The Portland Trail Blazers are in a perpetual free fall.
And no, there is no joyous vocal styling of Tom Petty to soothe all worries.
This is gravity pulling our heads back to Earth and forcing us to face reality. Maybe the Blazers aren’t that good. Dropping a game to the Wizards is inexcusable in itself, but to yield 124 points to an offensively challenged team? Ugh.
At this point, one can only hope the Blazers’ parachute functions at all.
- Mike Tokito at the Oregonian wonders if the Blazers are better than their efforts showed last night. “The Wizards sliced up the Blazers’ defense for 13 more points than Oklahoma City had scored in the previous high game by a Portland opponent,” he said. “They shot 60 percent from the field, another Blazers opponent high.”
- Michael Lee of The Washington Post shouldn’t have to remind you of last night’s defensive debacle, but he did so anyway:
Young wasn’t the only Wizard on a roll offensively Tuesday night, as John Wall again directed a solid floor game with 29 points and nine assists. Jordan Crawford came off the bench, looking to shake off a season-long slump and scored 21 points with a flurry of difficult long jumpers.
- Truehoop Network sister site truthaboutit.net bloggers offered up their insights from last night’s trainwreck(Sorry LA) in Portland.
- As most of you know, LaMarcus Aldridge suffered an ankle injury last night. Jason Quick at the O has the initial report.
- Oregonian Sports has the preview for tonight’s contest against the Golden State Warriors:
Golden State has won three in a row and five of the last seven. During the run, the Warriors are 4-1 at home…. They defeated the Phoenix Suns 102-96 Monday night as Lee finished with 28 points and 12 rebounds. It was the first time since Feb. 11, 2004 that the Warriors held the Suns below 100 points. … Golden State, which ranks first in the NBA in three-point shooting (39.6 percent), has made 49.6 percent of its threes (58 for 117) over the last five games. … The Warriors are 6-9 against the Western Conference and 8-8 at home. … Golden State has averaged 25.3 assists per game over the last nine games, which ranks third in the NBA. The Warriors collected a season-high 33 against the Blazers on Jan. 25.
- ESPN’s mathematical maniac (and proud Trail Blazers devotee) John Hollinger wonders if the Blazers are lottery bound (via ESPN Insider).
Even if we assume that teams play to the score enough that close-game outcomes aren’t 100 percent random, in the aggregate it remains a fairly accurate approximation. Pelton’s work showed that variations, even at the extremes, are normally on the order of one to two hundred points in winning percentage from a team’s winning percentage in “non-close” games (those decided by six or more).Not for the Blazers. They’re 1-9 when games are decided by five or less, but 14-5 when it’s not — going from .737 in non-close games to .100 when it’s tight. That’s not sustainable. In fact, about the worst the Blazers “true” expectation in these games could be is about .500, given how strong they’ve been in their other contests.
But let’s go pessimistic and say the Blazers’ “real” expectation in these games was to convert them at a 40 percent clip. In that event, what’s transpired of late — losing eight straight such games — would be more than four times more likely. It’s still not likely, mind you, at a 1.0 percent probability, but it seems a lot less freakish.
Nonetheless, no matter how you slice it, the Blazers have been unfortunate. Nobody consistently wins only 10 percent of their close games. NOBODY. The Blazers should be something like 4-6 in these contests, which would make their record seem a lot more palatable at 18-11. If they play 10 more such contests the rest of the season, we’d expect them to come away with four or five wins.
- Wizards’ owner Ted Leonsis doesn’t appreciate the daily grind of bloggers. This is unsurprising. When you own the Wizards it’s hard to be able to enjoy anything.
So today I woke up early — 530 am, and looked to the scores of the Wizards vs. Trail Blazer game last night. As noted — I only could stay up til half time.
I then went online and read the Washington Post. It covered the game well as the writer was at the game.
I then went to several of my favorite Wizards blogs; and what did I see?
Previews of the game. A story about Portland and their plans.
One had an article about the Miami Heat game from Friday.
It appears no local Wizards blogger stayed up late and wrote about the game in real time? I am sure they will do a good job later today; but without NBC local and the Post — I wouldn’t have the data that I wanted and needed.
- Finally, Linning is the new Tebowing, except awesome.