For a few brief batches during the pre-season home opener against Utah JazzThe Portland Trail Blazers It looked like the most anticipated team: Players who fly across the field at a frantic and energetic pace, Damien Lillard leading the offensive with an elite offensive tackle, later winning.
Unfortunately, as evidenced by the 118-101 loss, those positives were not maintained over the course of 48 minutes. Still a work in progress, the Blazers’ pre-season losing streak extended to nine with tonight’s defeat. It wasn’t all bad, though it wasn’t good. Here are some things that stood out:
Well, if there’s one thing we can say for sure, it’s that Damian Lillard event.
Lillard’s Elite Points Performance List works in the fund for as long as the CVS receipt. And while those tuning games wouldn’t count in that, it was heartening to see him build on Monday’s return and rust further. Finally, he scored 21 points (in just 10 shots) with five rebounds and six assists in 24 minutes, along with some notable ball defense passes.
The year is 2022, but the Lillard-to-Nurkic connection was in the shape of 2020. Portland managed the normal friction procedures, wait times and tow screens for the All-Star goalkeeper, putting him in the perfect position to reach his positions. By the time he got up for his second three-point attempt, the defenders of jazz were looking at him the way a young student would if they saw their teacher outside of school: with wide, dazed eyes.
When Lillard wouldn’t let her fly, he gave his usual dose of pocket passes to Nurkic – who appears to be a very special option again this year – along with five visits to the charity bar. Except for those five shifts in the first half, it was business as usual.
Lillard dominates the top billing, but the rest of the group proved noteworthy, too. Heading into the night, the Blazers had gone “zero-versus” in their last eight pre-season games, and given that lack of pre-season success carried over to last year’s regular season, you might have watched this year’s shows with more hope. eye.
They have shown the potential inherent in the batches of a team that appears poised for the post-season tour; Early in the second quarter, they opened an eight-point lead, in which they seemed to be a few stops away from turning him into a fugitive. There was another active round to start the third quarter, centered on Jeramy Grant’s impact play that made Moda center swing where you are. Think They were withdrawing.
But within that failure to put their shoes on jazz’s throats, some of last year’s trends resurfaced with an ugly head: (1) the inability to defend the 3-point streak, where the jazz made 45.5 percent in 33 attempts, and then (2) ) turnover rate, a number the Blazers were among the most frequent in league commits. To their credit, they forced them, too, and that helped fuel the 54-54 first-half stoppage, and a grim battle throughout.
The second half highlighted a third of one of the Blazers’ starkest flaws from a season ago: the struggle to defend without faults. Although some of these whistles were controversial, they prevented Portland from making an example outside the team It is expected to be among the worst in the NBA.
In the end, not being able to take advantage of that slight advantage proved to be detrimental, as the Jazz Courage was able to pull out late in the third and fourth. Given the amount of sports on this year’s Blazers list, they were able to pull off a few oh And the aaaas From the Moda Center audience, but they couldn’t easily turn that into points.
Player notes and long-term ideas:
A few weeks ago, Chauncey Billups talked about how the Blazers’ depth chart – essentially at their small starting point forward – can look a little different each night to account for different opponents and rivalries. After starting with Josh Hart in the opening match, he went with Justice Winslow to start this one.
Given their competitiveness and energy, it’s hard to argue that you can go wrong with either. Turning a game of eight points, four rebounds, four assists and four steals in just 19 minutes tonight, Winslow looked comfortable at first. Hart, predictably, affected the match with bouncing play and coast-to-coast play.
You could kind of tell he was pressing the issue maybe, trying to get a basket or touch Shaedon Sharpe easily, but to counteract that, his ability to create for others adds an extra dimension to playing Lillard and Simons off the ball. As for Sharp, commentators have noted his ability to get into places smoothly. We’re still waiting for the gates to fully open to that offensive ammo, though. And in defense, he is often positioned to be a defender in the rear. It shows IQ and knowledge, even if it is not very aggressive in this regard. There is progress there.
And speaking of Lillard and Simons: It looked a bit similar to the way the Blazers ran the Lillard-McCollum backcountry, as the two would start together, and then Simmons exited the first and third quarters early, but came back to finish them. The minutes were slightly staggered, and it should be interesting to see what the plus and minus numbers look like with them together versus one versus one time.
Pick up and roll keys:
With now two pre-season games to analyze, one can begin to piece together some potential trends to watch for the long-term. In a similar way to Monday’s loss from 102 to 97 in front of Los Angeles Clippersthe Blazers’ defense efforts involved a heavy-handed approach that left them in advantageous (and sometimes unfavorable) situations.
On Monday, I felt it was remarkable how many times Anfernee Simons got stuck in post-up positions defending the likes of Kawhi Leonard, and even Ivica Zubac. It was also easy to notice how often Nurkic gets caught in those one-on-one situations against opposing guards. We hope he can meet this challenge overnight.
When Chauncey Billups and the Blazers staff played tonight’s match tape, one would guess they would be very pleased with the effort and intensity of Keon Johnson. In the end, it’s still unclear where he stands in the totem pole to play time along the flanks, but if we’ve learned anything about Chauncey Pelops’ principles and preferences, it’s that if you play hard – and Johnson did, attack passing lanes and turn in quick play to defend against attack – You will touch the ground.
You can pretty much actively pencil, “My God” A kind of play from Little Every Night fan, and Justis Winslow also participated in it. He was a striker for an incredibly memorable rant as he circled a defensive transition to block a throw-in during that short third quarter. Even in the event of a loss, the foundation is being built.
Other miscellaneous notes:
-Jerami Grant seems comfortable wherever he is, and especially in his pick-and-shoot triples. This also marks the second game in which he has installed a shot of the glass for a sure block. His mini-acquisition in the third quarter should It was the defining moment for the Blazers to win, if all went well.
Transitions remain constant. Basketball may also be deep fried the way they played and missed hot potatoes, but it may be too soon to describe it as an overarching problem. Often during the last two games, Portland left the ground without a plan for where to throw the ball. That’s 33 spins over the first two games.
Portland ends pre-season play against the Maccabi Rattan at MODA Center on Thursday, October 6