Portland Trail Blazers: Five early question marks

J.J. Hickson is set to go up again his former team. (Photo: Bruce Ely/The Oregonian)

NWSB Insider and Portland Trail Blazers blogger Jon Irwin breaks down five questions Portland is facing on the young season. With 19 games in the bag—to the tune of a 8-11 record—there’s plenty for Portland to answer for. Can rookie sensation Damian Lillard keep it going? Will Nicolas Batum ever be good enough for his contract? Nicolas Batum looked ready for a breakout All-Star season. J.J. Hickson is enjoying a great season as Portland’s starting center.

Portland Trail Blazers vs. Indiana Pacers prediction and preview

David West, Portland Trail Blazers vsv. Indiana Pacers

Bryant Knox previews the Portland Trail Blazers Dec. 5 matchup with the Indiana Pacers. The current road trip hasn’t gone how the team planned, but they have a chance to finish strong with a big win over Indiana. J.J. Hickson’s rebounding will help against the best rebounding team in the league. The key matchup in this one is going to be between LaMarcus Aldridge and David West.

Portland Trail Blazers vs. Cleveland Cavaliers prediction and preview

Kyrie Irving

Bryant Knox previews the Portland Trail Blazers Dec. 1 matchup with the Cleveland Cavaliers. PDX has lost their first four games of the seven-game road trip, and a blowout loss to the Boston Celtics isn’t going to give them momentum heading into their contest with the Cavs. The key matchup in this one is between Damian Lillard and Kyrie Irving, but the rebounding battle between Anderson Varejao and J.J. Hickson will be fun to watch.

Rock bottom? Blazers giftwrap first win to Wizards

Nicolas Batum vs Washington

NWSB Insider and Portland Trail Blazers blogger Jon Irwin breaks down the Blazers vs Wizards matchup. ​​The Headline: squaring off with the winless Wizards, Portland continues its East Coast losing streak with this new 82-84 loss. Batum looked like he’s coming out of his slump, and Hickson had a season high 19 rebounds. But with four games left on the roadtrip, Portland needs to find some wins.

LaMarcus Aldridge alive and well, but can’t hold off Pistons

Terry Stots

NWSB Insider and Portland Trail Blazers blogger Jon Irwin breaks down the Blazers vs Pistons matchup. ​​The Headline:​ despite a nagging back injury, LaMarcus Aldridge comes alive for Portland; unfortunately, it’s not enough to hold off the Pistons in this 101-108 loss. Also, the rookies show promise while the stars fade. The Blazers rolled with four bench players in this one, rookies Will Barton and Meyers Leonard were prominent.

Portland Trail Blazers vs. Detroit Pistons prediction and preview

Greg Monroe will make up one-half of the key matchup Monday night. (Photo: AP/Duane Burleson)

Bryant Knox previews the Portland Trail Blazers Nov. 26 matchup against the Detroit Pistons. Portland has a legitimate chance at taking down an Eastern Conference foe on the road, but they’ll have to worry about Greg Monroe in the middle. They key matchup in this one will be between Moroe and whichever big man gets the assignment—J.J. Hickson or Meyers Leonard. LaMarcus Aldridge is questionable.

Portland Trail Blazers vs. Brooklyn Nets prediction and preview

Gerald Wallace

Bryant Knox previews the Portland Trail Blazers Nov. 25 matchup against the Brooklyn Nets. The Portland Trail Blazers are set to take their first trip to the East Coast this Sunday, and it will begin a seven-game stint where the team will be away from the Rose Garden. They key matchup in this one will be in the pain between J.J. Hickson and Brook Lopez, but the battle between Damian Lillard and Deron Williams will be fun to watch.

Damian Lillard leads Blazers over T-Wolves 103-95

Blazere vs T-wolves

NWSB Insider and Portland Trail Blazers blogger Jon Irwin breaks down the Timberwolves vs Blazers matchup. ​​The Headline:​ Damian Lillard scores a season high 28 points in this big Portland win. Damian Lillard has a career night, and J.J. Hickson looks strong in his return. With the growing rivalry, Kevin Love hands down won the battle with L.A..

Houston Rockets vs. Portland Trail Blazers prediction and preview

Trail Blazers Houston Rockets

Bryant Knox previews the Portland Trail Blazers Nov. 16 matchup against the Houston Rockets. Portland avoided becoming the Western Conference’s worst team in Wednesday’s win against the Sacramento Kings, and a win against Houston would establish momentum going into an easier part of the schedule. The key matchup is between J.J. Hickson and Omer Asik, although it will be fun to watch Wesley Matthews vs. James Harden 2.0. LaMarcus Aldridge is Day-To-Day.

Blazers finally find third win, top shorthanded Kings

Damian Lillard

NWSB Insider and Portland Trail Blazers blogger Jon Irwin breaks down the Blazers vs. Kings matchup. ​The Headline:​ ​The Trail Blazers finally find win No. 3 on the back of Damian Lillard, topping the Kings 103-86. Damian Lillard and Wesley Matthews were great in this win, making a lot of shots. But Portland was beat badly in the paint, and that was against a shorthanded Kings team!

Portland continues skid, fall to Atlanta Hawks 95-87

J.J. Hickson

NWSB Insider and Portland Trail Blazers blogger Jon Irwin breaks down the Spurs vs. Blazers matchup. ​The Headline:​ ​Nicolas Batum​ asks for the ball in the fourth and delivers, but not even that saves Portland from falling just short. Batum and L.A. have solid nights, but still can’t match a small Parker-less Spurs.

Portland Trail Blazers vs. Sacramento Kings prediction and preview

LaMarcus Aldridge Blazers

Bryant Knox previews the Portland Trail Blazers Nov. 12 matchup against the Sacramento Kings. A game against Sacramento will either help revitalize a team that is looking for life to cling onto, or it will expose the Blazers as the worst team out West. Key matchup is between Wesley Matthews and Tyreke Evans, but the battle between centers J.J. Hickson and Chuck Hayes should be entertaining. DeMarcus Cousins is suspended, and LaMarcus Aldridge is looking to bounce back.

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