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Posts Tagged ‘Jerryd Bayless’

raef

There is always a method to the madness – even when it comes down to compiling a top 10 list about an injured veteran center on the mend in Iowa. Heck, even Raef LaFrentz would probably admit he’s never been at the center of Portland’s world as much as he is right now.

Actually, the story idea – running today thanks in large part to fellow HOOPSWORLD writer Jason Fleming’s insight – came about pretty easily. It helps having fans and fellow writers tell us – two guys based in Portland – how the Blazers need to move LaFrentz’s contract.

They even took it a step further saying the Blazers should pull the trigger on the Amar’e Stoudemire trade proposal. I went there yesterday. And I don’t want to go back today….but I will.

What is amusing is the feedback we are getting on this “10 Reasons To Keep LaFrentz’s Contract” piece. If you have time, check out the comment section from the story. Love those who take time to comment. They truly make the debate lively. But I also love how funny it gets – not in a ‘ha-ha’ way, but more of a ‘are you friggin serious’ way – when people say Portland is stupid for not trading for Amar’e or not moving LaFrentz’s contract.

That’s along the comedy lines of David Letterman’s interview with Joaquin Phoenix last night.

Classic.

Now, I’m not typically a betting man, but I would bet a bag of Funyuns those same folks who say Portland is stupid for not trading LaMarcus Aldridge, Jerryd Bayless and Raef’s contract to the Suns reside outside the greater Portland metro area and even the state of Oregon.

Am I wrong here?

If so I would love to hear from you….

pic via: o-live

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jerryd_490_080719Just when you thought Portland’s point guard rotation was back to normal with Steve Blake returning to the floor, along comes a Brian Skinner pick.

When the Los Angeles Clippers big man put a body on Blake with about five minutes left before half, a yelp and cringe by Blake said it all. Not sure what hurt more – Blake’s right shoulder or the two air balls he launched during his ten minute stint.

Actually, I’m wondering what he was doing out there in the first place. Obviously it was his call to play, but it was Nate McMillan’s decision to start him. Would Blake have re-injured his shoulder if he came off the bench? Perhaps.

But right now, the tag team of Sergio Rodriguez and Jerryd Bayless are self sufficient enough to hold down the fort for a few more games. If McMillan is going to put faith in his two backup point guards, it might as well be during this stretch.

Take Sergio for example. Rodriguez passed up a wide-open three early to find Joel Przybilla all alone under the basket, and his over-the-head-no-look-pass to Greg Oden two quarters later was about as sick as a dish comes. A little stylin’ and profilin’. He played smart. Maybe Sergio’s numbers aren’t going to blow you away (7 points and 5 assists in roughly 17 minutes), but combined with Bayless’ performance the two are holding down the point.

Chances are Jerryd started the game thinking he’d be lucky to even sniff the court. But as we all know about the NBA, injuries and opportunities go hand-in-hand. Much like Sergio, his final stat line isn’t All-Star worthy either (5 points and 6 assists in just over 22 minutes), but the fact is the two point guards only combined for two turnovers, and that is solid.

Very solid.

And while so much is made of Bayless’ aggressiveness and his barking after a bucket, what about his on-court chemistry with Oden? It seems at least once a game, the two rookies are in sync with an alleyoop or quick dish for a dunk. They have good chemistry together.

It’s nice to see both Sergio and Jerryd taking some ownership at the point.

In other words, take your time Steve. Take your time.

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Shameless Plug: Couple more weeks to go to the trade deadline is officially upon us. So as we wait to see what takes place in Portland, teams like Cleveland prepare for another postseason run.

But will they make a move?  I caught up with Cavs head coach Mike Brown last week – along with Ben Wallace – and was curious what the approach is when names float around in the rumors, as they are prone to do this time of the season.

The story is running in full over at HOOPSWORLD.

pic via: nba.com

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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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brandon1But try to understand, try to understand

Try, try, try to understand

He’s a magic man, mama

He’s a magic man….

 

I highly doubt Brandon Roy has “Heart” shuffling on his I-Pod playlist, but after Portland grabbed their first road win of the season against the Orlando Magic, Roy is easily the “Magic Man”. After waving his wand against Houston and Minnesota at home, Roy played his most complete game of the season on Monday night with 27 points – a new season high. Presto.

Hopefully the back-spasms he suffered at the end of the game will be gone come Wednesday in Miami.

As for Monday night, Portland came out aggressive and finished strong. How many times can we say that this season?

While you ponder that one, let’s go inside and outside the box score for the rest of the goods….

– Steve Blake finished with 20 points and went 2-3 from outside the arc. Blake needed this one, perhaps even more than Portland needed a road victory. And it’s not that he scored from all spots on the floor, yet it’s how many of those points came from the charity stripe where Blake went 10-11. That stat line screams one thing – aggressiveness.

Travis Outlaw continued to show his worth by moving to the second unit three games ago. He had 20 points and had it going from outside early and often (3-5). You knew this was coming. Once he found a comfort zone back where he belonged it was only a matter of time before the real Outlaw re-appeared. And that’s a boost about his all-around game, just not his scoring touch.  Thanks to Outlaw and Rudy Fernandez, Portland outscored Orlando’s bench 20-2 to open the game. The Blazers finished with 40 points off the pine.

– I’m in no way advising Jerryd Bayless’ agent Jeff Schwartz to issue an distasteful edict against Nate McMillan and demand a trade, but it’s certainly helped Sergio Rodriguez’s minutes. After averaging 9.2 minutes per game the first five games of the season, Sergio has logged roughly 12 and 16 minutes respectively the past two games since making headlines for all the wrong reasons. Here’s the thing though – for every one of Sergio’s sweet jump-step buckets down the lane, there’s a pass into the third row that tends to void his in-game success. This just in: consistency counts. His play in the fourth quarter proved that.

– Portland only had 5 turnovers  (2 in the first half) versus the Magic’s 14….9 steals versus Orland’s 3….scored a season-high 36 points in the first quarter….and shot an impressive 52.9 % from three-point land for the game.  James Jones is smiling somewhere.

– You knew Dwight Howard was going to get his. Same goes for Hedo Turkoglu. But the fact that Portland played strapping defense – and created fouls – against Rashard Lewis, Mickael Pietrus and Keith Bogans says volumes about Roy and Outlaw – Rudy and Nicolas Batum grasping Nate McMillan’s bigger picture: a defensive mindset.

– Play of the Game: Rudy’s three-pointer at the end of the first quarter was pretty smooth. So was Roy’s bobbled-shot against Boguns down the lane in the fourth quarter. But this one goes to Channing Frye for going toe-to-toe against Turkoglu with seconds remaining before the half. After a hard foul on Howard in the paint, Hedo shoved Roy in the back and Frye wasn’t a having it. Words were exchanged. More shoving commenced. Double-technical fouls were issued. But score one for Frye and Portland for finally muscling-up. It’s about time.

pic via: usatoday

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