No Duncan, no Parker, and no Ginobili means no problem for Portland.
A day after setting lows for points in a quarter, the Blazers bounced right back and set a first quarter high of 41 points. That’s a 585% increase in the first quarter in just 24 hours! They followed with a halftime season high of 66, and a game high 137 points. To get to 137 points in regulation you need two things to happen:
1. Terrible lifeless defense from your opponent – Check. The Spurs have one of the best records in the league and just like last year are cruising to a top seed in the playoffs. However last year they were completely worn down by the time the postseason came around and quickly exited. This year Popovich is trying not to make the same mistake twice by giving the oldest team in the league some rest. When you take out your star players you are basically telling your team we are conceding a loss. That’s a tough game to get up for. I can’t really blame them.
2. Scorching hot shooting as a team – The Blazers did just that by shooting 59% percent from the field, including 54% from behind the arc. They started the game going 8-11 from deep with Crawford making all four of his attempts in the first quarter. Seven players finished the game in double figures led by Aldridge with 21.
As much fun as it was to see how many scoring records the Blazers could break, we have to call a spade a spade. The game was boring to watch. When a team is up by almost 50 points the competitive edge the game might have had is now completely gone. There were some great dunks and highlight reel plays by the Blazers, but the tension and excitement of a normal game wasn’t there for most of the night. However, one interesting note to take away from this game is the new starting lineup coach Nate Mcmillan chose to go with. He started Jamal Crawford in place of the struggling Raymond Felton. Crawford quickly proved Mcmillan’s instincts correct by both scoring and being a facilitator. The Blazers starting five seemed to click right away and moved the ball unselfishly for open shots. At the same time, Felton came off the bench and finally got his shot going, scoring 16 points and shooting over 50% from the field. Felton was openly upset about being benched and maybe felt like he had to prove himself a little. The thing to keep an eye on is if Mcmillan will keep this lineup for the second half of the year, and if so how will it fair. Today’s competition was by no means enough to answer that question.
So the Blazers did what they had to do and hopefully gained some momentum going into All-Star weekend. And what better way to do it than by giving all the fans at the Rose Garden free chalupas before the 3rd quarter was even over.
About the Author
Written by Colin Chisholm
I'm a huge sports fan and basketball nut. I grew up in Oregon and now live in the great city of Chicago while trying to crack my way into the sports industry.