terms of making somebody besides Redd beat us.  Did anyone else catch the late-game Redd/Williams tension?  Williams was lighting it up until Redd came back in and started heaving and/or getting mad at Williams for trying to be the hero.  At that point Mo couldn't throw it into the ocean.  Thanks guys.

Individual Observations

--SUPER TROUT came to save the day again, with all of the mixed blessings he brings.  He still missed rotations and rebounds and had a really hard time handling the interior defense in the small lineup.  He still took some God-awful shots.  But darn it, you just can't stay mad at the guy when he draws SIXTEEN FREAKIN' FREE THROWS.  He made 14 of them too.  He made a big difference late in the game.  His confidence has got to be rising.  Also it's nice to see him reward Nate's confidence in him.  Apparently he saw something in Travis despite the mistakes and he's sure stuck with him.  Maybe this is the kind of thing he foresaw.  I'll tell you that I couldn't have done it.  Travis makes my hair turn gray.  But I appreciate what he's done the last couple of games.

--How about Roy?  Wow.  It looked like he was never going to miss.  26 points, 8 rebounds, 9 assists, 2  That's a stat line.  A few teams have young guys who can score in the 20's consistently, but you have to believe Roy is at or near the top of the young-guy list in terms of all-around game.  He is a couple notches short defensively of being a potential all-time great.

--Lamarcus played a great game too at 10-15 with 3 blocks and 2 steals.  I won't mention his rebound total.  I think he knows.  Does anyone else wish Lamarcus would get a little more superstar-dominance mojo going?  When he gets in the swing he can obviously take over a game by scoring on anyone.  Also he has some nasty blocks sometimes that make him seem like a mean man.  I want more of that.  Part of it is that he's so buttery-smooth he makes it look effortless.  But I still want him to be the type of guy who inspires fear in the opponent, like it's going to be a loooooong night facing him.

--Steve Blake needs to play former teams who snubbed him every night.  I have used the phrase "appropriate aggression" about a half-dozen times this year.  It applied to him last night.  He took pretty much every shot he should have.  He did it with confidence and without ever letting it become all about him and his offensive game.  I love it when guys do that.  When somebody is shooting everything they touch you know eventually they're going to start missing and then probably take 5-6 more ill-advised shots trying to get the heat back.  But when a guy does what Blake did--shoot every shot where he's open and refuse to play beyond himself--he becomes like a precisely-placed dagger in your back:  cold, effective, unstoppable, and deadly.

--I liked the way Martell started doing other things besides shooting last night.  It picked up somewhere in the second quarter and continued throughout the game.  I don't need to see him hot as a pistol every night.  I need to see him working every night though.

--James Jones wasn't as big of a part of this game as the last two, but he was still plenty good.  Since Joe Freeman's article came out I decided to watch him at times other than when he was shooting the ball.  I can see what Freeman was saying.  I think I underestimated before how Jones understands spacing and moving.  That's easy to do, though, because when it goes right you don't notice it.  Only when someone blows it do they stand out.  Jones does kind of stand out amidst our youngsters though.  He knows how to be three feet in one direction or another...the three feet that will end up making a difference between a successful stand or a blown one.

--Frye had a nice game comparatively.  I loved his positive attitude from the bench too.  He really seemed to be into the game and cheering guys.

--Jarrett Jack's back-to-back turnovers to Mo Williams were brutal.  Otherwise his game was non-descript.

--Joel Przybilla got credited for four turnovers.  I want to know if those low passes the drivers keep throwing to him in a crowded lane are counted against him.  If they are, that's unfair.  He's JOEL PRZYBILLA.  Stop passing at his knees when you're five feet apart with three people in between you.

One-Sentence Game Summary:

We are the kings of overtime, baby!

--Dave (