Blazer Banter

Practice Report: Meyers Leonard questionable vs. Utah

Meyers Leonard was wearing a wrap around his right foot during the media portion of the Trail Blazers’ Thursday practice in Tualatin. Terry Stotts said that Leonard hurt the foot in last night’s game against Phoenix and that he came to practice with a sore foot.

The Trail Blazers said that the injury did not require further evaluation and Leonard just needs to rest. Nevertheless, Leonard is questionable for tomorrow night’s game against the Utah Jazz in Boise, Idaho.

There were no updates on the status of Nicolas Batum (concussion), Dorell Wright (dislocated right middle finger) and Earl Watson (left calf contusion).

Stotts said he doesn’t know whether Batum or Leonard would travel with the team. Batum did however make appearance at the practice facility towards the end of practice.

Crabbe runs with first team

When the media were let into practice rookie Allen Crabbe, who has played well to start the preseason, was running through offensive sets with the first unit of Damian Lillard, Wesley Matthews, LaMarcus Aldridge and Robin Lopez.

However, head coach Terry Stotts said that it’s not an indication that he will start tomorrow.

“No, we just didn’t have a lot of bodies today so I picked him,” he said of Crabbe playing with the starters. “Victor was playing four with the second unit.”

Offense in need of improvement

After last night’s game Stotts said that he was not “too worried” about the Trail Blazers offense but did say that he wants to see the team show improvement.

“Offensively, we’ve got to be aggressive, our passing needs to improve,” Stotts said “Our execution was average. Again, (that’s) to be expected but we’re at the stage that we need to be showing some more improvement in those areas.”

Concerns for transition defense and playing against stretch-fours

Stotts also mentioned again the struggles the Trail Blazers had against power forwards who can spread the floor with three-point shooting.

Coach Stotts also was not happy with Portland’s defense in transition against Phoenix.

“Maybe we didn’t handle the situations with the spacing four man very well. We’re not going to face that in the next two games with Utah but that was certainly one take away,” Stotts said. “Defense in transition is still a concern. We had five or six breakdowns in transition defense, that’s going to give up 10 points. If you breakdown in transition defense, it’s usually an automatic two.”

Erik Gundersen

Erik Gundersen is the Trail Blazers beat reporter for The Columbian. He's a graduate of the Allen School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon in addition earning a degree in Spanish. He started writing about NBA Basketball for SwishScout.com before being the Sports Reporter Intern for TrailBlazers.com. He also fist-bumped with Kanye West once. Follow @BlazerBanter on twitter for more Blazers and NBA news.

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