The Portland Trail Blazers have started the 2021-22 campaign with a solid record at 5-5.
However, all five of those wins have come at home, and the team has started 0-4 on the road to begin the season, not a great statistic when you consider the fact that the Blazers are about to embark on a four-game road trip beginning tomorrow against the Los Angeles Clippers.
With Indiana’s win in Sacramento tonight, the NBA’s only winless teams on road are Houston (0-6), Detroit (0-4) and Portland (0-4). Blazers start 4-game trip Tuesday that hits Clippers, Suns, Rockets and Nuggets.— Jason Quick (@jwquick) November 8, 2021
Since that tweet, the Houston Rockets played one more road game, another loss, dropping them to 0-7 on the road this year. The Detroit Pistons and the Rockets being winless on the road isn’t surprising when considering that the two teams sit a combined 2-17 on the season, leaving the Blazers as a clear outlier in this group. This is troubling for the Blazers, especially as they have a four-game road trip next up on their schedule. The question then remains, what has caused these early season struggles, and more importantly, what can be done to fix them?
With a much more difficult schedule coming up, playing the Clippers, Phoenix Suns, Rockets, and Denver Nuggets, righting the ship is a must for a Blazers team hoping to make the playoffs for an ninth straight season.
There is always some amount of luck associated with winning games in the NBA, and for the Blazers there fortunately seems to be a bit of bad luck associated with this skid.
So far, the Blazers have shot just under 31% from three so far on the road, which is a less than ideal number. Compare that to the almost 39% that the Blazers are shooting from three at home, and a clear disparity makes itself known. Part of that comes from the early season struggles of Portland’s leading three-point shooter Damian Lillard.
Lillard seemed to find his shot in the team’s most recent game against the Lakers where Lillard connected on 6/14 from deep, marking just the second time he has exceeded his three point percentage from a season ago. If Lillard continues to trend in the right direction, Portland’s three point percentage is sure to go up, which only means good things on the horizon.
For now there seems to be no reason to panic, as the other four leading three-point shot takers, CJ McCollum, Anfernee Simons, Robert Covington, and Norman Powell, are all currently above 40% for the season.
Most other stats seem to be too similar to be considered the root of the road struggles (save for a 30 turnover outlier that still artificially inflates the road turnover numbers), so it seems likely that this cold shooting on the road, and the impact it has had on the Blazers’ record, seems to be nothing but a blip on the radar that will almost definitely be sorted out on the upcoming road trip.