Your daily (Mon-Fri) roundup of links from around the blogosphere, typically Trail Blazers related.
• Mike Barrett says that Marcus Camby and Nicolas Batum are the heroes of last night’s game:
Marcus Camby probably goes down as the hero on this night, staying with the defensive theme. He had a couple of field goals, when Portland desperately needed them, and had 3 of his 5 blocks in the fourth. In a very key possession late, Camby knocked the ball away from Spencer Hawes, and then beat Hawes to the ball by diving on to the floor, called for a timeout, and won the possession for his team.
• On Batum:
Nicolas Batum continues to show his value late in games, both with his defense and ability to finish at the rim. Batum was a very efficient 6 for 7 from the field, scored 14 points, and played very good defense on Rookie-of-the-Year-to-be, Tyreke Evans.
• Just FYI, even though Nicolas Batum has only played 21 games so far, he is shooting a Steve Nash like 55.3% from the field, 42.9% from three, and 91.7% from the free throw line. In fact Kevin Pelton’s “shoot” score which rewards frequent shooters to help eliminate flukes says that he’s been one of the best shooters in the league in his limited minutes. What I think is encouraging is that Batum is getting his points in largely sustainable ways and in the flow of the offense. Should Batum’s usage go up, his efficiency will likely take a hit, but as long as he keeps taking what the defense is giving him, he’s going to be a very efficient complimentary player and could be the straw that breaks the opposing defense’s back. Players like Roy, Aldridge, and Oden are the foundation, but players like Batum put a team over the top.
• Ben Golliver from BlazersEdge inquires after Roy’s hamstring:
“There’s times I feel like … I kind of have good days, bad days, good plays, bad plays. Sometimes I’ll tweak it and I’ll stay off of it for a little bit. It’s something I’ve got to play with and try to deal with it.” Asked if it was affecting his free throw shooting or balance (he struggled again at the line, going 3-7), Roy said, “Nah, I’m just missing today. Yeah, I was just missing those.”
• Wendell Maxey talks to the Kings about what makes Brandon Roy so hard to guard:
“Man, he’s strong,” Landry explained when asked what makes Roy such a tough cover.
“That’s something a lot of people don’t know about Brandon Roy. He’s a very athletic player but he’s strong at the same time. He can shoot that jump shot, but he can also get to the hoop at finish at the same time. A lot of people think because he’s a shooting guard, he’s not strong. He’s stronger than the average guard.”
• The Oregonian’s Jason Quick says that in spite of the win, the Blazers defense leave something to be desired.
• Geoffrey C. Arnold of The Oregonian reports that Nate McMillan agrees with Quick:
“Our defense has been a work in progress all year long,” McMillan said. “In the last five games, we haven’t been sharp. That has been a concern.”
• ESPN’s J.A. Adande has a national piece on the Trail Blazers. Nothing new for most Portland fans, but it’s nice to get some national run.
• If you will recall, Dwight Jaynes was raising expectations a few days ago. Well, he’s down in the dumps now. Have the Blazers changed their level of play so much in such a short period? No, they have not. The level of competition has changed a bit, but the problems that were on full display last night were the same problems that were bandaged over during that five game road trip.
• Speaking of changing stances, Bust a Bucket’s Sophia Brugato might be warming up to Marcus Camby, even if just a little.
• Salary cap guru Larry Coon wonders if the big names may threaten to play in Europe if CBA negotiations go sour.
• As per his twitter, Jeff Pendergraph is no longer single. Women all over Portland are weeping.