It should be considered a borderline miracle if the Portland Trail Blazers hang onto their 8th-seed playoff spot in the West, especially with Marcus Camby‘s knee surgery basically cutting their winning formula in half. Back when the roster was (mostly) healthy, Portland had a routine: Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge did the heavy lifting for three quarters, then Andre Miller and Camby would contribute clutch plays throughout the fourth/overtime, and B-Roy would handle the really heroic duties. Now it’s down to just LaMarcus and ‘Dre, but the Blazers are still winning … Last night’s Blazers/Clippers game was the first L.A. game in a long time without any real Blake Griffin fireworks, but thankfully Portland put together one of their better performances of the season and made it worthwhile watching their 15-point win … Blake’s first bucket of the night was a perfect example of what makes him such a spectacular talent. Yes, he can jump and run and is quick and is learning how to shoot. But sometimes all it takes is effort. Just a few minutes in, Griffin (20 points, 18 rebounds) beat everyone down the court by about 10 feet before receiving a pass and finishing with a dunk … The Clips jumped out to a 16-2 lead, but that was the high point for them. Aldridge (28 points, 8 rebounds) did what he wanted all night and punctuated the win with a big alley-oop in the final seconds. Down the stretch, LMA forced Griffin into a few costly mistakes while finishing inside over the more-heralded power forward. Does Aldridge deserve an All-Star spot? He’s averaging 27 points per game since B-Roy got hurt … Eric Gordon (35 points, 7 threes) kept L.A. close, but a big third quarter by Portland that opened up a 13-point edge for the home team was too much to overcome … So can the Clippers make the playoffs? Using the “If they keep playing like this” argument doesn’t really work, because do you really see L.A. winning 11 out of every 15 games? With a young team like this, inevitably they’ll hit another skid or two where they go 3-7 or 4-10. Then we’ll see how they bounce back. It’s going to be a tough uphill climb either way … Portland’s Rose Garden is one of the few arenas in the League where the fans get so rowdy, you can sometimes hear women screaming on the crowd mics like it’s Nightmare on Elm Street …Read More>>
Smack / Jan 21, 2011 / 3:43 am
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