Aldridge likely out for rest of week

Team studies film of recent late-game struggles

By Erik Gundersen, Columbian Trail Blazers writer



After yet another gut wrenching loss on Sunday night, the Blazers got after it in practice Monday.

However, one thing stayed the same at Blazers practice. LaMarcus Aldridge's return doesn't seem likely to happen during this homestand.

The update on Aldridge from Blazers coach Terry Stotts is that he will be out for Tuesday's game against the Milwaukee and is "probably doubtful" for Thursday against the Washington Wizards.

He's been working with Blazer Director of Player Health Chris Stackpole and his staff.

Stotts added that Aldridge did not participate in any of the Blazers practice and that they would like to have him back "as soon as he is ready."

As the Blazers got back to the practice work, they also looked at the film of their loss where Golden State's Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson splashed the Warriors to victory.

Many of the problems presented by Golden State are unique because of how many shooters they play and how unique Curry is.

Stotts added that the team has also looked at the film of the final two minutes of the last eight games they've played.

Though they lost last night and have dropped five of six, the team believes there's been no recurring theme.

"It's a play here or there by us or the opponent. A shot, a rebound, a stop, a free-throw, a turnover," said Stotts. "But there's not necessarily a common thread between any of them besides us coming out on the short end."

Lillard echoes the coach's sentiment.

"Maybe it's a turnover. Bad execution, a blown coverage. It's like this. That's what we've been saying. It's a thin line. We just got to tighten up and keep our confidence high and finish these games".

Stotts did note that just the other day the Blazers made plays and made shots late to beat the Pelicans on Friday. However, they've still lost 12 games in a row to Western Conference playoff teams.

In their first two months of the season, they were 14-6 in 20 games against the Western Conference with 8 of those wins coming against Western Conference playoff teams.

Overall this season they still have a top-ten winning percentage in games that are within three points with under two minutes left despite the fact that since January first they've gone 0-16 from three-point range in those games.

The misses have come from the heroes of November and December in Matthews, Lillard and Batum.

Teams also haven't been able to miss against the Blazers from deep as of late too.

"Earlier in the year it was one or two missed shots and those games could have been losses also," Lillard said.

Opponents have been shooting a blistering 9-for-13 against the Blazers since Jan. 1. Nonetheless, they still feel better about their play after Sunday when they gave up an 18-point lead, played good first half defense and felt like they let one get away.

"The exciting thing was, it feels like we're getting back to the feel of the team when we were winning games," said Lillard. "That's the most exciting thing going into this stretch of the season and going into the playoffs."

Lillard added later: "We still got to make it in the playoffs."