Games this week- Vs. ORL, @WAS, @CHA
Vs. ORL (Final Score 109-115 ORL)
On Friday night, the Blazers were looking to build off their impressive win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. After the first five minutes of the game we realized that it is easier said than done with this Trail Blazers team. The Orlando raced out to an 18-1 advantage and kept the lead the entire first half. It was disappointing to say the least, but at least Damian Lillard got going early and ended the half with 17 points; albeit Lillard needed 14 shots to get there (7-14). C.J had a great couple of games to start the month, but he only managed 5 points in the first half being guarded by Aaron Gordon. The Blazers took a four point lead in the second half, but that was erased in a matter of minutes by two Ibaka threes. It was a disappointing loss for the Blazers, but many think they can learn and build on that performance.
@WAS (Final Score 101-120 WAS)
After being embarrassed by the Magic on Friday, the Blazers got to play in D.C on an MLK day matinee against the Wizards (a team who has won 11 in a row at home). The Wizards came out clicking and jumped out to a 10-0 lead before the Blazers could wake up. When the Blazers pulled close, the Wizards decided to go hard and found themselves on a 22-2 run to end the first quarter! While Wall and Beal had good games, they weren't the only problem for this hapless Blazers team. Kelly Oubre Jr. and Markieff Morris. The Wizards seemed to make all their 3 pointers and they shot 25 free throws, and that effectively sealed the game. In a game the Blazers could have used to get back on track, they found themselves in an even darker place as even fans are losing hope.
@CHA (85-107 CHA)
Just two nights ago, the Blazers found themselves on the road against a struggling Charlotte team who were on a five game losing streak and just came off a demoralizing loss to Isaiah Thomas and the Boston Celtics. With all the stars alligned, the Blazers whiffed again and found themselves losing by 20 for the sixth time of the season (worst loss last year was by 16). The game started off well enough with the Blazers leading by three after one, but the Hornets were done fooling around. They beat the Blazers by 11 in the second quarter and went into halftime with an 8 point lead. In the third quarter the Blazers got themselves back in the game only being down seven, but the Hornets ended any of the Blazers remaining hopes as they started the fourth quarter on a 9-0 run. It was just one of those nights with Roy Hibbert having a season high in points (16), and having a bad alley-oop attempt go in the basket itself. If theres one things the Blazers and the fans want after this game it is for the efficiency and consistency of Damian Lillard to get back up to his normal standards.
News & Rumors-
Damian stays quiet-
When it comes to the Trail Blazers, everybody knows that when there is something to say (either positively or negatively), Damian Lillard will say it. He's said that the Blazers "suck right now" after a loss in Houston earlier in the year and has not been afraid to speak up for the benefit of the team. Apparently during their film session after their loss to Washington Coach Stotts let the players do the talking. It was reported that Damian didn't speak as he was "letting his teammates say what they had to say as he always says everything". It was an interesting story, but it's strange that with the team in a tailspin, Damian did not say anything at the meeting.
Festus Ezelis weird behavior-
After their loss to the Magic, it was reported that Festus Ezeli was saying goodbye to his teammates for some odd reason, it was also reported that he would not go on the four game road swing with the team. Nobody knows what is going on outside of the Blazers and the media. The media can't report it so you know it must be a private or personal matter. Overall it's a weird situation with Ezeli, but things should be revealed in due time. If you want to read more on this situation, Oliver Maroney wrote a great piece for basketballinsiders.com; go check it out!
Coming up next-
Over the coming week, the Blazers will find themselves playing against "The Process" in Philadelphia and the Celtic in Boston before coming home to face the Lakers for the third time this month. This next stretch will be difficult for the Blazers with the way they've been playing of late, but I believe the Blazers can win their home game against the Lakers. Last week I predicted them to go 2-1, but they instead went 0-3. Hopefully they prove me wrong this week! My prediction for the week: 1-2
Player of the Week- Damian Lillard: 25.7 pts, 4 ast, 7.3 reb
Totals(Opponent Total)- Points: 295(342) Assists: 59(75) Rebounds: 138(147)