Found November 12, 2012 on
NorthWest Sports Beat:
Time to get back on track
The Portland Trail Blazers have been tested by legitimate contenders early this season, but the schedule is about to turn in their favor, as the rest of the month features teams who are either fighting for late seeds in the postseason or heading back to the lottery in 2013.
Matchup: Portland (2-4) vs. Atlanta Hawks (2-3)
Venue: Rose Garden Arena
Time: 7:00 PM PT
Date: Monday, Nov. 12, 2012
Like the Blazers, the Atlanta Hawks are in rebuilding mode right now, and these are two teams who will be competing against each other not just on the court come Monday, but in the free-agent market come
Game Notes/How They Match Up
The Trail Blazers are looking to bounce back after a tough loss against the Spurs. (Photo: AP)
It wasn’t too long ago when these two teams were following the same model of how to succeed in the NBA. They both had a star shooting guard who played iso-heavy basketball, they both had a potential Big Three at the 2-guard, power forward and center positions and they both had a coach who loved to slow it down and use all 24 seconds of the shot clock.
As it turned out, both teams truly were on the same path; it just didn’t lead to the success they expected.
Neither team was able to excel in the playoffs, and as a result, both have gone through personnel changes. Portland’s changes have happened more quickly—and as a result of injuries—but neither team is where they projected to be a few year ago.
On the court, the Blazers have played better offensively this season, but the Hawks have been much more balanced when it comes to playing their first and second units. Defensively, the Hawks are average in comparison with the rest of the league, while the Blazers have some serious work to do on that end of the floor.
What to Watch: Portland
If the Blazers are going to beat the Hawks, they have to play defense. They’re allowing 104.3 points per game through six contests, which is the second-worst of any team in the entire NBA.
The Hawks are a middle-of-the-road offensive squad, but they have the talent on their roster to take advantage of a poor defense. Jeff Teague is leading the team in scoring, Al Horford is right behind him and Josh Smith and Louis Williams are as dangerous as anybody when it comes to putting the ball in the basket.
This team even gets scoring off their bench, which is a completely foreign concept in Portland this season.
The Blazers have been good offensively, but they must lock down on the defensive end if they hope to outscore their first East Coast opponent.
What to Watch: Atlanta
Atlanta may be just 16th in the league when it comes to three-point percentage, but that by no means equates to a gun-shy offense. They’re currently fourth in the NBA in three-point attempts, as they’ve taken 23.5 shots per game from behind the arc.
Portland has been decent defending the three this season, but their defensive struggles could very well lead to a lot of open opportunities for the Hawks.
If Atlanta can take advantage from deep, they could be the fifth team this season to put up triple-digits against the Blazers.
Josh Smith will be a tough challenge for Batum. (Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty)
The Hawks have traditionally played Josh Smith as the team’s power forward, but this season we’ve seen him slide down to the 3-spot more and more, with Al Horford playing his natural position at the 4. If this trend stays true come Monday, that means Nicolas Batum will be given the assignment of playing against one of the most athletic players in the entire NBA.
Nicolas Batum and Smith are approximately the same height—Smith has a slight advantage—but the difference comes in their overall mass. Smith can muscle players all over the court with his strength and athleticism, which is something Batum certainly can’t say at this point.
Where these two players are similar is out in transition. Batum doesn’t quite have the athleticism that the Hawks’ forward has, but he is able to find more success when he gets out and runs. Batum’s shot is much better at this point, but with inconsistency plaguing him throughout his time in Portland, getting to the rim is what sparks success for the 23-year-old.
Defensively, Smith has had the edge over his fellow small forward, but Batum is finally starting to come around, having averaged the fourth-most steals in the entire NBA this year.
Portland: PROBABLE—Wesley Matthews
Atlanta Hawks: OUT—Johan Petro
The Trail Blazers are looking for a performance to regain their confidence, and a Hawks squad that is sub-.500 on the season could be just the team to help them get back on track.
Blazers 104 – Hawks 97
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BEST OF MAXIM
Batum takes huge step in Portland loss
The Headline: Nicolas Batum asks for the ball in the fourth and delivers, but not even that saves Portland from falling just short.
San Antonio Spurs vs. Portland Trail Blazers
When: 10:00 ET, Saturday, November 10, 2012
Where: Rose Garden (Portland)
Officials: Derek Richardson, Ron Garretson, Nick Buchert
After 6 games, the Portland Trail Blazers, 2-4, are off to a predictable start for this season of low expectations. What is also unsurprising is the ever present hum of the NBA rumor mill, or in this day in age, the tweets coming from Twitter. Thursday evening scout and featured writer for Crossover Chronicles, Wendell Maxey, @w_maxey, tweeted out
Leonard is a young rookie...
Credit to Jordan Frankel (@jordanfrankel) for the find. Montel Williams Host of The Montel Williams Show Spokesperson for Partnership for Prescription Assistance Monty Williams Played college at Notre Dame (1st round pick in ’94 draft) Played in NBA from 1994-2003 Assistant Coach for Portland Trailblazers (2005-10) Current Head Coach of the New Orleans Hornets
PORTLAND, Ore. -- Josh Smith was sick. It hardly showed. Fighting a stomach illness, Smith had 19 points and 11 rebounds for his sixth straight double-double against Portland, and the Atlanta Hawks snapped a two-game skid with a 95-87 win over the Trail Blazers on Monday night. "It feels good," Smith said. "The crowd is outstanding (in Portland), and I get geared...
Frustrations beginning to boil
It’s been less than two weeks since the Portland Trail Blazers opened their season with an impressive victory over the Los Angeles Lakers, yet it seems like a lifetime ago that this young roster in Rip City has had anything to celebrate.
Matchup: Portland (2-5) @ Sacramento Kings (2-5)
Venue: Sleep Train Arena
Time: 7:00 PM PT
Date: Tuesday, Nov....
The Blazers are coming off one of their most disappointing seasons as a franchise; they changed coaches and went into rebuild on the fly mode. With their first round pick they selected point guard Damian Lillard to help lead their team back to their winning ways. From all accounts Lillard [...]
Jamal Crawford was a polarizing player here in Portland last year. The vet came in to help fill the void that his good friend Brandon Roy left with his sudden medical retirement. Most of his career, Crawford has come off the bench as the 6th man, even winning the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award with the Atlanta Hawks in 2010.
Many people around Portland loved seeing Crawford shoot...
Josh Smith had 19 points and 11 rebounds, Kyle Korver added 16 points and the Atlanta Hawks snapped a two-game skid with a 95-87 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday night.
Al Horford added 15 points and 10 rebounds for Atlanta, which was playing the second game of a four-game West Coast swing after losing 89-76 to the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday.
J.J. Hickson had 19...
PORTLAND, Ore. -- The San Antonio Spurs ended a seven-game losing streak at the Rose Garden, beating the Portland Trail Blazers 112-109 on Saturday night. After going into the fourth quarter down 79-73, the Spurs opened the final period with a 14-0 run. The Spurs held onto the lead until 40 seconds remained in the game, when Blazers forward Nicolas Batum sank a 3-pointer to make...
PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Atlanta Hawks made sure the first non-sellout Rose Garden crowd in nearly five years went home unhappy Monday night. The Hawks withstood a fourth-quarter Portland rally to beat the Trail Blazers 95-87. Josh Smith collected 19 points and 11 rebounds to lead Atlanta, which lost 89-76 to the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday at Staples Center. The Blazers rallied...
PORTLAND, Ore. -- The San Antonio Spurs ended a seven-game losing streak at the Rose Garden against the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday night. The Spurs trailed the Blazers through the first three quarters then pulled ahead in the fourth quarter only to see the Blazers come back. San Antonio finally pulled out the 112-109 win, before an announced sellout crowd of 20,447. ...
After a productive start to the season, the Atlanta Hawks have appeared to lose their scoring touch in the last three games. A matchup with the Portland Trail Blazers might help them regain it.
The visiting Hawks will try to take advantage of Portland's defensive woes and avoid a third consecutive loss Monday night.
Atlanta topped 100 points in each of its first two games,...
Top Blazers Last 7 Days
After posting an impressive 2-1 record during the first week of the NBA season, the Portland Trail Blazers came back down to earth a bit in their second week.
Squaring off against more top-tier Western Conference talent, the Blazers failed to record a win (0-3), and it’s becoming more apparent that the bench is a serious issue with this team.
In the three...
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Line of the Night: We at GMTR expected Nicolas Batum (2.88 WARP) to be good this year; I’m not sure we expected him to be this good. Batum wasn’t enough to give the Blazers a win over the shorthanded Spurs last night, but his 33 points, 5 threes, 7...
The Golden State Warriors may be able to learn a thing or two from the Atlanta Hawks.
While the Hawks enter Wednesday night's matchup in Oakland having rid itself of some recent late-game troubles, the Warriors come in still smarting from a double-overtime loss.
The Hawks (3-3) bounced back from consecutive defeats with Monday's 95-87 win at Portland. Josh Smith scored...