Pinwheel Empire is a social Blazers site which aims to bring fans together in a unique and new community. It's run by a bunch of volunteer gerbils all over the world. We're new, trying to cross the Rubicon and do something different – it's an evolving process with a lot of small victories and defeats.
Team Records: Charlotte (13-46) at Portland (27-31)
Game Info: 7 PM-TV on CSNNW, Radio on 1190 AM and 102.3 FM
Vegas Line: Portland -12.5
Refs: Bennett Salvatore, Bennie Adams, JT Orr
The Skinny: After a blowout win over the hapless Wolves on Saturday, the Blazers look for their second straight easy win as they face the woeful Bobcats at home. About the only thing that might be exciting tonight is the Timbers Army, which will be attending tonight’s game because the Bobcats are bad, and I mean really bad. They don’t just lose games, they get absolutely clobbered, including a 36-point drubbing in Sacramento on Sunday.
Last Time They Met: The Blazers erased an 18 point deficit with just a little bit over five minutes left to force OT and then dominated the extra session. Babbitt had two clutch 3s to help lead Portland to the win.
Projected Bobcats Lineup:
PF-Byron Mullens (Ohio State-4th Season) 12.5 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 1.5 APG.
SF-Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Kentucky-Rookie)-8.9 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 1.5 APG.
C-Bismarck Biyombo (Congo-2nd Season)-4.4 PPG, 7.1 RPG, .4 APG
SG-Gerald Henderson (Duke-4th Season)-13.2 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 2.1 APG.
PG-Kemba Walker (Connecticut-2nd Season)-17.5 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 5.5 APG.
Player to Watch-Bismarck Biyombo (pictured at right)-When Biyombo burst onto the scene on in the 2011 Nike hoop summit, many in Portland that night were in awe of this raw center for the Congo. Biyombo was blocking shots left and right, rebounding everything in sight and showed great promise overall as a player. He was seen as a risk but a good one when Charlotte drafted him in 2011. However, he hasn’t really progressed much. His defense and blocking is still good but raw and his offense is almost unspeakably bad. Biyombo shoots 54% at the rim, which isn’t that great but in the 3 to 10 foot range, he shoots a horrific 32%. Bottom line, while a good defensive stopper, Biyombo has a long way to come if he wants to be more than just a one-sided specialist.
Did You Know?: Oddly enough as bad as they’ve been, the Bobcats are 3-1 in OT this year, their only loss was their December meeting against the Blazers.
Song of the Day: “You Can’t Stop Us, We are the Rose City” by the Timbers Army. In honor of Timbers Army night on Monday. Enjoy:
Portland: Out-SG Elliot Williams (Achilles)
Re-Evaluating Charlotte: How Bad are the Bobcats?
We all know the Bobcats had the lowest winning percentage in league history last year and honestly, if it wasn’t for their 7-8 start to the season, they would probably be back challenging their own record. The Bobcats have the second worst offensive efficiency and second worst defensive efficiency in the league and lose games by an average of 10.2 points per game, nearly four full points worse than any other team. About the only thing they don’t do almost as bad, or worse than anyone else, is turn the ball over. Besides that, the Bobcats are just awful and they aren’t even entertaining. If Portland doesn’t beat them Monday, it will be a huge shock.
The Bottom Line:
Portland wins if: They take control early. The Bobcats are a bad team and as such they tend to give up when teams get up big on them. If Portland can do that Monday, they should cruise home with an easy win.
Charlotte wins if: They outrebound Portland. This is not likely to happen but if it does, it will be a sign Charlotte is in control and will probably come out with a win.CONTINUE WITH POST
Team Records: Minnesota (20-35) at Portland (26-31)
Game Info: 7 p.m., TV on KGW, Radio on 1190 AM and 102.3 FM
Vegas Line: Portland -10
Refs: Michael Smith, David Guthrie, Scott Twardoski
The Skinny: Fresh off a tough loss to the Nuggets at home Thursday, the Blazers look for the four game sweep of division rival Minnesota Saturday at home. The injury-riddled Wolves are headed to a ninth-straight season without a playoff appearance while Portland’s playoff dreams have fallen hard upon the shores of reality as of late. This game will mark the return of sorts of Brandon Roy, who, although having not played since early in the season, will sit behind Minnesota’s bench Saturday night.
Last Time They Met: The Blazers took a big lead through three and held on as Minnesota made a late charge. Aldridge came up big in the win, notching a game high 25 points and 13 rebounds, including what turned out to be the game winner with 27 seconds left.
Projected Timberwolves Lineup:
PF: Derrick Williams (Arizona 2nd Season) – 10.6 PPG, 5.4 RPG, .4 APG
SF: Dante Cunningham (Villanova, 4th Season) – 8 PPG, 5.1 RPG, .8 APG
C: Nikola Pekovic (Montenegro, 3rd Season) – 15.9 PPG, 8.8 RPG, .9 APG
SG: Luke Ridnour (Oregon, 10th Season) – 12.3 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 3.9 APG
PG: Ricky Rubio (Spain, 2nd Season) – 8.4 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 7 APG
Player to Watch: Derrick Williams (pictured at right) – Here’s the deal with David Kahn’s draft picks. If they happen to be Europeans, such as Rubio, they succeed but if they are American players, they fail, and often fail badly (see Wesley Johnson and Johnny Flynn). At least in the case of Derrick Williams, as much as he’s struggled, he isn’t as bad as either of those players. Williams is a versatile player who is a bit of tweener, not quite big enough to be a PF but not small enough be a SF. He had a reputation in college as a good pick and pop shooter but that hasn’t translated well to the NBA, where he too often throws up brick after brick. Still, if he can ever get it going on offense he could be a legitimate NBA player, if not the star many thought he might once be.
Did You Know?: Only 7 players who began last season on the Wolves are still on their roster today. Their longest tenured player is Kevin Love and their oldest are Luke Ridnour and Andrei Kirilenko.
Song of the Day: “Kahnn” from Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Kahn. Okay its not a song per say but anyone who knows the Wolves can’t help using this clip once per season. Enjoy:
Portland: Out – SG Elliott Williams (Achilles).
Minnesota: Out-SF Chase Buddinger (Meniscus), SG Brandon Roy (Knee), SG Malcolm Lee (Knee), PF Kevin Love (Hand), Doubtful-PF Andrei Kirilenko (Calf), Questionable-C Nikola Pekovic (Abdominal Strain).
Re-Evaluating Minnesota: What Brandon Roy Meant to Me
Many of you that know me know that I am a huge Ducks fan beyond being an even and far bigger Blazers fan. So for me this next statement is something I never thought I’d write: Brandon Roy, a Washington Husky, is perhaps my favorite Blazers player of all time and I cried when he announced his retirement. I was in the RG the night Roy began his amazing legacy of ridiculous game winners by hitting the miracle shot over Houston, I was there when he made his triumphant return in Phoenix and I was watching from vacation in Spain during that magical game four against Dallas (during which I tweeted “If Roy pulls this off, I may run naked screaming through the streets of Sevilla”, which I did not actually do). Yet for all those magical moments, what Roy meant to me and what I suspect he meant to lots of us is a reawakening of our Blazer fandom. During my time in college, I had lost faith with the Blazers and although still a fan, I admit I lost my passion. Roy changed that for me and reminded me once again why I love rooting for our beloved Blazers. Those five short years of Roy changed my view on Blazer fandom forever. Thanks Brandon, for all the memories.
The Bottom Line:
Portland wins if: They do a good job defending the 3 point line. Without Love, Minnesota mainly is able to win or stay close in games because they make a lot of 3s. If Portland can limit that, they should win.
Minnesota wins if: They hold Portland under 90 points. This Wolves team doesn’t have a great, or even good, offense but if they can keep Portland in check (not unreasonable given the team’s noted offensive struggles on the road), they should win this.CONTINUE WITH POST
Team Records: Denver (36-22) at Portland (26-30)
Game Info: 7:30 p.m., TV on ESPN/CSNNW, Radio on 1190 AM and 102.3 FM
Vegas Line: Denver -2
Refs: Danny Crawford, John Goble, Derek Richardson
The Skinny: The Blazers look to knock off the hot Nuggets in the latest game in a series that has long been dominated by the home teams. The Nuggets have won only 19 times in Portland while the Blazers have won just 23 times in Denver. The Nuggets overall have been a great team at home (nine wins in a row in Denver) but a very poor road team, losing four of their last five road games, with their only road win coming in Charlotte.
Last Time They Met: In a great game that was thrilling from the tip to the final buzzer, the Blazers forced OT but in the end the Nuggets just made one more play and walked out with the win in Denver.
Projected Nuggets Lineup:
PF: Kenneth Faried (Morehead State, 2nd season) – 12.1 PPG, 9.6 RPG, 1 APG
SF: Danilo Gallinari (Italy, 5th season) – 16.9 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 2.4 APG
C: Kosta Koufos (Ohio State, 5th season) – 8 PPG, 6.5 RPG, .4 APG
SG: Andre Iguodala (Arizona, 9th season) – 13.1 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 4.9 APG
PG: Ty Lawson (North Carolina, 4th season) – 16.4 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 7.1 APG
Player to Watch: Andre Iguodala (pictured below) – Iggy is of course well known, especially among Blazer fans, since he was seen a few years ago as a possible trade target for the team. Yet, for whatever reason, this has been Iggy’s worst season statistically since his second year in the league. His numbers are down across the board, his FT shooting, never great to begin with, is now at 59% and he is turning the ball over way too often. There is some indications that this is improving, as he is shooting 56% this month but we need to see more evidence before we know that he is back to being the player we say only last year in Philly.
Did You Know?: George Karl recently passed Larry Brown for sixth all time in NBA coaching wins, with 1110. Next up is Phil Jackson with 1155.
Song of the Day: “Because I Got High” by Afroman-In honor of Colorado (and Washington) legalizing the recreational use of marijuana Enjoy:
Portland: Out – SG Elliott Williams (Achilles)
Denver: Questionable- SF Danilo Gallinari (Thigh)
Re-Evaluating Denver: Home is Where the Wins Are
When the Nuggets posted an 18-15 road record last year, it marked the first time in franchise history the team had a winning road record. While the Nuggets have always counted on Denver’s thin air tiring opponents out and providing a unique home court advantage, they have never been a good road team. This year is more of the same for the Nuggets, who win home games by a whopping 8 points per game, one of the top margins in the league. On the road, however, that margin drops to six tenths of a point and its only positive at all because Denver (with its 12-19 road record) has a couple blowouts in there. If the Nuggets want to become a title contender, they need to start being able to win away from Denver.
The Bottom Line:
Portland wins if: They limit Denver’s fast break points. Denver loves to run out on the break and Portland has had a hard time stopping that at times this year. If they can limit Denver to a half-court offense, they will stand a strong chance of winning.
Denver wins if: They score at least 100 points. Denver is the sort of team that can simply outscore you. If the Nuggets hit the century mark, that will almost certainly be enough to secure Denver a rare win in Portland.CONTINUE WITH POST