Tag:Portland Trail Blazers
Posted on: November 5, 2010 11:04 am
 

Game Changer 11.5.10: Night of Thunder

Posted by Royce Young

Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer.

THE BIG ONE: OKC FINDS ITSELF IN OT

For three quarters, it looked like more of the same for the Thunder. Bad defense, simplistic offense and a double-digits deficit. The Trail Blazers were having their way and with a 6-0 run to start the second half, Oklahoma City was within an inch of being run out of the building. For this here recap, I actually already had almost 200 words written about how the Thunder defense has been absolutely terrible this season.

But they held it together. They dug in and they were ready to fight. And fight they did.

The Thunder found what worked for them last season and got back into the game by relying on the defensive end coupled with two supreme playmakers making supreme plays. Kevin Durant hit big shots. Russell Westbrook was everywhere, hitting shots, grabbing rebounds and attacking the Portland defense.

Somehow, after being manhandled, the Thunder locked up the Blazers 100-100 and forced five extra minutes. I have no idea how, but they did.

So now, on the road against a team that had a day off and is one of the premier squads in the West, common sense says the Blazers would take charge in overtime. Wrong again. The Thunder didn't allow a point in the overtime period until there was a minute left. A layup by James Harden with four minutes to go almost proved to be a gamewinner. In overtime, Portland went 1-9 from the floor with the only basket being a meaningless 3 at the buzzer.

It's early in the season. For Oklahoma City, this is game five of 82. But it cannot be understated how important this win is for the Thunder. After two whoopings by the Jazz and Clippers,  the team was lacking confidence, the fanbase was a little rattled and people were wondering where last season's OKC team was.

Well, the Thunder found themselves in Portland Thursday night. Just in time, too.

GO-GO-GADGET LINES:

Toney Douglas: A career-high 30 points on 9-14 shooting including 5-9 from 3. It was actually better than that though because Douglas had to heave three of those 3-point misses at the end of the shot clock.

Derrick Rose: 24 points and a career-high 14 assists

Kevin Durant: KD had 28 points and 11 rebounds and was especially terrific stat-wise, but he played 52 minutes of a possible 53, played stellar defense on Brandon Roy down the stretch and blocked three shots.

CAPTAIN HINDSIGHT VISITS CHICAGO:

With nine minutes remaining, the Knicks led the Bulls 108-89. Tom Thibodeau, thinking about Friday night when his Bulls travel to Boston for the second game of a back-to-back, had seen enough. The Knicks were carving up his team and so he threw in the towel.

The starters came out and seemingly, the game ended there. Except the Chicago bench kept playing. And actually, they kept playing to the tune of a quick 10-0 run. Four minutes remaining, Bulls down nine. Here comes the calvary, right?

Wrong. Thibodeau kept Joakim Noah, Derrick Rose and Luol Deng on the bench. Whether that was because he was still thinking about Friday night or because he thought the second unit was playing better and gave the Bulls a better chance of actually coming back, he kept his starters on the bench.

Not that it would've worked out better if Rose and company had checked back in, but the closest the Bulls could get was nine, three different times. There just wasn't enough firepower and not enough defensive ability to get the stops needed and the baskets on the other end. Kyle Korver kept things interesting, hitting a couple outside shots, but in the end, it wasn't enough.

Hard to say whether or not Thibodeau screwed the pooch in this situation, but an interesting situation nonetheless. You'd think with the Bulls down nine points with four minutes left, that would be a good time to have Rose, Deng and Noah in the game. Except this time, Thibodeau thought otherwise. Maybe he was playing the hot hand, maybe he was proving a point with the starters or maybe he had an eye toward Boston. Whatever the case, an approach that definitely opened the door for some second-guessing.

A SOMEWHAT CLEVER STAT THAT KIND OF TELLS THE STORY:

The Bulls went 19-27 from the free throw line. The Knicks went 16-24 from the 3-point line.

HERO(ES) OF THE DAY:

Two nominees from the Thunder: First, Russell Westbrook. The third-year point guard put up 28 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and dished out five assists. But he was the difference in OKC's win over the Blazers. He pulled in six offensive rebounds from his point guard position, with three of them coming in the last eight minutes of the game. Plus, when OKC needed a couple buckets, Westbrook knocked down two huge jumpers. Kevin Durant is obviously Oklahoma City's star, but Russell Westbrook may have been their best player Thursday.

Secondly, Serge Ibaka. The man dubbed "Air Congo" may not have had a line that jumps out to you - 11 points, seven rebounds, two blocks - but his interior defense was vital to the Thunder. LaMarcus Aldridge started the game 6-6 from the field for 12 points and was abusing Jeff Green. Early in the third quarter, Aldridge had 20 points and had just missed two shots with Nenad Krstic and Green attempting to check him. Ibaka entered and played Aldridge for the entire fourth quarter and overtime and held Aldridge to a mere basket. He altered shots and established an inside presence for OKC.

AUDIBLE THUNDER:

Scott Brooks talking about OKC's big win (via Ben Golliver):


DID YOU KNOW THIS:

This was the Knicks first game on TNT since 2007. Kind of surprising for the league's biggest market. But a nice return too. But right now, New York is 2-2 and its next six games are very winnable - home games against Washington, Philadelphia, Golden State and 0-4 Houston and two road games against Milwaukee and Minnesota. There's a chance people, that the Knicks could be getting some people excited soon.

DON'T MISS:

NO REGARD FOR HUMAN FAIL:

I absolutely adore Kevin Harlan. Like, he's one of my very favorite announcers. But this must be posted. With the Thunder up four after Westbrook iced the game with two free throws, Harlan loses track of the math.



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Posted on: November 5, 2010 9:37 am
Edited on: November 5, 2010 9:38 am
 

Shootaround 11.5.10: Like That

Posted by Matt Moore

  • The Sonics mascot showed up with a sign that said "Homeless" last night. Which is adorable. I do wonder where the sign is that reads "Homeless because people didn't think it was a good idea to build me a new home" but I'm a stickler for accuracy like that.
  • Mikael Pietrus and Stan Van Gundy got into a shouting match over Pietrus being yanked in the third quarter against the Wolves. One would think in a 40 point annihilation that everyone would be happy. It's also bizarre that SVG continues to have trouble with Pietrus considering that he's been a big part of the team's success and I don't see any yelling or screaming at Vince Carter, but I'm a stickler for fairness like that.
  • Twitter has not been kind to the Celtics. Twitter is a remarkably easy interface to control, you just have to be sure to think about what you're posting before you post it. Then, if you do post something that isn't great, you need to be prepared to take responsibility for it. Or blame it on hackers. You know, either one.
Posted on: November 5, 2010 4:25 am
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:31 pm
 

Blazers' horrible day ends with loss to Thunder

The Portland Trail Blazers lost two players for the season on Thursday, and lost to their major rival, the Oklahoma City Thunder, on Thursday night. kevin-durantPosted by Ben Golliver The Portland Trail Blazers know a thing or two about bad days, especially after last season, when they suffered through some shell-shocking 24-hour periods. Greg Oden writhing in pain on the floor, his knee completely out of place. Joel Pryzbilla, injuring his knee on the court and then again at home in his shower a few months later, sitting on the bathroom floor, tears flowing as he realized what he had done. Draft night: firing a popular general manager out of nowhere, trading a popular player and leaving its fanbase in a state of shock. Thursday ranks right up there with any of them, though. In less than 10 hours, the Blazers: 1) lost first-round draft pick Elliot Williams for the season due to a knee injury, 2) lost center Fabricio Oberto to retirement due to a re-occurring heart problem 3) lost guard Rudy Fernandez for an indefinite time period (not expected to be too long) to a minor back injury and 4) lost at home in overtime to their chief rival, the Oklahoma City Thunder, after blowing a 13-point lead on national television. "Thank goodness it's over," said Blazers coach Nate McMillan after the game. "It's shocking some of the things that happened, but you have to move on." Even though the back half of their roster was seemingly melting away before their eyes, the Blazers came out relatively poised against the Thunder, dumping in 64.3% of their first half shots and scoring easily time after time. Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge was a major recipient, finishing a number of alley oops at the rim, without a Thunder defender in sight.  Battling back from down double digits, the Thunder tightened up big time in the second half, limiting the Blazers to just 19 fourth-quarter points and, even more remarkably, holding the Blazers scoreless through the first 4:19 of overtime. Oklahoma City all star Kevin Durant switched onto Blazers all star Brandon Roy down the stretch. Roy finished with 19 points, five rebounds and five assists on the night, but he shot just 6-17 from the field and was 0-4 from the field in the fourth quarter and overtime. One of the misses was a potential game-winner in the final seconds of regulation, with Durant waving at his look. "They definitely keyed on some of the spots that I like to get the ball," Roy said. "So I think because of that we went other places and we just looked a little confused there. We've got to get better down the stretch. We've got to figure that out." Durant, meanwhile, was steely-faced before the game and animated throughout, looking to make up for a 6-24 shooting night in an ugly blowout loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday. He did so in a big way Thursday, out-dueling Roy by putting up 28 points, 11 rebounds, two assists and three blocked shots. "We needed that a lot, man," Durant said. "It's kind of like a monkey off of our backs once the buzzer ended. It's a good win for us but we've got to move on." As for the Blazers, the injury monkey remains on their backs, and it only seems to increase in size. Portland played just eight players on Thursday due to all the injuries, and the team plans to bring in five free agent big men for a look, as first reported on CBSSports.com. "We'll be looking at guys," McMillan said after the game. "We certainly are looking at bringing somebody in." Portland needs the interior help if they are to keep pace with the Thunder (and the Jazz, and the Nuggets) for the Northwest Division crown. Make no mistake, that's still the goal for the Blazers, who remain in first place in the Northwest at 4-2, despite a Thursday they won't soon forget. 
Posted on: November 5, 2010 4:19 am
Edited on: November 5, 2010 8:03 am
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Posted on: November 4, 2010 8:39 pm
Edited on: November 4, 2010 10:17 pm
 

Fabricio Oberto announces unexpected retirement

Posted by Royce Young

Some sad news out of Portland late Thursday - Blazer big man Fabricio Oberto has unexpectedly announced his retirement due to recurrent palpitations related to a prior cardiac condition.

Oberto experienced lightheadedness and dizziness during the first half of Portland’s game at Milwaukee on Nov. 2 and was just expected to miss a few games. But thinking forward, Oberto made a good decision and has put basketball second to his health.
 
"I made this decision to put my health and my family in front of basketball," said Oberto in a press release. "It was a tough decision to make after playing for so many years, but it was the right one."


Sources tell CBSSports.com's Ben Golliver that the Blazers will work out Earl Barron, Dwayne Jones, Sean Marks and Shavlik Randolph. Ken Berger of CBSSports.com also confirms these names. The Blazers could also work out other players as well. The Portland Tribune reports Eric Boateng also will get a look.

In his sixth season in the NBA, Oberto appeared in each of Portland’s first five games, averaging 1.4 points and 1.4 rebounds in 9.0 minutes.
 
“We want to thank Fabricio for his professionalism and hard work during his short time here,” said Trail Blazers General Manager Rich Cho in the release. “It's unfortunate to lose him, but we respect his decision to do what's best for his health and his family.”
 
A native of Las Varillas, Argentina, Oberto played four seasons for the San Antonio Spurs (2005-09), winning an NBA Championship as the starting center in 2007, before spending last season with the Washington Wizards.


So, what happens now for the Blazers? That's another big man that's gone down and without Joel Przybilla expected back until the end of the month, it's likely Portland will make some sort of move to fill the hole on the inside. With Elliot Williams being lost to a season-ending injury earlier Thursday, Portland needs bodies at least for the practice court now.

It's another blow to the Blazers but if anyone knows how to come this sort of adversity, it's Nate McMillan and the resiliant Blazers. Not that Oberto was a key piece the puzzle, but he was a quality body on the inside that was at least reliable to provide productive minutes. Portland will have to just do was it does and find another warm body to plug in. The good thing is, at least the Blazers are used to it.
Posted on: November 4, 2010 5:42 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:28 pm
 

Elliot Williams injures knee, done for year

Portland Trail Blazers rookie guard Elliot Williams is "likely" done for the season after suffering a dislocated patella. Posted by Ben Golliver elliot-williams
It's Déjà vu all over again for the Portland Trail Blazers, as the organization announced today that reserve rookie guard Elliot Williams, the team's first round pick in the 2010 NBA draft, will undergo surgery on a dislocated patella and is "likely" done for the rest of the 2010-2011 regular season.  Last year, the Blazers lost both Greg Oden and Joel Przybilla to season-ending knee injuries. From a team release...
The injury occurred Wednesday, Nov. 3, during court conditioning drills at the team's Practice Facility. Williams will be re-evaluated after surgery but will likely miss the rest of the regular season.
Williams is a high-flying combo guard out of Memphis with loads of athletic potential. But he had not yet cracked the rotation in Portland's crowded backcourt, even after the Blazers traded Jerryd Bayless to the New Orleans Hornets.   A more natural fit at the two guard position, all star Brandon Roy and reserves Rudy Fernandez and Wesley Matthews make finding playing time impossible at that spot. With veteran point guard Andre Miller, surprising rookie Armon Johnson and the decision to keep end-of-the-bench point guard Patty Mills clogging up the point guard position too, Williams has been on the team's inactive list for much of the preseason. Williams has had previous issues with his right knee, suffering a bruise during a pre-draft workout with the San Antonio Spurs that led the Blazers to hold him out of the 2010 Las Vegas Summer League for precautionary reasons. While this injury is not disastrous for Portland this season, it's another log on top of the fire for those who believe the franchise is cursed with injuries.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com