Let it G.O.

11.01.08 9 years ago 24 Comments
Brandon RoyBrandon Roy, Dime #40

Sometime during this latest Greg Oden-less stretch of Blazers games, we’ll all stop talking about Oden’s foot and start talking about how good Portland could be with or without him. Last night the Blazers looked like the team everyone was sprung on over the summer, knocking off the Spurs in their home opener. Brandon Roy (26 pts) and LaMarcus Aldridge (23 pts) went shot-for-shot with Tony Parker (24 pts) and Tim Duncan (27), the difference coming by way of Roy’s go-ahead free throws in the final minute and some clutch jumpers by Aldridge. As bad as the Blazers looked against L.A. earlier in the week, that’s how sharp they looked against San Antonio. Roy was unflappable (1 turnover) in carving up the D, while Aldridge was going at Duncan like he was a 10-year vet, sticking several J’s in his face and exuding a swagger the whole time that said he should have been getting buckets like that. At times Aldridge was a little too quick to shoot from the outside, because his post game is too good to ignore. You don’t want him to turn into 34-year-old Rasheed at just 23 years old … Despite the loss, the Spurs may have found what they need during their Manu-less stretch in Roger Mason. Because Mason was more confident going for his — and because Mike Finley was sticking threes — Duncan and Parker didn’t have to do everything. Mason (14 pts) made some big catch-and-shoot threes in the second half, but more importantly he created and made shots for himself in crucial situations. Along with the long-ball threat, that’s the element Manu would normally bring that the Spurs didn’t have in the season-opening loss to the Suns. Plus, Mason already has his Spurs signature Whiny Face in postseason form … Color analyst Jon Barry after Parker sent Steve Blake to the deck with a pump-fake in the lane: “Stop the grinnin’ and drop the linens!” … Nic Batum (12 pts) was surprisingly good in the first half. He rejected Duncan at the rim when it looked like he was gonna get snapped in half, and later he made a couple smooth finger rolls and hit a three. Kid looks like he’s 14 years old, but he’s got some game … Before Rudy Gay decided to step up and be the hero, Grizzlies/Magic was a clinic on what not to do at the end of a close game. Tied up in the final minute, Stan Van Gundy gave Keith Bogans the green light (despite Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis being right there), and his drive was snuffed out by Gay and Marc Gasol. Because Marc Iavaroni didn’t stop the clock following the block to make the offense/defense substitution, O.J. Mayo was on the bench watching as Quinton Ross bricked what could have been a go-ahead shot, and when the Grizzlies got another crack at it, Rudy’s pull-up hit rim before sailing over the backboard. Orlando ball, and Hedo overshot Dwight Howard on an inbounds lob that Kyle Lowry intercepted (Gasol helped by discreetly locking up Dwight’s arm), giving the Memphis one more chance with 1.8 on the clock. They got it right this time, as Gay got open on the baseline and dropped a fadeaway over Bogans for the game-winner … And we loved Rudy (29 pts) in the post-game interview when he said, “When it comes down to it, I think I should get the last shot.” In case you didn’t know, the Grizzlies are unquestionably his team … During that last Memphis timeout before the game-winner, you could see Antoine Walker in a suit, not paying attention at all to the huddle and instead watching the dancers … Speaking of guys getting paid big-time money to watch games (no, we’re not talking about ourselves), the Stephon Marbury saga took another turn when Steph went from DNP-CD to the inactive list before yesterday’s game at Philly. The Knicks got destroyed on top of that for good measure. Apparently it was just too much pressure for the Knicks to be drama-free and mildly successful for a couple of days … On the flip side, one deserving guy got papered off with a contract extension just before yesterday’s deadline, as Danny Granger re-upped with the Pacers for five years, $60-65 million. The Blazers also extended Martell Webster for an inoffensive four years and $20 million … Does any #1 option have it as rough as Kevin Martin? From what we’ve seen this week, if Martin doesn’t go off every night, the Kings might actually go 0-82. Martin had his Ralph Ellison game going last night, scoring just nine points (2-for-8 FG’s) and committing five turnovers while the Kings got cracked in Miami. Everyone has their bad shooting nights, but if you also added up K-Mart’s rebounds, assists, and steals from Friday, your grand total would be one (rebound). Meanwhile, it was like there were two D-Wades on the floor. He had 20 points, eight dimes, four blocks and four steals in just 26 minutes, including one rejection on Spencer Hawes that looked exactly like Nate Robinson‘s block on Yao last year … Forget KG, Boston’s defensive MVP last night was the rim. The Bulls couldn’t hit ANYTHING, to the point where them hitting 80 on the scoreboard was something of a shocker. Tyrus Thomas went 2-for-17 from the field, and the Gordon/Deng combo combined to go 5-for-20. About the only bright spot was Derrick Rose, who scored 18 and would’ve had more than one assist if somebody on his team could make shots … When did Leon Powe turn into Alonzo Mourning? As Rick Kamla put it on NBA TV’s highlight show, “Leon Powe leads the League in howling at the moon.” … Gunning = Al Harrington taking 12 threes by himself, while the Raptors (who like the three) took 12 as a team. Gunning, Pt. 2 = Stephen Jackson taking 11 threes in the same game. Gunning, Pt. 3 = When you can look at a team and say Corey Maggette is its third-most prolific jacker. Again the Warriors were in a crazy nail-biter, taking the Raps to OT but eventually losing. Harrington hit a huge three with about 20 seconds left when Jermaine O’Neal swatted a shot right to him beyond the arc (think Robert Horry‘s famous shot against the Kings), but it came down to GS not having anyone to handle Chris Bosh, who finished with 31 points and nine boards … And again, the Raps had rebounding issues, getting out-boarded 46-36. Against the Warriors. As long as they’re winning you can’t talk too bad about them, but it’s gonna bite them one of these days … Typical Clippers: they were up by 18 at halftime, at home, and still found themselves not only getting taken to overtime, but getting blown out in OT and losing by double-digits. Oh yeah, and Baron Davis hurt his back in the first half and didn’t return. Can somebody please get Al Thornton and Eric Gordon out of there before something bad happens to them? There’s still time to save them before they catch the disease. And why did Gordon only play two minutes? … The Tim Thomas (20 pts, 7 rebs) vs. Kenyon Martin (13 pts, 13 rebs) back-and-forth was interesting to watch — kind of like if Shep and Nutso from Above the Rim played one-and-one without anyone falling off a roof at the end. Tim actually showed a pulse; one time he hit a turnaround J over K-Mart and pulled his jersey over to point to his heart. If K-Mart can get Tim Thomas to get fired up, he needs to be a coach when his playing days are up … We’re out like Steph …

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