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Did Game 1 Teach Us Anything New About Blazers-Warriors?

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The Blazer's Edge Mailbag covers a center that might help the Blazers and whether Game 1 was a sign of doom or a prelude to glory.

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Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Today's Blazer's Edge Mailbag covers the hot topic of the weekend plus Blazers-Warriors Game 1 fallout. If you have Portland Trail Blazers related questions, email them to blazersub@gmail.com.

Dave,

[Dwight] Howard was the big topic last week and you didn't say a thing!  Can we get him and how would he fit?

Lindsey

I thought the topic was pretty well covered by the hordes of Portland media who descended on it. I also think Howard coming to Portland is unlikely. That's why I skipped the discussion in favor of playoff games. Since those are semi-depressing right now, let's loop around.

Dwight Howard would be a decent fit in Portland. He's got a million NBA miles on him but he's 30 years old, not 35. The Blazers could platoon him with Mason Plumlee, limiting his minutes. He'd provide plenty of rebounding, a ton of experience, and his offense is no worse than that of the current bigs...better in some ways. He's a little heavier, taking up a little more space on defense. He wouldn't cover ground as well as Plumlee but when the Blazers needed someone shoved out of the paint, Howard would be their man. The job description for a center in Portland's system isn't much more complicated than that. Dwight would probably fill it well. Given enough rest and encouragement, he could even experience a modest career revival.

I wouldn't be too concerned about Howard's mental approach in Portland either. The Blazers would provide a comfortable place for his post-prime career to begin. They could give him shots without depending on him to be the savior. Their locker room would support and respect him. In the right situation, Howard will probably be interested in showing that Houston's problems revolved around Harden, not him. He'll have incentive to play well at his next destination.

On the other hand, Howard's not going to fit seamlessly anywhere he goes. All today's hep cats are listening to #Lemonade on their DAPs. Dwight's a boombox. He's bulky, not streamlined and his game's way out of style.

This shows up in spades on offense. Howard was never entirely comfortable with the role of low post hulk. He prefers the short face-up game. As he's aged, he's gotten worse and worse at it. A true post game is based on technique. A big guy with the right footwork can leverage his way to short shots until he's 40. The face-up game requires agility and skill. Dwight's not long on either. Not only is the boombox semi-obsolete, its mix tape is getting more raggedy by the minute.

Even though Terry Stotts could incorporate an old-style tape player into the system, you sure don't want to buy a boombox for iPod prices. Howard made $22 million this season. He's going to take a mandatory discount to get out of Houston but he's not going to accept 50 cents on the dollar...or at least not to join the Blazers. I'm not sure why Portland would want to dangle $16-18 million in front of Plumlee Plus when they've already got the Original Plumlee under contract. Yes, there's a difference but it's not that clear and it's not that much.

The Blazers could use Dwight Howard. The Blazers could also do without Dwight Howard. They need to spend their money on a player they can't do without. If they can't sign that guy, signing all the Dwights in the world won't make enough difference.

Dave,

What the unblazersedge printable word is wrong with NBA schedulers?  How can they expect a team to get done with a series on Friday night and start a new one Sunday at noon? We're not supposed to have scheduling losses in the playoffs!

Ed

That's how the playoffs have always been. Since "Ed" is usually an older guy's name I'm not going to treat you like a whippersnapper by saying, "In my day the first round didn't take three weeks to play, either!" But it didn't. Playing games every two days was once the norm. I know this was only 36 hours, but still... The playoffs determine who wins a title. If you can't handle the occasional game on short rest, you can't win the championship.

Sunday's game was about talent way more than rest. Fatigue played a part, but not as much of a part as Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.

Besides, a certain amount of fairness is built into the system. The team that wins its first-round series in 5 games will get more rest than the team that wins in 6 games. Everybody knows that going in. Want maximum rest? Sweep.

Dave,

Do we still have chance against Golden State?  That game was brutal.  Help me not give up.

Dave,

Why do people give up so fast? This is just like the Clippers first game. Blazers will come back to win it.

You two need to get some pointy ears and mind meld!

In the meantime, yes, the Blazers still have a chance. I watched the same game you did. The Blazers will win one from the Warriors at least and I wouldn't be surprised to see them win two. Beyond that, well...they've overachieved all year. I guess we just have to hope for more.

But no, this is not just like the Clippers series. The Blazers won the Clippers series after Chris Paul AND Blake Griffin went down. So far only one Warriors star is in street clothes. When Thompson can't play and Curry still isn't back, then this will be like the Clippers series and the Blazers will be clear favorites to win it. Naturally I hope that doesn't happen. The Blazers need to figure out how to prevail in a different way.

Keep those Mailbag questions coming to blazersub@gmail.com!

--Dave blazersub@gmail.com / @DaveDeckard@Blazersedge

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