Saturday, January 7, 2012

Game #7 Recap: Blazers vs. Suns — Five Bullets or Less

By Jonathan Ryan Davis
  • Trap Game:  This game is the perfect example of a trap game.  The Blazers are playing well, having just defeated their bitter rivals in a nationally televised game.  They fly late at night to play a team that is a shell of itself, a team they should pummel.  They know they should win with ease; so what do they do?  They show up expecting to win instead of to earn it.  In the NBA, even when playing an inferior team, if you never play to win, you won't.
  • Bad, Bad, Defense:  Portland continued their trend of playing lackluster defense in the first quarter again Phoenix.  They sagged on their men, they half-heartedly went for rebounds, and they were content to run up and down the floor without getting back on defense.  The only difference between last night and the previous games was that last night, Portland continued that poor defense for the rest of the game.  Portland has the personnel to be a scary defensive team.  They have shown it in spurts in most games.  Hopefully they watch the tape of last night so they can see what happens when they decide to take the night off.  If these Blazers fully embrace the defensive mindset that McMillan has been teaching them, Portland will remain near the top of the Western Conference.  If they have consistent lapses like last night, Portland will be simply a decent playoff team.
  • The Benefit of Such Losses:  In a way, I'm happy Portland lost last night.  In a truncated season, they need reminders of how they need to improve.  The Blazers will now have a day to watch tape, learn from last night, and get better.  I wish a few of the games this week were on the road to see their improvement away from the Rose Garden; however, we will see how they do against some quality teams this week, beginning with Cleveland (not great), then the Clippers, and Magic.
  • Consistency of Gerald Wallace:  In our two losses, Gerald Wallace has a total of ONE point.  I think the formula for winning is pretty clear.  Wallace needs to play well.  He doesn't need to score 30, but he needs to be himself.  Last night he wasn't, and the Blazers lost.
  • Keep the Faith:  It's early; the Blazers will be fine.
Go Blazers!

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