Live by the three, die by the three. That’s what I kept repeating ad naseum while dodging darts of hate slung from the eyes of the ladyfriend as we watched Portland lose again last night, 97-88 to Utah. This time it was the Fightin’ Mormons (seriously, the crowd is so white it’s basically a prism) who basically let the usually hot-shooting Blazers fire away from 3-point land on a night when nothing seemed to be going in.
This is a little worrisome. No team, whether in college or the NBA, has successfully relied on the 3-point shot as a path to a championship. And looking at the box score the initial reaction is: how the eff did they lose this game?
Brandon Roy had 33 points and I’m convinced he could’ve easily gone for 40 if he’d wanted to. (Side point: Is anybody else ready for Roy to just go off and destroy a team? It’s nice that he likes to distribute the ball and get everyone else involved, but nobody can stop him going to the rim. I want to see blood on his Nikes.) LaMarcus had another solid night (22 points, six boards), signaling that he might have finally woken up from his early season slumber. That’s great news, but Aldridge is best when he’s working outside of the paint, nailing mid-range jumpers and running the floor.
On a night like last night against Utah when the three weren’t falling, the Blazers needed an inside presence and they just never got it. I’m looking at you, Oden and Przybilla.
We’ll let Przybilla slide on this one. He’s been having a great season so far and, truth be told, is actually more integral to Portland’s 15-9 start than Oden. But Greg is mired in a string of games where he’s making almost no impact. That’s okay sometimes. But last night was inexcusable. We’ve always figured that all Oden would need to focus on is rebounding and defense. Put-backs and dunks would be his main mode of scoring. But on a night like last night when the usually reliable 3-point shooting of the Blazers abandoned them (they shot six of twenty-seven for game; a ghastly 22 percent), the team needed Oden to step up. He did not.
We’re patient. We’re in love with this team. With these players. But after 24 games I want to see my main man Greg get pissed. I want him to throw some elbows. I want him to bring a rim down. I want to see him unleashed.
Until that happens, Portland will remain a team that lives by the three…and like last night, dies by it.