We’re starting to try new things with how we handle our recaps here at PRS. We’re going to be delivering you a round-up from a few or all of our writers to give you a run down of each game’s notable storylines so you can parse out the hardwood signal from the noise (holler atchaboi, Nate Silver). One feature we’re proud to debut tonight is Maddison Bond’s visual recap—a drawn-out timeline of the live, semi-demented reactions from our resident artist. Click through the image below to get a larger version.
This was a high-scoring overtime contest that often lapsed into sloppy and tired play. In the second half, defensive effort for both teams was wan, as the Blazers posted 60 points after the break. Portland got balanced contributions from their core players to win their eighth in a row, while the Magic fell to nine straight losses. Four Blazers posted double-doubles on the night; LaMarcus Aldridge and JJ Hickson paired double digit points with rebounds, while both Nic Batum and Damian Lillard notched more than ten assists. For the Magic, Arron Afflalo and JJ Redick were standouts, with the latter in particular having a strong game.
Postgame, Terry Stots continued his praise of LaMarcus Aldridge, touting the big man as Portland’s “most consistent player on both ends of the floor.” Stotts has been discussing Aldridge in these terms for a while; jaded Blazer fans might see this as a defense of a difficult player who needs to be kept happy, while glass-half-full types will note that Aldridge has been playing more balanced, aggressive basketball lately and providing a hefty base of high-percentage production. Tonight, he posted 27 points on 12/22 shooting, ten rebounds and five assists. Here’s Stotts on the effort:
Finally, our own Sean Highkin weighs in quickly on the final possession of isolation, a play which will surely receive some discussion:
The Blazers pulled away in overtime, but I can’t help but think that the extra period could have been avoided. It almost feels like Damian Lillard is isolating at the ends of games out of a sense of obligation. It’s a great moment when he hits the shot, like in the New Orleans or Houston games. But the Blazers didn’t need a three, and there’s no way the Magic expected anything else would be called. A corner three for Batum, a look for Aldridge in the post, a shot for Matthews, or even a Lillard drive to the basket would have made more sense than the painful seconds spent watching Lillard dribble with Arron Afflalo hounding him before he forced up a three. Thanks to the playcall, the starters all logged five extra minutes just as the Blazers prepare to face Miami, Golden State, and Oklahoma City over the rest of the week.
Agree with Sean? Disagree? This is Stotts’ reaction, notable for his seeming lack of enthusiasm for the shot— and not just its outcome:
More to come on the game tomorrow morning.