Rob Mahoney gets all cinematic on us. He calls the Blazers the first Alien movie by Ridley Scott, and the Suns the second, Aliens, by James Cameron.
If I may, the Blazers are Ridley Scott’s Alien. The film is
predicated on two things: the build-up of suspense through an extension
of the ordinary and the grand reveal of the titular creature. A
surprising amount of the film’s running time is designated to
portraying the characters going through seemingly ordinary sequences of
action, which naturally makes the audience uneasy because they’re (1)
aware that they’re watching a movie in which something interesting is
supposed to be happening and (2) cognizant of the fact that the damn
movie is called Alien, yet there have yet to be any aliens.
The injury-plagued Blazers are very much the same, in that even the
team’s most talented players are seemingly ordinary. Andre Miller is
hardly perceived as an elite point guard, despite the fact that he’s
been incredibly effective in Brandon Roy’s stead. LaMarcus Aldridge is
considered a solid four, but lacking in some fundamental element of
superstardom and thus inferior. Marcus Camby is a nice shot-blocker,
but he’s been deemed well into his decline and though he’s a
difference-maker, he’s hardly considered a defensive anchor. Nicolas
Batum, Martell Webster, Jerryd Bayless, Rudy Fernandez — all fine role
players, but nothing more.
This is all, of course, before a little alien with Nate McMillan’s face comes bursting through your chest at the dinner table and ruins a perfectly good time.
He then ends with this prediction:
I’m not saying that Portland won’t win another game. They very well
could. But the way this team operates is just too predictable and
preventable. The Suns shift Grant Hill on to Andre Miller, and ‘Dre is
held to just 12 points on 4-of-11 shooting and three assists, compared
to 31 points on 10-of-17 shooting with eight assists in Game 1. Phoenix
threw double teams at LaMarcus Aldridge to force the ball out of his
hands, and he finished with 11 points on 3-of-8 shooting after dropping
22 in Game 1. I’m sure Nate McMillan will do a great job of making some
adjustments for Game 3, and change up where Miller and Aldridge are
getting the ball, where and when the offense should attack, etc.
Unfortunately none of that will change the fact that the power and
impact of their initial reveal is gone. The Suns may still be affected
when the Blazer offense figures out new ways to showcase the same
things, but they’ll be waiting for it. They’ll be anticipating it.
They’ll stay frosty, clinch their fists, and sense it coming. The magic
may still be there, but the mystery is gone.
I can understand the logic, if the metaphor holds. Let’s hope Nate McMillan can morph the team to into the Predator.
[Hat tip: Blazers Edge]