While Damian Lillard tried to allay the fears of Portland Trail Blazer fans everywhere, it remains the case that the match-up against the Cleveland Cavaliers exposed some particular concerns for this roster, reports Jason Quick of the Athletic. Lillard attempted to assuage the worries that accompany a four-game slide after the game, and teammate Carmelo Anthony joined in.
Those flaws were made worse Saturday when the Blazers couldn’t hit open shots. Wide open shots. Carmelo Anthony, playing in his third game with Portland, missed all eight of his 3s, most of them without a defender within shouting distance.
“I would bet anything if we get those same type shots on any given night, we make them.” Anthony said. “I mean, the shots were just wide open; I know I was wide open.”
But there are some serious issues that the Blazers have to face: their ability to close out games, rebound the ball, and keep their play clean and consistent.
The latest cause for alarm was Saturday’s 110-104 loss to the young and struggling Cleveland Cavaliers, who one night earlier lost by 42 points in Dallas, then had to fly back to Cleveland to play the Blazers. For much of the second half, the Cavs held a double-digit lead.
The Blazers are 5-12 and have the second-worst record in the Western Conference and the fourth-worst record in the NBA. The unraveling on Saturday was familiar: Portland got killed on the boards (51-38), sent the opponent to the free throw line too much (32), and once again got inconsistent play up and down the roster.
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