I really loved that game last night. It was just fun basketball to watch. As predicted it was pretty much a blow-for-blow affair. You hit a three? I hit a three. You blocked my shot? Take that then! Those athletic forwards of the Hawks bumped us around. Our skilled forwards poured in points. Their guards blistered us but couldn't stop Roy, Fernandez, and Blake. Both teams hustled. Both teams rebounded until that fourth quarter hit. The Hawks' defense had the Blazers shooting late in the clock. The Blazers' offense had them spinning in circles. What more could you want?
The game stayed within shouting distance until the fourth quarter when the Blazers streaked to the victory. Part of it may have been fatigue. But part of it was also the Blazers simply TAKING that game, which made me giddy. When the final period hit it was go-time. Rebounds, made shots, defense, more rebounds, passing, cutting, more rebounds...WHOOOO! The energy level went up about four notches. Good teams pretty much do that when you're still hanging around. The Blazers looked like a good team tonight.
Individually the efforts of Lamarcus Aldridge, Rudy Fernandez, and Nicolas Batum stood out the most for me. I mean, Brandon had an amazing game (27 pts, 7 rebs, 5 asst) but we're used to that. Lamarcus was using every trick at his disposal to fight the defense and he did not settle. It was like he knew we needed him tonight and he was going to come through no matter what. You saw shades of Lamarcus-To-Be last night and it was very, very nice. Rudy put together a complete and potent offensive game. He led the bench not only in scoring but desire. Batum did it with his energy and defense. Who could ever get tired of those blocked shots?
Travis Outlaw also had a nice energy game, Steve Blake produced well, and Joel Przybilla owned the boards. Channing Frye also did well off the bench with 3 rebounds and 2 steals.
The single best stat of the night to me was every Blazer who played more than 2 minutes had a rebound and 5 players had 3 or more. That's what we needed.
Props to the Hawks as well. They may become my second favorite team in the league. I enjoy what they bring. Though the match isn't airtight they remind me a little of the Drexler-era Blazers.
Great energy, great game...why can't we play them all like this?
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