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Archive for November 19th, 2008

road-warriors1As the final seconds ticket off the clock between Portland and Golden State on Tuesday night, Brandon Roy’s words rang true: “We have to figure out how to play on the road without all that pressure.”

It was a couple days before the Blazers embarked on their now complete five game road trip – a trip that saw them beat Orlando, Miami and Minnesota and fall to New Orleans and the Warriors. Roy leaned against a wall at the practice facility and put it perfectly.

“We have to figure out how to play on the road without all that pressure.”  

The man speaks the truth. Portland is still trying to figure out how to win on the road. Going 3-2 on a mid-November roadie is solid, but 4-1 would have beeen better, particularly on Tuesday night when the Blazers should have beat the Warriors.

But winning on the road isn’t the only unsolved mystery. As I discussed today in a column called “Portland’s Missing ‘Identity’” running on HOOPSWORLD, it’s clear the Blazers are still trying to figure out who they are. Nate McMillan is still toying with rotations. It’s a constant shuffle depending on match-ups. Are they a fastbreak team? Are they a halfcourt team? Is Portland’s lack of “identity” (Kevin Pritchard’s word) simply due to the fact Martell Webster is on the shelf?

Something to think about.

Even still, there are some small victories you can take from the loss at Golden State….

Jerryd Bayless finally sniffed the court. After picking up a quick foul and turning the ball over, Bayless remained active and forced a steal himself. It may have only been a scoreless 3:54, but I’m thinking the confidence boost for the young rookie was timeless. Jerryd needed that playing time if not physically to stay loose and ready, than surely mentally. You don’t want to lose this kid.

Greg Oden got his run on. Playing the Warriors is the perfect remedy to help get Oden in game shape and overcome any issues of conditioning. Even if Portland was outscored 22-9 on fastbreak points, the big fella was hustling. Oden played nearly 30 minutes and finished with 22 points – both career-highs. But the real treat –besides his signature dunks – was watching him run the floor and finish on a break with Travis Outlaw and Brandon Roy. More please.

Let’s continue this “Road Warrior” theme (big up to Hawk and Animal)….

 pic via: wwe.com

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