Sunday, January 3, 2010

Trail Blazers vs. Warriors: Game 35

Post-Game Thoughts "And the depleted Portland Trailblazers win again." As I listen to the ESPN update announcer each night after a Blazers' win, I get a little jolt of pride. We have achieved yet another victory, despite being without Oden, Przybilla, Rudy, Batum, Blake, or Aldridge. Against all odds, the Blazers continue to win. On Saturday night Golden State came to town and after the Blazers had been defeated in Oakland back on November 20 with a reasonably healthy roster, there was the real possibility that last night the Blazers' feel good bubble could be burst. For the first 12 minutes, there was no reason to change that outlook. The Blazers came out flat, and the Warriors jumped out to a 17-3 lead in the first quarter and held a 41-31 lead at the end of one. The Blazers seemed to get caught up in the fast paced Warrior attack and every time the Blazers scored, the Warriors had an answer. Then, Brandon Roy and Andre Miller took over. The pace slowed, the Blazers ratcheted up the D and the Warriors didn't score more than 17 in any quarter the rest of the game. Martell Webster showed up with a very nice all around game as well, scoring 21 points on 7-13 shooting including 4-8 from three point range and perhaps most impressively, pulled down 11 boards for his second career double double. On a night that found the Blazers without their first or second string big men, those rebounds were huge. Dante Cunningham pulled down a career high 10 boards, and Juwan Howard once again showed off a consistent mid range jumper and a couple nifty veteran post moves as he continues to contribute and help guide this team and its post players with his veteran leadership. Jerryd Bayless again struggled to find his shot, but had a beautiful drive early that was finished off with one of his thunderous dunks. He also played his usual tenacious D and helped contain Anthony Morrow and moved the ball pretty well. Monte Ellis had another very nice game for Golden State and attempted to keep them in the game late with some timely threes. His jumper with eight minutes left in the fourth quarter cut the Blazers lead down to four at 78-82, but he couldn't counter Andre Miller and Brandon Roy as they took turns abusing the Golden State defense. Roy got to the rim, and the foul line at will and drained jumpers from everywhere on his way to 37 points on 12-16 shooting and 12-14 from the line. He rounded things out with 6 rebounds and 5 assists in yet another special all star caliber performance. Andre Miller pulled out his repertoire of crafty post moves and probably invented new ones, abusing everyone from Ellis to Corey Magette in the post. That's just not something you see every day from your point guard. And if he wasn't scoring, he was dropping dimes like the one to Martell for a huge three late in the third quarter, and Roy for a nice capping ally-oop to put the dagger in the Warriors. The Blazers outscored the Warriors 27-16 in the final period to come away with a 105-89 victory to make it 7 in their last 8, despite all odds. Maybe Martell Webster summed up the Blazers recent winning best when he said, “We’re just going out and playing. We have nothing to lose.” Things don't get any easier for the Blazers in the month of January, however. Four of their next nine games are against the Lakers, Cavaliers, Magic, and Celtics and eight of their January games are against teams with winning records. This stretch will be a true litmus test as to what to expect from the team moving forward. High expectations to begin the season were tempered by injuries, but with the grit and determination showed to this point, you get the feeling that with this group, maybe anything is possible.
Box Score

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