A Lucky Break?
Last night the Portland Trail Blazers extended their winning streak to nine games while giving their fans a taste of a team that has seen itself become one of the more threatening in the league.
Stumbling out of the gates behind a hot-shooting Chicago team, not everything looked great for Portland last night.
Down 32-22 after the first quarter, the Blazers strangely saw their opponent outplaying them at home. With Derrick Rose on fire prior to the half the Bulls managed to extend their lead in the second quarter by putting up an extra 27, giving them a 59-44 advantage at the break. What momentum they had, however, quickly dissipated in the third quarter when Rose went down with a scary injury to his knee.
Taking advantage of their opponent’s unfortunate circumstances, the Blazers rode a wave of momentum and dominated the third quarter, quickly getting right back in the game by outscoring Chicago 34-12 in the third. Now holding a narrow 78-71 edge on the Rose-less Bulls, Portland just managed to hold back the visitors en route to a thrilling and narrow 98-95 win to forward their record to 11-2 on the year.
Here’s what there was to love and hate about this contest.
Call it a little bit of luck, but the Blazers still managed to get back into the game despite being handled fairly easily in the first and second quarters. As mentioned above, the game’s momentum absolutely changed after Rose’s injury and Portland took every advantage they were offered.
A resilient win, like any other win, is a great win.
Starters all in double figures
It’s not too often you see all your starters in double figures, and last night Portland fans were treated to that exact occurrence. LaMarcus Aldridge had 12, Nicolas Batum had 17, Robin Lopez had 13, Damian Lillard had 20, and Wesley Matthews scored 28 for a Portland squad who saw just eight points contributed from the bench — all in the form of Mo Williams.
Any night you can rely on your starters to produce and do everything they are asked to is a great night.
Wesley Bringing the Show Back Home
How big was Wesley Matthews last night? I mean, aside from his 28 points, Matthews also managed two rebounds, one assist, and two steals while committing just one foul, allowing him to play without any restrictions for most of last night’s game.
A player who has been absolutely dominant as of late, Matthews continued his hot streak and made a huge statement to the league, emphasizing he could be one of the best shooters in 2013-2014.
Though you want to win every game you play in and will take any win you come by, seeing Rose go down last night was hard for all involved. It’s always tough when a star player suffers an injury, and though it definitely benefited Portland last night, a second injury to his knee just after he returns is not exactly a good sign for one of the league’s most exciting players.
Though he did play the most minutes on the team, something was clearly up with LaMarcus Aldridge last night. Shooting 4-of-20 from the field, Alrdidge scored just 12 points and was spotty on the offensive side of the ball, leading to a closer contest than some would have hoped for.
Though this game was likely just a small blip in the wonderful season Aldridge is having, we’ll hope he quickly bounces back and doesn’t regress.
Looking ahead the Blazers have a very quick turnaround as they play tonight at Golden State, a game that should once again test a Portland squad who is looking like on of the best in the league.