Last night the Portland Trail Blazers knocked off the Charlotte Bobcats fairly convincingly, 98-79. It was clear from the outset that the Bobcats were a tired team, one which had endured an energy draining road-trip which had thrown them out of sorts. There was no repeat 52 point outing for Andre Miller, but that was not needed as the Blazers got contributions all around with six players scoring in double figures.
The key statistic in this one was pretty clear — field goal percentage. Portland shot .533 whilst restricting the Bobcats to .406. Stephen Jackson’s 23 points (9/19) and Gerald Wallace’s 17 points (5/10) were the only meritable performances for the Cats. Meanwhile the Blazers saw continued promising signs from Nicolas Batum. He is certainly ready to rock and showed that the work he put in over the off-season is paying off, despite injury delaying his start to the season. The Frenchman finished with 15 points (7/10), 9 rebounds and a block in only 24:40 on court. He also led the team in plus/minus with +21.
Batum worked well in tandem with Dante Cunningham when they were on court together, as their energy on both ends did great things for the Blazers. Cunningham had 10 points, 4 rebounds and 2 blocks in a +19 performance, whilst LaMarcus Aldridge had a great night with 17 points and 8 rebounds.
Jerryd Bayless had one of those nights where he could get to the basket at will, picking up fouls on the way. He had 15 points in only 21 minutes, as an admirable fill-in for Brandon Roy in the starting shooting guard role.
In rare Patty Mills news, the Aussie whirlwind was subbed in with 1:37 to go, in a game that was well-and-truly wrapped up. His performance was understandably limited. He did manage one awkward attempt on a heavily-guarded runner in the paint and committed a turnover in the final seconds as he stood out of bounds as he caught a pass for a three-point shot. But hey, playing time is playing time. I guess.
Here is a video with 10 minutes worth of action from the game. If you skip to the last minute, Aussie fans can see Patty Mills’ appearance on court, if only briefly.
(Photo credit at top: Getty Images)