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.
Bryant Knox recaps the 2012-13 NBA season with grades for every Portland Trail Blazers player. LaMarcus Aldridge, Damian Lillard, JJ Hickson, Wesley Matthews and Nicolas Batum all played well in the starting lineup. Meyers Leonard and Eric Maynor showed signs of potential off the bench, while the rest of the reserves struggled more than they succeeded.
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 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.
Bryant Knox previews the Portland Trail Blazers April 10 matchup against the LA Lakers. Portland took down the Lakers to start the year, but this LA team has seen a drastic change since the All-Star break. Whether Kobe Bryant is a scorer or a facilitator will play a big role in this one. Nicolas Batum, Steve Nash and Wesley Matthews are questionable, while Metta World Peace is out.
NWSB Insider and Portland Trail Blazers Blogger breaks down what you can expect with PDX officially out of the playoffs. Following the loss to James Harden, Jeremy Lin and the Houston Rockets, Portland is officially playing for a spot in the lottery. The team will certainly rest injured players such as Nicolas Batum, so expect to see youngsters Meyers Leonard and Victor Claver earn more time. LaMarcus Aldridge should continue to be the leader, as Damian Lillard’s inexperience could be a problem while staying motivated.
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.
Bryant Knox previews the Portland Trail Blazers April 5 matchup against the Houston Rockets. The Blazers will be back on national T.V. (ESPN) for the second time in just over a week. Last time didn’t go so well against the Brooklyn Nets, and the team will look to restore its image with a young, energetic roster. The key matchup is going to be at the shooting guard spot. James Harden and Wesley Matthews will have the potential to score a lot of points in a up-tempo system.
Bryant Knox previews the Portland Trail Blazers March 27 matchup against the Brooklyn Nets. Portland is coming off of a five-game road trip; one in which saw the team go 2-3 against playoff opponents and one near-playoff team. The push for the playoffs begins now, and a win at home is the best way to start. The key matchup is going to be at the small forward position. Gerald Wallace and Nicolas Batum used to fight for the starting spot in PDX, but when the team turned Wallace in Damian Lillard, it instantly became Batum’s.
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.