The Portland Trail Blazers tipped off against the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday and struggled from that moment onward, losing control in the first half of play, in which they scored only 34 points.
They went on to lose the game 105-95 while opposing center Joel Embiid notched 32 points in 33 minutes.
Trail Blazers head coach Chauncey Billups was pleased with the team’s defense but noted that turnovers were too much of a problem to overcome early on.
Their physicality really bothered us in the first half. We turned it over, you know, the most glaring thing is we turned it over a lot in the first half, they got out, they got going; second half we only turned it over four times. Gave ourselves a lot more chance. You know, the turnovers they’re just deflating. They just deflate you. And not only does it deflate you, it energizes their group. You on the road, you turn the team over, you scoring kind of easily, and I thought that’s what summed up our first half. Then second half, you know, we did a better job defensively, we got our hands on some deflections on some basketballs and we got out and I thought Dame kind of got going a little bit. We kind of started getting downhill and creating opportunities for everybody. We just dug too deep of a hole.
Turnovers (among other things) continue to be the Trail Blazers’ Achilles heel. The backcourt of Damian Lillard and Anfernee Simons accounted for 11 of the team’s 15 TOs last night. Portland needs to find ways to better protect the ball if they are going to find success in the second half of the season. They currently average 15.5 turnovers per game, the fifth-worst mark in the league.