Maybe I had never noticed it before, but it seems like the Trail Blazers are getting a lot of their season series' done in a hurry this year. We played the Utah Jazz all four times this season in less than a month. Both games against the Atlanta Hawks occurred in less than a week. And then there was the Seattle home-and-home back-to-back (which I think we do every year).
And tonight we take on the L.A. Lakers for the second time in three days, which is even stranger when you consider that Tuesday's contest was the first game between the two teams this season. It seems like an odd way to put together a schedule.
But it's not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, according to some on the team, it can actually be beneficial to see the same team within a short span of time.
“You can be a little more prepared for things that they’re going to do," said Blazers point guard Steve Blake. “You get, not necessarily specifics, but just kind of a feeling for where players are going to be and who does what in their offense. You just get a better feel for the game when you play someone twice.”
That probably holds true for the most part, but does that logic still apply when you're playing a team on a 10-game win streak?
“You give yourself a day or two to make adjustments but you only give them a day or two to make adjustments," said James Jones, who missed the first game this season against the Lakers. "Playing games close together, you get a chance to keep the schemes fresh in your mind and have a fresh feel for their tendencies and what they like to do and maybe go out there and counteract what they’ve done and get a victory the second time around."
Though the Blazers ended up losing 13, the still did some positive things, especially in the first half. It might have been difficult to be optimistic about their chances tonight if they had been blown out on Tuesday, but by turning in a solid if not entirely consistent performance at the Staples Center gave this team something to build on.
"We played good basketball (against the Lakers)," said Nate McMillan, "we were in the game for four quarters but they made some plays down the stretch. We know we can do some things better. We have them again in our building, so the fire, the hunger to play them again right away after losing should be in you.”