The Clippers deployed one of the most aggressive pressure-based trapping defenses the Blazers have seen all season. The only real comparisons the Blazers can fall back to were late season match-ups with the Boston Celtics and...the Los Angeles Clippers.
When asked about the defense he faced in Game 1 Damian Lillard didn't hold back on his observations.
"[The Clippers] trapped me even harder and are trying to take me out more than they do in the regular season," Lillard said at Blazers practice on Tuesday. "At one point, I would've had to force up like a crazy, deep shot to get an attempt. I was trying. I was running fast. I was trying to turn the corner and it was like, 'A defender is here; a defender is there.' It was tough to get an attempt up."
Coach Terry Stotts echoed Lillard's sentiments, but it was again Lillard who came to forward to offer his counter to the Clippers' aggressive game plan.
"I think that's the adjustment you make," Lillard said. "We've got a lot of sets where I can still handle the ball but I can get rid of it and be the guy coming off screens and flares and pindowns and stuff like that. Obviously, that's what we'll have to get to because they're not going to let me be myself in pick-and-rolls at the level that I would like to."
Arnovitz goes on to break down the implications of the Blazers' role players and their shortcomings in Game 1, and what they can do to rectify them in Game 2; particularly highlighting Al-Farouq Aminu's poor shooting night and Mason Plumlee's ineffectiveness in the pick-and-roll game.
The big takeaway that Arnovitz is driving home is that Lillard and the Blazers need to find a way to get back in their motion offense. If that means mixing in some off-ball play for Lillard, and more primary duties for CJ McCollum, then so be it.
To get the full rundown of how the Trail Blazers may attack tonight's game, and to get some insight into how the Trail Blazers themselves viewed the Clippers' performance in Game 1, be sure to click through to the article, here.