Got an e-mail today from somebody tied up in a knot about the Clippers loss, wondering why it wasn't possible to beat L.A. on a night they played semi-poorly when we had beaten better teams recently, suggesting any number of things to try and changes to make. They also wanted to know why Memphis should be so dangerous. I assume this isn't the majority outlook but if somebody takes the time to e-mail me about it there's probably more than one person out there feeling this way and asking these questions. I'm not going to give you any new information here, but sometimes we take our old information for granted, overlooking it because of familiarity. So I thought some perspective on what's really going on here would be helpful.
Here was the situation as of last night:
The Blazers started the season planning to play two centers. Both are gone.
The Blazers started the season planning to play two power forwards. Both are gone.
The Blazers started the season planning to play two small forwards. The starter is gone, Martell Webster remains.
The Blazers started the season planning to play two shooting guards. The backup (a strong backup, mind you) is gone.
The Blazers started the season planning to play two point guards. The backup (another strong backup) is gone.
That means out of 10 rotation players--and this was a fairly firm rotation on paper--7 were missing last night, including everybody taller than Martell Webster. Steve Blake's situation isn't permanent nor is LaMarcus Aldridge's. In fact LMA should be back tonight. But coming off of injury is usually not the same as having been playing all along. And besides, we're starting to see Brandon break down a little on top of all of this. This roster is beyond broken. It's demolished. The only thing keeping us afloat is the fact that Roy has been spared--or at least is playing through what he hasn't been spared from--and we've seen some incredible, gutsy performances from the guys who surround him.
Other than relying on those guts and Brandon's magic there's no real solution to this. Nothing's going to make it better except for getting through it. Right now the Blazers are starring in one of those movies with titles ending in "...of the Dead" and they're fresh out of ammo. They have turned the shotgun around and are using it as a club to bludgeon the advancing hordes, trying their best to get through the mall/alley/cornfield and to an area of safety where they can regroup and get some help. Forget winning 6 of 7. That was a miracle. The team can't sustain that pace over the long haul. The heroes are going to tire unless and until they find some help. It's absolutely amazing--severely to the credit of the guys who are playing--that we're even seeing decent basketball out of them, which we did for almost three quarters last night. You're hoping that they can sustain enough good basketball to garner some "W's" as they're running and smashing and hunting for some kind of bazooka to clear the field with. Hoping to actually conquer the undead masses with that shotgun-club is quite optimistic.
Some nights are going to be better, some worse. But don't lose the forest for the trees here. We're watching this team fight impossible odds every night and seeing them come out victorious. It's as much as we could have hoped for, if not more.