Then again, it's amazing that they even had a chance to win this one with the way they played in the first quarter. I don't know about you, but I can't remember the last time I saw a quarter that bad, at least from the Blazers. They've had problems starting games out slow, but last night took it to a whole new level.
It seemed to me that almost everyone on the team ended up having a good game, but by that same token, almost everyone committed a crucial mistake that ended up costing the Red and Black dearly. Jarrett Jack had maybe his best offensive game of the year, but that last turnover(along with the other six)really hurt. Channing Frye had it going in the first half when no one else could buy a bucket, but that stolen pass turned Iverson three-pointer sucked the life out of the Rose Garden. LaMarcus Aldridge must have had at least five tipped ball resulting in rebounds for his teammates, but his shot was off all night. Martell Webster got hot, but oh, those free-throws. Same goes for Travis Outlaw. To quote the great Bill Schonely: "You've got to make your free-throws."
So that wraps the season series with Denver. If I would have told you that we'd split the series with the Nuggets at the beginning of the year, you probably would have been giddy. But expectations have already been raised and 2-2 seems like a cheap consolation to 3-1. It's probably unfair to expect that kind of production from such a young squad, but the game was right there to be taken. It just slipped away.
Oh yeah, here are the notes and quotes from last night's game,
Blazers now 4-2 in overtimes this season . . . Nuggets 2-0 in OT games . . . Denver now is 5-3 vs. Blazers all-time in extra session games . . . Portland drops to 6-2 in games decided by three points or less . . . Blazers and Nuggets split their season-series.
“Our execution just wasn’t good tonight. We wanted to take care of the ball, but with 18 turnovers we didn’t do a good job on that and we wanted to rebound the ball. They just wiped us out on the boards. Down the stretch, Denver just executed better.
“Each game from now on the level of intensity increases. We’ve got to match that by executing down the stretch, getting better ball movement and getting better shots.
“On that last Portland possession, Jarrett thought he had an opening against Iverson but they caught up with him. Of course, the last thing we wanted there was a turnover.”
Did he think about bringing Steve Blake back? “Jack was penetrating real good and that group was scoring.
“We knew this was a big game. You’re going for a sweep and you don’t get it. We’re still in a race with Utah and Denver in the division but to lose a game like this at home makes our task more difficult.”
“Its tough when you lose on a buzzer-killer. That’s what makes them (the Nuggets) tough. That Cleveland one still stings too (LeBron’s buzzer beater). We had a chance to win the game. We played extremely hard but we just lost. I don’t know how the fans feel right now but we tried. Its just not going our way right now. The first time we played Denver they took us as a joke. This time they came in with their best effort. Allen Iverson had a big shot. It’s a tough pill to swallow. Teams are going to play us good like that rest of the season. I told the guys to keep their heads up and keep playing hard.”
“We gave them opportunities. We weren’t tired. It was just our execution and that’s something we can fix. No one is making excuses. They took advantage of what we gave them. The level of competition is stepping up and this is new for everybody. We’re adapting and adjusting. We need to start the game (right) and set the tone from the jump start instead of having to hit back.”
“Defensively we made some pretty good adjustments at the end. We zoned them a little bit. Kenyon’s block on Outlaw was huge. I thought they got a cheap call to tie the game. I’ve never seen a guy not get hit and get fouled at the end of the game. We had a lot of tough situations we could have given in on and never did. I thought defensively we were very strong at the end of the game. Our guys had courage and guts. I thought the shot Iverson made at the end of the third quarter gave him a lift. It gave him some spirit. It wasn’t a pretty offensive game for either team. It had a lot of playoff intensity. It had a lot of playoff attitude to it. They made some great runs. They got some of their guys involved in the game. Webster had a great beginning to the third. In general, defensively, they played well and we played well.”
“I’ve never seen a guy get as beat up as he did. He didn’t get fouls and he didn’t get to the free throw line. He worked his tail off underneath the basket. I don’t think he feels comfortable out on the floor because of his ankle. He didn’t have a great game but he fought and stayed in the game. He ended up helping us win.”
“We knew it would be that type of game. We jumped out on them early in the game but they came back and fought their way back to take the lead. From there it was a battle between the both of us. There were some things we thought could have gone our way tonight but didn’t. We were a little frustrated but we kept our composure. We came out with the win. We won the game so I’m not going to complain. The only thing I can do is keep going out there and playing hard like I did tonight. As a result of that we won the game.”
I haven't seen anywhere near the amount of basketball that George Karl has, but I somehow find it hard to believe that he's never "seen a guy get as beat up as (Carmelo) did." It was a physical game, but it didn't strike me as that physical.
If you've got any opinions on the game, these quotes or anything else, I'd love to hear it. Hit up the comments section if you've got something to say.