See, I told you that was an automatic loss going into Detroit to start the 6 game roadie. With a hat tip to The Sports Guy, the lesson, as always, I'm an idiot. I forgot this was the NBA where elite teams mail one in against lower level teams all the time and just figure they'll do enough in the 4th quarter to pull it out. The NBA version of the Milton Berle game. Every once in a while though, that young team doesn't back down and they shock you, like the Blazers stunning 88-85 win in the Palace last night. Some things I thought were nothing short of outstanding:
The Marcus with his first double double in the NBA, 11 points, 11 boards, a HUGE blocked shot on Prince in the 4th quarter. I know Nate is still trying to ease him into the NBA, but he's got to play more than the 24 minutes he played last night. He's a force, particularly on those high pick and rolls. I think it's time to start thinking about the offense that Dunleavy ran with Sabas in the high post. The Marcus in the high post, Z-bo in the low post, Jack with the ball in his hands and players like Roy and Outlaw wheeling off of them, now that's interesting.
Nate had his best game I've seen in a while. He got the total disaster that is Martell Webster (1 for 6 from the floor in 16 minutes of suckage) off the floor early and played Outlaw and Dixon a combined 60 minutes. He subbed in Joel for that last series when you knew they were going to try to get to the basket. And he rotated The Marcus between Sheed and Prince defensively, who he helped contain to a combined 17 points on 7 for 23 from the floor.
Late in the game, Jack high pick and roll with Aldridge or Z-bo, and then when they really, really needed a bucket they got the ball to Z-bo in the low post and cleared out.
Z-bo 31 & 13. The Marcus 11 & 11. Jack 18, 5 assists, 1 turnover against Chauncey Billups. Very nice all around.
Well on their way to that 3-3 trip we were hoping for here in Blazerland. Let's see how they do tonight in the land of PBR.