Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Game #1 Recap: Blazers vs. Sixers — Five Bullets or Less

By Jonathan Ryan Davis
  • Blazers win, Blazers win!:  The Portland Trail Blazers are currently on track to be 66-0; who would have thought?  Regardless of how they played, the most important part of last night was the fact that Blazers basketball is back and the home crowd came out to support a thrilling Portland victory (which should not have been so thrilling). 
  • Up-Tempo Offense is Here to Stay:  If last night's game is any indication, Portland is dedicated to a new brand of Blazers basketball.  Throughout the night, Portland pushed the ball up court with outlet passes after turnovers and defensive rebounds.  Raymond Felton was the anchor for this tempo, but players like Jamal Crawford, Gerald Wallace, and Wesley Matthews enabled this style to work by streaking down the floor on every possession they could.  The Blazers had more fast break point last night than the last three seasons combined.  Let's see if they can continue this trend tonight.
  • Fourth Quarter Collapse:  If the Blazers want to have any success beyond the first round of the playoffs, they need to find a late-game identity.  After amassing a 15 point lead late in the 4th quarter, Portland froze up on offense.  Defensively, they were fine.  Philadelphia hit some spectacular, difficult three-pointers to get back in the game.  However, when they tried to convert on offense, the Blazers looked lost.  Felton went from a steady ball-handler to a reckless JV point guard trying to impress his friends with out of control drives and ostentatious passes.  LMA started to float outside and short-arm his jumpers, and the successful movement that created easy baskets for the majority of the game dissipated.  Hopefully, their poor play is a result of the short amount of time the Blazers' stars have spent together and not an sign of things to come.
  • Gerald Wallace is the Man:  Enough said.

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