We’re grading on a curve tonight. For an unscientific take on the game, keep reading.
|J.J. Hickson, PF 37 MIN | 9-15 FG | 4-4 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 22 PTS | -23|
Two rebounds short of another double-double and a solid 37 minutes for Portland tonight. Hickson goes hard to the basket every time he gets the ball in position. He hit a couple of nice jumpers which could be a great weapon if he’s able to develop that over the summer. His FG% from 6-9 ft. is a surprising 62% since he joined Portland, and he’s attempting the most (six per game) from that distance of his career.
|Luke Babbitt, SF 39 MIN | 7-17 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 18 PTS | -11|
Your favorite Chalupa peddler played 39 minutes and scored a career-high 18 points on 17 shots. After establishing his outside shot, he took the defender to the basket and was able to convert in the paint. Sure, Phoenix isn’t a big shot blocking team, but Luke showed confidence getting to the rim tonight which is promising.
|Wesley Matthews, G 40 MIN | 8-17 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 19 PTS | -25|
It tough to see Wesley playing huge minutes knowing he’s hurting, but without his effort on both ends of the floor this ugly game might have been unwatchable. Unless you like watching Luke Babbitt take 17 shots. I’m not judging.
|Jonny Flynn, PG 24 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-2 FT | 2 REB | 6 AST | 4 PTS | -4|
Even grading on a curve, even with a team-high in assists Flynn’s game was missing focus. His energy up and down the court are assets for the Blazers, but he could use some help channeling that activity into something more targeted.
|Jamal Crawford, G 36 MIN | 7-16 FG | 8-10 FT | 5 REB | 4 AST | 22 PTS | -10|
At least four of Crawford’s 10 free throws came off of being fouled outside of the paint. His ability to draw fouls on the perimeter isn’t talked about enough. He added a much needed four assists and five rebounds to his solid 22-point shooting performance.
|Craig Smith, PF 8 MIN | 1-2 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 3 PTS | -2|
Smith stood for every one of Babbitt’s threes while he was on the bench. That earns a B in this game.
|Hasheem Thabeet, C 13 MIN | 1-1 FG | 3-4 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 5 PTS | 0|
A nice block and a couple of trips to the free throw line were the highlights for Thabeet. He seems to have trouble finding his place on defense, and despite his size, opposing teams have no problem working around him. He doesn’t need to put up big points to be a good player in this league, but against an undersized Phoenix bench, Thabeet should have altered many more shots and plays than he did tonight.
|Nolan Smith, G 33 MIN | 6-14 FG | 1-1 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 14 PTS | -7|
It seems like whenever Smith isn’t looking over his shoulder at Flynn or Felton he is able to stay calm enough to have a positive impact on the game. Not worried about being pulled after a bad pass or missed shot, Nolan had one of his best showings of the year with a great overall effort.
Three Final Notes
- A messy game between a team trying out some young talent and a team trying to make it into the playoffs. In that way, both teams were successful.
- We heard Mike Barrett explain to Mike Rice why Luke Babbitt points his fingers to the sky when he hits a shot: “He’s pointing to God, Mike Rice.”
- Portland lost to Phoenix by 25, then beat the Suns by 38, and lost tonight by 18. That’s a 27-point margin of victory for the season series.