22 March 2010
ESPN really needs to do something about their “Wired” segment during their NBA telecasts.
Nate McMillan clearly told his team during the time out they needed to pound the ball inside and then proceed to crash the boards hard to break the Phoenix Suns down.
Apparently there were some technical difficulties.
What followed from that timeout were clankfest possessions including a couple of forced shots from Andre Miller, a missed three by Nicolas Batum and Portland failing to get the ball in Brandon Roy’s hands when it mattered most.
It didn't have to go down like that.
What the Blazers did to that point – aside from forcing the fastbreak Suns into playing a grind it out game – was carry out the game plan. If they’d only finished the job. Despite the loss, Portland owned the inside and finished with 42 points in the point. And for a team that has become synonymous with “jumpshot”, that’s the exact brand of basketball they need to play to close out the season and get primed for the postseason.
Jumpshots aren’t going to cut it anymore.
The road to success in this league is paved by guards getting to the rim and bigs banging down low, forcing the refs to make a call (hence Portland’s 29 trips to the freethrow line) when all else fails.
That’s what Portland did for three quarters. Miller and Roy had their way in the paint. And where they fell short, guys like Marcus Camby, Juwan Howard and LaMarcus Aldridge picked up the scraps. But a shoddy shooting fourth was the killer here, including six missed three-pointers and only two points in the paint.
They settled into their old ways.
When the Blazers review game film on Tuesday, they’ll see exactly that. Nate McMillan will remind them.
Maybe this time they'll hear him.
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