Recap: The juxtaposition of Portland’s last two games is among the most mysterious of this year’s season. The week began with a loss to the Lakers in which the Blazers trailed 37-7 at one point. It was followed by a 40-point win over the Spurs, who came into the game on an 11-game winning streak.
Now, that result looks far more impressive than it is, as San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich chose to rest Tony Parker and Tim Duncan, who joined an injured Manu Ginobili as current or former All-Stars who would not be on the court.
Portland is still looking for an identity not to mention some consistency. All year long the team has gone from jaw-dropping good to head-scratching bad in the span of 24 hours. The good news is that the Blazers are 2-10 in games decided by five points or less. That’s right good news. Despite the justified consensus that this team has trouble closing out games, that’s much better than getting blown out every time. Those type of things tend to even out, so if the Blazers continue to play at the level they have, look for a slight uptick in wins in the second half.
Since being inserted into the starting lineup six games ago, Nicolas Batum has averaged 21.1 points while failing to shoot 50 percent from the field only once. He has put a surge into Portland’s offense and is on the cusp of establishing himself as the team’s No. 2 option.
He still needs work on creating his own shot, but if LaMarcus Aldridge is dominating the post, there are few better guys in the league to kick it out to than Batum, who is shooting 43.9 percent from 3-point distance.
By the Numbers
13 — The number of days the Blazers will be on the road during its seven-game road trip starting next week.
15 — The number of points Jamal Crawford scored in his first quarter as the Blazers’ starting point guard.
8 — Portland’s playoff seeding if the postseason began today.