Blazer Banter

Road Takes: Blazers, defense fall short again in exciting finish

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

For the second straight game, the Blazers lost on a last-second shot.

For the ninth straight game, the Blazers gave up over 100 points.

The Blazers themselves have been saying it for a few weeks now but Monday night’s loss served as another reminder that no matter the confidence and success Portland has late in games, you can’t win ‘em all if you can’t stop anybody.

The Blazers struggled offensively. Tyreke Evans, who hit the game-winner with 1.2 seconds left for New Orleans, scored 20 points off the bench while nobody on Portland’s bench reached double-figures.

But on a night when Ryan Anderson went 1-5 from three, the Blazers allowed the Pelicans to score 110 points in regulation with a hefty dose of shots inside the paint.

In sum, the Pelicans had 47 shots inside the restricted area, which is 14 more than their per game average.

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The Blazers also got burned in transition as the Pelicans had 20 fastbreak points compared to seven for Portland.

Although the game-winner by Evans came from the midrange, just as it was against Miami, it was the plays before that point that put Portland in a position to need a comeback.

Anthony Davis sat at the beginning of the 4th quarter and the Blazers took advantage, tying the game at the 9:15 mark of the fourth quarter. However, Davis came back in the game and the Pelicans immediately went on a 5-0 run.

Davis and Jrue Holiday were fantastic on the offensive end. Davis was a problem rolling to the rim and Holiday had his jumper going as well as some great drives to the basket. Davis had 27 points, 12 rebounds, five blocks and consistently tough defense on Aldridge.

Davis may be able to defend Aldridge better than anybody and blocked two of Aldridge’s patented turnarounds which are usually impossible to guard. However, Aldridge is a great player and like other great players he got his numbers.

In the fourth quarter, the Blazers did it together as Mo Williams woke up offensively, scoring six of his eight points in the fourth quarter.

The Pelicans shot over 50 percent for basically the entirety of the game and while Portland was able to get back in the game when Davis went to the bench, they didn’t have consistent stops when they needed them.

Damian Lillard put up a ridiculous 30-footer in the face of New Orleans’ Al-Farouq Aminu with 10 seconds left to tie the game which looked like it was about to set up another thrilling Blazers victory.

Instead, Evans made sure that the Blazers were burned by playing with fire by hitting a midrange jumper in transition to win the game.

With 1.2 seconds left, the Blazers had a chance to either win the game or send it into overtime but Davis had one final excellent contest on an Aldridge jumper that never had a chance.

Tonight’s loss made it so the Blazers suffered their first consecutive losses of the season.

Up next for the Blazers, it’s the Oklahoma City Thunder. Should the Blazers lose tomorrow they will find themselves 2.5 games back of first place in the West.

While I’m sure if you asked them before the season if 2.5 games back of OKC was acceptable for first place in the West, it would be a resounding yes.

However, this team believes that they should win every game and they said they wanted to “kill” the Pelicans after letting one slip away Saturday.

Now, they will be looking to avoid closing a great first two months of the season on a sour note.

 

 

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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