Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Trail Blazers vs. Clippers: Game 34

The Portland Trail Blazers (20-13) look to bounce back and end 2009 on a high note as the Los Angeles Clippers (13-17) come to the Rose Garden for the first matchup between the two teams this season. This is an important game in regards to making the playoffs, as a loss would slide the Blazers all the way down to 8th, while a win keeps them right in the thick of things for a seeds 4-6. With all the unfortunate injuries, Portland can't afford to have any more hiccups as they did on Monday night.
Although the Clippers are not a threat to make the playoffs or may ever be with their management, they still posses a plethora of big men that Portland would kill for right about now. If the 76ers can score 60 in the paint with Dalembert out most of the night with foul trouble, I worry what Kaman and Camby will do tonight. Not only on offense, but Marcus Camby has the ability to be a game-changer on defense which could force Portland to play from the outside. Camby's status for the game tonight is in question, so it will be a huge plus if he can't go tonight. If the Blazers decide to become a jump shot oriented team and they shoot like they did against Philly, it will be another long walk out of the Rose Garden for Trail Blazer fans. Even if the Clips are doing a good job of protecting the key, go inside to draw a double team or get to the foul line. Aggressiveness never hurts.
It will all come down to guard play tonight. I think the Clipper bigs could bother LaMarcus tonight on the blocks, which will force the Blazer guards to step up. Baron Davis is the type of player who still has the ability to score 40 on any given night and will his team to victory. Normally Baron is bigger than many of he point guards he goes up against, but Andre has the size to keep Davis from backing him down on the blocks. Although he may have to chase down Eric Gordon around on defense, Brandon needs to abuse Gordon on offense. Eric is only 6'3", so with a 3 inch height advantage, he should be able to put him on the blocks and shoot that fade away he loves to shoot so much.
I really have an awful feeling in the pit of my stomach about the game tonight. I don't think Portland will overlook the Clips at all, especially after losing to them at home last year in double overtime and after stubbing their toe the previous game to the Sixers. Although, I have a bad feeling and really don't think we'll have an answer at all for Chris Kaman, I can't pick against my Blazers. Brandon Roy will somehow, someway lead the team to victory and Andre Miller will give us the easy buckets we'll need. As long as we don't get too stagnant on offense, we can win this game. Make note of the movement on offense while watching the game. If we lose, go back and see how many times we went one on one or bled the shot clock down. If we pull it out, check out stats like fast break points, points in the paint, and team assists. My prediction: 20+ assists from the team will get the job done tonight.
Game 34 Prediction: Trail Blazers 101 Clippers 98
Post-Game Thoughts
Apologies for the tardiness of the post-game thoughts, but I had to jet off to Pasadena right after the streamers fell from the rafters of the Rose Garden as Portland fought, clawed, kicked, and battled their way to a 103-99 victory over the Clippers. The injury big bit Portland again, this time not so hard, but it was a good enough bite to keep LaMarcus Aldridge out for the rest of the game. LMA now has a Grade 1 sprain which limited him to only 6 minutes of action and will keep him out against the Warriors on Saturday.
Just like the rest of the season, when someone goes out with a sickness or injury, another player is waiting in the wings, always ready to contribute. Next in line to show off his game, Jeff Pendergraph. I had always loved his fundamentals and technique in boxing out, but 14 rebounds against Camby and Kaman is pretty impressive. To sum up his experience, Jeff had this so say, "I didn't know if I was going to play at all. I thought I might miss the whole season. To go from there to here, it's surreal."
Roy is slowly putting himself into serious MVP talk, not the token name drop here or there he received last season. With his 25 points, he extended his streak of 23+ points to a league-leading 14 straight games. Not only is he scoring in bunches, but he is doing so efficiently. He shot 12-20 from the floor and still got his teammates involved by handing out 6 assists and grabbing 7 rebounds. It's not just us Blazer fans who are aware of what Roy is bringing to the table right now. Chris Kaman was quoted after the game by saying, "And we have to really respect Roy. He's a tough player to match up with, and you've got to pay him a lot of attention. He got a lot of (teammates) open."
Outside of Roy's MVP numbers and a surprising 14 rebounds in place of Aldridge from JP, the story no one is talking about is Jerryd Bayless. He checked into the game late in the 1st and played the entire 2nd quarter. In that span, he dropped 6 dimes, many of them coming off of his own creation. He reminds me so much of Tony Parker in his ability to get in the lane, swerve around the defense and find an open man from the mid-range jump shot. In the 2nd half it was more vintage Jerryd, as he scored 12 of his 14 when Portland needed offense most, including a jumper in the 4th to put Portland up 91-81, their 1st double digit lead of the night. Maybe most importantly to go along with 8 assists, was the fact he did it by only turning the ball over one time.
With Steve Blake now hospitalized with pneumonia, it looks like the team just can't get a break in terms of healthy bodies. I have came to the realization we'll be dealing with this issue all year long, but as long as we have #7 on the floor for us, we will be just fine. It's so cliche, but every season you don't think it is possible for Brandon Roy to get any better, but then he does it time after time. We'll see just how long the team can sustain this unbelievable level of play, but the fact remains that as long as we have Roy, the game will be close, regardless of the other 4 players on the court.
Box Score

1 comment:

  1. It will be great to watch Los Angeles Clippers, i have bought tickets from looking forward to it.