NWSB Insider and Portland Trail Blazers’ blogger Jason Hartzog gives five tips to the Portland Trail Blazers that, if followed, will lead them to the 2014 NBA Playoffs. Aside from building off of the success of Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland needs to find a more defensive minded center, draft the best available player, and add some depth to their roster that they don’t currently have.
NWSB Insider and Portland Trail Blazers’ blogger Jason Hartzog details how Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge are the building blocks of Portland’s future. Portland needs to give Lillard and Aldridge players who will compliment their styles. Should they choose to do so, they will see success in the near future. One thing Jason liked, was the move to try and get Roy Hibbert last off-season. That could have pushed them to the playoffs this season.
Jason Hartzog grades the job that Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts did during the 2012-13 NBA season. Rip City gave Stotts his third attempt at being a head coach, and he did well considering the roster he was handed. Placing Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge was a recipe for success from the beginning, but allowing Nicolas Batum to become an integral part of the offense is what pushed him toward All-Star levels.
Jason Hartzog previews the Portland Trail Blazers’ April 17 matchup against the Golden State Warriors. Damian Lillard versus Stephen Curry is a fun match-up to watch. These two guys can fill it up on any given night. They have had some great games against each other already. LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum and Wesley Matthews have all missed the past few games. Jason is hoping the all come back soon.
Jason Hartzog previews the Portland Trail Blazers’ April 16 matchup against the Los Angeles Clippers. The Blazers are currently on an 11-game losing streak. They will look to end the season on a strong note in their final two contests, but they’ve been playing without starters Wesley Matthews, Nicolas Batum, LaMArcus Aldridge, and/or JJ Hickson for most of their current skid. The key matchup in this one will be at the center position between Meyers Leonard and DeAndre Jordan.
Jason Hartzog previews the Portland Trail Blazers’ April 14 matchup against the Denver Nuggets. Jason says they key matchup he’s watching is Wilson Chandler versus Will Barton. If Barton can have a nice game and keep up with Chandler’s defensive intensity then it could open up things for Damian Lillard. Lillard will likely see a lot of double teams in this one if Lawson is limited again as he was last game.
Jason Hartzog previews the Portland Trail Blazers’ April 12 matchup against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Jason says the Thunder are still playing for the top seed in the west. They won’t let this one slip away without a fight. Can we get more Lillard please? Damian Lillard was outstanding as he scored a new career high 38 points vs. LA. The Blazers got off to a quick start, shot the ball well, and really looked in control the whole game.
NWSB Insider and Rip City hoops blogger Jason Hartzog reviews the Portland Trail Blazers April 3rd matchup versus the Memphis Grizzlies. He points out it was a rough night for Joel Freeland and Meyers Leonard. They both showed some of their offensive ability. However, it was their lack of defense that stood out in this one. Will Barton followed the rest of the team with horrible shooting.
NWSB Insider Jason Hartzo weighs in on the 2012-13 season had by Oregon Ducks head coach Dana Altman. This was a very respectable effort from Dana Altman’s Ducks, and it was the first time in the head coach’s career that he made it past the second round. As long as Altman is the man in Eugene, this will be a team near the top for years to come—especially with freshman guards Dominic Artis and Damyean Dotson set to return.
Jason Hartzog previews the Portland Trail Blazers’ March 21 matchup against the Chicago Bulls. Portland is coming off another tough loss the other night to the Bucks. Jason says for Portland to truly wish to compete for this playoff spot, they must win on the road. Of the 15 remaining games on their schedule, 7 of them are on the road. Chicago has struggled to score this season with the absence of Derrick Rose. For this game, Jason will be watching Nicolas Batum versus Luol Deng.
Jason Hartzog previews the Portland Trail Blazers’ March 18 matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks. Portland is coming off a 101-100 loss to the 76ers on Monday night. Jason says for Portland, they have to keep up this fire and intensity. Losing these close games is rough, but you have to keep fighting. This will be a hard fought game. Wesley Matthews and Nicolas Batum will have their work cut out for them guarding J.J. Redick and co.