Since I’m too cheap to buy cable TV, and I don’t live in Portland, I don’t actually get to see the Blazers play very often. Today’s game against L.A. was the only Blazer game this season to be broadcast on ABC, so I made a point of watching it. And my boys made it worth it, with a huge 101-99 win over the dread Lakers.

The good points of the game:

  • We shut down the entire Laker offense in the first half, with the sole exception of Shaq, who’s unstoppable anyway. Taking advantage of stiffs like Rick Fox and Mark Madsen is a pretty good strategy.
  • Every time the Lakers got close, and in the fourth quarter when they slipped into the lead, we failed to fall apart and kept taking it to them to pull away again.
  • The passing game was surprisingly good, with 28 assists for the day. Zach Randolph was the only Blazer with no assists.
  • Why doesn’t Derek Anderson get more love? He’s an efficient shooter and passer, moves very well both outside and inside (he drew some great fouls on drives today), and he doesn’t have an arrest record. In one of their few lucid moments this afternoon, either Tom Tolbert or Bill Walton said “they should be putting this guy on all their billboards.”

The bad points of the game:

  • Damon Stoudamire and Jeff McInness need to get a grip on the overhandling. If Scottie Pippen bolts this summer, Maurice Cheeks is going to have to pick one or both of these guys and spend some time over the summer drilling some true playmaking skills into them.
  • We got on the refs’ bad side (surprise) with some jawing in the third quarter, leading to a ton of calls in L.A.’s favor. The Lakers took 41 free throws to the Blazers’ 18.
  • Bill Walton should not be allowed near a microphone when a basketball game is being played. Either that or he should just move into the Lakers’ broadcasting booth so he can fawn over Shaq and stiffs like Derek Fisher for people who might actually want to hear it.

Combined with Minnesota’s 119-95 manhandling of the Bulls, the Blazers are now sitting on the fifth seed for the playoffs, half a game behind the Timberwolves and a full game ahead of the Lakers. Not bad for a bunch of thugs and knuckleheads.