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The Portland Trail Blazers' barnstorming tour through the flyover states got off to a rocky start when they had their dignity handed to them by the Chicago Bulls on Monday night. But Milwaukee—the lesser Chicago, if you will—was a different story as the Blazers bench did the heavy lifting and propelled the team to an imposing 90-76 win over the Bucks.
With six Blazers scoring in double-digits—including three bench players—Portland overcame an early deficit (a common theme to this young season) and wrapped this game up before the final quarter even began. Wesley Matthews dropped 18 points and had an equally as impressive plus/minus rating of +18. Remember Jerryd Bayless? If so, you are alone. The Blazers have long since forgotten J-Bay and are now smitten with rookie Armon Johnson, who once again provided the team with a solid backup point guard coming off the pine. Johnson didn't miss a single shot last night (in limited attempts he's shooting 65% in his first five games) and on the year he has more than twice the number of assists to turnovers. More importantly, Nate McMillan likes him, a honor that so few rookies get from the Blazers' uptight, veterans-first head coach.
Want to read more about Johnson? Check out this fine piece from Jason Quick that talks all about how everyone loves Johnson, especially Marcus Camby. It's official, Armon is the new Rudy. Someone better start screening some "I Heart Armon" shirts.