The Trail Blazers utilized the improved play from their second unit to snap a two-game losing skid against the Raptors on Friday. Led by Zach Collins, Portland’s reserves produced 58 points in the victory. After the game, coach Terry Stotts presented five game balls to the Blazers’ supporting cast.
The Athletic’s Jason Quick described the presentation on Saturday:
A ball went to Seth Curry, who scored a season-high 13 points one game after being benched. A ball went to Zach Collins, whose 16 points were the most he scored since Oct. 29. Nik Stauskas, who wondered aloud which ball was the real game ball, earned his keepsake after scoring 13 points. A ball was handed to Meyers Leonard, who hit both of his shots, and also to Evan Turner, who had 12 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists.
Turner explained that the ceremony was likely in response to the second unit’s strong response after some tough love from the coaching staff.
“At one point, (Stotts) was hinting that we weren’t keeping leads,” Turner said. “Then last game he just ripped all of us, saying we need to keep the lead up.”
Despite a strong performance against the Toronto, Portland’s second unit ranks No. 21 in combined points per game.
The Blazers’ bench will get another chance to prove themselves against a deep Clippers squad on Monday.
You can read Quick’s full post on the subject at The Athletic (subscription required).