It had to end sometime. Damian Lillard’s red-hot-and-rolling stretch came to a screeching halt in Denver, where the Nuggets leveled the Blazers. The game was somehow even uglier than the score looks.
Through the second half, all I could do was hum a song.
- Back to Life, Back to Reality. After a stretch primarily caused from one superstar’s hot shooting (we’ll get to that), the Blazers came back to Earth when they had to find other ways to win. And then there’s the other end of the court. As always with Portland’s defense, Denver was wide open for shots in their comfort zone, and unlike a few recent opponents, had no problem hitting them.
- However Do You Want Me. Carmelo Anthony has become a key spark plug in Portland’s sometimes-sputtering engine; if he’s struggling, there are few backup options. Carmelo finished with 2 points on 0-5 shooting, and was rendered completely irrelevant. He looked unfortunately much like critics described before his signing.
- However Do You Need Me. After the hottest stretch of his (or any) NBA career, Damian Lillard just couldn’t find the magic tonight. Without his deep shooting and creativity to open the court, the rest of the team struggled to fill the vacuum. He had 21 points on 8-23 shooting.
- Take The Initiative. In the very extended garbage time, Gary Trent Jr had a few nice moments. In fact, until the very final minutes, only three Blazers scored in double figures: Lillard, CJ McCollum, and Trent, Jr.
The Blazers head home Thursday night for a date with the Spurs... but the NBA’s trade deadline arrives earlier that day (at Noon PST).