Sunday, December 16, 2007

Blazers vs Denver: Nick Cannon did this to you!

Blazers 116, Nuggets 105 (boxscore)

The seventh consecutive win was a mature and convincing one. Suddenly Portland is at .500 and continues to perform ahead of schedule. At this rate, the media will have to stop describing how other teams are losing to the Blazers and acknowledge that this team is straight-up beating people (Note: not tonight, ESPN is reporting "Blazers knock off Nuggets despite A.I.'s 38 points").

As has been true during this win streak, the Portland bench was an absolute force spearheaded by Outlaw (17 points, 5 rebs, 2 assists, 2 steals, 1 block) and James Jones (14 points, 7 rebs). If you want to see some eye-popping stats, check out James Jones by the way. I'm not sure how he keeps the ball from incinerating when he touches it.

Roy was his usual self. Despite taking a while to find his range (he started 2-10 from the field), Brandon finished his forty minutes of work with 26 points, 11 assists, and 6 rebs. When the Blazers start attracting national attention (I realize it will likely take Oden's return for this to happen), I will be excited for everyone to see how many ways this guy helps his team win. I can't say it enough, a very special player and a joy to watch.

LaMarcus sat out again tonight, but is scheduled to return next game. Starting in his place, Channing Frye took it upon himself to do his best LaMarcus impression by draining jumper after jumper from the perimeter. He had 14 points in the first 10 minutes of this game, and him stepping up helped the Blazers separate early. Frye ended up with 20 points (10-13 from the field) and 9 rebounds. It appears yet another Blazer has rounded into shape. Nate will have some interesting playing time decisions to make.

I can't talk about a Blazer win without praising that zone defense again. It wasn't featured as much tonight (Denver was pretty apt at lobbing oops over the top- Kenyon Martin threw three down on consecutive plays), but it you can tell the team believes in it and enjoys playing it. Mike Rice described it as "The Octopus Zone," which I enjoy and will use in all future references.

Oh, and as for the title of this entry...

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