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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Andre loves his shots

Over Thanksgiving weekend, I ran into our pal Fred Kerber, who covers the New Jersey Nets for the New York Post. Fred was in town to cover the Nets' annual visit to face the Blazers, and it was great to see him again.

I asked him what he thought of the addition of Andre Miller to the Blazers' roster. To me it was a great acquisition, and with Greg Oden coming into his own (it was a week or so before his knee spontaneously exploded), I thought the two might make a formidable pair.

Fred's reaction was less enthusiastic. He grinned and said: "Andre loves his shots."

Fred had seen a lot of Miller on the east coast, and so I took his appraisal to heart. Sure enough, since that night, the wisdom of his words has been proven pretty conclusively by Miller's performance for the Portland team. The guy is not shy about putting up shots, and often they're pretty ugly. Take this past week, for example. 'Dre shot 1 for 8 on Monday, 2 for 11 on Wednesday, and 1 for 6 on Friday. That's a 16 percent success rate in heaving them up -- not good.

But as Fred suggested, Miller will keep on shooting, and tonight he took 31 shots. The good news is, 22 of them went in the basket. He wound up with 52 points, the second-highest single-game output in Blazer history, and Portland squeaked out a tough overtime win in Dallas.

Yes, Andre loves his shots. And when they go in, we do, too.

Comments (9)

Your friend has to go around the country watching the New Jersey Nets play? Tough gig. I think they're 4 and 41.
Andre is not a shot hog. He wants to play point and he's extremely good at it.
Just look at the 76ers without him on the team. Last season they gave Orlando fits in the playoffs - this year they're something like 15 and 31.
Since Andre started at point for the Blazers they're something like 18 and 8. Sure, he's had some terrible games lately - he's playing on a very shorthanded team and his legs are dead from overwork.
But he works on and he doesn't get hurt. In one game earlier this year, he rolled each ankle badly - the kind of thing that leads to at least 3 or 4 games off. Andre went to the bench, re-taped and went right back in.
Tonight with the team facing a 4-game losing streak, he went off and delivered one of the greatest performances in the history of the Blazers.
This is a very interesting person we have here. He's very proud and not afraid to tell Nate to go F-himself for 30 minutes.
Yet, he's very quiet and a loner-type. I don't really blame the team for not embracing him earlier. Andre didn't reach out with the buddy-buddy trip. He knew he was our best option at starting point and waited too long for us to figure it out. Brandon didn't want to share the ball with him at all.
So it was interesting tonight that Andre tied Brandon's 52 as our All Star sat at home injured.
I think Andre's won over this team in a big way - he's earned their respect.
And whether or not the Blazer fans want to trade him or not, he's now a part of Portland history - the 5th Blazer to ever score over 50 for this team.
What a night. His previous high was 37 so that was quite a zone his shooting dropped into in Dallas. Hook shots. A 3 in overtime. Stealing the ball from Jason Kidd. Tons of lay-ups. Not a Kobe-number of shots. I think he shot over 70%.
Just one of those legendary nights.
Andre loves playing point and he loves running the team, but I don't get the negative comment about him loving his shots.
I know one thing: The New Jersey Nets sure could use him.

As I say, I have always liked having Miller on the team. I wish they'd just send Steve Blake to Europe and get it over with. I don't buy the "Bayless is our future" business, either. Bayless is good at what he does, but he's probably not going to be a point guard on a championship team.

When the Blazers were at full strength in the fall, Miller's first instinct -- and he has the highest basketball IQ on the whole team, including Nate -- was to get everybody involved. That's not Brandon Roy's game, and I doubt it ever will be.

"Shot hog" is a relative term, but 4 for 25 is a bad week. And Dre's outside shots always seem like knuckleballs. Still, he's a heck of a point guard -- better than the Blazers have had in a long time (including Tin Foil Damon, champion of the Fourth Amendment).

BTW, Fred's comment was not made out of any pride in the Nets. He'll be the first to tell you they stink.

4 for 25 sounds bad 'til you add 22 for 31.
Then you get 26 for 56. Not a bad week really.
Dallas tried one defender after another and Andre went on shooting 70%. It was a spectacular foray deep into the Zone of the Basketball Gods.
Then Juwan comes in and scores the game winner for his only 2 points. Classic.
Tonight was brilliant. Old pros pulling out an unlikely win. I may watch it again tomorrow night. When someone has played as long as Andre it's always interesting seeing them have the best shooting night of their lives.
It was like a good movie where you want to go back.

“And the thing about it is, he wasn’t trying to score after a while, he was trying to pass,’’ Aldridge said. “We were trying to force him to shoot it. He was trying to run plays for us, but we were like, no, you are killing them, keep killing them. But that’s him, he’s unselfish.’’
From Jason Quick's piece in which Webster and Aldridge make the case that it was the best 52-point performance in history.

It was indeed amazing. I knew right away back in October that Andre was going to be a monster.

Aldridge himself had a couple of chances to win the game, but he wasn't able to get the job done.

You know who did a great job? Nic Batum. His defense on Dirk at the end was a game-saver.

You gotta remember that the only way a shooter gets out of a slump is to shoot some more.

What puzzles me is why Andre with all his years and games under his belt doesn't seem happy with a few less minutes a game to preserve his body, and not worry about who's starting or finishing a game? He's good, he seems to like to play, so extend it out and contribute to the team as he likes to do. I wish more NBA players thought this way. Maybe my memory is foggy, but that is what I remember about the Championship Blazer team, everyone contributed and each night varied as to who was the go-to-guy. Be happy, and that goes to all the players including Bayless.

I guess my point is that I'd rather watch a good team than a media-made super star "win" (with ref help) a game.

In the previous game at Houston, in which Miller did not set foot on the court in the fourth quarter, I kept wondering why. Yeah, he was not shooting the ball well in that game or the previous game, but he is still a better point guard than Blake, who is always likely to choke in some bizarre way, such as passing to an opposing player or dribbling the ball off his foot. Blake had made some shots early but came up empty in crunch time. Miller even on a bad shooting night is a more credible offensive threat than Blake. So I'm with Jack on this one--send Blake to Lithuania or maybe even New Jersey.

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