Keeping Things Interesting
The Portland Trail Blazers sure know how to keep fans engaged.
During Week 10, the team from the Pacific Northwest went 2-2, winning and losing games in almost every fashion imaginable.
First, the team fell on the road to the New Orelans Pelicans by two points (two nights after losing to the Miami Heat by one). Then the team bounced back and took down the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Arena by four.
Following the close games (five of them in a row, to be exact), Portland torched the Charlotte Bobcats at home to the tune of 134-104. Then, in true hangover fashion, the team dropped one by two to the Philadelphia 76ers — the same Philly team it destroyed on the road earlier in the season.
The Blazers are still in great shape at 26-8, but closing out games has been a bigger issue as of late than it was earlier in the year. Despite a couple of losses this week, the team provided plenty of highlights, once again proving that it’s great to be a fan, win or lose.
Dec. 30 @ New Orleans
The Blazers entered this contest with heartbreak on their minds. They had come within inches of defeating the defending champion Miami Heat, and they wanted to take down a Western Conference opponent who had given them trouble just the week before.
As it turned out, the Pelicans would give Portland trouble once again, as Tyreke Evans shocked Rip City with his game-winning jumper with 1.2 seconds to go.
Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge led the way with 29 and 28 points, respectively. Unfortunately, the point guard-power forward duo gave up 58 points to Jrue Holiday and Anthony Davis, and it was the Pelicans walking away with their heads held high.
Dec. 31 @ Oklahoma City
What a way to ring in the New Year.
OKC had controlled this game from tipoff. Portland was within striking distance the entire way through, but momentum was clearly in favor of the Thunder for most of the first three quarters.
A second-half surge brought Portland back, and dominant fourth quarter is what did Oklahoma City in. The Blazers outscored OKC 27-16 in the final period, coming away with a four-point win despite 37 points and 14 rebounds from Kevin Durant.
Jan. 2 vs. Charlotte
If you were sick of close contests, or your heart simply needed a rest, this was the game for you.
The Charlotte Bobcats entered the Moda Center as the third-best defense in the NBA in terms of scoring, but a lights-out shooting performance gave Portland the edge early.
On the night, Portland hit 21 three-pointers. That number tied the franchise record for long-distance shots in a single game — a record the team set earlier in the year against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Luckily for Portland, it had Philly up next; a sure-fire win.
Or so it thought.
Jan. 4 vs. Philadelphia 76ers
After what we’d seen Portland do the night before to the Bobcats — not to mention earlier in the year against the Sixers — this was supposed to be a cake walk.
Unfortunately for the Blazers, they let Philadelphia walk into the Moda Center and hand them just their fourth loss at home.
On the night, Thaddeus Young scored a season-high 30 points, while Rookie of the Year front-runner Michael Carter-Williams had 16 points, nine rebounds and four assists.
The more surprising stat line comes from Portland’s three-point shooting. The team went just 3-of-22 on the night, which resulted in 99 points — nearly nine fewer points than their season average.