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Summer League Game 2 Recap: Blazers 74, Kings 75

Well…ugh. Tough game to watch folks. But all’s well that ends…oh wait. We lost, huh?

Team-wise the Blazers started out extremely rough and then worked their way into shape. The last two points of emphasis in the shoot around today were “Don’t turn it over!” and “Everybody rebound!” The first quarter of this game the Blazers turned the ball over nine times and gave the Kings 8 second-chance points. “Wait, you said NOT to do that? Oh. Our bad.” However the guys must have listened to the pep talk between quarters because the final stats showed 24 turnovers total and 12 second chance points for the Kings. The defensive effort wasn’t bad. Sacramento shot 37.3% from the floor and turned the ball over 23 times themselves. The offense was another story. The Blazers made a furious late-game rally to bring their percentage up to 36%, having languished below 30% for most of the game. The three-point percentage was 14.3%. The only thing that went well offensively was the 34 free throw shots drawn. The caveat there is the Kings shot 37 themselves. It was a product of hyper-ref-activity as much as anything. However the Blazers did hit 76.5%, which was a good conversion rate.

At least part of the offensive malaise can be attributed to the poor screen setting and using. Tonight that was made worse by the refs who called a ton of fouls on screens.

The best way to describe the game was that it was long, drawn-out, and disjointed but the team fought hard despite not finding a rhythm. C’est la Summer League.

Individual Notes:

None of the three main guys had a radically different game compared to their first.

Jerryd Bayless shot 16 free throws and scored 26 points. He opened up the game trying to set other people up instead of scoring so much himself. That lasted about ten minutes before we needed him. After that it was drive all night. He did grab 6 rebounds. He had 2 assists to 5 turnovers. We saw some of his leaping ability on the break tonight, which is considerable. He ended up taking both game-deciding shots, hitting the first and missing the second. He was the obvious choice, which say something about him.

Petteri Koponen ended up with similar stats: 18 points, 3 assists, 4 turnovers. He shot only 1 for 6 from three-point range. You have to understand how the lack of big men scorers is affecting the team offense. It is forcing the guards to look for their own shot on a consistent basis. This is playing right into the hands of Jerryd Bayless. It’s putting Petteri in an uncomfortable position. If you look up the number of 20-shot games for Koponen in Finland I’d wager it would be pretty small. He just doesn’t look assured having to drive, pull up, and take a bunch of shots. He’s a set-up man with nobody to set up. (Keep in mind Bayless wants to receive passes and then create himself.)

Nicolas Batum had another tough night. He shot 1 for 8, almost exclusively long jumpers, for 6 points, 4 rebounds, no assists, and 5 turnovers. His defense didn’t seem as crisp, but frankly that could have been the wretched flow of the game (thanks refs!) as much as his personal problems. (Koponen seemed to struggle more defensively as well.) Batum appears to be on a bad Martell Webster trip, fading to the weak side and standing still in case he’s passed the ball. This isn’t any more effective for him than it was for Martell. On a team that’s crying out for a third scorer Batum is AWOL. He needs to come out of his shell a little.

We’ll let you know what the fallout is tomorrow.

--Dave (blazer