You know what usually sucks about playing the Jazz?
You know what usually sucks the most?
That you know exactly what they will do but can’t do a thing about it.
At least that’s supposed to be the story, and in earlier meetings with the Jazz it had been true.
With Utah in town and Portland coming off their worst loss of the season against Boston, I had a sneaking suspicion that I would be writing about the Blazers getting blown out. That’s never fun.
So...hooray for overtime losses?
In the first half, the Blazers shot 53 percent from the field and 33 percent from three, compared with 40 percent and zero percent from Utah respectively. That disparity was good for a 13-point half-time lead.
Of note during that feel-good first half was the play of one Nic Batum.
Batum stalked down Deron Williams on a breakaway layup for a spectacular block that infused the crowd with more energy and Batum with additional confidence. On the offensive end he put himself in the right places and finished the half with 14 points (5-6 shooting) to go with six rebounds.
It was all too fun to last, and just like every other NBA game ever, the team that was down big rallied.
The Jazz started hitting shots.
Carlos Boozer was a monster (22 points, 23 rebounds). Andre Miller went cold. Portland still seemed to seal the victory late with a combination of good enough offensive execution, clutch offensive rebounding, and, get this, defense.
Then Boozer tipped in a missed Deron Williams jumper as time expired to send the game into overtime. Once it was bonus basketball, they couldn’t overcome the mighty Ha Seung-Jin like powers of Kyrlo Fesenko (seriously) and ended up losing the stinking game after a potential game-tying three rimmed out.
Bummers all around.
Let's be positive. Tonight was the first night with Marcus Camby. Marcus’ 16 rebounds, four blocks, and two steals were very much welcomed.
I’ve heard that good shooting is contagious; I guess the same goes for blocking shots. The Blazers had 10 of those tonight, which is six more than they average on the season.
The Camby Effect was nice and I want more.
Brandon Roy looked better, but isn’t quite back to his Roybot/Everything/(bland and uncreative nickname I refuse to use) self. He ended up with a solid line tonight but that transcendent gear was still missing.
If nothing bad happens it appears that Roy will have himself back in dominant form sooner rather than later.
They now head off for a five-game road trip clinging to the final playoff spot.
I won’t argue that missing the postseason is imminent—not with fizzling, CP3 fighting injuries, and the Rockets having to integrate a major new player and compensate for the loss of another.
That isn’t to say that we couldn’t slip out of the playoffs. That could happen, I’ve just decided to side with optimism for now.
My worries focus on having to face the Lakers in the first round of the playoffs. Don’t get me wrong—I love all the BEAT LA ra-ra-go team stuff as much as anyone else, but I can’t see us beating the Lakers in a playoff series.
Moving into a position that avoids the best team in the conference would be desirable. Just like Mama says, the more playoff experience, the better.