Five-game road trip in the books
The team went 2-3 between March 18 and March 24, but despite the losing record, we saw more good things than bad.
Portland may be the 11th team out West, but its only 2-and-a-half games behind the eighth spot in the conference. We may not know what the team’s fate is at this point, but we certainly learned a few things about this crew over the last week.
LaMarcus Aldridge Is The Best Power Forward In Basketball
Throughout the last five games, LaMarcus Aldridge has made it clear that there’s no other power forward in the NBA playing at his level.
During the road trip, the big man posted averages of 22.2 points and 14.4 rebounds. This stretch came just a few games after winning the Western Conference Player of the Month award for February, and as a result, his dominance is starting to be recognized on a national level.
Aldridge has a more developed low-post game than Blake Griffin, and his mid-range game is arguably the best in the league behind Dirk Nowitzki. He needs help when it comes to getting this team to the next level, but when it comes down to it, nobody at his position is playing as well as he is right now.
When Kevin Love is healthy, this topic becomes more of a debate. However, with the Minnesota Timberwolves’ forward out, the competition becomes much thinner.
LaMarcus Aldridge becomes the third NBA player this year with five straight 20-point, 10-rebound games (7-David Lee, 5-LeBron James).
— Trail Blazers PR (@TrailBlazersPR) March 20, 2013
The Final Month Of The Season Will Be Tough
During the five-game stint that Portland just endured, it faced four playoff teams and a near-playoff team in the Philadelphia 76ers. The team went just 2-3 on the trip, which doesn’t bode well for the month of April.
The final month of the year is going to be a brutal one for the Trail Blazers. With nothing but playoff teams ahead—and two near-playoff squads in the Dallas Mavericks and the Utah Jazz—this group has to play its best basketball of the season.
Portland has been known to play up to its competition, but with 12 games ahead, a winning record has become a must if the postseason is a legitimate goal.
This Team Just Won’t Quit
If the most recent five-game stretch taught us anything about this team, its that this crew just won’t quit.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) March 23, 2013
The 2011-12 team, which comprised veterans who had no interest in rebuilding, simply let the season get away from them. When times got tough, the players quit on the coach, and as a result, the fire sale at the trade deadline sent the team into a tailspin as the year wound down.
Things couldn’t be more different for this year’s crew, as nobody seems to be throwing in the towel.
In the post-game interviews of the two wins on the trip, Aldridge and Wesley Matthews both spoke about fighting to the end despite the odds. It’s not going to be easy, but as this season comes to an end, you’re not going to see a single player give up.
The front office may be of a different opinion, as GM Neil Olshey and owner Paul Allen may be pushing for a draft pick; but the players in the locker room are going to play until the season comes to an end—whenever that may be.