|LaMarcus Aldridge, PF 40 MIN | 10-19 FG | 8-8 FT | 10 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 4 BLK | 4 TO | 28 PTS | +8|
Lots of energy, but seemed too wrapped-up in personal battle with Zach Randolph at times.
|Nicolas Batum, SF 41 MIN | 0-5 FG | 4-4 FT | 10 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 2 BLK | 3 TO | 4 PTS | +6|
Seems lost at this point; wrist is clearly hampering what Batum can do. Seemed tentative to shoot, and made questionable decision all night.
|J.J. Hickson, C 26 MIN | 3-10 FG | 2-2 FT | 9 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 8 PTS | -16|
Good energy as usual, but seemed off from the start. Got off to a nice start, recording six quick points, but faded off after that.
|Damian Lillard, PG 39 MIN | 8-17 FG | 8-8 FT | 1 REB | 7 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 27 PTS | -4|
Despite struggling mightily during the second and third quarter, Lillard proved why is the clear leader for Rookie Of The Year. He battled through tenacious defense by Mike Conley to provide a steady source of points and keep Portland close late.
|Wesley Matthews, SG 34 MIN | 3-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 8 PTS | -13|
It’s actually painful to watch Matthews at this point. His injuries are too numerous to name, and when his three-point shot is not falling, the rest of his game is simply too limited, whether due to the pain or otherwise.
|Joel Freeland, PF 6 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -5|
Showed good energy in the first half; didn’t look as lost as he has in the past.
|Meyers Leonard, C 17 MIN | 3-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | -2|
Nice return from his ankle injury; showed a nice mid-range game, and despite missing a couple jumpers, I like the willingness to take the shot. Was outclassed by Marc Gasol, but held up better than the previous meeting.
|Eric Maynor, PG 26 MIN | 3-8 FG | 5-5 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 11 PTS | +7|
Continues to impress, added veteran savvy. Helped keep the game close, when it appeared things were getting out of hand.
|Will Barton, SG 11 MIN | 1-3 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | -6|
Lots of energy, but still WAY too interested in his own shot at this point. If he can learn to harness, could be a valuable asset off the bench.
Five Things We Saw
- When Damian Lillard is pressured at the top of the key, Portland’s offense really struggles. Mike Rice put it well during the broadcast, when he said it’s a “cut off the head, watch the body die.” While Lillard still got his points, the offense was out of rhythm for the majority of the night.
- It may well be time for Batum and Matthews to shut it down for a while. At this point in the season, every player is dinged up, but these two in particular seem to be shells of themselves. Batum, seems to have lost any and all confidence with his wrist issues. Matthews, who has a myriad of injuries, is agonizing to watch at this point.
- For all intents and purposes, the season looks to be headed towards to the lottery, and that is not necessarily a bad thing. Guys like Joel Freeland (who had a decent run in the first half) and Meyers Leonard need reps, and their should be plenty of opportunities. Leonard had a nice game offensively, but again struggled on defensive rotations. Match-ups with guys of Marc Gasol’s caliber are fantastic learning opportunities for the young guy, but a bit tough on fans.
- Memphis GM Chris Wallace should be considered for GM of the year. At the time, trading Rudy Gay seemed to some like the the Grizzlies were throwing in the towel. However, this team is rolling, and they seem to have shredded any last bit of selfishness that may have plagued them with Gay in the lineup. Now sitting at 43-19, having won 13 of their last 14, the Grizzlies look to be a major contender in the western conference come playoff time.
- Despite the loss, you have to like the lineup of Maynor and Lillard on the floor. It will take some time to really jell, but what Maynor brings to the table cannot be under-estimated. Throw in the budding savvy of Victor Claver when he returns, and there is definitely potenital with the mixing of the first and second units.