Despite playing on the second night of a home-and-away back-to-back, despite getting a subpar effort from all star point guard Deron Williams and despite conceding 24 offensive rebounds, the Utah Jazz ran past the Portland Trail Blazers in the fourth quarter to pull out a 103-94 win in the Rose Garden on Saturday night.
The ugly, grind-it-out nature of the first half favored Portland, especially considering some of the runaway drubbings the Jazz has handed the Blazers in winning five straight meetings between the teams, but the Portland lead never felt all that sustainable tonight. This was due to Portland's overall inefficiency from the field (particularly from deep), to uncharacteristic problems with turnovers, to Utah's comfort playing from behind, and to continued questions about who Portland will turn to down the stretch in Brandon Roy's absence.
It's still less than a month into the 2010-2011 NBA season but another huge factor in tonight's loss, according to Portland's big men, is playing time. After getting beaten 38-20 in the fourth quarter, with all five Portland starters logging 32+ minutes and with coach Nate McMillan running a strict eight-man rotation once again in Brandon Roy's absence, center Marcus Camby brought up the playing time issue multiple times after the game.
"We've been playing a lot of minutes, these next couple of days guys can get healed up and get ready to go after Thanksgiving break.... Me, I like to play. But we have some guys that are banged up and probably need the rest. We definitely need our best player out there whenever he's available, but he has to take care of his body."
McMillan reacted pretty quickly when Roy called for a minutes reduction last week but the knee injury forced his hand. It will be very interesting to monitor where Aldridge and Camby end up playing time wise when Przybilla returns.
- Rose Garden fan with a custom "It's T-Shirt Time" hat.
- Blazers owner Paul Allen and GM Rich Cho were not seated in their courtside seats for the second home game in a row.
- Marcus Camby on whether Portland's abnormal number of misses at the rim tonight was a product of bad luck: "We just got to make them. It's no bad luck. When they go in, we don't say it's good luck. We just have to convert them."
- The Blazers tried to double Jazz center Al Jefferson down the stretch, as he finished with 20 points and 14 rebounds. They did so with varying degrees of success. Let's just say that doubling the low block against a pure five is not one of Rudy Fernandez's strengths.
- Well before tip, Armon Johnson got in some laptop video analysis time with assistant coach Kaleb Canales. Johnson seemed to be calling his own number a bit more tonight rather than deferring first. Perhaps it was in symbolic honor of former Blazers point guards Jerryd Bayless and Jarrett Jack, who were traded for each other again today.
- Blazers fans began streaming out of the Rose Garden during the game's final minute, with the Blazers down seven.
- Camby, Matthews, Terry Porter, Buck Williams and multiple Blazers scouts all attended Friday night's game between the University of Kentucky and the University of Portland at the Rose Garden.
- Cheers to the very rowdy Blazersedge-reading fans in the suite behind media row tonight.
Nate McMillan's Post-Game Comments
Well, you've got to make plays. We say this every night. They get off to a huge start in that fourth quarter. We gave up 38 points in that fourth quarter. You've got to get stops defensively. Offensively I thought we settled for jump shots and turning the ball over. Tonight we lose a lead, we miss shots and we turn the ball over.
We lost him in transition. We lost him a lot tonight. He just let it fly. When we had that lead, as I recall, a couple of times he came down early in the first half, knocked down two threes in transition and then in the second half we just lost him. He spotted up and knocked down those shots. You've got to defend the paint and you've got to get out and close out to shooters.
That's just communication. Transition, a guy who certainly has knocked down a few j's. You've got to know where he's at. There were times where we just didn't communicate, didn't match up in transitions, he knocked down some jump shots. I think off some of the double teams. Jefferson, we were trying to double him, I think he got loose off of a couple of those.
24 offensive rebounds
You're aggressive going to the glass. We need to rebound on the defensive end of the floor. When you're settling for jumpshots as we did tonight and you're turning the ball over you're going to shoot yourself in the foot. You can't have turnovers against this team, give them extra bullets. We're 4-22 from the three and we only shoot 38% from the floor so jumpshots, you're going to get those. You're going to have to knock them down. We needed to get to the basket, simply attack the basket. We had more turnovers than assists. It's a lot of pounding and not a lot of ball movement.
LaMarcus had 8 turnovers
It's a part of your two players who are going to play with the ball in Andre and LaMarcus, between the two it was thirteen turnovers. It's not going to him a lot, it's a guy we're going to play off of and he's got to make decisions.
-- Ben Golliver | email@example.com | Twitter