You're not going to believe this, but the Portland Trail Blazers won a game tonight, against the Utah Jazz in Boise. The primary reason it's so hard to believe: This is the first NBA victory for the Blazers since March 22!
Unfortunately this game was untelevised, so everything you'd see in a recap can also be found in ESPN's play-by-play. But here are a few basics:
The Blazers jumped ahead from nearly the opening tip, and Utah rarely challenged, despite an onslaught of third quarter free throws. Despite the continued absence of Nicolas Batum and Dorell Wright, there were no problems as the starters' minutes increased, and there were signs of a normal rotation. The game was out of hand by the fourth quarter, and the benches enjoyed extended garbage time.
- LaMarcus Aldridge looked like his old self, beasting on the poor Jazz. He had 20 points and 8 rebounds in 18 minutes.
- Damian Lillard also rounded into regular season form, with 23 points and 5 assists.
- Rebounds: The Blazers have looked like a rebounding machine, as Aldridge, Robin Lopez and Thomas Robinson led the charge. They enjoyed a 49-34 edge tonight, helped by Utah's poor shooting.
- Another rough night for Victor Claver, who's living up to that third-tier billing we saw on the draft-room board. His three-pointer is still falling short, and he's not filling out the box score in other ways. It's noticeable that, even in preseason, his minutes are dwindling.
- Joel Freeland hit "his shot", but was otherwise irrelevant.
- The ball. Yet again! Another monster turnover number for the Blazers. Hopefully this settles down before the season starts.
- None of the players with unguaranteed contracts played steady minutes, and are quickly falling off the radar.
The Blazers have a huge break in the schedule to continue healing, and will play Wednesday night against this same team, but in Salt Lake City. Stay tuned for plenty of Blazers coverage between games! -- Tim