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News / Sports / Blazers

Blazers week in review 2/21

By Erik Gundersen, Columbian Trail Blazers Writer
Published: February 21, 2016, 5:34pm

Blazer Beef

We covered our beefs with the All-Star Game last week and then the Blazers came out of the gates to start the post-All-Star portion of their schedule by beating the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors — who are threatening to beat the 1995-96 Bulls’ 72-10 record — by 32 points.

Blazer Bravo

You already know about Damian Lillard’s 51-point explosion in Friday’s win over the Warriors.

But one thing that did not garner as much attention was the play of Noah Vonleh, who had arguably his best game of the season.

He only had nine points and four rebounds but he played without hesitation and was extremely useful when switching on to Golden State’s guards in pick-and-roll situations with Draymond Green.

The Blazers collectively played without hesitation or fear of their invincible opponents.

Moe Harkless, too, had another excellent game.

Another thing that deserves credit is the flexibility of head coach Terry Stotts to change the lineups.

While not knowing whether you’ll play on a nightly basis can be mentally taxing for players, one of Portland’s few advantages as a roster is the variety of styles they can play.

They can force bigger teams to guard Meyers Leonard on the outside and they can keep up with fast pace teams by playing Harkless at power forward.

And Vonleh showed his combination of power and agility in the primetime matchup with Green and the Warriors.

While Stotts’ versatility could cause some problems for players on the team, it’s been causing more problems for their opponents during their recent four-game win streak.

By The Numbers

2 — Damian Lillard joined Stephen Curry as the only two players in NBA history to have 50-plus points, nine-plus 3-pointers and shoot 75 percent or better on 3-pointers in a game with Friday’s performance.

6 — Over the last 15 games, the Blazers have forced the sixth most turnovers per game in the NBA according to NBA.com.

The Week Ahead

Tuesday vs. Brooklyn Nets (7 p.m., CSN): The Nets just hired former Blazers player and former Spurs executive Sean Marks to be their general manager, replacing the deposed Billy King. King, of course, traded the pick that would become Damian Lillard to Portland for Gerald Wallace.

Thursday vs. Houston Rockets (7:30 p.m., TNT): The Houston Rockets return to the scene of their debacle right before the All-Star break as they try to get it together and make the playoffs. A Portland win would guarantee the Blazers a tiebreaker against the Rockets.

Saturday at Chicago Bulls (5 p.m., CSN): The Bulls tried to play a brand new, up-tempo style with new head coach Fred Hoiberg despite doing nothing to change their roster. Between that and injuries, it just hasn’t worked.

Sunday at Indiana Pacers (3 p.m., CSN): Indiana’s rookie center Myles Turner has come into his own, averaging 13.5 points, seven rebounds and two blocks over his last 15 games.

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Columbian Trail Blazers Writer