The Portland Trail Blazers fell behind early on Tuesday night, shooting poorly against the Chicago Bulls. The Trail Blazers starters would ultimately combine for 19-61 (31.1 percent) from the field after an 0-11 start, but the damage was done. Jimmy Butler (27 points) and the Bulls ran away with it. CSN NW brings us the post-game interviews.
We started the game off kind of slow. We weren’t making shots. I feel like it was just our offense. I mean, defensively—I feel like it would have went differently if we had shots. We got good looks, we were doing things, getting to our spots that we usually knock down shots at, but it just wasn’t our night offensively.
Even in some of your wins you’ve been kind of hit and miss as a team. Do you have an uneasy feeling about the way you’re playing right now?
Not really. I mean, all the things that we’re not doing good right now are correctable, so it’s not like it’s a drastic thing. It’s just about us going out there and doing it, you know? Just identifying the things that we’re not doing right and just really changing them. That’s what it all boils down to. It’s not like it’s anything out of the ordinary that we can’t fix. It’s just something that we have to do and just do better; put more energy out there to it.
Do you have a handle on what those areas are?
Defensive rebounding obviously is a big thing for us; letting the team get second chance points—that’s big. Sometimes, you know, we give up transition points and, like I said, just, it’s the NBA. You can’t really dig a hole that deep and try to come back, man. I mean, it got ugly kind of quick, so just got to give credit to them tonight.
AC, what do you guys need to do on this road trip coming up here to kind of shake off this loss?
Just try to get that first one really. Get the road trip going good for us. What, it’s a five-game road trip I believe? So we’re going to be on the road for a long time. I feel like just us focusing and really cracking down on what Houston is doing really well and take that away from them, try to get a win, start the road trip off I think will be a good positive for us.
Is it concerning that you only have one win against a winning team? I think you’re 1-4.
Against the winning teams?
I don’t think it’s a concern for us. It’s early, still, and on some of those nights it wasn’t going for us offensively. Like I said, it’s a long season, so (we will) just try to get on the positive side.
It was rough, man. I think we started 2-13 or something like that, 0-11. It’s hard to win when you do that. After that, you got to play pretty much a perfect game; especially the way thy came out.
You guys have been pretty up-and-down so far this season. Can you put your finger on why you guys haven’t found a groove?
Um… I think sometimes we make shots, sometimes we don’t. I mean, that’s why I think we need to tighten up on defense a little bit so we don’t have to rely so much on making shots. Something we’ve been working at and we just got to figure it out.
Was this just one of those nights, Moe, or was it a matter of Chicago playing well?
They played well. They did. But also, we missed a lot of shots. We just got to do a better job. Tonight, we just couldn’t make shots.
How can you guys become a better rebounding team?
You just got to do it. Just box guys out and go get it. It’s just really a matter of who wants it more. We just got to want it.
We didn’t get off to a great start offensively. We got a lot of great looks and the ball wasn’t going in. When the ball’s not going in, you got to go to the other end and defend. I thought we also had some really good defensive possessions, we just couldn’t come up with the ball. That’s been an issue for us so far, early in the season, is coming up with defensive rebounds.
Knowing they were a really good offensive rebounding team, we allowed them to come in and play to their strength and our weakness. That area showed. They took advantage of it and we kind of just dug ourselves a hole and then played even from there. Once we got in that hole, we couldn’t dig out. We knew coming in that they were a team with a lot of vets. They’ve all played on successful teams and they know how to play, so once they got that lead, they kept executing and got their confidence up. They just kept at it and we never got in our groove. We never got to the level, defensively, that we needed to to give ourselves a chance in this game.
Why do you think the defensive rebounding has been an issue this season?
I’m not sure. Sometimes it’s breakdowns on the perimeter and then our bigs got to come over and help and their man ends up getting the rebound; sometimes we’re just out of position; sometimes guys are getting pushed in the back; sometimes the other team just wants it more. You know, they tip the ball out, it gets chased down. It’s something that we got to be a lot better about. You know, you give NBA teams multiple opportunities to score the ball, they gon’ score the ball. It’s just something that we got to be a lot better at.
You guys have one win against a winning team. I think you’re 1-4. Is that concerning?
I mean, we lost to the Clippers twice and I think they the best team in the league right now. We lost to Golden State, probably the strongest offensive team in the league. Then tonight, right? So I think they’re, I wouldn’t say ‘acceptable’ losses, but I don’t think they’re bad losses. I think it just shows how far we have to go, how much better we need to get, to be able to compete with these teams.
Like I said last year a bunch of times: ‘Who are we to say we’re concerned?’ We aren’t beating really good teams, and they’re doing things that we aren’t doing. They’re playing at a level that we’re not playing at, so I’m just happy that we can say that we’re learning through a lot of things right now that we’re not doing well, but still finding ways to win games. It’s much more fun being 7-5 than 2-10.
Dame, at the beginning of the season when you addressed the team, you said ‘We can’t wait for things to fall into place. We can’t wait.’ That seems like that’s happening.
I don’t think we waiting for it to fall into place. I think we’re just not asserting ourselves and attacking what’s obviously an issue for us, but I don’t think that necessarily means we’re waiting. I think we just haven’t gotten better at it. Guys are trying, we’re competing, we’re trying to rebound, but it’s mistakes leading up to those situations like I just said—getting beat on the perimeter—and then we put ourselves in a bad position to be better at it.
So it’s kind of a build up thing, but I don’t doubt the effort. I don’t doubt that guys are trying to go out there and get after it and be better about those things. We just haven’t gone out there and showed it consistent enough. We’ve done it in spurts, but I don’t think we sitting back and waiting for it to just happen. We got smart enough guys that know it’s not just going to happen.