Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Game #2 Recap: Blazers vs. Kings — Five Bullets or Less

By Jonathan Ryan Davis
  • Defense Wins Championships:  Last night, Portland came out of the gate with heavy legs, sloppy play, lackluster defense, and an inept offense.  It looked like the Blazers were destined to end up 1-1, then something happened.  Instead of sagging on defense, slipping below screens, and avoiding the glass like they were scared it would come tumbling down on them, Portland decided midway through the second quarter to play some D.  Spurred by the aggression of Gerald Wallace, Portland played opportunistic defense, where they went for steals, communicated and helped one another, and played in-your-face D.  Suddenly, Sacramento started missing, Portland started pushing the tempo, and a ten point deficit turned into a rout.  Portland has the potential to be one of the top defenses in the league with an array of athletic, smart players who know how to position themselves on the defensive end.  Anchored by Marcus Camby and Gerald Wallace, if Portland can retain this defensive energy, they will compete with OKC for the division.
  • Beware of the Rhino:  Craig Smith made his first appearance last night and proved he was a worthwhile acquisition.  He is huge and knows how to use his body.  Smith could and should become the enforcer of our second unit who is able to clog the paint, control the boards, and provide 4-6 points on night on put backs.  The Rhino is no longer endangered!
  • Finishing Drives: Portland looked terrible, for the second night in a row, at finishing drives to the basket.  Led by Wesley Matthews and Raymond Felton, the Blazers consistently got to the hole only to blow easy lay-ins.  If Portland can start converting these gimmes, close games will become comfortable wins.
  • A Win's a Win's a Win:  We need to remember that with a shortened season, it doesn't matter how we win so long as we win.  We are 2-0.  Let's keep the wins coming, however ugly they might be.
  • Wallace Encore:  He's good.  Very good.  Very Very good.  Just ask the Rose Garden crowd who serenaded him as he exited the court last night.  I can't wait to watch him for an entire season.  At this point, we might have two all-stars on our team.
Go Blazers!!

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