11 December 2009
Portland needed that win at Indiana. They needed that confidence boost.
And now they’ll need that and four Hail Mary’s to beat LeBron James and the Cavs on national television. But if the Blazers studied their game film properly, they’ll see how both Memphis and Houston got the job done against Cleveland, who has lost two-straight. So why not them?
Both the Grizzlies and the Rockets muscled up.
I’m just not convinced Portland has that in them right now.
“One is that physical defense can prove ruinous to the Cavs' offense," wrote Brian Windhorst of the Plain Dealer, providing an inside look at Cleveland's woes.
"A couple of times this season when opposing teams have roughed Cavs players up -- things like going body-to-body on pick and rolls, shoving players trying to get post position out, and applying pressure to the ball handler when he comes across halfcourt -- they have forced oodles of turnovers."
LeBron James accounted for 15 turnovers in his last three games, and Cavs’ head coach Mike Brown confessed when teams play Cleveland physically, the Cavs are “over anxious” with the ball, resulting in his team being “a little careless”.
That’s the good news for Portland.
Here’s the bad: it’s still LeBron James. It's still national television. And the banged-up Blazers haven’t won at the “Q” in their six attempts.
Update (10:25am) The playing field is a little more even now.
Portland isn't the only team in Cleveland hurting. Word around the Cavs is they may be without the services of Mo Williams, Anderson Varejao and Daniel Gibson tonight against the Blazers. Both Williams and Varejao missed morning shootaround with flu-like symptoms.
Gibson has an injured pinky finger that may force him to miss the game.
Update (2:45pm) Speaking of Mo Williams, ESPN.com's Marc Stein throws his name out as the type of player that Brandon Roy needs right now, this according to one rival team executive.
But even more than that, Stein reports the latest with the Andre Miller rumors...or is it the Jerryd Bayless rumors? I forget.
This from Stein's "Weekend Dime":
"Yet the reality remains that Miller and Roy are an iffy tag team because both need to see so much of the ball to be effective, which explains why Miller has only started nine games. There's this, too: While NBA front-office sources say there is considerable outside interest in young (and mostly forgotten) Portland guard Jerryd Bayless, Miller's more substantial salary -- $6.7 million to Bayless' $2.1 million -- would probably bring a bigger talent payoff in a trade."
Digest this Stein footnote on Miller while you're at it:
"Whoever has Miller on their books in 2010-11 must waive him on or before June 29, 2011. Or else Miller's $7.8 million salary for the 2011-12 season becomes guaranteed."
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