The Portland Trail Blazers were unable to overcome a sluggish start, which ultimately resulted in a 20-point loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. Outside of Damian Lillard’s 30 points, there isn’t much for Portland fans to be excited about after this contest. Before we all settle into our Thanksgiving Day routines, let’s take a second look at how Philadelphia was able to run away with this one.
The Blazers started ice cold from the field, missing their first 13 attempts. Philadelphia was unable to fully capitalize on the sluggish start by Portland, but still built a 16-point lead through the first seven minutes of the first quarter. Shabazz Napier finally broke the Blazers’ shooting drought at 5:01 with an open jumper. Joel Embiid protected the Sixers’ lead at the free throw line, helping Philadelphia finish the first quarter up 26-14.
Ben Simmons, Robert Covington, and Dario Saric got Philadelphia’s offense going to start the second quarter. After that trio scored seven straight, Terry Stotts used timeout to stop the bleeding. Despite the 76ers’ abundance of length in the paint—Jusuf Nurkic capped off Portland’s own seven-point run with a quick hook shot with 6:00 remaining in the quarter. Damian Lillard roared to life from beyond the arc in the latter part of the period, sinking 4 three-pointers, but the Sixers were able to keep pace with a three-point barrage of their own. Portland headed to the locker room down 50-37.
The second half was an exhibition of futility for both teams. The 76ers committed foolish turnovers; the Blazers missed open jump shots. Nurkic finally broke the standstill by sinking a shot in the paint at the 6:25 mark, cutting the Sixers lead to 12 points. Lillard added 7 in the final three minutes of the quarter. That got the Blazers within single digits. Then Embiid scored six in a row to squash the rally. The Blazers finished the third still down by 13, 70-57.
Portland’s offensive woes continued into the fourth as Philadelphia ran away with it. The Sixers scored 31 in the final frame. Portland would have needed 45 in the period to come back. That didn’t happen.
Portland’s slow start set the tone for the entire game. The Blazers were unable to overcome the long arms of the 76ers defense, and they couldn’t hit open shots when they finally arose. After missing their first 13 attempts from the field—Portland was lucky to only be down by 16. [ed. This is the Star Trek series equivalent of saying, “Well, at least it wasn’t as bad as Enterprise.”] As Portland’s outside shooting continued to struggle, Philadelphia packed the paint—ending all hope for the second unit’s offensive effort.
The Blazers had no answer for Joel Embiid. Led by his 28 points, Philadelphia outscored Portland 42-to-26 in the paint. Jusuf Nurkic appeared to be a step too slow, and Ed Davis didn’t have the length to stymie Embiid’s face-up jumpers.
The Sixers entered this game leading the NBA in turnovers, and they lived up to their reputation with 18 in this contest. Unfortunately for Portland, they were only one turnover shy of Philadelphia’s final total. This has been an issue in recent weeks...an unwelcome one.
- Damian Lillard was able to carry the Blazers within single digits on a few occasions in this game, but his 30-point performance was ultimately wasted in a blowout. On the plus side, his 6-for-13 night from beyond the arc will help inch his 3-point percentage closer to 30 percent for the month.
- CJ McCollum was ice cold from outside. Philadelphia completely smothered him every time he took the ball inside. 1-for-14 shooting is a number we’d all soon like to forget.
- Shabazz Napier was the only bench player to score more than four points, and he was one of only three Blazers that made it to double-digits in the scoring column. Look for coach Terry Stotts to continue to utilize his three guard lineup with Napier performing well.
- Maurice Harkless’ single point isn’t even the most alarming thing about his night against the 76ers. Moe failed to register a rebound, assist, or a steal in his 18 minutes against Philadelphia.
Our friends at Liberty Ballers will have plenty to be thankful for at dinner tomorrow.
The Blazers will return to action on Friday with an early game against the Brooklyn Nets.
To make sure something good comes out of this night, here’s a green bean casserole recipe:
- 1⁄3 stick butter
- 1⁄3 cup diced onions
- 1⁄2 cup fresh cut mushrooms
- 2 cups sliced green beans
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1 can cream of mushroom soup
- 1 can french-fried onion rings
- 1 cup of cooked bacon (chopped)
- 1⁄2 cup grated cheddar
Melt the butter. Simmer the onions and mushrooms in the butter. Boil green beans in the chicken broth for 10 minutes and drain. Leave the cheddar out and mix the other ingredients. Stir. Pour into a greased baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees, then top the casserole with the cheddar and bake until cheese is melted.
—Steve / @SteveDHoops / BEdgeSteve@gmail.com