They’re on a five game winning streak, so forgive me for picking on the young guys who got outscored by 19 points in eight minutes in the fourth quarter on Saturday.
The unit of C.J. McCollum, Will Barton, Dorell Wright, Thomas Robinson and Meyers Leonard didn’t handle the full court press by Dallas’ reserves very well.
Quick shots and bad passes forced Terry Stotts to play his starters after it looked like their night ended after they ended the third quarter with a 34-point lead.
As we’ve criticized the Blazers defense a lot in the above space, we’ve got to show them some love when they play well.
The first seven quarters of this Texas-Oklahoma road trip have featured defensive consistency the Blazers just haven’t had since the first month of the season. What’s been even more impressive was they’ve done well against two top-five offenses.
They slowed down San Antonio’s third-ranked offense to below-average efficiency and they absolutely shut down the Mavs in the first three quarters on Saturday.
By the Numbers
11.3 — LaMarcus Aldridge’s rebounds per game. He’s never averaged more than 10 in a season.
101.7 — The Blazers defensive rating over the past three games, which is slightly above the league-average.
15 — How many road wins the Blazers have, tied with San Antonio for the most in the NBA.
The (long) week ahead
Monday at Houston (5 p.m. on TNT): If you love free throws, Houston is the team for you.
Tuesday at Oklahoma City (5 p.m. on CSNNW): Kevin Durant dropped 54 last Friday against a defensively solid Golden State Warriors.
Thursday vs. Denver (7:30 p.m. on TNT): Denver looked awful to start the season but has rounded into form and is just two games out of the playoffs.
Saturday vs. Minnesota (7 p.m. on CSNNW): The Timberwolves put a hurt on Portland in their last meeting but they still can’t win the close ones as they are 0-11 in games decided by four or less.
Sunday vs. Golden State (6 p.m. on CSNNW): The last meeting between these two was a wild affair, including two ejections, two suspensions and a 30-20 game from LaMarcus Aldridge.