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Odd Thoughts: Catching dysentery on the Oregon Trail

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  • Odd Thoughts: Catching dysentery on the Oregon Trail

    You remember that old game Oregon Trail? Well if this had been that game instead of an NBA game we would have had to take time out to bury and have a funeral for Lance Stephenson & Ian Mahinmi because they would have died for certain.

    We get anything close to normal production from Lance and we win this game. We get any form of made basket (other than free throws) from George Hill and we win this thing.

    Ultimately it just came down to we got and are going to continue to get the best that Portland (& every NBA team) can give us and this was just one of those nights that our defense just wasnít good enough to overcome our at times severe lack of offensive production. It happens; you shake it off and move on.

    The only thing that will bother me about this is that several of the pundits and talking heads will now act as though we are 11-7 instead of the 16-2 that we are. Other than that you lost to a very good team at home and you led most of the way and had even a small chance to come away with the win. So is anyone really going to complain about the loss?

    Now saying that doesnít mean that we canít talk about issues, I mean what would be the point of even having a message board if you canít talk openly about the subject at hand right?

    But before we do that I want to take the time to complain about LaMarcus Aldridgeís knees. The first one to me wasnít a big deal, I thought it was just an accident and Roy came over and got caught. But by the second one I was losing my patience with him leading with his knee. That is an old Allen Iverson trick and it was dirty then and itís dirty now. Itís no less of an offensive foul than wiping off with your off hand and beyond that it is meant to cause pain to make sure that they donít keep coming back at you. If the refs werenít going to clean that up then, well it may not be the grown up thing to do but by God itís time for someone to give old LaMarcus a nice forearm upside his head. But thatís just me.

    As a club we have got to get back to where we are drawing fouls on the other team. It just seems to me like last year we were always getting more free throw shots than the other team and this year it seems like we donít always do that. I mean we took 12 less free throw attempts than they made. As a whole they shot 16 more shots than we did and you wonder why we lost the game? Some of it is that the refs have been a little more whistle happy with us lately; the conspiracy person inside me wants to believe that the league doesnít like our style of play. But the realist in me knows we play a very physical style of basketball so us being called for fouls is just part of the game. However our lack of drawing fouls is that we are very comfortable shooting jump shots. Now you canít complain about the success so far from this and Paul George has been unearthly good about hitting that face up mid range shot, but the downside is when we play really good teams I donít think we can spot them 16 extra points from the line.

    We had a really great first half from our bench but then for whatever reason other than a couple of points from Watson they just disappeared in the second half. I donít think Scola scored a point after the half time.

    Look we lost and I want to give credit to the Blazers I really do but I just feel that certain aspects of our own play caused us to lose this game. I know I really should give them more credit than I do but I really just donít think they are going to be able to sustain this for any length of time as I am not sold on the entirety of that roster. But again itís probably just me. I think both Lillard & Aldridge are superb and I have always liked Robyn better than Brook and Matthews & Batum are decent but the rest of that team is suspect. However they won fair and square so we have to make absolutely certain that when they visit us that there is no doubt who is who.

    Also while I have absolute faith in Frank I still sometimes wonder why he lets runs go for so long before he calls timeouts. Rick Carlisle called to many but Frank sometimes letís them go to long. I know he likes to let players play through it but damn is it rough to watch sometimes.

    Letís hit the grades.

    Paul George: A Well this is going to make several people mad but I just consider games like this fools gold to a certain extent. Obviously he is capable of doing this on occasion so in that respect itís not an illusion but IMO Lillard did far more damage to us by getting to the line 10 times and hitting all 10 shots than what Paulís three point barrage did to them at the end. Obviously if we win then Iím singing a different tune, well anyone who knows me knows I hate the three point shot so I would only begrudgingly support its impact on the game. But the rest of Paulís game was pretty decent. He got to the rim a couple of times tonight and he played his normal stellar defense. Iím just saying that while I appreciate the end of the game salvoís I never count on that type of thing happening.

    David West: B+ Solid game but obviously had issues with Aldridge. No shame in that as he is probably the best 4 in the NBA right now. He physically was gassed in the 3rd and just could not get his shot to drop or rotate on defense. He still slapped away a lot of balls and rebounded fairly well. Wish he could have gotten something going to the rim or at the very least draw some form of foul as Aldridge had zero fouls in the game (which upon reflection is a real big issue). Still played smart and passed very well.

    Roy Hibbert: B+ Just an incredibly frustrating offensive player to watch at times. Hits shots he has no business making but then misses bunny after bunny after bunny at the rim. His field goal % was good but of his missed shots several of them were of the point blank variety that he should have hit. On the other hand he rebounded like a king in the 4th and hit a couple of shots of the ďare you kidding meĒ variety. Also as I was kind of afraid of, he has dropped out of first in the NBA in blocked shots. Weíll see how that impacts him at both the all-star game and the end of the season voting.

    Lance Stephenson: F To put this bluntly had Lance called in with actual dysentery he would have done the team a favor. Not only did he produce nothing but in fact he actually was a detriment to our teamís success tonight. Now fear not Lance believers Iím not bashing him at all, well I am for this game, because we all know that our Lance will bounce back. He wonít let this stand and he will get his act together. Iím hoping that he lights the Jazz up. But for this game he was just atrocious.

    George Hill: C Our guards really didnít have the best of nights. He certainly was better than Lance in the fact that he actually did dish out 11 dimes and did draw some fouls and did hit his free throws for the most part. But other than that he could not hit the ocean from a boat. Look Lillard is going to get his there is just not much youíre going to do about it. But you have to make him work as well. Sadly because of not being able to hit Lillard was able to expend most of his energy on the offensive end of the floor. Again no big deal, heíll be ready for the next game.

    C.J. Watson: C+ Iím giving him the plus for not just hanging out at the three point line and chucking up three point shots. He actually drove and penetrated tonight getting to the line as many times as Paul George did and hit all of his free throw attempts. He played reasonable defense but he did a poor job tonight of running any form of offense. However he spent a lot of the time tonight as the off guard so itís hard to be really harsh on him.

    Luis Scola: C This was a tale of two halves. The first half version of me built a golden idol to Luis and was dancing and singing and praising around it. The second half version of me came down from the mountain top and smashed the tablets on the ground burned down the golden idol with fire and ground it to powder. In other words Luis was great up until we hit halftime and then I once again was on the minute count for when West could get back in.

    Ian Mahinmi: F If Lance Stephenson had dysentery then Ian Mahinmi game was the end result of Lanceís dysentery (if you donít get this go look up the symptoms of dysentery and youíll see what Iím saying Ianís game was like). Anytime that Luis struggles on offense it just exacerbates Ianís inadequate offense and then our bench struggles (this is an understatement of epic proportions).

    Orlando Johnson: C Hard to fault the guy to much as he gets very inconsistent minutes on a game by game basis but I just never ever like it when someone shoots every field goal from behind the 3 point arc. I know that is the way the offense works but still I wish he could develop a mid range game or attack the rim. Honestly heís not bad when he attacks the rim.

    Solomon Hill: No grade, developmental minutes.

    At the end of the day losing only hurts if we lose to the Jazz, this could be a trap game so we have to be careful not to overlook them.

    Hey 16-2 is still one hell of a record and honestly even though we had a couple of players not show up and they were playing out of their minds good we still had a chance so there wonít be any head hanging here.

    To ease you into a good Tuesday letís enjoy the smooth sounds of one Billy Joel.




    Basketball isn't played with computers, spreadsheets, and simulations. ChicagoJ 4/21/13

  • #2
    Re: Odd Thoughts: Catching dysentery on the Oregon Trail

    Thanks for the write up, Peck. I always love your odd thoughts. I watched the game and during the second half I couldn't help but think the Pacers just looked TIRED. It's one thing to fly from Portland to LA and back. It's another to fly from Indy to LA, then to Portland. I just don't think the Pacers had their legs under them after the break.

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    • #3
      Re: Odd Thoughts: Catching dysentery on the Oregon Trail

      The Blazers bearly beat us by slowly putting the "proverbial" knife in our one weakspot.....the midrange jumpshot. the one part of the court that we give up. They only hit 5 3pt shots ( while taking 13 3ptA )....although those seemed to be made at the worst time.

      But they hit 15 shots ( that I can count ) as mid-range jumpshots. We essentially lost about 30 points cuz that's what our defense gives up.

      Couple that with 29-33 FT shooting and you can see where they were able to beat us.

      One last thought....it can't be said enough times.....but it was PG24's PURE Force of Will that kept the Pacers in the game til the end.
      Last edited by CableKC; 12-03-2013, 04:06 AM.
      Ash from Army of Darkness: Good...Bad...I'm the guy with the gun.

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      • #4
        Re: Odd Thoughts: Catching dysentery on the Oregon Trail

        I don't think I've ever been so ecstatic after a loss. Such a fantastic game. That was pure fun.

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        • #5
          Re: Odd Thoughts: Catching dysentery on the Oregon Trail

          Originally posted by Indra View Post
          Thanks for the write up, Peck. I always love your odd thoughts. I watched the game and during the second half I couldn't help but think the Pacers just looked TIRED. It's one thing to fly from Portland to LA and back. It's another to fly from Indy to LA, then to Portland. I just don't think the Pacers had their legs under them after the break.
          I agree.....but as Dr.Awesome has pointed out many times.....this is where our Bench and Vogel's poor time management of West/Hibbert's minutes in the 3rd QTR failed us. It wasn't the one thing that killed the Team in the end...it was a myriad of things that did it...but fatigue is going to be a factor here.

          I really hope that the Pacers step on the Jazz's throat early in the game on Wednesday and clamp down QUICK along with the bench really stepping up ( so that the Starters can rest )....cuz God help us on Saturday and Sunday against the 2nd and 3rd Best Western Conference Teams in the League in B2B games.
          Ash from Army of Darkness: Good...Bad...I'm the guy with the gun.

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          • #6
            Re: Odd Thoughts: Catching dysentery on the Oregon Trail

            On the free throws, opponents average 21.3 free throw attempts last year; this year, they are averaging 20.8. Last year, the Pacers average 23.6 free throw attempts per game; this year, it's 23.5. So pretty much the same, except a little better. These #s are from nba.com, but hell if I know how to link to that.

            Not sure whether you're getting the Mahinmi poop. He didn't excel certainly, but he (and Roy) will not do well against such effective PnR attacks. The only way to beat those kinds of plays are better effort from the guards, better switching, and steals. (We got some steals, but it needs to be in double digits to really deter what their ball handlers are doing.) Rim protectors aren't going to be able to do too much without having one or two defenders guarding on the pass. Mid-range jumpers and 10-footers in the lane will be available in our defensive scheme unless the guards develop super speed.

            I'd like to think that we learned how good the Blazers are (or can be) rather than anything being wrong or miscued with the Pacers. It was one of the most exciting games of the year, and it would be cool to remember it by that, rather than by Sad/Bad/Mad Lance or what "pundits" say about our narrative. Somewhere deep down, all of us had a fun-as-**** time with this game, and that's almost as good as winning. (Sometimes better, if the other team involved stars with 'Bob' and you're sitting in the second row.)
            You Got The Tony!!!!!!

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            • #7
              Re: Odd Thoughts: Catching dysentery on the Oregon Trail

              I know it is not really fair, but I often daydream about how nice it would be if we had Damian Lillard. I never saw it reported or anything, but I am pretty sure that if we offered Granger for that 6th pick it would have trumped Gerald Wallace. That would have meant that we wouldn't have Granger after the trading deadline in 2012 and who knows if we would beat the Magic or play the Heat so hard. I wouldn't have traded Granger at the time, but I immediately thought about the possibility. The Nets made one of the worst trade in recent memory (probably on par with Harden leaving OKC for a bag of skittles).
              Last edited by sopgy; 12-03-2013, 04:55 AM. Reason: typos

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              • #8
                Re: Odd Thoughts: Catching dysentery on the Oregon Trail

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Odd Thoughts: Catching dysentery on the Oregon Trail

                  Thoroughly impressed with the Blazers. Aldridge is better than ever and has turned into a player that is almost impossible to stop. Liliard is also really good.

                  Not sure if it is being widely reported but the Blazers have copied our exact defensive system this year and are having some pretty good success.

                  But what impressed me about the Blazers was how they just kept playing, kept coming at us, no matter what we did. They also seem together as a team and in what they are trying to do. I was very impressed. if they don't have any significant injuries to key players, they are going to be really good all season. Very well coached too.

                  Blazers probably better than any team this year took advantage of what the Pacers defense gives up. Pacers play soft on pick and rolls, keeping their big guy zoning off in the lane, well the Blazers just decided not to fight that just pull up for the midrange jumper. So Mo Williams and Lillard torched us. First team I can recall this season that was happy to take what we give up.

                  Also first game this year where I felt the only way we were going to win was outscore them. Our defense never really was able to exert their will on the opponent. Blame the refs all you want, but pacers need to learn in the regular season how to overcome bad calls. Learn now to play through it so in the playoffs they have practice at doing so
                  Last edited by Unclebuck; 12-03-2013, 09:32 AM.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Odd Thoughts: Catching dysentery on the Oregon Trail

                    My thoughts:

                    1) I would hire someone to "take care of" Aldridge's knees. I thought that was particularly bogus, especially when the refs didn't bother to see what happened the second time. In their defense, of course, there's a Roy Hibbert Falls Down Drinking Game for a reason. Lance, take note.

                    2) West was tired. Bone tired. Not just from the trip but from working so hard in a vain attempt to keep from being abused by Aldridge - that is just a horrible matchup because DW can't move laterally fast enough to keep LA from getting around him. For the last few minutes of the game he was wandering around the FT line and top of the key on offense like a sedated puppy trying desperately to keep standing. And those claiming it was a bench strategy fail for Vogel not to get him rest aren't remembering that the bench certainly wasn't going to stop Aldridge and that West was for a long time our only consistent midrange shooter.

                    3) Bad Lance is turrible. He'd pretty much shrugged off all idea of being in the flow of the game, and he should thank his lucky stars the refs didn't see him slam down on the scorer's table. I only hope he was pissed off at himself, because he certainly had no reason to be pissed off at anyone else.

                    4) Ian suffered from being reached over a number of times (Portland has mad skillz at jumping over players' backs) and from being pushed too far under the basket on defense. Looking at the big picture, his point-blank work wasn't doing that much worse than anyone else's point-blank work.

                    5) Pacers have got to come up with some offensive alternatives that involve, oh, say, players moving without the ball to help create passing lanes and draw defenders. Too many hard shots were taken because no pass was available. I'll even give that as a bit of an excuse for Lance - if he can't see someone open, then NO ONE IS OPEN.

                    And, yes, I fully expect to finally see a lot about the Pacers on ESPN today when I go work out - and I imagine it will be about how the East has shown itself to be paper tigers since the West has CRUSHED the East's best team (well, except for the Clippers game, but we didn't talk about that so it didn't exist, right?)
                    BillS

                    A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
                    Or throw in a first-round pick and flip it for a max-level point guard...

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                    • #11
                      Re: Odd Thoughts: Catching dysentery on the Oregon Trail

                      Two things:

                      1.) Going 7/15 from 3 is never a bad thing. And with a guy who is shooting 40% from 3 on the season I'm not really sure its fool's gold. Paul's season right now is pretty similar to Danny's 4th year in terms of production. Paul is better on D and I think he's a little more dynamic in playmaking, but in terms of scoring it's pretty similar.

                      2.) George Hill and Lance are going to have nightmares about their D. They both got roasted on crossovers and PnR all night. CJ struggled too

                      Anyway, Portland is a really good team who much like us knows exactly who they are. They run a killer pick and roll & pick and pop and they have shooters who spread the floor to give it space to take shape. They're a tough out especially if Mo Williams is shooting 50% off the bench on mid range jumpers.

                      There is not much you can do with Aldridge right now and so when they get a boost from their bench on their home court they're very tough to beat. I was a little perturbed about the knees when they happened, but the discourse between the Big Dawg and LMA on twitter seems to suggest there's no hard feelings and Hibby took it in stride as he often does now. Quietly Roy has been beasting for the past 10 or so days, this was another pretty big game. Just in time for Miami next Tuesday.

                      More to the point on Lance, we kinda needed him to have this sort of **** your pants game. Now, Frank can take him aside and get him refocused on some of the things he's let slip while he's been gunning for trip dubs. The biggest thing Lance has to learn now IMO, that Paul learned last year, is that when you're talented you just need to let it come, your numbers will come, for Lance the trip dubs and the highlight reel plays will happen, just play your game and don't get frustrated. No doubt in my mind we can get Lance in the mindset, and this should be the perfect impetus for that sort of discussion.

                      I am really hoping Paul puts up a 50 spot in the next couple games now in a winning effort.
                      Last edited by Trader Joe; 12-03-2013, 10:17 AM.


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                      • #12
                        Re: Odd Thoughts: Catching dysentery on the Oregon Trail

                        I was happy with the bench production in the second quarter, but when we were tied going into the 4th I figured that we needed more from them than we could expect in the 4th. Sure enough, it didn't take long for the hole to get too big. The rotations are such that Lance often is with Scola, Mahinmi, Watson, and a SF, so when I say "bench production" it includes Lance too. He certainly did not step up and did not create much of anything at all.

                        Despite our improvements in the bench relative to last year, the first six minutes of the second and fourth quarters (and this comment may tickle Peck) make me act like a Star Trek captain and yell "Red alert, brace for impact!"....and then "Damage report?" In the second quarter, thanks to Scola, the evasive maneuvers worked. In the 4th though, we were assimilated.
                        Last edited by Slick Pinkham; 12-03-2013, 10:23 AM.
                        The poster "pacertom" since this forum began (and before!). I changed my name here to "Slick Pinkham" in honor of the imaginary player That Bobby "Slick" Leonard picked late in the 1971 ABA draft (true story!).

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                        • #13
                          Re: Odd Thoughts: Catching dysentery on the Oregon Trail

                          Originally posted by BillS View Post
                          My thoughts:

                          1) I would hire someone to "take care of" Aldridge's knees. I thought that was particularly bogus, especially when the refs didn't bother to see what happened the second time. In their defense, of course, there's a Roy Hibbert Falls Down Drinking Game for a reason. Lance, take note.

                          2) West was tired. Bone tired. Not just from the trip but from working so hard in a vain attempt to keep from being abused by Aldridge - that is just a horrible matchup because DW can't move laterally fast enough to keep LA from getting around him. For the last few minutes of the game he was wandering around the FT line and top of the key on offense like a sedated puppy trying desperately to keep standing. And those claiming it was a bench strategy fail for Vogel not to get him rest aren't remembering that the bench certainly wasn't going to stop Aldridge and that West was for a long time our only consistent midrange shooter.

                          3) Bad Lance is turrible. He'd pretty much shrugged off all idea of being in the flow of the game, and he should thank his lucky stars the refs didn't see him slam down on the scorer's table. I only hope he was pissed off at himself, because he certainly had no reason to be pissed off at anyone else.

                          4) Ian suffered from being reached over a number of times (Portland has mad skillz at jumping over players' backs) and from being pushed too far under the basket on defense. Looking at the big picture, his point-blank work wasn't doing that much worse than anyone else's point-blank work.

                          5) Pacers have got to come up with some offensive alternatives that involve, oh, say, players moving without the ball to help create passing lanes and draw defenders. Too many hard shots were taken because no pass was available. I'll even give that as a bit of an excuse for Lance - if he can't see someone open, then NO ONE IS OPEN.

                          And, yes, I fully expect to finally see a lot about the Pacers on ESPN today when I go work out - and I imagine it will be about how the East has shown itself to be paper tigers since the West has CRUSHED the East's best team (well, except for the Clippers game, but we didn't talk about that so it didn't exist, right?)
                          Well I guess you're disappointed then, because the ESPN front page daily dime story is all about how both the Blazers and Pacers thoroughly established themselves as elite teams and everyone can't wait for our matchup in February.

                          Some of you guys are going to have a tough time getting over this, but Paul George is star in the national media's eyes right now. Roy is one of the best interviews in the NBA and a quote machine. Lance is a crazy live wire who can drop 30 or historically **** the bed on any given night. The national media is falling in love with us. TV executives? Well maybe not as much, but who gives a bloody hell what they think. The actual guys who write and cover the league are really on board with us. Our defense is unique in that it is really fun to watch because Roy and Paul are other worldly with the way they cover space. We trust Roy so much that our basic end game plan was for West to sell out and give up the base line drive going for a steal so that Roy could rotate over on LMA, it didn't work perfectly last night because of knees and Roy getting there just a tad late, but it speaks a ton about our faith in him as a rim protector.


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                          • #14
                            Re: Odd Thoughts: Catching dysentery on the Oregon Trail

                            Originally posted by Trader Joe View Post
                            Well I guess you're disappointed then, because the ESPN front page daily dime story is all about how both the Blazers and Pacers thoroughly established themselves as elite teams and everyone can't wait for our matchup in February.

                            Some of you guys are going to have a tough time getting over this, but Paul George is star in the national media's eyes right now. Roy is one of the best interviews in the NBA and a quote machine. Lance is a crazy live wire who can drop 30 or historically **** the bed on any given night. The national media is falling in love with us. TV executives? Well maybe not as much, but who gives a bloody hell what they think. The actual guys who write and cover the league are really on board with us. Our defense is unique in that it is really fun to watch because Roy and Paul are other worldly with the way they cover space. We trust Roy so much that our basic end game plan was for West to sell out and give up the base line drive going for a steal so that Roy could rotate over on LMA, it didn't work perfectly last night because of knees and Roy getting there just a tad late, but it speaks a ton about our faith in him as a rim protector.
                            As I've said over and over, what ESPN does on the web vs. what they do on SportsCenter are two entirely different things. One is for the knowledgeable fan who will call them out if they do too much fawning over the biggest names - and they have the space to cover other teams in the midst of their Heat Check promos. The other is for drooling over the front-runners and making sure the casual fan never really hears anything different than the standard line (Miami will be champs, the West can beat anyone in the world, Kobe is still an MVP-level player, the Knicks and Nets actually matter, blah blah blah.)
                            BillS

                            A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
                            Or throw in a first-round pick and flip it for a max-level point guard...

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                            • #15
                              Re: Odd Thoughts: Catching dysentery on the Oregon Trail

                              Bill we could probably have our own Pacers dedicated channel and you would still be saying we don't get enough attention haha


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