This one hurt.
With the Houston Rockets loss tonight, The Blazers could have moved just a half game behind that final playoff spot in the West. Instead, the Minnesota Timberwolves beat the Portland Trailblazers for the second time in four days, pushing them to a game and a half back.
Raymond Felton started and came out strong for the Blazers. He opened the game shooting 5-5 from the field with 11 first quarter points. Felton finished with a team high 23 points. This is absolutely something Portland fans have been
asking begging for since he arrived with the team. He was making open jumpers and confidently taking it strong to the basket. As the point guard he was also getting others involved as evident by his 9 assists on the night. I was on the fence about him starting earlier, but now I truly feel that the Blazers have to trust he can contribute like this every night. Love it or hate it he is the only capable true point guard on the team, and the Blazers need to ride with him until the end of the season. Plus the Blazers need to keep their bench output strong, and having Crawford come off the bench does just that, tonight’s game not withstanding (6 points in 29 minutes).
LaMarcus Aldridge also came out very aggressive scoring 22 points. However, the story of the night was the two players from Oregon. Kevin Love (born in Bend, Oregon) and Luke Ridnour (played college ball for the Ducks) combined to score 51 points for the Timberwolves. Love had 15 points in the first quarter and finished with 29 points, 16 rebounds. Ridnour finished with 22 points, scoring two straight crucial buckets after Portland cut the lead to 5 with just 3:20 left in the game. That would be all she wrote for the Blazers as they lose 106-94.
A worrisome stat for the Blazers was their horrendous three point shooting. Going 3-23 from downtown tonight is eye popping bad, but the fact they continued to settle for the outside jumpers when they weren’t going in is the scary part. The saying is you live and die with the three ball. But in actuality you usually die by the three. The second the Blazers began to miss from downtown they should have started to pump fake and take it inside. Sometimes for a shooter all it takes is to see the ball go through the net with a layup or a couple free throws. Driving the ball to the basket would have done that. I put the blame on coach Nate Mcmillan. Riding it out and hoping the three ball just starts falling is not the answer, and he needed to tell the team that. He did not and it burned them tonight.
So now the Blazers are a game and a half back from the last playoff spot. They face Boston next on this road trip and once again need to find a way to win. Boston is one of those teams that is great one night and terrible the next. Let’s hope for the latter.
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.