The Blazers have just played what may have been the ugliest game I have ever seen, turning the ball over to the Los Angeles Clippers 23 times throughout the 48 minute games.
The Blazers opened up the pre-season tonight, but it was not in the mid-season form everyone was hoping to see. All but two players that saw action tonight turned the ball over, and those two were the most unlikely players: Meyers Leonard and Victor Claver. Other than those two players, the turnovers were fairly evenly distributed. Thomas Robinson led the squad with 5 miscues, while Nicolas Batum, Damian Lillard, and Joel Freeland all had 3 apiece.
Coach Terry Stotts rested a few key players, including All-Star power forward LaMarcus Aldridge, who has been nursing a strained quad. Stotts kept back up guard Mo Williams out of action to heal a sprained ankle, and forward Dorell Wright simply got the night off, while rumors were swirling around that he had dislocated his right middle finger. CJ McCollum was obviously out, as he broke his foot yesterday (to read more about that, click here).
Nicolas Batum led the scoring for the Blazers with 12 points, while Damian Lillard added 11 points and 6 assists. Robin Lopez neared a double-double with 8 points and 10 rebounds. Meyers Leonard also showed improvement, chipping in 10 points and 6 rebounds.
It’s hard to assess a team when the squad is missing four very important players. I will, however, give a few first impressions. Firstly, the Blazers didn’t take care of the ball, and that was explained above (see: 23 turnovers). The Clippers used these miscues to go to the races, outscoring the Blazers 16-9 on fast break points. This is where the second impression came. Portland didn’t play defense on the fast break, giving up easy points.
Interior defense was okay, but could have definitely been better, and the same can be said regarding 3-point shooting. From long distance, Portland shot a mere 20.8%, making just 5 of the 24 attempts.
The coaching staff still has six games to work these kinks out during the pre-season, right before the season starts in Phoenix on October 30.
How did you guys feel about Portland’s performance today? Were you pleased with the showing? What were some of your initial impressions? Let me know in the comments below!
Until next time,