Seven in a Row
The Portland Trail Blazers are arguably the hottest team in the NBA right now. Rattling off seven straight wins and claiming their last three on the road, Portland now sees itself at 9-2 on the year and flying high. Boasting a 1.5 game advantage on the Oklahoma City Thunder (which is not a big separation whatsoever), the Blazers currently have the third-best record in the league and are looking like one of the more offensively dangerous squads out there.
Last night was no different. Playing their third game in a row on the road, Portland took care of business and cleaned up a team they were expected to.
Though they did give up 40 points in the first quarter — eek! — the Blazers rebounded nicely, slowly working their way back into the game over the final three quarters before creating separation in the third and fourth.
Here’s what to love and hate from yesterday’s 108-98 win.
Matthews On Fire
Briefly mentioned above, Wesley Matthews has been dominant as of late. After scoring just 13 points against the Boston Celtics, Matthews rebounded for 17 against Toronto and was huge last night, scoring 24 points on 9-of-13 from the floor. He also impressively went 5-of-8 from beyond the arc, solidifying himself as one of the more dangerous shooters in the league this year.
If he can keep up this type of play throughout the year, the Blazers will remain one of the more dangerous teams in the NBA.
Have you yet stopped to really reflect on the fact that Portland is 9-2 and on a seven-game winning streak? If not, do that right now because it’s amazing. While everybody knew the Blazers had a plethora of potential heading into the year, what they have been able to do early on has been remarkable, especially when you consider the fact that their last three wins were accomplished on the road.
This team is special and fans should embrace it.
Coinciding with the above point, one great thing about this team is their confidence. Though some players may be having an off game, there is no more of that sulking around the court. Instead, the bench picks up the slack and keeps the morale on the court high enough to pull out these wins.
In past years you’d see clear evidence of the team just kind of giving up in a sense. That isn’t the case this year, and the confidence the Blazers have is crucial to their future success.
While Portland has been very good in a variety of statistical categories this year, one of the areas they are relatively poor in is turnovers and turnover ratio. Last night the Blazers committed 14 turnovers to Brooklyn’s 7, and while Portland averages around 14.9 turnovers per game, they just aren’t causing enough to mitigate potential mistakes.
Yes they may rank 10th in turnovers per game and that is great, but when you aren’t creating enough turnovers to ‘cancel out’ your turnovers, the statistic gets watered down. \
But, like I mentioned earlier, there really isn’t much to complain about. The team is 9-2 and could easily see their record to 10-2 when they take on the 2-7 Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday evening.
Let’s just hope I didn’t jinx it.