Thoughts on Game Two:
--Lamarcus looks regular-season ready right now. His moves in the post could come out of a textbook. Even more impressively he's learned to move his feet and use his now-bigger body effectively on defense, especially in the post. He gets out to a play on the perimeter and recovers as fast as anyone you'll see. He's also turned the motor on, hustling for loose balls. There's nothing wrong with this kid right now and we're probably seeing a preview of great things to come.
--Oden looked impressive early but he wore out early. His dunks and blocks are unbelievable but he's slightly late getting his arms and feet in position, leading to unnecessary fouls. He got nine fouls in this game before the team pulled him to keep him from fouling out twice in a row. (What headlines there...) He's also too deliberate making his move in the post. Considering that most rookies have the opposite problem--rushing too much--I'd say that was pretty convincing evidence of fatigue. That has been the party line all along and from a first-hand perspective it looks accurate. The team has a couple days off before the Wednesday game and a couple days after that. Maybe we'll get to see a little more of the "real" Greg Oden next weekend.
--Sergio had an interesting game. He started out pretty strong, fell apart in the middle quarters, then spearheaded a comeback in the fourth. His game is high-energy but he still doesn't seem to be able to deliver it consistently. When he was on with his passes he was brilliant, as usual. However his shot started wonky and only got worse as the game progressed. Early on he was shooting often, sometimes early in the clock, which is a mixed blessing even when he's hitting. The most frustrating part of the exercise was his defense. Jose Juan Barea is faster and more agile than Sergio and it showed. Barea delivered six different kinds of knockout blow. And six turnovers...yikes.
--Joel Freeland had another impressive game. He is more athletic than he looks and his shot is sharp. He seems to have a little bit of motor to him too.
--If you want to talk motors, though, nobody beats Tauren Green. The Blazers have got to be impressed with what he's doing out there. Not only is he defending hard and diving to the floor, the guy is setting PICKS in the LANE. He's six-feet-none and he's picking off seven footers and braving elbows in the process.
--Martell had a couple of spectacular plays--blocks, dunks--interspersed with a lot of unnoticeable play. This reinforces that he's a lot better athlete than people give him credit for. However in his third year he should probably be beyond the level of a Greg Oden in development. At a certain point you stop being enchanted with occasionally spectacular play and start wondering why the level of consistency isn't there.
As far as the game as a whole, we had rebounding and turnover issues again. Giving up extra possessions is a bad idea, especially for a young team. The offense stalled a little but not as badly as the other night it seemed. The defense looked a little more cohesive. That's a plus sign.
It was a nice game...fun to watch. There will be a win coming soon.
P.S. I don't know if anyone has noticed but we've been getting a fair amount of dunks the last two games. Part of it is the level of defensive competition but part of it is due to our increased caliber of athlete. We've seen more dunks in the last two games than we saw in the last two months of the season.