HAWKS 88 – TRAIL BLAZERS 65 (SUMMER LEAGUE): SOMETIMES IT SNOWS IN APRIL

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This was an unequivocally terrible performance from the Blazers. Like really, really bad. I hope you didn’t watch it. It was beautiful outside yesterday. I hope you were spending time with your loved ones in a grassy field somewhere and forgot that summer league basketball even exists. Please, allow me to make such sacrifices. Save yourselves.

The first half of The Basketball Game That We’re Never Going To Talk About Again After This saw the Blazers fail to establish any type of offensive continuity or rhythm. They took a lot of jump shots and missed a lot of jump shots. They didn’t move the ball well, or really at all. Their interior game was substantially weakened by Thomas Robinson being on the bench and not the floor. All of this contributed to them having 15 points and a field goal percentage in the 20s with 5:22 left in the 2nd quarter. However, to their credit, they went on a nice little run and walked into the locker room at halftime trailing by only five.

The second half was a lot like the first half, minus the last 5:22. The Blazers didn’t do anything well, and they pretty much got run out of the gym by a Hawks team that was led primarily by (Jesuit High School’s) Stephen Holt and Adreian Payne. It was tough to watch, and it was made worse by the fact that all of the guys who were playing are supposed to be relatively good. Only eight players played, and only the top 6 guys (five actual Blazers plus Bobby Brown) played significant minutes. So that kind of sucks.

Bobby Brown had a very impressive game, the only member of the squad for whom that can be said. He shot 6/11 from the field, including 3/4 from behind the three point line, and finished with 20 points. He was also once asked in an interview about his name and said, “Someone is always trying to be funny…asking me where Whitney’s at,” so that’s pretty cool, too.

Remember that time that Will Barton kinda sorta beat the Spurs in an elimination game by himself? Today was kinda sorta the opposite of that, as he scored 15 points on 4-19 shooting, and looked very much like 2012-2013 Will Barton. Luckily, nothing can diminish Will Barton’s confidence because he is Will Barton.

Fellow shooting guard Allen “Apparently my nickname is Breeze” Crabbe had another underwhelming performance, though he did shoot 3/4 from the field. Filling out a stat sheet doesn’t exactly seem to be a forte of young Allen, as his shot attempts are pretty much the only evidence that he in fact participated in this basketball game.

CJ McCollum had another game where he didn’t shoot the ball particularly well (6/15, 0/3 from deep) but still managed to have a mostly positive effect on the game, due to his 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and 5-5 mark from the charity stripe. He also had what was probably the play of the game, in which he split two guys and hit a ridiculous high arcing and-one. I celebrated briefly, remembered the score of the game, and then stopped celebrating. It was pretty cool.

The Joel Freeland / Meyers Leonard frontcourt worked about as well as you would have expected. They finished with a combined 5 points and 12 rebounds, and really made you stop and think about the potentially devastating consequences that would accompany the Joel Freeland / Meyers Leonard frontcourt ever becoming a reality in an actual NBA basketball game. Freeland missed every shot he took and grabbed 8 of the duo’s 12 rebounds. Which, unfortunately, means that (LOTTERY PICK) Meyers Leonard had a grand total of 4 points and 4 rebounds in 31 minutes of action.

He continued to not understand basic defensive principles. He continued to look timid and unsure of himself. He continued to play basketball as if he’s simultaneously trying to do long division in his head. In other words, he continued to be the Meyers Leonard that we’ve come to know and not love. At one point, one of the NBATV announcers proclaimed, “Yeah they really need more out of him [as a franchise].” We don’t need more out of him; we need anything out of him. There were multiple times throughout the game where I thought… Can we trade him for Adreian Payne? Please? Or for anybody? How about anything? At this point, I would give up Meyers if it meant that Chalupas could come back, no questions asked.

But I digress. Now, having been eliminated from a chance at winning the prestigious NBA Summer League championship, the Blazers will head to the losers bracket to play Utah on Friday in a game that somehow matters even less than an average summer league game. Pray for Meyers. Or Chalupas.

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