How many times do we have to say it, but it’s the defense.
The Blazers have put together good quarters and good halves of solid defense but this week their defense in the first half continually put them in position to have to come back.
Their third quarter in Sacramento put them in a position where they needed a 26-point fourth quarter from Damian Lillard to have a chance and avoid an embarrassing blowout. They had to comeback from halftime deficits for their only two wins this week.
When Damian Lillard is on your team, you’re truly never out of a game. His performance in the fourth quarter in the loss against Sacramento was another example of that. Lillard scored 26 of his career-high 41 points in the fourth quarter.
How scared are other teams of Lillard? Kings coach Mike Malone was losing it in the fourth quarter if Lillard got off a shot — before it even went in — because he knew what was going to happen.
Another couple of bravos go to Thomas Robinson and C.J. McCollum, who both played big roles in Blazer wins this week. Robinson helped spark a comeback against Orlando and McCollum scored 10 points to help the Blazers beat Boston on Saturday.
Robinson also made an impact in the fourth quarter against Boston as both did a good job of stepping up when their name was called.
By the Numbers
41 — Damian Lillard’s new scoring career high, which he set in Portland’s loss to Sacramento.
15 — Number of 20-point, 10-rebound games LaMarcus Aldridge has had this season. The most he has had in a season is 25.
30 — The Blazers are 30th out of 30 teams in the NBA when it comes to forcing turnovers.
Wednesday vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (7 p.m. on KGW): The Cavs just traded Andrew Bynum for a much-needed upgrade on the wing in All-Star forward Luol Deng from the Chicago Bulls.
Friday at San Antonio (5:30 p.m. on CSNNW): The Blazers start a four-games-in-five-nights road trip against the defending Western Conference champion. They also have a chance to assure themselves a split of the season series with the Spurs, who have been neck-and-neck with Portland all year.
Saturday at Dallas (5:30 p.m. on CSNNW): Monta Ellis hit a buzzer-beater to beat the Blazers when Dallas came to Portland on Dec. 8.