Highs and Lows
What a week it was for the Portland Trail Blazers.
En route to a solid 2-1 finish, Portland managed to dig itself out of a number of holes against the Cleveland Cavaliers and New Orleans Pelicans. It was never easy, but the team came away with two quality wins in dramatic fashion.
Unfortunately for Rip City, a 32-point deficit proved to be too much against the Minnesota Timberwolves, and the team missed out on another perfect week.
Fortunately for the Blazers, they get a rest for the holidays. They don’t play until Thursday, Dec. 26 when the Los Angeles Clippers come to town.
Dec. 17 @ Cleveland
Following a two-point overtime win in Detroit, the Blazers and their fans could have used a nice, easy game against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The team and its fans had no such luck, but it created for one of the most exciting finishes of the NBA season.
Despite watching Kyrie Irving take over in the third quarter, Damian Lillard took over and had himself a game. He scored 26 points, had 10 assists and tied a career high with eight rebounds.
As good as his stat line was, he’ll be remembered in Cleveland for only one shot: the game winner as time expired.
This was Damian Lillard‘s second game-winning shot in as many games, and he proved once again that he is one of the best young point guards in the entire NBA.
Dec. 18 @ Minnesota
You can’t win em all.
The Trail Blazers have earned a reputation as comeback kids this season, as they’ve gotten themselves down early despite winning close games with strong second halves. Fans across Portland were hoping for a similar narrative in the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, but LaMarcus Aldridge and crew couldn’t overcome a huge deficit from early in the contest.
As expected, Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic dominated the inside (and outside for Love). Pekovich went for 30 points and nine rebounds on 14-of-19 shooting, while Love nearly earned a triple-double with 29 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists.
LaMarcus Aldridge‘s 15 points and 14 rebounds couldn’t combat the Wolves’ duo — and neither could 26 points from Lillard — and the team fell 120-109.
Dec. 21 vs. New Orleans Pelicans
After suffering just their fifth loss of the season, the Blazers returned home to face the New Orleans Pelicans. Last year’s matchup saw an exciting finish in Portland’s favor, and this year’s contest would prove to be much of the same.
Despite lacking a game-winning shot, the battle did come down to the final possession. The key matchup was Aldridge versus Anthony Davis, but once again, it was Lillard who came up huge.
After scoring 29 points, the Blazers had a three-point lead on the game’s final possession. New Orleans earned two looks at a shot behind the arc, but neither fell, giving Portland a 110-107 victory.
Once again, the Blazers were forced to come back from an early deficit, but once again, the team prevailed in dramatic fashion.