Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Questionable: Lucky in NOLA

I've got questions, and I'm hoping you've got the answers. Last night's victory in New Orleans has to be one of the strangest Trail Blazers wins this season, making it a perfect game to go down the list questions I had postgame. Leave your answers in the comments section, and I'll send the best reply an new extra-large BlazersManiac t-shirt that has been sitting in my office for a few months. Here goes ...

• Have you ever seen a healthy Brandon Roy look so ... un-Roy like? Last night's game is much closer pre-Chris Paul's groin pull if Brandon turns in even an average Roy performance.

• And while on the subject of Chris Paul's groin, what percentage would you attribute his injury resulting in the Trail Blazers comeback? 90 percent injury, 10 percent Trail Blazers effort? 75/25? 50/50?

• One more Paul question. The Hornets had 22 made field goals in the first half of last night's game, with 12 of those makes resulting in a Chris Paul assist. He also had three makes in the first half, which means that Paul had 12 assists in the first half on 19 Hornets field goals (translation: Paul can't assist on his own makes). Impressive. But here's the question: What percentage of those are legitimate, by the rule book assists? Myself and Communications Intern Aaron looked at Paul's assists numbers at home, where he's got a friendly stat crew counting dimes, versus his assist numbers on the road. Observe:

Paul's assist average at home: 11.6 per game
Paul's assist average on the road: 10.2 per game
Hornets made field goals average at home: 34.7 per game
Hornets made field goals average on the road: 35.3 per game

So basically, Paul averages more assists at home despite his team making more field goals on the road. The numbers are hardly damning, but still a bit curious.

And by the way, let me state categorically that I believe Chris Paul to be the best point guard in the game, by a rather large margin. So hold off on the hatemail CP3 fan-clubbers.

• Can Jerryd Bayless really go back to playing sporadic minutes when Steve Blake returns from injury? The combination of his ability to get to the bucket and the way he seems to light a fire under the collective butts of the rest of the team could lead one to believe that Coach McMillan is going to have to find a way to get him consistent minutes, even when Blake comes back.

• And how many more "coming out parties" can Bayless have? My understanding of the phrase is that a coming out party, by definition, can only happen once. After that, you're already out. But by my count, I've heard either Mike Barrett, Mike Rice or Michael Holton make that proclamation on three separate occasions. They could be making that statement during home games as well, but I see all of those in person.

• Why doesn't Julian Wright play anymore? He started a few games while David West was out with a bad back, but he's also logged 21 DNP's already this season. I didn't think he was injured, and I could have swore the Hornets were high on him last season, so what's the deal? I mean, Sean Marks played 12 minutes last night, while Wright stayed firmly planted to the bench for all 48. Is he in the doghouse?

• Is Travis Outlaw getting to the point where you can't even consider trading him? With Martell Webster out until ... whenever and with Nic Batum still finding his offense in the NBA, is there any way the Trail Blazers get by without Trav's ability to make huge buckets late in games?

• The Hornets were -27 with Antonio Daniels on the floor last night. I can't really think up a question to go with that, but boy-howdy is that bad.


ShotgunCoop said...

Great points Casey!! Was an incredible win for sure, but they were getting killed up until Paul went down. They looked flat and weren't competing. West was taking it to LA, Roy was having a tough time with Butler and Greg was in early foul trouble.. Again.. Feels like they are still finding their way, trying to establish an identity. What excites me the most, they are no where close to their ceiling.. They're still learning to play with each other, still the youngest team in the league and could be scary good by the end of the year with or with out a trade!
I love Outlaw!! He just kinda fits here I think.. Small town kid, great locker room guy, puts team first and gives Nate match up options with him at the 3 and 4..

cogley said...


1. I think people's idea of what a superstar is is a little bit skewed. Yes, the jordans, bryants, and james's almost without fail will score in huge numbers... but when they have subpar nights, their club loses. Not so much with Kobe now because of his supporting cast, as it was with the bulls in the 90's... but thats the great thing about Roy: when he's not hitting shots, he's not concerned about getting 30, 6, and 5. His stats don't matter, the team's win/loss stat does. So i don't think it was an "un-roy" like night at all. It was typical of him, in fact. In the sense that he didn't care about his own and didn't force something that wasn't going to happen and risk taking away from the team. And hey, we got the W.

2. for my response to this, i think we should ask the NO media what they think. It seems to be the general consensus there that even without Chris Paul, that should not have happened. And that even if Paul was there, Portland still would have made a run. Here's a link to Sean Meagher's game recap: http://blog.oregonlive.com/blazers/2009/02/game_reaction_blazers_97_horne.html

notable is the postings from John DeShazier, The Times-Picayune, and Hornets247.

i'd say 35% paul's absense and 65% portland's hustle. I think i agree with the Hornets247 recap.

3. Thats questionable sure... but i've always wondered why some guys don't get assists given to them on some buckets scored right after they make the pass to the scorer. Is there a time necessity, is there a number of dribble's the person can take? It seems different each place. So i'd say the majority are legit. there's always gonna be room for error w/ a guy who passes so much.

4. No, he can't go back to the bench. I think a lot of people've been trying to figure out whats going to happen w/ him. He's the real deal. 10 man rotation again? And what about how well Sergio's been playing too. I love his play.

5. I don't remember hearing barret and rice talk about coming out parties during home games, but yes, its been several times. Maybe its one for each of Jerryd's personalities. Or maybe its one for each of those suits he wears...

6. .... i have no idea. lol

7. The Outlaw issue is funny... didn't this happen last year in December, where people were wondering if he was ever going to actually produce anything and then a fire was lit under him and everyone wanted to keep him? I think it takes a few months of the season to go by for him to catch his groove. That said, he's had loads of great games this year already. The people who want to trade him want what? A point guard? i think we've got that covered, thanks.

8. lol Antonio who? McD-league? Someone tell him you play defense on the balls of your feet, not your heels.

millertime said...

i would not trade trav. I wouldn't trade anybody. I think this team is doing fine. bayless needs more playing time when blake gets back.

joseph miller said...

Hey Casey - I wouldn't normally leave a comment, but if you're really offering that t-shirt - i figured i might as well give it a shot.
Regarding Paul - i think maybe he just has to excite the crowds at home, so he passes the ball more often, but once he's away, he doesnt have to make them as happy (thus the decrease in assists)
Regarding Bayless, he's a rookie - how many years did he go to college, how do you expect him to know how manny voming out parties he can have.

Btw - is it just me, or is Rudy the least phenomenal dunker amongst the three rookie (not incl GO) I mean, Jerryd is like Nate Robinson, Batum has such great length and he goes up really strong and confident for a rookie. but all rudy does is insane alley-oops, How many times haev we heard, "The Spanish Armada" i will not be surprised to see sergio feeding him all of his dunks at the competition

another random point - why is GO's only move a half of a hook shot, just cuz he's bigger than the basket doesnt mean his shot should come off a halfway rasied arm?


I think Roy did have an off night. But also I think Roy knows when he is having a bad night and won't try to push it that hard. He will get others involved.
I think if Paul wasn't injured, we would have lost. I still think we would have made a comeback, but it would have been a little bit late. So i guess it would be 20% injury 80% blazers effort.
I think its hard when both Sergio and Jerryd keep having these "coming out parties". They then go back to sporradic play. But i think that bayless should definately be ahead of sergio in the rotation.IF he can keep up the offensive fire.
I searched and searched and found that it appears that wright is just in the dog house. here is a link http://blog.nola.com/johndeshazier/2009/01/julian_might_be_the_wright_guy.html

I think the only reason people want to trade Outlaw when is is not doing well, is because they know in the back of their heads he is a good player. He is valuable. They dont talk about trading randolph or others on the bench because they do not hold much trade value. But that is the reason we should not trade him. Because he is Valuable. To Us.
Hope I don't sound completely lost and foolish, but hope I kinda tried to awnser some questions? lol

stephenmcd21 said...

this is what it's like being a fan of a young team. they can break your heart one night but repair the next. i have been impressed how they have won games that they had no right in winning this season...i.e.hornets.

in regards to the hornets, they lost focus after CP3 went out of the game. the blazers smelled blood in the water and they couldn't get back on track.

if the blazers want to be a stronger team then they need keep the players they have. they will get stronger as the season goes on because they will continue to play team ball.

phi slamma said...

I think it is clear that Jerryd Bayless deserves the backup point guard position. I agree with Mike Rice's assessment that we need a defensive stopper on this team. I would not be opposed to see Channing Frye and Sergio packaged for a trade for a player that could help us defensively. That is our glaring weakness. I believe that Bayless is a rare player that runs on emotion and consequently fuels his teammates to higher levels of play. He has the eye of the tiger and the heart of a lion.

Casey Holdahl said...

ShotgunCoop: I agree re: the team still "finding their way." It's the reason why many feel the Blazers could be one of the best teams coming into playoffs, with the thought being that they have the change to improve more than any team above them, while already being pretty dang good.

cogley: Great response. You win the shirt. send me an email at casey.holdahl[at]trailblazers.com

millertime: i'm also leaning toward no trade, and more Bayless.

joseph: you leave one more comment, and I'll make sure you get a shirt. As for Rudy's dunking ability, I think Rudy himself would probably agree with your assessment. That was the league's call.

HAPPY: Thanks for the info on Wright. Sounds like he's stuck in that catch-22 where he still trying to learn how to play in the NBA, but can't get any time because he hasn't figured out how to learn in the NBA.

phi slamma: Agreed. We're a perimeter defender away from being a really good team.

Zach and Yessidey said...

So I'm a little too late for the shirt and that's a bummer.

But I will be there tonight in the AA Center cheering on our boys to victory with my wife.

I think that Brandon bounces back from the bee-sting and drops 25 on Dallas tonight. I also think that LA's game infront of his home-crowd will be solid. My last thought is that our Blazers will pay back the gift that Dallas left us in Ptown on Christmas. End result: We win by 10.