cmeese47's Blog


Apr 16

Switching Gears Without a Clutch: Assessing Portland's Struggles in Close Games

By cmeese47 Posted in: Blazers, JamalCrawford, LaMarcusAldridge, NicolasBatum, RaymondFelton, WesleyMatthews

Close game in the fourth quarter Portland really has not had much chance since Roy retired; why, because no one on the team seems to have a clutch gene in them.

Clutch time stats are 4 quarter under 5 minutes to play with the score within 5 points.

The Go to Guy

Starting with the team’s superstar Lamarcus Aldridge in 20 games Lamarcus has taken 47 shots shooting 41% from the field. That is a 10% difference from his season average from the field, which would be acceptable except he has only attempted 12 free throws during clutch time all season. His refusal to draw contact late in games is difficult to watch, as is his willingness or lack thereof to fight for deep postposition.

The Worst Offender

Nicolas Batum his game is so passive in clutch time that the Blazers might as well be playing 4 on 5. In 19 games, Batum has only attempted 14 shots in clutch time on 36% shooting including 17% from 3 point range, which is compounded by his 4 free throw attempts all season.

Iso Offense

Jamal Crawford once he gets the ball in the fourth you can bet he is going to shoot the ball and based on his shooting percentage in the clutch, those shots are not going to help the team. He is shooting only 24% from the field in clutch time, which when combined with his abysmal defense, and only 2.2 rebounds per 48 minutes and 2.8 assists bad things are bound to happen. His only saving grace is his great free throw percentage and willingness to get to the line.

Mr. Aggressive

Wesley Matthews his game has been pretty much of the opposites of Batum's in clutch time. At the forefront of his aggressive play is his team leading 11.4 free throw attempts per 48 minutes during clutch time. He is also averaging an impressive 10.0 rebounds per 48 minutes, which is also tops on the team. Unfortunately, his effort has not helped his field goal percentage, which comes in at 37% despite a solid 40% from 3-point range.

The Best of the Worst

Raymond Felton the man catches a lot of grief from his late game turnovers but the stats show in clutch time he has been Portland's most consistent player. Starting with plus/minus Felton is the only player who sees regular clutch time without a negative plus/minus. Felton's scoring in clutch time was the biggest surprise coming in at nearly 29 points per 48 minutes. In addition to the increased scoring, Felton has averaged 9.2 assists per 48 minutes. That number would surely be higher if it was not for the team’s combined 36% clutch time shooting percentage. His assist to turnover ratio is also 3-1, which only trails Mike Conley, Kirk Hinrich, Bradon Jennings, James Harden and Derek Fisher. Felton has also posted the team’s highest field goal percentage in clutch time at 41.4%, which is aided by an excellent 53% from three-point range on nearly 10 attempts per 48 minutes.

Raymond Felton's late game mistakes have provided constant fuel for fan-boy banter but statistically he has been our best clutch time player. Portland's late game failures this year are probably one of the biggest reasons why this team is back in the lottery. The team certainly misses Roy's near 40 points per 48 minutes in clutch time and until they find some semblance of a replacement for him this team will continue to struggle regardless of the team’s talent level.

All Clutch time statistics come from


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