In a season riddled with disappointments, wins have been more of a luxury this year than the standard for the Trailblazers. Now while Bobcats (5-34) and Wizards (9-30) fans scream at their computer and call us privileged, Portland fans know how much of a disappointing season this has been for a team that was supposed to do so much.
Granted, the Trailblazers sit at 20-21, only 5 games back from the 3rd spot in the West, but the way they have been trending lately, that 8th playoff spot seems like an impossible feat to accomplish.
The Blazers hosted the New Orleans Hornets this past Monday night, in what would be their last home game for two weeks, before embarking on a grueling seven game road trip.
Once the week was finished, Portland had played four games, three of which on the road, and ended the week at 2-2 (a microcosm of their season).
With four games to comb over and find the best performances, you’d think I’d have a decent sample size, right? Well, it was a little harder than that.
Any time Raymond Felton makes the list, you know it’s been a bit of an off week for Portland. Anyway, here are the three best performances by a Trail Blazer this past week.
First Star: LaMarcus Aldridge (3/10: W @ Washington)
Entering Saturday’s match-up against the Wizards, Portland was coming off of two horrible road losses at the hands of Minnesota and Boston. With Washington getting the best of Portland at home nearly a month earlier, the thought of Washington getting their tenth win of the season wasn’t that far-fetched.
However, LaMarcus Aldridge played like Washington owed him money, and no matter who coach Randy Wittman threw at him, Aldridge always seemed to have the upper hand.
Quick side-note: Five dollars to whoever knew Wittman was the coach of Washington by the way, or how about just a nice slow clap, because I certainly expected to see Flip Saunders’ name on the roster when I looked it up.
Anyway, I digress.
Aldridge put up 30 points, on 12-15 from the floor and a perfect 6-6 from the free throw line, while grabbing 10 boards, dishing three assists, blocking two shots and recording one steal. What’s even more impressive is that LaMarcus finished the game with zero turnovers while playing 40 minutes.
This performance proved that he would have been the difference maker had he not gone down in the first quarter of the Valentine’s Day game Portland dropped to the Wizards.
Second Star: Raymond Felton (3/7: L @ Minnesota)
Raymond Felton gets a bit of special recognition this week for not only making this list for the first time (only the 3rd time I’ve done this so he gets a bit of a pass), but also because contrary to what most Blazer fans think, Felton can actually play a little basketball here and there.
During his 34 minutes on the court, Felton recorded 23 points, on 11-18 shooting, 9 assists and 4 rebounds. Yes, he still only went 1-4 from beyond the arc, but this is the kind of performance Portland thought they’d be getting out of Felton on a nightly basis.
Felton gets a bit of special recognition this week from Rick!
Arguably Felton’s best game as a Blazer, it did, however, come in a loss to the Timberwolves.
So Felton plays well, and Portland still loses, is he still this season’s scapegoat? Probably.
Until we see him string together two, maybe three, outings like this in a row, can the blame for lackluster play be aimed elsewhere. Until then, Felton’s name will always come up when anybody brings up the trade deadline, and Portland, in the same sentence.
Third Star: Jamal Crawford (3/10: W @ Washington)
Is this the last week I’ll be writing about Jamal Crawford as a Blazer? I certainly hope not, but with the rumors I’ve seen circulating cyberspace, the answer to that question is creeping towards yes.
Crawford has been one of Portland’s bright spots, and continues to be as the season wears on. Ya he may not put up 26 a night, but Portland brought him in to provide a spark off the bench, and to show a bit of the Jamal Crawford that one the 6th Man of the Year award.
You don’t have to go far to see the guy loves being in Portland, and has embraced the city and it’s fans, just check out his twitter page.
This past Saturday, in a redemption win over Washington, Crawford tallied 23 points, on 7-13 from the field, 3-6 from beyond the three point line and a perfect 6-6 from the free throw line.
He also added five assists in the game, and is seemingly doing all he can to remain a Trail Blazer.
Dunk of the Week: Nic Batum (Portland vs. New Orleans)
This week’s best dunk comes, yet again, from the Frenchman, Nic Batum. In the game against the Hornets this past Monday, Batum skies for a put back jam after a Wesley Matthews missed three. Enjoy.
Dunk of the Week (Part 2): Gerald Green (New Jersey vs. Houston)
I had to put this dunk in here this week, it’s just too ridiculous to miss out on. Gerald Green with what is arguably the dunk of the year.
Videos Courtesy of: The Blazers Videos YouTube channel.
Marcus Camby was slightly frustrated after watching Raymond Felton commit yet another turnover. In great tackling form he took out his frustrations on poor Landry Fields. Being down by 30 points early in the third probably didn’t make matters any better.
Click here to view the embedded video.
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