Blaze Nation: baby steps

November 1, 2008

Yup, like Bill Murray in ‘What about Bob?’

I just want to say that sports experts are idiots. I hate jumping to conclusions, but it might just be accurate to call them all morons. No one (and I do mean absolutely no one) jumps to ridiculous conclusions like the media. PDX’s boys lost opening night to the Lake Show by 20. And instead of looking at obvious reasons for a less than stellar showing, everyone on PTI, Around the Hord, ESPN NBA Fastbreak, and even the home shopping network was quick to write these Blazers off as too young, not ready to contend, and a couple of years away.

Really? We couldn’t possibly have had a poor shooting night? It couldn’t be that we featured a lot of new players that are still learning how to play together? We might be young, but not too young. They’re called jitters. And opening night on the biggest stage in the world could cause you to forget how to set your feet, box out or get to the hoop instead of settling on weird jumpers. The Lakers might just be the deepest defensive teams in the League or at least the West, so opening night might have been the perfect storm of bad circumstances. It would be safe to say that we were pressing.

We beat a Spurs team that was without 6th Man of the Year, Manu Ginobili. The Spurs aren’t the kind of team to make excuses, but Manu doesn’t miss that shot at the end that Finley missed. Now I’m not silly enough to think you just add his per game points to the final score and the Spurs obviously win, and I know that playing without injured players is just a part of the game, but last night wasn’t an arrival, I think we need to call it what it was: a step in the right direction.

Baby steps to stardom. Brandon and LaMarcus showed last night that they can stand toe-to-toe with the best in the Association, and they had already proved that with a pretty grown-up 07-08 season. What they haven’t proved is that they can do it on an every night basis. Last night was step 1, tonight against another expected playoff team would be another step in proving themselves not talented, but constistent.

Baby steps out of ‘just a fantasy player’. Travis seems like he’s taken steps backwards. He showed up to camp overweight again. He is uninspiring. Led us in scoring one night, but as a team we played our worst with him on the court for a 2nd straight game. In his defense, maybe the other team just always plays better when he’s in the game…

Baby steps on the bench. Nate shortened his bench. Channing Frye and Nicolas Batooooooom made him look real smart for it. Rudy wasn’t terrible, but he wasn’t he wasn’t exactly on the mark either. Maybe it is best to evaluate this group as a whole instead of individually. Our bench provided a needed spark/contribution against a Spurs team that had only Roger Mason in the form of a counter-punch. Tonight against the Suns, our bench will need to step up even more against Leandro Barbosa, Grant Hill, Robin Lopez, Louis Amundson, and the likes of Boris Diaw. Say what you will about Shaq, Grant Hill and Nash aging, this game will be won from the sidelines. Can our bench outproduce theirs? If so, that would be a big ole baby step toward the top of the West.

p.s. I know Scarlett Johansson wasn’t in What about Bob, but she was with Bill Murray in Lost in Translation, and I like loose connections.

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