(Author’s Note) Some quick post playoff numerical thoughts: Draft Christian Wood and play him at the small forward position (6/3/15). The numbers of LA’s progressed chart (not shown) suggest he will leave Portland (6/4/15).
Attention: This blog is essentially a continuation of the previous one for the Blazers 2015. You are strongly encouraged to read that one first in order to get a background to the information presented in this section.
Portland plays the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the 2015 NBA playoffs. The underlying word for each team of this beginning series is injury. Neither team has played their best ball at the end of the season. One significant reason is that both have suffered injuries to key personnel. The Blazers have lost 8 major contributors during the season and 4 may not participate in the playoffs at all. So, too, have the grizzlies been hit with the injury bug.
Let’s look briefly at the numerology of injury:
Injury 951297=34=7 All letters 9 3 7=19=1 Vowels 51 9 =15=6 Consonants
Now a quick look at the Grizzlies numbers:
Memphis Grizzlies 4547891 799883951=97=16=7 7 A# 5 9 9 95 =37=10=1 1 I# 4 478 1 79 883 1=60 6 60 6 O#
This suggests the issue is more critical to the Memphis organization, staff and team. How the coach and training staff adjust to the injuries will be a major factor in winning or losing.
A key psychological factor relates to how they react to previous success having beaten the Blazers all four times during the regular season. If the collective team ego (1) becomes inflated and they turn mentally (7) smug, they may take the Blazers for granted. If so, they are in for deep trouble.
And now I enter the land of trying to determine the outcome of this series. I have some performance anxiety after having had such a high percentage of success in the original blog, and because there are several similar numerical indicators for each team. This makes a selection even more tedious and testing. My Blazers bias may stretch the numerical indicators in the end. Anyway, here goes:
FIRST ROUND VS. MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES
Game One 4/19= Damian and LaMarcus play steady enough to anchor the game while Robin Lopez does a journeyman’s job in the lane (nope), and helping to offset Marc Gasol. He may surprise with his scoring as Memphis focuses attention upon stopping Aldridge. The bench is shaky, but does just enough to keep the Blazers in the game (nope). Terry Stotts includes a few new wrinkles in the Blazers game to catch Memphis off guard (if so, they couldn’t execute it). Blazers 104-98. (Missed this one. Maybe my earlier eerie feeling is going to be eerily accurate)
Game Two 4/22= This one is tough to call either way from the numbers. The Blazers will need help from someone along with LA and Dame. The play of Meyers Leonard(+) and Chris Kaman can be a key to win or lose. If Aron Afflalo returns from injury, his contribution can be a key to this game. This one can be a heartbreaker for whoever loses, and may very well go into OT. Grizzlies 99-97. (Hit. Not as close as expected. Score=97-82).
Game Three 4/25= The absence of Wes Matthews will be particularly noted by observers during and/or after this game. His inspiration will be felt. Meyers Leonard’s contribution (or lack thereof) (lack) is again of significance. AA’s contribution is important here (so-so). Chris Kamam demonstrates why they picked him up for the season (nope). CJ can make a mark for himself at this time (big yes). Blazers 107-101. (Miss) Memphis 115-109.
Game Four 4/27= The old reliables (DL and LA) will need help once more as one of them has an off night. Nic Batum decides to show up for this game and is crucial to the outcome (?). CJ is finding his stride in the playoffs, and has a big night (yes). The bench has one of its best performances (ML & CJ). Chris Kaman is dependable(dnp). Blazers 96-89. (Hit) Score=99-92 (close enough). I’m 50/50 so far and would like to be wrong on the next pick.
Game Five 4/29= Probably a wild, frantic and at the end desperate game. If the above picks hold true, Memphis has to have this one. LA’s game may be off and Damian trying extra hard to compensate. Nic, CJ(big yes), AA and Chris must fill in with support. Numbers say Nic, CJ(big yes) and AA are good candidates to do so. This one is a near miss for the Blazers for most of the game, with Memphis pulling away at the very end. Memphis 102-94. (Hit) Memphis 99-93. Well, I won 3 out of 5 battles, and lost the war.
Summing up some things we learned from this payoff:
Marc Gasol can whine and flop as well as the bearded king of whine and flop in Houston. CJ McCollum has the potential and smoothness to play similar to Stephen Curry. You have to show up for every game to have a chance to win. Robin Lopez is a hard working journeyman, but in crunch time disappeared. Chris Kama filled a void for the season, but shows little in the finals. Nic Batum played above his usual one out of every three games. Terry Stotts is a good coach, but until he learns to trust and develop his bench he will not be a great coach.
Alternate plan for improvement next year:
Having presented the semi-San Antonio solution in the previous blog, I will now suggest plan B:
Trade Nicolas Batum and Chris Kaman for a first round pick, rights to a foreign player(or second round pick), and a player of substance with high upward potential. Trade Robin Lopez and Aron Afflalo for the same as above. You can add combinations of Joel Freeland, Dorel Wright and maybe Allen Crabbe to these. They would get rid of a lot of salaries, have five or six highly talented new additions to work into the veteran line up and get rid of enough salaries to allow for acquiring one or two starting caliber free agents to the roster.
And finally, if nothing else works try going to Plan C—Nella Fantasia:
Set aside sentimentality, trust Neil Olshey’s savvy, and go for a championship in two years. Trade LA now for two first round picks, rights to a foreign player (or second round) and an above average player with high upward potential. Trade Dame for the same as above. Trade Nicolas Batum before everyone realizes that he is just a slightly above average player. He should get a first round and second round pick. Trade a hopefully recovered Wes Matthews with Chris Kaman for two first round picks and foreign rights to a player or second rounder. Trade Robin Lopez and Aron Afflalo for a first round pick, and two above average young players with upward potential. Dorel Wright, Allen Crabbe and Joel Freeland can also be added to one of the packages. Keep Meyers Leonard, CJ, and Tim Frazier (maybe Allen Crabbe if he was not included in one of the other deals).
That leaves the team with 8 first round picks, a combination of 4 foreign rights or second round players and five quality players with above average upward potential. Combined with the remaining three players, that leaves 20 high caliber players (right now they have maybe eight) from which to form a powerful new nucleus, while keeping the team payroll around $55,000,000. This allows cap space to add two veteran starters or rotation players if desired. And, there could be potential for many other trades. You would have the youngest and most energetic team in the league.
Well, anyway, sometimes it is fun to fantasize. Nella Fanatasia.
That raps it up for me for the season. It has been fun doing the numerology of a team as I have presented in these two blogs. I let my Blazers bias get in the way, but did not expect the wheels to come off of the wagon. Maybe I will do it for fun again next year. Maybe not. There are far more important interests to have in life than that of professional sports.
(Canceled because of rain!) Game Six 5/1= The Blazers come out playing like they want it. This one sets up to be another frantic game with some very sloppy stretches. Teams are both tired and weary and desperate for different reasons. Nic Batum is a likely candidate to come through now. The same players as the above game (5) factor in this one.Some get redemption. Some get frustrated. And in the end, they get the game. Blazers 89-84.
(Blog posted 4/15/15 to 4/17/15) Very late post (Sunday 4/19 before the game). My dark horse selection for surprising excellent performance in the series.>>Tim Frazier (You can’t produce if you are not given a chance to play).
Sometimes fans get confused between a 20 second time out and a full time out. This will clarify the difference:
During a 20 second time out you have time to go to the bathroom, fix a snack. mow the lawn, call your aunt Martha to wish her a happy birthday, wash the car, and check the scores of other games.
During a full time out you have time to go to the bathroom, fix a snack. mow the lawn, call your aunt Martha to wish her a happy birthday, wash the car, check the scores of other games and read a Tolstoy novel. (Pass this along to your confused friends. Kindly note the source).