Preview & Chat: The Portland Trailblazers

Kurt —  March 16, 2007

Light at the end of the tunnel. The first quarter last night, when the “these were the guys we are supposed to have out there” starters were in the game, the Laker offense looked like a triangle again. Guys were moving without the ball, Kobe was drawing the double team then dishing (and guys actually hit the shot). There was spacing and passing lanes. As a team the Lakers shot 60% in the first quarter. It gave me some hope — once Luke and Lamar get their legs under them again, the offense could get back to where it was.

That light at the end of the tunnel could be an oncoming train. While the offense looked good for a stretch, the Laker defense looked, well, like the Laker defense. It still sucks. Steve Kerr gets it and said this last night:

“Despite the fact that (Kwame Brown’s) numbers aren’t great and he’s taken a lot of heat this year, he’s a big reason for (the Lakers’) lapse in defense, they miss his body and his inside presence. Because of his absence and that of Chris Mihm, the Lakers have been very porous defensively.”

The third quarter run by the Nuggets started when Bynum subbed in for Kwame with the game tied, the next thing you knew the Lakers were down 11. And it got uglier from there. For the game the Nuggets shot 60.5% (eFG%), 69% in the third quarter, and you’re not going to win games allowing your opponents to shoot like that.

The last meeting with Portland looked like last night. The Lakers fell to the Blazers last month, Portland pulling away with a 16-2 run in the fourth quarter. It was maybe the Lakers sloppiest defensive game of the season. Jarret Jack abused Smush for 30 points on 9 of 12 shooting, Zach Randolph stepped away from the basket and Bynum didn’t follow, so he had 22.

During the key stretch, Portland relied primarily on the pick-and-pop, with Roy and Aldridge a couple times, with Dickau and Randolph another time. The Lakers misplayed it just about every way possible. I think the Lakers can count on seeing a lot more of this tonight.

Another big difference was how much the Trailblazer bench outplayed the Laker bench.

Things to look for: Phil did one smart thing last night, sitting Lamar and Walton when the game got out of reach, resting them for tonight.

I’m curious to see if the offense runs smoothly for longer tonight. That said, play defense like last time these two met and the issue is moot.

Defensively, it means forcing Randolph into the midrange and then — unlike last game — don’t give him time to set and get a perfect look from there. He’s not a great mid-range shooter if you get a hand in his face.

And for the love of God, somebody stay in front of Jack. At least sometimes.



35 responses to Preview & Chat: The Portland Trailblazers

  1. Can it please end tonight? CAN IT PLEASE END? CAN WE PLEASE START PLAYING SOME BASKETBALL??????????

  2. Last night was the first time our starting five of Smush, Kobe, Luke,Lamar, and Kwame have started together since Dec.12 when Odom hurt his knee.

    I think we would all agree we looked the best we did all season right before Dec.12. Give our 5 about a week or so to get back into rhythm and I think we can get back to where we were before Dec.12.

  3. chris henderson March 16, 2007 at 7:02 pm

    i was also plesed with the first quarter, seeing luke back in there meant something I’ve been missing for a long time, something that looks like an offense. guys were cutting and getting the pass, (UPS dropped a couple as usual) but there was movement. not the perimeter passing and give it Kobe with no time so he can jack up a tre with guys draped on him.
    now, we’ve got to work on some of the other fundamentals, like rebounding, and less turnovers.
    of course we’d love having a PG who can stay in front of his man, maybe we’ll get that in the off season.
    but at least with luke and lamar back, coach has some options, which is a good thing. now he can work (assuming they stay healthy) on conditioning, rotations, let the units get used to playing together, and tune it up for the stretch drive.
    as PJ said, we’ll be ok oonce we get our legs back, and he should know.

  4. The Nuggets want Smush, apparently. There’s a few players on that team that I like…but I think they’re probably more interested in signing him..

  5. CA-Born, where did you see that? It makes some sense, with the guys they have a shooter off the bench might be a fit. I really do wish Smush well next season, just somewhere else.

  6. Hey, if you see this and are watching the game in SoCal, turn on Fox Sports prime ticket, they are doing the game without commentary with only courtside views. It’s a different view. The regular Fox Sports has the regular broadcast.

    I’m at home and doing a little chatting, commenting tonight. Actually watching the game live, not on TiVo.

  7. Imagine how good Texas would be in the NCAA’s this year if Aldridge had stayed one more year.

  8. Sasha gets the start over Walton. Hmmm, is that to put Sasha on Jack, or because Walton wasn’t ready?

  9. chris henderson March 16, 2007 at 8:49 pm

    walton is getting treatment for a soreness from shin to ankle, probably won’t be back tonight…too bad,
    we need him.

  10. uuuuuhh no walton. I’m convinced that they can’t win without him.

  11. 10. It looks like it, the offense isn’t as smooth. That said, they are getting some good looks and just missing, and Portland is on a run.

  12. Coming off the bench seems to suit Bynum right now. Six fast points. But the Laker offense is sputtering.

  13. Walton is like our Fisher from the 2001 season and our Malone from the 2004 season. The Lakers are just a completely different team without him.

  14. By the way, I’m taking a pass on Joel and Stu and watching the courtside version instead. Thanks for the heads up.

  15. Thank God for the “courtside view” on Prime Ticket, I could switch off the Miss USA Live Wire crap and not miss the game.

  16. I just flipped over to CBS to see the scores and Clark Kellogg just said that Florida has “great spurtability.” I’m pretty sure that sounds bad on a few levels.

  17. One of the better defensive halves for the Lakers in a while, good rotations and effort. Hope we see that in the second half.

  18. I am not watching the game what the hell just happened in the last 2 min?

  19. I knew the real Kobe was around here someplace…

  20. WOOOOOOOO-HOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    65 pts in the game for the Mamba. What a Game. talk about lucky. our defense was still pretty lame in the 2nd half. aldridge, roy, and randolph had their way with us.

    Kobe was sensational. For anyone else, it’d be a once-in-a-lifetime performance. I hope you all Tivo’d this one. He saved our butts. He was magnificent. Can’t say anymore.

    Finally, I can sleep with a victory on my mind.

  21. Ummm Kobe with 65…freaking amazing. This season is shot, so can we see him gun the rest of the year?

  22. Okay exick…time to update that point total post for Kobe.

  23. You can overcome the losing streak, back to backs, no sleep, the Trailblazer curse, and the Smusher late game curse– if you’ve got Kobe, just a smidgen of D, and a home court crowd.

  24. damn, when staples center is rockin’ its one of the loudest arenas, that was awesome!

  25. Kurt – Probably hoopshype over-hyping. Typical.

    “• Lakers starter Smush Parker is the latest impending free- agent point guard to show interest in the Nuggets. Parker, averaging 11.4 points, said he’s “aware of” the Nuggets’ need for a point and will look into it but added there are “quite a few teams that’ll be looking for a point guard.”

  26. 23. Well, there will be a lot of teams looking for a PG. And I’m sure Smush is interested in all of them.

  27. 19. I wouldn’t be shocked if we see more of that the rest of the year, it’s what Roland Lazenby suggested in his last blog post. The bottom line is with the way this team is playing right now, we need some of those Kobe games to get us over the hump.

  28. Ian, it’s Friday night in Claremont, why are you watching the game and not out at Ted’s Highbrow?

    And kwame a., I can’t begin to list all the bars in Boston you should be at.

  29. How much can Kobe take though? I’m afraid that he’ll end up injuring himself and leave us with a scrub team come playoff time.

    A risk is a risk, however. And this team surely [unbiasedly speaking] isn’t getting to the finals.

  30. That pirouette three-pointer Kobe made was unreal.

  31. Other than Kobe, my favorite player to watch this season has been Monta Ellis. Do you realize that the Lakers had a chance to pick him and instead picked Von Wafer? Imagine that kid starting for us instead of the Smusher.

  32. Just unbelievable. God I love basketball.

  33. great game from kobe, however if we needed 65 points from kobe for us to force overtime and eventually win, that really doesn’t bode too well for us.

    well aside from that good job hehe finally got a victory

  34. kurt, law school makes you become a hermit on friday and saturday nights, but I may have a beer or three tonite in the spirit of St. Patrciks day and being in boston and all.

    plus, baskteball man, its march madness, why leave the house, ha.

  35. wow…..havent heard “forum blue” in a while…always know a true laker fan when I here that….too cool:)
    from a major laker fan…mom of 3…even have a laker tattoo…I know…I am crazy……my answer…..yep!
    go lakers!!!