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Game 8 Recap: Blazers 96, Lakers 121

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The Blazers go for a rebound against the Los Angeles Lakers in their 96-121 loss.
The Blazers go for a rebound against the Los Angeles Lakers in their 96-121 loss.

In a Nutshell

The Blazers must have gotten caught before the game cutting class, smoking, and playing with matches because the Lakers spanked them and spanked them and spanked them some more.  It wasn't just a blowout, this game blew.

Game Flow

There was no game flow.  It was a flood.  Thursday night the Oklahoma City Thunder played Lucy to Portland's Charlie Brown, pulling away the football at the last second.  The Lakers dispensed with all of that and just put old Charlie through the wood chipper.  From the opening tip the Blazers had serious defensive troubles.  They opened up the game collapsing on any Laker threat, which meant Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, or Lamar Odom.  Since one of those three was the focus of nearly every possession the Blazers ended up committing extra men to the ball every time down the floor.  Two passes later the Lakers had a wide-open look from three or a wide-open shot from whichever threat wasn't being swarmed.  Having lost defensive integrity the Blazers were also out of position for the rebound.

Portland solved this problem by playing straight up.  That's when the Lakers just started scoring above, through, and around over-matched defenders.  They didn't slow down a bit.  And the rebounding didn't improve for Portland either.  The Blazers watched the ball.  The Lakers got the ball.

On offense the Blazers made a couple of halfhearted attempts to go inside to LaMarcus Aldridge early in the game (not so successful) and Nicolas Batum early in the second half (slightly more successful but still not damaging enough).  Outside of those occasional forays the offense was all perimeter or one-on-everybody drives.  Neither works well when the opponent is as quick as you.  Even when the Blazers escaped they met layers of L.A. defense, as the help looked determined all night.  Prebricktably the Blazers' contested jumpers sprayed all over the place.  The Lakers beat Portland to the boards on this end of the floor too.  Throw in a couple turnovers and Portland never had a chance.

Even in garbage time the Blazers never had a chance.

Even in post-garbage-time, dregs of the roster minutes the Blazers never had a chance.

Had the Lakers needed to win by 50 tonight they could have.  End of story.

Notable Developments

Hopefully none, other than the reality check about the current distance between NBA Champions and the Trail Blazers.  Better wake up.

Individual Notes

Andre Miller played with offensive aggression.  He scored 20.

Nicolas Batum did too, scoring 17.  Both of them played legit.

Rudy Fernandez and Armon Johnson looted some points from the wreckage.

There's not much to say about anybody else.

Stats of the Night

  • Pick anything the Lakers did, but personally I like their 14 offensive rebounds.  And they didn't miss that many shots!  That shows you how dominant this game was.  That was one of the Blazers' bailiwicks. 
  • Portland 30 points in the paint.
  • Portland 25 rebounds
  • The Blazers didn't shoot horribly at 42.7%.  They've shot worse and been closer.  That was the nature of the schooling.
  • Kobe Bryant scored...12.  That means his teammates put up 109 points on the Blazers.

Odd Notes and Links

Boxscore

Head on over to SilverScreenandRoll if you're a masochist.

See tonight's Jersey Contest scoreboard here and enter Tuesday's game form here.

As bad of a game as it was, the OKC loss was still worse.  At least this was an honest drubbing and not a game given away.  The Blazers aren't as bad as they looked tonight.  They're just not ready to take on a Lakers' team focused and hell-bent on sending a message.

--Dave (blazersub@yahoo.com)