Blazers week in review 12/23

By Erik Gundersen, Columbian Trail Blazers writer

Published:

 

Blazer Beefs

First half defense for the Blazers last week was downright awful. During their four game road trip, they failed to hold any team that they played under 50 points in the first half and allowed over 60 points in a half twice.

Rock bottom was their first half in Minnesota where they allowed the Timberwolves, a team with major problems shooting, to score 69 points in the first half. It was their fourth game in five nights and the last game of a road trip. While Damian Lillard had 36 points and the Blazers made a run late, their first half defense made the second half excitement ultimately moot.

Blazer Bravos

Damian Lillard takes the cake this week, no question.

Lillard had back-to-back game-winners in Detroit and Cleveland and has scored 101 points over the last three games.

The Blazers have had their struggles on the defensive end as of late, but Lillard's fantastic play continues to push the defensive concerns to the back burner. He's averaging 33.7 points over his last three games and continues adding to his reputation as one of the league's best crunch-time performers.

By the Numbers

1 — Damian Lillard is tied with Golden State's Klay Thompson for the most three-pointers made in the NBA.

5.6 — The amount of free-throw attempts per game by Damian Lillard, up from 3.9 free-throw attempts per game last season.

60 — Damian Lillard has scored 60 points in 54 minutes of "clutch" time, when games are within five points in the final five minutes according to NBA.com. In those 54 minutes, Lillard has shot over 50 percent from the field and from long range and has committed just three turnovers.

Look ahead

Thursday vs. Los Angeles Clippers (7:30 p.m. on TNT): Chris Paul and Damian Lillard will face off for the first time this season.

Saturday vs. Miami Heat (7 p.m. on KGW): LeBron James and the reigning two-time NBA Champions make their only trip to Portland.