First half defense in their loss last Tuesday to the Memphis Grizzlies was pretty awful.
Sure, the Blazers were tired on their eighth game in 12 days. But even at their best and healthiest, the Grizzlies are an average offensive team.
The Blazers allowed the Grizzlies to score 61 in the first half and the Grizzlies defense shut down everybody else but LaMarcus Aldridge.
Wesley Matthews and Damian Lillard both deserve major bravos for playing equal roles in Saturday’s victory over Toronto.
Matthews stopped a red-hot DeMar DeRozan after Lillard hit a big bucket to put the Blazers up by one.
Another bravo goes to head coach Terry Stotts for being proactive when it comes to the team’s defensive struggles early in games. The whole season the Blazers defense has been better in the second half, usually coinciding with Nicolas Batum guarding opposing point guards.
Rather than wait until the second half, Stotts had Batum guard Kyle Lowry and it resulted in one of the Blazers’ best defensive first halves this season.
By the Numbers
43 — Points scored by Damian Lillard in the last three minutes of games when games are within three points, leading the NBA.
54 — Percentage that Lillard is shooting from the field in those situations, more efficient than LeBron James and Kevin Durant.
20 — The number of years its been since Portland had more than one NBA All-Star in a season.
Monday at Washington (4 p.m. on CSNNW): John Wall made a great case to be an All-Star starter and the Wizards are fresh off beating the red-hot Oklahoma City Thunder.
Wednesday at New York (5 p.m. on CSNNW and ESPN): Starting with Carmelo Anthony’s 62-point performance, the Knicks have won four of their last five games.
Friday at Indiana (4 p.m. on CSNNW and ESPN): The last meeting was an instant classic. Indiana made waves this weekend by signing the enigmatic Andrew Bynum.
Saturday at Minnesota (5 p.m. on CSNNW): Maybe Aldridge-Love III will actually live up to the hype this time.