By Chris Haynes, CSNNW.com Trail Blazer Insider (@ChrisBHaynes)
The Portland Trail Blazers introduced their version of a run-and-gun offensetonight during their scrimmage at Fan Fest, and the white team -- which was thestarters -- won handily 67-47.
It was never really close tonight as there were no lead changes throughoutthe game. Gerald Wallace walked away with the MVP of the game tallying 14points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assist.
The shot clock was set to 20 seconds oppose to 24 to increase the tempo onthe offensive end. The white and black teams shot 4-34 from three-point rangecombined, and theyre saying it's not a product of the offense, just tiredlegs.
"We just missed some shots, Raymond Felton told CSNNW.com. "Wegot guys trying to work themselves in shape. We shoot better than that as ateam."
Even the player who is supposed to be the best shooter on the team, LukeBabbitt, was 1-7 from behind the arc.
Elliot Williams impressed throughout on his way to 19 points on an efficient8-15 from the field. He had some jaw-dropping dunks that rallied up the crowdand he ended the game with a between-the-legs windmill. He says he's feelingbetter than ever.
"I think my explosiveness is better now after my surgery,"Williams said. "I feel good out there and I'm willing to help this ballclub in any way that I can."
The white team of Felton, Wesley Matthews, Nicolas Batum, Wallace, and KurtThomas looked comfortable out there together. Felton didn't try to do too much as he justorchestrated the offense and dictated the tempo.
Matthews, who finished with 18 points, showed off some new elements of hisoffensive game...posting up. He took his defender down low and had success atit all night.
"I've just been working on all aspects of my game," Matthews said."I want to get better and part of that is getting down on the block."
The black teams starting lineup was Nolan Smith, Armon Johnson, Williams,Babbitt, and Chris Johnson. This lineup is essentially the bench and it waspretty non-existent with the exception of Williams and Johnson. Johnson was very active and finishedwith 14 rebounds and 4 blocks almost assuring that he'll beat out Earl Barron for the last roster spot.
Smith had some good moments at times and was even brought up to play on thewhite team in the second half. He finished 2-11 with 2 assist. McMillan said hewanted to see how well Smith meshed with the starting group.
That's why it was important that the Blazers picked up Jamal Crawford. Theblack team shot 36 percent from the field and 17 percent from behind the arc.Crawford will help the bench dramatically.
The Blazers' first preseason game is Monday against the Utah Jazz and wellget to see how much of an impact Crawford provides. Make no mistake about it;if the Blazers are to realistically have a chance to advance in the playoffs,they're going to need better bench production than what weve seen tonight.
News and Notes
Marcus Camby was a late scratch due to a sore backArmon Johnson accumulated6 turnoversJamal Crawford and Craig Smith sat out tonights Fan Fest