Saturday, March 24, 2012

Losing at the Lakerfront

We kept it close the entire game, even tying the score a few times. This was a feat in and of itself, seeing as we were in LA, had an interim coach on his fifth game on the second of a back-to-back and a few guys who hadn't really played much with the team. They played like Goonies, never saying "die", and that is certainly commendable.

We had great games from the guys, too. The game started out looking like Los Angeles was about to take us to a clinic and smoke us like a jay behind the bleachers, but the second quarter we really took off, coming from eleven behind and ending the half only down 5 with momentum. L-Train had 29 points and 9 boards, 2 assists and 2 steals, and was hitting some shots early and late. He kept us around in the beginning, going the first half with only two misses. He had something like 21 in the first half, most of that coming in the second quarter run.

The story to me, though, was my main man Matthews. He had 16, which is solid, first off. But, he took a card out of former Blazer guard Ruben Patterson's pocket and became the Kobe Stopper. The only difference was Wesley never called himself that, he just did it. Shobe started off with a hot hand. He was hitting outside shots and Bynum was inside doing what everyone expected him to do from day one. But, after Kobe's "electrifying" 5 of 6 start, Matthews decided to recalibrate, or take the reins from Batum, and locked the ninja down. Kobe finished the game going 0-11 and 18 points.

Hickson too, did well. He had 14 for the bench, although his defense was, as always, suspect.

The game just boiled down to two problems for the boys. [Offensive] Rebounding and inexperience from a coaching standpoint. Lakers out rebounded the Blazers by 24, including 18-6 offensively. About 6 of those for the Lakers came on one possession too, which has got to be just disheartening for an already exhausted Blasers' team. Play solid defense for 24 seconds, miss a board, miss another board after solid defense, and it goes on and ends with a Lakers' three-pointer.

As for coaching, I can't really blame Kaleb at this point. I did, in the rise and fall of emotions last night, but I kind of have to rescind that. Because yes, he coached areas poorly, substitutions late in the third were a big problem, but is that all on him? He didn't promote himself, and he can only do his best in the new position. Objectively, I can watch and say, "No, Crawesome is off, so you need to put this guy in late instead" or think that a certain match-up isn't working, but at the end of the day, I'm on my couch in my underwear with an apple fritter, and he's courtside.

I enjoyed the game for the most part, and as many times as I palmed my face for a missed call (it is Los Angeles, after all. And has Ron Artest ever dribbled by someone without hooking?) or a missed rebound, my boys played very well. They played better than the refs for 3 quarters, and played with enough heart to warrant I compliment from the Lakers announcers. Which is saying a ton, actually, because those guys were having a hard time recognizing anything Blazers besides Kurt Thomas being 39 and LaMarcus being an All-Star. In all seriousness, those guys were talking out of their asses more than Jim Carrey's early movies (with such gems as "When only 1 defender is guarding Kobe, he doesn't have to worry about a second defender guarding him," saying McRoberts was having one hell of a game despite going 1 for 3 with two points all game, and falling in love with the term "Splash" (it means scoring, apparently.)

Anyway, off game of the night: Jamal Crawford. 3-14. He had ten points but he'd dribble himself around wasting time and then take a wild 3pointer from deep space nine. Also, Felton had some late game non-heroics by dribbling for 18 seconds (with 40 to go, down 6), deciding to mae a move resulting in him being baseline, four feet from the hoop on his offside and throwing up a left-handed...lay-up attempt, I guess, that he airballed. Then he didn't foul for 13 seconds. Nice.

On game. Wesley. What a champ. I'm glad we have him for 4 years more. Hopefully this overhaul/rebuild ends before ditching him and Batum.

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