Of course, it didn't hurt that he was playing a dis-interested team. The Wizards clearly did not want to be hear on this night. It was easy to tell. Just three incidents will demonstrate that quite clearly.
Exhibit A) DeShawn Stevenson missed the game due to lower back pain. He then was a regular feature on the Blazer's Jumbo-tron dance screen as he shimmied to the music in each time-out...including the celebratory time-outs in the middle of big runs when the cheerleaders run out and shake their groove thang. Yes, his shimmy was more interesting to the camera than the girls. Just sayin'
Exhibit B) A Wizard knocked the ball out of bounds into the lap of a mildly attractive woman, spilling her drink on her. He ran to his bench to grab a towel and ran it over to her before the Rose Garden staff could get there.
Yes, he spent more effort on getting random fan a towel than he did on the game itself. Apparently he is unaware that the staff at the Garden is trained for these situations. While his courtesy is appreciated on some level, his lack of focus on the game pretty much says all you need to know. but I will tell you more anyway...
Exhibit C) During a third quarter time-out, the Blazers gathered around their coaches to listen to strategy. The Wizards stood around watching Blaze the Trail-Cat bounce numerous attempts at a half-court over the head backwards heave towards the basket.
Think about that. They were more interested in watching the at best mildly entertaining, uninspired antics of a pedestrian mascot than figuring out how to win a game.
This game was over early. The only thing keeping the Wizards in the game in the first half was the Blazers' horrific shooting. They checked in at 30% for the first half. It would be nice to say it was because of the ferocious defense the Wizards were playing. However, anyone who has seen them play this year would know I was lying.
Portland looked lethargic to start the game. They heaved up shot after shot that barely even grazed the rim. The normally reliable LaMarcus Aldridge was short on his money shot, the feathery mid-range jumper. The should-be All-Star Brandon Roy missed several point-blank lay-ins. Rudy Fernandez would have struggled to hit the broadside of a barn even if he were inside it.
Several times the Blazers scored on their third shot of a possession when all three shots were in the paint and virtually uncontested. At one point we had a debate over whether Greg Oden had blocked Roy's shot.
Fortunately, the Blazers were able to right the ship and dropped in 61 second half points including a dunk parade in which they had at least 4 dunks that were better than any of the dunks in their "five best dunks of the first half of the season" highlight reel.
Even against a poor team the game had its entertaining moments. Oddly, among the most entertaining was a missed shot. Some Blazer bounced a ball long off the back rim. Travis Outlaw elevated over everyone, extended one hand as far as he could and nearly made the put back. Even his missed shot had the crowd roaring to their feet.
Meanwhile, Greg Oden had another outstanding game. I don't mean his scoring or rebounding, though his 18 points and 14 rebounds were certainly nice.
No, the parts of Oden's game that mattered were his continued development. Defensively, he moved his feet. Several times he got caught on the perimeter. Using his returning quickness, his length, and returning agility he was able to cut off the path to the basket and force a pass without being whistled for a foul.
On the boards he was very, very active. He does not just occupy space, he is getting better and better at chasing down rebounds that are bouncing away from him. He is so big and getting so quick that he can be a real handful for anyone trying to keep him off the boards.
He is not active every night yet, but we are seeing those nights more and more often. True, on this night it was against Andray Blatche and Darius Songaila...but he was active. He has not always shown that energy against sub-par competition. It was very nice to see.
On the downside, an old glitch reared its ugly head with a vengeance. The Wizards dialed up 10 three pointers. Even more telling, they did it in a mere 16 attempts. For those keeping score at home, that is 62.5% three-point shooting.
Portland is talented enough to get away with that against bad teams. When they play the Suns or Celtics, the Cavaliers or Jazz of the NBA, they will end up looking up at a lot of big numbers on the score board. Somehow, they simply have to find a way to defend the perimeter better.
Overall, it was an entertaining game that had the expected result; the Blazers coasted to victory.
I feel for the Wizards fans. Yes, they have lost several of their better players for significant portions of the season. However, they deserve better than they are getting. The Wizards show no heart, no interest in putting a quality product on the floor. They ignore Coach Ed Tapscott. They lack focus.
Yes, it is a long season when you are playing for the lottery long before the mid-point of the season. But that is no excuse. The fans deserve better. Here is hoping the Wizard fans start seeing some progress soon. If not, the 100-87 Portland win will look like a great game for the Wizards really soon.