Jamal Crawford came off the bench scoring 26 points to lead the Portland Trail Blazers winning over the Sacramento Kings 101-89 at the Rose Garden. Crawford also tied with Aldridge and Felton for a team-high five assists.
Full Blazers vs Kings Recap
After a long and disappointing road trip, the Blazers returned home for some much needed energy from the Rose Garden crowd against a sub .500 Western Conference opponent. Though to say that all of the Blazer’s demons had been exercised would be a stretch. You only have to look at the final score of this game vs the final score of the first contest with the Kings to see that. Still as coach McMillan said after the game, “We’ll take the W.”
Though the Trail Blazers ended with a decent overall FG% at 46.6 what got them the win was their decisive edge in rebounds, nearly 20 more than their opponents (53-36). The Blazers bigs, including LaMarcus, struggled with first half (read 1st quarter) foul trouble and Marcus Camby sat out more than half the game with a strained groin, though he seems to be fine and will play tonight against Memphis.
Ray Felton took a slight step back in shooting, missing a few wide-open 3′s, but overall had a balanced game throughout. Gerald Wallace was the story of the first half, and was all over the stat sheet for the game with 20 pts, 8 rbs, a couple of assists and steals, along with a block while shooting 9-12 from the field. If Gerald owned the 1st half, Jamal Crawford took the reigns in the second, on his way to 26 pts on 9-18 shooting, his best performance as a Blazer arguably.
Wes Matthews continues to struggle with his shot, though managed a couple of nice 3′s and strong defense for the entirety of the game. LaMarcus also had trouble with his shot at times, probably due to the early foul trouble knocking him out of rhythm. To counteract that he was strong on the boards finishing with 16 of them to go along with 13 pts and 5 assists.
The story off the bench, apart from Crawford’s shooting performance, was the the continued strong play of Craig Smith aka The Rhino. Smith pushed his way to the rim for 10 points and jostled for 7 rbs in 22 minutes of action. He continually pressed the issue in the key, helping add to the Blazers points in the paint total of 52. Nic was a non-factor this game, which would be a big issue if you didn’t read about his mother and sister being detained by Washington DC police, when they attempted to enter the country to visit. Clearly his mind was elsewhere, read the full store from CSNNW.
So despite the great work of the starters and the regular reserves, the true hero of this game was Luke Babbitt. Babbitt’s sweet 3-ball stroke (which is usually only on display in practice and pre-game shootarounds) finally silenced the masses of greedy chalupa-craving fans, getting the point total over 100. Thanks Babs for quieting that moronic Chalupa chant.
The Blazers should be semi-rested thanks to foul trouble in the Kings game, though Nate probably should have called in the reserve a little earlier. They will certainly need rest and a more balanced attack plan against the Grizzlies tonight. Don’t count on a 20 point edge in the rebound category against Western Conference Player of the Week Marc Gasol either. The team will need to keep the rebounds close and shoot a consistent 47% or better most likely to get a win tonight. The onus will be on our defensive specialists to contain both Mike Conley and Rudy Gay, while the bigs battle down low with Gasol. Early foul trouble tonight would be very hard to overcome. I expect a close game in this important Western Conference battle.