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Meyers Leonard Discusses Blazers' Need To Close Out Games

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Perpetuating a recurring theme, the Blazers snatched defeat from the jaws of victory last night. Meyers Leonard addresses what went wrong and what needs to go right.

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The Portland Trail Blazers gave up a late lead to the Dallas Mavericks, who bested them 115-112 in overtime on Tuesday. Similar collapses have not been uncommon for this young Blazers team. Forward Meyers Leonard reiterates the importance of trusting the process through frustration, but notes that proper execution is still a necessity. Video via CSNNW:

That’s a tough loss to swallow. Dallas has been playing pretty good. We wanted to protect homecourt tonight and we got off to a slow start, but we were able to ramp it up, come back, play better defense, knock some shots down. And then in the second half, pretty consistent the entire half. We go up seven; 89-96 with one minute and 43 seconds to go, their ball on a side out. A couple miscommunications, Dirk [Nowitzki], a couple threes, Wes [Matthews], offensive rebound putback.

We talk about the process as a lot, and it is about that, but this is one we have to get. That’s a part of the process that, you know, you can’t lean on that. We should have got this one flat-out tonight, however, we didn’t, and now we need to study the film, figure out what we can do better—especially in late-game situations.

I think we haven’t really shot the ball too well as a collective unit the last couple games obviously, but, you know, shots will fall. We just have to continue to play as hard as we can on defense, understand coverages, understand scouting reports, and just continue to get better as a team on both ends.

Meyers, is there anyone for you to put your finger on? What’s happening in these late-game situations?

It’s honestly a mix of things. Sometimes it’s miscommunication on defense. Couple loose balls we didn’t get. We had a tip-out rebound that went their way, Dirk had the tip-in to tie the game, Wes got on offensive rebound, I had one miscommunication with Dirk that led to a three. I think it’s across the board. I can’t really put my finger on one thing.

Like I said, we’re not shooting particularly well. I think because of that we’re getting a lot of offensive rebounds, playing hard, but at some point it’s not always about playing hard. It’s about executing and finishing games. So guys like Damian [Lillard] and I and CJ [McCollum], we have to step up, try to weather the storm, and kind of take the rest of the guys with us. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen tonight, but it’s all a part of the learning process, but, at some point, we’re going to have to close out games like this.