Preview & Chat: The Portland Trailblazers

Kurt —  February 29, 2008

Records: Lakers 41-17 (1 seed); Blazers 30-28 (10 seed, five games out of the playoffs)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 113.6 (2nd); Blazers 107.7 (14th)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 105.8 (6th); Blazers 108.8 (19th)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Luke Walton, Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol
Blazers: Martel Webster, Steve Blake, Travis Outlaw, LaMarcus Aldridge, Joel Przybilla

Lakers Notes: What can I say about how much fun the Lakers are to watch right now, and how much fun they are having on the court, that is not summed up in this clip:

How Good Are The Blazers Going To Be? I made a bet with Dave from the fine Blazer’s Edge blog on this game: The losing team’s blogger has to write a post for the other blog on why the Blazers/Lakers are to be feared in the coming years.

Mostly, I agreed because it should mean I have a day off from blogging, Dave will do my work. But, even if the Lakers lose (because the ref’s screw us over, no doubt) it should not be hard to write about how good the Blazers should be in a couple years. I’d like your help with that though: Why do you think the Blazers will be good? And I’ll start by saying, I love me some LaMarcus Aldridge.

The Blazers Coming In: Statistically, the Blazers are not one of the NBA’s better rebounding teams — but you never would have known that watching the Lakers/Blazers game two nights ago. With Aldridge leading the way, the Blazers outworked the Lakers for rebounds and grabbed 23.9% of their missed shots.

That’s a sign of this team’s desire, if nothing else. Aldridge outworked the Lakers and was 10 of 19 for 24 points. He and the emerging Travis Outlaw outplayed the Laker forwards by and large and kept the Blazers a head or at least close until the start of the fourth quarter, when the Lakers pulled away shooting 53% for the quarter to the Blazers 35%. Kobe was 4 of 8 and a +10 in the fourth quarter to lead LA.

Keys To The Game: Conflicting reports on whether Roy will play, although the ones out of Portland say no. Three-point shooter James Jones should suit up this time, however.

The Lakers need to be more aggressive on the boards tonight. Luke Walton cannot sleepwalk through another game against the very athletic Outlaw. (With both Ariza and Radmanovic out, he can’t have these off nights.) And for god sake’s put a body on Aldridge. I’d like Ronny to get some extra time on him — he’ll get in foul trouble but his energy at least will match LaMarcus.

In the last Laker win LA dominated on the perimeter, they need to do that again. Also the Lakers bench was huge — Portland had 10 points off the bench total, Farmar had 21 by himself. The Lakers depth should pay off tonight, on the second game of a back-to-back.

Where you can watch: Another 7:30 start, with KCAL (9) in LA and League Pass everywhere else.



151 responses to Preview & Chat: The Portland Trailblazers

  1. Bball IQ-
    You have to appreciate the Lakers bball IQ. The Lakers realized that the Heat were trying to take away the trigger pass so on one set they were trying to post up Gasol but were denied. So they gave a crisp pass to Kobe and he immediately threw a lob for Gasol and he converted the hoop. Just great recognition of what the defense is giving you.

    The only downside is I have noticed that we are starting to force a lot of passes at the interior of the defense. Kobe especially is trying to get Gasol going so he’s forcing the pass and consequently giving Gasol passes that are catchable but not condusive to positioning and scoring. Hopefully they work on the post entries b/c this will be a vital skill we need to stress especially once Bynum comes back.

    Let’s see if we can contain Aldridge on defense and get Gasol going early so he can get in a rhythm. I’d like to see him take more 17 footers once he gets some easy layups. He’s been a little hesitant the last 2 games, maybe a little tired?

    I’m guessing not, and he scores 24 Lakers win by 9.

  2. Kurt,

    Are you sure Luke was the primary defender on Outlaw in that game. I seem to remember Outlaw scoring a few of his buckets on Kobe (and thinking, wow, Outlaw’s giving Kobe some problems), with Kobe getting a key stop on him in our 4th quarter run.

  3. 2. I could be wrong. I screwed up my Tivo setting for that game, so all I saw was the bits and pieces on in the background while I did other things (usually I sit down late and really watch the game on DVR).

    However, I think it’s fair to say Luke sucked that game, whomever he covered. We need Ariza back for these games.

  4. Travis Y (1): Concur on all points. Very impressed with that change of pace on the entry pass, but I agree that they are forcing it in to Gasol a bit too much. With the way the Lakers were shooting outside last night, they should be mixing it up more. This goes along with the slipping the screen thing that they are doing too much, too.

    My guess is that Pau isn’t tired so much as he is just thinking too much and not letting muscle and mental memory take over. That’s what practice is for–to develop that rhythm and timing so that you don’t have to think as much as you just react during the game.

  5. With their depth and age, Portland reminds me of the Lakers last year. The only issue next year, I think, is how fast the rookie Odem picks up the NBA game.

    The one downside to them is that they don’t have any old hands like Kobe and Fish that have been to the Finals before, therefore, they may take a year or two longer to develop.

  6. Did Pau seam a little out of sync last nigh? I thought there were some missed opportunities on some lob passes and hesitation on some jumpers.

    Kobe’s court attitude is great to watch, the way he communicates with his team during timeouts is becoming more and more apparent. Also, the way he goes from an “edgy” you can’t stop me attitude to a fun loving teammate is also nice to see.

  7. This Blazers team has done a funny thing to me. I have a habit of developing just an overall dislike for teams that upend the Lakers or put themselves in in a position of rivalry. Especially considering the trouble the Lakers had with them earlier in the decade, I actually really really like this Blazers team.

    I think back to how, prior to the season, we were all reminded of how snake-bitten Portland seems to be when it comes to #1 picks (heck, the first round in general hasn’t been all that kind to them). Their new prospect (who I think will be a big part of why they will be scary in years to come) on the shelf for the whole year certainly had me thinking “Well, there goes another year out the window for the Blazers”. Oh, how little I knew.

    Fast forward to December, following a 21 point loss to San Antonio on the second day of the month, Portland sits at a paltry 5-12. Then, Nate McMillan holds The Practice, and something curious happens: the Blazers win 13 straight. Hello, Portland, nice to meet you.

    Ever since that unprecedented winning streak, the rest of the NBA has taken notice of this Trailblazers team, and rightly so. Brandon Roy has emerged as one of the league’s best young players, possessed of that mystical midrange game that commentators are fond of reminiscing about. He can defend, shoot mid range, long range, finish at the rim, operate in the clutch, and lead.

    Perhaps the most impressive aspect, though, is that Brandon Roy is not the star burning brightly above his team, but rather is part of a conglomeration of bright lights that are serving to brighten Portland’s NBA futures. Aldridge, Webster, Jack, Outlaw, Blake, Frye etc. etc. These kids can play. Is it just me or can everyone on this team shoot? Their big man situation looks to be in good shape for years to come; who knows just how much better they can be with big Greg on the floor? They’ve got an outstanding guard corps and they’re strong at forward.

    We got our first dose of this team earlier this week, and I’m inclined to say that (in view of the current situations of the Suns, Mavericks and Spurs) the Blazers will be our greatest competitors for the title in the coming years out west. Our newly extended ‘window’ seems to be coinciding pretty closely with what seems to be a window opening out to forever with this young and talented Blazers squad.

    Considering the talent, passion and just overall good feeling these Blazers give off (let’s not forget the JailBlazers of past years–how refreshing is this team compared to those, eh?), I foresee a hand full of WCFs on our collective horizons that might make an effort to usurp the memory of one other WCF match up from past years.

    PS: I wonder, why don’t these guys run more?

  8. Random question:
    On TNT, Reggie Miller and whoever were saying that Sasha gave himself the nickname “The Machine.” I thought his teammates gave it to him. Where’d it come from?

  9. Portland and the Lakers is going to be a marquee matchup in the NBA very soon. Maybe next year, but certainly the year after. Bynum vs. Oden will be a great matchup.

    Tonight’s game is going to be very tricky for the Lakers. I think unless they come out with a LOT of energy they’ll find themselves on their heels against the scrappiness of a hungry young team. If Roy was in the last game I think Portland wins it. This Lakers team has clearly bought into the hype that surrounds them and need to make sure they don’t take anybody for granted. It’s getting TOO easy for them. That much was apparent last night. The Heat had no business being that close that late.

    That being said, I honestly think this Lakers team will be superior to even the best of the Kobe/Shaq Lakers teams of the beginning of the millennium. There’s a chance for some truly legendary Lakers moments. Exciting time.

  10. Portland will be good because Henry Abbot demands nothing less than greatness!!!

    Seriously though, they have followed the San Antonio Model to a T, all the way down to winning the lottery and choosing the best big man prospect in 10 years. And in addition to Oden, the GM Pritchard, has also drafted quite well, and seemingly will continue to do so. This is all backed up by one of the richest owners in the league, who could care less about a luxury tax and is willing to spend the money to build the contender. Combine Pritchard’s brains with Allen’s wallet and you have something.

    If you’re talking strictly on court meshing, Portland has a solid foundation of young players who play mature games. This stockpile of talent is also spread across a variety of positions with diverse skill sets. You have the all-purpose/all-star guard, the athletic wings who can also shoot the 3 ball, the silky post-up forward with range, and coming soon the #1 pick big man who has the game to match his great personality. Combine that with steady PG play and a bench with a banging big, flash on the wings, and Euros stashed overseas (who can really play) and you have a recipe for success that can run into the next decade.

    Hat tip to me.


  11. My only question with the Blazers budding team is whether a superstar will develop to lead them. It seems like they have three A- level all-star talents (Oden, Roy, Aldridge) and several B+ level role players (Outlaw, Webster, Frye, Fernandez, Rodriguez, etc.), but do they have a future superstar? Can Oden turn into a Duncan/Olajuwon level center? Can Roy turn into a Kobe/Lebron/Wade level wing? Can Aldridge turn into an all nba power forward? It’s possible, but it’s also likely that they all become solid all stars who are not quite mvp level performers. I know we’ve seen Detroit contend and win with a more balanced, superstar-free attack, but that really is the exception to the rule. Every other title team of the last few decades has had a clear mvp level leader.

    It also seems to me that whereas Bynum and Gasol are probably about equal to the future Oden/Aldridge, Kobe far trumps whatever Roy will become. That all said, I still would take Portland’s roster over anyone but the Lakers for the next 5-7 years. And Kobe will eventually fade, leaving Portland in great shape.

  12. 8, Joel and Stu gave it to him during the first Lakers-Clippers game way back in January or something. It’s shortened from scoring machine and it was something about having Kobe, who is a scoring machine out on the floor, and then the other one said they have two scoring machines – Kobe and Sasha.

  13. – Kobe guarded Outlaw when Phil took out Luke and Fish for Sash and Farmar (Mamba slid over to the 3), otherwise Luke was guarding (not sure if that’s the right word to use here) him.

    – I agree with Travis, we’re getting a little to pass-happy. This isn’t too big of worry, though. I’d rather be pass pass happy than be playing sticky-1-on-1-ball. Plus it leads to plays like the one we saw last night. I gotta add though – it’s all starting with Black Mamba. I haven’t seen him so happy to play unselfishly (aka pass the ball) all game practically his entire career. It’s become contagious.

    – Best roster for the next 5-7 years? Yes the Lakes and the Blazers. That Yahoo sports article on the link between Hov and Lebron was real intersting though. If Cleveland doesn’t get more help, Bron Bron is bolting. I could def. see Lebron going to the Nets. It isn’t even close to a stretch that he wants to go to New York or some other big market, the guy loves the limelight (see SNL season premiere, Rookie-Sophmore game haltime interview with Boobie). You can just sense his frustration in Cleveland. The trade Danny Ferry just made was nice, but it’s not going to put them over the hump. I’m going to be keeping an eye on that New Jersey situation. I wouldn’t be surprised if both Jefferson and Carter were gone by the summer of 2010. Rod Thorn is a very smart GM (IMO he got the most back for his superstar in the recent flurry of superstar trades). Yes this is a whole boat-load of speculation. But come on, who wouldn’t want to see a Brooklyn vs LA NBA finals? With Bron-bron and KB24?

  14. #1- I think Bball IQ has been the key to this Lakers team. Earlier in the year Bill Simmons wrote about the importance of chemistry, character, etc. to the success of teams, but intelligence is also unquantifiably valuable. Our team is built around smart guys., Kobe, Pau, Fisher, Farmar, Walton and Bynum are all notably intelligent in more than just basketball. And they are all either extremely knowledgable of the game or are eager learners. Combined with the coaching staff, all these guys rub off on those from whom I get less of a scholarly vibe (like LO or Vlade). Its enabled the team to react to Pau seamlessly and show a maturity beyond the average age of the team. It also makes them more fun to watch and relate to.

    I kind of get the opposite vibe from a team like Denver. I like most of their players individually, but I don’t sense that there’s a core brain trust driving them in the right direction (In the past I’ve also heard Ray Allen say that George Karl doesn’t like smart players, and doesn’t encourage that type of thing…).

    The best teams in the league always have great basketball minds in critical roles. It might be the most underrated trait in the league.

  15. Incidentally, did anyone happen to catch the game on AM570 last night? I was wondering what Spero and Michael’s call sounded like.

    in the first game against Portland, both Outlaw and Aldridge played very well against everyone, whether it was Kobe, Luke, Lamar, or Gasol. Both those guys have freakishly long arms which they used effectively to bat out missed shots for offensive boards.

  16. 8 & 12- Screw Reggie Miller. Sasha fully deserves the nickname. It’s very pleasing for me to see Sasha develop into this sort of player. He’s taken a lot of heat , but he is a quality NBA player. His shot is exceptional and he seems to actually put the ball on the floor a lot more than he has in years past.

    We should definitely resign Sasha. It will do a lot to make up for judgement shown from the godawful Brian Cook contract.

    I forget who said it, but someone called Sasha “the white Eddie House”. Comedy.

  17. I am scared for tonight’s game.

  18. Coop,

    The Blazers don’t run right now because they have to keep all five people in front of their men and shading towards the lane at all times on defense or the interior is badly exposed. Then after the shot goes up all five guys have to rebound or we give up the offensive board. That means nobody leaks out or even gets a step beyond their eventual defender 99% of the time, which makes it hard to run. What’s more we’re paranoid about turnovers with this young team and the control game cuts them down.

    Flash forward a year or two with a hopefully-healthy Oden in the paint grabbing rebounds and intimidating drivers who get past the perimeter and you have a different story. Both the confidence level and the willingness to run should be a lot higher.

    Reed mentioned the need for a superstar. Oden is it, as long as he’s healthy. He’ll never average 25 but he will score in the post and bend the game like a pretzel with his defense. Defense and that intelligence that you guys keep talking about your team having are going to be Blazer hallmarks for years to come. Between guys like Outlaw, Aldridge, Roy, and some distance shooters the scoring will take care of itself…but the “D” and the IQ are exactly what will give Portland an inside track over a lot of teams that look like they have flashier rosters.

    This is the first time I’ve ever commented on a L*ker board. I feel so…yucky.


  19. (15.) I caught the second quarter on AM 570. I have to tell you, Spiro Didas is the best play-by-play announcer I have heard in ANY sport since Chick Hern. That is not an overstatement. Given the opportunity – I truly believe he could be “the next” Chick. He announces with Chick’s “words eye view,” always letting you know the direction each team is going, constantly updating the shot clock, the length of each jumper and punctuating the great plays. I wish the Lakers would let Spiro take over for Joel. As for Mychael Thompson… he still has some work to do.

  20. I came her to fart on your pillows and you all seem to be nice guys. One of my best pals here is a Laker fan, so I know you have some good people. Anyhow, someone just pointed out that Roy should play tonight. Good luck tonight, but not too much good luck.

  21. Anyone else worried about Pau’s scoring dropping consistently over the last 5 or 6 games? On top of playing on a back-to-back, against a team that’s seeking revenge from a fresh loss, I think the streak may end tonight.

  22. You are right that Oden could very well be the needed superstar. But I still think it’s at least an open question given his injury and unrefined offensive game. I do expect him to be the single best defensive player in the league within a few years, so all he really needs to do is develop a few simple post moves to generate an efficient 20-22 points most nights.

    What I like about the Blazers talent is that there are no redundancies — it all fits well. Oden is a defensive minded center who will control the boards and score right at the rim. Aldridge is a skilled, offensive minded big man who can score from the high post or the block. Roy is a steady, controlled, flawless combo guard who can create offense and make plays. The role players (Webster, Outlaw, Rodriguez, Fernandez) all provide athleticism and shooting. It’s a collection of players that should perfectly complement each other and cover all skill sets.

    I love LA’s window for the same reasons — Kobe, Bynum, and Gasol do different things well and the role players (Farmar, Turiaf, Radmanovic, Fisher, Ariza) all do different things well (shooting, rebounding, defense, speed, etc.). When you look at LA and the future Portland, you just can’t point to any key skill that a few players don’t excel at.

    Some other teams just don’t fit right, despite great talent — Denver, the new Phoenix, Cleveland, Atlanta come to mind.

  23. Got a fun little mention over at Lamar Odom’s official site today:

  24. Superstars and Detroit — I put forth the idea that Rasheed Wallace is their superstar. I know he can be a knucklehead, but he is so very talented and doesn’t seem to be as ego-centered as other superstars. That’s my take anyway.

    Aside from all the bball IQ on the Lakers; how about the idea that Kobe may have really learned something over the summer while playing USA basketball. Perhaps Kobe is applying some of the lessons learned playing with a group of all-stars — talking, defending, dishing. He has done all these things in the past, but his patience and attention span was more limited.

  25. 23-Kurt, you have blown up, so I can’t say you’re blowing up, but man, the rapid growth of this site since 2005 is absurd.

    I don’t foresee you losing that bet, but if you do, I think the FBG commenters should help you with that post.

  26. As far as some other things Portland should be excited about:

    Sergio Rodriguez, I think that Jack or Blake will be dealt, and Rodriguez has great court vision, he’s a fan favorite and he’s a pure point who can help Roy with some playmaking.

    Martell Webster, if Oden gets a post game, or if Aldrige can command a consistent double, his outside shooting will be invaluable

    Nate McMillian, I think he ‘gets’ the players of today and also, I like his willingness to bench players to make a point.

  27. Reed,
    Be careful of Atlanta. With the Bibby trade their pieces are much more compatible. They need a couple of bench players, but I suspect they will be in the playoffs in the East for the next few years.

  28. Hey Kurt, can you nudge Henry over at TrueHoop to link to that video? it’s absolutely one of the sickest plays. Especially Kobe’s reverse Willy Mays pass to Luke downcourt.

  29. Thanks for the reply Dave, I guess after watching the Blazers walk all over us on their offensive glass (which I suppose we’ve been having trouble with in general), I forgot about the rebounding approach that Portland takes.

    Oden and that increased confidence you’re referring to should turn some of the interior woes around, like you said… And when they do start running as a first option, I think this Blazer squad gets awfully scary.

  30. If Roy and Jones are playing tonight the Lakers will have to defend the three point line better than they did the last time they played the Blazers. The Lakers defense still worries me a little. Everyone keeps saying ‘just wait until Bynum and Ariza get back’, but we don’t have a solid time-line for either players return and they both had lower extremity injuries which means that they won’t be in game shape for at least a couple of weeks after they do return. When guys areout of shape they aren’t as fast on their defensive rotations and they tend to pick up cheap fouls. If bynum and Ariza have to get in shape during the first round of the playoffs it could mean trouble unless we are playing Golden State, Housten or the Suns.
    As for the Blazers they look like they will be a team to beat for years to come due to their: coach, roster, GM and owner. The only two flies in the ointment are Roy and Oden. Oden looks like a can’t miss center coming into the league, but you never actually KNOW until a guy has suited up and played some real NBA games. Roy may turn out to be injury prone which would somewhat limit what he can do for the Blazers. The good thing about Roy’s health is that I don’t think he has missed any games due to the knee that scared off some teams on draft day.
    Go lakers!

  31. I remember when James Jones went out Henry at Truehoop pointed out that whether he played had more to do with whether the team won than almost any other factor (I dont think Roy had missed much time by then). We will need to watch out for his ability to spread the floor. I hope the team is taking this game as seriously as they claim to…

  32. I work with the son of an NBA team physician (I don’t want to get them in trouble so I’m staying anonymous) that examined Oden before the draft and said he is an orthopedic wreck as a result of one leg being an inch shorter than the other. I like the guy and think that with him the blazers are almost a mirror image of the lakers- just with a lot less experience- but I really worry about his long term durability.

  33. People would be wise to hold their horses on using Oden and “superstar” in the same setence. I’ve no doubt he’ll be good (and quite possibly great) but his offensive game is unrefined to put it nicely. I see this team getting the bulk of their scoring through LMA and Roy with Oden holding things down defensively. The nice thing is how much of a class team they are with class guys. I find myself rooting for them heavily (not tonight of course). I hope that this team can help to instill more of a team ball style (as opposed to the “superstar” system) throughout the league. The NBA really needs to bring back core basketball fans that have been alienated by the bastardization of the game. Teams like Portland (and the Lakers!) can do that. I support them wholeheartedly.

  34. It’s not like Sasha was awful last year. His first two years were pretty rough, but then he shot 37% from distance last year, and obviously this year he’s on fire. I think he was just a hate target and has been playing so well this year that its almost impossible for former Sasha detractors to say he sucks anymore.

    In regards to his name, I also remember Stu and Joel giving him the nickname, but the LA Times reported in the last couple days that he gave it to himself. I’ll go with the Stu and Joel theory.

  35. I am probably showing my ignorance here, but Greg Oden looks a lot older than his chronological age. We have seen cases where people aged faster than normal and I am not saying he is in this situation, but if there is any aging acceleration it might explain some skeletal abnormalities. I just wonder if this is present, why he would be drafted #1?

    Anyway, I hope he has a long and prolific career.

  36. Tony (19): Spero Dedes is awesome. He brings a palpable excitement to the game that neither Sunderland nor Meyers can match. Neither of them is that bad–frankly, I don’t see the upgrade of Meyers over Sunderland–but they’re both very blah. Mychal is Mychal, of course. He can get all the work you want to give him, and he’ll be the same. He’s really better suited for radio. Spero, on the other hand, is ready for the simulcast, if the Lakers ever brought that back (but don’t hold your breath).

    fanerman (8): It’s shrouded in controversy. 🙂 The best story right now is that Paul and Stu gave that to him, sort of along the lines of the Microwave, because you just flip him on and he starts scoring. He didn’t deserve that until this year, of course. I think making him primarily a two-guard was a good move. As someone else said, I think Bresnahan screwed that up in an L.A. Times column, and now lots of folks think that he gave himself the nickname (an unforgivable crime, it seems).

    Didn’t Kobe give himself “Mamba”? I hope not, but that’s where the rumors seem to point.

  37. Igor (21): It’s true that the Lakers haven’t been tested that hard recently, and they could be caught looking forward to the Dallas game. On the other hand, they were caught with their pants down against Portland–albeit in the first quarter–and they survived that. I’m hoping that experience is enough to tell them not to go through the motions tonight, and buckle down on the boards.

  38. Portland was a different team than on Tuesday. They haven’t been this healthy since they were 17-1. The Rose Garden really, really dislikes your team. The place will be loud tonight. Brian Tung, they won’t be ready tonight. It’s going to be the difference between a model train and a freight train. Can you smell what the Pritch is cooking? Oh yea.

    Seriously, though, the Blazers are going to look night and day different. If they had Roy and Jones, you’d have seen them up by 25 in the first half with little drop off in the 3rd and 4th quarters. I’m not saying they’re better, but the L*kers were playing really, really badly in the first half on Tuesday.

  39. Color me unimpressed with Portland’s roster.

    I like Roy’s game a lot, but he was an undeserving All-Star this year. In the next 3-5, you still have Paul, Williams, Davis (only 28!), Parker, Kobe, and Ginobili, who I’d take clearly over Roy, and I wouldn’t be too sad if I got Monta Ellis or Kevin Martin instead. Remember that there were significant injury concerns with him.

    Oden is way too unproven to be treated as having any where near the potential that Bynum’s shown. Yes, he was the #1 pick in a strong draft, but he’s missing an entire *year* of basketball due to injury. That’s terrifying, and there’s no lock he ever comes back to full health.

    Aldridge, I *love*. But All-Star forward in the West? Have you seen the West lineups recently? I mean, Gasol’s been at least 17-7 and average-ish defensively every year, and he’s not even within sniff of an All-Star game unless he’s slotted at center.

    Three good players, but no great players… Sounds worse than Nash/Stoudemire/Marion, or Brand/Cassell/Maggette, or Garnett/Sprewell/Cassell, or Nowitzki/Howard/Terry, or…

    I see a lot of “50 win and eliminated in the 2nd round”s in Portland’s future.

  40. Mark me down as another Spero fan. He’s very very solid. Hopefully Joel “retires” soon before the Lakers lose him. Joel is decent and I’ve never disliked him as much as others (and I don’t get the Joel hate), but Spero is already better.

    As for Stu. Good lord. I honestly cannot stand Stu. Admittedly he often has very good insight, and his hypothetical discourse between players on replays leading to commercials is hilarious only because it is so stupid. But Joel needs to call him on his BS like Chick used to. Stu is so know-it-all and constantly has that “well actually” tone when talking to anyone, and that really distracts from his strengths.

  41. “hypothetical discourse between players on replays leading to commercials” is a hilariously accurate description. Not living in LA, I found Stu to be nostalgic, even if he can be a little annoying.

  42. Jason (40): I have a theory that Stu is actually an automaton, and has been since about 2000. His programming is fairly straightforward: A random number generator decides which variation of “That will get it done,” “Don’t give up a three-point play or a three-point shot,” or “That was NOICE!” he spouts.

    Actually, seriously, I have a soft spot in my heart for Stu. He still has interesting things to say. But damn, he is formulaic in the extreme.

    Will (39): They gave the Lakers a hard time on our floor. They play a physical style that the Lakers just did not respond to until the second half. I was impressed; I think the Lakers have their hands full in Portland tonight. Now, as far as title chances go? Obviously, they’re unproven. But that’s all–unproven. They’re young, and they’re going to get better. As others have said, in a couple of years, I think it’s going to be Lakers-Blazers again. (Provided everyone can keep their tendons in one piece.)

  43. hobobob (38): Everyone dislikes our team. Portland’s no different in that regard. Nothing sucks more than playing a roadie in an indifferent arena. Win or lose, my favorite places to watch the Lakers play a road game are (in no particular order) Boston, Portland, Golden State, and Sacramento. Boston because of the history. The other three because they get all out.

    Weird how they pushed all the Porty and Sacto games way toward the end of the season.

  44. This season in particular has made me miss Chick Heard more than ever. I would have loved to have heard him call this unexpected season.

    My brother harped on Chick the last few years of his life claiming that he had lost more than a few steps. Could be. But hearing all the analysts and play by play announcers out there, nationally and locally, makes me realize just how special Chick was. His rapid-fire pace was exhilarating but it was his acerbic, on the fly wit that had me begging for more.

  45. Craig W (35): Does he or does he not remind you of a larger Michael Finley? You could sow seeds in those furrows.

    I’ve never heard that he’s a victim of some kind of medical superannuation. But then, IANAD.

  46. Brian Tung,
    You have a point there, but it seems Michael is not as furrowed. I was also commenting on the observation that Oden has orthopedic problems in the extreme. Bill Walton was only week in the feet – and possibly his son also – but if one leg is 1in shorter than the other and there are other abnormalities, then I would seriously consider drafting Durant first.

  47. New to your forum, and yup, that means I am a visitor. Just wanted to say it was refreshing to hear and read real basketball fans with mature and intelligent things to say. And about my local favorite Blazers no less! So often there are band wagon jumpers who only come out when LA is smoken hot and they make all kinds of irreverant, moronic, and down right rude comments on our local blogs or forums.

    Having said that, you all seem to be logical about your great chances of a title again, and you respect others hunt for the elusive championship. Thanks for looking forward to a good renewal of the rivalry. After all you were kings, then our team 89-93 were on top, then 00-04 you ruled the roost, and now… both portland and LA are remarkably better than EITHER of our own fans would have thought.

    Good luck tonight., though I am not rooting for you of course. I dont like Kobe personally, but I sure respect his game. I like Odem since his stand out season last year was dedicated to hard work and the team. And beyond anything else, how Bynum has made Kobe eat his words and look a bit foolish after what he did last summer. All in all, you have a great squad and I dont think I can “hate” LA as I have in the past. And if you dont win it this year….you may just be outpaced by us from then on! 🙂

  48. brian (43) I’m glad we register. Beating the Lakers is the best. I only wish we played back in December. Thanks for looking at our team honestly. Will (39) is exactly why Blazer fans don’t usually like L*ker fans. EGO EGO EGO!!!! As much as it pains us to call the L*kers good, we can’t really deny what’s going on. I definitely think Pau is in a grace period with you guys. He’s good, but the euphoria is a little out of control. Bynum’s the guy to get excited about. Odom’s sick too. He’d make a good NFL player, ask Allen.

  49. hobobob (45): There’s no question that Pau and the Lakers are enjoying some kind of honeymoon the last dozen games, but a lot of that is still real. Pau is a perfect fit, offensively speaking, and he’s not expected to be The Man as he was in Memphis. He’s intelligent, and he’s clearly picked up the basics of the triangle in a very short time. We’re obviously very excited about Pau joining the team, and I think we have good reason to be.

    Let’s hope that no one gets injured today, on either team. (Hey, both teams played hard.)

  50. Brian (46) Both teams played hard. Both teams played hard. At least we probably won’t hear that tonight.

  51. Sharkytowers (#16) – Mentioning how we should re-sign Sasha got me thinking – we have a few impending free agents this year, who do you guys think we should keep?

    As far as I know, DJ, Ronny, and Sasha are restricted free agents, and Trevor Ariza and Chris Mihm are unrestricted. I think the players we MUST re-sign are Ronny and Ariza for the defensive edge they bring to the team. I’d really like to see Sasha resigned too. Mihm and DJ are replaceable unfortumately.

    I think that if our cap number allows it, we should resign Sasha as well as Trevor and Ronny, but I think our top priority should be those two guys. Any thoughts?

  52. 42-“that’s…gettin it done”. ha great. And Jason, great point about the hypothetical discourse. One more Stu-ism that you shouldn’t forget is some variation of “Mr. mo has switched jerseys, basketball’s a game of runs”

  53. (45) I’m just saying that if forced to bet on one team over the team 5 years to win a championship, they’d be my top pick. So many teams think they have a great future ahead of them, but only 1 team can win it all. I don’t think that’s an insult at all.

    I made the point that Pau would be the worst 2nd best player on a championship team since Otis Thorpe in 93-94 if the Lakers were to win it all. And that’s why I totally agree with you and think the Lakers will need for Bynum to recover and develop as a player.

    (42) Really? You think the Blazers and the Lakers will be the two best teams in the West for the next 3 years? 5 years?

  54. I took a tour through today’s posts over at BlazersEdge. Interesting and energetic bunch they’ve got over there. Their eccentricity aside, I guess I underestimated just how much they would detest the Lakers. Then again, I guess most everyone does to some degree or another.

    The “L*kers” thing cracks me up; I wonder how long that’s been going on?

  55. The Blazers have an owner with deep pockets and a shrewd GM. The chemistry between coaches and players seems pretty good; based on their last matchup with the Lakers, they play hard, physical defense. How many coaches can coax that kind of effort out of their players?

    With regard to any future success, Oden’s development is a major factor. If he becomes a well-rounded center, the Blazers will be a headache for most teams.

    Still, I don’t think the Lakers have anyhing to fear, for at least 4 or 5 years.

  56. I think Blazer fans are excited because: They are about a 45 win team this year. Next year, they add Oden, Rudy Fernandez (maybe the best player in Europe) and a lottery pick (most likely). They have, at that point, too many players, which combined with cap room, a smart GM and a very rich owner, makes trade scenarios pretty exciting. So, they could add some serious talent over the next year or two to a team that would probably improve anyway simply due to its youth. By the way, I have never been on this board before, and I must say the discourse is great.

  57. I have this projection about Portland that I would like to share… hopefully, Dave of Blazer’s Edge would enlighten me on some points of uncertainty. Over-all, things are lookin up for them.

    – they have indeed almost followed RC Buford’s style to the letter. What’s more impressive is that this team is not the defending champs and they are doing that 3-yr plans with some young prospects who could be getting more money elsewhere. Blake and Outlaw could have commanded the full MLE from other teams, but hey, they decided to stick w/ Portland.

    – after the 08/09 season, Portland will be one of the league’s lowest-salaried teams. With Frye, Jack and Webster’s extensions coming, I foresee management making moves for 2 of them for more prospects or for a better veteran supporting cast. I foresee Jack and Frye gone next season while keeping Martell for the qualifying offer or a decent extension. Steve Blake, for lack of better options, will be retained until his contract is up – or until a better PG comes along.

    – Roy and Aldridge will get their extensions in the same year. Portland has a year and a half to decide for how much are these 2 worth. Even if an agreement cannot be reached on the start of their 4th year, both players will still be RFA at the end of the year.

    – Greg Oden will host his debut next year. I think they could have done a lot by getting Durant (and I still maintain that) but I guess a big man with GO’s resume is so hard to pass up.

    – By Draft Day in June of 2008, Portland owner Paul Allen once more plays his favorite game. HIs favorite game is called “buy a pick from Phoenix” and the second one is called “trade with everyone else”. I think its an amazing strategy to invest. With Billions at your disposal, buying middle-late picks for 3m apiece is like peanuts.

    – What’s scary is that this team is not done dealing. Raef LaFrentz’s contract will be due after next season. Package that along with the aforementioned Frye, Jack and Webster, perhaps along with their own #10-13 pick, its a scary deal waiting to happen. And with how fiscally/financially sound they have become, it will actually happen!

  58. The majority at Blazer’s Edge say they hate the Lakers more than any other team. We’ve got Mychal Thompson, a former Blazer #1 calling the game on radio, and Luke Walton, the son of a Blazer legend, starting. Why do they hate us so?

    They have their two key injured players (Jones and Roy) back for tonight, obviously determined to end the Lakers winning streak decisively.

    They’ve beaten the Lakers in recent years–and almost beat the Lakers on Tuesday–the Rose garden has been a garden of thorns for the Lakers.

    Are they going to blow the Lakers out tonight–or are they just going to blow?

    We’re hoping for some roses and, maybe, some hot air.

    I’m going to be watching for sure.

  59. An addendum to my comment about the BlazersEdge community. Those guys are hilarious, today’s thread is worth a read. They seem to be keeping an eye on this thread too, hehe.

  60. Yeah, I’m going to be keeping an eye on their blog tonight too- I’ve got my laptop in front of the TV, so I might actually be saying something during the game

  61. hello laker fans… im a blazer fan just stopping all seem pretty cool ,just letting you know.Im a big kobe fan.I dont like odom,he makes me mad to tell you the truth,but kobe is the best lebron doesnt compare to him in my book.ANyways good luck.

  62. anybody know what happened to I think their site is down.

  63. Portland played us tough in the last game and I hope the Lakers come out strong to start off and keep the intensity up over the full 48 minutes. I think the Lakers will win, but I don’t feel good about this one. I always feel cautious when the Lakers play in Portland.

    Plus, the refs really made some bad calls in that last game, especially the one called on Turiaf’s blocked shot in the fourth.

    I predict a Lakers win, 97-90.

  64. Makes me wonder if we have the same refs as the last time we played Portland. Very physical, if they continue, they may have a shot with Roy and Jones back.

  65. I heart Stu. I’ve travelled all around the US and had to suffer all the other color commentators who are basically cheerleaders with microphones for their home team. Stu has a critical eye and even if his “Stu-isms” are a bit on the corny side, it’s old school. Just like hearing Chick in his days, Stu brings a comfortable feeling to my TV.

    P.S. Get well Wooden!

  66. I’m watching on League pass and the Blazer’s announcers are calling the game. Mike Rice is a paragon of objective game calling.

  67. Silly Kobe, another tech. Shut your mouth man.

  68. Regarding Pau’s scoring lately, his FG% is definitely down in recent games. Shots that were automatic in earlier games have been rimming out. It’s no coincidence that he’s been matched up against long and physical defenders, who have been bodying him up and contesting his shots. Teams have also been trying to take away the entry passes to Pau, and it seems like he’s catching the ball in non-ideal spots on the foor — either too far away from the hoop, or not in a position to make the passes to cutters. Additionally, he’s been working harder on the defensive end against guys like Aldridge, so that might be tiring him out more than usual.

  69. Lakers look really stagnant due to the zone defense by Portland.

  70. this is hard to watch

  71. The Blazer announcers are the most homerific announcers I’ve listened to in a while. It was a clear illegal screen, with the right foot sliding back, and they complained about the “lack of movement.”

    Makes me miss Chick, and also miss listening to Vin Scully on the baseball end of LA.

  72. spot on Bryan. These guys stink.

    Not sure that was a charge by Kobe either. He didn’t lean in and Blake was moving.

  73. i read this site everyday, including all of the comments. i rarely if ever say anything but:

    speaking of announcers… “where were you when kobe got an offensive foul?”

    are they serious?

  74. “Second historical thing… Phil yelling at Kobe!”

    Are they serious indeed. Where have they been all these years?

  75. 66 – God I hate Mike Rice on the Blazers commentary team. Jeez, i can’t take it anymore. Truly one of the most unprofessional commentators i have ever heard. Least Heinshom o the Boston broadcasting team is funny and doesn’t take himself seriously. Mike Rice actually thinks he is smart. Reminds of the kind of guy you see in hotel bars.

    Wow, our defense looks like we are playing in a rec league. No energy at all in our rotations.

  76. And on another note : Gasol is pissing me off so much right now. Can the guy not switch on a pick and roll ever tonight? Looks like he doesn’t care when he gets beat to the hoop. wtf? I love him, but Bynum we need u baby.

  77. I can’t believe Kobe hasn’t won an MVP, he should have earned about 4 of them just from the end of the 3rd..

  78. Kobe Bryant 5 pts in the last 6 seconds!!!!

  79. Those lousy announcers are so defensive of their little Jarret Jack… whoever he is.

  80. anyone know where i can watch this online live? raptorsnation is down and channelsurfing has only the audio…

  81. With Portland’s picks-and-rolls (and consequent layup-lines), Travis Outlaw’s jumpshooting and our lack thereof, and the Lakers’ inopportune fouls and turnovers, it’s amazing that they had the lead going into the fourth. In other words, Kobe = amazing. Nice games from Luke and Lamar so far too!

  82. i got video from channelsurfing

  83. Blazer announcer: “Phil get off your throne and call a timeout!”

    I have to use this censored word…

    Do*****bag, you try having hip surgery and see how you feel.

  84. Off Topic: Am I the only one laughing at how, every time they come back from commercial, we see Portland’s “BlazerDancers” being held aloft in increasingly daring positions (and numbers)?

    On Topic: We are really missing Jordan and Sasha’s shooting tonight. The Blazers are all hitting theirs.

  85. Odom taking a 3 down the stretch????

    What did you tell these guys during the timeout PJ?

  86. Give the ball to the machine!!!

  87. Blazer announcer: “Kobe complains about the foul as he leaves the court, what else is new?”

    sigh… do I have to repeat myself?

    EVERYONE complains about fouls, you idiot.

  88. Thank you! Their color commentator is one of the worst, most bias announcers. Boston’s the worst though. Cleveland’s is pretty bad too.

    Go Pau with the nice offensive rebounds! I wish he would rebound like that every game.

  89. Its down the wire… Sasha with some BIG shots…

  90. this is ******* bs

  91. ahh…going to be close..

  92. Hey Portland fans, its only a turnover on behind the backboard if it touches the structure behind it.


  93. Boy, Portland playing well offensively.

    Fisher not hitting the big shots today.

    Not looking good going into final minute.

  94. Fisher hasn’t been able to hit ANYTHING the last few games.

  95. we are done…

  96. fisher sucks…

  97. we looked like we panicked…and started just shooting those 3’s when we didn’t need to at all. That cost us the game.

  98. Oh well. So we lost on the second night of a back to back in an arena that we always play really poorly in. No big deal.

  99. Portland announcers have to be enjoying their fellacio special with Jarret Jack.

  100. The winning streak had to come to an end. Give the Blazers credit. Roy makes a big difference on this squad. Gotta regroup and get ready for Dallas on Sunday.

  101. Oh well, see you in the playoffs, Jailblazers… oh wait…

  102. So this is what losing feels like. Almost forgot 🙂

    Tough game, can’t forget how good the Blazers can play when healthy…

  103. Why the hell has Pau’s FG and PPG gone down so drastically over a stretch? Can someone please answer this.

  104. This Portland team is going to be a monster for a good long while. You have to give Nate some props.

  105. those pick-n-roll’s just pounded us to death.
    Jarret Jack, Roy had 20+ assts between them and we were helpless with the Blazers having accurate shooters with Jones, Blake, and even Aldridge.
    Kobe went ice cold in the 4th quarter (1-6 off the top of my head) and it was disappointing to see us unable to win this type of game where you know you’re going to see this team fight to death with you for the next 7-8 years.
    Too many 3’s in the last two minutes and I agree, just general panic all around. Kobe losing his dribble, running into Lamar, jacking up a terrible 3 in the corner, etc.
    I think this loss humbles us and hopefully makes us realize that we still have a long way to go. Look at how everyone was saying we are the #1 team in the NBA right now and all of a sudden one loss makes you realize that we are one game back in the loss column to the defending champs.
    Not worried at all about today’s loss. If this team was as good as we thought they were prior to this loss, they will end the season with a renewed focus.

  106. This game was lost last night…they needed to blow out miami to rest the starters more…

    Portland set this one up nicely by not brining Roy and JJones to LA on Tuesday. I don’t know what’s going on with DFish. Sometimes when your shot isn’t falling, you got to work on other things. You can’t allow Blake and JJack to go off like this. Farmar wasn’t much better, but 0-6 from 3s just means he was shooting no matter what. Like Starks in NY v. HOU in ’94… DFish is better than this. Lakers are better than this, but we all knew that this game was going to be tough.

  107. 97 I have noticed Gasol’s production going down the last week as well. I’m hoping that it is just a hiccup and that we can get him back into the groove of the offense.

  108. Also, I hate losing against the Blazers but it wasn’t like we were going to win the rest of the way (even though that would’ve been SO COOL.).

    The Blazers were more energized and hit timely shots. I agree that the Lakers started jacking up threes way to early especially since they weren’t falling.

    And a loss always seems to reinvigorate this team and helps them to refocus. Let’s hope that will happen this time as well.

  109. Live by the three, die by the three

    That, I think, was the major reason why the Lakers lost this game. Too much settling for outside jumpers, not enough ball movement. Kobe didn’t bail them out too, which is a plus, as this is a good learning experience for down the road.

    Rebounding was an issue again. It seems the Lakers don’t handle that well against teams that are aggressive and physical. Bynum/Ariza were sorely missed tonight.

    Now on to the next winning streak. Let’s start on Sunday against Dallas.

  110. The Trailblazers are a nasty team. I don’t like the way that they won at all.

  111. Fish couldn’t buy a shot tonight, especially in the fourth. They were sold out by then — Outlaw, Aldridge, Jones, and Jack had snapped them all up.

    Poor three-point shooting from all of the Lakers tonight, and too many attempts (not that they could get much going down low). That’s not going to beat Portland on the road, especially when they are motivated by the loss in the last meeting and the return of two players who are keys to their winning. (Someone should seriously check for Forum Blue and Gold Kryptonite under the court at the Rose Garden.)

    I was at least happy to see less complaining to the refs in the second half, despite the continuing “inconsistency”, if you want to call it that, in the foul calls. At times recently, you could see some of the players (like Pau, IMO) being taken out of the game mentally by the refs. The iffy calls were there again tonight, but it really came down to Fish, Farmar, and Sasha shooting 9-28 collectively (2-17 from three). In Tuesday’s win, Jordan and Machine were 12-22 and 8-13 in those categories. Too bad Vlade wasn’t playing, since he might have made a difference there tonight …

  112. my .02 cents…this was a positive lost for us.

    Give a lot of credit to the Blazers, they were compose til the very end. Obviously, our Lakers fought a good one w/c only fell short the last couple of mins…Tired…perhaps (due to a b2b) but again that can be anyones excuse. Nevertheless, I still like how our team played it through.

    Glaring weakness that showed again was the lack of boxouts for defensive reb and of consistent help defense. I still like that we got this out of the way and hope the coaching staff will see this as a good indicator to tweak our defense. I can’t fault the team for being short on this one. Just like Kobe said awhile back “…Offense is not our problem,…we’ll hit our shots and miss some…but we should take pride more on defense.”

    Good win by the Blazers but a much better lesson for us. There’s still a couple more left anyway to play them.

    Go Lakers!!!

  113. I can’t wait for the next game.

    It’s our challenging test. How do we respond against a contender after flying with the clouds for 10 games and then suddenly falling back to earth and experiencing what it’s like to be mortal.

    Do we respond with “the heart of champion?” Do we let this loss affect us and ruin our chemistry and trust and general good feeling we have developed thus far?

    I am expecting to see the answers Sunday afternoon.

  114. I would just like to add another quickie:

    it’s so funny how the posters on this blog complain about the refs screwing up the game for the Lakers, while over on the Blazers’ blog, their fans are not happy with the officiating as well, to say the least. 😉

    I think it’s impossible to judge officiating from an objective point-of-view; especially if you’re a fan!

  115. Let’s see the positive in this… We’re going to be focused for Dallas.

    Let’s keep this in perspective… we’re playing to keep one of the top few seeds. The rest is learning and preparation. This game will help us to focus more on D and remember what’s important come May and June.

    I can’t wait til we’re all healthy and can see the team together. I think it’s going to be magic, and to be honest, I don’t care so much how we do until then as long as the team is working together and growing. This team isn’t playing for April…

  116. Eric from Seattle March 1, 2008 at 1:22 am

    Haha, kinda funny reading the comments here by Bryan. I guess every board has a guy like that.

    A couple thoughts from a Blazers fan persepective:

    1) Officiating was terrible. I felt it was totally biased against the Blazers but I was keeping track of comments here while watching the game and the truth is it just sucked. I felt like I was watching a Pac-10 game. Ugly.

    2) I’d give the L*kers about a 30% chance of winning the championship, higher than any other one team. If they were coming out of the East I’d say it’s almost a 50/50 chance but they’ll get worn down in the playoffs. Sadly for us there is no way they’ll be anything but a great team for the next 3-4 years at least.

    3) I think over the next couple years the Blazers vs. L*kers will be THE premier match-up in the NBA. Kobe will reign as king of the NBA but I think the Blazers will be a much deeper team. They both have a strong home-court advantage.

    4) I think the key for the L*ker’s post-season run will be how well Gasol and Bynum work together on D. Gasol won’t stop the big men by himself down there. They rotate ect. well and they win it all, they don’t, they won’t.

  117. Hey folks, Dave from Blazersedge.

    Good game tonight, and great comments here.

    I agree wholeheartedly with those who say the Lakers shot too many threes. Joel Przybilla was in foul trouble much of the game and the purple and gold failed to take advantage of the soft, gooey middle that presented. In the first half you made us look silly with drives and passes to cutters. In the second half, whether because of fatigue, the inability to get anything out of Pau Gasol, or acquiesence to the Blazers packing the middle, it was a ton of bombing.

    From the Blazer perspective we played exactly the offensive game we wanted to. One of the reasons we have been relatively successful against L.A. over the last few years despite sucking like a week-old chalupa in comparative talent is that we are comfortable with Kobe scoring as many as he wants to as long as we have multiple options to counter. Tonight we had 5 players in double figures and 3 over 20 and the Lakers just couldn’t keep up. I’m not going to pretend that this was the usual performance from all of those guys but it certainly shows what they are capable of, which is one of the reasons Portland is going to be feared in the future. Brandon Roy went for 20 and 12 on one leg. Lamarcus Aldridge made Pau Gasol look like a statue and the kid is only in his second year.

    However there’s no illusions about any grander meaning to the contest. You guys are going to be in the title conversation this year. We played a nice game but we’re going to be in the lottery. We hope you get a tough contest every time we show up but there’s not much more than that to say. Here’s to much more important contests with all of the same energy and emotion in the near future.

    Quick note on the refs for those who mentioned it: I’ve long ago given up on trying to decide what’s an infraction or not in absolute terms in the NBA. The best I can do is say whether a call tends to line up with the way the whistles usually blow in similar situations. Tonight I thought there were five or six fairly unusual calls and they split pretty evenly. The most interesting against the Blazers was the “jump ball” that was called late in the fourth when the Lakers were clearly trying to foul for possession. There were also a couple of whistles when Kobe Byrant came into contact with Joel Przybilla that looked to have more to do with name and reputation than what happened on the court. On the other hand Przybilla also got away with at least one obvious over-the-back call that also ended up as an extra possession for the Blazers. Plus that “charge” drawn by Steve Blake on Kobe in the open court was ridiculous if you go by normal NBA standards. In any case, you shot 8 more free throws and that doesn’t count the fact that you gave us extra ones at the end of the game to gain possession, so it’s hard to see where you’d blame this on the refs. Even the Lakers commit some infractions. I try to encourage folks to let that lie in any case. Every team has to overcome whistles to succeed. And don’t even get me started on what Shaq used to be able to get away with in your uniform…

    Thanks for the discussion. I doubt our fans will ever gather around the campfire and sing Kum Ba Yah but it’s nice to know there’s good basketball people around.

  118. lukeiamyourfather March 1, 2008 at 5:34 am

    115. Definitely. Its funny listening to commentators on all sides who say that either the Lakers or the Blazers are set to outlast the older teams. No one seems to notice that both teams are up on the rise.

  119. Warren Wee Lim March 1, 2008 at 6:38 am

    Oh well, we’re mortals after all. Onto the drawing board how to defend a millions isolations.

    😀 😀 😀

  120. Wow, first of all, the Blazer announcers, as has been noted, were freakin unbearable. There little snide remarks all game and unadultured bias was at first amusing, but eventually off putting as hell.

    second, Fish has gotta get warm again, but I’d rather he be cold in Feb than in April/May.

    third, like I said a couple games ago, the Thorn Garden is not a place of great success for us.

  121. One more thing about the game. I’m not trying to pile on Luke, I have (what obviously) is a legitimate concern that he cannot guard anyone with ANY type of athleticsm. He didn’t play bad offensively yesterday (although it would be nice to have a guy who could consititently hit the 3ball and spread the floor at the 3) but his defense kepy Portland in the game.

    Outlaw saw Luke on him, so did McMillian. Iso, pull-up, iso, pull-up, iso, pull-up. Why does Phil allow Luke to be embarassed like this. We either have to go zone with Luke, or put on him on a player he is capable of pretending to stay in front of.

  122. Eric from Seattle,
    I really like this group of young Blazers. I like their talent, yes, but what I really like is their composure and poise for such a young team, no doubt helped by one of game’s brightest young coaches in McMillan.
    They play hard, they play tough, physical brand of basketball, and that is what will eventually win a championship or two for you. Lakers, even as we’ve been pulling off this 10-game winning streak, have been very soft in our interior D and rebounding. Before Bynum and Ariza return (if they do indeed return), we need to somehow help each out better on D, make sure we chase the guy running off screen better (Outlaw’s dagger jumper from the middle of the key that put them up 113-109 comes to mind), and have almost entire team crash the Defensive glass, even if it means sacrificing our up tempo game.

  123. 117) I agree – the calls pretty much evened out. The Lakers lost because they got away from what has made them successful, and because the Blazers played well.

    Loved Aldridge’s game – he made a couple of huge 20′ shots as the shot clock was running out.
    (But if Lamar had boxed him out on that putback …)

  124. Oh yea, as I’ve said before, Paxson should be fired, solely for trading Aldridge for T. Thomas.

  125. 117 The Lakers have a habit I’ve noticed of abandoning going to the hoop when the defense tightens up a bit. I can understand not pushing the issue when the lane is clogged but the Lakers throughout the season seem to forget the easy buckets they can and should get when the going gets tough. That’s when they start to rain down the threes and the other outisde shots. If we’re on from outside, it can mask the fact they we are not taking it strong to the hoop. But if, like last night, the shots aren’t falling, then we come off looking like a D League team.

  126. What concerns me about this loss is the trend that is continuing. The Lakers can’t handle physical teams. Detroit and San Antonio are physical teams. Dallas and Phoenix are not. I love all the finesse, but it also has to be combined with an ability to bang. Our bangers are Lamar, Kobe, Fisher, and Farmar – and Lamar doesn’t do much banging. It is pretty bad when all your tough guys are in the backcourt. This is where we really need Bynum and Ariza. While Bynum isn’t real tough yet, he does show signs of being dominating and Ariza just gets it done. That is the biggest loss in these injuries.

  127. Opps! Sorry I forgot Turiaf, but then again, Phil doesn’t play him much.

  128. The Blazers are the type of team that will give this Lakers team (w/o Bynum and Ariza) problems. They have a big front line and athleticism on the wings. Gasol and Odom (even LO and Bynum) have had trouble controlling the defensive glass against teams that can have the type of front line that Portland does (Cleveland, Boston, Phoenix the last time they played) and Walton, as mentioned before, is a liability on defense, especially in space and will also give up offensive boards and struggle to keep his man blocked out against athletes like Outlaw who like to go to the glass. Add those issues to the facts that the Blazers are a much better team with Roy, this was a revenge game for Portland, and the fact that we had won 10 in a row, and I can’t be too upset over this loss. We’re still playing good ball. And we all wait to see what the team can accomplish once we add Bynum and Ariza to this mix (plus get RadMan back). So, good game to Portland, the Lakers were not good enough last night to win.

    As far as the refs go, objectivity says that calls were made and missed for and against both teams….that’s just how it goes and it’s pointless to complain too much about it imo. And even if it was one sided (which I do not agree with), the Lakers have benefited in games from referee whistles in my lifetime…those are the breaks sometimes. To me, it’s all about the next game and getting ready for the Mavs. The race is still on and we still control our own fate.

  129. Re: my earlier comment about fouls — I didn’t mean to imply that all the calls went one way or another, just that they were inconsistent and “iffy” all around, and the Lakers had been letting that get to them in the last few games (picking up Ts, complaining to the refs, reacting melodramatically), instead of focusing on the game and handling their business. I thought they did a better job in the second half of ignoring that stuff mentally; they just couldn’t get it done on the court in the final minutes of the fourth. Great game, though. I’m looking forward to the many battles with Portland in the coming years!

  130. Sorry,but I’m not drinking the Blazers Kool-Aid yet. They are a good YOUNG team,but… This group hasn’t made it to the Playoffs yet and rarely does a team make a Championship run in their first appearance. So they’re at least two yrs away. They are very thin in quality bigs. Oden-if healthy-Aldridge,and ? Their Point Guard situation is totally up in the air-the coach obviously doesn’t trust the guy all the fans love and they just might play better w/Roy being the defacto point. In 2-3 yrs they may be a juggernaut,or not. Their roster is going to undergo several changes by then.
    People here are overlooking the Hornets when they talk about young teams on the rise. They need a couple of solid bench players and they will contend for a while.

    Last night I watched the Rockets dismantle Memphis and I have to say the Gasol trade is not as one-sided as everyone thinks. Crittendon can ball,and the Lakers are going to miss him. He was the only Laker who could get his own shot at any time and could score in bunches. The Lakers bench is missing that kind of player,and in games where the offence is struggling and Kobe’s off,you need that. Bynum’s return will help alot of the interior/rebounding issues. But the lack of an alternative instant-offence option will bite down the road.(Yes,Lamar can get his own shot,but when he tries to force it,G*d it’s ugly and rarely successful. IMHO,Lamar’s a flow guy. When things are going smoothly he flows around the court,passing,scoring,rebounding w/all the effortless grace of a kayak floating along an irressistable river heading to the sea. But when he tries to force matters,the placid stream turns into an angry,churning nasty waterfall and the kayak tumbles,stumbles crashes against rocks and takes a beating.)

  131. 130. Stephen, the Blazers are a couple years away but they are on the right trajectory. They are going to have to learn how to win, and maybe add some veteran depth, but those are things you can get. That is a team built for a long run, if things keep going the way they are.

  132. 130 Stephen…the Blazers’thin’ front line should not be a problem. Aldridge/Frye & Oden/Przybilla isn’t bad. Plus, they do have McRoberts and Outlaw can play some PF. Free agency and the draft should be enough to polish the front line.

  133. I’m a Blazer fan! What is with Jackson’s king chair? [edited] Don’t cut your wrists Laker fans; you still have the best player in the league. Oh, Gasol is a total pansy; you need Bynum back pronto!

  134. the other Stephen March 1, 2008 at 2:55 pm

    i don’t care about you guys. i’ve always said that sasha was white mamba.

  135. drrayeye (110) – Could you elaborate? (I didn’t watch the game.)

    And a lot of fans hate the Lakers. I’m guessing this goes back to those playoff series in the Dunleavy era. I’m kind of used to it, to be honest.

  136. I don’t know if this has been mentioned since there’s too many comments to keep track of, but Kobe has received four technicals in the past three games. He’s nearing dangerously close to that 16 limit once again.

  137. 133- The “throne” is to allow Phil Jackson to sit without pain to his 2 artificial hips and the fused vertebrae in his back. I’d say that definitely warrants your scorn.

  138. 135) And if he gets to that point, it’s a game suspension for each additional T he gets. That could end up costing the team a couple of games.

  139. 130) “He was the only Laker who could get his own shot at any time and could score in bunches.”

    Sorry, Stephen, but I have to call shenanigans on that post. Crittenden could not get his own shot at any time, virtually never scored in bunches. He was a turnover waiting to happen. And what about Kobe, and arguably, Gasol? They don’t have problems getting their own shots.

    Now, he definitely has a bright future, but he was not going to help this season, and probaby not much next season.

  140. (135) Hi Emma,

    At the beginning of the game, the Lakers tore into the Blazers and threatened to run away with the game. The Blazers responded, in part, by deliberately fouling hard. Kobe eventually got a technical called over his altercation with Pryzbilla when Pryzbilla deliberately came over his back on a rebound. Kobe was obviously very upset.

    The Lakers could have countered more effectively, but the risk of harm for someone was high at that level of engagement. When the other team raises the level of play to where a player must risk health and shoot free throws, they’ve gone too far–at least for the regular season. I’d rather see a game of skill than a game of survival.

  141. drrayeye,
    I think the way you described how the Blazers got back into the game and eventually won it last night is exactly how you win championship basketball. (The Bad Boys of Detroit come to mind)

  142. 124 Kwame A

    Another case of overrating athleticism and potential over raw skill.

    It’s ironic that Tyson Chandler is what Paxson wished Tyrus Thomas would become.

    Though I do think that he and Gordon are going to be very good players…on other teams.

  143. Breaking news: The Phoenix Suns won’t make the playoffs this year.

  144. Im getting a little concerned with Pau Gasol’s defense and rebounding ability. Especially if we have to meet the Spurs in the playoffs. I can see Duncan having a monster series against Gasol. This is where we are going to need Bynum to be 100% healthy.

  145. (141) chocomm,

    If it were us, I probably wouldn’t be a Laker fan.

    Dirty may be how Detroit Bad Boys occasionally won championships, but the Lakers win championships by being competitive, athletic, team players, and having a complete package of basketball skill.

  146. I gotta weigh in on Stu. Yes, he’s a bit predictable, but he knows the game to some extent. And I disagree with the commenter who said his calls going to commercials are moronic. I think they usually seem fairly reasonable and I think they’re about the high point of his calling!!! Anyway; yes, Joel doesn’t keep him in check as Chick did…but there’s only one Chicky Baby! Yes Stu is a bit smug at times without justification, but at least he played the game. Joel annoys the pants off me. He never played hoops and his smugness seems to know no bounds. I agree with the props given to Spiro (sp?). It’s great listening to him. He’s the closest thing to the Bird’s Eye View which Chick promulgated. I think Chicky would absolutely love the potential the Lakers have now. Personally I couldn’t understand dumping Sunderland for Joel. I always liked Sunderland and as I’ve said, I don’t much care for Joel, but Spiro really is very very good doing play-by-play. One really gets a sense of what is happening on the court.

  147. Kobie has mad basketball skills but Prybilla would knock [edited] out! Kobie is smart enough to know that well. If Oden comes back and the Blazers add another draft choice, the Lakers had better enjoy their succes now because there wil be a new sheriff in town. Oh, and the Lakers will not win the NBA championship this year. Sorry Laker fan…

  148. (147) Jaybo,

    Live by the sword–die by the sword. The Blazers have already experienced the type of injuries associated with a “take no prisoners” style of play. When the Blazer style of play forces other players to risk their careers every time they come up against Blazer players, it goes both ways.

    Why not teach your players to play a complex switching defense, instead of playing a “zone and grab.” Why not teach them some offense beyond “isolate.”

    Your team has some athletes–how about teaching them to play basketball?

    I believe that the Lakers would have won the game in the Rose Garden if the playoffs were on the line. The Lakers have a great deal to lose. The Blazers have nothing to lose.

  149. Drrayeye (147) —

    I couldn’t help but laugh about your comment regarding “The Blazer style of play”. If you think that the Blazers are a team of hard-fouling punks in the mold of the Bad Boys, then you know precious little about the Blazers. Aside from Pryzbilla, we’re softer than Ho-Hos in the noonday sun, and we get killed in the paint and on the boards accordingly. We’re among the bottom (top?) five teams in the league in T’s against, so it’s not like we’re dropping ‘bows and talking trash all the time…in fact, Kobe alone has twice as many technicals this year as the Blazers team combined.

    I agree with you that if the playoffs were on the line, the L*kers probably would have won. The L*kers are a better team than the Blazers right now, with more gears to utilize, and I doubt they were in in fifth gear from the outset. But you sound pretentious when you complain about the Blazers not playing a aesthetically pleasing “complex switching defense”, running isos instead of the Vaunted Triangle Offense, or whining that our athletes don’t know how to play basketball. The team that plays lousy defense and ugly offense with athletes who don’t know how to play just won the game — if your assessment of the Blazers is accurate, what does that say about the L*kers? Come on man.

    (P.S. I am very pleasantly surprised by the lack of bandwagon homerism and evenhanded basketball analysis on this site, L*kers fans. Keep up the good work).