The Blazers have been a very good team so far this season. But Saturday’s 115-107 loss to the Hawks was a little bit of a concerning one.
The Blazers turned over the ball 18 times, and it was a big reason why they lost. But letting ball-handlers and shooters into the interior is a problem plaguing the Blazers for another season.
Last season they allowed the second-most shots at the rim per game, according to NBA.com, and as of Jan. 4, they are third in the league in shots allowed inside the restricted area. Over the last 10 games, only one team has been worse in that regard. The Blazers have used the 3-point shot effectively to create offense. But they didn’t do a good enough job to bring the fight back to the Hawks.
While there are a few things to pick at in Saturday’s loss to the Hawks, there was plenty to like about their win over the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday.
They held the Raptors, who are second in the NBA in points scored per 100 possessions, to just 17 points in the fourth quarter to win in overtime.
Damian Lillard was fantastic in the clutch again, and Joel Freeland logged 31 minutes at center in a tough match-up against Jonas Valanciunas.
It was understandable for the Blazers to drop one of their two games against the two best teams in the Eastern Conference.
By the Numbers
1 — The Blazers have the best defensive effective field goal percentage, which accounts for 3-point shots, in the league.
14 — The Blazers are 14th in the league in offensive rebounding percentage.
3 — The Blazers have three games left in their seven-game home stand.
The Week Ahead
Monday vs. Los Angeles Lakers (7 p.m., KGW): The Lakers are second-to-last in the Western Conference and have already announced Kobe Bryant won’t be making the trip to Portland. Get ready for the Nick “Swaggy P” Young show!
Thursday vs. Miami Heat (7:30 p.m., TNT): Without LeBron James, Dwyane Wade has played like a star when healthy and they are currently in the playoff picture out East.
Saturday vs. Orlando Magic (7 p.m., CSN): Rookie guard Elfrid Payton will get his first crack at Portland’s Damian Lillard.
Sunday at Los Angeles Lakers (6:30 p.m., CSN): The Lakers don’t play the night before so the odds are pretty good that Kobe plays in this one.