Can’t Stop Them
It may not have been the easiest win of the year but the Portland Trail Blazers managed to hold back the Detroit Pistons just enough to secure their third straight victory and to improve to 5-2 on the year.
Returning home after a brief trip to Sacramento that saw them easily handle the putrid Kings, the Blazers put up points in bundles during the first quarter before cooling down but fending off any Detroit comeback. Trailing just once in the second quarter, Portland once again counted on Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge to ignite the offense while Mo Williams came in and played impressively from the bench, eventually helping the Blazers to record their 109-103 victory on Monday night.
Now sitting in sole possession of second place in the Northwest, the Blazers find themselves just one game behind the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Here are some things to love and hate from Portland’s third-straight win.
Beating the Teams You Must
One of the indicators of any great team in the NBA is their ability to take care of the teams they have to, meaning that quality squads should always beat lower-class opponents. And fortunately for the Blazers they look like they are doing just that.
Taking both games from Sacramento over the weekend, the Blazers easily handled a 2-4 Detroit team that is so-so, proving to the league and their fans that they are ready to contend. If that isn’t something to be excited about, I don’t know what is.
How impressive was Mo Williams last night? Seriously, though, the guy played 32 minutes off the bench and hit 7-of-9 shots for 17 points. While he did have three personal fouls, Williams also collected three rebounds, four assists, and one steal during his time on the court.
If he can play like that every night off the bench, the NBA better watch out.
Picking up the Slack
Continuing on the point of Williams’ big night, one of the biggest things he provided was relief for Wesley Matthews, who may have been a little tired after his impressive performances as of late. While Matthews significantly cooled off last night, Williams stepped right into his shoes and dominated the court.
While the Blazers are 5-2 and flying high, one of the most frustrating things about this team is how much they turn the ball over. With three players turning the ball over three times last night, Portland had a total of 15 turnovers in the game compared to Detroit’s eight.
If the Blazers are to contend with better teams like the Oklahoma City Thunder they are going to need to shore up their turnover ratio and handle the ball better.
Other than that and Matthews having an off night, however, there really isn’t too much to complain about in terms of Portland. Their stars are dominating the court as they should, Robin Lopez and Nicolas Batum are turning the corner and player great, and the bench is stepping up when the starters just aren’t getting the job done.
I think it’s time for Blazers fans to finally look at this team and think, ‘WOW, they can do this.’
2013-2014 is going to be one exciting season to pay attention to, Portlandians.