The 324 Report (11/15/16 v. Chicago)

Summary of the match: The Blazers completely wasted 2.5 hours of everybody’s time in a 113-88 loss in which they trailed by 21 after the first quarter in a manner that would make Mark Helfrich proud. They won the 2nd quarter, which was really big of them. But in the end it was basically a no-show performance in which the biggest applause was garnered by The Speedster Devon Allen during the halftime ceremony honoring Olympians of Oregon (Galen Rupp, so jealous).

How great was Moe Harkless?: The most amazing thing about Hark’s performance was that he played 29 minutes without anybody really noticing. He was second on the team with 8 rebounds on a night when the Blazers were -18 on the glass (yay?). Ultimately, he was one of many Blazers who got overpowered by Chicago’s big front line. He also threw down a -26, which was worst on the team.

Was Evan Turner butt?: ET rode the wave of butt in a performance that was ultimately pretty firmly butt. Started off slow, missing his first few shots. Then he had a nice four possession stretch that went bucket, bucket, assist, pass-good-enough-to-be-an-assist. From there it basically went downhill. Bad misses on open looks, bad passes, and missed defensive assignments that had him gesturing confusedly to Terry Stotts, who seems sort of over the whole thing. Pretty high butt rating from ET tonight. Now -111 for the year (https://twitter.com/HPbasketball/status/798759682844147713).

Other observations:

  • Another rough shooting night for Dame Lillard (7-22, 1-5). I would express dismay at the fact that he played 38 minutes (highest non-OT total of the season) in a game that was basically a blowout from the jump on the eve of a 5-games-in-7-days road trip, but honestly it’s hard to muster too many feels about anything pertaining to this game.
  • Meyers Leonard had an awful shooting night (0-6, 0-5) and was utterly overmatched in the paint. In fairness to him, his shoulder injury prevented him from lifting for basically months, so his strength really isn’t there. But that being the case, I guess I would rather Vonleh start in that spot with Aminu out. Vonleh is equally as bad and even more confused than Meyers, but at least Vonleh is 100% and might accidentally execute a box-out every now and then.
  • Allen Crabbe was the only guy who showed up to get buckets tonight (15 points on 6-12, 3-7). I salute him for no other reason than he got a huge raise and continues to be good at basketball. Seriously consider how effective of an employee you would be if you showed up at work after having your salary multiplied by 38.
  • Really big of Stotts to give Tim Quarterman and Shabazz Napier some run together in garbage time since they’ll likely team up in the backcourt of a D-league title contender in the near future.
  • Mason Plumlee really needs to stop trying to make his mid-range jumpshot happen. It’s not going to happen.
  • In related news, Robin Lopez’s mid-range game has come along so much that he even attempted a 3-pointer.
  • In an era of 3-point shooting in the NBA, it’s pretty amazing to watch a team get just 3-7 from their starters. Chicago thinks your threes are for losers just like your popular vote victories.
  • Chicago always brings a lot of fans into the Rose Garden but they’re always cool and not obnoxious. They’re the anti-Lakers.

Whoopty do, what does it all mean, Basil?: This was a really crap loss and there’s no way to spin it. Last home game before a pretty brutal 5-game road trip, and Portland ghosted it. Terry Stotts picked up the strategic fire-up-the-team technical foul in the second quarter. It’s probably a bad sign that he’s had to resort to a big halftime speech and a tech in back-to-back games to get his team’s attention. But here we are. My biggest concern coming into the year was that a lot of the scrappy young guys who made last year’s team so lovable all got big extensions or new contracts (Dame, CJ, Meyers, Hark, Crabbe), which could greatly reduce the overall scrappiness and energy of the team. It’s manifested itself a bit these last few nights. It’s on Terry Stotts (another guy who got a new contract) to iron it out.

Next home game: New Orleans on 11/25/16.

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