Your daily (Mon-Fri) roundup of links from around the blogosphere, typically Trail Blazers related.
• The All-Star reserve list has leaked, and looks like Brandon Roy is going to Dallas. No word yet if he will literally go to Dallas due to his hamstring injury, but he was selected to his third All-Star game.
• Kevin Pelton says “(T)he way the Jazz controlled the game and revealed that the Blazers, so resilient in the face of injuries throughout this season, are starting to be unable to paper over their weaknesses.”
“The already grumpy crowd (see also: scoreboard) went bonkers at the end of the first period when Nicolas Batum appeared to be fouled with a foul so foul-acious that it dwarfed many of the fouls that had been called in Utah's favor in the quarter. Batum converted the layup but no whistle blew. In short order Jerryd Bayless had earned a technical foul for protesting, which lit the fuse in the stands. In one of those "Only in Portland" moments a torrential flow of boos flooded the arena floor, reverberating so loudly that it hit the back walls of the building with force and redoubled. But these boos didn't stop after 10 seconds, or 30, or a minute. They sustained and grew through the long, long quarter break. It was like a weird, amoeba-like organism had formed out of 20,000 people which was now intent on sucking up the refs with a sticky, poisonous tongue of booing. About halfway through the break the arena staff put on film of Kiki Vandeweghe and Mychal Thompson talking about their Blazer experiences, this being 80's Remembrance Night and all. For a second the organism paused as if considering whether to take the bait and subside, lulled into submission by these fan-favorite players of yore. But the Boomoeba was angry and after that half-hesitating moment it doubled and tripled its efforts. Poor Mychal and Kiki couldn't be heard at all...and this is after the staff cranked the speaker volume way up. Anyone who's been anywhere near the Rose Garden knows those that sound system is LOUD. It was no more than a buzzing subtext rumbling impotently behind the Boomoeba's hunting call. It wanted blood and it would not be dissuaded from its target. The second quarter horn sounded and the booing was still as strong as ever. I have never heard anything like it. The refs did ease the calls from that point on. Perhaps it was the natural tendency to protect the losing team in a blowout, particularly at home. Perhaps it was the cover-your-butt thing they sometimes do to make the whistles even out. But I think the Boomoeba may have made their neck hairs stand a little. The Boomoeba is scary.”
• While we’re there, BlazersEdge answers some mail.
• Britt Robson of Sports Illustrated talks about the resilience of the Trail Blazers and how they've coped with a veritable injury carousel.
• Oh, nerdgasm! Check out these articles from the Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports. I cannot wait to dig through these! Major props to Basketball Geek Ryan J. Parker and his awesome twitter feed.
• Speaking of people to follow on twitter, InvisiNinjaPDX straight nailed it to the wall with his predictions for last night’s game. Here is his comment from the BlazersEdge preview thread:
Over the last 9 games when Jazz have gone 8-1 They are spot up/ interior Cut centric with transition thrown in.
Spot up they are at 1.04 PPP and 40.7 FG%
Cut they are 1.35PPP and shooting 69.4%
Transition 1.29 and 64.1%
From 3 they are 42.2% over that period
Over the last 9 games all 3 of those play types make up over 13% of their O
Conversely the Blazers 3 worst defensive play types over the last 5 games without Roy?
Cut, Transition, Spot up,
Now the Jazz Defensively are strong against the ISO and P&R which has been the Blazers strength with Roy in the lineup.
both at .84PPP and between 37-39% FG% against. Where they are susceptible is the Cut and Spot Up.
Over that 5 games The Blazers are only shooting 34.7% spot up total and scoring .91PPP
The Blazers do not use Cutters as a large enough piece of their offense to make a difference, roughly 6 possessions a game.
Blazers only chance of winning…
3 pt shooting and getting out in transition, Jazz defend transition poorly
and don’t seem to close out on 3pt shot, instead they focus on interior spot ups and hold spot ups from inside the 3 under 32%
Now the real problem… over the last 5 games the Blazers are only shooting 28.2% from distance…”
• The Hoopdata advanced stats boxscore for last night’s game is up if you happen to be a masochist.
• Now I’m not trying to be a downer or anything, but so far the Blazers have been throwing wins together with bailing twine and duct tape. Rudy and Batum coming back is great, but neither one of them are a defensive force in the middle. Unfortunately, LaMarcus Aldridge hasn’t stepped up to be that defensive anchor either. With the rise of Memphis and Oklahoma City, I just don’t see how Portland will make the playoffs in a stacked Western Conference once teams start getting serious about making a push. If Portland doesn’t trade for a big man to hold down the paint (and I’m not saying they should) and Aldridge doesn’t step up in a big way, I just don’t see how the Blazers can stay ahead of these healthy teams nipping at their heels. Portland is just two losses away from being tied for 11th place in the West.
• If Portland makes the playoffs it will be because of an unbelievable show of luck, grit and determination. If they don’t make it, who do you like in the 2010 NBA draft lottery? Let us know what you think, should Portland trade up, down, or out?