Who wanted it less?
Let’s compare motivations: Memphis beat Charlotte, and Denver got blasted by the Jazz. A Clipper loss solidifies a hold on the coveted 6 seed, while still maintaining homecourt over Los Nugs. Meanwhile, the Blazoids are fending off the Knicks and Charlotte for the worst record in the league. They’re a game “up” on both teams, and a Portland victory pushes them into a 3-way tie for the right to the most ping pong balls come draft time.
The result? A fairly fluid offensive performance on both sides primarily due to lackluster defense, where the more talented team comes away with a W. As Jeff, erstwhile Blazer supporter and game-time companion noted: “Is this a pre-season game? Sure feels like it.”
So what’s the takeaway? Well, it’s clear we can run an offense against an NBDL team. Yay. We play down to the competition - but again, perhaps we had mixed motivations. The defensive intensity we have become accustomed to seeing was not there. This team has lost the “swagger” (and maybe Maggette for Round 1!!) it so desperately needs to have a shot at advancing to Round 2.
Open Letter to Vlad: as Luke notes in his wonderful locker room report, Vlad is a stylish Euro and pleasant to be around. But where did his game go? I know you're hurt, but how hurt are you? What happened to the sweet stroke and defensive intensity you displayed when you first got here? As I learned in the FSN segment “Vlad: In His Own Words” – you grew up wanting to be a musician and took accordion lessons for several years. What this tells me is that you will be coming out with an instrumental accordion album this summer, and that this is taking your attention away from the upcoming playoffs. When passions collide, men must make a choice.
And no Juan Dixon! I was really looking forward to seeing, in person, a Blake-Dixon on-court reunion. Who else… well Jarret Jack peaked as a sophomore, and Telfair is exhibiting the same selfish tendencies as Marbury, except he’s much less talented. The only players I liked at all were Khryapa and Martell (he got game).