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The first quarter of the season: bullet points

One in four games of the Trail Blazers' 2022–'23 season are on the books. Below are links to analyses of all the completed games to date, followed by a brief description of each. The analyses in their turn include links to the BEdge staff recaps and analyses for each game.

Game 1 at SAC: Adjustments galore, many of them effective

Blazers win 115-108

The Blazers stumble out of a mystifying preseason to play ultimately coherent basketball. Damian Lillard suffers one of the poorest nights statistically of his career to date as he settles for being the main off-ball man on offense. The Blazers promptly establish an aggressive mindset. Shaedon Sharpe (in a short shift) shows every sign of being NBA-capable now.

Game 2 vs. PHX: Making it count

Blazers win 111-113 in overtime

The Blazers leave no doubt of their ability to be clutch. Damian Lillard scores 41 points.

Game 3 at LAL: Same cake, different recipe

Blazers win 106-104

Damian Lillard scores 41 points again, on a short rest period even. Josh Hart pulls down 16 rebounds. The starting guards attempt to guard LeBron James, but at least they make the attempt.

Game 4 vs. DEN: Smithereens

Blazers win 110-135

Anfernee Simons goes thermonuclear, putting the game over the top for the Blazers late in the third quarter with six consecutive made three-pointers that added to a game total of 29 points. Ant's performance steals all the oxygen in Rip City.

Game 5 vs. MIA: Shoe's on the other foot

Blazers lose 98-119

Miami overwhelms the Blazers with experience, size, and preparation. Damian Lillard suffers an injury to his calf, which blows open what had been a close game.

Game 6 vs. HOU: Taking it easy

Blazers win 111-125

The Blazers beat up the Rockets sort of like the Heat did to the Blazers in the previous game, though the Blazers have a bit more fun with it. Shaedon Sharpe sparks all the cylinders. Sloppy passing and the resulting turnovers start to grow annoying.

Game 7 vs. MEM: Failing to make the connection

Blazers lose 111-106

Ja Morant shows his steady hand once again. The Grizzlies, having already done for a while many of the things the Blazers are working to master, outplay the home team for most of the game. Nurk nails three three-pointers in another outstanding performance. The following evening the team indicates to media that Anfernee Simons' presence on the bench will be a game-time decision, due to a vaguely specified left foot injury.

Game 8 at PHX: The best defense is a good… defense

Blazers win 106-104

Jerami Grant is the hero of the hour in an unexpected win, on 30 points scored including the game-winning jumper. The Last Two Minutes Report for the game declares that Grant's make was preceded by an incorrectly uncalled traveling violation. Justise Winslow shows up with his best performance of the season so far.

Game 9 at PHX: Gracious, on the whole

Blazers lose 82-102

The Suns work to push the scoring burden down the rotation, and enjoy superlative success. Drew Eubanks gets assessed for the Blazers' first flagrant foul of the season. Trendon Watford takes the court for the first time this season, and does not disappoint. Shaedon Sharpe is the team's second-highest scorer. For all the firsts, the game itself is pretty forgettable, with lessons pending at the final horn.

Game 10 at MIA: Ahead when it mattered

Blazers win 110-107

The Blazers came out strong, then got overwhelmed by Miami's size and experience until the officials swallowed their whistles in the fourth quarter. Nurkic and Ant kept the Blazers in the game, but Josh Hart won it with a corner three on an assist from a hard-charging Damian Lillard, as time expired.

Game 11 at CHA: Showed up late, but showed up

Blazers win 105-95

Coach Billups leaves Nurkic and Grant off of the game-time roster, clawing away enough minutes to give Trendon Watford his first major game appearance and more run to Shaedon Sharpe meanwhile. The Blazers show some smoothed-off edges on offense, with respect to everything except taking care of the ball. Bereft of Hayward and Ball, Charlotte stays in the game only for so long as the Blazers—particularly Damian Lillard—allow them to.

Game 12 at NOP: Venerunt, viderunt, vicerunt

Blazers win 106-95

The Blazers show up the analytics again, continuing on their best early-season march in more than 20 years. Dame is sat along with Nurk, upsetting the Pelicans' plans to excellent effect. Constantly bothered by Blazers hands, C.J. McCollum is rendered quiet and Brandon Ingram fouls out. The "big" men stay engaged for every one of their minutes on the court, grinding New Orleans down well enough to get the W.

Game 13 at DAL: Fighting 'til the fight's all gone

Blazers lose 112-117

The Mavs want for Brunson, but on this evening the Blazers leave Jusuf Nurkic and Justise Winslow on the bench, depriving the team of its best defenders against Luka Doncic. Luka seizes the opportunity and posts a triple-double, but not before the game goes back-and-forth and almost to the Blazers.

Game 14 vs. SAS: A throwaway game

Blazers win 110-117

Jakob Poeltl. Tired Blazers. Jakob Poeltl. Broken passes for turnovers. Jakob Poeltl. Pop's a fantastic teacher. Jakob Poeltl. How the hell did the Blazers win this one, again? Jakob Poeltl for 31/14/5 on 14-17 shooting in 32 minutes, ermagherd.

Game 15 vs. BKN: Long and cold was the night

Blazers lose 109-107

The Blazers needed to start the game by bombing away and removing all doubt. Instead they just bombed, finally pulling even at the end of the first quarter. The rest of the game was generally close, saved for Brooklyn by bursts of hot shooting from unlikely pairs of hands—particularly those of Yuta Watanabe and Joe Harris.

Game 16 vs. UTA: Many corporals, few sergeants

Blazers lose 118-113 (first consecutive loss of the season)

Utah arrives surprisingly energized and ready to kill another giant. After the first quarter the game follows a beat of Utah-lead-Portland-rally, until Jordan Clarkson shuts down the final rally with some lights-out shooting. Dame is at best bothered, at worst reinjured, by continuing calf problems that presumably contribute to abysmal shooting.

Game 17 at MIL: Unpredictable only in the details

Blazers lose 111-119

Dame is absent, cancelling out any advantage to be gained by Khris Middleton's inactive status. The Blazers continue the struggle to maneuver their offense around greater length. Giannis does Giannis stuff. Ant does Ant stuff. As games go, this one was a tolerable way to kill two and a half hours in front of the television, but surprised nobody.

Game 18 at CLE: We've seen this movie, a little

Blazers lose 96-114

Drew Eubanks matches the scoring of the entire Cavs bench in this one, but it doesn't matter because the Blazers' starters can never manage all five to stay on like their counterparts playing for Cleveland. The result is a bloodbath like the one that failed to materialize in Milwaukee.

Game 19 at NYK: Demonstrating the value of touch and go drills, at an elite level

Blazers win 132-129 in overtime

Jalen Brunson did not save the day, because Jerami Grant did it instead with able assistance from Anfernee Simons. Grant's career turn lasted throughout the game, and set new franchise and personal records for free throws taken and made in a single game.

Game 20 at BKN: Running it back… for want of a better idea

Blazers lose 97-111

Playing adequate basketball against a team with the Nets' degree of talent is an accomplishment, especially for a team with an undersized roster like the Blazers. So the Blazers were adequate for three quarters, but got outshot to start the fourth quarter. Things got much, much worse, one possession at a time, from there.

Game 21 vs. LAC: Almost there

Blazers lose 118-112

Nobody was genuinely awful in the first half, leading to vaguely mushy defense and a close game at halftime. Then first Portland blew up on the back of hot shooting from Grant and Simons, then Norman Powell returned the favor in the fourth quarter. Jerami Grant fouled out with four minutes left, depriving the Blazers of a defensive linchpin and ultimately the victory.