Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Game 4: Blazers (1-2) vs Knicks (0-3)

The Blazers host New York for the only time this season, as the winless Knicks and their shiney new coach Larry Brown come rolling into town. This is the first of six straight road games for New York, and arguably the first "non-playoff" team they've played as their three losses have come at the hands of Boston, Washington, and Golden State. This matchup pits two teams who don't shoot very well (39% and 40% for New York and Portland), although New York has shown to be a very good rebounding team.

Starting Lineup Preview:

PG: Telfair vs Marbury ADV: NY
SG: S. Monia vs J. Crawford ADV: NY
SF: D. Miles vs Q. Richardson ADV: POR
PF: Z. Randolph vs A. Davis ADV: POR
C: J. Pryzbilla vs E. Curry ADV: EVEN

Bench: Patterson, Jack, Dixon, Ratliff vs Barmes, Frye, James, Ariza, Robinson, Lee ADV: NY

As you can see, New York has the backcourt advantage while Portland has the frontcourt advantage. Portland will be able to post up Monia over Crawford, while New York can do the same with Marbury and Telfair. Pryzbilla is a much better rebounder and defensive player than Curry, whereas Curry has the advantage on offense.

Game Observations:

  • Antonio Davis has definitely lost a step. Zbo torched him several times in the first quarter both on the block and tip-ins, and Davis committed three fouls right off the bat.
  • Had to love this little nugget that The Mike Brothers (Blazer broadcasting team) dropped on us late in the first quarter .... Rice: "Isiah is always looking to trade someone a uniform for their best player. Usually someone not too intelligent." Barrett: "Don't say that - there have been rumors of a Portland-New York deal. John Nash did confirm with us today that he had a phone conversation with Isaiah Thomas, but that was all."
  • Speaking of which, how do you guys feel about our broadcasting team? Personally I think they're terrible, but I also think that about 90% of all sports tv broadcasters are god-awful which would make them average for their field. Mike Rice in particular really annoys me at times (despite the "Nate Robinson was a husky, but I still like him" line which was the smartest thing he has ever said). Am I alone on this one?
  • Isn't it bizarre that Travis Outlaw is on the inactive list right now? I wonder if something's wrong with him physically and the team isn't telling us about it. He was expected to do so much this season, it's really a surprise what a non-factor he's been.
  • Stop shooting, Juan.
  • First half was UGLY. Terrible game. Telfair and Pryzbilla both got into foul trouble and couldn't play much. Portland scored 39 points, committed 12 fouls, shot 32% (including 1/10 from three), and was 8-16 from the line. Brutal. Oh, and Juan Dixon chimed in with a smooth 0-for-6 in 7 minutes. Portland had more turnovers (5) than assists (3) as a team. New York wasn't a whole lot better -- committing 17 fouls, but outrebounded Portland by 9 and shot a higher percentage, finishing the half with a 10-point lead.

And then ... Portland came out and played a fantastic second half. They moved the ball as well as they have all season and shot a much higher percentage (both from the field and the line). Sebastian Telfair did a great job running the team, especially during a stretch at the end of the third and first half of the fourth quarters, feeding the shooters who caught fire: Miles, Patterson, and even Ratliff. However, following his fifth foul, Nate went with a lineup of Jack, Miles, Ruben, Zbo, and Ratliff (who by some stroke of god managed to knock down a couple of key jumpers -- yes, that's right, jumpers, and had an impressive put-back dunk on a missed free throw) and they were extremely effective. The fourth quarter was Portland's best quarter of year to date. The team went from looking lifeless in the second quarter to looking like a contender in the second half. Nate pressed all the right buttons as well -- kudos to him for coaxing a fantastic half of basketball out of this team. (Can't say nearly the same for Larry Brown.)

Final stats of note: Zbo - 29 pts, 12 reb, 3 ast, 3 stl. Miles - 26 pts, 8 reb, 1 ast, 3 stl. Patterson - 17 pts, 5 reb (including 4 offensive), 1 ast, 1 stl. Blazers even things up at 2-2 and move to 2-0 on their home court. A nice win for this team and a great effort.

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