Portland 108 Brooklyn 98
For the first time in awhile Portland fans can say their team is one of the best in the league, especially as they are in the midst of a seven-game winning streak that has seen them forward their overall record to 9-2 on the year. As such, the Blazers now sit atop the Northwest Division by 1.5 games, are half a game back in the Western Conference, and boast the third-best record in the NBA. Wow.
To say the start to Portland’s season has been hot would be an understatement. Last night was no exception to that start.
Surrendering 40 points to the Nets in the first quarter (bleh), Portland took control of the game for the final three quarters, fighting back into it and eventually walking away with a relatively easy win on the road. With LaMarcus Aldridge, Damian Lillard, Wesley Matthews, and Mo Williams all scoring in the double digits last night, players like Nicolas Batum and Robin Lopez could focus on contributing in other ways, which they did.
All around last night was a great team by the Blazers and proved that they are going to beat the teams they are supposed to beat. While they did struggle early on, the way they rebounded truly emphasized the character of this year’s squad.
Here are three players who we need to give an extra shout out to for their effort last night.
Matthews is having quite the year in 2013-2014. While he did have a 13-point effort the other game to kind of take a step back to reality, he has bounced back in the past two games, scoring 24 yesterday to help Portland secure their seventh straight victory.
Yet Matthews did more than just that. Aside from shooting 9-of-13 from the floor and 5-of-8 from beyond the arc, Matthews collected six rebounds (one offensive, five defensive), doled out one assist, caused a steal, and committed just 3 fouls. Look for him to emerge a star as the season progresses.
Good ol’ LA was…well…good ol’ LA against Brooklyn. Shooting 9-of-16 from the field, Aldridge scored 27 points while converting all nine of his free throw attempts. Though he did turn the ball over four times and did get into a little foul trouble towards the end, Aldridge did everything he needed to in Portland’s 108-98 victory on Monday.
Expect him to finally earn Player of the Week honors in the coming weeks.
He’s been dynamite off the bench in recent games and he was dynamite last night. Playing 31 minutes of relief yesterday, Williams shot 6-of-14 from the field and scored 12 points while hauling in 5 rebounds, six assists, three steals, and two blocks.
A player some were unsure about heading into the season, Williams is quickly showing how deadly he can be off the bench and how important his services will be as the season progresses. If he can shore up some issues with fouls (he collected 5 in 31 minutes of play), he should help the Blazers become dangerous 24/7.
Looking ahead Portland will have the day off before taking on Milwaukee to finish up their road trip.
In all likelihood we should expect the Blazers to take care of the 2-7 Bucks, improving their record to 10-2 before they head home for a HUGE game against the Chicago Bulls.
Let’s get ready for a fun ride.