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enemy lines
Phil Taylor
October 29, 2001
an opposing team's scout sizes up the Trail Blazers
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October 29, 2001

Enemy Lines

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an opposing team's scout sizes up the Trail Blazers

"More than any other team, the Blazers have the manpower and the talent to go at the Lakers. Whatever their problems might be, you can't tell what they are on paper. Rasheed Wallace is one of the best players in the league, Damon Stoudamire is among the elite point guards, and Scottie Pippen does the same things he did years ago. If Shawn Kemp gets it together—and that's a big if—these guys will be even tougher....

If Pippen can use his leadership and experience to get this team under control, they'll be tough, even with losing Arvydas Sabonis....

The key thing is not to stop Wallace; it's to keep Stoudamire under control. Limit their transition, don't let them start flying around, make it a five-on-five game. Stoudamire is offensive-minded, but when he gets in traffic he'll get up in the air and look to dish, so you want him to try to finish....

Rasheed commands the double team, so you have to vary your looks on him. Send somebody right away, then, on the next possession, wait until he gets in the paint. But it's not as if you can try to frustrate him. His blowups are more unpredictable than that....

Zach Randolph could be a real factor for them. A wide body who knows how to play the game and can score without demanding the ball, he's a good complement for Rasheed....

Maurice Cheeks was a quiet guy who wasn't considered head coach material, but he's paid his dues, and maybe he's the guy to turn this team around. It wouldn't be surprising if they went in the tank again, though."