Sunday, January 4, 2009

Lakers 100, Blazers 86: Notes and Quotes

Playing at home without your team leader is hard enough (Friday's loss to the Hornets being exhibit A), but on the road without Roy, against the Lakers no less? That's a lot to ask.

And for the first half, LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicolas Batum answered the call, allowing Portland to go into the intermission down by a single point.

Aldridge finished with 22 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and a block while also playing solid defense on Pau Gasol.

And then there's Batum. Nic turned in easily his best game of the season with 17 points, going a perfect 6-of-6 from the field, including an impressive 3-of-3 from beyond the arc. He also tallied 5 boards, a steal, and a couple thunderous dunks.

But other than those two performances, there weren't many positives for the Red and Black. The guards went an ice-cold 11-for-28, with many of those makes coming when the game was already out of reach.

Aside from that, Travis Outlaw couldn't get it going on either side of the ball and Greg Oden and Joel Przybilla couldn't sneeze without being called for a foul. Ball game. So it goes.

When playing without Brandon Roy, basically everyone else has to perform perfectly in order to get a win on the road against a team like the Lakers. That didn't happen tonight, and so the Trail Blazers return to Portland 20-14.

QUOTES

NATE MCMILLAN

On Trail Blazers performance during tonight’s game
“Well it’s just the way you got to play; it’s as simple as that. There are opportunities for guys to play and we are not getting production and you know there is an opportunity for guys out there.”

“Our bench needs to help us, we are not shooting the ball well we have some opportunities where we have guys with open looks that normally we knock down those shots .We are not shooting the ball well and we need to get our bench productive.”

On Brandon Roy being out tonight
“Well we don’t have Brandon; Brandon is not with us we know that he is not with us. This is an opportunity for other guys to play and we have other guys and we have to get it done without Brandon until he gets back. So we can’t sit and wait for Brandon to come back, first because we don’t know, and we have games before that happens. We have guys, who want opportunities, and we need everybody to play well and we are not getting that right now.”

On Greg Oden’s performance tonight game
“I thought he was more aggressive and a little bit more relaxed out there. A little calmer than he was in the first game and he was able to get some deep low-post position and make some plays out there for us. But again we need both groups playing well.”

On Lakers performance tonight
They are a good group, they are on a mission. They definitely know what they need to do to win. And right now everybody is healthy for that group. And Phil can push a lot of buttons. He has a lot of different combinations that he can go with as far as playing big playing small. You know those guys are playing ball, all of them playing well.”

LAMARCUS ALDRIDGE

“That was a tough loss. We had control most of the first half and they made a little run starting in the 2nd. They came out with the momentum in the 3rd and took over the game.”

“A lot of guys had open shots. We just didn’t make them. Myself and I think everybody had good looks. They weren’t going down for us. It was a tough 3rd. We stuck in there in the 4th. Kobe kind of took over and did what he do.”

GREG ODEN

On being compared to Andrew Bynum
“A lot of people try to make [the comparison] cause we’re around the same age. But then you think and he’s been in the league four years and this is my first. [Facing him] is very exciting because he is a big 7-footer.”

On whether he sees the Blazers as legitimate challengers to the Lakers
“We try to be. We try to be scrappers. We just want to come out there and try to scrap every game. We are young guys and we know that a lot of these teams have a lot of vets and they’re not going to beat themselves. Us, as a young team, we have to go out there and win it from them. We have to take it from those guys.”

RUDY FERNANDEZ

“Los Angeles is a very good team. I think it’s 12 players and sometimes it’s Pau, sometimes it’s Kobe, sometimes it’s Odom, Fisher. I think it’s a very good team. But I think the first half we had great defense. If Kobe is tired he goes to Vujacic or Ariza. I think this is a very good team.”

7 comments:

Stephen said...

The Blazers played well, and got the shots they wanted for most of the game, they just didn't go in. The Lakers didn't play great defense, and we got the better of the rebounds, but their shots went down. That's the story. The trip down the court where the Blazers took about 4 or 5 shots in the one possession, rebounding after every miss until finally one of them got fouled, was pretty telling. The only thing they might have done to improve their chances, is to make more of an effort to go inside.

Defensively they weren't too bad, and got called for quite a few bogus fouls, when they were playing good defense. The Lakers shot well, so all together, it was a tough game.

This loss, even more than the last one, was mental. Shooting is like 90% mental. They didn't need Roy, they just needed to be in a better shooting rhythm. They moved the ball well, and got plenty of open looks they would hit on a good night (a good night, they didn't need a great night to be in this game, just a good one). I just hope Nate can come up with something to get the shooters back in the zone. I think that's his job. I've heard of coaches bringing in hypnotists to get otherwise solid shooters out of slumps. I can't help but feel there is something they can do off the court to psych these guys up. Part of the reason Roy is so good, is he can has a lot of confidence in his shot. The rest of the team needs to get that attitude, and get psyched up to take people on, like they did with the Celtics. The team needs to get a little angry and fired up, that's when the shots go down.

One note on Bayless. He should start in place of Roy, so Rudy can keep the second unit intact, and forget about all the random line-ups. And, Bayless needs to concentrate when he puts the ball up. Stop worrying about getting blocked, and concentrate on putting the ball in the basket. I'm talking about the moment in mid air, when the ball is leaving your hand. Don't just toss it up, make sure it goes where you want it to. It's up to you. As Yoda said "Concentrate!!!"

corybauer said...

If the Blazers had hit some of those wide, wide open shots they missed badly, it wouldn't have been a blowout in the second half. I mean some of those shots were as wide open as in warm ups. I agree that Bayless should start in place of Brandon Roy so Rudy can play in that 2nd unit.

Free throws also didn't help the Blazers chances, again. If they play defense like they did in the 1st half for all four quarters, especially like this on the road, then you've got yourself a very tough team to defeat.

Casey Holdahl said...

You're both right on. Plain old missing shots is the reason we lost this one.

I can't recall the last time I saw Steve Blake miss so many wide open jumpers (not counting the free throw debacle vs. Clippers). He hits even one of those corner three's and that midrange jumper and we give the Lakers a ballgame.

jwoo73 said...

Agreed. The Blazers failed to knock down their shots; however, it is somewhat disappointing that there is a lack of slashing to the rim from this team whether to score, draw defenders and dish to others near or at the rim, or to draw fouls on the opposing team. We need to find a way to become more adept at this aspect of the game.

I am not one to bash refs and I am not going to lay the blame on them for the loss; however, it got pretty old watching the Lakers put their hands all over our players with relatively few whistles going against them. And look at them whine incessantly when they do get called for a blatant foul. Pansies. It has nothing to do with bias, our guys would NEVER be allowed to play defense in the same manner. And it is frustrating as HELL as a player to have a defender grabbing you, pushing you, slapping you at one end and being called for brushing up against them slightly with your body at the other end.

roosterray said...

Unfortunately for us we have to take our lumps for a few years until we get vetran calls. Guys who have been around for 5+ years, the refs listen and then give them calls. Its better then zbo and sheed days where they show up the refs then never get calls. We are on our way. Patience. Go Blazers

Charlie said...

What happened was no one could throw the ball into the post to Oden when he was open or had Fisher on him almost everytime down in the 1st half and parts of the second.

Hey the bunnies are easier to hit than those stupid long two pointers everyone kept putting up. Especially when you have beast who is calling for the ball like Oden was.

You know if they did pass him the ball when he was open like that he have to pause for a moment just over the shock of someone finally realizing he is open for an easy bucket.

Steve Blake is finally starting to realize a little bit he pass the ball, but he still shoots too much. Sorry Blake but you're not a legitimate third option, so start passing the rock or down the road you will be expended, cause you already are expendable. Get the rock to Oden and LaMarcus.

Manolo_elmas said...

It happens that Rudy has not yet accustomed to the new line of three-point shot, which in Europe is closer to the basket, and can not play in the NBA draft because almost no training. Rudy trains his shot in games, because it has not yet reached their best level. I believe that next year will show that player is better than it seems. I also believe that Nate McMillan should not encasillarlo as three-point shooter, and should give more freedom in their game. Only then will progress as a player.
Sorry for my por english :P
Regards from Spain!