What is it about the Atlanta Hawks that the Blazers can’t figure out? The Hawks blow out the Blazers for the second time in two weeks, this time without All-star forward Al Horford. The Hawks, also playing in a back-to-back take advantage of the tired Blazers squad, beating them 91-82.
From the tipoff this game had a sloppy vibe. It turned ugly fast and became hard to watch for anyone other than the Collins parents, I’m sure. The Blazers and Hawks both had enough trouble holding on to, let alone scoring, the ball. Baskets weren’t falling early for the Blazers, yet they held an 18-11 lead with 14 seconds left to play in the quarter, and then “it” happened.
For the first time this season I sat watching the Blazers, who usually are very good with the ball, cough it up 3 times in a row—to one player. Of course, Jeff Teague, who I don’t remember watching in the All-Star game this year… but he had to have played, right? Both Jarron Collins and Gerald Wallace threw inbounds passes to the Hawk player and Patty Mills was stripped by Teague at half court, allowing the hawks to end the quarter on an 8-0 run and take a 19-18 lead into the second quarter.
The second quarter wasn’t much to write home about either for the Blazers, yet they took a 38-35 point lead into halftime. However, I remember thinking at the time that I would be more comfortable letting Charlie Sheen housesit for the weekend than I was with the Blazers “lead’.
Of course the second half started out with painfully sloppy basketball again, and it became a game of which team doesn’t want to lose more, and it turns out the home team didn’t. The Hawks went on to outscore the Blazers 27-16 in the quarter and never looked back.
Behind the stellar three point shooting of Jamaal Crawford, who must save his best games for the Blazers, and Jeff frickin’ Teague, the Hawks cruised to victory in the fourth.
The Blazers were tired and played like a team on the last game of a four game roadtrip. Aside from a solid performance from Lamarcus Aldridge, Wesley Matthews and Brandon Roy, the rest of the team was just flat. Andre Miller, who was supposed to destroy his matchup with JEFF TEAGUE played his worsrt game of the season, shooting 0-8 and finishing with on point and four assists.
Nicolas Batum, who appeared to suffer an ankle injury late, played an unspectacular 17 minutes and finished with five point. Camby also scored in single figures (two).
When three of a teams’s five starters finish with a combined eight points, they’re in trouble no matter the opponent.
The Blazers played some of the sloppiest 48 minutes of basketball as they have all season, and in the end finish their a four game roadtrip—one that that began splendidly—a rather regrettable, forgettable 2-2.
I hate hyperbole, but if I were to tell you the Blazers would lose two games during this trip, no one would have picked the combination of Atlanta and Charlotte. So much for the best road-winning streak in two decades. The Blazers caughed it up against inferior teams. Maybe they started believing the hype. It’s happened before. And just like every other time, they’ll start from scratch once again.
Or maybe coach McMillan (and Charles Barkley) is right—you’ve just got to make shots.