Motivating LaMarcus... and Blazers max out on end-of-quarter shots
March 28, 2014, 9:00 am
Dwight Jaynes happy to take credit for LA's play
A few thoughts about Portland's 100-85 win over Atlanta Thursday night:
- Let's get this out of the way first: I must say I was a little surprised when LaMarcus Aldridge decided to credit me for a little extra motivation in his comeback game. There was some misinterpretation of what I wrote but I always ignore that because I realize most times the players didn't actually read what I wrote but were hearing it from someone else -- so get an exaggerated version. When you read Chris Haynes' interview with Aldridge (previous link) he mentioned he was going to show he could get inside and get points rather than shoot long, fallaway jumpers: “I heard he said I was going to come back shooting fadeaways and not really help us,” Aldridge said to CSNNW.com. “So I just wanted to try to be more dominant down low. Sometimes when a person calls you out, they can only help you out. So I thank him."
- I applaud his desire to get to the basket. And in the game, he did get to the basket area for six of his 21 shots, making four of them. Of course that means 15 of his shots were jumpers, which is no surprise given that for most of the season he's led the NBA in mid-range shot attempts. He made five of those 15.
- All of this is OK, by the way. I like Aldridge and always have. He is a solid off-the-court contributor in many ways in the community and doesn't seek publicity for his good works. He is a very good player for this team, a perennial all-star. I hope he continues to spark the Trail Blazers with his hard work and solid play. But I will continue to maintain that the more mid- to long-range jump shots he takes the tougher it is for him. The more he goes to the basket the more good things happen, for him and his team. And if by saying this, it motivates him in any way, great. If not, that's really not my job, anyway, right?
- It often goes unnoticed that Terry Stotts is one of the best coaches in the league at manipulating the shot clock at the end of quarters. On the second-to-last possession of a quarter, watch when his team shoots the ball. Often, he leaves about 34-35 seconds on the game clock -- enough time for the other team to get off a shot and ensure his own team the final shot of the period. This is old-school, NBA two-for-one stuff that I love. Thursday night the Trail Blazers maxed out on the strategy, ending the first three quarters with three-point field goals -- something I'm not sure I've ever seen before. Mo Williams, Wesley Matthews and Damian Lillard all connected on long threes as the horn sounded to end quarters (all of them at :00). That's an incredible happening in one game and much credit to Stotts for hitting the jackpot and controlling the situation well enough to be in position to add nine unanswered points to his team's total.
- Tonight, at Chicago, the Trail Blazers will have their hands full. The Bulls take great pride in their defense and Aldridge will have hands in his face and be jostled around all night. I'd be real careful with his minutes tonight, too. I'm not sure pushing him to long minutes on back-to-back games is a good idea, especially when the opponent on the second night is a very physical defensive team.