Thursday, November 12, 2009

Trail Blazers @ Hornets: Game 10

As lucky as it was to play the Wolves three times in the first three weeks, the Blazers got the unlucky fortune of playing the Hornets the game after head coach Byron Scott was given the axe. We've all seen it a hundred times. Teams that fire head coaches always seem to give extra effort the next few games for their new coach, whether the firing was justified or not. It was already going to be a tough enough task to get a win in the Big Easy, as it seems that place has a voodoo curse on our boys. Honestly, I can't recall the last time we legitimately beat them in NOLA. (CP3 getting hurt in the 4th was nice, but doesn't count) The two keys to the game are Andre Miller and Greg Oden. Ever since Paul has came into the league and played the Trail Blazers, we have not made him work on the defensive end of the floor. All he had to do in the past was to play within arm's distance of Blake or back off of Sergio. It most likely will not be in Portland's best interest to have Andre be the focal point of the offense, but Dre needs to pick and choose his spots to attack Paul and be seen as a threat to score. For the Blazers to take the next step into elite status, they need more performances out of Greg Oden like they have received over this past week. Like when LaMarcus gets it going in the post, Portland is unbeatable when Oden stays on the floor, is a defensive presence in the paint, and is getting the team easy points in the paint. The one thing Charles Barkley knocks us on, is our inability to score easy buckets and our dependence on the jump shot. G.O. fixes both of those. Unfortunately, I have a bad feeling about tonight's game as I already was uneasy about playing at New Orleans, but the firing of Scott could propel the Hornets to victory tonight. Portland has played better in NOLA lately, but David West always seems to go off on us lately with back to back 25 point performances in the last two meetings and has been able to keep the Hornets afloat long enough to get the rest of the players going. Finally, the Trail Blazers must keep role players, such as James Posey and Peja Stojakovic, quiet and not hit back breaking 3's as Posey did in the first match-up last year down in Louisiana. It will be close, but I see those role players giving us fits tonight. Game 10 Prediction: Trail Blazers 92 Hornets 95 Post-Game Thoughts Man, I love it when I am wrong! Although West did keep the Hornets afloat and unsuspecting role players, like Darren Collision and Marcus Thornton, had career nights with 18 and 20 points respectively, Portland always had an answer and was able to be the first team to heat up from the field. It was also very surprising to see the lack of intensity and desire the Hornets put forth for their new coach; things must be getting really ugly down in the Big Easy. You could even see in timeouts that CP3 was doing all of the talking. If there was such a thing as a modern player-coach, it will be Paul from here on out. I hope the team treated LMA to dinner last night, not like he couldn't afford it, because he was their horse and they road him to victory last night. It was the kind of game I have been waiting to see him play and usually the type of game that doesn't show up until post-All-Star break. The repertoire of moves he has on offense are matched by only a handful of forwards in this league. He took West into the post and hit him with the turn-around fadeaway. Once he got a few of those to go, Coach Nate called for some pick and pops and when LaMarcus has is in rhythm, those shots are locked in. Finally, you know Aldridge is dominating when you see him face-up his man, dribble towards the hoop, and attack the basket with a running hook for an And-1. We are pretty unstoppable once Greg gets even a little bit going on in the post and the same goes when LaMarcus gets into beast mode, like he did last night, but if those two can ever get on the same page offensively, the opposing team might as well wave the white flag. Could Portland trade Joel, along with a couple others, in an attempt to consolidate? Yes, but it would be a grave mistake. Many teams would kill to have a center of either Joel or Greg's caliber, and yet, we have both. I could tell how disheartening it was for the Hornets last night to see Greg grab every single rebound within sight, then to only have a fresh Przybilla sub in and do the exact same thing. There is no drop-off in interior defense as well, as both accounted for 3 blocks. when the dust settles, Gregzilla combined for 18 points, 20 rebounds, 6 blocks, and only a combined 6 fouls. Those numbers are like having Dwight Howard on the Blazers but with fresh legs throughout 48 minutes. Box Score

1 comment:

  1. The first half of that game was ugly- like 'old people fucking' ugly.