Your daily (Mon-Fri) roundup of links from around the blogosphere, typically Trail Blazers related.
No Tim Duncan, no Tony Parker, No Manu Ginobili; not Portland’s problem.
Gregg Popovich gave up playing his star players and coaching defensive rotations for lent, and the Portland Trail Blazers took advantage, coasting to a monster 137-97 victory.
Jamal Crawford took kindly to the gesture of being a starter and led a Portland offensive onslaught that led to a 41-point first quarter and an 18-point advantage over the visiting San Antonio Spurs. The Blazers maintained a comfortable cushion the rest of the way, and even flirted with a 50-point margin late in the game.
All of Rip City’s starters shot well and reached double figures except for Marcus Camby; LaMarcus Aldridge led the way with 21, Crawford had 20, and Gerald Wallace and Nicolas Batum each chipped in 19.
The offensive fireworks came in stark contrast to Monday’s dismal seven point first quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers, which ultimately led to a 102-92 loss. On a night of a back-to-back game, no one expected the basketball brilliance they witnessed Tuesday at the Rose Garden. But after studying the Blazers up to mid-season’s break, the lesson has been simple; this team changes every night.
Normally, bi-polar disorder isn’t something to joke about — unless you’re talking about Jim Carey and his “acting career,” then it’s hilarious — but this team cannot string together consistent performances. The hope will be that All-Star weekend allows players to recharge their drained batteries caused both from mental and physical fatique. The hope won’t be that Portland suffers another medical set back.
With that being said, enjoy the weekend’s festitivies!
- Mike Tokito of the Oregonian discusses last night game and reminds Blazermanics that they shouldn’t get too caught up in the win.
“Crawford and Felton surely benefited from Spurs coach Gregg Popovich’s decision to rest All-Star point guard Tony Parker, who has been a force during the 11-game winning streak San Antonio came to Portland on. Popovich also rested Hall of Fame-bound power forward Tim Duncan, and did not have the services of his other big star, Manu Ginobili, who is out with a strained oblique.”
- Back at the O, Jason Quick says the real game may have been played away from the court last night, with the players pursuit of bringing back Joel Pryzbilla. Pryzbilla’s agent, Bill Duffy, thinks Portland is the likely landing spot:
“I think Portland is always the sentimental favorite for obvious reasons,” Duffy said. “Joel has a home here and he had the best years of his career here. And at this particular time, it looks like he is needed, too.”
- Tim Griffin at the San Antonio Express-News says the Spurs’ loss means little because they are already looking at the playoffs.
“Sure, the 11-game winning streak was fun while it lasted.
But the NBA is all about positioning for the playoffs. And playing starters for extended minutes in February doesn’t make much sense, particularly when injuries and back-to-back games start piling up during the most difficult road trip of the season.”
- John Hollinger at Truehoop headquarters says the R&R was just what the Spurs needed. And while McMillan may have outcoached Popovich’s second-string, Popovich could be the one doing the outcoaching in the long term.
“It’s a lesson Blazers coach Nate McMillan might want to learn; one night after keeping LaMarcus Aldridge and Gerald Wallace on the court for 38 and 35 minutes in a hopeless situation against the Lakers, he had Wallace still out there with Portland up by 40 in the fourth quarter. It was their last game before the All-Star break, yes, but the cumulative wear and tear of this season is already taking a toll on Wallace in particular, who is averaging 35.8 minutes and had three straight single-figure outings before Tuesday night.”
- Daily Dime dubbed San Antonio’s performance as the Tuesday’s Worst (box 4).
- LaMarcus Aldridge made a cameo in this week’s episode of Portlandia.
Thoughts, ideas and challenges to 1-on-1 games, are happily accepted in the comments section.