Sunday, December 28, 2008

Token Weekly Blazers Post: 2-2

Portland finished a 2-2 week last week with a 102-89 victory over the Raptors that Brandon Roy just plain took over and made everyone else look silly. It's hard to know what to make of this past week, however. It was disappointing - mostly the loss on Christmas night to Dallas. That was the big stunner, to me. I think they are better than that team. It wasn't too surprising that the Blazers lost one of the back-to-back Denver games. It's always tough to win two in a situation like that. I still think Portland has a good chance at winning the division title when all is said and done, and it's nice to see them in there and competing with Denver and Utah, but some of the problems that have plagued the Blazers this season still seem to exist.

Some things that need immediate attention with this team:
  • Perimeter defense. Ouch. It can be really bad at times. Sure, their opponents will live by the three as much as they die by it, just like the Blazers when they shoot too many threes, but it seems like everyone they play has no trouble getting open looks.
  • Switching on defense. Sensing a theme here? There's a lot that is lacking on the defensive side. Players keep getting caught up in terrible mismatches. I am tired of seeing Lamarcus Aldridge guarding point guards. I am also tired of seeing Steve Blake getting posted up by another team's big man. Unfortunately, I don't know enough about basketball to be able to say exactly what is causing this, but whatever it is it needs to stop.
  • Three-point shot reliance. I've ranted about this already. It makes the Blazers look like a college team at times, and they don't have the luxury of the shorter distance to cope with. I cringe every time I see someone passing up an open 15-foot jumper for a three-point look.
About the cards:
  • The Clyde Drexler card is from, I believe, the first year that Topps brought Stadium Club over to basketball. I'm not positive about this, though, but I just am not picturing the original 1991 design on a basketball card. This is a nice shot of Drexler going to the hoop against two defenders from the hated Jazz at Memorial Coliseum. There's been talk of demolishing the Coliseum and putting a new AAA baseball stadium in its place if Portland is able to land an MLS expansion team. I'm not against MLS or anything, but I hate the idea of baseball leaving the 18th St area.
  • Jermaine O'Neal went at it with Greg Oden in the win over the Raptors and Oden seemed to come out victorious for the most part. It was probably Oden's most productive offensive game so far and is hopefully a sign that he will go off on opposing centers that are smaller than him. The card comes from a set called UD Choice, which I'm guessing is similar to a 90's baseball set Upper Deck would put out called Collector's Choice, a budget set aimed at kids, I guess?
Bonus: Well, here's Channing Frye's awful looking Chrome card from last season. Frye is on the cover of a local weekly paper which usually reserves its cover stories for the latest local Scandal of the Week. This week, the scandal is that Frye is a great guy but might not be a Blazer much longer. It's tough, because he is an entertaining guy that has his own blog (which is actually good!) and seems to have embraced Portland, the city, perhaps more than any player the team has ever imported. Unfortunately, he's not playing a ton and he doesn't offer a lot in the department that is lacking the most - defense.

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