By Brian Spencer
+ Reggie Evans, the undrafted 10th-year veteran playing for the fifth team in his NBA career, logged just under 17 minutes of action off the bench, chipping in 2 points, 7 boards, 1 assist, and 1 block. Ho-hum numbers, sure, but the guy’s contributions can’t be measured in flat post-game box scores.
Evans was a major get for a Clippers team that suddenly looks like a legitimate contender in the West. He’s essentially a two-trick pony—defense and rebounding—but any team harboring serious championship aspirations needs role players like Evans. Loved his offensive rebound late in the fourth quarter, where he streaked down the middle of the paint and tipped the ball away from LaMarcus Aldridge (or was it Camby?) as two or three other Blazers near the glass looked on like disinterested pedestrians wearing cement shoes. He then dished a nifty no-look pass to Chauncey “Big Shot” Billups for one of his signature three-point bullets. Key play in the Clippers’ fourth-quarter comeback bid.
+ At one point in the fourth there was a close-up of Chris Paul getting ready to inbound the ball from the baseline. Just behind, a lumbering Blazers fan screaming bloody murder at him, his red-faced friend seated next to him dying of laughter. Good times.
+ Raymond Felton playing really, really well and with as much confidence as I’ve seen from him (which isn’t to say I focus on or follow Felton that closely). He’s still not a great shooter (41% FG career, 36% in 9 games this season), but the fifth-overall pick in ’05 looks like he may have found a home in Portland. Good vibes and positive body language every time I’ve watched the Blazers the past few weeks. Last night was one of his better overall efforts so far: 17 points (5-10 FG), 8 assists, 3 steals, 1 board, 3 turnovers in 37:30 minutes. Smooth, assured, and smart.
+ DeAndre Jordan, the sometimes scary-good, othertimes scary-bad 6-11 center of the present and future for the Clippers, calming swishing two clutch free throws with about 3 minutes left in the fourth quarter. Why notable? He’s shooting a lowly 41% from the line so far in his four-year career. Nothing bothers me more than NBA players who for whatever reason never figure out how to be at least 75% free-throw shooters—particularly guys like Shaquille O’Neal and Dwight Howard who get fouled purposely because they are (or were, in O’Neal’s case) so pitiful. Here’s hoping Jordan and the Clippers’ coaches make this a point of emphasis moving forward and add that dimension to his repertoire.
+ The rollicking atmosphere at the Rose Garden, where the place is always packed (or at least looks that way on TV), where the fans are always in tune with the game and screaming their hearts out, and where the public address announcer rarely needs to prompt the crowd to scream said hearts out. Nothing more depressing than watching a, say, home game for the Atlanta Hawks and hearing the PA constantly starting chants of “Defense!” by himself—and getting little to no reaction.
LaMarcus Aldridge and Gerald Wallace Photo Credit: Icon Sports Media