Good good. First road win. Guys stepped up. Happy bunch. And on national TV too. Well..NBATV. Close enough for us.
No relevant complaints.
BTW, as if in answer to all the sky is falling posts and threads, we're now 5-5 in our last 10 games and Cousins and Reke (when we see him) are both playing as solidly as we have seen them.
Stats: 36min 19pts (6-10, 3-4, 4-5) 3reb 11ast 2stl 0blk 0TO
Salmons ( A+ ) -- well, what to say here -- the "+' becomes obvious given that we've won and that its entirely possible at age 33 John may never play another game at this level, this timely. Basically it turns out we had a spare Reke sitting on our bench. Who knew? Actually, it was similar behavior to the disastrous stint we saw in the Clippers debacle. Reke was out, so all of a sudden John decided he was the man. Except this time it was done so effectively that far from throwing things at the TV, he actually became the second pillar of our win tonight along with Cousins. He hit a three early in the game, and two more to start the third, which were huge as we blew the game open and never quite gave it away afterwards. But of course the huge thing he did on offense was notch 11 assists as the grease man. Few were nifty, although he got a nice one dfriving and dropping the little wraparound pass to JT on the baseline -- again Rekeish. But he just constantly was looking and had his head up -- the opposite of the classic head down gonna pound the ball until I can dribble around and find room to hoist a midrange jumper Salmons we all know and hate. So he made little half penetrations, similar to the oens he used to set Reke up for those two big threes the other ngiht, and just kept finding guys and finding guys. He got the ball ahead smartly on the break. Just made things easy for guys, and the Blazers never did have a handle on how o slow him down (helped that their best defender, Batum, was hobbled by a bad back and could barely play). Were a coupple of scruffy patches, including one in the late third sandwiched between a fity +1 inside, and another hit as we wnet to him to start the 4th. But no major lulls, and he was effectively agrgessive all game long. Moved well on defense as well, as most of the team seemed alert and active on that end. Were a few crossed signals mistakes leading to some open Blazers threes, but otherwise another positive. Like I say, I have no hesitation here with this "+". This was the perfromance that we needed to win this one without Reke. I just was foolishly looking for it to come from Thornton.
Stats: 29min 12pts (4-10, 0-0, 4-5) 8reb 0ast 2stl 0blk 2TO
Thompson ( B- ) -- played solidly int he early going, highlighted as he powered up a +1 through Aldridge to open the lead to a dozen late in the first quarter. Not much early boardowrk, but mobile on the interior defensively as we were agian getting a lot of good efforts on that end. A hint of how he would lose his late miinutes came though when the Blazers, who have the worst bench in the league, went to Luke Babbitt and Jason wasn't comfortable chasing him aorudn the perimeter and saw several threes splahsed in as he and Salmson got crossed up. Resumed solid play in the third, this time picking up the boardwork as well (we won the board battle for once), but despite neither Hayes nor Robinson being much of a factor, his minutes ended up getting curtailed on the night in the most unlikley of fashions, as the Blazers went back to Babbitt, and we substitued in Travis Outlaw from oblivion to try to match the tweenr mobility. Even more shockingly, Outlaw played so well he pinned JT to the bench with his awesomeness. In any case, it was still a solid if unspectacular game for Jason as he and Cousins are starting to consistently work the middle now.
Stats: 34min 19pts (6-17, 0-1, 7-8) 12reb 2ast 1stl 0blk 0TO
Cousins ( B+ ) -- if you just look at the boxscores, and the shooting numbers in particular, which remian stubbornly low, you would miss the distinct change we've been seeing in Boogie's game this past week. For the third game in a row was rock solid in there for us. Never dominant for any real stretch, but other than a number of finishes inside which rolled off the rim, did little wrong and a lot right. There were no turnovers, he's been avoiding foul tourble and the resulting fighting with refs. All of a sudden its very solid and professional. Hit a jumper right off the bat, but it was another game where he only spotted in a few of those, and besides one stupid three pointer in the late first quarter, they were all good shots. Was being smart on defense and unusually active and attentive, particularly as we finished them off ion the 4th. Was able to stay right with Aldridge when that was the matchup. Offensively got a couple of early dunks on the break and was right on the rim for most of the game, although as mentioned he had a lot of things roll off for him in there. Was different from his normal misses at the rim thoguh, because most of these looked like good in control moves and finishes that just somehow crawled off, rather than the occasionally off balnce/wild low perecentage stuff. Just hasn't been much of that since the Clipper game reset. Was strong on the glass again as those numbers are climbing back up again as even with the early season stuggles he's back in the Top 10 on the glass. In the late third helped get Outlaw going finding him with an early backdoor pass for the dunk, and took a charge against Batum that finished Batum's night, as a big collision and fall with a 270lb man is not the thing you want to do when you're trying to play throuhg a bad back. This game did not sparkle for Boogie, but he was a solid steadying presence in there while the team's real stars like John Salmons and Travis Outlaw dominated.
Stats: 31min 12pts (5-13, 2-5, 0-0) 5reb 2ast 1stl 2blk 1TO
Garcia ( B ) -- Cisco deserves a lot of credit for the last two wins. With Reke scratched late before each game, we've dusted off the old vet (he's not that old, but moves like he's 60) from the end of the bench, and he's 2 for 2 in providing us with nice across the board roleplaying efforts. Did not shoot particularly well, but both his threes were well timed, extending our early lead near the end fo the first quarter, and another as part of the three point barrage that opened the lead for us in the early 3rd. Gave us more help defense, and pretty much statistically played Wes Matthews to a draw, which is something you will take from your 12th man any day of the week. A steadying presence for 31 minutes out there. When's the last time Cisco got 31min? And the last time he desevred them?
Stats: 30min 14pts (6-10, 2-4, 0-0) 2reb 3ast 2stl 0blk 4TO
Brooks ( B- ) -- probably the weakest fo the starters, but again did just enough, and critically did NOT do just enough (as in the overdribbling/overchucking/its about me problems we have often had) to help us keep rolling. Was doing fine in the early going until the mid first quarter when he suddenly pulled up for a three off his own dribble in transition -- those were the clasic Brooks plays that made me not want him here, and I think they still come naturally to him. But in general he is trying to suppress that gunning nonsense, and we didn't see much of it tonight. After Lillard dropped a three in his face, next possession just reached out and poke stealed him to start a break that he then finished off with a nifty behidn the bakc pass to Cousins for the dunk. Not all of the transition attempts were so smooth, as he made a couple of real poor passes trying to hit Cousins ahead on the break. But at least those are passing errors, not selfish ones. Bookended his two threes in the third -- one to start the quarter, the other to end it -- when our bombing opened up the game for us. But in between started losing control of the pace, playing too fast and making numerous ballhandling errors and near errors. Steve Nash this ain't. Luckily he was surrounded by steady elite talents like John Salmons and Francisco Garcia to help steady things and slow him down. Turnovers aside, and they were the negatrive here, another efficient supprot game for Brooks. Over his last 10 games, all starts, he's averaging 26.4min 10.1pts (.527 .438 .692) 2.1reb 2.5ast 1.0stl. Not winning the games for us, but not losing them either and letting the main guys do their thing.