Wow...three straight! NICE! Winning always makes me so happy!
Hawks 100, Blazers 102
--For the most part I loved the defense tonight. I do not buy this talk that the team is better without Zach, at least not now, but I think you could say that we move our feet more alertly as a team with this younger, quicker lineup on the floor. The first unit really seems to have found a rhythm with each other on the defensive end of the court, especially when it counts. We again allowed a torrent of deep shots but against most teams that won't kill you...as long as that's all you give up. 6 blocks and 7 steals ain't bad either.
--This game was a real struggle offensively. We missed SO MANY close shots. However you know what impressed me? Even when we struggled on offense we kept up the rest of our game. Check out the rebounds! We POUNDED them 53-43. That's effort, baby! 21 offensive rebounds in an ENORMOUS number and will go a long way towards compensating for those missed shots.
--We had a couple fast breaks tonight and got about as many points off turnovers as we gave up. That makes it easier to keep close when you're not going well.
--For the second game in a row we got a not more free throws than the opponent (32-19) which also helps. Even if you take away the 6 "catch up at the end of the game" specials we still got more.
--Even though the score ended up close we really took over in the overtime. We played way more like a veteran team than a young one in the extra period. I think Zach taught us earlier in the year that the secret to overtime is to go out there and dominate the scoring. Roy and crew pretty much did.
--As far as aesthetics this game was right up there with a glob of regurgitated phlegm on a paisley napkin but that makes it even more impressive that we won. A few weeks ago we either played at the absolute top of our game or we lost. It's actually nice to win one that's imperfect.
--La-mar-CUS! Boooooooooooy you are something! He was the only guy on the team that hit anything at all, going 12-21. But he also missed a ton of gimmes. He very well could have been 16-21 or better. Even so he scored a game high 27 points and grabbed 14 rebounds. 9 were offensive and even though I'd like some more defensive ones better that's an amazing number. He had a couple of rebounds that were just MANLY too.
--Brandon Roy only shot 7-20 but he did hit 2-3 on threes and got to the free throw line 8 times. Plus he was the stone cold, clockwork CLUTCH-O-MATIC once again, helping to send the game into overtime with another awesome three. Outside of He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named and maybe Colonel Klank I don't think there are many people in the league I'd want taking my crucial shot more than Brandon. And that's as a ROOKIE! Awesome...awesome...AWESOME!
--Jamaal had five turnovers, and they were not subtle. But dang, the man had 16 rebounds again, plus 3 blocks and some relatively nice defense. I'll take it.
--Jarrett Jack's 4-13 shooting was not good. Neither were his 4 turnovers. But he went 9-9 from the line and got 7 assists, continuing his aggressive passing. He also helmed the break a couple times...successfully too! Good enough.
--Ime had a quiet game offensively and it looked like he might have been hurting out there a little. But he played nice enough defense, as per usual.
--Martell Webster and Dan Dickau were instantly aggressive tonight. Dan had some impressive bombs and Martell had a couple of great drives! Martell's final stat line was 8 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals. We need more than that in 29 minutes of play but compared to some of the earlier stuff we saw this was progress. Oh, and Dan picked up 4 fouls in 5 minutes.
--Other than another amazing alley-oop dunk off of a Roy feed by Freddie Jones the rest of the bench was pretty inconsequential tonight. Our second unit is affected by Zach's absence perhaps more than the first, as the main guys in the back-up battalion are now getting starter's minutes. This was the second game in a row we looked impotent in reserve time.
--This was also the second game in a row we let an undersized long-bomber drop 30+ on us. This time it was Salim Stoudamire with an amazing 37. He wasn't watched that close on many of those either. We just seem to have a hard time reacting to certain guys.