As he was prepping to face a gauntlet of questions about another discouraging Trail Blazers performance Tuesday night, new acquisition Gerald Wallace realized he had no idea how to get to Portland International Airport to catch the team's late-night flight to Sacramento. So a host of reporters and an assistant team trainer passed along a dizzying mix of driving directions, with someone announcing "good luck" afterward, when Wallace decided that was the least of his problems. "That's the easy part," Wallace said of the directions before pointing out toward the arena floor. "I've got to figure out what's going on out there." And he's not alone. The Blazers played for the second time since trading for Wallace and for the second time they were nowhere close to sniffing a victory, falling 103-87 to the surging Houston Rockets before a sellout Rose Garden crowd. The list of depressing statistics and excuses for the back-alley beating was long, but one theme reverberated around the team more than any afterward: "I don't know." As in, the coaching staff, the players and everyone else involved with this suddenly struggling team is unsure how to rediscover that pre-NBA trade deadline magic. "I don't know where our swagger, our spirit (went)," coach Nate McMillan said. "We look like we're not having fun. There is no connection out on that floor. I think there's way too much thinking ... That team, I don't recognize that team. "I'm trying to figure this out." The addition of Wallace and the return of center Marcus Camby from injury was supposed to cement the Blazers' postseason hopes and, as much as anything, bolster the team's defense. Instead, the Blazers have lost a pair of head-scratchers with shoddy defensive effort and execution. The Rockets repeatedly blew by bewildered Blazers defenders on the perimeter and seemingly did whatever they wanted to inside the key. Houston was shooting better than 60 percent with less than five minutes in the game and racked up a staggering 52 points in the key. Luis Scola, in a performance that had to remind Blazers fans of the 2009 playoffs, was almost perfect in scoring 21 points on 10-of-11 shooting.
Blazers continue to struggle in wake of Gerald Wallace trade
Oregonian | Mar 2