A lot to talk about after the latest game against the Denver Nuggets. Let’s see where to start…oh how about where everything stopped; at the rim compliments of Robin Lopez.
Seven blocked shots, delivered by RoLo. Seven. Sure he fouled out with 8 seconds left in the game, but by that point it didn’t matter, Portland was heading for the win column. When coaches tell their players to leave everything on the court, that is the type of effort they are talking about. Lopez more than made up for the defensive gap left open with Aldridge’s absence. There was a period in the game where guards simply stopped driving to the hoop so long as Lopez was off of the bench, so in reality his blocked shots created a 6th defender.
On the offensive end of the court, it was the young thriller, Damian Lillard, (sorry Mr.Barton) putting on a show again, providing Portland with 31 points, 9 assists, and 7 rebounds. It’s common place now to bring his name up when talking about who lead the team to victory. Losing Aldridge has certainly been felt, however Lillard is doing an excellent job of carrying this team.
The Blazers had built their lead all the way up to 18, and Terry Stotts would have loved to get a chance to coast to a win, considering he and the team have another big game the following day. Unfortunately Denver managed to get Lopez into foul trouble, and just pounded the glass with JJ Hickson, who brought down a career high 25 rebounds, including 14 on offense. His scrappy play that Portland is very much accustomed to seeing from him is what kept Denver alive, up until Nic Batum drilled a three that would essentially ice the game.
So as the Blazers rest their heads tonight, their final thoughts before sleep should be on rebounding. They were destroyed in this department, but every game is an opportunity for improvement, and if any team will take advantage, it will be these guys.