Good morning Blazer fans, Antonio here. Today’s recap got very interesting and very dark last night at 11:08 PM when we learned that C.J. McCollum has suffered a hairline fracture in his leg.
This news certainly cripples the Blazer’s season and puts many playoff aspirations to rest. The Spurs game may have been a foreshadowing of the rest of the season, or it could be a turning point. Either way, the 125–104 loss can show us a lot.
Hood Steps Up, but Can He Keep Starting Job?
Through the first 13 games of the season, Rodney Hood had scored 18 total points and wasn’t looking like his old self. That all changed Monday. 21 points on 8–11 shooting will help your averages.
Hood provided the SG firepower to keep things close throughout the first three quarters. What’s left to see now is if he stays starting with the recent McCollum news.
Coach Terry Stotts may have seen Hood as a short term fix, but if Hood’s scoring gets back to form, I like seeing him off the bench as a shot creator and Gary Trent taking the catch-and-shoot starting role.
New Look Bench Rotation
Stotts had several different directions to go on his bench with two of his usual starters out. I believe that the new rotation comes down to three players’ new roles: Harry Giles, Nassir Little, and Anfernee Simons.
These three were fighting for minutes before the injuries and now will have to battle for a guaranteed rotation spot. In the Spurs game, none thoroughly impressed me.
Simons finished 2-7, the most disappointing of the fighters, and Giles and Little struggled to box out. I think that the results will come with time, but time is not the luxury it once was.
Being a @trailblazers fan: https://t.co/YOuVhljBGL pic.twitter.com/hytTRJ2Gur
So, What Next?
The Blazers are crippled with injuries — so, it’s a normal year for Portland basketball. Seriously, you have to feel for these guys. As Dame says, “Every year, it’s something different.”
The Blazers will need to step up if they want to have even a chance of contending. It’ll be tough, but any team with Damian Lillard is a threat.
That being said, Dame cannot be playing 38 minutes a game as he has been. It’s not sustainable especially with so little rest time between games. We’ll see if Stotts and Olshey really trust Simons as his backup PG, or if the rotation gets changed up from here.
There is no time for weeping in the Western Conference. It is a season-long grind. Up next is a doubleheader with the Memphis Grizzlies, on a five-game winning streak with Ja Morant returning.
This will be the defining moment of the season, to see if this team can step up after facing so much adversity. We’ll have to find out how it goes.
Antonio Arredondo is a journalism major at George Fox University. His Blazer recaps also appear on his blog here. Follow him on Twitter @thearreman.
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