Edward Galligan III
You always hear that every game counts. This season, in the Western Conference, every win is extremely important. Last night, before the game against the Golden State Warriors, the Blazers were first in the stacked west. At the end of the night, with the loss in Oakland last night, the Portland Trailblazers dropped to 6th in the tight Western Conference.
Portland started this road trip with losses against the Lakers, who look to still be still be figuring things out, and the new-look Timberwolves. These are two games you wish you could win on the road with both teams having new players.
The Blazers then win their next two games, one against the dysfunctional Wizards, and the next against the Knicks, who are without their star, Kristaps Porzingis. The first 3 quarters of the Wizards game was the best ball movement the Trailblazers have had all season, but went to playing hero-ball in the 4th quarter, where the Blazers lost a game high lead of 29 and only won by 10 points. In the game in New York, you wish the Blazers could put this game away early against an injured Knicks team with a game against Giannis Antetokoumpo and the Bucks the very next day, but couldn’t shake the Knicks in a game that had 12 tie scores and 15 lead changes. All stats in this New York matchup were very close, from rebounds, to assists, to field goal and 3-point percentages.
The Blazers finish out this road trip with blowout losses to the Bucks and Golden State. The Blazers looked very sluggish against the Bucks after a close game in New York, never taking the lead against the Bucks. Against Golden state, the Blazers only won the first quarter, losing every remaining quarter to the Warriors. The Blazers opponents dominated the stat columns in all categories in both of these games, including assists, rebounds, and all shooting percentages.
With a 3-game home stand starting tomorrow, the Blazers need to look to capitalize in these games against the Clippers, Magic, and Nuggets to stay in the top 8 in the west. 3 losses in the competitive Western Conference could possibly push Portland to outside the playoff race, albeit only a quarter of the way through the regular season. Moe Harkless being back will help with the Blazers on the defensive end with length against opposing teams wings and stretch 4s, and slashing and the corner 3-point shot on the offensive end once he is fully healthy and put back into the starting lineup. Seth Curry being back from his injury will help as well with his ball handling and 3-point shooting.
How will the Blazers finish this 3-game home stand? Let me know in the comments below!
All stats are from NBA.com