The Blueprint Blew

By: 01.01.08  •  18 Comments
IMAGE DESCRIPTION“I cannot be defeated.” (Photo. Gary Land)

Just when we thought the Blazers had mastered the blueprint for how to beat the Jazz, they ran up against a clicking-on-all-cylinders Utah squad last night and saw the 13-game win streak get put to bed. LaMarcus Aldridge ripped Utah for 36 points, and the Blazers were actually in pretty good position to win it well into the third quarter before they went ice-cold. Cue the big Utah run, sparked by AK-47 (14 pts, 8 rebs, 7 asts), and Portland was done. On one play, Kirilenko dropped a pass between his legs on the break for the trailing Paul Millsap, then bowled over Aldridge to give Millsap a free path for a layup … Kyle Korver made his Jazz debut, scoring 11 off the bench … Now that the win streak is over, will Portland bounce back strong and continue to battle Denver and Utah in the Northwest Division, or will they fade back into the Lottery slot everyone had them pegged for? Honestly, we don’t see any reason why Brandon Roy and Co. can’t keep this up and nab a playoff spot. And with them riding high on confidence coming into ’08-09 and getting Greg Oden back, this team will be a force … Is B-Roy the most valuable player on the Blazers? Our man Andrew doesn’t think so. He made his picks for the first-third of the season MVP’s for each team, giving a bench player the nod for Portland and some surprising picks in Boston, Dallas and Phoenix. Check out the Western Conference MVP’s and the Eastern Conference MVP’s … LaMarcus got buckets, but pulled down an Eddy Curry-ish THREE rebounds and didn’t block a shot. He’s like a 7-foot Ben Gordon … Speaking of BG, what exactly is his problem with coming off the bench? Ever since Jim Boylan moved BG back into the sixth man role, all we’ve heard is how Gordon is begrudgingly accepting the role. Now, if you’re playing 40-plus minutes a night, you get to jack up 27 shots from the field, and you have every crunch-time play running through you — like Gordon did against Orlando yesterday — why does it matter whether or not you begin the game on the court or in warmups? … Down three in the final seconds of overtime, Gordon hit a NASTY turnaround triple over Keith Bogans. Too bad it was all forgotten when Hedo Turkoglu stuck a fadeaway over Ben Wallace on the next play to win it. Not that he had a chance, but Wallace didn’t even jump to challenge the shot … Oh, and Dwight Howard threw up a 17-22-5 line on Big Ben’s head, and after Hedo’s game-winner, Wallace’s half-court desperation attempt fell WAY short for someone whose arms are that brolic … The Bulls are doing better since Scott Skiles‘ firing, but they’ve got a ways to go before reaching the contender status expected of them before the season. Scottie Pippen offered his analysis on the Bulls in a Chicago newspaper the other day, going hard at BG, Luol Deng, Kirk Hinrich and some other guys … How do you spend your New Year’s Eve when you get absolutely destroyed in front of a bunch of people in Detroit and then (we assume) have to get on a plane right after? The Bucks got 45-pieced by the Pistons, after which we figure they either sulked about the game or tried to be optimistic about their next one: against the punching-bag Heat on Wednesday … So apparently Chris Paul isn’t perfect. With the Hornets down by one to Toronto with 25 seconds left, CP (23 pts, 16 asts, 7 rebs) went to the line and bricked a pair of free throws. It capped a fourth quarter where Paul saw his Hornets lose a double-digit lead and eventually the game … Chris Bosh went for 29 points, and Jamario Moon — who’d been kinda quiet lately — had 10 boards, 3 blocks and a monster dunk where he got about head-level with the rim and scared the hell out of Hilton Armstrong … The Andre Owens Era isn’t off to a good start in Indiana. The Pacers lost their fourth in a row, and seeing as they won’t have Jamaal Tinsley for the next week or so, Owens has to run the point for a stretch that will include at least the beginning of a five-game West Coast road swing (Lakers, Jazz, Suns, Kings, Warriors). Last night they dropped an overtime game to Charlotte, getting torched by Gerald Wallace for 36 points, 8 boards and 4 steals. Wallace made 22 trips to the line … Gordan Giricek scored 6 points off the bench in his Sixers debut (he doesn’t look right in that uni), a Durant-less game in Seattle that about 300 fans turned out for … Remember last year when Bill Walker got shut down and was a disappointment in his national TV debut against Xavier? Michael Beasley had a similar experience yesterday, being held to 5 points and just one field goal by the Musketeers in a game where K-State got waxed by 26. Walker scored 31 in the loss … We’re out like ’07 …

Around The Web