Anderson confident he can play himself back into shape

Discussion in 'Portland Trail Blazers' started by nikebasketball, Jan 12, 2004.

  1. nikebasketball

    nikebasketball JBB JustBBall Member

    Dec 2, 2003
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    TORONTO -- At least Derek Anderson has an excuse.

    Any shooter who spends two months on the injured list with a herniated disc in his lower back probably will be rusty in his first games back, and Anderson is no exception.

    The veteran shooting guard couldn't get anything to drop in Sunday's 83-72 loss to Toronto at the Air Canada Centre, going 0 of 10 from the field as the Blazers lost for the fifth time in six games.

    "It was just a bad game," Anderson said.

    Playing three games in four days was a good test for Anderson, who said he is about "80 percent" of full strength.

    "I'm sore and I'm stiff," Anderson said. "I swear, I feel as if I played 40 minutes today, but it was only 17. But I'm getting there. I think another practice is what I really need."

    In the past three games, Anderson has shot 20.0 percent (6 of 30) from the field, including 20.0 percent from three-point range (2 of 10), and 80.0 percent (12 of 15) from the free throw line.

    "You can tell I was just flat," Anderson said Sunday. "When I'm making my moves, I'm still feeling a twitch. I don't have confidence in myself yet as far as making certain moves. I keep going left, and I'm better going right sometimes. It's just a matter of getting used to doing it again, but I can't do it without any practices."

    Said guard Jeff McInnis: "Derek Anderson going 0 for 10, that's unheard of. He's still getting his swagger back. We've got to be patient with D.A. and just keep playing."

    Anderson was sharper in Friday's 87-78 victory in Chicago. In that game, he came off the bench and made 4 of 10 shots from the field and 10 of 13 free throws to lead the Blazers with 19 points.

    "Derek is one of our smartest players," Blazers coach Maurice Cheeks said. "He had 13 foul shots against the Bulls. When he's putting the ball on the floor and getting to the rim, it can be a little contagious."

    Twin towers: Cheeks introduced a wrinkle during Friday's victory over the Bulls, playing centers Dale Davis and Vladimir Stepania together during key stretches of the second half.

    Stepania, making his first start with the Blazers, finished with nine points and a season-high 12 rebounds. Davis added eight points, 10 rebounds and a season-high five blocked shots off the bench.

    "In the first half, Chicago had 11 offensive rebounds, and when we put the two big guys in there, we controlled the rebounding and were able to get out on the break a little bit," Cheeks said. "That was probably our best defensive effort in a long time. When you have two big guys in there who think defense, it's a little different for us."

    Tall order: Against the Raptors, Cheeks tried almost every conceivable combination available, but nothing worked. The only player who didn't get off the bench was 7-foot-5 Slavko Vranes.

    "I guess he would have had a better chance to score," Cheeks said. "He's closer to the rim."

    The Blazers ended up shooting 32.5 percent (26 of 80) from the field, surpassing their previous season low of 33.0 percent (29 of 88) in a 102-77 loss at San Antonio on Dec. 10.


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