Blazers week in review 12/30

By Erik Gundersen, Columbian Trail Blazers writer

Published:

 

Blazer Beef

We're going to have to keep putting the spotlight on Portland's defense until they find some traction because they keep on slipping.

Once again their defense slipped, albeit against two very good offensive teams in the Los Angeles Clippers and Miami Heat. However, they were disappointed in themselves for having let the Heat score with ease even without LeBron James.The Miami loss was a lesson that the offense cannot win the games every single night and that some nights, they need to rely on stops to get wins.

Blazer Bravos

Nicolas Batum deserves some major Blazer Bravos for his calm under pressure this week.

Both the Heat and Clippers made concerted efforts to take Damian Lillard's pick and rolls out of the game plan and Batum was called upon to pick up the slack as well as hit big shots.

Against the Clippers his three-pointer with five seconds left tied the game, which eventually went into overtime.

On Saturday night against the Heat he hit five free-throws in the last 32 seconds to give the Blazers a two-point lead until it was erased by Chris Bosh's game-winning three-pointer.

By the Numbers

2 — The Blazers have two more games left in a 2013 that included a 13-game losing streak and an 11-game winning streak.

22nd — The Blazers current ranking in defensive efficiency, measured in points per 100 possessions.

50 — Number of regular season games the Blazers have in 2014 split evenly between the road and at home.

Look ahead

Monday at New Orleans (5 p.m. on CSNNW): The Pelicans are 8-5 at home this season.

Tuesday at Oklahoma City (5 p.m. on KGW and NBATV): All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook had his knee scoped and is expected be out until after the All-Star break.

Thursday vs. Charlotte (7 p.m. on CSNNW): The Bobcats are climbing toward respectability with a top-five defense.

Saturday vs. Philadelphia (7 p.m. on CSNNW): After a fast start to the season, the Sixers have successfully lost 21 of their last 26 games.