Thursday, December 4, 2008

Today in links: Taking Down the Wiz Edition

Jason Quick, The Oregonian: "This is what we want," Roy said. "This is where we want to be. I want it not only for this team, but for me personally. To see where I'm at, you know? To see where this team is at, to see where I can get this team to."
What you are hearing, Portland, and what the rest of the NBA is seeing, is an All-Star morphing into a great player. Or at least a great leader.
It's not because Roy is welcoming the challenge of the Celtics, or that he wants to measure himself ... it's more of the way he goes about declaring it. He sets a tone for the Blazers, both in the methodical tempo of his play, and in his subtle and confident way of guiding the team in the locker room.

More Jason Quick: "I think we play together," Fernandez said. "On some nights it's Brandon. Sometimes it's LaMarcus. Sometimes it's Blake. Sometimes it's Travis. But we play together."
On Wednesday, the Blazers (14-6) trailed by five points at the start of the fourth quarter and were behind 81-77 with 8:32 remaining. But Roy scored nine of the team's next 11 points, carrying them back into the lead at 86-83 with 4:26 left.
From there, Fernandez and Blake took the Blazers home with some clutch plays, running the Blazers to 3-0 on this five-game trip.

Mike Barrett, It's way too early to start talking about stuff like this, but right now the Blazers are on pace to win 57 games. Who would have thought, when the schedule came out and we saw that 16 of the first 24 were road games, that the Blazers would be in this position? Even the most optimistic fans were more realistic in their thinking.
Portland was led again by Brandon Roy, who is so clutch in the fourth quarter it's really not even fair. He ended with 22 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists. He scored 12 points in the final 8 minutes of the game, and keyed a 9-2 Portland run, scoring 7 of those points.
Maybe the most impressive thing about Roy's play as of late, is that everyone knows what's coming. Opposing defenses are ready for it- ready for his drives, ready for his outside shots, and ready for his left handed finishes at the rim. But, it hasn't mattered.

Ivan Carter, Washington Post: The Wizards (3-13) were seeking their first winning streak of the season and were in position to pull it out until Portland's guard duo of Brandon Roy and Steve Blake plus a few self-inflicted wounds turned the game.
Blake, the former University of Maryland star and Wizards guard, made 3 of 4 free throws in the final 13.2 seconds, Roy scored 12 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter and the Wizards experienced a few breakdowns at both ends of the court as the Trail Blazers (15-6) won their sixth straight game.

Elias Sports Bureau (via
: Portland's Rudy Fernandez extended his streak of games with a 3-point field goal to 20 on Wednesday. He's the only player to make at least one 3-pointer in each of his first 20 career games; no other player has even started his career with a 10-game streak.

Dave, Blazersedge: Rudy Fernandez was the clear star off of the bench. He hit 5-6 including 2-3 from distance and a wicked, looping, over-the-shoulder lay-in. That was disgusting really. He had 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals, and a block too. Good night for him.

John Hollinger, With their wins Tuesday, Denver, Portland and Utah now have the second-, third- and fourth-best records in the West, and a combined nine-game win streak among them ... all of which means this could be one heck of a race in the Northwest Division.
In choosing a horse, each side has its merits. The Blazers are 13-6 even though they've played only seven home games and didn't have Oden for several games; the Nuggets are an identical 13-6 despite a 1-3 start before Chauncey Billups showed up; and Utah has managed to stay in the race at 12-7 -- including wins over the Nuggets and Blazers -- despite never having Deron Williams, Carlos Boozer and Mehmet Okur active on the same night.

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