After an up-and-down start to the season, the Trail Blazers entered last week with a pivotal road trip to the Eastern United States. The Memphis Grizzlies, Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets, Washington Wizards and New York Knicks all lined up to take on Damian Lillard and company. Jusuf Nurkic made his impact felt in a Black Friday thriller against the Nets, CJ McCollum played his part in a comeback win against the Wizards—but it’s Lillard who was the steadying hand through it all.
Kurt Helin of Pro Basketball Talk breaks down the week that was for the PBT Extra Player of the Week:
Quietly, the Portland Trail Blazers have put together the third best defense in the NBA so far this season. That’s the reason they are 13-8 and fourth in the Western Conference, and it’s the reason they went 3-1 last week all on the road (they were 4-1 on the road trip total).
Well, that and Damian Lillard, our PBT Extra Player of the Week.
Lillard and the Blazers get a chance to bounce back from a rough loss to Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks with a Saturday night tilt against the New Orleans Pelicans in the Moda Center.