As I looked at the numbers for the Blazers this season, one thing that jumped out at me is just how consistent they've been every month. If you count October and November as one month, they've been right around 8-9 wins, scoring in the mid 90s, and shooting around 45%. Their pre and post All-star game stats are remarkably similar. Given that they play the slowest pace in the league, you could easily compare them to the slow and steady turtle.
We haven't seen the Blazers since the end of December. They pulled off a small trade of their own, sending Pryzbilla, Sean Marks, Dante Cunningham, and a draft pick to Charlotte for Gerald Wallace. He's played great for them in the 20 games he's been with the team. He's shooting about 50% from the field while putting up 15 & 8 a night. Considering Portland's slow pace of play, those are some great numbers. He also just put up 40 points on the Thunder a little over a week ago. CJ Miles will have a large task containing him and keeping him from driving into the paint all night.
Then you have the usual suspects for Portland. LaMarcus Aldridge has torched the Jazz like he has most of the league. Millsap will get the start tonight at PF, so we'll see if he can slow him down a bit. I wonder if we'll get to see Favors match up against him at all.
Nicolas Batum has been hot as well over the past 10 games. He's shooting nearly 50% while putting down 37% of his three-point attempts. Andre Miller has been playing solid ball as well.
Where the Blazers have been struggling lately is from deep. The only player with significant minutes that's shooting over 35% from the arc is Batum. So that should mean that the Blazers go off tonight.
Where the Jazz should benefit is on the inside. Rebound black hole Marcus Camby is out tonight. I believe he pulled down 50 rebounds in the teams' last meeting. With Pryzbilla in Charlotte now and physically unable to pull down boards for Portland, the Jazz have a size advantage and should be able to keep one of the league's best offensive rebounding teams off the glass.
The other good news is that Devin Harris will return for the Jazz. That will provide the Jazz with a little more depth and give the Jazz someone who can penetrate and cause some problems on the inside with Portland's lack in size.
As I mentioned in the DB though, I'm most anxious to see Gordon Hayward and Wesley Matthews go at it. I don't think it will disappoint. I only hope Hayward has developed some anti-jinxing capabilities because as Prodigal Punk stated, he may have a poor game given how much we've built him up.
Finally, I wasn't expecting a win against LA and it wouldn't have really bothered me if the Jazz had lost. Well, it would have, but I was more interested in seeing development and improvement with the team. Tonight though, I want a win.
- Game thread at 8:15
- Blazers Edge