Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Every possession counts

Probably one of the hardest things for a young team to do is stay focused for the duration of an 82-game season. And as the Trail Blazers continue to struggle after the All-Star break, you might expect that a seemingly lottery-bound team might simply play out the string. It’s an occurrence that has been known to happen on occasion, but with 26 games left to go, it’s the last thing on the minds of Portland’s players.

“We’re starting that last push,” said Martell Webster. “We’ve got a chance. There’s a sense of urgency right now for us to get out here and play the best possible basketball that we can. Try to win over .500. We’re trying to go over .500 and that’s going to give us a chance to possibly make it into the playoffs.”

The Blazers are 1-3 since the All-Star break, meaning that they’d have to finish 14-12 over the final 26 games to fulfill the goal of going .500. It’s a daunting task, especially considering that 14 of the remaining games are away from the Rose Garden, but it’s still attainable if the team can get back to doing the things that made them so successful during the 13-game win streak.

So how do they do it?

“We’ve just got to get back to making every possession count” said Steve Blake, “really focusing from the start of the game to the end of the game, and that’s what we plan on doing.”

With Brandon Roy out of the lineup for at least the next two games, making possessions count is going to be paramount to getting wins.


Ed said...

Other teams have improved as the year has progressed. They no longer are caught off guard by the Blazers or assume they will win. They are better prepared to counter our style of play and double team our all stars. If we just play as well as we did in the 13 game winning streak we will not make the playoffs. We have to play better and have new moves.

Learning to play without James Jones and Brandon Roy has helped players to step to do more and not rely on them to bail us out. Everyone is taking more responsibility to play to win with their own contributions. I believe we will continue to rise to the occassion, make the playoffs, and turn some heads.

dustin said...

While I think it's true that the blazers are no longer catching teams by surprise, the bigger issue is the supporting cast around LA and B Roy. When the Blazers were on their streak they were getting sizeable conributions from Frye, Blake, Webster and James. Those players lack the confidence to take the 3 now where we were doing so much damage on dribble drives and kick outs.

Here's the thing. The Blazers were playing with a lot of poise and confidence for 19 games. If the role players can recapture that and James Jones comes back firing, .500 is not out of the question.

At this point I just want a win.