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Ringer: “Blazers Have Thrived in the Clutch”

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The Ringer gave a ringing endorsement of the Blazers fourth quarter play this season.

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at New York Knicks Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Trail Blazers currently sit on top of their division, and solid fourth-quarter play is a large factor in that. Haley O’Shaughnessy endorsed the Blazers strong clutch play in a piece for The Ringer.

For years, the Blazers’ praise has been all about their elite offense. But in a reversal, the focus is now on the team’s clutch lock-down defense in the final quarter:

The Blazers’ play on the defensive end has been their Achilles’ heel the past two seasons, but in addition to having the third-best defense in the league, they give up 24.4 points in the fourth, the sixth-lowest in the league, and allow the fewest 3-point attempts in the final quarter.

The Blazers have given up an average of 98.8 points per game, trailing only the Boston Celtics and the San Antonio Spurs in defensive scoring. Opponents are shooting a league-worst 43.3 percent against them.

Portland will perhaps have another chance to show their clutch skills Saturday night, when they host Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans at the Moda Center.