The Road trip so far

Going in I thought Portland SHOULD win the game against Toronto, though with Calderon coming on it could be a problem game. Sure enough, he scored 22 and added 10 assists while only missing three shots. Bosh had a huge game, 38 and 14 on solid shooting. Portland shot just 41% and gave up 48% shooting.They managed to win the rebound battle by 8 which goes a long way towards explaining how they got the game to overtime but they ended up losing a game they should have won, 116-109 in double overtime. 0-1 on the trip.

Against New Jersey I thought Portland should win by 6 - 10 points despite Kidd, Jefferson and Carter, though anytime you run into a team with athletes that talented there is the possibility you will lose. Portland shot 53%, New Jersey 34%, and Portland built a 13 point first quarter lead that was never threatened on their way to a blow-out win. The Nets three most talented players shot 7-33 and nobody stepped up to help them out. Portland blew them off the court 99-73.

I am a believer in Boston. I think they are as good as their record and are going to be tough to knock off anytime before the Finals, though it can be done. Portland is good but I don't think they are ready to win this road game. Yet. Sure enough, Boston did what very few teams have done against the Blazers recently...they won the 4th quarter. Roy, Aldridge, Jack and Outlaw had solid games but nobody else stepped up. Allen and Garnett were both "on" and were too much for Portland, leading Boston to the unsurprising 100-90 victory and dropping Portland to 1-2 on the road trip. I had hoped they would be 2-1 at this point, but hey...what are you going to do?

I thought Portland should beat Miami and probably pretty handily...say, 6 - 10 points. Somehow they turned a 9 point half time lead into a 7 point deficit heading into the 4th quarter as they absolutely melted down in the third quarter. Early in the season they would have completed the collapse and lost another winnable game on this trip. These are not those Blazers, however. Led by Roy's 16 4th quarter points, they came back to take a convincing 7 point win, 98-91. Strange how you don't hear much these days about the Bryant-O Neal rivalry... 2-2

Against Orlando I thought it was a toss-up. Orlando I made a slight favorite but it would not be a huge upset if Portland pulled out the win. They started slowly and never really recovered from the 8 point deficit that hit them in the first period. Aldridge had a terrible shooting game (6-21), though he did help on defense, blocking 4 shots. Roy played well but just did not get enough help. When one of your studs struggles you need 2 or 3 role players to step up and only Outlaw did so on the offensive end. Meanwhile, 5 Magic scored in double figures and they shot 50%. Orlando was the better team this night and pulled out the 101-94 win.

So the road trip stands at 2-3. A 3-4 road trip I thought would be a success, a 2-5 a disaster, and 4-3 would be tough but do-able. To hit that Portland needs to win the next two. They should beat Atlanta. New Orleans...well, that we will have to wait and see.

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