"The Village of Portland is freaking out after the Blazers lost yet again on the road, so I'm here to tell you something: stop freaking out. The Blazers' home-road disparity is certainly jarring -- They're 10-1 at home and just 3-9 on the road, including clunkers against Detroit, Golden State, Phoenix, and Sacramento. But pull out a magnifying glass and you'll see bad luck is as much to blame as bad basketball.
Last night was the seventh straight game decided by five points or less that the Blazers lost, while their only victory in such situations came in the opener against Philadelphia. Of those seven, six were on the road.
Look at the scoring margin -- a better predictor of future performance -- and the picture brightens considerably. Portland has a better margin than Oklahoma City, believe it or not; the only West team that outranks the Blazers is Denver. Even if you ditch the scrimmage against Charlotte on Wednesday (a 44-point rout), Portland has the third-best margin in the West. The Blazers have nine double-digit wins and have lost that way only once.
So, big picture, if they keep playing this well overall they're going to win some of the close games. As bad as it's been to watch, the Blazers aren't the only team struggling with late game execution in lockoutball, and in strict probability terms it's just not possible to continue to lose 7/8ths of their close games. The Playoff Odds have the Blazers pegged for a tie for the third best record in the West, so despite the road struggles Portland remains in great position to claim home-court advantage in the first round."
I agree that it's not quite time to freak out, but I think that in order for the Blazers to really contend, late game execution, will need to get better and this team needs to sustain their energy for all four quarters. We need a closer.