I know people will be disappointed that our Summer League team appears to be circling the drain. From what I can discern nobody is more disappointed than the Blazers themselves, players and organization. But I can tell you two things:
- It's not the end of the world.
- We're going to win one of the weekend games. Book it.
We led the game for most of the way but we got caught in the fourth quarter. Our offense shifted into the halfcourt with the defense set and that sunk us. We missed shots and turned the ball over for Laker fast breaks. They had enough juice with Farmar, Karl, and Crittenton to hold us at bay. Our transition defense, decent for three quarters, also fell apart in the fourth.
I think there are two themes for the evening. First we need to run a little to be successful. We'll need to do this with Aldridge and Oden in the game as well. They both will be quicker than most any of their counterparts. Up-tempo is a good plan for us. Second, both Sergio and Martell have game but they're overshadowed by the more celebrated players. I haven't seen them play this energetically and loose in forever. I suspect the big guys being out gave them permission to take over the game and shoot instead of always looking over their shoulder to see if they should have made a different play. The thing is, Lamarcus and G.O. are a much bigger part of our game plan than Sergio or Martell. So both players are going to have to learn to be aggressive in the context of the offense...when they're the third and fourth options on the floor and not the first and second. If they can't make that mental/emotional adjustment they won't be much good to us.
--For the most part Sergio's passes were dreamy tonight. He made one or two ill-advised tosses but really he did a reasonable job of keeping everyone in it. He also picked up his defensive intensity. In the first quarter he made a really nice play on the offensive end but then got burned like a campfire marshmallow by Javarais Crittenton on a simple give-and-go play. I thought at that point, "That's why we can't play you more." The next time that play came around, however, he was ready for it and he noticeably picked up his defensive intensity. I was impressed.
--Martell was directing traffic on the floor as well as shooting the lights out. He assumed a veteran role tonight. However he still didn't look happy. I don't know what's up but I'd give a lot to see him relaxed and enjoying himself on the court.
--Josh McRoberts turned in a very nice performance. He had a couple of spin moves that were stylish, he hit a couple shots, and he had some nice passes. He showed he had a little mustard in him tonight.
--Petteri Koponen looked better tonight than he has so far. He hit shots and got involved in plays. He still was hard to concentrate on though as he tended to blend.
--Speaking of blending, who the heck is this Mancinelli guy and what is he doing starting for our Summer League team?
--Zendon Hamilton scored a ton. It was an ugly ton, but it was a ton. It was nice to see a veteran knowing what to do out there.
Chins up, Blazer fans. There's always Saturday.