While up in the Oregon area, we covered the surprising Portland Trailblazers vs. the Chicago Bulls on February 6th at the Rose Garden. These teams have both had interesting seasons. The Bulls were expected to compete with the top East teams but have under achieved all season. The firing of Scott Skiles and their top players not playing well has been a demise this year. The Bulls were missing starting point guard Kirk Hinrich and backup scoring machine guard Ben Gordon (both pictured below). Both are day to day with minor injuries. Chicago was led by forward Nocioni from Argentina and Sefolosha from Switzerland, who each scored 22 points. Ben Wallace has been a disappointment since coming over from Detroit and has a $15 million a year contract.
The Blazers were looking to just stay in the pack after losing #1 pick Greg Oden for the season but have been competing for one of the last playoff spots. All Star Brandon Roy has led the youngest team in the league with high hopes for the future. Lamarcus Aldridge has been the team’s second best player.
They barely held on to the win 100-97 as Roy scored 28 points to lead the team. The Blazers started the season 5-12 but then rattled off 13 victories in a row and 17 of 18 to forge into the playoff picture. They have been struggling of late especially at home to come back down to earth. They are missing three-point shooting star James Jones lately. A key member to the team whose play has been inconsistent is Channing Frye. He was obtained for Zach Randolph in the off-season and must pick up some of the slack for future success. Jarrett Jack (driving to the basket below) has been having a nice season along with swingman reserve Travis Outlaw so the future looks bright.
Coach Nate McMillan has been doing a great job piecing this young team to jell. Look for great things when Oden returns next season and the future. More information on the Blazers at www.nba.com/blazers