Hello Blazer fans, Antonio here. The Blazers are rolling right now, no other way to put it. Offensively, the team is putting up historic numbers, and they’ve finally become watchable defensively.
Enes Kanter is feasting. Damian Lillard is scoring. Melo and Gary Trent are stepping in. Everyone is working together to push the Blazers into the fifth seed in the West. After a three point win in Dallas Sunday night, Portland has won six of their last seven games. Let’s take a deeper look.
Stars Shine in Texas
This Valentine’s Day my love for Damian Lillard grew even more. Coming off a subpar 20 points against Cleveland, Lillard bounced back with a 34 point, 11 assist night. After only making one three over his previous seven quarters of action, Dame hit five treys, including the go-ahead bucket with 30 seconds remaining.
On the other side, Luka Doncic proved that he is a force to be reckoned with. 44 points, seven rebounds, nine assists, 14/20 shooting, and at 21 years old! Despite their slow 13-15 start to the season, the Mavs are going to be a contender in the West for a long time. Watching him, while frustrating, was still impressive. The battle of star players is always entertaining, especially when Portland comes out on top.
Doncic may impress, but Lillard has been playing at an MVP level these past few games. Knowing Dame, he’ll have another fantastic game in store for Tuesday.
Turnovers Dictate Game
The Blazers are not a team that commits turnovers. They currently sit in 30th place in turnovers per game, good for last place. This ball security was thrown to the wayside in the first half as Portland turned it over nine times. The Mavericks scored 14 points off of those nine turnovers and took a three point lead into halftime.
Then came the Blazers terrific third quarter. 45 points. 2 turnovers. Portland was scoring at will, and the offense was humming, outsourcing the Mavericks by 15 points. The team shot 70% from the field and 51% from three in the third quarter. Good, smart passes by Damian Lillard helped keep the ball safe.
In the fourth, the ball security was thrown to the wayside, as the Blazers only scored 18 points and committed 4 turnovers. It may not have cost them the game, but this Portland team is at its worst when they are sloppy. Thankfully, that’s rare, but we saw a few glimpse of it on Sunday
RoCo’s Big Show
Now this is the Robert Covington we expected to see for Portland. 100% three point shooting, 15 points, five rebounds, and four steals. RoCo was everywhere for the Blazers, and his versatility kept him in the game for a team-high 36 minutes.
These performances will be greatly needed. With Harry Giles out of action for Tuesday’s game against the Thunder, the Blazers have no backup center. Covington may need to step in and be a center, just like he did in Houston. Giles should not be out for long, but this option is tantalising for Portland.
Covington has been playing at the level of Al-Farouq Aminu to start this season. Aminu is a good defender with spotty shooting. Covington can be more than that. It’s no coincidence that in every one of his great games, the Blazers win. Hopefully, his performance will continue on Tuesday.
Next Up: Portland travels to Oklahoma to face the Thunder on the 16th.