Back-to-back wins to open the season, even if they’re over two teams unlikely to sniff the playoffs, are wonderful things. And for the Trail Blazers, they provide a reward for hard fourth-quarter work that salvaged both games.
A look at a few of the interesting highlights:
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- Brandon Roy had a most interesting night. He started out 0 for 3, made seven of his next eight shots and then missed his last eight in a row. It’s well worth pointing out that in the small sample size that is two games, Roy is not getting to the basket much. Most of his shots have been jumpers and many of them have been difficult ones. Remember how frequently he was able to get to the basket, often finishing with his left hand, during his first couple of seasons with Portland? It’s just not going to happen as often — teams are loading up on those isolations and pick-and-rolls. Even a half-decent defensive team isn’t going to allow him penetrations in the volume he used to get them.
- LaMarcus Aldridge also had an interesting night. He played well enough down the stretch to erase the memory of a horrendous start, when he couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn while being pushed all over the floor on the other end by Clipper rookie Blake Griffin. Actually, Aldridge was pushed all over the floor most of the night by more than one person. The best came with about a minute and a half left when Los Angeles guard Eric Gordon pushed him all the way out of the lane, greatly amusing some of the people I happened to be watching the game with. But he made a big three-pointer late and that’s about all anyone will remember.
- Nic Batum needs more touches and more shots. He was six out of seven from the field in this game, with three assists and six rebounds. Please make this man more prominent in the offense.
- Wesley Matthews, for whatever reason, was not at all effective. Nice hustle, but 0-for-3 from long range and didn’t get a lot done.
- This team is living on the offensive boards so far, getting 21 of them against Los Angeles. That and three-point field goals have been the winning formula over two games. I trust the rebounds to be there more often than I do the long-range shooting, which can come and go.
- Man, is Blake Griffin a beast or what?
- Chris Kaman was 4-for-18… a great tribute to Marcus Camby, who had 11 and 14 in a whopping 37 minutes, which is way too many for the guy on the second of back-to-backs.
- I’ll say it once more — the Blazers are really getting hosed on this schedule. You shouldn’t have to make a coast-to-coast trip in the first week of the season.