Kevin Love came back home to Oregon and showed everyone why he is the best power forward in the world. He scored 42 points, one shy of his career high, and grabbed 10 rebounds as the Blazers once again did not fail to disappoint.
The Minnesota Timberwolves had lost 16 straight games to Portland heading into tonight’s game. Needless to say the Blazers have absolutely owned the T-Wolves for a long time. That streak ended tonight.
The Blazers came out playing well enough on the offensive side of the ball, scoring 28 points in the first quarter. However they could not slow down Minnesota, which came out red hot shooting 8-10 from downtown finishing with 40 points at the end of the first. 40 freakin’ points! Pardon my French, but that is some terrible defense. I will give the T-Wolves some credit in that they were hitting their shots. But the Blazers were giving them wide open looks and as a professional you should be knocking down uncontested shots. At some points it was only taking a single screen to get guys wide open for a three. I can’t tell you how many times I heard Mike and Mike (the Blazer announcers) say “Another wide open look for three… and it’s good”.
You’ve heard me say it before and you’ll probably hear me say it again. The Blazers NEED to be more physical. They have to body their man up and force them a certain way instead of giving them the space to get anywhere they want. They need to run through a few screens even if it means picking up a foul, just so the screener may think twice about setting a pick next time. There is no reason to be giving up eight completely wide open 3-pointers in a quarter.
After the first quarter, however, the Blazers did get the memo and played with more toughness and effort. Joel Przybilla came in and plugged up the middle like no one else on the Blazers could. He also got the crowd into it, and we all know how loud the fans can get in the Rose Garden. The defense came alive with four steals in the first minute and ten seconds of the second quarter (my favorite mini stat of the night). The Blazers completely flipped the script in the second, and were down only one at halftime.
The third quarter was played pretty evenly, but in the fourth the T-Wolves busted out another high scoring quarter with 38 points and pulled away from the Blazers late. The final score was 110-122.
Just by looking at the score you can see the problem was not in the offense. It was in the complete lack of defense, especially in the first and fourth quarters (78 points combined). This was a bad loss. Portland now falls one game back of .500 and is about to head into a brutal 7 game road swing. There is one more game at home against the very beatable New Orleans Hornets, and they absolutely have to get their act together in that game. I could sense the frustration in the players as the game was getting away from them. Heck we all are frustrated. This team has a lot of good excuses, yes, but they should still be above .500 with the talent they have.
Let’s hope things can get turned around quickly.
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.