The Blazers Beat the Hornets

Published: November 14, 2009

After watching this game, I’m torn.  On one hand, for the first time this season, I turned off a game after a loss and I was fine with it.  Not only was I fine with it, I felt like I had hope that the season would turn around for the first time.  Yes, Paul was hurt and left the game.  It didn’t ruffle that kernel of hope.

On the other hand, I felt a small pit of anger in my stomach.  Scott not playing the rookies to this point was criminal.  Criminal.

Okay, now that I’ve said that, I’ll move on to the bullets:

  • The first change in the rotation by Bower was using Sean Marks instead of Hilton Armstrong as the first big off the bench, and instantly it paid dividends.  On his first play in the game, he tipped a rebound away from both Blazer’s big men to West.  On the third, he set a wicked back pick on Andre Miller, getting Thornton open for a wide open shot in the corner.  That’s right, an off-the-ball pick.  Wow, I hadn’t seen that in a while.  Marks was the primary reason the Hornets battled the Blazers to a draw on the boards in the first half, and his foul trouble keeping him out in the second half led to the Hornets being crushed in that department.  He matters.
  • Marcus Thornton stepped onto the floor on fire and scored a dozen different ways tonight.  Yes, he forced a couple shots in the fourth, but it didn’t matter at all considering everything else he did.  8-15 FG, 2-5 3PT, 2-2 FT, 20 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal in 24 minutes.  It was great to see someone making their open shots – and he and Collison ran the break so skillfully I shed a single glistening tear.  One thing is certain, once Thornton gains some respect from the refs, a little NBA strength and a little more experience, he’s going to be drawing fouls left and right.  The guy drives without fear, and his back cuts are swift.
  • Collison started off pressing and a little shaky.  He opened with a couple bad shots, but after an early timeout, I saw Posey take him aside on the sidelines, patting at the air, and clearly telling him to settle down.  From then on, the rookie played well, particularly defensively as he continuously put pressure on the Blazer’s ballhandlers, and kept in Bayless’ and Miller’s shirts.  He was clearly irritating Miller at points too.  Haven’t seen that kind of pressure since Pargo was in town – and Collison is no gunner like Pargo.  Collison finished with 18 points on 7-14 shooting.  4-4 FT, 1 rebound, 2 assists, 2 steals and continuous pressure by bringing the ball up quickly.

  • West was more active than I’ve seen him all season.  He looked like the David West of two seasons ago. Did he have a couple bad rotations?  Sure, but he more than made up for it elsewhere.  It made me happy to see, though it also makes me a little sad to think he’s been dogging it.
  • I liked what Songaila was giving us, and would prefer to see him get minutes over Posey at this point.  He does need to have someone sit down with him like they did with Marks last season and tell him to stop taking the 2-point shots one step in from the three-point line.
  • My only complaint about Bower’s rotation was he played Posey and Brown too long.  But I can live with that, especially since Bower is feeling things out to start.
  • The Blazers must have had tape of the Lakers-Hornets game earlier this season.  They did exactly what the Lakers did: bumping, poking, slapping and getting after Chris Paul every time he made himself available to take a hit.  Paul was game, but he was struggling a little bit offensively until he landed on Przybilla’s heel after a pass and twisted the same ankle he had already hurt two games ago.  No word yet on how bad it is.
  • The first quarter was ugly as Paul generated open shots for Stojakovic, Brown and later Posey and none of them could knock them down.  Wide open shot after wide open shot missed.  They should have been up 10 going into the second.  Peja was misfiring so bad his last shot missed everything by about 2 feet.  I don’t even know what to say.

Once Paul returns, this team will make a run.  I’m calling it right now.

UPDATES: Lots of video…

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