Heading into the Rose Garden last night I didn’t expect much from the Blazers. They’re my team, but the Mavs are an elite team with some of the best in the league: Nowitzki, Terry, Stackhouse, Howard (Josh; sorry Juwan!). The young Blazers have been looking good at home, but was there any way Aldridge’s smooth shot, Roy’s creativity, and Joel Przybilla’s sieve-like hands could possibly beat the Dallas Mark Cubans?
The fans holding up the German flags and wearing blue 41 jerseys were in for a disappointing evening. The Blazers played surprisingly good defense; Dirk and company’s inability to move the ball well on offense combined with bad shooting meant they would have to rebound and play tough defense to stay in the game. They got the rebounds, but the Blazers’ offense had a special night.
By the middle of the 3rd quarter it was clear the Blazers weren’t intimidated by the mighty Mavs. Roy played an astounding game. Aldridge rebounded well and made his shots (to which we’ve become accustomed). Outlaw struggled early but made some big shots in the second half. The point guards impressed (though I’d still trade them all for Chris Paul!).
But what I found most remarkable was the pretty, patient offense. After several years focusing on Zack Randolph’s postgame, it’s a relief and a pleasure, as a fan, to get back to a good passing offense. Every player on the team gets involved, and gets shots too. The Blazers play an unselfish, beautiful game (when it’s all clicking like last night).
A guy I used to work with, before we we got the #1 draft pick I might add, promised a ‘zer championship in 2010. I think he’s on to something.