Absent Damian Lillard for the second straight game to end a 5-game road trip, the Portland Trail Blazers got thoroughly walloped by the New Orleans Pelicans. Jason Quick of CSNNW caught up with CJ McCollum, Meyers Leonard, and Allen Crabbe after the game.
It wasn’t very good since we went 0 and what? Five? Five games? It wasn’t very good, but it’s part of the NBA, you know, getting through struggles, getting through losses. That’s where you really see what players are made of—where you really see what a team is made of, because it’s not always going to be great. There’s not always going to be 5-0 trips or 4-1 trips, and it’s not always going to be great times, so that’s when you really see what people are made of.
What did you see as your guys’ fall tonight?
I think a combination of a lot of things. They hit a lot of tough shots, a lot of guys that don’t necessarily shoot well hit threes tonight, which hurts. Defensively… we did a good job early in the game defending in the long shot clocks and I think both teams were missing shots that they normally make early on, and then I think in the second quarter they went on a run, and then third quarter it was similar, and then we weren’t able to get under that 15-16 point cushion that they had.
Meyers, did it feel good to see some shots go down finally?
Well, yeah. Of course it does. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a win and we didn’t necessarily play too well. That’s obvious. You know, when you lose a guy like Damian and CJ for a game, that definitely takes a toll, but guys like Tim [Frazier], Allen—a little bit more of an increased role, even though he’s been playing really well—it’s tough. Damian is our leader, but that’s no excuse. We still have to have principles that we have to stick to offensively and defensively, try to take care of the ball a little better, run sets, and play in transition with better execution.
Again, it’s funny, you know, coach comes in and says ‘It’s not one thing,’—on both ends. It’s just subtle, little things here and there. A miss on a screen leading to a play that, if we had got us a good screen to start the play, now maybe we get a cleaner hit on the pick-and-roll for example, and then now they break down and we can skip the ball to the weak side for an open three, or we’re playing in transition and we go to set a flare into a ball screen into something else and, you know, there’s just little things. Or being at the nail on defense, or doing better verticality rather than taking a foul.
There’s little things that, again, add up, but we have to continue to be confident in what we have in place. The coaches have done a great job with their scouts, with their attention to detail, and for the most part, honestly, the players have too. It just doesn’t seem like it, which is frustrating.
Allen, How would you describe what happened out there?
We gave up a lot of points. Defensively, we weren’t as good as we should have been. Gave up 115 points. That’s too much, and it seemed like we struggled from the field. We had a lot of good looks and we were executing well, the ball just didn’t go in for us.
Where do you guys go from here? I mean, I know you guys have Cleveland next, but how can you guys regroup mentally?
I think these two days off will be good for us. Get our minds right, come back and, you know, we had a close one against Cleveland, and obviously they have Kyrie [Irving] back and some others, but at this point, man, just got to play hard. Just got to take each game one game at a time and just clean up the things that we need to clean up.
One of the big things on this trip was turnovers and the ability of your opponents to convert them into points. Is there anything you guys can do to remedy that?
Just take better care of the ball. That’s all you really can say. I mean, the little things that we’re messing up on, we’re better than. Defensively we’re better than that. We execute better than that. I guess it was just one of those nights, man. Been a long road trip. It’s not an excuse, but things just didn’t go our way tonight.
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