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Sergio Up and Down In Garbage Time

Judging anybody too definitively on the events of the second half of last night's Bulls-Blazers massacre probably isn't a wise idea.  Professional hoopsters, 42-point blowouts and the idea of going hard for 48 minutes don't mix particularly well.

But blowout or otherwise, it was nice to have a chance to watch Blazers backup point guard Sergio Rodrgiuez playing extended minutes (24 to be exact).  The once-heralded Spanish import is less than two weeks removed from making a trade request, and he has seen a notable rise in his minutes since that point.

But seeing some of what Rodriguez can do - even in such a meaningless portion of a game - makes it evident why the Blazers have been reluctant to give up on him.  The guy has quick feet and gets in the lane well, and his passing off the dribble and off of jump-stops in the paint is beautiful.  On several occasions, he got a couple of steps in the lane, pulled up and bounced a pass to a cutter for a dunk or lobbed ti up for a bring-the-house-down alley oop.  He put up an astonishing nine assists in 24 minutes, and it didn't hurt that he also showed off a pretty shooting touch with a buzzer-beating floater to finish the third quarter.

But Rodriguez also put up an almost-as-astonishing six turnovers in that span.  He got sloppy with his share of misguided lob attempts and also had the ball picked from him in the backcourt.  The lobs seemed to be a combination of timing issues and the fact that he was happy to simply be flinging the ball around with a 40-point lead, which won't be happening most nights.  The pickpocketing in the backcourt is something that he really could have done without.

But enough analysis of a youngster's performance in a game that was decided by the time many folks were even sitting down on their couches to watch.  There will be far greater litmus tests for him, but Sergio Rodriguez has certain tools (namely the passing vision) needed to make a name for himself as a point guard in this league.

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