1) Hurry back big guy!
2) Calm the bleep down, 'cause we need you. Apparently desperately.
I hate to go back to back, but of course after this we'll do Girls again.
Stats: 33min 16pts (7-13, 0-1, 2-3) 2reb 0ast 1stl 2blk 2TO
Johnson ( C+ ) -- one of several considerably deceptive boxscores on the night. Had a strong drive to the hoop that actuallty worked in the early game, and then just before half a curl and big dunk as his drives looked better against a Portland team without shotblocking (been along time since you could say that). But in between those two poles it was much of the same stuff we have seen -- absolutely no confidence in his jumper at all, so teams playing 5 feet off him, and he either pulling it down and dribbling into trafffic, or throwing up something ugly. The lack of shooting helping kill us particularly in the 3rd quarter stretch that finished us this game as he and Thornotn just bricked open shot after open shot. Defensively he had some strong moments in the early game, although he did not do as well against Lillard when caught on him on switches as you might have hoped. Was another night of weak boardwork, and when we smallballed he was particualrly impotent on the glass as a PF. Put up the bulk of his points in the late garbagetime, although that included a couple of jumpers for the first time in what seems like forever, so maybe that can spark him going forward. Best offensive numbers of the season, but grade chased backward by the impression that Smart's green light handiwork here has him thinking shot instead of pass. Admittedly wasn't sure what to do with this one.
Carla Ossa -- moderately attractive Columbian model
Stats: 31min 6pts (3-7, 0-0, 0-0) 8reb 6ast 0stl 0blk 1TO
Hayes ( B- ) -- notbale game in that you noticed him more on offense than defense. Defensively Aldridge certianly did not have one of his best nights, but it was hard to attribute much of that to Chuck, and their were several moments where Chuck's munchkin disease came into play with Aldridge or Hicks either shooting right over him or going over him for boards. And in the first half in particular was having to step over consistently when our PGs got beat, and then was often not fast/big enough to recover and effect the open jumpers the Blazers were getting. On the other end of the court though, while he still had the same limitations as a scorer -- getting exposed on his first attempt early when he tried to go inside through Aldridge and got it smushed in his face, before recovering the ball and finishing with a quick push shot -- his passing really became key for us as for the first time this year we got a decent assist total, almost entirely concetrated in Hayes, Reke and Jimmer. The total would have been even higher if anybody could shoot. But Chuck racked up assist after assist in that high post passing role as about the best thing we could figure out to do was try to run the offense through a short, unatheltic, offensively impotent version of CWebb. Hey, its something. Another tough grade really, because I did not feel Chuck had himself that good a game in the ways you expect him to. But the passing trick gave us something to hold onto and that deserves a grade.
Ashley Greene -- well...Twlight can't be that bad right? Right??
Stats: 31min 8pts (3-9, 0-0, 2-2) 11reb 0ast 0stl 2blk 2TO
Thompson ( C+ ) -- I am wary about letting too many of these grades climb too far in what was a bad loss at home to a bad team, but JT was decent once again. Our best boarder on a night when we got whipped again (JT and Hayes did their job on the glass, nobody else did theirs), but offensively was a regression. Not able to attack effectively inside, and we were seeing more of JT's old twitchy wildness and inability to finish than we have of late. Strong defensive work as a shotblocker/intimidator in the 3rd, but not a great defensive impact over the whole game, and Aldridge wasn't overly concerned. Should have notched an assist on a great pass to Hayes inside in the early third, but Hayes blew the layup. Too many blown gimmes and struggles against length to go any higher here given the results.
Esther Baxter -- for Slim
Stats: 30min 10pts (4-8, 0-2, 2-4) 1reb 4ast 1stl 0blk 2TO
Evans ( C ) -- I am currently in the process of shifting my grading scale for Reke. Because you know what? If you changed the name on the back of the jersey to Jarret Jack, or some other low level defensive minded combo guard of that ilk, you would have said, hey, pretty decent game by Jarret. Lot of energy on defense, had a few good takes, even knocked down a few jumpers finally, set some people up, although far too many of them missed (I wouldn't mind seeing the Jimmer experiment just to finally see Reke drive, kick to a guy wide open at the three point line, and actually have that guy hit the shot. Wacky idea I know. Anyway, our version of Jarret started off the game more aggressive than we have seen him, looking a bit like that Tyreke Evans guy we used to have before Smart neutered him. Had a nice hard pass to a cutting JT. Several strong drives banging into people inside. And hallelujah splashing in a jumper -- in fact the jumepr looked pretty good all night. Hit 2, and 2 more were right on line an rimmed off. Only the two threes, which were desperation bailout shots against the clock, looked poor. We even, wonder of wonders, actually called a play for him out of our first timeout and he drew the foul. I'm not sure why that wasn't called for JJ, or Hayes, or maybe one of the security guards, but hey, it worked, so I guess it was ok. In a positive sign mostly maintained the defensive intensity too. But the team fell far behind in that early going before he left, and so Smart compeltely froze him again, not returning him to the game until 2:30 were left in the half. Came back in as the PG, and with obvious orders to try to get in Lillard's grill, which he did, smothering him on the perimeter until he made back to back fouling mistakes in the final seconds of the half, committing an offensive foul, and then a defensive foul on a quick Lillard move. Beat the halftime buzzer with an open court pass to TRob for a dunk. Started the 2nd half at the PG, and for about half a quarter the Reke/MT backcourt worked. We jumped out to a 12-4 lead in the quarter, Reke was really working his butt off up top on Lillard, making it much harder for him than it had been against our little guards, and we surged out and took the lead. And then the wheels fell off. With a loud echoing clank. But again it was not Reke who's play turned. We just simply went cold and could not hit the broad side of a barn. Thornton and Johnson were the two biggest culprits there, as Reke repeatedly kicked the ball to them and they tried to break the backboard. And it was game over. When Lillard returned in the 4the it was notable how we quicly responded by putting Reke back in the game to guard him, but the game was over by then and offensively he was just a spectator as great talents like Salmons and Johnson monopolized the ball. Almost two grades here. The grade for Jarret Jack might be a B-. Solid, but not enough. The grade for Tyreke Evans might be a C-, on the missing persons list. I'll split it.
Adelaide Kane -- picking somebody apparently best known for playing a power ranger feels a bit kiddie here, but this franchise continues to strain worldwide hottie resources.
Stats: 7min 0pts (0-1, 0-1, 0-0) 0reb 0ast 0stl 0blk 0TO
Brooks ( F ) -- woohoo! Finally a grade to reflect my true feelings about this game. because Brooks was just that bad and it absolutely hurt us. nto on offense where he was just inviisible and got nothing accomplished. But on defense...it was a textbook fail. Time and time again he caught caught on picks, or worse yet went under every single screen he eno****ered, and time and again Damian Lillard said thank you very much and either bombed away or had crystal clear passing lanes to whoever he wanted to hit. From a little defensive mapping exercise I did last night I would say that during his minutes out there, Brooks' defense on Lillard actually resulted in every bad defenive possession we had with him on the floor, except perhaps one. That's impressive. Left the game and word filtered out he had an ankle problem? Not sure if that was preexisting and what limited him here, or if it was just the result of him getting them broken in game. Either way I am not in a merciful mood.
Kellan Lutz -- okay, last trip down the kiddie parade, but suggested to me by the Ashley Green/twilight pick above